Monday, December 22, 2008

Pigtails frozen Flat A** and Life

Well, It has been a rough last few days. Not only with all the snow, missing school, holiday rush etc... but my father-in-law passed away on Thursday after a 2 year battle with esophageal cancer.
I made sure it was okay with my husband to run Pigtails with all the hullabaloo of planning and preparing for the memorial and graveside services. He assured me he wanted me to still run. It was good to be out on Saturday, my kind of peace. Bright, sunny, snowy, 26.2 miles and great friends. Sometimes it just helps to run.
Rob, Me and Steve nearing the finish. Rob needed lots of
"motivating" to make it to the end. Photo: Rich Walter

Today was the graveside service in a foot of snow. It was beautiful and peaceful. To me it offered a serene sense of calm. A stillness to reflect upon what we hold most dear... those we love. I was filled with awe watching my mother-in-law surrounded by her grandchildren. My daughter Annika on her left, 11 month old nephew PJ in her lap, my nephew Jacob to her right, and then my son Michael. She kept grabbing back for my 12 year old niece Emily's hand to be sure to include her too. Other family and friends surrounded the canopy. Baby PJ clapped, cooed and tried to reach out for the flowers. It appeared like he was waving goodbye to Grandpa. It was very sweet. My son Michael put his arm around my nephew when he became sad. Grandma hugged them all close. It was a beautiful display of unconditional love and support. Then we all went out for a big lunch together, just as my father-in-law would want. Just being together, enjoying one anothers company. Laughing and having a good time.
Tomorrow is the memorial and then we will focus on Christmas. It seems so far away after the other events of the last few days. I am not ready, but I never am.
My parents will try to come up from Portland if they can get out from all the snow, otherwise we will celebrate after we all thaw out. I hope they can make it, all I want is to be together with the ones I love. We all need to be reminded to appreciate one another and to remember to tell those we care about how much we love them.

I look forward to running more this break. I ran today in a foot plus of snow. It was like doing high knees training for over a mile until I could get onto trails where quads had been. It was a tough run, but very pretty. Coming up I will try to get to the First Call to Run and the Western Washington Fat ass. I'll have to run with the guys to be sure I keep up and make any cut-offs. I hope they don't mind me tagging along!

Well, I am off to read (my other escape) and finish my book- Brisinger... A good read.
Grace and Peace to you.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Secret is Out

My secret is out.

I have been called to a quest. The quest for Cascade. That's what I am calling it. I have felt compelled, drawn, called.... for the past few weeks to run the Cascade Crest 100 mile endurance run. I think I am crazy. Totally over the edge. But, totally willing to go for it. I am freaked out at the thought, but excited for the challenge.

First, I told Michelle that I was having crazy thoughts, that's it. She read my mind. She knew it was Cascade Crest 100. She told me she'd be my crew. Then we let Eric in on it and he said he'd pace me. I then asked Rob to also pace me. They'll each take 25 miles of the last 50. They'll use it for training for the Plain 100 a couple weeks later. This way they both get to be a part of the CCC without having to run the whole thing. Perfect for all of us.

So, the planning has begun. The mileage build has begun. The increased weight lifting has begun. It will be a long haul that my husband has given his blessing upon. He said he'd need reminders though. :) So all of your advice, comments, concerns and prayers are welcome for this crazy quest I am taking on. So, I will try to direct my posts to training an how it is going.

Coming up I have planned for December:
Lots of long runs
Pigtails Flat Ass 50k, Dec. 20th
Tiger Mountain Dumb Ass (half ass) Dec. 21st
Last Chance marathon Dec. 31st if they'll let me in, I am on the waiting list. If not, then, the New New Year's day marathon

Grace and Peace to you....I know I need it!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Another Year Older

Today is my 35th birthday and a new age group.
I never know if moving into a new age group is a good thing or not. Another year older is okay, I can handle that it does not bother me. It's the age group thing. I was doing pretty good in my old age group, top of the class. Now I am at the bottom again and will have to find my way through. We'll see how it goes.

The day itself was ho hum. No one remembered at school until someone asked why I had brought cupcakes to school. "Well, It's my birthday" I said, and it is a student in my last class of the day's 18th birthday too. So I brought cupcakes to celebrate. I was everyone's favorite teacher in that class today. They even sang to us. It was fun. The student who's birthday it was brought me an apple. It was sweet.

My favorite was this morning when my 6 year old daughter gave me the card she had made for me. It essentially read, in learning-how-to-spell-6-year-old-speak- Happy Birthday mom, For your birthday I give you love. Annika. I'll keep that one forever.

I have a twin brother who lives close and our families went to dinner at Red Robin to celebrate our birthday. It was really great. Even though we live close, it seems this year anyway that we haven't gotten together as much as we usually do. I'll make it a point to do dinner together WAY more often. I miss hanging out with him and his family. Our kids are about the same ages and they love to play and be together.

My husband, Paul, gave me a weekend getaway voucher for anywhere I want to go, whenever I want to go. I am excited for this one. I 'll need some suggestions and a bit of time to think it through before cashing it in. Although I am ready for the getaway right now.

I'll send a shout out to my mom and dad on my birthday, they are cruising the Nile in Egypt. Rough, I know. But thanks mom and dad for giving me life and raising me well. I appreciate all you have done and continue to do. Happy Birthday to you too. I know it was hard work for you!

And now may you also have a great year in your age group... the best one yet. I am looking forward to many new and exciting adventures and challenges that this year will bring (I'll talk about some of those later.)

Grace and Peace to you.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Autumn Leaves 50 Miler

Short and Sweet:

Awesome trip with awesome people.
Thanks Steve for driving.

Woke up early Saturday from my parents house and drove the 25 minutes to Champoeg Park and ran 6 loops or 35 Miles with Rob and most of that also with Steve and Lesa. Ran next 3 laps or 15 miles alone, contemplating life. Margaret, who had just completed her 1st 50k, came and ran my last lap, miles 45-50 with me. I was very glad because I wasn't looking forward to the long out and back section alone as there weren't many people out there anymore and I was missing the "other people" distractions. Margaret wonderfully kept me going talking to me and keeping me distracted. Once that out and back section was done though, I tried hard to pick it up as my feet hurt and I just wanted to be done and sit down! Finally I was done! 9:37 was my time. I was very happy as I thought it would take between 10-11 hours. I felt good and strong the whole day. The weather was great and the scenery beautiful. I got to run through the leaves which is my favorite thing, over and over again. Not jumping in the leaves this year as they were not in neat piles this year.

Now I feel pretty good, tight but good. I am very tired though so will go rest some more.
Grace and Peace to you.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Carkeek photo Gallery

Carkeek 12 hour (8.5 hour) run with Rob ( and Margaret the last few loops). I had Margaret take photos along the loop. It really was a beatiful day. My legs are feeling better on the stairs now :) Check out Rob's account of the day too! By the way.... WHOO HOOO! I am a proud American at having witnessed and been a part of history this week. I never thought I'd cry over politics! Let's hope we can all come together and build hope and a better nation together. "Not as Red states, not as Blue states, but as The United States." Okay, photos now!

Grace and Peace to you.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Carkeek 12 hour, well 8.5 anyway

I made it, along with Rob (and definitely Margaret's help the last 3 loops) for a 50k at the Carkeek 12 hour. It was a beautiful fall day and the leaves were spectacular. I'll try to post some photos I got Margaret to take for me.

