Its Always an Adventure

Every time I think about updating this thing, I come back in and realize its been a month….sometimes more.  And then I realize that it feels like the longest month ever…or the shortest…and that everything and nothing seems to be going on simultaneously.  And I begin to wonder exactly where it is I’m headed and when I’m going to get there….then I remember that if I just keep moving, I’ll eventually be moving forward and get where I’m going.  That New Year’s update I promised, it might end up being a happy 2016 post – its been a hell of a year, friends.

Now that I’m a bit more up and running (literally and figuratively), and having adventures again (or maybe just feel like writing about them), hopefully I’ll be better about blogging.  I do have a 50-miler to start training for, that’s bound to be good for an adventure or two….haha….

Anyway, the past couple weeks have been great personally – seeing friends, getting cleared to run, working races, plans to join the gym, planning the future with Brian….I was so excited for a three day weekend.  I definitely needed it!  Friday, we got lucky and were told to leave the office early (ah-maz-ing).  I had scheduled a nail appointment later in the evening – I finally had to breakdown and find a place in Redwood City since I never back it back to San Francisco before 7 (in time to go to my usual place).  So, I decided to use the extra time to fill up the car for the race the next day and join the gym…and then use the rest of the time to walk and get some miles in.

But, fate had other plans.  I drove down and checked out the gym….and had second thoughts…like maybe I’d check out the other one in Redwood City.  So, I decided to go to the gas station and google the address of the second one while the car was filling.  Unfortunately, the second gym was across town and not convenient from the office at all.  So, I decide to suck it up and join the first one…it’s only a month, anyway.  I finish filling the car and get on the road back to the gym….I’m hanging out at  the stoplight, waiting for the light to change.  There were at least two lanes, maybe three….one was a left turn only lane – this one had its own light.  The arrow for the left turn only lane turned green and BAM!

I’m not really sure what was worse, feeling the impact or hearing the crunching sound.  Unlike when Brian and I got hit at the Bay Bridge Toll Plaza, this was not like bumper cars.  It was like a fight…that slimer obviously lost.  I heard the crunching and for a minute, wasn’t really sure what to do next.  First, I pulled over on the corner, and then decided I should probably just pull back into the gas station.  So I did – met the other driver and called the insurance from there.  Somehow, I kept it together while waiting to lose it, but that never happened.  The ‘other guy’ was a giant pick-up truck with what’s apparently called a kangaroo bumper.  Unfortunately, as I thought, slimer was no match for him, but, the driver was nice as we sorted everything out.  The insurance company was great – yay Progressive, and at least that bit was sorted pretty quickly.

Then, then I wasn’t sure what to do.  Brian was I work, so I sent him a text and a few photos….then called my mom.  Cause, well, what else do you do.  After chatting with my parents for a bit, I decided to go to about my business as planned – headed back to the gym to sign up and then to my nail appointment.  I was either going to have a scary drive home now or an hour and a half from now, right?  And with the adrenaline running strong, I didn’t really feel all that sore.

So, with my nails a pretty color, a plan in place to get to the race in the morning, and a double check that my bumper wasn’t going to fall off on the 101, I headed home.  It wasn’t as scary as I thought it might be, though I did have someone run a stop sign in Noe Valley and try to take me out…cause that’s exactly what I needed…..What I did need was to be home, with some wine, and a couch…and a massage – now that the adrenaline was wearing off, I was definitely feeling the soreness.

I woke up the next morning, but not nearly as sore as I thought I might be.  After spending the night
between being terrified that I was going to wake up in a world of hurt and feeling like I was going to
be sick (but in retrospect was probably due to soreness from my abs), I was really afraid for what I might feel like, but other than a few creaks and groans, it wasn’t too bad.

I spent Saturday in the same fashion I’ve spent the past few weekends – adventuring on the trails; as a course marker, sweeper, race photographer, aid station worker, shuttle driver, and everything in between.  Its been so much fun….and, as I said last Sunday, always an adventure.  And really, with as crazy as life has been, Coastal Trails has been my constant and for that, I will be forever grateful. Thankfully, this weekend was a shorter race and there wasn’t any marking or sweeping involved.  Typically, I love marking and sweeping, but it was almost like I’d gotten hit by a truck or something.  Nothing a couple of Advil couldn’t fix, and I think walking around actually helped me loosen up a bit.  And, as always, working the race was a ton of fun….I’m kind of sad that I can’t go back until October.

