Monday, April 27, 2009

The Wonders of Sports Massage!
I finally found a new masseuse! It's Jason at Hands-On Wellness. If you are in the area and are in need of some de-knotting - I highly recommend them! Jason knows athletes and what you need. My lower back and hamstring are finally free of knots and tension for the first time in months. I wish I'd gone much sooner. I'm now going to go monthly for tune-ups, the expense is worth it to stay healthy and running.
My Saturday massage allowed me to have a good run at Wunderlich. Aerobically I didn't feel up to snuff, but my muscles and legs felt good. There's much work to be done, but the journey is part of the fun, right?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Sunday Trail Bliss
I rolled up to Zweirlein trail head in Huddart Park a little later than I wanted too, but it didn't matter because I had all the time in the world to get in a good trail run. My water pack was topped off with PowerAide, and I was ready to go. The weather, well it was finally perfect - no horrendous winds or unseasonably cold weather. I should just give up and move to Arizona already.
I was kind of surprised that there weren't that many cars in the parking lot, being that it was Sunday and one of the nicest days we've had in months.

The trail quickly dips off into the redwood forest. And the trail is beautiful, soft and loamy from decomposing redwood needles. A few squirrels chattered at me as I ran by. A fairly large lizard sunned himself on a rock and did his little up and down display dance.

It takes me a long while to get warmed up. So I did a little bit of walking running, which I'm not happy with myself for doing. It seems whimpy and lazy to me in hindsight. I need to bump it up hard again.

I passed by a few small groups of hikers heading back to the parking lot. And only one runner, surprisingly. The Zweirlein trailhead opens up to the Crystal Springs Trail, a long trail that connects through several open space areas. I was taking CPT to the top of the ridgeline. Down in the lower regions it switchbacks through lovely, dense redwood forests and then gradually transitions to an oak forest. The oak forest is thicker in undergrowth and at times a little creepier as larger critters can easily hide out there. It didn't feel creepy in the slightest today though.

I wound past the Toyon camp ground area and came to a great natural rock bench. Sitting on the cool rock feels great on the hamstrings!

It seems that the CST was resurfaced in parts since I was there last. It had pressed gravel in some sections that are pretty remote, kinda surprising. I suppose they did this for the equestrians, since the horses tear up the trail in the wet weather.

After winding up through the oak and chapparal for a while the CST plunges back into redwood forest again. This is when I know that I'ms nearing the top because at about this time I'm trying to remember where the heck the top is. It's a constant climb up with almost no break. And you think that you've hit the top when you make the connection with the Skyline Ridge Trail, but nope, it's the insult to injury part. There's a 0.7 mile section to the very top from here that has several bumps that are super steep, pretty much too steep to run at any real speed but I'm sure that some of the speedy local trail racers just fly up them. At times I have to kind of march them sideways, foot over foot.

When you crest that last hill and reach the very top you're still shrouded in beautiful redwoods as you are for most of this run. I stopped here to snap a few pictures and have a Gu. Then I kept running on the Skyline Ridge trail until I hit the Chincaupin trail. I love this trail. It's like a rollercoaster going back down again. Chincaupin rolls down through the redwoods and sometimes clings to some very steep cliffs, getting narrow to a point just before being nervewracking.

The further I descended, the warmer it felt. Quite by accident I happened upon a great way to keep cool. When filling up my backpack bladder I must have accidently sprayed some water inside my backpack. It started to slowly leak out during my run and onto my back....refreshing! At first I was afraid that my bladder had a leak in it (okay, not THAT bladder) but the leak didn't taste or look like PowerAide. I think maybe next time I'll stick some ice into my backpack and see how that works.

As I neared the trailhead I could smell barbecues cooking. And when I came out into the parking/camp area it was packed with people who weren't there only an hour and a half before. I guess folks were getting a late start on their Sunday fun. When I drove out of Huddart there was a steady line of cars coming in.

So for Sunday, it was about 11 miles in the coastal mountains.

Monday = day off

Tuesday = 3.5 miles easy, feeling a little sore.

Wednesday - 5 miles with the babyjogger.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Wind Aided (Addled) Workout or
Running Against the Wind and Myself

So I did my speed (not) workout in the hurricane force winds that we had last night. It was both better and worse than expected. I dressed like a ninja in all black for the occasion (because all of my white and colored shirts are in the wash basket getting moldy).

It was better than expected because it wasn't as frickin' cold as I thought it was going to be. I managed to layer enough to keep those wet cold ocean winds outta my clothes and off my skin.

It was worse because on the backside of the track the wind was so strong that it blew me into the other lanes and almost brought me to a complete stand-still several times. Running for time was not really an option. I can blame it entirely on the wind but hell, I've lost fitness these past two weeks AGAIN, (two steps forward one step back) so I can't blame it on the weather, even if I want to.

I did two mediocre 800s and was depressed about them. It was all I could do to keep times under 8 minute miles. So I switched it up to 400s, looking for some leg speed. That was a bit better. It's cheating though. But heck, at least I did something and maybe this half a$$ed speed workout helped pushed my fitness a tiny bit forward.

I could blame the hurricane force winds for my crappy speed training times last night but that wouldn't be the full, true story. Truth is, I haven't been as dedicated as I need to be and the irony is that as my times get worse, the harder it is for me to face the track. Does anyone else do this? I'm a little worried about speed work due to the hamstring issue that I recenly had...but I need to get over it. So in interest of keeping me on the straight and narrow I'll post details of my workouts here to keep track of them.

I've been getting rid of the things in my life that get in the way of my improvement. That little drink in the evenings to relax...gone and not missed. Trying to get to bed early? Done (when sick little ones don't interfere). Lightening up my eating habits to loose weight...done (still waiting for results though).