I met Rob at 5:30am and I drove. Rob brought the Starbucks. We made it in just under an hour and had plenty of time to organize, check in, use the restroom and chat before the race began at 7am. We headed out for the first loop in the dark. We used headlamps and could see fairly well. The trail is fairly clear, but there are stairs I would have killed myself on with out a light. I was lucky to be with Rob because he ran this race last year and knew the course. The trail was marked with tootsie roll pops hanging from trees and leaves brushed across trails you were not supposed to go down. They said there would be rock cairns, but I never saw any. Many people went straight at one point instead of turning due to lack if marking, but we never did.

The 1.93 mile long loop with 430 feet of gain ( and loss too I am sure) starts out flat then you come to the commando hill with lots of stairs going up. This was fine for about the first 8 or 9 loops, then it was just hard I decided once you made it to the top that the rest of the loop was recovery. By the end though I would have preferred those stairs to going down the steep un- evenly placed stairs trail on the other end of the loop. It was rolling hills for quite a while through beautiful forest with giant broad leaf maple leaves in all shades from green to bright yellow to reds and browns all over the ground and in the trees. Eventually you came down to a fish hatchery for about a quarter mile. This was the flat section before going up again. This part was shorter and at first didn't seem as steep as the first hill section, but again by the end was equally difficult. The last downhill section was steep and had steps that became hard to navigate towards the end with tired quads. We found ourselves trying to go around the steps along the side to avoid them altogether. Sometimes we were successful, sometimes not.

Running with Rob kept the conversation flowing and topics ranged from family- (how was your family gathering today Rob?) to school, to the elections to other runners. It was good times. We kept each other going and reminded each other when to eat. We quickly found that loops were either difficult or easy depending on how much you ate at the aid station. The soup was the best. I felt great after eating hot noodles and broth. I tried to also eat pb and j, potatoes or candy each loop and took an S cap and gel every two loops. It seems to work, but there were still some low energy loops where it was very hard to climb up those hills.

At about noon we kept looking forward to finding Margaret waiting for us at the aid station. We were bummed when she wasn't there. Then one loop we got to the top of the last climb and started to go down and I said that I wasn't going to get my hopes up this time about Margaret being at the aid station. Rob said he had had his hope us for about the last 15 minutes. Then not 10 seconds later we found her waiting for us along the trail! It was perfect! She helped us get through the last three loops for our 50k. It was great to have her talk to us and tell us about her MBA program she just started. Just having a person fresh and full of energy gives you energy to keep going. Thanks so much Margaret for coming out with us! It made my day!

Rob teased me as I climbed the stairs again and would say "Only two more times up!" He'd say yeah but we still have three loops! Yeah, but I only have to climb this stair two more times! Then the next time it was "one more time" then finally, this is the LAST time I have to climb up these stairs!!!" It was great!

Carkeek really was a fun 50k, or 8 hours of a 12 hour. Beautiful, great aid, and great people. I had a fantastic time. I don't know if I could have made it for 4 more hours on those hills. Today my legs are pretty sore and the stairs are painful. But I got what I wanted. A tough 50k for training for the 50 miles I want to run at Autumn Leaves. I am thankful for the soreness I feel today as it leads to the strength my legs will have tomorrow.

Grace and peace to you.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Quick Portland Marathon Report

Whew! After not feeling well in the days ahead of the run and my Garmin batteries being dead and having to go naked without a watch, I sure did well! I went into the race thinking I would have to walk a lot due to not feeling well. I felt great! The weather was a bit sprinkly but pleasant. I didn't have a clue what my times were the entire race, but knew Iwas feeling well and ahead of the 4:15 pacer, but behind the 4:00 pacer. I ended up crossing the finish line with the clock reading 4:04:45, I knew I was under that beacuse of where I started. I was happy because I thought I at least matched my best time of 4:04. I was shocked (and am still shocked)when I found out I actually finished in 3:58! Whoo Hoo! I finally broke the 4 hour barrier! It was awesome! I had a great time! Praise God! Quick thanks to George K. for surprising me around mile 21 (?) You pumped me up to finish strong!
Grace and peace to you!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Panther Running Club

Well, new for me this year is having both of my kids in the YMCA before and after school care program. This means that I don't have to rush out of school to pick up the kids by 3:30pm. So I decided to start a noncompetitive running club at my High school.

We had an interest meeting a couple of weeks ago and 5 kids showed up! I was thrilled. Last Thursday was our first run. Again, 5 kids showed up, but two of them were new! Two others weren't at school that day. We had discussed that we would use the walk-run method to build up into running 3 miles. The kids are at varying levels so I decided we would stay on the track. We are using pretty much the Cool Running: Couch to 5k program. We warmed up with 5 minutes or walking, We ran a 200, walked a 200, ran 400, walked 400 then repeated. Then a cool down walk to the bus! The kids were very enthusiastic! Today is run number two! I can't wait!

I'll post again this afternoon with an update!

So, now it's 5:20pm instead of am when I wrote this morning. I had 8 kids today!! Two new today too! It was great. We ran/walked for a total of about 2.25 miles. I had some of the kids move to run the straights walk the corners after they took the first 5 minute run too fast. All in all, the kids are enjoying themselves and we are having fun!

On to The Portland Marathon on Sunday. I'm feeling a little fall allergyish and might take the day off tomorrow to rest up. I about lost my voice by the end of the day today and feel like an interesting evening of Vice presidential debate and hot tea and sleeping in on Friday might do the trick!

Grace and peace to you!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Timberline Marathon

Whew! I finally have a chance to write a report! A whirlwind trip to Mt. Hood and a visit with friends. In the bag.

I did manage to stop off at the bike shop for some Nuun before heading out into Friday night traffic and a long drive south. We left at 4:30pm and pulled into our friend's home in Underwood, Wa. On the Washington side of Hood River, Oregon at 8:30pm. We kept checking in with them as we drove because there was a fire in Hood river along highway 84 and they kept thinking they might have to close the road and we'd have to take The Bridge of the Gods closer to the Bonneville Dam than the toll bridge in Hood River to cross back over into Washington. Anyway, no roads were closed, but we did get to see the fire up close and tons of firefighters working to contain it.

Once we arrived, essentially we said hello and worked on getting all the kids to bed. I laid out all my gear for the morning and went downstairs to hang out with our hosts, Jim and Mari. At about 10:50pm Mari and I called it a night and left the guys to go to bed. I set the alarm for 5:30am. I slept well, which you never know about when you are in a strange bed.

I awoke before the alarm went off and got myself ready and went downstairs to eat and wait for Jim to take me down the road to meet my ride. Jim works with a gal named Anna who was also running the marathon so he hooked me up with her to carpool. I ended up with some new running buddies, Stan and Ester Holman and Anna Bates. Cool people. As with most crazy distance runners, we were fast friends. Photo of Mt. Hood as we crossed the Toll Bridge from Washington into Oregon.
Top of Mt. Hood from parking lot outside Timberline Wy'east Day Lodge before start.
Me before the race. It looks warm out, but it was chillly at 6,000 feet! I started in sleeves, beanie and gloves!
Runners heading up to the staggered start. One runner started at a time every 30 seconds or so. More waiting in line to get to the start.
This is the trail at the start...the rocks are just some of what's to come!

Just after the start was this barren moonscape where it was basically sand and a fast downhill (with an amazing view).
Linda from the Y run club is in the pink.