Yesterday, I decided to officially get back into running and headed over to Mt. Tam with Brian and his friend Ann.  I got in an eight mile summit run and then two miles on some flat ground, because what else would you do when you’ve been cleared to run for a week and you were in a car accident two days prior.  Well, my idea of taking it easy was always different than everyone else’s…anyway, I had so much fun running, and maybe if I add two or five or so miles each week, I’ll be ready for north face…..haha. God help me.

Monday, we hit the gym and then had a BBQ with our friends Sean and Chiara.  Delicious Mac and cheese and steak, and fun drinks and games. Great way to spend Labor Day – can’t wait to head to Tahoe in a couple of weeks.  A mini vacation is going to be amazing.

Other than that, I’m looking forward to sorting out the car nightmare – both the insurance and the actual car.  And its affect on me…I’m not sure I’ve ever looked forward to a visit to the chiropractor more.

Until next time…

Impromptu Chicago Vacation

So today started out as a normal travel day.  Early morning, easy pass through security, lots of seats at the gate.  And then the flight computer was broken….but they started boarding….then they stopped boarding.  We’re checking connecting flights, they said.  Unless you’re going to Reno, don’t worry, they said.  If we leave by 11:30, all connections will be fine, they said.  We were ready to leave by 11:35….

Then something else broke.  Don’t worry, they said – connections are fine.  Here are all the gates for connecting flights…..if we didn’t read your gate, you don’t have a problem, they said.  I never heard Oakland….of course, my first thought was that I mis-calculated the time in flight and the time difference and actually had an hour.  They wouldn’t just forget me, right??  I decided I must have screwed something up, and continued swapping airline horror stories with the couple from Portland that was seated next to me.  Small world – she was from Redwood City (where I just took a job), visiting family in Buffalo.

Once we landed, I knew something was off.  My phone confirmed the time – 12:21….my flight was planned to leave at 12:15.  No email or text stating it was delayed….but, they were holding the Portland and Reno flights….so, maybe I was going to get lucky?  Maybe they just forgot to mention it?

I made a beeline for the flight monitors as soon as I was off the plane: Nashville…Omaha…Orlando….Oakland?  Anybody going to Oakland?  Does my flight exist?  I went to the first gate I saw and asked for help.  Yup, they confirmed that my flight left.  Awesome.  So….what now?  She’s messing with the computer to see when they can get me out….tomorrow 6:20pm.  uhhh….ok.  So, where’s my hotel voucher.  Oh wait, there’s nothing in her email about my flight delay being mechanical, so no voucher for me.  But she gave me a card and I can call the number on the card and they should be able to help me out (never mind there’s no phone number on the card)….she sends me along to the next gate over where there’s a plane headed to San Francisco that I can maybe be standby on.  Great…..

After my somewhat disappointing interaction at the first gate and feeling abandoned by Southwest, I headed over to the San Francisco gate.  No one was there and the jet way door was closed, neither of which was a good sign, so I waited in line at the desk there.  Coincidentally, I get behind another lady trying to get to the bay area.  The guy tells her the same thing the other lady told me, but somehow she got on a flight to San Jose…and I think they’re paying for her cab to Oakland or San Francisco or where ever she’s going.  I also watched them give another guy a food voucher.  Finally, it’s my turn.  I asked the lady if there was a customer service desk at the airport, and once she told me it was her, I handed her the card the previous desk had given me, and explained the situation.  Of course, she tells me the card isn’t going to get me anywhere.  However, her boss (who was helping the other Bay Area passenger) told her if I was on the Buffalo flight to give me the hotel voucher.  So I got that, then asked about food….so she gave me one meal voucher.  Ok, not trying to be difficult, but I have at least five meals (vs. the one I was planning on) between now and 6:20pm tomorrow, which is the next time you can get me out.  She tells me customer service should be able to help me sort that out…based on previous experiences, they are pretty helpful, so I thanked her for her help and went on my way.

Since my food voucher was going to expire today (and I was pretty hungry), I decided to grab a bite before leaving the airport.  Went to Harry Carey’s for a delicious lunch of Chianti and Fettuccine…yum.  Especially yummy since I didn’t know what or when I would be eating next.  

After lunch, I found my way out of the airport – pretty quick when you don’t have any bags – and found the sign for the Midway Hotel Shuttles.  I waited for a few minutes, along with a few others standing in a the general vicinity, but then had a fleeting thought that maybe I needed to call the hotel so they would send the shuttle to come get me.  Did a quick google on the phone and called the Midway Hampton.  Yes, in fact, you do need to call.  The little red bus showed up less than five minutes later (as the lady told me it would) and just about everyone there jumped on it.  Was I the only one who thought to call for it?  How long had these people been waiting before I got there?

