Thursday, December 10, 2009

A few photos from the Memorial for the fallen Lakewood Officers

Canadian Mounted Patrol. There were over
1000 Canadians dressed in red.
Waiting to enter the Tacoma Dome

Just a glimpse of the Lakewood patrol cars
and the thousands of cars that followed.
Outside of the Lakewood police department, the procession began under the flag with the fallen officers
vehicles, the hearses, the family and then
the LPD.

The most moving day of my life.
Grace and Peace to the fallen officers families and to the Lakewood police department
Grace and peace to you.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Cascade Crest story part II, "The Climb"

Okay, here goes. After much reflection I can finish my story.
I left Hyak wishing I had more time. I felt rushed there partley because of the cutoff and partly because Hyak was the aid station my friends were hosting. I really needed to take the time to attend to my feet, blisters and change shoes and socks but I just couldn't with all those people there. So I changed my shirt and kept on moving.
Along the paved road section out of Hyak I noticed a cramp in my foot. It came and went so I thought nothing of it. Rob and I we doing 50/50's which was good, but I really knew I needed to be running more. My feet just hurt. I was sleepy. I was wishing for a rope to tie myself to Rob so he could pull me along and I could sleep as I climbed the road to Kacheelus Ridge. I took a few breaks on this road just for a minute or two while Rob attended to nature. I was thankful. At one point the cramp came back and was very painful. I began looking along the sides of the road for a place to sit and rub my foot. There weren't any so I saat on the road. It really didn't help, but the pain subsided some and I was able to move without limping. On up the road. It really seemed we would never get to the top. That 5 miles seemed like 10. Once we did get to the top it was cold and we had to put on jackets. We arrived at the aid station and had a quick bite. It was around 5am. When we left the aide station we passed a pacer coming back in and saw the runner sitting attending to blisters.
The way down the mountain was an 8 mile downhill. This would be easy on any other run. Not so here. What was beautiful was the sunrise over the mountains with clouds below in the valley. Gorgeous. Breath taking. Rob had me continuing to run with some breaks. My feet were hurting and that cramp was still off and on. The downhill pounding on the road was taking it out of me. My legs felt good though, my feet felt beat. I knew now that I had a big blister on the bottom of my right heel. I felt it every time I put my foot down. Soon we were joined by Bill Barmore and a runner he was pacing. We leap frogged some and ran together some. We worried about making it to Kachees Lake before the cutoff together. I began to walk more. It felt better to walk fast than it felt to run slow.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that we made it to kachees by 7:15am, 45min ahead of the cutoff. My race was still on.
I really needed to take care of my feet, but we chose to push on. I took off my lights and jacket and did not stop at the aid station. Rob called "12 in, 12 out" as I kept moving along up the road. My wonderful crew was a bit confused but still took my pack and filled it and gave Rob food for me and Jamal ran up the road and brought me the pack and food. Rob caught up and we scrambled up the side of the hill onto "the trail from hell" as it is lovingly referred.
I have run the last 27 miles of Cascade before so knew exactly what to dread. What seemed like hundreds of giant logs, like Lincoln logs strewn about for weary runners to try and climb over as fast as they can. I tried to just take them as they came and made my way over as best I could. I am sure Rob was laughing to himself watching me do this.
My wonderful pacer was convinced that I would be able to move fast enough to get through this section, to mineral creek and up the next logging road to No Name Ridge by the cut off at 11:30am. We really had to be moving to do this. I appreciated his efforts to get me to move, but I was really going as fast as I could. My feet were really hurting, but the rest of me was willing to go, go, go.
I wasn't going fast enough. The end of the lake and the turn off wasn't getting any nearer. I began to realize I would make it to mineral creek, but I would not make it to No Name Ridge by the cut off. I knew I needed at least 2 1/2 hours to make it up that 7 mile climb by 11:30 am. Rob kept up the faith that I could and we kept moving along.
By 9:30am though, together we knew that I would not make it and my finish line would be at Mineral Creek and not at the Easton Fire station. Rob said we could keep going and not worry about the cut off and just keep going anyway. I was torn inside about that. I have run this section before and knew how hard it would be to continue. I knew my feet needed attention and that would take more time due to my ankle braces coming off and going back on, besides the cleaning and draining of blisters. So I decided I would finish at Mineral. Rob ran ahead to let Michelle and Sonja know to bring the car down to the aid station so I wouldn't have to go an extra 2 miles to the car.
I was feeling good about the decision. Happy to even be this far and to be a participant. I really enjoyed the event..there were moments of misery but I loved even those. I was happy to be done, to sit down, to take off my shoes and see those blisters. The giant bubble one on the bottom of my foot. I was happy to know that I had gone farther than I had ever gone before and that I still did feel really good, despite my feet feeling crappy. I'd have gone on if there wasn't a looming cut-off to tell me I couldn't go on. I wasn't ready to say I'd ever do this adventure again, but now I'd say I would. I know now what I would have done differently and what other kinds of training I would do to be better prepared for those super loose and rocky sections (especially int he dark). I can't say that it would happen next year or even the next, but someday I'll come back and tackle those climbs again.