Looking back up at the mountain.It quickly gets too rocky and rooty to have my camera out, but every once in a while I'd take it out and chance a look back towards to mountain for a beautiful view.
It seemed as if we had run so far from the mountain here, but it must have been only about 10 miles or so. I kept the camera put away until the end. Once in the trees it just became too difficult to run with a camera in hand for fear of falling and breaking it. The course was gorgeous, but tough. There is a 3000 foot net loss in elevation, but there was still climbing to be done. I think I may have gone too fast on the initial downhill section and my quads were not trashed, but very tired during the climbs. I preferred the flats and downhills still because they made it easier to maneuver around all the rocks and roots. I never fell, but came very close about 6 times. I think I caught myself each time by taking my knee in the chest and then regaining my balance.

Linda and I ran together off and on as well as another woman, Tracy I think. It was nice to have solitude as well as some chatter those rough last miles to get to the finish.
Linda and I crossed the finish line together in 5:08, slower than I would have liked, but it was a tougher run than I really anticipated.
Finishing with Linda. Photo courtesty of Rich walter, Linda's husband. Thanks for your volunteering out there too! It was nice to hand off my hat and gloves to you!

Marathon finish at Clackamas Ranger station.

I got some food and drink and then went to watch the finish and was able to see a friend from high school finish her first marathon! A tough first effort! Well done Jen! Soon after I ran in to Anna again who ran a fast 4:18, but she was bummed because she got the same time last year! I asked her to direct me to the nearest COLD water to sit in. She walked with me over to the creek where there was a waist deep pool and I went right in! I stood there for almost 15 minutes, until my toes were about to freeze off! But it felt sooooo good.

Just before I went in another runner was going all the way under! I couldn't barely even put my hands in and I was wishing I had my sleeves! The sun helped, but not too much.

Overall I had a great time. I went for a long walk the next day, was able to run on Monday a few miles and took a yoga class on Tuesday. I was pretty sore going down the stairs on Monday, but am fine now.
Here are some photos from the long walk on Sunday with the God family. Left to right, my daughter Annika, God Daughter Sidra, Son Michael and God Son, Jed. We took a hike down a closed road towards the White Salmon river near a closed bridge and power house.

We tried to take several photos of the kids, Jed is in the "no photos of me" stage.

My family, Paul, Jenny, Michael and Annika. A very blessed weekend, Family, Friends and a marathon in a beautiful part of the world.

Grace and peace to you.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Getting Ready for Timberline

Well, as the week has progressed I have looked more and more forward to the weekend.

School is super busy and I find myself swamped. I actually have more time to spend at school this year with both kids at the YMCA daycare after school. Which is good and bad. I can get more done, but who wants to stay at school beyond contracted hours and work for free?

Anyway, the kiddos are also keeping me busy. My daughter who just started 1st grade and my son in 3rd grade are busy with reading homework after school and other homework too. Annika, my daughter also started ballet and tap dancing lessons on Mondays and soon flag football will rule for my Michael. Ahhh, back to school.

Actually, I am really looking forward to running the Timberline Marathon this weekend. The family is coming down too and we are staying in Underwood, WA. It's on the Washington side of the Columbia a bit west of Hood River, Oregon. My husband's best friend and my son's Godparents are the host. My husband and I are also their daughter's Godparent's. So we call them our God Family. :) We are excited for the visit as we haven't had a chance to see their new house (they've lived there for a while now so it's not really new anymore, we are just slackers in the visiting department). Paul's best Friend, Jim actually works with another gal who is also running the marathon and hooked me up for a carpool. So we've been emailing and I am excited to meet her.

The Marathon is point to point so there is a parking spot and a shuttle to the start at Timberline Lodge. The weather looks to be warm at about 75 for the high at the nearest town, Government Camp. That'll be a bit warm. I'll have to think about a tank. I'm not really a tank fan. I'll also have to decide between two 10oz. handhelds or two 20oz handhelds. The aide stations are about 5 milesish apart. I'll take both. OOHHH I just remembered I'll need to make a stop at the bike shop for some Nuun on my way home from school before we leave. Mental note made. Besides the water bottle and tank issues Everything else is ready, but of course I'll double check! I plan to carry the camera and take lots of photos along the course. I grew up skiing on Mt. hood and some hiking but I've never been on the Pacific Crest Trail on Mt. Hood as far as I can recall. So I am totally pumped! I don't really have a huge goal, just to be under 5 hours. I know this is not a problem in a regular marathon, but I've never been on this course and trails are slower. I'd really like to be under 4:30 But I don't want to push it too hard either. I've been having an issue with some medial shin tendinitis on my right leg and don't want it to flare up too bad as I do have a time goal for the Portland Marathon on Oct. 5th. So I'll probably tape up with my favorite kinesio tape before the run just for added support.

Okay- I'm rambling now so I'm going to go check on the kids and their chores.

Grace and Peace to you.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Michelle's Grande Ass Marathon

It was Venti sized fun at the Grande Ass and post race BBQ.

I'll do my best to relive the run a few days late. School has begun and things are quite hectic!

I showed up at 5am to help Michelle and Eric out however I could. I ended up following Rick down to the second Starbucks aide station for him to leave his car after he ran 11.5 miles. Once back at the home Starbucks and race start, I helped Michelle check runners in while she used the facilities. I signed up two more unregistered runners! Whew! I think we had 35 runners with just a few no shows!

After the official race photo, I needed to drop my bag at the car, as I came back the official start cow bell rang and I had to scurry to catch up! After making way to into "sweep" position with Michelle, Rob, and Margaret we settled in to a nice conversation pace. It was fun to actually run down a few new roads through Puyallup and Sumner on our way to our first Starbucks aide Station in Downtown Sumner.

Making our way to the Downtown Fred Myers and the Starbucks there, we encountered a bit more drizzle. Nothing too heavy, just enough to keep us cool. It was great. The stop here took us a few more minutes as we refilled our bottles and chatted with the volunteers. We decided not to dawdle quite so much in the future!

I enjoyed the next section from Downtown Puyallup into Fife. We ran along the Levee road. It was pretty cool to see so many people salmon fishing along the river. Not only along this section, but into and out of Sumner as well. Coming into Fife you run through a myriad of landscape, from farm fields and neighborhoods to industrial parks and city. By this time, around mile 17 I think, my knees were beginning to feel the wrath of running on concrete and I tried hard to run on the asphalt road or in the grass/dirt as much as possible to give the knees a break. It was difficult but I was only achy. It was great to be greeted by Mike at the Fife Starbucks as he and all the other volunteers are always so eager to help fill bottles and get the photo of all the runners.

Arriving at the downtown Tacoma Starbucks was a welcome change from running along the seemingly endless Puyallup Ave coming out of Fife. Not the world's greatest neck of the woods and straight as an arrow. It also meant that we would hit the waterfront of Commencement Bay soon. Downtown Tacoma is really a pretty place to run. We were welcomed here by Eric and Michelle's son Riley and his roommate. They did a great job, especially because some of us made them carry gear back!

We headed out towards Dock street where there was a non-Starbucks aide station put on by Tony Philippi of the Marathon Maniacs and a friend. It was nice to have him out. Thanks TP!

Now, on to the waterfront! It was getting sunny and a bit warmer out now. We slowed a bit a Michelle was feeling tired. We chastised Rob for dawdling back with Tony at the previous aide station. He must've had to sprint (or run as fast as his hundred miler a week before legs could carry him) at least a mile to catch back up to us! He was ready to take it easier too! We were getting closer to the last Starbucks, which we had to pass by and do a 2.2 mile out and back to complete the marathon. Michelle needed to run/walk about every 50 yards now so we were taking it pretty easy. Michelle had been sick earlier in the week as well as having no sleep last weekend crewing for Rob during his 100 miler at Cascade Crest.

