Monday, March 30, 2009

On the Trails

So after a looong time away I finally made it back on the trails. And so did everyone else apparently. When I got to Wunderlich I immediately started kicking myself for being so lazy and getting up late on a Sunday. The lot was packed. The Trail Gods did smile on me though and a kindly Prius left soon after I arrived.

Since the trail was crawling with humans it was pretty unlikely that I'd see any rare wildlife. The critter sightings were largely restricted to sparrows and a few Stellar's jays. But it was kind of nice to see other people out enjoying nature. Especially since trails tend to be asshole filters - you meet mostly nice people out there.

Subspecies of humans sighted -

Oldmanus Backpackus -

Usually seen toting a backpack and/or walking poles. Wears floppy fishing hat or old trucker cap. Always similing. Clearly enjoying retirement by getting out on the trails frequently. Often hikes over 10 miles a day. Nine times out of ten asks me if I'm coming back from or heading up to Skyline (top of the park).

Lovebirds -

Couples clearly on their first date. Totally interested in each other. Often wearing inappropriate footwear, like pointy heals. Clearly didn't plan on coming up here. They don't notice me or the mud on their shoes.

Other Couples -

Anywhere from youthful to middle aged. Guy walking in front. He says a happy hello to me. Woman glares at me like she thinks I'm out for her man. Really lady, I have my own at home and he's way hotter than yours. I'm really, just running. I saw at least three groups of these on Sunday, and it's always the same thing - first the hello and then the glare. Facinating.

Packs of Twenty-Somethings -

Often wearing unneccessary high-tech alpine gear. Large heavy hiking boots, poles and daypacks. The group is usually exchanging nervous glances with each other since they've realized too late that they are way over prepared and schlepping pounds more gear than they need. The guys give me the same look that men gave me when they walked their wives miniature poodles and I was running with my doberman. Utter embarrassment. But they are still happy and having fun and that's what counts.

Two Ladies Together -

All ages. Chatting happily. Don't even notice that I was there at all. Which makes me worried about them. What if I were a cougar?

Headphonus Oblivious -

Lone hiker with headphones. Freaks out when you come up on them. Either seems miffed or is embarrased. Why do you wear those out here? Don't you want to hear nature...or the approaching puma?

Anyway, it was a successful run. Only about 7 miles but good nonetheless. It's a pretty rugged up and down so I didn't want to overdo it the first time out and so soon after the hamstring/IT band fiasco. Nothing was injured and I felt good. Next time all the way to the top and back!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Feelin' Frickin' Productive

I went to the track last night. It was cold as a witches t*t. That's one of my 78 year old dad's favorite sayings, and one of the only ones I could use without extensive editing. It was about 55 degrees, which I KNOW isn't THAT cold. (I did live in Minneapolis for 3.5 years). But around here it's the freakin' wind, people. It's wet from the ocean/bay, icy and it cuts right through your clothes. I swear I'm colder here than I ever was in the Midwest.

So I wasn't THAT slow considering my time off of intervals. I managed to eek below the 8 min mile barrier. Intervals were 1200's and 600's. Some ugly distances, I think. But I persevered and finished all of them, even running my last 600 the fastest. Not due to any awesome fitness but because I held back on all the others somewhat. I had my left hamstring and IT band taped from my ART session earlier in the day, so I looked the part of the walking wounded. I felt that hey, this chick's bandaged so you can't make fun of her slowness, at least she's out here. My pride gets outta whack on the track, I keep living in my faster days.

So I've decided. I'm going to sign up for the Pacifica 50k. It's far enough out for me to get back in ultra shape for it and it's far enough away from the relay so that I don't mess that up for everyone. This weekend - I'll hit the trails for some nice distance running.

So not only have I decided on a race today, but I turned in an article already this morning. I can now go out for a run with a clear conscience, since I'm ahead of the game on my assignments. And it's sunny and not windy for a change. It's of course a baby jogger morning with the youngest one. Right now she's looking for rolly polly bugs in the yard...her new obsession.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Spring = New Beginnings

The IT band was bruised all week, it still is. But although it looks craptacular it feels much better. I've added my crossfit strength training back into my routine again and it's made all the difference in the world. After only one weightlifting session I was already starting to feel more balanced in my hips. So my advice to all of you - never stop strength training! I'm now the poster child for squats. Seriously.