Checking into the hotel was pretty painless.  Got a room easily and there’s even free breakfast, though I’m pretty sure I’m going to miss that tomorrow.  The nice lady at the desk even gave me a toothbrush and found a phone charger in the lost and found for me to borrow.

After getting to my room and figuring out exactly how the key works…of course it’s all it has on it is a picture of kids in a wagon and the caption, ‘backseat driver’, no arrow or anything to indicate how to use it in the door.  I call Southwest to figure out how to get reimbursed for the additional meals and to check and see if there’s another flight they could get me on.  The good news, I can get out at 6am tomorrow….ugh for the earliness, but yay I’ll get home and can take care of the pets.  Of course, they can’t check me in until tomorrow morning, so I’m sure I’ll be at the back of the C’s….goodbye B8….The maybe good news, only customer service at HQ can deal with any meal reimbursements and they aren’t open until Monday.  Ok, I’ll call them tomorrow, last time I called the HQ service people, they were super helpful, but really??  No one else is empowered to do anything in this situation?  Wouldn’t it be easier for the people at the airport to be able to handle it and be done?

Once I was off the phone with the airlines, I took off for Walmart…..the only thing I really needed was a bottle of contact solution.  I mean, I wanted wine and deodorant would be a nice courtesy to the people on the plane tomorrow, but being able to see was the main driver.  So, I headed off to what I believe is the same Walmart Brian and I went to a few summers ago when we were sure we were going to star on the next episode of The First 48.  It looked like it was going to pour (of course, I’d get my storm now…) and at some point, raindrops did start falling.  At that point I started jogging, thank you knee for holding up during that one, but the rain held off.  It even held off for me to get back to the hotel, despite the people in front of me having the poor cashier price check all 30 of their items.  All in all, a successful trip….contact solution, wine, and deodorant.  And there was a Subway in the Walmart, so I have a sandwich for later.  

Shortly after returning to my room, I realize that while I have procured a bottle of wine, I have no way to open it.  So, being the tech savvy person I am, I look on google for ways to open a bottle of wine without an opener.  Use a knife….yup, definitely don’t have that.  Put it in a shoe and bang it against a wall…hmmm, probably not the best idea in a hotel.  Use a key….ahhh, yes, I have a few of those I don’t use.  I’ve been looking for a use for that old desk key anyway….So I try that.  And break the key.  And possibly my shoulder.  So I try another key.  Not getting very far.  I briefly consider asking the front desk, but I’m pretty sure they don’t have a wine opener and have already lent me a phone charger.  So, I decide to head out on another adventure to find a wine opener, there has to be a convenience store nearby that’s closer and less sketchy of walk than Walmart, right?

So, I head out.  Somehow, the rain has held off or blown over or is probably waiting to either disturb my sleep or impede on my travel tomorrow morning.  I decide to head the opposite way of Walmart, since it looks like there are signs of life down that way as well and what looks like a liquor store on the next block.  Liquor store – sweet – they have to have a wine opener, right?  Sure, they probably did….back in 1990 before they closed.  As I get closer, I realize it’s nothing more than an abandoned building with nothing left but the awning.  A block further, there’s a Continental Sales – Lots for Less – Food, Household Goods, and More, on the corner.  That sounds promising.  A bit sketch, but promising.  And oh what a place that was….kind of like if a grocery store and a TJMaxx had a baby, this place would be it.  But, they did have a $.75 wine opener.  Score.  And, it works pretty well, I’m a little sad I have to leave it, but am pretty sure it’s not allowed on the plane.  haha.

Alright, it’s time to sit back, relax, and enjoy the fact that I’m at a hotel instead of the airport and for less than $10 have food and beverages for the evening….I mean, who doesn’t love wine in a paper cup and a sandwich from a Walmart Subway?  And Southwest, well, at the end of this you’re either going to be the prime example of customer service or the bain of my existence….only time will tell.

Until next time (hopefully from home)….over and out.

Respect the Limp

Well, I can cross prolotherapy and ozone off my bucket list, and hopefully fix my knee once and for all.

After hurting my knee during this race, I’ve spent the past four months trying to heal via rest and PT, but it didn’t seem to be getting there. It got better, but was never really where I wanted it to be. At this point, the doctor thought the pain might be caused by a tear, so I had three options – prolotherapy and ozone, platelet injection, or surgery. I opted for an MRI so I’d know what I was really dealing with and learned that nothing was torn – yay!  Based on that, I was advised to go the less expensive, less painful, and less recovery time route of prolotherapy. And now my iPad recognizes prolotherapy as a word….haha. But, I digress…..

Prolotherapy is an injection of basically sugar water into an area with limited blood supply to cause irritation and increase the blood supply, thus improving the tissue’s ability to heal on its own. He also advised ozone…..some sort of oxygen substance.