We made it to the fire boat turn around and headed back. I noticed a co-worker and her family taking a walk and she asked me "what is up with this grande ass thing?" I had to stop a moment to explain before catching up and heading to the finish. There were still plenty of people hanging out to see the Race Princess finish official DFL or "Sweep" as we like to claim. We received our precious medals made from Starbucks cup sleeves and had our finishers photo taken. It was time to get a cup of Starbucks coffee! I did, and we headed home to clean up for the awesome BBQ aat Cat's.

Here we ate and ate and ate and laughed and laughed and laughed. It was a fabulous time. I can't wait to do it all again.

On to Timberline Marathon on September 13th and then the Portland Marathon on October 5th. There will be others to come I am sure! I think Rob even heard me say I'd like to try for 50 at Autumn Leaves if I can get my husband to drive down too so I don't have to drive back!
We'll see.

Grace and Peace to you.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Cascade Crest 100--Hyak Aid Station

What fun it is to work at the mid-way aid station for a 100 mile endurance run! Above is the snowman and candy cane lane that greeted runners and directed them to our aid station.

Here you see several of our Y running club members waiting on runners in the middle of the night as they took a short stop at mile 53 on their way to 100!

Mrs. Claus was a memorable part of the station for many weary runners!

Even the Pugs were in the spirit!
The Y run Club's favorite 100 mile runner Rob and his awesome pacer, Eric come into the aid station that Rob originally organized.

Rob being tended to by Olga at Hyak.

Watch Rob's strong finish for his 2nd 100.

It was a blast working at the aid station, marking the trail from the rope section to Hyak with glow sticks, hanging out with friends at the aid station and finish line. Can't wait till next year.

Grace and Peace to you.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Light at the End of the Tunnel

What a cool (not literally) marathon! Literally it was HOT and HUMID!

Woke up at 3am thanks to a thunder and lightning storm and lay in bed until 4am. Left to meet the gang at Michelle's house stopping for an americano along the way and was loading up the vehicle at 4:45am. Also along for the ride was Cat (whose vehicle, named Sully we piled into), Michelle, Margaret, Abi, and Marco. We got to see lots more beautiful lightning on our way up to North Bend about an hours drive away.
I wasn't really ready to go when we arrived. I hadn't had much time to organize because I was in Seattle for a meeting/training with my new judge partner for teaching Street Law at the Washington State Bar Association. So when they said the bus was leaving I had to take everything with me.
Once at Hyak and the start, I was able to get organized and was able to leave my bag for it to be transported back to the finish. Whew!

Here we are at the start, from the left: Cat, Margaret, me, Marco (back), Michelle, and Abi.

Unfortunately it was already just under 70 degrees at the start. We knew it would only get warmer. We just hoped it would stay overcast and we were thankful we decided to take the early start.

Here we are in the tunnel, which is 2 miles long and begins within the first mile of the marathon. It is pitch black inside and lights are a must! I switched mine over to the red lens for the photo only. It was very humid inside and extra drippy. I think it is always somewhat wet, but it was extra wet on Sunday!

Here it is, "The Light at the End of the Tunnel!"

It really was neat to run through this old train tunnel, it's name is the Snoqualmie Tunnel and was built in the early 1900's prior to the first world war.

View outside tunnel at first aid station.

Much of the trail was surrounded by beautiful fir trees. We are blessed to live in such a beautiful place. Wow!

One of the many bridges with awesome views.

A self portrait along one of the tressel bridges.

Cat was "product testing" Michelle's pack (she tested mine too), and Michelle had to "nurse" when she needed a drink!

The day was really a great day. Albeit a difficult marathon due to the warmth and humidity the company was the best! I would definitely run this marathon again. What is better than being surrounded by breathtaking views, the wonderful smell of the forest in the warm summer, running and being with friends? Doesn't get a whole lot better! And lastly, a thank you to Paul for hanging out with the kiddos for the weekend while I had both a full day meeting and the marathon. I Love you!
Grace and peace to you.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Tacoma Narrows Half

I've been super busy lately! Painting, painting, cleaning and getting ready for family visits.

My 11 year old nephew is visiting with my parents and came up to spend a couple of nights with us. Grandma and Grandpa took my son and my nephew into Seattle for a trip up the Space Needle and to a Mariners game. They had a blast. Now it's the other side's turn. Paul's sister and family are in town from Arlington, Texas. Later today we are off to Northwest Trek. A wildlife park to see all of the animals native to the Pacific Northwest. Should be a great day.

Saturday was the inaugural Tacoma Narrows Half. I ran with Rob and Margaret. The weather was perfect and we had a nice run. No one was out for a race, so we took it easy. Rob sped up after about 9.5 miles to get in under 2 hours. I decided to wait until I knew all the hills were completed, and picked up the pace just after mile 10 to finish (my slowest, but Really I wasn't going for any time) in 2:02. Margaret took it easy and finished a few minutes later. There were also some other familiar faces running... Monica did well, Jesse and Anna too. The race was pretty good. I took the first shuttle from the finish to the start and had lots of time to hang out and use the port-a-potties. Overall it was fun to run over the new Tacoma Narrows bridge and get in a good run as well with friends to boot!

I'm now focusing on continuing to build strength by trying to squeeze in another day of weights, from one to two along with running. I am trying to avoid injury and lose a few pounds at the same time. I think I am down 5 pounds now. Still struggling to lose with my hashimoto's Thyroiditis. My husband is doing really well in this department, almost down 20 pounds! 2 hours and the gym and golfing tons is doing well for him! I wish it were so easy for me!
I'm trying to squeeze in Light at the End of the Tunnel into my schedule and helping at Cascade Crest 100 in addition to Michelle's Grande Ass. I am squeezing these in around Paul's golf tournaments and the kids' activities. Should be okay. I wanted to join the group this weekend for the Cougar mountain 13, but again, Paul has a golf tournament, and as it is his birthday too, I'll let him have the fun that day. :)

So, all is well.

A shout out to Eric Barnes for doing AWESOME at the Canadian Death race! Well done!

Grace and peace to you.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

All's Well

The whirlwind is over and I am feeling recovered.

Friday, I set off early for the relay and had a blast. It was far too short for me and I was sad at having to leave my team. Pictured is Margaret, Michelle, Rob and Rick. Steve is out running, so I included a photo of him driving the Yeti. I decided I wanted to increase my mileage because I'd miss three legs, so I ran 3.7 of Michelle's first leg with her and 1.5 miles of Rick's second leg with him. So I ran approximately 20.5 miles of the relay.

After my third leg of the relay into Rochester, my husband Paul came and picked me up. We grabbed a bite to eat and headed home. I took a shower and got some sleep for a few hours. By 3:00am we were on our way to the airport and Nashville, Tennessee.

The flights were thankfully uneventful and the 2 hour drive into McKenzie went quick. Paul and I did a quick change of clothes in the front seat of our car and headed into the funeral home for the viewing. It was good to see family and have a quick update since the last time we saw each other or spoke. My aunt and Uncle and cousins drove in from the Houston area, my older brother and his family drove in from the Atlanta area and Paul and I, as well as my brother flew in from Washington and my parents from Oregon. There were lots of other relatives form the local area, second cousins, great aunts and uncles etc... Family was surely one of the most important things to both my grandfather and grandmother. This value has been passed down through the generations and hopefully will be present in my own children's lives.

