T-Minus 3 Weeks & Counting…

When did it become the end of March?  When did Lake Sonoma become three weeks away?  Why do I not feel more ready?

Since I hadn’t seen the course since last year’s race, I decided to head out to Lake Sonoma for my first long training run post-Way Too Cool.  While I didn’t remember the exact exit, I did remember how to get there once I got off the exit.  Once I got there (exit 505, by the way), it was like an old friend welcoming me back.  I passed the spot just before 101 south that we pulled over last year so Brian could dig out some sprite for me…also the place I puked at mile 61, but minor detail ;).

I got to the rec area and found Liberty Glen without a problem.  I passed by the familiar sites of no-name flat and the marina along the way (the turn-around and the start/finish).  I was even able to confirm with a ranger that I could park there for the day while I ran.  It was surprisingly sunny, so I smeared on some sunscreen, through on my ankle braces and shoes, and I was off. Shortly before I left, I realized the car key I’ve been unable to find was in my running pack….great!  Of course, that meant the pocket wasn’t full of food…not so great.  Oh well, I had two Gu packets….should be fine for the ten miles I’d plan to run before I stopped back at my car.

I made one small detour before I got on the course….the trails are rarely used and not marked in too many places.  It didn’t take me long to find some pink and black ribbons, indicating the course, most likely left from last weekend’s training run.  Once I was on the course, it was a simple out and back to the turn around, which should’ve been about five miles.

Except, it wasn’t…or I overran it.  Really, I overran it.  I thought I saw it, but thought it was too quick or something.  Looking at the map now, it actually wasn’t.  Of course, I didn’t know that…so I kept going.  Decided if I didn’t see the turn around by seven miles, I’d turn then.  Would mean I was more than halfway to the twenty I’d planned when I got back to my aid station/car.  I ate my last gu shortly before I turned around.  Seven miles back to the car, I could make that….usually, I can do about ten miles before I NEED food.  And, I had plenty of water….

So, back I went…or so I thought.  I kept watch on the mileage, and knew I’d be back at my car somewhere between mile 13 and 15, depending on how long my early detour was….somewhere around mile 11, the water was gone.  Well, I’d survived three miles straight up Mt. Diablo in August sans water, I could do three or four of rolling hills at 60 degrees (30-40 degrees cooler than Diablo).  But, mile 14 came and went, so did 15….and as much as everything looked the same, this part of the trail didn’t necessarily, but was still oddly familiar.

I was lost.  For those of you playing the at home game, I’m now out of food, out of water, and lost.  Add to that a really tight right leg.  This wasn’t good.  But of course I continued down the hill.  And down some more.  And then more.  And then I knew this wasn’t right.

I wasn’t sure that the outcrop trail was the right way to go, but at least it looked like it led to the road.  So, I start d making my way back up.  I ran into a couple of hikers, and asked them if they knew which trail would lead up to Liberty Glen….they said there was a campground, but they didn’t think it was Liberty Glen.  However, they did confirm I could get up to the road.

So, now up, up, and up some more I went.  What I wouldn’t give for some water.  Luckily, there’s plenty of water all over since the lake has been flooded all spring.  Of course, stream water was really a last resort.  I was so glad to see the outcrop trail about half a mile up the trail.  Looking back on my day at that point, I realized outcrop trail is probably the name for the trail heading up to the road, rather than a trail itself.  Anyway, I headed up that trail, which was up a rather steep hill, but there were campers at the top, and Liberty Glen is the only campground you can drive into.  So, I was hopeful.  Worst case, maybe someone would be able to give me directions and spare some water.

I got to the top of the hill and saw Slimer.  I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to see my car.  And water.  And food.  Ended up with 16 miles…short of the 20 I wanted, but hopefully the mental training pays off…at least that’s what I tell myself.

Today brought a ten mile turned 10k shakeout run.  Ugh is my right leg tight.  Which of course just adds to the pre-race stress.  For as many times as I remind myself that I’ve done this before and can do it again, there are just as many thoughts about how few ‘good runs’ I’ve had, how WTC went so much better last year, how tight my right leg is, etc., etc….which makes me wonder if I can actually do it again.  I mean, I’d like to think it can’t get worse than last year, but….famous last words….Sigh…I can do this, right?

Until next time….

Hanging Out Like Normal People

Since I am in taper mode, I had what I would consider a normal weekend.  Saw friends…hung out with my husband…did nothing involving a three or four hour workout.  It was a nice change.  After sleeping in on Saturday morning, I spent the afternoon hiking with my friend, Meg.  Well, after I found her…who knew there were three or four entrances to Windy Hill?  And two roads in close proximity to each other with the same name.  Once we found each other, we had a great time exploring some new trails on a beautiful day.

Saturday night, I went to dinner with Meg and some other friends.  She started a book club, which is great – I love to read and don’t do it nearly enough anymore.  However, time got away from me and I haven’t even gotten the book we were supposed to read, much less read any of it.  As it turns out, I wasn’t the only one who had gotten behind due to life, and we decided to meet for dinner anyway.

Since the book was about Peru, we decided to have dinner at a Peruvian restaurant down on the Embarcadero, La Mar.  Dinner was delicious, I has some sort of steak dish with fries and other stuff.  I also had several bites of Meg’s food, since that’s what was put in front of me first.  Oops.  What happens when you don’t really understand the food you’re ordering.  Luckily, they brought her a brand new food and all was well.  We enjoyed the food and wine, and chose our next book.  Really looking forward to getting back into reading, especially with friends.

Then it was on to my Uber adventure home.  I’m the first to admit I have a horrible sense of direction, but this guy…this guy was in a league of his own.  As he’s picking me up, another couple hops out of the car…the lady says to me, ‘he picked up the wrong people….’.  That should have been my first clue, as we then proceeded to drive all over the city before we got to the Tavern in Noe Valley.  After my tour of San Francisco – Pac Heights, North Beach, USF, the Castro….and finally to the Tavern where I had planned to meet Brian a half hour earlier.  But, I got there, we got to watch the amazing end of the Warrior’s game, and have a few drinks….all’s well that ends well, I suppose.

And, today, rather than go exercise for four hours, we hung out like normal people.  Haha. We tried a new (to me) place for brunch on the edge of Noe Valley.  Delicious French Toast and mimosas and breakfast potatoes.  Then we went shoe shopping….yay for new running shoes.  Even though I had to order them since they didn’t have my size, but they’re on their way and should be here by the end of the week.  Then we went to get food for the snake….so close to being normal….haha.

And, now on to the countdowns….

Days ’til Way Too Cool – 6

Number of Orange Theory Classes before Way Too Cool – 1

Number of Days at 24-Hour Fitness before Way Too Cool – 2

Weeks ’til Lake Sonoma – 6

Where has the time gone?  On one hand, it feels like this has been the longest month ever…it was still less than one month ago that we bought the new dinning room table.  But, I really can’t believe it’s going to be March next week.  And, with March comes Way Too Cool….a race I’m way more nervous for than I should be….