The Climb....(has Miley Cyrus taken up running ultras?)

I can almost see it.That dream I'm dreaming,
but There's a voice inside my head saying
You'll never reach it
Every step I'm takin'
Every move I make
Feels lost with no direction,
My faith is shakin'
But I gotta keep tryin'
Gotta keep my head held high
There's always gonna be another mountain
I'm always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle
Sometimes I'm gonna have to lose
Ain't about how fast I get there
Ain't about what's waitin' on the other side
It's the climb
The struggles I'm facing
The chances I'm taking
Sometimes might knock me down,
butNo I'm not breaking
I may not know it, but
These are the moments that
I'm gonna remember most
I've just gotta keep goin', and
I gotta be strong
Just keep pushing on, but
There's always gonna be another mountain
I'm always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle
Sometimes I'm gonna have to lose
Ain't about how fast I get there
Ain't about what's waitin' on the other side
It's the climb
There's always gonna be another mountain
I'm always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle
Sometimes I'm gonna have to lose
Ain't about how fast I get there
Ain't about what's waitin' on the other side
It's the climb
Keep on movin'
Keep climbin'
Keep faith baby
It's all about, it's all about
The climb
Keep the faith, keep your faith

Grace and Peace to you

Saturday, September 5, 2009

My Cascade Crest Story...part 1

Last Saturday began early. With a 4:15am wake up call, I was a bit worried at the sound of pouring rain. I knew the forecast in the mountains was not for rain, so I wasn't too worried. Then I was into the shower and making those final getting dressed preparations. I headed downstairs to make some toast and stretch a bit before crew member Sonya arrived at 5:20am. When Sonya arrived, we loaded up her gear into the back of the car and set out for Starbucks. I already had Michelle's order so we could make just one stop. We saw crew member 2, Rick pulling into Starbucks as we were pulling out. He was to pick up my pacer, Rob (who would also require a stop at Starbucks of course!), and then head up to Easton. We got to Crew Chief Michelle's at about 5:50am and loaded everything up into the backseat. We decided to wait until we were in dry Easton before trying to get everything sorted out and into the box on top of the car.
We arrived in Easton at about 7:15am after pouring rain at least half of the drive up. I decided to drive as my nerves were getting the best of me and I felt I needed something to do or I would go crazy. Once we arrived we tried to eat some of the awesome breakfast the volunteer firefighters had made for the runners and crews. Huckleberry pancakes, fruit, eggs, ham, sausage...the works. I couldn't eat much. We went back to the car and got all the stuff organized and I started to get my feet ready to go. I started with the Anti-Monkey-Butt Powder on my feet to help with heat rash, then lubed up the toes and heels with Body Glide and put my injini's and ankle braces on. I had to adjust my left brace a few times before it felt just right. Then I checked in with Rob who needed a pacer bib and I picked up my #12 bib and goodie bag. Lots of runners and crews were arriving now and I got a chance to talk with lots of people. Soon it was time for the race briefing and I was really beginning to feel nervous! Finally we were set free to use the porta-potties and get the final gear on and line up to start. I got my pack on and my water-bottle with orange-ginger Nuun ready to go and hit the bathroom line. I was feeling goo. 10 minutes later I went to the potties again! Then it was time to toe the line. With literally 20 seconds before the start I realized I didn't have my two gel flasks and wonderful crew Chief Michelle went flying into action and got the gels to me as I was jogging at the start!
I quickly caught up to Karen Wiggins who I would be with for about the first 25 miles. It was great to have company. We we at the back of the pack and taking it nice and easy which was fine with both of us. We came into the first water stop at Goat Peak at 10:50am and headed out to Cole Butte. We were thinking we were getting away with an easy first climb right about the time the climb really began! It was too bad though as our legs were fresh. I am not sure what times we came into Cole Butte or Blowout Mountain, but they were within the range I had on my expectation and notes sheet. I was very glad to hit the Pacific Crest Trail as it seemed to be well groomed and very easy to run on and feel we picked