We had a great dinner after the viewing at a local Mexican restaurant. I really wanted a margarita after the long trip. It was then difficult to swallow that the establishment had no liquor license.

Sunday came and I managed to get my husband out for a run with me. Now the roads in the south have no shoulders. It's the white fog line and then grass or bushes of some sort. There is usually a steep grade into a deep ditch to collect the storm runoff. Paul was skeptical of running on these roads. I just told him to get behind me. Now we left at about 6:55am. It was already 80 degrees and quite humid. I had tried to get my twin brother to come out with us, but he wanted to run at about 8am. Later he commented on how hard it was to breathe. That's the humidity. It sucks the breath out of you. You never feel like you can get a full breath. Paul and I ran 6.2 miles at his pace. I was tired at the end. The road was rolling hills. I think the locals thought we were nuts. They went around us and I gave the customary wave and in the south they actually wave back without giving you the finger too.

When it was time to eat breakfast, we wanted to go to a restaurant. But the thing is, this is a pretty small rural town. EVERYTHING is closed on Sundays. Most restaurants don't open till 11am for the after church rush. We found our choices to be either Sonic or McDonald's. Since we had to be back at the funeral home by 11:30am, we chose Sonic. This one even has an inside sit down area in addition to the regular drive in areas.

We proceeded to the church for the funeral service after one last viewing session. My Dad, the eldest son spoke after the pastor and then my Uncle. Each of the grandchildren were given the opportunity to speak and most of us did. We relayed our thanks for teaching us the values of family, Church, frugality, education, travel, living by the Boy Scout law, community, volunteering, and loyalty. My grandfather was an amazing man. He lived a full 95 years, was married to my grandmother who passed away one year ago for 67 years. He was many things to many people. An amazing man.

After the internment service we headed back to the church for a meal. This is where I really needed to remember the phrase "portion control." I love southern food. I limited myself and let my brothers and cousins eat all the extra corn lite bread. I only had seconds on the delicious homegrown tomatoes and sweet tea.

It was time to say goodbye to my cousins who were headed home early in the morning to get home by 6pm the next evening. We plan on getting together in Estes Park, CO at the YMCA of the Rockies as we used to do so long ago in the summer of 2010. It will be great to play together again as we used to do as kids.

Paul and I helped my parents and aunt and uncle clean out my grandpa's apartment and move furniture into storage to be moved in about a month. Most of the work had already been done after my grandmother's death, but it was still a bittersweet job to do.

Paul and I then said our goodbyes to the rest of the family and drove back to Nashville to head home. Thankfully the flights were again uneventful and we made it safely home very late Monday night.

Tuesday was for recuperation. Today I hit the road again with Michelle, Rob, Jamal and Laurie. They filled me in on the rest of the relay and we pushed through the hill run. The kids and I spent some great time together today too. They had been with Paul's parents over the weekend. We went to story time at Borders and had ice cream treats afterwards, then came home for lunch and had some craft time. Yesterday we bought some treasure boxes to paint and decorate. It was good together time fun.

Grace and peace to you.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Whirlwind Weekend

Well, as all things are in God's time, my grandfather passed away yesterday. He was 95 years old and is now at peace and at home.

As this puts a bump in my plans as life often does, I have made some changes to my plans. The viewing will be on Saturday , late afternoon and the Memorial service and internment service on Sunday afternoon. I will participate in the relay on Friday, but only the first half. I will be able to complete 3 of my six legs and have my husband meet me as I complete my 3rd leg. Luckily this happens in a very convenient location, near an off ramp of I-5 about 45 minutes from where we live. We will then head home for about 4 hours of sleep, a shower and then we are off to the airport for a 5:52am Saturday flight that will have us in Nashville by 2:04pm (million dollar flight by the way). We will then get our rental car and drive the 135 miles west to McKenzie, Tennessee. We should be just a bit late for the start of the viewing.

We'll head back Monday evening. I do plan to run on Sunday and Monday morning to get those miles in that I'll lose from the relay. It will be early too, It's hot in Tennessee!

Keep us in your prayers as we travel and remember the life of a beloved grandfather, father, friend, and community member.

Grace and peace to you.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Keepin' Up

All is continuing to go well with summer efforts to eat and train well. For remainder of my week I was able to stick within my points range for Weight Watchers and I am down two pounds. I used probably 10 of the 35 flexpoints. I kept track of the points and food well and will continue to do so.

I met my workout goals for the week also- Monday- Circuit training class with about 2 miles of running, Tuesday run 5.3, Wednesday Hill run 6.2, Thursday 5.3 in the AM and 4.2 in the PM for 10.5 total. Friday- Pilates, Saturday 5.1, and Sunday Circuit training on own with 4 miles running. Total Miles run: 32.1 miles

This week will be a bit different. I did Pilates this morning and will run on Tuesday and Wednesday. I am contemplating taking Thursday off because on Friday morning I will begin the Rainier to Pacific Relay and run a total of 27.6ish miles in 24 hours or less. There might be an easy run on Sunday along the beach. It depends on my sleep deprivation level. I am very excited for the weekend!

I picked up the Michael and Annika on Saturday and had a great lunch with the kids at McDonald's with my dad. We met in Kelso, Washington. It's about an hour and 45 minute drive for me and an hour and 1o minutes for my dad. My kids stayed with Grandma and Grandpa for the week and attended Willowbrook, a arts, drama, music and dance day camp in Tualatin, my home town. They loved it and are ready to go back. It is great to have the kids back, but my house is already a mess again. Such is life. Gotta love it! One thing I did learn is that my Grandpa, who is 95 and lives in Tennessee isn't doing to well and may go home to the Lord in the next couple of weeks. We are surprised he has lasted this year after my Grandma passed away almost a year ago. So I am mentally preparing for this trip.

I continue to have Jury duty this week. I do hope to get on a small trial this week. All I need is to get on a big trial, miss the relay and have to serve for another few weeks by getting on a big trial! Too much I would miss!

Gotta go...laundry calls!

Grace and Peace to you.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Out with the Old, In with the New

Just messing around today.... got excused from jury duty and have been playing around on the computer. All of the 60 people called for the pool on Monday and asked to come back today were released. The person must have plea bargained. I waited around for about an hour and a half but wasn't called onto any of the cases beginning today, so all of us leftovers were sent home. And, I don't have to come in Thursday or Friday!

As you can see I decided to lighten things up a bit and changed my blog template. Hope you like!

Last week I had my TSH levels tested for my hypothyroidism. Just been feeling out of whack lately and feeling like I am gaining weight despite all my running and eating well. I was low so they reduced my Synthroid dosage from 125 to 100. Hopefully this helps. I also purchased the book Living Well With Hypothyroidism by Mary Shomon and it talks about ways to battle this weight gain despite proper diet and exercise. One of the many things she advocates is a low glycemic diet. So I'll be trying this out. I'll let you know how it goes. I also plan to do it within the boundaries of Weight Watchers which is a program I am familiar with.

My Tuesday update:

Weight watcher points goal for weight range= 22points
earned for exercise=8 Ran 5.3 miles with Michelle
total points used=33
Used 3 bonus points out of 35 allotted for the week. Paul and I went out to lunch at the Powerhouse for a date while the kids are at Grandma and Grandpa's. I ate the Black bean burger with bleu Cheese and mushrooms. I only ate 3/4 of the french fries and drank 1.5 glasses of strawberry lemonade. I think I did pretty well.