I’m worried about getting there since I can’t plan to leave work early to miss traffic….hopefully all of the reports that day come in early.  But, regardless, if I end up leaving late, I can pick up dinner from Amici’s and eat before I leave, and just worry about getting to Auburn, rather than finding food along the way or once I get there.  Or, hold out hope that I can leave early enough to pick-up my bib before pick-up closes Friday night and get an extra half hour of sleep the next morning.

I’m worried about the race itself since I didn’t finish any of the races I started in 2015.  Looking at the course and my previous times, I should be fine…but, I’ll feel much better after I actually run it.  And, at this time next week, it will be over.

I keep telling myself it will all work out in the end.  I’ll have an amazing race – feel great, have fun, and get a frog cupcake at the end.  Then sleep ’til noon the next day.  Rest for a week and start gearing up for my next adventure…..

Because, after all of that…there’s still the beast that is Lake Sonoma….

 

Who Knew Getting Lost Could be So Much Fun…

Since I’ve spent most of January sick (maybe that’s why it feels like it’s been such a long month…), I’m a little behind on long runs, so I knew the 30 miler I had previously planned for today was not going to happen.  So, I decided I would head to Lake Sonoma and see what happened.  I was more comfortable doing a shorter run if I’d get to see more of the race course.  And, I’d already planned a run for Sunday as well, which was a good way to make up the distance and get a double day in.  Anyway, on to the adventure that was Lake Sonoma.

I made a plan over a hot toddy last night.  I’d park at Lone Rock, just beyond No Name Flat where I parked for my last adventure.  From there, I could access a portion of the course I had yet to see, run a few miles out, then back to the car, and then head out towards No Name.  I’d seen those trails before, but there’s only so far I’m willing to limp back to the car if I break myself.  Not that its happened before or anything….

Before stopping at Lone Rock, I drove the extra few miles to Liberty Glen to see if there was any day use parking – it’s another good place to access the course, but all I had read about was camping parking.  Good news!  There was day use parking.  But, I already had a plan, so I headed back to Lone Rock.

I got ready, paid the parking fee, grabbed a map and headed across the road to the trail.  After that, it took approximately three miles for my plan to fall apart.  I found the first trail I was looking for, Outcrop, pretty quickly.  And then what I thought was Madrone.  So, down I went.  The whole time thinking, it’s really going to suck to come back up this.

And, then it ended.  Just got down by the lake and stopped.  There was a short, steep, downhill that I thought might lead to a trail….nope just goes right into the lake. So…now what.  I decided to make my way back up the trail and see what I could find.  If all else failed, I just needed a trail to run on.  Rolling hills look like rolling hills, and at the end of the day, I just needed to get a run in.  Oh, what’s this…Cove Trail.  Not on the map.  Oh well.  That works.

So, off I went….and really, so much fun.  Since I didn’t really know where I was, I focused more on time (run out on a trail for a half hour, run back), rather than how many miles I had run or how fast I was going.  So, I splashed through creeks and slogged through mud without too much of a care in the world (I mean, it is still hog hunting season)…and I actually felt really good (Orange Theory is going to be worth every penny if it’s already making me feel great after two weeks), when I wasn’t hacking up my lungs.  That part wasn’t too much fun.

After about four miles, I decided to turn around and see what else I could find.  Didn’t want to get too much further from the car.  I got back to the service road and hiked back up to Outcrop where I had come down.  At this point, my lungs were pretty sore (stupid sick), so I briefly thought about heading back then, but curiosity got the best of me and I decided to see what happened if I continued to head up the fire road.

That led to Liberty Glen, which I knew was part of the race course.  That took me to Serpentine, which according to the map, would take me to Rancheria.  I enjoyed the trip down a rocky descent and arrived at a junction…..Rancheria….’hey there trail…I’ve been looking for you all day’.  I pulled out my map again to see which way I should go, and that was when I flipped it over.  And realized there was a detailed layout of the Rockpile Road trails on the back….I’m an idiot.  haha….oops.

I made a right and planned to follow Rancheria out until about 2:30.  That would give me a half hour to get back to the fire road and I’d be on my way back to the car by 3.  I ran more than I thought I would….it reminded me a lot of Matt Davis and my run out to McKennan….until I came across a recently downed tree.  Apparently that was my cue to turn around.  Since one side was a cliff down to the lake and the other side was a hill up, there wasn’t a safe way to get around it.

So I turned and headed back toward the Wulflow shortcut….once I got there, I decided I’d try to take the long way back up.  Since I now had the map and all.  And the more of the course I saw, the better.  After about a half of a mile, I thought better of it and turned to head back the way I came.  I didn’t know how far it was that way, I didn’t have a good track record with not getting lost, and my lungs were just about done.  So, up I went.  It was actually a lot further than I remembered, and at some point I realized I didn’t really know exactly how to get back to the car.  I mean, there was always the road, so I wasn’t completely lost.

And that’s where the adventure began.  At one point, I thought I was at the fire road that brought me down to the trails (conveniently named fire road….as was the other one), so up I went….of course it wasn’t the right road and I just ended up in someone’s campsite.  So, back down I went.  Lots of time with the map…..of course not all the trails are on the map, so lots of potential for some brief wrong turns.  Finally, I got back to where there were some markings and an exit to the road….and other runners.  Of course, rather than ask them if they knew where Lone Rock was, I just picked a direction and started jogging down the road.  After spending the last two miles trying to get off the trails, I was all set with guessing games for now.

So, down the hill I went.  Past a closed parking lot/event site…I think I remember passing that on the way in….around several more corners, I kept thinking I would see the lot, to no avail.  Until…..there was…..

No Name Flat.

Really?!  Seriously?!  I had only run about a mile in the wrong direction.  Ugh.  Poor lungs.  Across the road and back I went….a couple of cars went by…for a fleeting moment, I thought about flagging someone down for a ride.  Let’s not pretend it would be the first time.

Thankfully, it didn’t take too terribly long to get back to where I was and then literally around the corner was Lone Rock.  Steps from where I’d come off the trail.  Awesome.  Only me.  Despite being desperate to be back at the car, I looked down to see that I was at 13.8 miles.  Can’t have that, so I took a couple of laps around the parking lot to make 14.  And of course as I was doing so, I thought about what a great day I’d had on the trails.  How much fun it was being caked in mud.  And how I couldn’t wait for next time.  All of this now that I was back in sight of the car of course.

The best part, once I got home and looked at Strava, I was actually on the race course, if not all day, close to it.  So that’s good.  The giant hill I ran down – definitely Madrone.  The Cove trail….it’s actually Rancheria.  Apparently Strava decided to call it something else.  Or the course map did….or something.  Oh well….was a fun adventure and I’m glad I saw a lot of the course.

I also came home to an email from the race director – there’s the potential for a training run that will let me see all of the course.  Hopefully it works out…..not too close to Way Too Cool, not too early since it’s two hours away, etc., etc.  He’s also planted some water on the course for people training and let us know what local water is potable.  It also looks like one of the creeks is 18 inches deep….good times.  Sounds like I’ll be running in shorts.  I never wear shorts.  Hopefully it’s warm.

Now, I’m hungry….where is my pizza.  And that hot toddy I’ve been thinking about since about mile six.