And so suddenly I have a bunch of freelance work and new avenues for future work. Whatup! I wasn't even looking, it found me. And it feels so right. Now I needs to find me a laptop (which I will write off on my taxes). And amazingly I get to write about one of my true loves...trail running! Following your bliss is the key to happiness and happiness in your employment. Looking back now I see how miserable I was in the corporate world. I was totally unsuited to be trapped in the 9 to 5. I'd rather work harder but be free. By taking the time off to be with me and the kiddos I hit the reset button. Then things started to fall into place. As soon as I stopped fighting things and going with the flow it all fell into place.

Today? We have intervals in the evening. I had an ART session in the morning, so I'll run what I feel. My Reno-Tahoe Team is all registered on Now I'll have to figure out my next trail ultra for later in the summer.

Oh and the picture in my header is from just beyond Berry Creek Falls during the Skyline to the Sea 50K. Pretty, huh?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

You Paid Someone for That!?!

That's what Irish Frank said to me yesterday at the track when he took a gander at my bruised leg and saw the aftermath of the Graston treatment on my IT band. It looks like someone laid a two-by-four across my thigh. But I know in a day or two the results will be evident in a much looser IT. And yes, yes, yes, I'm continuing the yoga and adding the foam roller into the routine, religiously. It'll be the only way to keep my running "career" on track.

My chitlins had their performance dance class yesterday. I'm so proud that they weren't the worst behaved kids in the class. I was really thinking that we were going to be that family but surprisingly the honors went to two other little girls. One blond chubby girl who pouted and stomped off when she found out she didn't have a wand to twirl with. The other was a spunky little Asian girl who upon starting the dance routine eyeballed her brother, stomped off the stage to beat up on him in the audience.
I was so glad it wasn't my kids, for a change.

It's supposed to be a nice sunny day today. Here's an early spring picture from Maya's school yard where the bees are buzzing and the flowers are blooming.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Runnin' on....

It rained all weekend so I decided to postpone the trails. I don't need to slip and sprain my ankle before I even get restarted here. So it was misty, rainy, neighborhood runs (with one small trail section) for the weekend.

On Sunday I ran into one of my track people (figuratively, not literally). It was obviously meant to be. I'd just been thinking about what I should do in the next few months runningwise. He needed one more woman on his Reno to Tahoe Relay Team. Well, you know what happened next!

A long while back I did the Hood to Coast Relay. It was one of the mose fun things I've done. I can't wait to do another relay and especially one that is in Tahoe. It's going to be gorgeous and fun. I miss the cameraderie of other runners, this will be a way to experience all that again.

So in preparation I'm making sure that the left leg/hip thing gets fixed totally. I saw my chiro/phys therapist this morning for a Chiro/ART treatment. Just as I suspected there's some ITB problems and a general imbalance over there. But it's being taken care of. I'll dutifully do my excercises and get some treatments. so there are no problems.

So tonight is track night. I'll be gentle on myself, again. In a week or two I'll ramp it all back up again.

I'm still waiting on one of my possible freelance gigs. But I'm not waiting around because of it...I'm going to look into more new work possibilities, and maybe opening a business in the future. I feel ready to move forward.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Back to the Trails

Since I'm itchin' for some more ultra action...I'm also itchin' for the trails again. There will probably be a new trail post (with pics!) this weekend sometime. Am I emerging from my long winter's nap? Methinks so.

On other good news after months of SAHM action and no gainful employment I was approached by two different companies out of the blue on the same day this week. It looks like I'll be writing for one for sure and hopefully (puhlleezzzee pray/think good thoughts for me!) the other too. It will totally help out the financial situation at Casa de Coyote.

Refreshing Evening

I got out for a pleasant evening run last night. I even worked on my technique, reverting back to some POSE method stuff that I had thrown out the window a while back. I'm rethinking my decision on that since maybe my hamstring problem stems from over striding. I have a habit of running with huge loping strides. It really does feel more natural to me....but maybe it's not so good for me afterall.