Wednesday update (so far)
Weight watcher points goal for weight range= 22points
earned for exercise=8 ran 5.3 miles on my own
spent 16 so far and have 14 left over for dinner.
I plan not to use all of them and to eat salad with grilled chicken. Paul is out golfing so I only need to cook for one!

Grace and peace you you.

Monday, July 7, 2008

I know, I know.....

It's been a long while, I know, I know.

My apologies.

School, life, school, kids...etc.. it all gets in the way.

Now for a brief update.
Still feeling pretty well! Currently preparing for the 186 mile Rainier to Pacific relay 6 person ultra relay. Normally a 12 person relay with three legs. I am a part of a 6 person team with 6 legs each. A great summer challenge. I am also planning a few marathons. Michelle's Grande Ass Marathon and the Portland Marathon at least. If plans allow, I'd like to also run Haulin' Aspen and the Timberline 26.2. We'll see.

I am also making public my quest to lose some pounds. I struggle with Hashimoto's Hypothyroidism which can make weight lose difficult. So, I am relying on old Weight Watcher's materials and a homemade journal/points log to track any loss. I officially began on July 1 with the challenge of Family camp July 3-6 with my fam where choices weren't really given, but portion control was the issue. I think I held steady. I ran 5.3 miles from the camp into town and back on Friday and on Saturday ran 6 miles total, 5 of which was on the beach. That was a good workout.

So, I'll be trying to track my progress here as a way of being accountable. I am a lifetime member of Weight Watchers, but really don't want to pay or take time to attend meetings. I may find I need to go back and do just that, but we'll give it a shot this way first. I guess I'd like to drop 10-15 pounds. I had my blood drawn for the hypothyroidism on July 1st. I've been feeling like maybe my medication dosage has been off, I haven't heard back yet. So I'll try to keep things up to date here.

Today my plan was to run to the Y for Michelle's Pilates class and then home, but my husband and I didn't return home from camp until past 11pm. I felt I needed to sleep, because I also have the challenge of beginning jury duty today in Pierce County Superior Court. I just filled out a questionnaire today and have to return on Wednesday. I'll be able to fill in on those details later. So the plan was altered to this...

Monday-Circuit training class at the Y 5:30pm
Tuesday- Run with Michelle at 5:20 am
Wednesday- Run
Thursday- Run
Friday- Pilates
Saturday- Up in the air as I have to pick up my kids from my parent's house in Portland.
Sunday- Run

Wish me luck!

Grace and Peace to you.

PS Catch me over on Facebook! I'll be your friend!
update for Monday 7/7/08:
Weight watcher points goal for weight range= 22
points earned for exercise=8
total points used=28

Pretty good day, hard to not snack, tried to drink lots of water instead.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Healing Up and Feeling Fine

So for about the last two weeks I have been feeling pretty good. I rested up after the 50 miler and let all my achy muscles and joints have a break. It seems to have worked. I have been running lower miles and cross training with spin classes. I even have been able to pick up the pace and take walk breaks and keep my pace under 10 minutes per mile! The best part is that nothing aches or hurts by the end of the run or the next day!

I have no big runs or races scheduled for a while, but I decided to take over a fellow Y run club member's' Tacoma City half marathon entry. She hurt her back and can't run. So I'll run. I haven't decided if I'll just run for fun or go for a certain time. I haven't run too many half marathons. 2 as a matter of fact, one road, one trail. My fastest was 2 hours, the Capital City half. We'll see how I'm feeling. I'll be volunteering at the Expo for Rob and then at the finish line too.

Well, I pray that the running continues as it has the last couple of weeks, progressively getting better! Now, If I could only get spring to arrive and stay! It's April 20th and it has snowed for the past three days! No real accumulation here, but north of Seattle had a few inches. It supposed to be warm! Oh well, at least it is pretty.

Grace and Peace to you.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Six Word Memoir

I've been tagged and I am not quite sure whom to tag off too. The tagging may come later.
I was double tagged by Lorri and Michelle.

Here are the rules: 1) Write your own six word memoir
2) Post it on your blog and include a visual illustration if you want
3) Link to the person that tagged you in your post,
and to the original post if possible so we can track it as it travels across the blogosphere
4) Tag at least five more blogs with links
5) Leave a comment on the tagged blogs with an invitation to play!

I've spent the last day or so going through the old fashioned writing process to come up with this memoir.
Here is my brainstorm:

Guided, guiding, living, giving, loving, serving, light, strength, path, rooted in God, friends, mission, adventure, challenge, competitive, family, footsteps, Paul, Michael, Annika, unbound, forward, motion, molding, shaping, touching, compassion, entwined, precedent...

I put some together into phrases.

Guided and guiding, light in darkness, molding lives, shaping minds, guided by light, live to love, unbound by life...

Tis difficult to put one's life into six little words. Should it sum things up, should it be a mission statement? Should it say where I've been, where I am going or where I am? Tough to say.

Here goes, it's hard to let go....

Entwined yet unbound; guider, shaper, lover.

Grace and Peace to you.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Pacific Rim 24 Hour Run

What a day! After meeting at Michelle's and then carpooling over to Steve's (and getting lost doing so) we made out way to Longview, WA about 2 hours south. We got ourselves all registered and checked in and made our final clothing choices and got drop-bags ready. It wasn't necessary to have everything out as the trailer we were using as our headquarters was about 25 yards off the course. We dropped out goodies, gels, and drinks off at the lap counter's tent and chatted until the start.

There's not a whole lot to say about the course. It was a one mile loop around a very beautiful park and lake. The path is mostly crushed gravel over packed dirt with a couple of concrete sidewalk sections. There were bathrooms about a half mile apart. IT was a pretty cushy race in terms of the amount of support. No need to carry a bottle as you went through the aide station every mile. It was nice not to have to carry a full camelbak.

The company was fantastic. Michelle and I ran the entire 50 (50.91 read my garmin) miles together. We had loops where we were joined by others running, Cat who ran a marathon ran with us a bit, but at her own pace for the majority of her time at the event. Super fast Jamal ran with us after he had run many more miles than we and was getting pooped, Rob ran with us to get away from taskmaster Steve (who by the way ran the entire 24 hours and 105 miles WHOO HOOO!!!) And we were passed by just about everyone several times and had lots of fun telling everyone how well they were doing.

The weather held for the most part. I had packed a huge bag of clothes to change as often as I needed. Rob said to pack "everything I own" to be able to get out of wet clothing whenever needed. I wore shorts and a short sleeved shirt with a lightweight windbreaker until mile 32 when I changed into a new layer on top including a long sleeved shirt for the evening. It rained on us a few times. I swear every ten minutes the weather changed. Sometimes calm, sometimes windy, sometimes misty, sometimes rainy, sometimes bright and sunny. It was pretty good for the most part. Michelle cracked me up as every time she would put on her vest it would be too warm, then next loop she'd take it off and it would rain for a loop, same thing with her hat. I just left my hat and jacket on the whole time and I was fine!

The first 26 miles seemed to go by slow as there were lots of people running and lots of people accruing miles much faster than us making us feel really slow. We took a couple of breaks to change our shoes and socks and then after 32 miles we took a 10-15 minute break and we felt great. We got our groove back and were ready to get our last 18 miles in. We began to look for our pacers ladies who were to show up sometime between 6 and 7pm to run 7 miles with us. As we were heading out on number 37 we spotted them and told them we'd meet them the next time around. It was so nice to have them there to distract us in those later miles. Wendy ran 7 miles with us and Jessica finished with us for 13. The last five miles, Eric joined us after his Chuckanut 50k and 5 hour drive down. It was nice to have him along too. Sometime I'll get Michelle to send me the photos he took as we crossed the finish line for our first 50 miler.