Having had cortisone injections in the past, I was a little nervous about how it might feel after….cortisone was all well and good until the numbing agent wore off and then BAM – worst pain ever. However, I was assured this would be very different.

The procedure itself was pretty easy and painless for getting nine or so shots. The only ones that really hurt were the numbing ones. The first one caused some weird muscle reflex/jerking thing, which was odd and a little freaky. He asked what happened and I really wasn’t sure. Once I was numb, it wasn’t too bad….felt a lot like jello running through my veins if you can imagine. What that feels like.  And some pressure and a feeling of fullnessas it went on, but that’s about it. Three shots later and the inside was done. On to the front.  That part was….weird. Really weird.  And it was right on the side of the tibia, so I could feel most of it. Felt kind of like lava running down my bone. Ouch. But, luckily short lived. There was another shot that had to be jostled or something to get the muscle firing. Also weird. Then on to the quad.  Not bad at all once it was numb. And then it was over.

Knee felt full and was all sorts of oddly swollen. Almost like a smaller version of what happened at the race. Walking was interesting since half of my leg was numb…..doctor told me to respect the limp and go slow. Haha….after a stop at Walgreens to get the pain killers and Safeway to get some chicken – I was told to eat protein and not carbs, so my Friday night go-to of pasta was a no go, it was home to rest and let the healing begin.

Now, it looks far less deformed and is a little more achy.  And my leg muscles are softly quaking….it’s weird, but not awful and hopefully that means the stuff is working. I just hope it stops before bedtime.

For now, I’m excited to relax and watch the Red Sox, and sleep in for the first time in as long as I can remember. Though, I do wish I was heading out for a run or to volunteer tomorrow, I think I could use the rest.

Over and out….

Trail Runner Problems…

I set out today to run 20 miles and see the rest of the North Face course.  Unfortunately the crazy busy-ness of franchise work and holiday work over the past two weeks and being sick caught up with me.  I felt so sluggish and tired…ugh.  But, on the plus side, I learned so much and had so much fun over the past two weeks, I wouldn’t change it. I can handle a slow run….haha….

Going up the first two trails…way, way up, I was able to actually try some of the strategies I’ve been thinking about with those hills.  Went pretty well in a lot of places and was the fastest I’ve climbed some parts of the trail.  I didnt know that while I was running, and I still felt sluggish.  I figured I’d get to Cardiac, and go from there.

I got up to Cardiac, and decided to head down Dipsea, rather than do the extra Matt Davis/Dipsea loop.  I was still feeling pretty tired, and I still hadn’t figured out where the course went between Oceanview and Muir woods, so thought I would figure that out.  So, down Dipsea I went….almost literally…stupid mud…and, that’s where the adventure began….

I get to the Ben Johnson trail, which I’ve done one other time, that I can remember.  It was the one I thought maybe I could run down last week and rolled both ankles several times – lots of fun.  So this week, I thought I would take it slow…maybe last week was a fluke or something.  After I got through the part that was real crazy, I started to jog again…unfortunately, it didn’t take long to roll my left ankle again….awesome.  It was then that I realized something….I’m terrified of this trail.

After I rolled it and walked it out a bit, I realized I didnt want to run anymore and roll it again….at least until I was off this particular trail.  So, I walked (really awesome, since I already felt slow and sluggish)….and made sure I was watching where I was going.  Of course, I watched the ground so closely that I didnt see the tree branch I ran into….fabulous….stupid trail, I hate you…..and I hate it more that I’m afraid of you….especially since I don’t really know how to get over it.  I’m just hoping if I do it enough, eventually I won’t be afraid anymore.  I can handle the scary steps in Pirates Cove now, so I don’t think it’s impossible….I hope.

That terrible trail ended at Muir Woods, and picked up another trail that wouldnt have been so bad, if I wasn’t so exhausted.  I tried to run as much as possible, since I really wanted to get away from Muir Woods and all of the tourists.  As I was running up part of it, I’m pretty sure I came across a couple who had just gotten engaged…

I got up to Alice Springs camp (not sure if that’s what it’s actually called, but it makes me think of Outback and Cheese Fries, so let’s go with it) and began the descent on Fern Trail.  I really liked this one…easily runnable and very few spots that the trail could try to kill me.  This went down and met the Lost trail, except this time, I wasn’t lost.  Unfortunately then it headed up…and up…and up.  Hope you like stairs….I finally got to the top, and thankfully, the sign wasn’t broken, so I knew exactly where to head for the next part…..