I concentrated on all of the usual pose stuff - forefoot landing (got that down) fast turnover, (harder for me), free falling (feels so neat when you get it) and lifting your foot right underneath you. I think I ended up running faster than usual, but I can't be sure because I did a new loop and I didn't time my run. It doesn't matter anyway. I can check it out on the track next Tuesday or on another run.

And yes, I'm still doing yoga and stretching religiously. I won't stop doing that now, ever.

It was chilly again out there last night. I ran in long sleeves and capris, kind of feeling like a wimp since fer godsakes this is California. But it wasn't my imagination, that wind was cutting and it continued to blow right through my old Hind running top (maybe the age of that weather beaten thing had something to do with it! Hind doesn't even exist anymore.) I started out in the light and arrived back home in the dark. A nice way to end the day.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


I'm starting to feel like doing an ultra again. Hmmmm.

Tuesday Track

There was no scheduled track workout due to a lacrosse game on the grassy area, so a bunch of us went for a run around the 'hood.

I know it's Cali here, but dang is the wind cold and damp. Hate that. Makes me want to move to the tropics. I was afraid that I'd never warm up, but I managed to get the body temp up to comfortable as long as I kept moving. Chatting with the others was great - I don't get to talk with other people much when I'm running anymore since I run alone except for Tuesdays. Sadly, one of our bunch just got laid off and I fear that she'll be unemployed for a while in this climate. Luckily her husband is still working and I think that they have enough money saved up to last them for a while. She just got her road bikes tuned up so I don't even have to wonder at what she'll be up to in the next few weeks. I just hope that she (and others in her predicament) take the opportunity to actually enjoy the time off. That's been my downfall in the past when I was unemployed. The new job does eventually show up, and then if you have been fretting over not working that whole time that you were off you're not even rested up for your new adventure. Such is the dilemma.

I still haven't been able to get up early for my runs. The Hubby messed with the alarm last night and we woke up late this morning. So now I have to run this evening. Tomorrow that damn alarm is going to go off ON TIME and I WILL be out that door 6ish.

I've been having a nagging irritation of tightness in my left lower back, hip and side and back of my left leg. Anyone else have this problem? Yoga seems to help for a while but in a few hours it comes back. I think it may be due to my SI joint, but I can't keep going back to the chiropractor over and over again (too expensive). Does anyone have any miracle cures? Ideas to the cause? Let me know.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Sunday Musings

Sunday's run was good. A little under an hour long and on a nice loop that I improvised as I went. I planned on running all the way up through the canyon but opted instead for just the lower part through the Mercy grounds. I was pretty sure that up by the creek crossing it would be very muddy and slippery. It requires a bit of climbing to get down to the creek and up the other side. Later this week it should be more passable.

I can definitely feel the time off in my lungs on the hills. Wowie! I was huffin' and puffin' like a chain smoker.

On the last few blocks home I let my stride open up. I held back in the beginning to guard my hamstring. But I felt like my stride was unnaturally clipped. And it was. It felt so much better to speed it up a bit. Even better that my hammie wasn't annoyed by it.

The spouse and I spent the weekend mostly continuing the cleaning out of excess stuff. I brought a trunk load to the Goodwill and felt ten pounds lighter for being free of it. This cleaning out seems to be the running theme for a lot of folks these days. The Zeitgeist for the season. It was good, but I'd like to go back to having weekends set aside as time to enjoy with each other and the kids. The kids didn't seem to mind as they rode their bikes and played in the yard on both days. It was a productive weekend, not full of fun and games, but we accomplished some things that we needed to do.

We did Netflix Into the Wild. Very good movie. The main character reminded me of Treadwell, the grisly guy who ended up being eaten by a rogue bear. Both of these young men thought that they were leaving civilization to live a more natural life. The irony is that living by yourself in the wilderness is not a natural life for a human. We are social animals. It seems that before his tragic death Christopher from Into the Wild came to the realization that human interaction was needed for a meaningful, happy life. It's unfortunate that he didn't make it back alive.

Next movie? Juno. Yeah, I didn't see a lot of movies in the past few years.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Mourning Run

So I got out at 9:30. Not exactly the crack of dawn run I was fantasizing about, but it's a start. 43 minutes on a usual loop of mine. Not the fastest run but not the slowest either. My left hip felt a little tight, but not dangerously so and the hamstring survived. No nasty twinges there. The tightness does still concern me. I'll continue working diligently on it with yoga.