up time on this section. We came into Tacoma Pass and I got to see my crew for the first time. It was great. They gave me a new bottle with Sustained Energy and I ate some watermelon. I need to thank Jon Yoon also for fixing my watch so the timer was rolling at 45 minute intervals. I had been eating gel or food every 30 minutes but felt it was making me a bit nauseous along with my nervous tummy already. It proved a good move. I think I made some good time on the next section and even passed several people. I enjoyed being greeted by a high school boys cross country team at Blowout Mountain and appreciated the help the coach gave me about getting real food into my body as I was feeling a bit low at this point. I was glad to see it was only 3 miles to Stampede, but it turns out it is really 3.9. I thought why is it taking me so long to run 3 miles (as I was running the whole time)? Well, because it was just about 4 miles!
Coming into Stampede Pass I felt great, but really wanted company. Karen had left me earlier, eager to get to her husband and change her shoes at Stampede. I wanted my pacer and to have someone to talk to! I sat down too quickly here and got light headed and felt a bit ill. I kept asking for my lights. My crew took care of me, getting me solid food to take with me , a new bladder and bottle and put a jacket on me. They were worried about me. I assured them I just needed to go and get moving. I really did feel better as soon as I was moving again. They told me they would wait 15 minutes at the aid station in case I needed to come back. I was good. I ate the sandwich piece they gave me and a Snickers bite size bar and felt good again. I decided to listen to my Ipod and run as much as I could before it got dark. I knew there were some people behind me and as soon as it was really dark I was glad to have some company besides the music. for 5 miles out of 7 between stations I was alone and the last two I spent with a man named Mark. I found that as soon as it was really dark, the trail also became very overgrown and big chunky loose rocks took over the trail. It became hard to run and have good footing, so I was reduced to more walking here which I didn't really want to do. I was surprised to find my crew at Meadow Mountain as I forgot it was a crew point. This perked me up too as I knew I would find Rob at the next aid station. I was faster than I thought, but I didn't like what time it was. Too close to the end of my time range. Mark and I had to walk most of the next section, as it had lots of climbing at the start and steep, chunky rock descents. Rob and another guy came out to meet us from Olallie. This helped pick up the pace into the aid station which was good. I needed to have a blister taken care of here on my heel of my right foot. Michelle and Sonya got started and then thee aid station crew kinda took over. Scott examined the blister and brought over a big knife, wiped it with an alcohol pad and began to pop and scrape my blister. I distracted myself by drinking an apple juice box and having Sonya get my blister band aids out of my pack. After deliberating about what was best, vaseline or the band aids, I decided I wanted the blister band aid and kiniesio tape covering the band aid. Scott didn't think it would stay but it did! With perogie in hand and Rob in the lead we were off to discover the new rerouted section into be continued!

Friday, August 28, 2009

On the Eve of Cascade Crest 100 Mile Endurance Run

Here I sit, a bundle of nerves. I've been going crazy from anxiety and nerves all week. trying to rest and pack, get lots of sleep. Now it is finally here.
"All my bags are packed, I'm ready to go," not standing at the door quite yet, few more hours to wait. Now the questions just nag and persist. Will my ankle braces cause me grief, just how bad will the blisters be? Will be fast enough up the climbs. Actually, the running and climbing questions I know I can do, It's the other things I wonder about.
The training is in, the playlist is downloaded, the checklist is checked off.
The praying has begun at full strength, please pray for me too. These are my requests: Strength, Endurance, energy, positive attitude, staying awake through sleep deprivation, keep moving through the aches and pains in my feet and muscles, safety and FUN!
Thank you so much for all your thoughts and prayers. I appreciate all of them and all of you. Hopefully a race report will be published on Monday or early next week. God bless you.
Grace and peace to you.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Taper Time Ramblings