Next up – three hill repeats on fox trail tomorrow…because I hate myself or I need to get ready for goat hill.  Or maybe both.  And, barring any madness, I should hit 100+ miles for January.  Not bad for the sick girl ;).

Malibu Canyon Adventure

I’m always excited for a weekend adventure – especially if that involves a new place with new trails.  Enter a 30 hour trip to Malibu Canyon.  
The drive to Malibu was pretty uneventful (other than an accident that resulted in an extra hour and a half or so).  Especially once I hit the 5.  I talked to my parents….joked with a friend about how I needed an uneventful fifteen mile sweep after last weekend’s craziness….sang along to bad 80’s and 90’s pop….all the things you typically do on a solo road trip.  
Thanks to the traffic, I got to the hotel at least an hour and a half later than I planned.  But never fear, it was in plenty of time to watch the poor desk guy deal with two girls under the influence of something trying to figure out if they’d checked out of their room or not.  And how to use the wireless….and something about her ‘friend’ from ‘last night’.  Good times.  Can I just have my key?  After dealing with the girls and a broken computer, I finally had my key.  Then I was pretty sure I was asleep in moments.  
The next day started with an early Starbucks run and a joke about me even sleeping at the hotel.  Thankfully the hotel, Starbucks, and the park were all pretty close, so it wasn’t that early – at least when you consider last Saturday I started running at 5.  We got our caffeine and headed out to the park.  As we were unloading and setting up, I noticed that the finish line was a mine-field of potholes.  All big enough to see, right?  
Or not….at some point once the runners were off, but before I was supposed to start sweeping, I was walking over to the finish line.  I avoided all of the holes in the dirt.  Only to find the one in the grass…I love hearing my ankle pop.  Almost as much as I love grabbing ahold of the ropes holding up the finish line arch before stumbling into the arch.  Really?  Right now?  I tried walking it out and it was just sore, not really swollen.  Nothing an ankle brace can’t fix.  Perhaps I should have wished for an uneventful weekend….
And now for the course.  I love getting to see new trails in new places – especially places I wouldn’t necessarily go to on my own.  I had seen photos and heard it was hilly, so I strapped on my super cool ankle braces and was off.  Luckily, I wasn’t feeling too sore from last weekend’s debacle of a race or from my tumble and stumble at the finish line.  
The first few miles were pretty gentle – some rolling hills and some flat.  A lot of course markings and thanks to someone’s ‘help’, a bunch of them were gathered in piles at one of the trail heads….
Just after the two mile mark, I came across a creek.  And, even with the drought, this one was flowing and probably would have come to mid-calf had I jumped right in (like I do with Redwood Creek).  Somehow, I managed to navigate through on the rocks without falling in and was able to keep my shoes dry for the most part (save for my right toes….ooops).  
Shortly after the creek, I hit the first aid station and then began a climb that I thought would never end.  Beautiful views and a nice trail, but nearly seven miles of climbing with no reprieve was a tall order.  
And then I was told by a mountain biker that I was at the top.  So, of course I stopped to take a photo and captured the below photo.  Looking back, I think the ones on the way up were better.  
The next few miles brought place that I could definitely jog between ribbons and observe some cool rock formations.  
Despite being told I was at the top, I came upon this monstrosity pretty quickly.  I was pretty sure it was straight out of The Hills Have Eyes, if you’ve seen it.  If you haven’t, don’t….At first, I didn’t even think it was a trail….then I saw the pink flags lining the way up it.  Really?  That’s a trail.  Well, ok.  I’m up for an adventure.  And the way up actually wasn’t too bad.  The way down….let’s just say I’m just glad I didn’t crash and burn.  
Surviving the land of The Hills Have Eyes, I came up on the second aid station.  They were just as glad to see me as I was to see them.  After getting high-fives from the volunteers and the ranger, I refueled and headed off on what was pretty much the last climb before a nice descent back to the finish.  
After what really was a nice gentle descent, the last section I hit was pretty flat.  Not sure if this was a good thing or not – right around mile 13 my foot (and the rest of my body), started to make it known that they were done with this running thing.  haha…almost legs, almost.  
Near the 10k turn around, I passed through the MASH site.  It was pretty cool, despite not having watched too much MASH.  I don’t think I really watched any of it until after Alan Alda was on ER and I’m pretty sure those were reruns.  Anyway, I digress.  I paused for a bit to get some photos before the volunteer asked me if I was planning to get in before dark.  Right.  Dark.  Yeah, I should probably keep moving.  
After departing the MASH site, it was a quick jaunt back to the start/finish.  A quick load of the van and I was off on the long journey home.  
Once I got out of LA, I was ready for some food.  Enter my second Carl’s Jr. fix of the weekend.  I’d also warmed up enough to want an Oreo milkshake.  Yum.  While I waited for the drive-thru, I decided to check out my foot again.  It had been out of the brace for about an hour and felt pretty stiff.  Probably because in the time it had been resting it decided to start swelling.  Awesome…well, at least it wasn’t my driving leg.  
I stopped for gas in Kettleman City.  At that point, my feet had been shoeless for several hours and the thought of having to put them back on was worse than the thought of being barefoot (or in my case, bare-socked) at a gas station – especially with my now swollen left ankle.  So, I channeled my inner Britney Spears (circa 2004) and pumped gas sans shoes.  But, I did have socks on and I didn’t go in the bathroom.  Haha…

The rest of the trip passed uneventfully and I made pretty good time getting home.  Home, showered, beered, and in bed by 12:30.
Until next time….over and out.

Life Doesn’t Require that We Be the Best, Only that We Try Our Best…..North Face 50 Race Report

Ahh…the start line of the North Face 50.  After a year plagued by ankle and knee injuries, it was one place I didn’t think I’d be.  But, after a few injections, and lot of PT, somehow I’d gotten it together enough to be there.  I was nervous about the time cutoffs, but based on my 30 mile training run, I’d be fine.  Especially since I was picking up Ksenya around mile 30.

We got to the start line in plenty of time, checked our drop bags, and then it was 5am and we were off.  The first few miles were fine…it was just me and the mountain and a few hundred of my closest friends.  As I made it up bobcat, I realized that my new watch had somehow reverted from miles back to kilometers.  Awesome….so I had no idea where I was.  Well, I knew where I was….I knew the trails, and I knew the two cutoff times, so I was good.

As I jogged down Rodeo, I met Becca, a woman from New York City who would stick with me until approximately mile 20.  She was great….friendly….and we had a ton to talk about.  She said hello to just about everyone, and listening to their conversation made the miles up Miwok and Coastal pass like nothing.  At one point, we were talking about how I’d never been stung before and it would be really bad to find out I was allergic on the trail.  She assured me she’d chase down the lady we met earlier with the bee sting meds.  We shared the journey through Pirate’s Cove, and she celebrated with me when I realized I had made through Pirate’s cove and Muir Beach and had yet to see a sweeper.

I jogged from Muir Beach to Cardiac, before beginning the slog up the hill.  At this point, two things happened – first, we were joined by a lot of 50k runners, so I wondered if I’d see any of my friends that were running that distance, and second, I had some weird acid-refluxy thing going on.  Apparently the potatoes and Mt. Dew I’d had at Tennessee Valley and Muir Beach hadn’t solved that problem as I had hoped.  Ugh…well….onward and upward, I suppose.

