Saturday, March 29, 2008

Twisted Ankles and Other Irritants

Last Saturday as I was returning to the start of the trail at Edgewood Park, I sprained my ankle. Ugh. It's still kinda swollen and black and blue. I'm running on it anyway.

I started a new job this week. I'm less than thrilled, but I it's just a bus stop on the road of life. It's a copywriting job, with management responsibilities. The culture is a bit backward for the Silicon Valley, no telecommuting and such. Not great for the working mother. But I’ll do my best as long as I’m here. I’ll try and change things for the better. But when something better comes along – I’m gone. I’m keeping my options open.

I may want to do something else entirely different. I was thinking about massage therapy and physical training. Something to research!
I’ve been running well since my ankle stopped being totally blue! I’m even getting out for a trail run after work today!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

iPod Fun

I'm not big on lots of gadgets, I feel like they can be distracting, but I've been having fun with my iPod Nano. I finally busted out the Nike iPod connector doodad that I've had for over a month but have been too lazy to use since I thought that the set up would be horrendous. Well it wasn't - true I'm using the standard calibration but it seems to be pretty close to acurate for me. I used it on a hilly loop at Rancho yesterday and I think that it calibrated it pretty close to the actual miles/minutes per mile. I did almost 6 hilly miles at about 10:10 pace. I chugged up the switchbacks and bombed the downhills so I'm pretty sure that's about right.

I'll try it out around town today and let ya know how it does there.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Thursday March 13th

10 Mile Revelations

I did a 10 miler today on Sawyer Camp Trail. The weather was perfect for running, being slightly overcast as I started out, changing to intermittent sunshine later on. I always like seeing the sun! And it was just a bit cool, very pleasant to run in.

I told myself that I was going to run this s-l-o-w-l-y so that I wouldn't be out of gas at mile 7. So I started out running about a 10 minute mile. I soooo wanted to speed up when and old guy passed me! But I had to remind myself that he probably wasn't running nearly as far as I was. Sure enough I could tell that he had turned at about the 2.5 mile mark for a 5 miler.

I've had a wierd discomfort in my right ankle/achilles that is not an outright pain, but definitely not a good thing. I was a little worried about running far out on this out-and-back trail and blowing out my achilles or something and and having to limp all the way back. So at about the 3.5 mile mark by the Jepson laurel tree I really put my mind to my body to take stock of what was going on with it. After concentrating awhile on my ankle, I realized that I'd been clenching my foot. As I was running, I was subconciously trying to hold my arch up in fear of overpronating. Later I also figured out that I was using my right foot far too much in the pushing off -- probably still doing that to protect my right leg that is a bit weaker than my left after I broke it a few years back. I bet this all is contributing to my left hip being tight too. So I concentrated on relaxing my foot and using more of my leg. Soon that wierd feeling my achilles went away.

I was feeling pretty good now and my iPod was kicking out Metalica's "Fuel" So I sped up. I haven't seen this part of this trail in a very long time. The trees envelope the trail like a tunnel and ferns grown the hillside to my left and a swamp has formed on the right side of the trail from the copious rains we've had this winter. I cruised comfortably to the 5 mile mark and the turnaround.

I paused there and had a GU and some liquid. It was quiet and lovely with dappled sunlight showing through the trees.

Going back the miles rolled away pretty easily until about mile 8. By then my foot/ankle felt great because the rest of me was too fatigued to do any kind of foot clenching. I was clearly too chipper and fleet-footed from mile 4 to 7 as the wheels were coming off now. I slogged it back in to the trail head, doing a little bit of a run walk but still feeling quite satisfied with my effort, even though it wasn't quite even. It'll get better with time and miles.

Wednesday, March 12th

Edgewood Park

Well, instead of driving all the way down to Rancho I went to Edgewood Park....which is about a 10-15 minute drive away. I'll reserve Rancho for the big long runs, today I should only do a 5'er or so.

I haven't been to Edgewood in a long time. I forgot how pretty it can be, especially in the springtime. Things were green and gorgeous with a few early wildflowers, and much if the early trail which climbs through oak forest switchbacks is like a fairy land; a green tunnel of trees, moss and ferns.

Fairy tunnels!

Upper Meadow

When I got to the top I checked out the views from this beautiful green meadow. Then it took me forever to find the trails that I wanted to take back down because there was a trail not listed on the map that was fouling things up for me. I ended up going on a loop and coming right back to the meadow again. Which was okay, but a bit frustrating. So I headed off in another direction to connect up with the Sylvan Trail to get back down again. I probably did more than 5 miles with the mix up. But who's counting???

Little Lizard

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Tuesday's Trails

I think I'll go down to Rancho and run some sort of loop on the Wildcat Canyon Trail. I need to cheer myself up.

And I won't get a chance to run the trails during the week once I start my new job. Thank goodness I managed to get some time off in between gigs. I'm a little scared because I think I DON'T want to start this new job. I'm a little afraid of it. And I wonder if I shouldn't be doing something totally different, if the copywriting part of my life is over and I should be doing something else. But what is it? I'd love to do something related to my trail running, outside in the woods...but what am I qualified for now? Now that I'm in my late 30's and have been doing the copywriting internet thing for so long.