As I approach the week and a half left to go mark, I am beginning to get excited and nervous. Do I have enough gels, extra socks, etc to make it to the finish? What's the weather going to do? All these questions. Did I train enough? Will I be fast enough on the climbs? I rest in the knowledge that I listened to seasoned runners and followed their coaching advice (thank you Rob, Eric and Steve as well as many others out there).
As I begin to make little piles of clothing and gear, trying to decided which bag for which aid station I want my crew to have this or that ready for me, I am thankful for all the help i have been given to even get to this point, the ready to toe the starting line point. Who would have ever thought I'd run 100 miles? I just ran my first marathon about 3 years ago. "What a long strange trip it's been." Albeit a great trip. I can't wait to find out all the things I have learned about myself over the last 9 months. Yes it has been a 9 month journey from the first time I felt called to even consider running Cascade. It has been along journey that my loving husband blessed and has endured. Many weekends with the kids while I was out training in the mountains or up at 4am and back at 9pm and he got all the kid games and swim lessons etc... Thank you Hun. I know I have grown as a person, stronger mentally, physically and spiritually through this journey. Next Saturday, the 29th it all comes to fruition. And as I look back after on the adventures I have had in getting there and in tackling the 100 miler, the lessons will begin to emerge and I'll know then who I am after 100 miles and why I was called to run the Cascade Crest 100 mile endurance run.
Until then, Grace and peace to you and a prayer request for me for peace, endurance, strength, health, and good weather!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Plain Painful Adventures

I know I'll post my version of the story, but until then, please read Eric's version as it is so close to mine!

Grace and Peace to you!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Weekend Double, Recovery and the Upcoming 50 miler...Whew!

Well, the summer is heating up! With very warm temperatures, lots of family fun going on, and training ramping up, I am one busy mom!
Last weekend was my return to hard training after vacation double. Saturday I ran the Crescent Forest ultra at 27+ miles in Gig Harbor at a nice easy pace not worrying about my time and finished in 5:53. It was a nice variation of terrain and trail. Single track covered in foliage to old service roads.
I was trying out a new pair of Montrail Hardrock mid o9's. Thanks to my trail work requirement for Cascade Crest I spent time with Van Phan and Linda Barton working on trails. Van and Linda suggested I try these shoes instead of my Cascadias and lace up ankle braces. I have felt that I need the extra support after my ankle sprain in January. The Montrail Hardrock mid's are essentially a high-top trail running shoe. They felt good on my ankles but definitely need more breaking in. My right ankle was rubbing a bit on the side and becoming sore and the balls of my feet hurt pretty bad. I spoke with a sales person at a running store in Fairview, Wa who said that it takes about 50 miles or so to break in the hardrocks, so I am hoping that is so! I purchased some metatarsal gel pads to wear and hope that they will offer some comfort after long miles. I plan to wear the Hardrocks for at least half of this weekend's WR 50 miler.
After the run on Saturday I picked up Michelle and headed north to Seattle and Margaret's condo. We shopped at Title Nine, Road Runner and Super Jock and Jill then had coffee at Peete's and dinner at a Mexican Restaurant across the street. On Sunday, Margaret, Michelle and I headed north to Bellingham for the Wild Thing Summer Fling marathon at Lake Padden.( See Michelle's blog for photos, or my FB page) It was a great day. Beautiful weather and fun times wearing silly dresses and headbands for the first loop. I had a great time running with Michelle and Margaret in our sparkly green gaiters I made for our silly run! At the end of each loop we had to do a task of some sort. After the second lap we had to do "mountain climbers." Once we began running again, I noticed a tightness in my right calf and had to stop and massage it. Turns out to be a strained soleus.
Monday morning I woke up to find some bruising on my calf and decided to call my Chiropractic sports physician and have her help my with the best way to tape it with Kinesio tape. She also did some Active Release (torture) Therapy on the muscle which really helps. She suggested massage with comfry gel then to wrap with saran wrap and an ace bandage to reduce swelling, and to take Wobenzym supplements. Tuesday I woke with the bruising almost invisible and today it is all gone. I visited Dr. Doyle again and had more ART and a new kinesio tape job and was given some strengthening exercises. I'll see her again on Friday to be taped up for Saturday's 50 miler.
Another cool thing we found at the Wild Thing Marathon was Nuu-Muu exercise dresses! We tried them on at a bike shop in Fairview and I came home and ordered the Fleur Nuu-muu! I think I might wear it for White River this weekend!
After White River, which I hope to complete pain free, I have two training runs on the Cascade Crest course and then Eric and Rob are taking me up on the 2nd loop of the Plain 100 course for some crazy climbing torture, which I am told if I survive, Cascade Crest will be a no problemo! Then just about three weeks to recover with easy runs and then the big weekend. I know it will go super fast and I'll be done and back to school before I know it.
Grace and Peace to you.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

quick "what I've been up to" update

It seems that every weekend I am out doing some sort of training run and too tired to report about it.
Here's the update:
The last race I wrote about was the Capital Peak 50 miler April 25 and the Tacoma City Marathon on May 3
Next up was:
May 16th Watershed Preserve 12 hour, 50 miles
May 23rd and 24th, runs with friends totalling 30 miles
May 30th Blanchard Mountain 33 miles
June 6th Rainier to Ruston relay and Ultra 51.71 miles
June 13th Lake Youngs Ultra 28.8 miles