I'm going to add a little improvements gadgets at the side of my blog to keep track of all of this stuff and to keep me honest.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Duty Calls

This is day two of the 3-year-old's flu. I probably don't need to say anymore about that for you to have a full image in your mind of what is going on here. Mountains of barfy laundry. A whimpering, impish patient. And not much time for anything else. Luckily we did get a pretty good night's sleep. And the barf frequency has greatly dropped from about once every 1/2 hour to only once so far this morning. I'm tentatively crossing fingers that we are on the upswing and NOT headed for the doctor's office.

Today is Track Tuesday. We have 800's scheduled. There are horrendous winds outside today. Ugh. We may have up to 50 mph gusts by track time. WTF? Not only do I have to suffer through 800's but in my "favorite" weather condition, cold wind. The upside is that this is supposed to go away after tomorrow and we'll have HOT weather up through the weekend at least. Finally! I've been finding too many excuses to hide out inside.

And there is sad news in blogland - Marcy has announced her retirement from blogging....say it isn't so!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Sunday After

I was feeling a bit outta sorts yesterday morning. Achy and a little sniffly. I just chalked it up to allergies. So I went for a run to shake it out. Same route as the morning before. I was a little slower and I didn't have any snap in my legs. But my head cleared up a little during the run so I hoped that I had either alleviated my allergies a bit or burned an impending cold out of my body.

Soon after coming back home I was feeling achier and stuffier. And it just got worse. I had a fever. So I headed off to bed.

But at least I got my run in for the day. Funny how runners think that way. I'd earned my rest because I had gotten my run in and was that much closer to getting faster, leaner and stronger. Even if I'd sent myself back to the sheets.

I was worried about loosing training time and being sick for days with another stupid cold. So I bundled up and started to pound down the fluids. I've found that for me at least drinking amazing amounts of fluid coupled with sleeping really turns things around.

On Easter morning I woke up with a suprisingly clear head. A very good sign since I get really crappy congested colds. My voice was a bit horse but as the morning is wearing on it's clearing up nicely.

I'm even considering a morning run tomorrow if I continue to improve at this pace. It will definitely be a shorter "clean out" run, but I think that this time it really will do the trick. :)

Friday, April 10, 2009

Full Moon Morning

I woke up at about 4:30 this morning with a cat on my head. As much as I try to hide it, she instantly knows when I wake up and starts purring with the utmost pleasure. She then commenced kneeding my head and pillow with her paws and grooming my cheek with a rough tongue. It's all about love, so I just endured it until she decided to visit her bowl of kibbles.

Four-thirty seemed to early to get up so I hung in there for an hour, trying to catch a few z's but none were had. That was okay, I was totally awake. I got up and fumbled through my armoire for some running shorts, a long sleeved tee, bra, socks and my shoes. The older girl shuffled into our room and took my spot in bed, cuddled up next to her dada.

It was still dark when I stepped out onto the front porch at about 5:50 am. I was greeted by an indigo sky, calm, still air and an enormous moon that appeared to be nesting on a cushion of clouds.

A perfect beginning to the day.

I love running into the morning. It's great to start in the dark and come home in the light. I love the peacefulness, lack of cars and rushing people. I run faster and further in the mornings for some reason.

About five minutes out I noticed that the birds started singing. A chorus of finches, California towhees and some unidentifiable bird that carried on a rolling conversation with itself. Other than the birds all was still. I did not encounter another runner the entire run, which I found to be quite surprising. I only passed by one cyclist with a cyclops eye of a headlamp coming towards me in the half dark.

I returned home before 7 am refreshed and already well started into my day. One of the best things about a morning run is that you start out your day with an accomplishment. It's not so much getting that run out of the way, because, hopefully you enjoy it, it's making sure that you get that run in before the other parts of life get in the way.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Beautiful Weekend, Virtually No Running Though....

Well, sometimes it just happens that way when you have friends and relatives out to visit. And that's okay, I'll roll with it.

We celebrated an Auntie's birthday with a surprise party. The MIL came out to stay with us and we all had a blast. Today, the last day of the adventure we went on a great trail hike at the Edgewood Preserve.

Unfortunately the Hubby was laid out with a bad cold, that I'm hoping to avoid. So he missed the hike.

We saw a big rattlesnake on the trail. I trail volunteer warned us about it before we came up to it. So I walked up to it for a closer look. I thought I had the zoom on, but I guess not...I'll clean up the shot for a better look. She was a little perturbed about the trail clean-up guy...but ya know, it's her home.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Hurts so Good

It was a track Tuesday and again, nothing blew up, tore or siezed. Yesterday's workout was 4 x 600m & 300M. I even went hog wild on the last 300 and did it in 1:14, which isn't bad for little old ultrarunning, pulled hamstring me. I've figured that that works out to a 6:53 mile. Which means there's hope.

When I got home I pulled out the foam roller again. I'm using it several times a day, whenever I feel my glutes, lower back, ITB, and/or hamstring tighten up. There were some brutal spots I found on my glutes that made me swear like a sailor and almost cry. This morning I work up feeling the least creaky and stiff than I've felt in months! I highly recommend this form of torture. You won't be smiling like the chic in this picture though while you're doing it.

I wrote a check for my part of the Reno-Tahoe Relay and now I'll sign up for a room with some of the gals on the team. Our team is called The Venetian Skunks. I'll let you wonder about that for while before I 'xplain.

So it's official - I get to escape from the rugrats for a weekend. That weekend will involve running at all hours of the night and being carted around by a van. I'll do anything to get away for awhile.

Today's Obligatory Workout Report - Easy run of about 3 miles or so. Crossfit type weight workout. And stretching and foam roller stuff.