Thanks to Becca, Heather Cutoff passed pretty quickly (and there wasn’t any out and back traffic like last year).  We got to Coastal, and while there were places I had planned on running, I realized it wasn’t going to happen with the acid issues going on.  Oh well….I was still right where I wanted to be pace-wise, so I wasn’t worried.  Just sick of climbing.  Thankfully Becca was still on my heels and chatting with everyone….then, it happened, I recognized a voice.  Yay!  A friendly face at just the right time.

My friend, Liz, had come up behind us.  She was looking great running up the hill, and had I felt better, I would have tried to tag on and run up the hill with her.  She mentioned her boyfriend wasn’t too far behind, so I kept an eye out for him and that took my mind off the horrible feeling for awhile. He passed by shortly after, I mentioned I was worried about being slow, and he told me to just keep moving.  So, that’s what I did….one foot in front of the other, with Becca behind me, we made it up the hill.

I paused at the aid station to try to cure the acid problem along with the nausea that had started to pop up.  One of the volunteers suggested Coke, but I already was working on some Mountain Dew.  Then I heard my name being called, and behind me was my friend and fellow AIDS Marathon Coach, Toby.  So many friendly faces at just the right time.  I told him I was nauseous, and he told me to keep at it, and that it would pass.

And it did, as I made my way up to Matt Davis, I started to feel a lot better.  Becca and I jogged the out and back where we could (lots of jumping out of the way of oncoming traffic), making our way to McKinnon Gulch – the first hard time cutoff….and I was still ahead of the sweepers.  Then…ouch!  Sharp, stabbing, pain in the back of my thigh….if had been an inch higher, it would have been my ass.  Who gets stung by something in their ass?  Me.  Of course.  Guess. I can cross getting stung by a bee off my bucket list.  Great….hopefully this doesn’t cause too much of an issue.  But at least I can concentrate on that pain rather than my hip flexor that had started to ache way too early.  I paused for a moment to pull whatever sharp object had impaled me out of my leg.  Becca asked if my hamstring was ok.  I told it was, but something had stung me.  Could have been her opportunity to chase down our friend from earlier. Somewhere between getting stung and the aid station, I lost Becca.  The people at the aid station there were great.  Handed me a cup of hot broth, a welcome change from the PB&J I had been eating.

As I made my way back, I was surprised that there were people behind me.  I wished them all good luck as I jogged by.  I ran a bit with another guy who had run the race the past two years, but hadn’t been able to finish.  He, like me, was very excited to ahead of the sweepers and on pace to finish with time to spare.  We jogged together for a bit before he took off.  Unfortunately, I came up on him with the sweeper….he’d fallen and split his knee on a rock.  He desperately wanted to continue, but the sweeper seemed to think otherwise.

After that, I made my way down the longest descent ever into Stinson Beach.  It was technical, I was skittish, but I was feeling good.  It felt like hours, but I got down to a flat section and my friend Mark was running up to meet me.  Some volunteers greeted me by what I think was the fire station and sent me along my way to the aid station where Ksenya was waiting to run with me.  She helped me refill my pack and I grabbed a sandwich (it was only peanut butter and hard to eat, so I dumped the rest of that quickly….).

We made our way up Dipsea to Cardiac, a mere 2.3 miles, but 2.3 tough climbing miles.  But, I actually ran some of it.  Big change from Brian dragging me up that hill during my first 50k.  I don’t remember a ton of it, but I’m pretty sure I was crying at some point and then there was a ladder on Steep Ravine.  It wasn’t good.  But yesterday, yesterday was great.  According to Strava, I even had a PR going up that hill.

And, then I got to the second pass at Cardiac and it all fell apart.  The acid-refluxy crap was back, along with some nausea and dizziness.  Going down in to Muir Woods was ok, but climbing out, not so much.  I did ok until I got to Fern Trail?  Lost trail?  I think it was lost.  Wherever I started to climb again….and then there were the stairs at Canopy View.  I passed two ladies with kids in back packs, and all I could think was, please don’t let me puke now…..

Once we got to Panoramic and Sun, it really went down hill.  I was looking forward to not climbing anymore, as the nausea seemed to dissipate if I stopped climbing.  But, since it was my lucky day, that’s when the dizziness took over and the trail started moving.  Good times.  At that point, I realized that running wasn’t going to happen, the last thing I needed was to crash and end up with some sort of lasting injury.  I slowly made my way down the trail, wishing the aid station was a lot closer than it was…..everything just felt fuzzy.  Ksenya told me if I was going to fall over, to make sure I fell towards the mountain rather than off the cliff….thankfully, it didn’t come to that.

Somehow, Ksenya got me down to the aid station at what we thought was mile 35, and found the medic.  They got me in a chair pretty quick and before I knew it I had a bag of chips, a cup of electrolytes, and a cup of water.  I choked down a couple of chips while someone wrapped me in a space blanket and Ksenya loosened the ankle braces on my legs.  Eventually they came all the way off and they ended up in a trash bag with all of the rest of the stuff I discarded…pack, braces…maybe gloves….I don’t know.  The medics took my blood pressure, which was high…and a little scary since I’ve never had high blood pressure….ever.  She continued to keep me talking and put a hot pack on the back of my neck.  I started shivering and ended up with another space blanket to wrap around my legs while we waited for transportation.  I’m pretty sure I was the abominable space blanket woman….one wrapped on my shoulders and another tied around my waist like a towel.

The aid station captain lived near Tennessee Valley and offered to take a couple of us there.  Since she brought me to the aid station where they took care of me, I will forgive the fact that she made a big production out of making people sit on trash bags and made sure I had a barf bag….

I don’t think I realized how much trouble I was in until we got to Tennessee Valley and I was wandering around trying to find my drop bag and then wandering around with it, but didn’t really know why.  Ksenya had mentioned grabbing some food, but I really just wanted to get in the car….never mind we still had to hunt down the key.  Ksenya got the key from Shannon, who I think was the aid station captain at TV.

Shannon took one look at me and in a matter of seconds had me on a bench with a cup of warm broth.  I just wanted to hold it, she seemed more concerned that I drank it though.  She started digging through my bag to find my warm clothes….asked me if I had warm pants….what warm shirts I had, etc.  While asking one of the other volunteers to grab an extra space blanket.  I asked her if I should just suck up the cold and change everything – new t-shirt, new hoodie, etc.  She seemed to like that idea just as the shuttle showed up.  So, she decided we were taking over the bus.  She grabbed two volunteers and we headed on to the bus.  Once we were there, she helped me pull off my wet t-shirts and swap them for the dry clothes I had in my drop bag.  Yay wool hoodie.  Best purchase ever.