Unfortunately, more up.  And some lady in wedge flip flops and an outfit fit for an office.  She looked relatively miserable….but looked at me like I was the crazy one, probably because I was covered in sweat and mud….it’s a trail…you’re supposed to be covered in mud…haha.  Anyway, once I got up, the view was beautiful.  And some how my foggy day had turned beautiful and sunny.  I went the wrong way on the next trail (why would the intersection have a sign…that would be too easy)….luckily, there was one not too far ahead and I quickly righted myself.  I found some more trails that I really liked….relatively flat, some slight descents…..and really interesting people.

The first guys were more annoying than anything.  Heard me come up behind them, and rather than share the trail like normal people they stepped into the middle of it so I really had no way around them. Annoying, but it was so pretty and they headed up towards the road pretty quick, so I didn’t really care.

Next, I came across a lady who thought I was a mountain lion coming up behind her….yeah…..nope…just me.  But, thanks, I think….

At this point, I was having a lovely time on the trail, but was a little worried about getting back on Dipsea.  I knew I still had to go down to get back to the beach, but who knows how Dipsea will get you there…..generally with a lot of up in between….At the meeting of Dipsea and Sun, I had a lady ask me where a bathroom was…..ummmm….yeah….so not the one to ask, let’s be honest.  I’m pretty sure most of the bathrooms I used in Nepal changed my opinion of what’s defined as a bathroom.  haha….well, that and the random port-a-potty I used at the meadow earlier.  Really, it’s the woods….there arent bathrooms….but, I was nice and told her there would be some at Muir Woods and Muir Beach, but I didnt know how far it was to either.  It was kind of fun to pull out my strava route and show her where we were and when those places were in relation.

The rest of Dipsea down to Muir Woods was pretty easy and pretty uneventful.  To the guy I almost blew my nose on, I’m sorry….

Of course, I get to the bottom, and expect it to be flat between Muir Woods and Muir beach…it was when I made up my own way last weekend.  But of course, this is the North Face course…and nothing is flat.  I pull out my strava and check the route….yup…cross the road and up Dipsea…..and up and up.  As I climbed and climbed, way more tired than I should have been, I thought about what might be waiting at the top…another good view maybe?

Or not….the trail literally t-boned into a fire road….a fire road that I was coincidentally heading back down.  Really??  Thanks North Face….I can’t wait to do this at mile 38….but, had I not climbed up, I would have missed the lady asking me for directions:

  • Her: Do you know which way to go
  • Me: Where are you going
  • Her: We thought maybe Stinson beach….
  • My Thought….well, that’s a nice thought, but based on the sign I passed a half mile ago, it’s five miles to Stinson, ten round trip…and it’s 3:30…that sounds like a long walk in the dark….
  • Me: Well, I’m not sure, but let me look at my route.
  • In the meantime, she shows me her map and points over way to the left (Muir Beach is in the bottom right)
  • Me: um….well, no….we’re here…by Muir Woods….and I show her the dot on my phone.  
In the end, she thought maybe they would head down towards Muir Woods….hopefully that’s what they did.  Or the guy she was with (pretty sure it was the guy I passed who was peeing in the woods…) has a better sense of direction or knows how to read a map…
I make it back to the car, grabbed some water….had I not been completely out, I may have continued to torture myself and climb up Coyote Ridge, but instead just walked over to where I had seen a water stop for a race earlier.  Was curious what the race was, but it was gone.  In the end, the run was about 16.5 miles.  Not too bad, and maybe if I schedule an early oil change next week, I can get out and get in a 20 miler…..and see the rest of the North Face course.
Speaking of North Face, they posted the course tonight….luckily, it’s what I thought it would be based on some strava courses.  Which means after next week, I will have hopefully seen the entire thing.  Unfortunately, I’m a little worried.  I dont move fast enough to be afraid of the Ben Johnson downhill….and I need to be faster overall….hopefully the additional day of running will help with that….and maybe I’ll add another…..we’ll see.  Hopefully there’s enough time to get as good at the muir beach/stinson part as I am at Pirate’s Cover, Marincello, and Miwok….well, good for me that is….and, I guess it’s a good thing I know those trails well, based on the course notes I’ll be covering bob cat, miwok, and coming down old springs in the dark (with a headlamp) on race day….eeeek….I feel like I should practice that…..
I think that’s it for now….over and out…

Sick + Lost = Long Walk

Well, the headlands and Mt. Tam are always an adventure.  I set out today to hike or walk, since I was still fighting the head cold from Wednesday, but still wanted to get out there.  I mapped the part of the north face past Muir Beach last week, along with a bunch of other pieces so I can get in the rest of my long runs on parts of the course I don’t know as well (and parts I do for the really, really long runs).  I had mapped a 20 miler that did most of the North Face course once you pass Muir Beach.  My thought was I could walk 10 of that – Muir to Cardio, down Dipsea to Ben Johnson to Fern to Lost trail (fitting name 😉 to several others, before heading back to Muir Beach.