At about mile 43 my left upper quad began to feel really tight. Like after a bad charlie horse. There was no fast tightening up like you get with a charlie horse, just the soreness you get after. I stopped to tape it and get some Advil and was determined to finish those last miles. It was sore and I limped when we walked and even considered just going ahead and keeping with a run, but I wanted to finish with Michelle, not ahead as we had come so far together. So I managed. The beginning running again after walk breaks took a minute to ease into, but once I was running it felt okay. My quad is about the only sore spot today. Otherwise I have tight calves and some blisters that are tender, but no major issues to speak of.

We finished in 14 hours and 11 seconds. We took lots of walk breaks and a few longer rest breaks. It was a fun event overall. I was skeptical of running a 1 mile loop 50 times, but it turned out okay as it was new scenery where I had never run and didn't really get old. 14 hours is a long time to run, but it was also nice not to have a cut off time to worry about. I am please with the time and the fact that I actually ran 50 miles. I never thought I would ever run that far. Maybe someday I'll do it again! It was a blessing to reach such a goal.

Grace and peace to you.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Pokey Recovery

Well, last week proved to be quite tiring in recovery zone. I was exhausted all week. My body felt fine, but I had no energy. I ran on Thursday and Sunday but that's it. I was busy all week and I am sure that was part of it.

I had an exciting day on Saturday. Friday the 8th was my 11th anniversary and I was looking forward to the kids being gone at Grandma and Grandpa's for the night for an evening out with my husband. The day started out though with getting things ready for the Washington State caucus'. I was asked to be a Precinct Caucus Chair, which means you run the caucus for your precinct. I had to make sure I had all the necessary materials to get people signed in- so pens, cardboard type clip boards, tape, signs for my precinct, and all the important directions, tally sheets, delegate info and materials.

Then it was off to my son's swim lessons where I get in the water with him. He has been afraid of the water and the family swim lesson style has been good for him. Once we were out of the pool it was, hand off my son to Dad, waiting at the entrance to the locker rooms, and off to the caucus. I arrived by 12:30 pm to set up qwishing I had gotten there earlier. There were already lots of perople milling around and technically they weren't supposed to be let in until 1pm. So I found my precinct's spot and managerd to get one table and a few chairs from the other precincts whio had arrived earlier to set up. There were 8 precincts at my location. I was a bit worried as we were expecting a larger turn out than the last caucus. I also participated then and we had only 6 people then. This year we had 45!

I few kinks in the process, but all went well. Probably my biggest frustrations were: 1. being located next to the main entrance. People thought I was in charge of the whole thing! 2. Too many people don't know their precinct and need help figuing it out. 3. Explaining that you can't sign into a different precinct than which you are assigned. 4. Speaking over 45 people in my precinct and the 60+ from the neighboring precint!

I was able to get volunteers to be the secretary to record minutes and a tally person to help do the math and the delegate allocations. It was fun to see and listen to people share during the "persuation time." we started with 4 uncommitteds and ended with only one. We also had a person switch candidates for the final tally. True democracy in action!

So, it was tiring and inspiring and I was glad I volunteered. I would do it again.

The anniversary dinner was nice, quite and relaxing. We went to a small Italian restaurant near Pacific Lutheran University where I worked before Paul and I got married. It is a fabulous restauraunt. Tiny and quaint with excellent food. You have to make reservations a week or more in advance if you don't want to eat at 4:30pm or 8pm. I took home their bread pudding for dessert because I was stuffed, but can never pass up their bread pudding. We had planned on going to a movie, but it would have had to start ater 9pm, so we opted to rent and chose Ocean's 13. The Ocean's movies hold a special place for us, since my water broke as Ocean's 11 started on our Pay-per-view 5 1/2 years ago and my daughter was born a couple of hours later. So it was a great evening of celebrating 11 years of marriage.

On the running front since the weekend I have been pokey. MOnday my husband went golfing as the rain had let up, Tuesday I had to stay at school till after 8pm for a curriculum showcase. I will go out soon tonight after my husband gets home from his golf outing this afternoon. I feel like I have to let him go, he coaches high school baseball and the season is just about to start and he will have no free time for 3 1/2 months. So I can sacrifice a run or two now. I still call it in the name of recovery but really I think I have the post long run run let down and hae found af ew reasons to not go out and run. I'll get my groove back today and the rest of the week.

Tomorrow am I will run because I am taking a day off to volunteer in my daughter's kindergarten class for Valentine's day. I'll run before I go to the school. Friday we don't have school for President's weekend so I'll run again then. Saturday will be the usual club run, then SUnday after church and again Monday morning! So I think I'll be back on track!

I ran across a great quote this morning in my morning quiet time. It is from a book called Grace for the Moment by Max Lucado
The Voice of Adventure
There is rawness and wonder to life. Pursue it. Hunt for it. Sell out to get it. Don't listen to the whines of those who have settled for a second rate life and want you to do the same so they won't feel guilty. Your goal is not to live long; it's to live.
Jesus says the options are clear. On one side there is the voice of safety. You can build a fire in the hearth, stay inside, and stay warm and dry and safe.....
Or you can hear the voice of adventure--God's adventure. Instead of building a fire in your hearth, build a fire in your heart. Follow God's impulses. Adopt the child. Move overseas. Teach the class. Change careers. Run for office. (Run the race) Make a difference. Sure isn't safe, but what is?

Grace and peace to you.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Lord Hill

Lord Hill. Yup, it's got hills. Boy, my legs can feel it today. Upstairs is not so bad, down, I make a few noises.

Let's just say on the way home it was slushy rain and I started hoping for a two hour late start for school today.

My prayers were answered this morning at 5:14 when the phone rang announcing a two hour delay. I changed the alarm and slept in till 7am. My body was thankful. Sorry Rob. I survived the rest of the day. I am very tired. My body is okay, I feel like I could go for a short jog. I am just super tired. I will go to bed early tonght. As soon as I am done typing.

For my report: I met Steve, Eric, Jamal at Eric's house at 5:15am and we were off to pick up Rob in SUmner on our way to a fabulous run. We also picked up karen in Bellevue for a packed car! It was already a fun day, just on the car ride up!

I was excited to try running with my husband's Ipod. I knew I'd be alone for the majority of the race and I wanted to not have the negative self-talk I had on Capitol Peak. The batteries died at 12 miles into the race just into the second loop. I sang to myself and kept things positive!

I divided the course into mini-sections. First was the rocky out and back hill, next was the rocky mud puddle road section, third was the big hill/barn/elevator shaft/big hill section, then the foresty section with some mud to the end. I checked them off my mental list each time I went through.

The first loop I mostly ran except on the big hills. The second loop I tried to listen to my garmin beeps and take regular walk breaks on the runable sections to keep my energy up. On the third loop I tried to run as much as I could. I mostly hiked up the bigger hills but ran as I could. I had to walk down most of the hills in the rocky mud puddle road section as I didn't want to break an ankle going down hill on the giant rocks. I enjoyed passing by people throughout the race on the out and back sections. On the last loop I pretty much only saw Karen and Arther who was doing his last lap backwards.