About halfway through I got a little choked up thinking about recent revelations and events. The random selection of music on my iPod didn't help any either with songs that just reminded me more of my sadness. I stopped to walk and sob for a minute. Then I decided to choose happiness. There is no way to happiness, happiness is the way. Things are as they are and I should just pick up my life as it is and move forward. Who knows what I will find tomorrow? I switched to an upbeat running playlist and carried on. The day is sunny and bright. I can run again. My kids are happy and healthy. Life is for the living, so get on with it.

The rest of the way was beautiful and good. Some muddy parts by the golf course but I managed to avoid a big messy fall. At home I did an outdoor yoga session on the nice green grass. The girls had their bubble machine going. It was something like yoga with a dash of Lawrence Welk. My utadasana is getting more bendy and my bridge is getting bridgier. It's so nice to see progress.

My life lesson for this season? Letting go and moving on. From many things. Arbitrary expectations, labels for myself, negative emotions, fear and procrastination. I found that cleaning out my closet was almost a religious experience. So much of what I was holding on to had old memories and emotions attached to it. I got rid of anything I hadn't used or worn in a year and especially if it held memories of a past job, a certain time period in my life or a relationship. Getting rid of the emotionally charged items was freeing - even if it was a good emotion. I was hanging on to some maternity wear that had some wonderful memories, but I'm not ever going to wear it again. Getting rid of this stuff clears out the way for the future and mentally enabled me to let go of all of my past, good and bad. I'm not forgetting it, I'm just cleaning out emotional space for what lies ahead. Letting go is freeing, it lightens your load and releases old grudges. It is a cornerstone of Buddhist thought and akin to the Christian idea of forgiveness. I think these two exercises come to accomplish similar spiritual release and revelation. I'm far from being totally free, but I've made a start. Spring is a great time for new beginnings.

Tomorrow? A longer morning run.

Friday, March 06, 2009

No More Lazy

I've been sleeping in way too much, and enjoying it way too much.

I really fell off the running wagon. I used to get up at 5am to get my runs in. Now I can barely peel myself outta the sack at 7am. I have to put myself back into running bootcamp. It will make me feel much better about myself and about life in general. I'm feeling rather blue. Hopefully my hammie will put up with the running.

And for those of you with kids you'll know what I'm talking about with the stress of two little tykes. I have NO time for myself, and I'm wearing really thin. Work was way easier than being a SAHM. I think that the endorphin rush from morning runs will help me cope a bit more. And all this worry about the economy is starting to gnaw at my mind too. I need to release the pressure valve.

The Meaning of Life

No, I don't have a clue what it is, I'm just really wondering about it. I've been smacked in the face by mortality. I just found out that an old friend died.

He was someone who I had a special connection with. It wouldn't matter how long we'd go with out seeing each other - we'd still be friends with that strange connection you only get with a few people in your life. Even if we didn't see each other very often it was just nice knowing that we were still sharing the same beautiful earth. Now that I know he's gone, even though I haven't seen him in a long time, it just feels like there's a hole in existence. And there's that nagging feeling of loss and a sense of no closure.

So if there's meaning...what was the meaning of our friendship? And will I see you again? Vaya con Dios my friend.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Running Lite

Wow, I'm down to two runs a week. That's really weak. It's all I can do to fit them in. And I won't be going to the track because the local high school girls have a lacrosse game there tonight. My lazy ass is happy about it actually, because I didn't want to crowbar myself out of the house for a run. It's been raining buckets and I don't want to go out there. Although I know that once I'm out there I'll love it and have fun and all that. It's just getting out there at night in the dark, those first few steps that are the worst.

The kids are cranky, restless, whiny and tired of being couped up. Ugh.

I have been working on the yoga. I almost have my heals down in downward dog...that's a major accomplishment. And in standing forward bend I'm much more forward with my fingers on the ground. There is progress. I don't feel as tight, although I still am tight. But every class I take myself through makes me feel so much better for a few hours. I still need to work on inversions...they are a little scary but they offer so many benefits.

I've been trying to keep to a yogic diet. Trying is the word. I can manage about three days of vegetarianism and then I fall off the wagon. Anyone else a vegetarian out there? Any advice? Or should I just give up already?