I just heard one of the cats upchucking in the kitchen. Why do they all do that? And at the worst times. I just don't even want to go over there and see that whomever barfed managed to barf on a rug and not on the 90% of the kitchen that has easy clean linoleum. Yes. getting out of the house would be the best thing for me today.

Monday, March 10, 2008

RIP Matt

One of my favorite coworkers from the job that I just left died yesterday tragically in a car on bike accident. He was a talented cyclist who had just won a race that he was really gunning for. I'm saddened and shocked by his way, way too early leaving of this earth.

The Story

Live every day as if it were your last. Enjoy your friends and family and let them all know how much you love them. Go for your dreams and live with no regrets.

Wunderlich Park

Thursday, March 6th

A very close second to Rancho San Antonio for me is Wunderlich. It's hilly, but somehow for me it's not too brutal. I guess it has just the right amount of ups and downs. I love the variety of little ecosystems that you can run through on a single run -- there are oak forests, meadows, redwood forests and some of the non-native eucalyptus too.

I did 5 miles on Friday. I was trying to take it a little easy because I've been runnin' pretty hard on the hills and I don't want to overdo it. I started out a little sore. The hills seemed easier than they were last time I ran here. A good sign! And all of my soreness went away! I felt better afterwards than I did before. Another beautiful run.

(pictures to come...blogger isn't uploading them right now for some reason)

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Rancho San Antonio

I love this place! This is one of my favorite places to run. There are many long trails and loops to do, the terrain is hilly and varied and the wildlife is fantastic. I see some form of wildlife every single time I go out here.

The most exciting wildlife encounter I've had at Rancho was with a bobcat a few years ago. She came sauntering down the trail towards me, I stopped and stood quietly in my spot. She walked right up to me and passed by me, almost close enough to brush my leg. I spoke quietly to her and she gave me very calm "kitty eyes" back. She then stepped off the trail and into the field next to it. She was so beautiful. It makes me feel good to know that creatures like her still live near us and continue their natural lives.

My 3/4 run at Rancho was fantastic. The weather was a perfect, sunny, 70 degrees. The recent rains have turned the hills of Rancho green and the creeks are full of cool rushing water. About 1/2 down the Rogue Trail in the valley I encountered a group of eight deer. I stopped in the trail and watched them crash through the creek and shrubbery at the north side of the trail, cross behind me over the trail, and leap up the hillside towards the switchbacks of the Wildcat Loop Trail.

I also saw bunnies munching on the grass along the Rogue Trail.

At the end of the Rogue Valley I saw this big tree down. A remnant of some of the crazy storms we had late this winter.

Happily my ascent on the Upper Rogue Valley Trail was easier than I expected. I guess all of that hill running that I've been doing is really getting me fitter. I haven't run here in a while, and I remembered this portion of the trail as being longer and harder. This was a big confidence booster.

Next I turned right to head up the High Meadow Trail. I have to admit that I did a good amount of dwadling up here. The warm sun, the views and the solitude did my spirit good, so I wanted to suck it all up. I thought about my former coworkers and how they were stuck in their offices right now! I was so happy to be able to take advantage of my time off and the perfect weather to get stronger, fitter and soak in nature. I'd forgotten how difficult the very last part of this trail is. Just before it intersects with the PG&E trail at the very top by the vista point the Upper Meadow Trail becomes completely unrunnable. It's steep climb forced me to switchback it at a hiking pace. At the top I encountered this curious sign and an unmarked trailhead. I wonder where it goes to? If anyone knows, please tell me so that I don't have to find out for myself!

The vegetation was much thicker than I remembered going down the PG&E trail. I was getting tired so all of the little uphills inbetween the big screaming descents were just killing me. I encountered lots of people who were totally overdressed for the weather in running pants and long shirts, it's hard to believe 70 degree weather in early March!

I was thrilled to see that even with all of the photos, dwaddling, sun-worshipping and soul-searching I finished this run in less than two hours! 1:58! And today the day after, I'm not sore. I'll do an easy 4 miler and then another long run tomorrow. Diablo 50k here I come!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Sawyer Camp Trail

View from the trail.

I really wanted to see some deer, but this is the closest I got.

At the five mile turnaround.

Yesterday I did a pleasant, easy, 5 miler at Sawyer Camp. It was a gorgeous day. Today I'm going to hit Rancho San Antonio and get in some major hills and trails. Not sure how far I'll go, I'm playing it by ear.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Bagged the Race

I didn't show at Skyline Ridge. I just was under too much stress. I was tired and my heart was fluttery, I really needed to sit in bed in my pajamas with a hot cup of coffee delivered to me by my hubby. I do know when to just give it up at times. That's what motherhood will teach ya.

I'm pretty sure that if I ran it I would've done poorly, and probably would've gotten sick. It didn't help any that it was rainy and cold out that morning. I have the Big Basin 25k next month that I'm totally psyched for - I love that place! And then I just took the big step and signed up for a 50k on Mt. Diablo on June 8th.

It's Monday after I resigned my job...and I DO feel so much better. I feel like an enormous weight has been lifted off of my shoulders. I feel like the future is limitless...and it is!