Whew- that's plus running midweek. My legs are beat and my feet are sore. I've learned a lot about pushing through the pain and what to eat and what not to eat. All good lessons, all great runs with great people! I'll be out of town for a couple of weeks after school ends in a few days. I plan to rest up before it all starts again mid-July for the final ramp up towards Cascade Crest the end of August!

Grace and Peace to you.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Capital Peak 50 miler and Tacoma City Marathon

Myself, Jessica and Michelle getting ready for the Tacoma City Marathon early start. More TCM photos at the end of this post.
It's been a busy week and a half. It's been a tiring week and a half.

First, April 25 I ran the Capital Peak 50 miler. This was my first real trail 50. I have run 50 miles at Autumn Leaves and at the Pacific Rim 24 hour both in 2008. So, I like to say this is the first one with mountains thrown in. I was a bit nervous about running on these particular trails because it was along the same trail that I sprained my ankle so badly back in January. With that weighing on my mind I chose to wear lace up ankle braces for the run, on both ankles just to ease my nerves. Steve, Eric and I carpooled down Friday night and camped with Lesa and her husband in a nice camper so I could take the 5am early start Saturday morning. Now I knew I could run 50 miles in the regular 12 hour limit as I have done so before, BUT I felt I needed the extra hour as I would be being very careful on those trails as well as it being the first real trail 50 with mountains as I said earlier. Turns out I did as I finished in 12 hours and 43 minutes. I was nervous about running this mostly by myself too. I thought I might get discouraged or talk myself out of completing the 50 miler and opting for the 55k instead without having someone to talk with. It turned out okay. I saved my ipod for the last 12 miles and it saved me and helped me keep up my pace.

I started out in the dark with Karen Wiggins and Tom Riley. I used a headlamp and a small handheld flashlight. I found that using both made it brighter and I could direct the light without moving my head. I stayed with them until I needed to make the first of three adjustments to my right ankle brace (this is the ankle not used to wearing the brace) I think I had it on too tight. It felt better but the others were ahead now and I didn't want to push it catching back up. It was getting lighter and I was noticing what a beautiful day it was. The birds were singing and I was so happy to be outside. The trail was in great condition and I was thinking how great it was that the trail was so runnable and not covered in mud and giant puddles as it has been every other time I have run in Capital Forest. Soon I took a right hand turn and stopped to check my directions. It didn't seem right. The first regular starter passed me here as I was on the side of this trail. I mentioned I didn't know if this was the correct way or not, but he just flew right on by! I kept on going and soon met Tom again and another runner standing on the side where the trail ran into an old road. They too were confused as to if this was the correct route. Another front of the pack from the regular start came off the trail and ran one way, soon to come back and say it was a dead end. We just stayed there for a while (Here I adjusted my brace for the second time, removing shoe and all) He went up the road the other way and soon returned with the first front runner and all of us headed back down the trail. One of us fixed the trail markers to point in the correct direction so no one else would get lost and we were on our way again. I stayed with Tom for a mile or two until we hit the first real climb of the day and then I sped up and he slowed down. He hadn't run more than 14 miles in a while so he was taking it easy. It didn't seem too much longer and I was at the start again at the 19ish mile aid station and on my way again after getting a few bites of potato.