I had two sorta scary encounters with people in the park when I was down towards the barn. First was a man walking his german shepherd. The man was nice, but his dog wanted to play with me! He pan along and beside and around me all the way up the hill towards the elevator shaft hill. The second was a scary man walking up the hill as I was going down towards the barn on the last loop. I jan along waiting for him to jump out from behind a tree and assault me in my time of no muscle control. He didn't and I was happy. I tackled that elevator shaft in 4 minutes on the last loop! I side stepped each time I went up to use different muscle groups. I had a vision here of the scary guy at the top waiting to knock me over backwards and watch me roll all the way down. Didn't happen. One more big hill left and I could coast my way in to the finish! I made it and was determined to run the last two miles. I pretty much did and was estatic to see Steve coming to greet me about a half mile from the finish. He ran in with me and we made it till just before the end is a steepish hill. We walked up the last bit of it and the I ran the very last incline to the finish line! Whew! My glutes and left hip were bothersome, and the regular achy knees, but other than that I felt fine. The achyness is gone today and I can tell I worked hard yesterday and am exhausted still but I don't hurt anywhere.

It was a really great day. I am happy with my time and know that I can run a tough 50k. I still look forward to running a 50 miler sometime in the future!
So, Lord Hill was a blessing on a cold Sunday morning. The weather was good, the people were great, the course was challenging and I met it head on. I was blessed again with a chance to get some extra rest this morning. I couldn't ask for more.

Grace and peace to you.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Capitol Peak Mega Fat (half)Ass

I was prepared to run 34 miles on Saturday, determined to complete two loops on Capitol Peak. After checking the times of previous races, I had given myself a cutoff time of 4:15 for the first loop. If I came in after than, no second loop. What I did not factor in, was that they changed the course this year into figure 8 loops. And another issue I did not factor in because I did not know about it, was their own noon cutoff time. I am a bit unhappy with the outcome or Capitol Peak because I would have done things differently (walk less), but I can live with it. I have already signed up for Lord Hill, hopefully to complete my mudfest.
Besides the being told I was past the noon cutoff, (which meant you had to finish in 3:55, because the started at 8:05am) The day went well. I enjoy running in the mud, it just makes me laugh. I feel like an 8 year old making mud pies to sell in the front yard. I discovered that it is much easier to plow right through the middle of the muddy trail than to zig zag around. You put your feet into the mud instead of slipping along the sides. Once or twice in the big likes of mud i thought I would loose a shoe. The mudfest was pretty much over once through the first part of the figure 8. I did loose the chest strap to my camelback somewhere along that trail, and twist my left ankle pretty good. This cause me to walk extra for a few minutes which probably cost me my 2nd loop.

The next part of the course was more snowy and had more elevation. I had done the majority f this trail last year and remembered quite a bit of it. I felt really good body wise. I did have some negative self talk while climbing a few times and thought how can I do this? I started to sing to myself and things went better. I had intended to grab my husband's Ipod to run with since I knew I would be alone, but I forgot it. I prefer to run without it anyway.
I began to anticipate the muddy "trench of doom." I kept thinking it has to be worse than last year because the rest of the trail is so muddy. When I got there it was bad, but not as bad as last year, I think anyway. This year you could actually put your foot down flat. It was more of a U shaped trench of doom than the V shaped trench of doom from last year. It also seemed much shorter. The trail had been fixed up a bit it seems with gravel and the bikers ruin it into what becomes the runners trench of doom. So I actually ran through the trench, stopping once to try and scrape the pound and a half of mud from my shoes and continued on.
Once at the finish, in 4:15 and trying to get over not being able to go out again, I settled by the fire and had a great time hanging out and talking with fellow runners and keeping warm.
The others from the Y trickled in, Abi, Jane, Michelle and Cat, then a couple hours later, Eric and Steve and Rob came in having completed the 34+ mile course.
Eric, Steve Rob, Michelle and I went to eat at Red Robin and headed home.
It was a great day in the mud. I am disappointed that I didn't get to meet my challenge of 34+miles at capitol Peak. There's always next year or another race. It wasn't my day. I am okay with that. My body doesn't hurt and I can plan ahead to Lord Hill in two weeks during the Super Bowl!

Grace and Peace to You.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Tiger Mountain 25k and a Surprise

Saturday I went along for the ride with Eric, Steve and Rob up to Tiger Mountain for the Western Washington Fat Ass. I only planned on running the half ass version for 25k. I knew I'd have to wait it out at the end for the guys but I didn't want to drive up in the snow if it was going to be poor weather.
I enjoyed my solitude. It was great being out in the forest. It rained a bit, but it was mostly good. Once I was up high enough it was snowing and beautiful.
The start is mostly flat for the first few miles, but then there is a long climb, maybe two and a half miles ( or at least it felt that long). I had to stop and take off my jacket. I have been battling a sore hip at the crest and it was burning on the way up. I was in need of some varied terrain! At last there was some flat and then a bit down and it felt good to run again. I played leap frog with a few runners and discovered that one of the men was one of the organizers of the run that comes down from Alaska to help with the event. He took my picture in what I called the gingerbread forest. As you ran on the packed snow trail just before emerging out on T1, you run through a dense forest that is fairly dark. The light on Saturday with the snow made it beautiful. If you looked downhill all the trees were white from the snow and if you looked up, they looked dark brown almost black, silhouetted against a stark white sky. He took my photo along this trail, and said he was trying to capture the effect of the forest. It was beautiful.
The climb to T2 was short and steep. I tried to go up it backwards for a while just to use different muscles. I tried to run some too up that hill, but it was very hard. Once at the top, you have to go down a skinny trail through the bushes. The snow was packed and quite slippery here. I used an old backpacking/climbing trick I learned many years ago, I call it the "veggie belay." I hold onto the trees and bushes as I go down so I don't slide on my tush! It worked to my advantage. I passed a couple of people in this section and was quite surprised. I thought I was pretty much the last person, but I really wasn't! I knew it wasn't far to T3 and then the 3 miles of down hill to the finish.
I was feeling good, although ready for flat or downhill. I also knew that halfway through the last downhill section I would have had enough downhill! This was true. This last section is quite tough. I like to run downhill and just let go ( although not as much as Rob does, that guy can fly downhill). Sometimes on this section you can feel like a runaway train. I just didn't want to fall and roll down. At this point it was hard to hold yourself back. You just go. Quads get trashed. It has been two days now and I think my quads hurt more today than yesterday!
I passed Steve running with Shawn and not too far away was Eric and Rob. I mentioned that I was glad I was not going up. I knew I'd have a long wait for them back at the car, but that was okay. I'd take a nap.
I got down, signed in at 4:04. I'm not sure how great a time that is, but I was happy. I was using it as a training run for the Capitol Peak mega-fat ass on January 19th where I want to complete the 34 mile run. It was a very tough but good run. I am happy I went and would do it again.
Last night I hosted a surprise party for Michelle's 50th birthday. I was trying to help Eric out who had spent much of the week with his Dad in Bellingham after surgery. It was a success. Michelle was surprised! I think we had about 20 people present to celebrate with our princess. I was happy to find "Birthday Princess" items at the local party store and even a pink and black boa for the "Over the Hill" Princess! :) I actually found the boa in the "Sweet 16" section. I made an ice cream cake after interviewing Eric to find out what Michelle's favorite ice cream was. I layered chocolate graham cracker crust, coffee Ice cream, chopped up dark Dove Chocolate, milk chocolate Dove syrup and another layer of coffee ice cream. It was yummy! We had lots of great food and great people to celebrate.

Have a great week!
Grace and Peace to you.