But, of course nothing ever goes according to plan, hence the adventure.  It starts out easy enough, parking was way easier than I thought it would be, despite the late start.  I tossed on some sun screen, pulled out the water, put on the headphones, and I was off.  I’m pretty used to Redwood Creek and Heather cutoff at this point, and I have a plan to run them, of course today I only planned to hike, so I continued to plan and look for where I would run during the race as I hiked.  I hit Coastal and continued to do the same thing….now I just need to run it.  haha.

Then I hit Cardiac, which is where I should have called it a day, turned around, and headed home for what would have been a ten mile hike.  But instead, I really, really wanted to see some new trails. So I headed down Dipsea, the same way I came up during the 50k.  Much, much easier going down.  I hit Ben Johnson pretty quickly, and it was actually a lot of fun.  At some point I crossed a log bridge, stepped in water, and ducked under a log all at once.  My foot was wet, my hands were dirty, and I was in heaven.  I had to stop and turn around and just enjoy the fact that this was my playground.

Then I went flying…and went flying again.  Some lady I passed told me I had a really good pace going…if only I had any control…haha.  Then I rolled my ankle…again.  So thankful for the rock tape….I roll the good one, and it doesnt really care, but the bad one…well, it still feels bruised hours later.

I took that trail down into Muir Woods….at some point I passed a couple hiking with Bud Light and a cooler….they had to be mid-50’s which made them that much cooler.  Though, while hiking with beer might be fun, let’s be honest, I have enough issues staying on my feet – I definitely don’t need the help of a few beers.  haha.  Of course I got turned around in Muir Woods and ended up doing some sort of lap which got me back to the same trailhead I came in at…stupid Muir Woods.  So, I went back up and tried a different way (and stopped to take a picture for a family), and found a hill…up to a campground….and then I found Fern trail.  Nice trail….a lot of it runable if it’s the one I’m thinking of.  Overall, a lot of what I found was either very runable or will kill me if I try – not too much middle ground.

I took that to the Lost trail, which was a good name, since I was feeling kind of lost. The hill and stairs on that make what I’ve seen of the Dipsea look like a pancake.  Good God, I thought the stairs would never end…and then there were more.  Finally I reached the top and asked someone coming down what trail they were coming from, and it was the one I needed.  But, shortly in, the directional sign was broken and someone told me the trail only went one way.  I had the Strava route on my phone, and tried to figure it out, but it was too tough to tell….nothing really looked right, but I knew the way they were pointing, back to Muir Woods, wasn’t right.  But, rather than actually get lost, I took that way….asked someone coming up again where they were coming from, and they said Muir Woods.  It was a nice trail….would have been a great run had I not been sick and beat up.

I got to Muir Woods, and found myself in a sea of tourists and children and pets and people and ugh….how do I get back to my car?  I got to the exit, wandered through the store, and finally found a ranger.  Of course, I had to wait for the guy with the cigarette hanging out of his mouth to finish telling the ranger about the deers in the woods to find out how to get back, but ok….I’d made it this far.

After expressing his shock that cigarette guy and I weren’t together – yes, me in my running gear and him with his cigarette, we look like travel companions….I ask him how to get back to Muir Beach.  He asks if I’m driving…..and had somewhat of a look of shock when I told him I’d wandered down from Cardiac.  He told me I was about 3 miles from the beach, and that I could pick up Redwood Creek Trail past the second parking lot.  I thanked him, and headed off on my way.

I dont think I had ever been so glad to see Redwood Creek trail….I knew where I was :).  I was so happy, I started to jog, despite the sick and the overall wanting to be done.  See I do really well on my trails…haha.

I hated losing my 20 miler today, but there’s still time before North Face, and that 50k in October…

In other news, I made sure the adventure would continue past North Face, and signed up for the Umstead 100 mile endurance run in NC in March.  Sometimes I think I’m completely crazy…other times, I think it’s totally doable.  It’s a bunch of 12.5 mile loops….ugh.  But, I’m guaranteed to see my family and friends at least that many times, more if they’re in different locations around the course.  It’s also flat, which eliminates the ability to have a break on the downhill, it also removes all of the crazy uphill.  I think the biggest hill is 150 feet over the span of a mile and a half…basically the bootcamp hill over three or four times the distance.  My first climb today went from 600 feet to 1800 feet in just over that distance.  I can do it….I still have plenty of time, right??