This next loop starts with about 6 miles of climbing to the top of Capital peak. I tried to run as much as possible, but ended up power hiking as fast as I could leap frogging a couple of hikers on my way up. They seemed to be going a little faster than I on the steeper climbs, but as I mentioned to them I had already gone 23 miles by then, they had come 3 miles. It was along this path too that I was almost taken out my a mountain biker flying down the trail. I was overjoyed when I came out of the trail and onto the road and into view came the aid station! Jess Mullen was a sight for sore legs! I took a new to me route to the top of Capital Peak. The trail wound around the backside and then up a steep and rocky climb to the top and Glenn Tachiyama's camera waiting in the frigid peak to capture the joy on each runner's face. Then it was time to run down the long maintenance road back to the aid station....and the choice to drop to the finish and take a 55k or head on for the full 50 miles. Of course I knew I was moving on for 50 miles. Whether I finished before the cutoff, I was going to conquer these trails and run 50 miles doing so. I dropped off two empty gel flasks and grabbed two fresh ones from my drop bag and was on my way. I knew this section would be rolling hills and that I would get a chance to rest a bit. It was funny to me the last few miles as I encountered every kind of weather imaginable. Wind, rain, hail, snow, sleet, and blazing sun. It only lasted about 5 minutes or so each time, never enough to be bothersome.
Once I made it to Wedekind aid station I headed out on the 6 mile (12 miles total) out and back. This was a nice rolling section with some kinda weird terrain mixed in. There was rocky sections, nice single track sections and these parts where it seemed like someone just dumped bunches of broken sticks all over the place. I hated these sections both times I went through them. I knew I had developed blisters on my big toes and it seemed I never failed to kick a stick into the other foot and right into those blisters. It hurt so bad. It was along this section that I first ran into Steve and Eric. They were a sight for sore eyes. Just that brief encounter helped to pick up my moral. I also ran into Shawn again and close to the turnaround, Karen. IT was good to see them and have contact. Of course I had passed along this section most of the 50 milers, but seeing the people you know makes a big difference when you are out there alone. I kept thinking how it's good that during Cascade Crest that I'll be able to have a pacer to talk me through those last difficult 50 miles or so. I could have used one at Capital Peak! I tried to keep up the positive talk and make it to the end. I was elated to see the aid station tent through the trees and head back in the other direction! I knew I still had 12 miles to the finish, but 6 to the Wedekind aid station again. I popped on the ipod and let Bruce Springsteen carry me and remind me that "Baby you were born to run." My uphill legs by this time were done and I power hiked anything that resembled an incline. I ran on the flats and downhill sections, but was slower this time. Once I reached the aid station I knew it was mostly downhill to the finish and I was looking forward to that, but not so much the "V Trench of DOOM" I had to run down. Thank God that Laura informed me that the trail was being rebuilt and they had filled in the trench with gravel. Let me tell you it was SO AWESOME to run down that trail all nice and rebuilt. It was still hard as I was so tired, but a bazillion times better that the previous times I have run there.
Soon I was nearing the end and I couldn't wait. I felt very emotional about finishing within the cut off time on my first real trail 50 miler. I passed through the clear cuts and back into the forest and kept thinking I'd see the tents at the finish. Man that was the longest 6 miles ever. Soon I saw the "finish this way" sign and literally teared up and had to control my breathing to clam myself down to avoid being a blubbering mess when I crossed the finish line. Lots of people were there cheering for me when I came out of the forest and into the clearing. Lesa, Dave, Shawn, Steve, Eric, Karen, and many others I now I am forgetting now. Thanks. It meant a lot. I just wanted to sit down. I sat and took my shows off to examine the damage of the blisters. They were giant on the insides of my toes. I wore Drymax crew socks in hopes that I wouldn't get any blisters. I did. Next time I'll put a little body glide on my toes. Which is what I normally would do, but heard you're not supposed to do with drymax. I will also give Injinji's a try.
Anyway, I spent the next day resting in bed and being lazy around the house. Monday I felt a lot better and walked for an hour at the Y. Th rest of the week I felt fine besides nursing the blisters. I just wanted them to heal and be ready for the Tacoma City Marathon coming on Sunday. I worked out on Wednesday and ran again on Thursday. Volunteered at the Marathon Expo on Friday evening and rested and hung out with the family on Saturday. Sunday brought the Tacoma City Marathon.
This event was fun for me this year. I took it easy on my tired legs and started at 6am for the early start. I had a fabulous time running with Michelle and Jessica who made the race just fly by. The weather was perfect and I didn't even mind the course changes that took us up the Vassault mile long hill (minus the fact that there was no police and no runners on road signs and there was a lot of traffic that honked and caused some near misses on this hill) and the new finish was great. Check out Michelle's blog for more detail.
The following are some shots of the Tacoma City marathon course including Stadium High School Castle and it's bowl stadium (This is where they filmed the movie "Ten Things I Hate About You.") the water front, the entrance to Point Defiance Park, the awesome volunteer, mad Monkey Steve, the Tacoma narrows bridges and getting close to the finish...enjoy!

Thanks for reading my LONG update!
Grace and Peace to you.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Tiger Mountain Adventure

The plan was to run Tiger Mountain 12 Summits, about 34ish miles. I think we ended up with 4 summits and close to 20 miles. The problem was snow and lots of it.