Once that was done, she asked me what I wanted to eat.  I told her I wasn’t hungry, but she wasn’t having that.  Just proceeded to tell me the aid station menu; ‘We have oranges, bananas, peanut butter & jelly….’.  At that point, I realized I wasn’t going to get out of eating something, so I went for the PB&J.  She sent one of the volunteers she brought with her to get some PB&J and the other to get some more hot broth.  I ate a couple of PB&J squares while I continued to warm up…..then she sent the volunteers for more broth and M&M’s.  Of course I had to eat a bunch of those too.  At some point Ksenya brought my down jacket in (so glad I left that in my car after the Turkey Trot last week).  Shannon handed me another cup of broth and told me I could leave once I wasn’t blue anymore and asked me if I wanted to sit down.  I think I went through three, maybe four cups of broth and was handed one for the road before she let me off the bus.  I had on a running t-shirt, a wool hoodie, the down jacket I took to Mt. Everest last year, a wool headband, and two hoods.  And the moment I stepped off the bus, I was freezing again.  Luckily, it was a short walk to my car, which Ksenya had already warmed up.

We drove back over to the visitor’s center and somehow convinced them to let us park in the lot there.  I think Ksenya told them we were picking stuff up and I needed to get my bag and I couldn’t walk very far.  Anyway, worked in our favor, and we parked next to the flush toilets and didn’t have to walk too far.  I grabbed my stuff and headed over to the finish to wait for Brian to come in.  And, despite being sick all day, he did finish :).  After that, we crashed in the grass and split a beer.  I was still shivering, despite adding another layer of pants to my wardrobe, so Mark gave me his down jacket to put on top of my own.  And at some point, I had another space blanket added to the mix….I think that might have been Ann – thanks Ann!

In the end, I had actually gotten to mile 37, not 35….and I would have been fine with the time limits, and I did better than last year, but, just not my day.  Luckily, I will be able to finish another 50 miler another day.  Big thanks to Ksenya for running with me and taking care of me at the end; Mark for crewing; Dr. Hal, Dr. Wardwell, and Megan, for putting me back together so I could even get out there; and the amazing aid station volunteers.

Until next year, North Face, until next year….

30 Miles + a Coyote = Typical Saturday

Good news!  Despite the injuries and being sick all week, I can still bang out 30 miles.  Bad news…I have to find 20 more in six weeks.  Yikes!!  North Face.

I had somewhat planned out my day….park in Tennessee Valley and do a loop towards Rodeo Valley and then a loop in Pirates Cove and some junk miles in TV before, during, and after.  And of course, hit my car as an aid station each time I passed.  I will say, Slimer makes a great aid station.

I started with a loop out and back to the beach, pretty uneventful, but probably should have put on the ankle braces.  Oh well…gotta get stronger somehow.  I returned to my aid station to restock before heading up Marincello.  And to the lady who felt the need to stalk me for my parking spot.  First, I gave zero indication I was leaving….Second, you can always ask….and Third, try the one in front of me..or behind me…or on the other side of the road.  There’s plenty, I promise.  But, I do hope you enjoyed watching me get ready to run.    
Anyway….so I headed up Marincello, took that over to SCA, past the steps I tripped down, down Coastal, and out to Bunker Dr.  I really like Coastal….nice, gentle, down hill, very little to trip on.  Then I spent about a mile trying to get on Rodeo….due to trail construction, all the entrances had changed.  I never found the right way to get on the trail, but I did find the trail blazed by all of those before me who must have gotten annoyed trying to figure out the routing.  One jump around a fence and I was on my way.  Going up Rodeo was tougher than I remember, but not too bad.  I was well within the pace I’d like to main for the race, even though today was all about getting the miles in.  
Once I got to the top of Rodeo, I decided to explore a bit….kind of tough now since I know the headlands pretty well.  But, regardless, I decided to take Oakwood…or maybe it was Oak Valley, back down to TV.  I didn’t think I had been on that trail before, but quickly learned that I had.  Except, I had climbed up it, rather than run down.  The first part of it wasn’t too bad – nice, easy jog down.  Similar to running down Coastal.  Then I got to the rocks and the steep and the gravel.  Good times….well….not really.  I went down once and then gave up and crab walked down the next part.  I’m done taking chances.  
Got down, got back to slimer…..mile 16.  More than halfway.  Re-stocked, refueled, swapped the sweaty tank for a dry t-shirt, and I was off to Pirates Cove.  
Now, Pirates Cove was more treacherous than I remember it.  Maybe it never recovered from North Face last year, maybe I’m just afraid of falling.  I’m pretty sure I was crawling through parts where Kenya and I used to jog last year….somehow, I will have to find a way to get over this trail fear.  As I made my way down to the scary stairs, I did have to stop and pause, and admire the beauty of where I was running.  I was also really looking forward to getting on the far less steep single track you can see in the distance.  
I followed the single track past the bridge I crashed out on during this run, and noticed the edge where my foot slipped had been patched.  The single track leads up a bit and then out to a fire road and down into Muir Beach.  The descent into Muir Beach wasn’t as bad as I remember (now if I could just get over my fear of every other descent….), though I did have to navigate around a group of four and a dog that managed to somehow take up the entire fire road.  Really, people?!
I got down into Muir Beach and could smell people grilling….mmmm….grilling.  At mile 22ish, I was really wishing I was coming up on the BBQ and beer that was at the finish line last weekend.  But, no such luck.  I stopped at the picnic table to grab a snack – afraid for a minute all I had to eat was the Margherita Pizza Cliff/food/whatever it is, but found a cookie and some GU I didn’t realize I had.  The Margherita Pizza thing will live to save me another day…..
After a brief snack break, I headed up Middle Green Gulch – North Face goes all the way up Coyote Ridge, which is steeper, but Middle Green Gulch is longer, and I was really looking for the miles.  Going up that was….a challenge.  I was tired, but I guess I’m supposed to be at mile 24, 25, etc.  It was long, but looking back on it, not that long and soon I was at Coyote Ridge.  Just had to clear the top part of that, and I’d be in for a nice descent into Tennessee Valley.  
The last push up Coyote Ridge wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be, so I guess that’s a good thing.  The descent is another story.  The first part was fine, easy fire roads….but Miwok cut-off, that I used to love, terrified me for some reason.  Again, I used to run down most of this….why am I so afraid??  I’ve really only taken two noteworthy falls, despite running out there how many times?
On the up side, the sun was starting to set, making for some really nice colors in the sky.  On the downside, I turned off my watch and forgot to turn it back on.  Ooops.  Definitely ran more than 30 miles….

I briefly contemplated stopping at my car after getting back down from Coyote Ridge, but decided against it.  I had just about four miles to go…silly to stop now.  And I knew I didn’t really need to take off my super cool ankle braces.  So, I continued down Rhubarb Trail and back for an additional mile and then headed on a three mile out and back to the beach.  I was surprised at how much I was able to run.  It was flat, but still….

And, just when I thought I’d been on the most uninteresting, uneventful run, I met mile 28.5.  I was on my way back to my car from a three mile out and back to the beach.  Really junk miles, but at that point, who’s counting.  Anyway, I decided I should jog a bit, because, well, I felt like I could, so why not?  So, I’m jogging along, excited I’m only a mile and a half from the car and what do I see down the trail…Mr. Coyote.  He’s hard to see in the photo, but if you look down the trail on the left, he’s there.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t get the phone to magnify and take the photo before he started RUNNING AT ME.  Yes, your typically skittish coyote decided to run at me, rather than in the bushes.  I was caught somewhere between….’I am at mile 28.5 of a 30 mile run and you are between me and the finish line’ and ‘holy crap, what do I do if he gets to me.  I don’t have it in me to fight a coyote at mile 28.5’.  Luckily, after charging a few feet down the trail, he jumped off into the surrounding brush.  