I think that’s it for now…over and out, until next time….

Everest Trek – Lukla – 5/15

So, I woke up this morning with a very angry ankle.  As I unwrapped it, Brian was like, please dont be black and blue, please dont be black and blue.  I, of course thought it was too early for it to be black and blue.  So, of course, it was black and blue…..awesome.  And, of course, I just wrapped it back up and shoved it in my boot.  It only had to make it three hours.

Our last day of hiking was a lot of fun.  It was relatively flat, I’m finally feeling close to normal (of course), and  my foot held up ok.  We also enjoyed seeing everyone come through from Lukla at the start of their trek.  Some looking prepared, some with guides, some without.  One without any warm clothes or a sleeping bag…how are you going to trek without a sleeping bag?  One rather large gentleman who walked by and said, ‘I thought I’d give this a go’…..I dont think he had any gear.  And my favorite, a girl in full make-up, short shorts, and a strappy tank top….. good luck with that as you go up the mountain….

As we walked, I tried to take in as much as possible from all of the little towns we passed.  I felt like I missed so much the first time we came through.  The school children, the porters hauling up the latest load (food, candy, beer, etc.), and the people in the village going about their business.  It made me wonder how long the Himalayas will stay as I remember.  Will these somewhat hidden villages stay hidden except to those to trek to them?  Or will the modernization continue?  Cell phones are already everywhere, even at the highest elevations.  And, apparently for the right price, you can helicopter to Gorak Shep (the highest place we slept) and take photos.  How long before the nearest road isnt more than two days walk and there really is a gondola to the top of Everest.

Once we got back to Lukla, we took a bunch of photos – group shots, us with our guide, etc.  Then we had the final meal cooked by our kitchen staff – cinnamon rolls, french fries, and yak cheese…haha…I will miss these healthy lunches.  It’s great to be back to civilization…and have the opportunity for a (not) warm shower, but I really cant believe we’re already back…and we head back to Kathmandu tomorrow.   I’m sad it’s over, but so glad I had the adventure.    

Everest Trek – Phakding – 5/14 – 8,487 ft.

Remember the Real World?  In 1998 (I think), back when I used to watch the show, the Seattle season cast traveled to Nepal.  Today, our guide had on an MTV/Real World/Nepal shirt on.  Turns out he was part of the group from Nepal supporting the show while they were there.  He told us a little bit about what they did, how they took a helicopter up to the Everest View Hotel (cheating….haha), and how it was a quick trip, so he didnt really get to know them, but that there were cameras everywhere.

Today’s hike from Namche was relatively easy, but I was ready for it to be done.  It’s funny, when we’re hiking, I cant wait to stop, because I’m kind of over the whole hiking thing.  But, then we get to where we’re going and it’s just magical.  I feel like there’s so much to learn and see and do.  Today during the afternoon tea, we talked with our guide about Nepal and the power outages.  He let us know that they’re upgrading the power in Namche, so it will be out from May 15th until the end of September when trekking season starts up again.  Overall, it sounds like a lot of the power situation is political and is in the hands of the powerful and wealthy few rather than the many.

Phakding is a small town, but somewhat larger than a couple of other ones we’ve been to.  It’s right on the river, so after lunch, we all went down to hang out in the sun at the glacier river.  Or, rather, I tried to…first thing I did was find a rock and roll my ankle over it.  Went down pretty hard since it’s so weak from my trail adventure before we left.  Good times….sick and broken.  At least we only have one day left, and hopefully it’s an easy day.

I think last night was the last time we got hot water bottles.  It was fabulous in the cold, but I’m ok letting them go – its been warmer at night, and last night, I came back to my sleeping back to find that the bottle had leaked.  Luckily, it was a small river and my towel could take care of it.

Tonight was the last dinner our cook made – tomorrow we have dinner at the lodge we’re staying at.  It was nice: some KFC (khumbu fried chicken), stir fry noodles, veggies, and chicken momos…lots of old favorites.  To top it off, we finished with a last day cake, complete with frosting….yummy.

Now we’re hanging out in a room at the lodge, playing our nightly dominos and having good conversation.  I’ll miss this after tomorrow….that and my daily 3pm tea.  Perhaps thats something I can institute at the office….haha.    

Everest Trek – Deboche – 5/12 – 12,300 ft.

Ok, so before the story….I survived four days of bootcamp this week (it’s usually three), but in ‘only me’ fashion, my jeans didnt make it into my bag.  Awesome…way to rock an athleta inspired look of cycling pants and a nice shirt.  haha….oh well.  It actually worked well somehow.  Also, there were some changes to my job….I’ll be working on international stuff and project stuff.  New and different, which is good, but, it’s a lot and I dont have my team anymore.  So, mixed emotions, I would say.