The day began with a carpool of Rob, Eric and Steve. We met at 5:45 to pick up Rob and head up to Tiger to begin by 7am. It was a bit rainy but I was prepared for whatever the day brought. I was excited to be trying out a new pack I just bought, an Ultimate Direction Wink. It has lots of pockets in the front to keep all your goodies so you don't have to take off the pack to get to some food or your s-caps etc. I loved it by the way. Anyway, we parked at the High Point trail head lot and headed up section line which is a pretty steep ascent to the first summit. I felt like I might puke once we made it to the top, but didn't. We crossed over the top and headed to the next summit not too far away and had our first encounter with the snow. I had to take it easy and baby my ankle as this the first major test on trails (I did run at Mt. Peak, but the trail is only about 2.5 miles, although tough!). So I slowed up on the icy snow. On our way to the second summit we encountered another set of runners 3 male and 1 female, "token female" as Eric said she and I both were. :) We took photos of each other's groups and I'll try to post them here once Eric posts them. I was feeling pretty good, tired of climbing but good. It was a whole new ballgame now with the snow. It was deep! At first it was pretty funny trying to walk in it, trying to stay in the already made foot holes, or post holes as we called them. We'd sink to our knee or higher every once in a while, then sometimes you'd just fall because you lost your balance trying to stay in the holes. After a while it got old and we were ready to be out of the snow. It lased a long time though. We took a short break at the next summit and put on jackets and ate. Then we had to try and go down that snow we just climbed up! Again it was funny at first, but most of the time it just hurt. My shins were bleeding from cuts the ice made. I tried to pull up my sock and down my capri's to shield my open skin from the ice without much success. So much for my Easter skirt tomorrow!
After much discussion from the guys we altered our plans and they figured out another route down a road and some other trails to get us back to section line and to our car without having to go back through the snow from which we had just come. There was some nice run-able sections on that road and I was glad to use new muscles. My feet felt really weird, like I had snow stuck under my heels. It was the strangest feeling, but faded quickly. Maybe they were just thawing out. Once we made it back to section line and an elevator shaft down, I told the guys to go ahead and wait for me at a trail convergence so they could go fast and I could go slow down this super step and rooty section. I wore a sturdy lace-up ankle brace, but I still feel timid about hurting myself again and wanted to take it easy on the downhill. I know my quads will pay dearly for being in full brake mode all the way down, but hey, I need to train those muscles too don't I? The guys waited, but really weren't that far ahead anyway. Once past the super steep section I was able to run with the guys and not feel like I was slowing them up anymore. Then...we were down and done. 6 hours Plus or minus a few and about 20 miles. They were slow miles, but very difficult too. I know I got a great workout. The mountain kicked my butt. I'll be stronger though once healed and that's the point. It was beautiful, the weather held for the most part and the company was good. I can't really ask for a better day.
My husband got to take the kids to the Easter egg hunt at church and got most of their candy as a reward! Tomorrow is Easter and will be spent at church and with family. I may not be moving very quickly but will enjoy the day from the couch! He is Risen!

Easter blessings, Grace and peace to you.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Pacific Rim 24 hour

Michelle and I made it. 100k plus 1.5 miles according to Mr. Garmin. The 1 mile loop is a tad long and over 40 miles you earn an extra mile or so.
It's hard to post a report after reading Michelle's very eloquent account of our time together.

It was a great drive down with Steve, Rob, Jamal, Michelle and I riding together in the Yeti and pulling the trailer. We got set up and ourselves ready to run. I tried to warm up my ankle with one of those therma-care wraps, but it just didn't warm up hot enough, but within a couple of miles my foot was feeling fine. By 30 miles though I knew something was wrong with my feet. Blisters were forming on the soles of my feet and around my toes. I discovered that taking my shoes and socks off and massaging with Vaseline felt wonderful and energizing and I was able to put my shoes and socks back on and continue running without problems. I repeated this at a few other rest breaks.
The day was beautiful and the company as well. I was joined by Michelle and Abi and Jamal, who's strategy was to go slow for several hours and then pick it up. We were joined by Jessica who ran 13 miles with us and then cooked fabulous pancakes and grilled cheese sandwiches for all of us and anyone who wanted them really. Thanks Jessica they were SOOOOO good.
I was feeling really good throughout the day, with only a couple of bouts of nausea. I fought it off with Orange ginger Nuun and made it through. I took Succeed S-Caps and Hammer Anti-Fatigue Caps which really do the trick. Other than being cold and having sore feet I felt great when we stopped at our 100k. I really recommend the anti-fatigue caps! Anyway I had a great time.
I was so happy to see Stan and Esther Holman at the race. Esther finished her first 50 miler looking strong and smiling! Way to go!
The people at these events are so awesome, truly welcoming and encouraging whatever their level. Thanks for taking me in to the community. It's really a family of sorts. We all have our ups and downs, our teasing of one another, our moments to carry one another and to lift one another up. Ultimately we cheer each other on and experience each other's success and/or failures without any true judgement. I love it. I can't wait to go back and do it again.