 After my coyote sighting, the rest of my run was uneventful.  I passed by a man I had passed on my way out, and he said, ‘you did it’….I looked at him and said, ’30 miles…damn right, I did’.  I’m sure he thought I had just run out to the beach and back (4 miles) or something.  The look on his face was priceless.  He was like, really??  You ran 30 miles today?  Yup…yup, I did.

Now to find those other 20……

Escape from San Francisco

This past weekend, Brian and I escaped from San Francisco (and Fleet Week) to Susanville, home of Lassen National Forest and the famed Bizz Johnson Trail.  I was heading up to work the Coastal Trails races on Saturday and Sunday, and Brian was going to help on Saturday and run the 50k on Sunday.  Our Anniversary was Monday, so an adventure, a race, and some trails seemed like the perfect thing for us to do.

In an attempt to miss traffic, we headed out early Friday afternoon.  After sitting in traffic getting out of the city and enjoying some delicious fast food at Carl’s Junior, we made it to Red Bluff – pretty much the last large town before heading into Lassen.

The first part of the park/Rt. 36 was a trip through volcanic rock.  It was pretty cool and the sun was just starting to set, which resulted in some picturesque views.  I was able to catch the below just as the sun was setting……the photo doesn’t really do the view justice.

The winding roads took us through several little towns and villages that seemed to be ghost towns now, but I’m sure were booming railroad towns years ago.  Then the sun set and it seemed like the deer took that as their cue to come out and play….or try to get hit by cars….or both.  Too many close calls.  And, as Brian said – no one wins if we hit a deer….it dies and we have another busted up car.  Luckily, we made it into town safely.  
I had booked us at the only hotel available in town….Budget Frontier Inn, or something like that.  Based on the name, I had some idea as to what I was in for, and I had fun taunting Brian with ideas around what it might be on the last leg of our trip.  When we got there, I was definitely not disappointed.  The outside looked as I imagined and on my attempt to check in, I found the door to the lobby locked and pressed the doorbell multiple times before someone came to let me in.  Luckily, someone did eventually come and let me check in.  
On the walk to our room, we noticed at least one door that looked like someone had tried to kick it in…luckily, ours was in tact…or so we thought (we did find out later that side paneling left something to be desired).  We did have a door to an adjoining room that didn’t lock…awesome.  Luckily, during our years of traveling to cheerleading competitions and staying in sketchy hotels, my mother taught me well.  I just took the table and pushed it against the door – at least it would slow them down.   
Amongst other things, we also didn’t have a remote….where is there a TV without a remote?  Brian tried to find it and then I took a shot at it.  No dice….but I did find this guy.  Any ideas on what it is?  Creepy Sponge Bob?  Sponge Bob on drugs?  

But, despite the neighbors busting into their room at two am and waking us up with the noise, it ended up being fine.  We survived our three nights there and it wasn’t nearly as bad as the place in Rohnert Park a few years ago.  I mean, it didn’t smell like smoke to the point that we couldn’t stay there and there weren’t drug dealers waiting for rooms when we left.

Saturday morning started bright and early with check-in for the Express Half Marathon.  Even earlier for us since we didn’t really know where we were and needed to get coffee/tea before getting where we needed to be (the awesome hotel also didn’t have a coffee maker….what hotel doesn’t have a coffee maker??).  We had to be at the train depot at 6:15….so naturally we left the hotel at 5:15.  We were five minutes away….from both the depot and the Starbucks.  Only us…..

But, we got our coffee and tea and made it to the depot in plenty of time.  Again, narrowly missing some deer, but I digress….We worked check-in for awhile before Brian headed off to an aid station and I headed off to the finish line.

It was pretty cool to be near and see signs for a trail I’d read so much about.  When you run marathons for nearly ten years, it’s impossible to not hear about the Bizz Johnson trail.  Yes, I am a runner geek…deal with it :).  

I learned how to pull results – and managed to do so all day without causing any craziness on the computer….haha.  So, I spent the race pulling results, posting them, and reading out age group winners.  Since the only thing worse than the sound of my own voice is the sound of my own voice on a megaphone, I wasn’t sure how much I would enjoy making announcements…..However, it was actually a lot of fun.  People are usually excited when they win awards, more so when they aren’t expecting it.  It took me back to getting my third place finish from this race in the mail.  Totally unexpected, but so fun.

Once the Express Half had finished (and I’d had my fill of BBQ), I headed back up to the depot to run check-in for the rest of the day.  I was surprised at how many people showed up to check in a day early – definitely helped with things the next morning.  There was also some sort of chili baking competition….and festival…and I don’t know what else going on in the parking lot.  What I do know is that there was a very loud band (playing good music, but still very loud…probably because they were right outside the door), and people really don’t know how to close a door.  The amount of times we shut the door to keep the noise down (and what little AC there was inside), people just kept coming in and leaving it open….come on, were you raised in a barn?!

Saturday night was pretty low key.  We tried to find an Italian restaurant, and thought we had, but unfortunately, it was closed.  So we ended up at some random pizza factory or something.  And recognized just about everyone in the restaurant.  We’d either checked them in for the race the next day or saw them at the race that morning.  I remember one lady saying, ‘hi, expo people’….haha.  Food wasn’t the best – the Round Table pizza from the night before was better, but, oh well.  Win some, lose some.  And really, I was ready for bed.

Sunday morning started off similar to Saturday, but with a later trip to Starbucks – thank god.  haha.  We started with check-in, until Brian departed for his race, then he headed out and I stayed at the depot to continue check-in for the shorter distances, until those were ready to start.

Once the races had started, I packed up everything from check-in and the depot and headed to the finish line.  First, I was glad I had the x-terra – not that my car was ever an option, but that’s a whole different story.  Second, I was glad I had loaded the Coastal van so many times….loading the x-terra was like a mini loading of the van….haha.  But, I got it all to fit.  We bid farewell to the lady at the depot, and we were off.

I spent most of my time at the finish line on Sunday like I spent Saturday….pulling results and announcing age group awards.  Again, it was a lot of fun….people were in disbelief that they had placed, so it was fun being able to make their day.  Brian had a great race – PR in his 50k and first in his age group.  It was fun to announce his name and give him his first place medal.

I also got to take Brian on a trip in the Coastal van….always a good time.  Thankfully, he’s good with directions and was able to prevent me getting us lost.  We did pass a car that had just hit a deer….really glad that wasn’t me.  We picked up all the aid station stuff at one main gathering place – I thought I was being slick and got the tables in…thinking we wouldn’t have to unload them again.  Of course, I forgot about the timing mats.  Not that slick….apparently I haven’t loaded the van enough times…haha.  Once that was done, we headed back to the finish line, broke down, loaded up, and were off…until the next race.