And….on with the story….

Today, we continued our descent to Deboche.  We took the upper trail out to base camp, and we’re taking the lower trail back, so we’ve been able to see a lot of different things and places.  Today was a short hike, only took about three hours, maybe a little more.  It was nice to have a semi-rest day, especially after yesterday’s long day.

Instead of staying at another lodge, we’re camping at the home of one of our guide’s friends from his monastery days.  She’s let us in her prayer room for meals and in between.  It’s a nice, peaceful space, and pretty warm.  Granted, I’m still wearing my parka, but I’m not cold at all.

Tomorrow, we get to visit the Tengboche monastery – that should be cool.  However, it’s a somewhat longer day – 5 hours, and has lots of climbing….and here I thought we were descending.

I spent some of the down time today relaxing in my tent (and making sure the laundry didnt blow away in the wind) and thinking.  We’re nearing the end of the trek, only four more nights, including tonight.  And, I’m not sure how I feel.  On one hand, we spent a year preparing, and its been a great trip.  Granted, being sick for the entire thing has definitely taken away from some of the fun.  On the other hand, I’m kind of ready to be back in Kathmandu – with a bathroom in my hotel room, where brushing my teeth isnt a major production.

But, what a trip this has been….Everest base camp….Kala Patthar…Nepal…how cool are those things?!  At least we have a few more days in Kathmandu at the end.

Ok, bed time, I think it’s the last night to cuddle with a hot water bottle  

Everest Bound!

After over a year of planning, training, and getting excited, it’s finally here!  Somehow, we got through the crazy week, where it seemed like everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. But, it’s all worked out, or we’ve been able to plan around it.

My busted foot is healing, still multicolored with bruises, but far less swollen. Hopefully it will continue to get better before we start trekking. My hand is still sore, and probably going to scar (awesome), but it did scab, and will hopefully be almost gone before we start the trek. We weren’t able to get the xterra back (huge thank you to the jackass who threw the rock through the window), but we have a friend picking it up and we were able to super shuttle it to the airport. Our bags were far too big for both the trek and the plane, but Brian’s friend brought us new ones last night. Granted, packing everything at 9am was an adventure, but at least we found out in time and fixed it. Even my work project came together well (I hope) and got sent off this morning.

It’s still going to be an interesting time to travel to Nepal and Everest, with everything that’s happened with the avalanche. Luckily, the treks have not been impacted…yet. Hopefully the Sherpas and the government can come to an agreement soon.

The super shuttle ride was an adventure in itself…we had a ton of bags and of course it was full. And I’m pretty sure the driver took the most inefficient route through the city. And then the last people tried to fight with her over something. Good times!  But we made it. Check in was painless, thank you Korean air. Security was smooth, and we’re at the gate in plenty of time. And, we’re pretty much the only people at the gate.  Sounds like the perfect time for a glass of wine…5pm somewhere…haha…

And our adventure begins at 167 feet of altitude…over and out, until next time…or I get back.

It’s Going Down….

So, I had one thing I had to do before Everest, well, two, I guess. I really didn’t want to get sick either. But, I managed to avoid strep throat, the office stomach flu, and whatever cold Brian caught earlier this week. So, what do I do to ring in the seven day count down?  Go for a run in my new trail shoes, of course.  And what else would I do while doing that other than crash. Pretty hard. And skid…my friend told me she heard it, but thought the noise was me catching myself. My right leg was covered in dust from the skid….took a chunk out of my left hand….and rolled my left ankle (I’m pretty sure that’s what caused the fall).  I heard it pop on the way down, but once it was over, I seemed to be in one piece.  At least enough to hike myself up and out of there, and back to the car.  That’s the thing about trail running…..you can cut the route short, but there’s really no way back unless you walk. And it’s generally just as far to keep going or turn around.

So, ouch…not how I wanted to spend the week before my trip.   I run that trail all the time….of course I would crash today. Ugh….I’d take being chased by a turkey again….

It’s actually not too bad….only a little bigger than a golf ball….and it doesn’t hurt too bad if I just stay off it.  Cause I’m good at that, and do t have anything else to do….

In other news, I spent the week with one of our counterparts from Japan.  I’d met him when I traveled there two years  ago, so it was cool to see him again.  I also really enjoyed learning from him as much as I enjoyed showing him what we do in stores here.

Alright…off to dinner with some friends….if I can navigate the stairs….haha…

Until next time.