We celebrated Brian’s good run with some more Round Table pizza (what else do you eat in Susanville?), some wine, and an early bedtime.  We were really excited to sleep in the next morning, but disappointed our time away had come to an end.  Such a great weekend getaway…..

Overall thoughts – great trip, great race – highly recommend.  I’d pick a different hotel though…or as Brian said, maybe next time we can see if we can find a worse hotel to stay at…haha….

Until then, over and out….

Tahoe Getaway

Great friends + the great outdoors = an amazing weekend.  Despite Tahoe being so close to San Francisco, Brian and I haven’t been there in years….I think the last time we were there was for the Tahoe Marathon/Half Marathon.  The one where I don’t remember the last two miles….I mean, there are photos of me looking pretty green near the end, so I got there somehow.  Anyway, I digress….

Brian and I haven’t been to Tahoe in years, so we were really excited when our friends Sean and Chiara invited us on a weekend away.  I was a little worried about getting out of work to get up there in any sort of reasonable time, but it actually wasn’t as big of an issue as I thought it might be.  Traffic was….bay area traffic, but wasn’t as terrible as I thought it might be.  After grabbing a bite at one of the sketchiest, slowest Wendy’s I’ve ever been to and a dark drive down some winding roads, we arrived at about 11:30.  Enjoyed some celebratory beers before settling into some bunkbeds.  So tired…..

I got up Saturday morning to a group of friends preparing breakfast (I knew better than to jump in and touch anything ;))….it was as if we’d all known each other for years, rather than just met the night before.  And the food was delicious…..no one was going to go hungry on this trip.

After breakfast, I decided I needed to explore – busted foot and all.  Brian went out on a run, I swapped the ankle brace from my left foot to my right, and off I went.  It started out simple enough…planned on two miles out and two miles back….staying in a simple straight path – out and back.  Of course, I wasn’t planning on finding a trail.  Cause when I find a trail….I wonder where it goes.  And I have to find out.  I mean, I have Strava, and it will route me back, right?

The trail was great….pretty flat, through some gorgeous trees, I even found some trail race markers….and then it ended.  So, I ended up on the road….which was fine, I had a fine time exploring the nearby neighborhood.  Other than not really knowing where I was….typical me….haha.  Thankfully, I had Strava going and was able to route myself back.

Once I got un-lost and got back from my walk, we headed out to Camp Richardson to meet the rest of the group.  If you go to Camp Richardson, make sure you bring cash for parking….or stop at the general store once you get there, but before you pull in.  I think we had $4 on us…oops.  Luckily, it was an easily solvable problem and I was able to pick up some snacks at the store too.  No keep Tahoe blue sticker though.

The plan for the day was to rent kayaks and head over to Emerald Bay.  Since Sean and Chiara had decided to go for a double kayak, I decided Brian and I would do the same (he was parking the car)….I mean, who wouldn’t want to spend the day in a kayak with me.  haha.  Our new friend Anna took a single kayak and the rest of the group went the stand-up paddle board route.

And, what a great day….good friends….cold beer….an adventure on the water…on a beautiful day.  Of course, I ended up with a new running pants tan line and flip flop tan line, because, well, why wouldn’t I….haha.  

Saturday night, we hung out at the house and made good use of the BBQ, the hot tub, and the sauna.  We all brought our own food, but shared everything, so dinner was a buffet of all sorts of meat and veggies and cocktails and wine.  I’m not sure I ever had flank steak, but wow…it was delicious.  As was the lamb and the rest of the steak I tried.  Such a fun night with old friends and new friends.

I decided I need to sleep on the top bunk of the bunk beds that night.  Not sure why that was a good idea….maybe it was the wine.  Or that I hadn’t been on bunk beds since Sarah and I went to London in 2004.  Anyway, I survived the top bunk experience and even remembered I was up there the next morning.  haha…..

We kicked off Sunday with yoga on the porch….what a great way to stretch out after a day of paddling on Saturday.  It was a great start to a warm and gorgeous day….even if I’m less than stellar at yoga….haha.  Anna was a great instructor too :).

After yoga on the porch, we decided to have a relaxing day at the beach and headed over to Falling Leaf Lake.  It’s another lake near lake Tahoe, but a little further up the road.  And, well, we all know how good I am at relaxing.  I was considering wrapping up the busted foot and shoving it in a hiking boot so I could go explore the trails around Falling Leaf Lake, but instead decided to have a second go at stand-up paddle boarding with Nathalie and Chiara.  June and I had a blast when we went a couple summers ago, so I figured this would be fun too (and far less taxing on my ankle).  And it was amazing.  Well, once I remembered how to do it…haha.

We paddled over to a private beach, then over past some Stanford cottages, relaxing and hanging out along the way.  The cold water felt great on my foot too.  Sadly, our hour was over far too soon and it was time to head back.  After paddling against the wind to get back to the protected beach, we just stopped and coasted in….we didnt want it to end.  I had visions of riding in like a surfer, but apparently that’s a bad idea…..luckily, Nathalie let me know and I scrambled to my knees just in time.  

But, like all good things, our trip had to come to an end…and we had quite the drive in front of us.  So, we said farewell to our new friends and jumped in the car with Sean and Chiara to head home.  

Of course, despite leaving at a reasonable time, there was an accident on 50 impacting all four lanes of traffic.  So we sat….and sat…and sat some more….two hours and less than two miles later, we got through it.  Annoying, but not the longest trip back from Tahoe I’ve heard of and a small price to pay for a fabulous weekend adventuring with friends.

Until next time….over and out…

It’s All Fun and Games ’til You Fall Down the Stairs….

Two posts in two days, this must be some sort of new record….

But, you know, there’s never a dull moment and since I’m confined to the couch for awhile (again), I thought I might as well write about it.

The day started out normal enough….enjoyed sleeping in, confirmed that I could keep the rental car while they take a mont to repair Slimer (still waiting to find out who pays for that one…), made plans with a friend to go run…typical Saturday.

Brian and I headed over to the parking lot on the other side of the bridge to meet our friend Ann and run the ninja loop.  I’d heard plenty about the ninja loop, but had never actually run it (this will be important later).  As soon as we got there, we realized there were a lot of people heading up the trail….apparently we chose the same day as the Headlands 100 (and 50 and 75 and marathon).  Go figure, I never run from over there.  We decided to share the trails, everyone was pretty spread out, and we’d be turning off their course shortly.

So, up the hill we went.  I ran into one of the guys I see a lot at the Coastal races – (running the 100 mile, of course!).  I wished him luck and continued along my way up the hill.  I’d forgotten how long that hill actually was.  And then I came to a ‘T’…..hmmmm…..wish I knew the trails that made up the ninja loop.  I’m slow, so of course Brian and Ann were ahead of me.  haha.  I remembered when we were chatting about the trails, someone mentioned SCA.  The sign said SCA was to the right, so I took a guess and off I went.

Of course, I quickly realized I either made a wrong decision or was way behind.  I figured it was the former, and luckily had cell service, so sent off a quick text to let Brian and Ann know I’d see them back at the car in a few hours.  I continued to follow along the race course, getting asked direction at some point.  Really?  You’re going to ask me?  haha….I did have the course map on my phone, but another runner came along that knew the course, so they were all set.

At that point, I googled a map of the ninja loop and realized I was pretty much doing a reverse ninja loop.  I decided to eliminate the portion that drops in to Tennessee Valley so I could make it back to the car before everyone left.  I stayed high and then took Miwok down into Rodeo Valley….from there, I headed over to Rodeo Valley trail and eventually back up to SCA trail (one of my favorites!). SCA would eventually take me back over to the parking lot and back to the car.

And I love running on SCA….it’s not really uphill, it’s not really downhill….very rolling.  And the views, the views are spectacular.  It was everything I had missed about running and more.  I was also back on the race course, so was having fun cheering on the runners as they passed….of course a good number of them told me what a good job I was doing too….haha.  I, of course, didn’t have a bib, but didn’t have time to explain, so smiled, waved, wished them luck, and went with it.

I ran a lot of SCA….so great!!  And then came to some stairs pretty close to where SCA would meet the trail to go back to the bridge.  I’ve marked this area twice, run it far more than that….I KNOW to watch my footing.  I usually walk it…because, well, falling down the stairs would suck.  A LOT.  Today, I ran them.  Maybe because I could…maybe because I want to get over my fear of the technical terrain.  I don’t know.  I remember thinking it would really suck to fall here and I should be careful.  And then….

Trip…SNAP.

Oh…well….ouch.  That wasn’t supposed to happen.  I guess luckily there were ropes on the stairs that I could grab on to, so I didn’t completely bust my ass.  But, something snapped.  My good ankle….awesome.  I mean, I had the bad one in a brace.  Barring anything super crazy, that one wasn’t going anywhere.  I just stopped for a minute….held on to the ropes in my little crouched position as I had fallen….and similar to this day, I bounced my foot up and down to make sure it still worked.  Thankfully, it did.  As I got up, I overheard a group of hikers talking….one of them said….’oh look…one fell….’  Yup, yup, I did.  Thanks for noticing.  And I’m good….thanks for asking.  For those who are wondering, yes, I did get up and pass them.

I sent another text to Brian and Ann….’one mile out….fell….walking in’.  And that’s what I did.  Passed multiple hikers (really guys, the busted foot girl is passing you??).  And received a lot of encouragement from passing racers.  You guys rock…and I hope you all have a fabulous race!  I only hope I was half as encouraging to you – especially since you may still be running now, as I sit on my couch with my foot up, enjoying some wine.

I met Brian and Ann at the parking lot and we headed for home.  I mean, it all makes sense….last year, I bust my foot the weekend before we leave for Nepal….this year, I bust my foot the weekend before Tahoe.  Good times…..

At this point, I don’t think there’s anything seriously wrong.  However, I have sprained the other ankle multiple times and this feels…different.  It’s not crazy swollen, but the actual ankle (malleolus) is really sore to the touch and starting to bruise.  It also doesn’t really hurt unless I stand on it, move it, or touch it, which I remember the sprains just throbbing.  Again, it’s just different.  I’m not sure if that means good or bad different, but I have a doctor’s appointment on Monday, so will just add this to the list.

Like I said….never a dull moment….and I really just need to live in that bubble Erica suggested last weekend.  But, it was a pretty amazing run before I tanked.  Ugh…stupid stairs.

Thought of the day – I should have just stayed home and drank beer.

Until next time, over and out….

Who Ya Gonna Call…..

So, don’t ever have anyone hit your car….it’s a pain.  Figuratively and literally…..anyway, poor Slimer.

After much back and forth (and a little bit of yelling at the right people), I was able to take Slimer to a shop in the city on Tuesday.  Somehow, I managed to get out of work at the last minute to drop off the car, which was good since it was either that or the week of the 20th.  Which, as I told multiple people at Progressive, was unacceptable.  No, I didn’t know if the car was drivable.  Yes, it did run….however, no, I wasn’t sure that it SHOULD run.

When I got to German Motor Cars, the Progressive Rep met me at the entrance, and I was reminded why I love Progressive.  She was comforting and checked to make sure I was ok, and we walked the car together…..she helped me figure out a rental, the deductible, the other driver – basically all the things I’d been wondering.  She called in a rental while I waited for the German Motor Cars rep.  For the first time in several days, I actually felt ok about the whole thing.

The German Motor Cars rep was fabulous as well.  She checked the car, explained the process, and let me know when I could expect to hear from her.  Then the guy from the rental car place came to get me….it was right around the corner, and I totally could have walked, but I had four different bags and it had to be 85 in the city, which is unheard of.  haha….and he had a full gold mouth grille.  Of course he did…why wouldn’t he.  Keep it classy San Francisco….

I get my rental and I’m on my way.  Great.  Since then, its been radio silence – they told me it might take until Thursday at the latest.  Of course, Thursday I get two messages – one from the mechanic saying I’ll get an email with the repair estimate by the end of the day, and a second from the German Motor Cars rep stating that Progressive is still working on it.  Now, what good is going to come from that??  Ugh…..

Luckily, I heard from them today and they’re able to fix it.  It’s only going to take a month.  REALLY??  Hopefully I can keep the rental that long….or become really good at walking to Redwood City……

In the midst of all this, I headed out on my first work trip – 24 hours in Vegas.  It was….an experience.  On so many levels.  Apparently the conference has changed over the years, and this year was…..a new low?  I don’t know….according to the people who had been before, it was one or two trade show booths that were worth visiting and a bunch of cellphone accessory booths.  Yeah…..I have no words. Or maybe lots of them.  I don’t know.  Again, it was an experience.  It was good to get to know my coworkers a little better, great to attend a meeting with some of them, and also nice to see the dinner we’d been working on come to life.

The best part of it all?  I had a few minutes to go back to my room and get ready for dinner…..I only had the one outfit – a black business dress and a jacket (remember this for a few seconds), so it was pretty much adding some jewelry, re-curling my hair, and touching up my make-up.  So, I do that and head out for the restaurant.  I checked the map of the casino before I left the room so I’d have a fighting chance of getting where I was going (let’s remember how good I am at direction….), and I was in good shape.  Literally, I got off the elevator, stepped into the casino, and had some random dude ask me if I ‘worked’ there.  It took me a minute to understand exactly what was going on, but then…really?  REALLY??  I’m in a business outfit…..god knows I’ve been in Vegas in far more ‘appropriate’ attire, but this is when I’m going to get propositioned….seriously??  Although, if I need to pay for a month of a car rental, I know where I can find a third job….ha!

In better news, Dr. Hal (highly recommend Chiro Medical), taped up what was my good knee and adjusted/cracked everything from my hips up to my shoulders.  Ahhh….best feeling ever.  I’m so excited to get back out on the trails tomorrow.  He thinks he can have me up and running in time for North Face, which is fabulous….so tomorrow, I’m planning to get back out on to those trails for the first time in a long time.  I’ve enjoyed learning about other trails and parks all summer, but the headlands will always be home.  Its been too long since I’ve planned running routes while drinking wine on a Friday…haha….

Ok…until next time….over and out…..