Grace and Peace to you

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

On the Run Again...Whew! Finally!

Well, I successfully completed the Yours Truly 50k on Sunday. I was having doubts earlier in the week that my ankle wouldn't hold up. I am still having some pain on the medial side and didn't know If I'd make it past 6miles (my previous longest run during recovery). Thanks to Michelle for letting me run with her even knowing I might not be able to go the whole distance! Thanks to Eric for being willing to come pick me up if I couldn't make it and for being great support along the course! Even two days later my foot feels fine. I am taking two days off to let the ankle have a good recovery and will hit the smooth and flat road surfaces again on Wednesday.
I really needed to get that 50k off my back. I have been feeling depressed about not being able to be out running and like I am losing fitness and things will just go downhill. I have been very good about continuing weight training and cardio on the stair climber and elliptical as well as aqua-jogging, but it's not the same as actually being out there running.
I was also pumped to finally see my name on the Cascade Crest entrants list. Makes it feel real. I am feeling better now too, with knowing I can still run ( on flat smooth surfaces anyway). I'll be rehabing my way to those rough and uneven trails in no time! Currently I am looking forward to the 6hour Fund Run and the Pacific Rim 24 hour with a goal of 100k+ running with Michelle again after our awesome 50 miler there last year.

My Quest for Cascade is back on! Whoo Hoo!
So, there's a quick update...gotta take care of the kids...Homework calls! :)

Grace and Peace to you

Monday, January 26, 2009

Okay! Sheesh, I'll update!

As I just said, I'll update.
I haven't posted anything new because I haven't wanted to talk about it.

Last weekend on the 17th I sprained my left ankle pretty bad at Capital Peak. I spent a week on crutches. Nothing broken, but lots of swelling and pain. Today it is still a bit swollen and tender and lovely colors (although much of the color has gone now too).

The doctor's prognosis on the 19th was 3 weeks with no running, stay off trails for a while. He did say I could swim, bike, elliptical etc... after a week. My husband says I still need to wait a few days until ALL the swelling is gone before I do those activities. My husband did clear me to return to the weight room with nothing that requires weight to be born on my left ankle. So that is where I am headed in about 45 minutes.

I am anxious to get back to running, afraid to lose too much more fitness, that it won't come back. Afraid I will gain weight and be a slacker if I don't hurry up and heal. I know I need to let it heal. Of course I just want it to heal faster. Patience, I know, patience. It's hard though and I don't want to.

There. An update. I am grumpy. I want to run.

Grace and peace to you (and I need some too)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Light and Darkness

Bridle Trails was run in both the light and the dark. Both had their challenges. Light brought more speed and the dark, well, rain, water and mud of all degrees of sloppiness.

First I'll say that I fully intended on running a 50k, but somewhere along the third of the 6 loops I managed to just barely step onto a root or rock. I didn't put all my weight on it at all, but I felt my left knee wibble wobble just a bit. I even said out loud, "woa, that coulda been bad." I kept going, along with Steve and Rob, having a grand time sloshing through the dark and wet mud.

By the time we completed the 3rd loop and 15 miles it was pretty messy. We headed out and I could begin to feel my knee tighten up. No pain, but I would have to really be careful as I put my feet down. As we progressed and the trail progressed in sloppiness, I realized that I could be in for real trouble if I landed wrong or slipped the wrong way just once and twisted my knee I'd be done and out for a while. So while I still felt good and strong I decided I should be done at the end of the loop with 20 miles of wetness, darkness and muddiness. It was hard to stop when I still felt like I could keep running, but I chose to look next week and another round of sloppiness at Capital Peak, and even further to Cascade Crest. So I knew it was a good choice.

On to the light and darkness of the run. As I said earlier, the light brought more speed. Rob and I had a fairly fast first loop, got caught up in the pack. 49 minutes. Not super fast, but fast when you saw the conditions and knew you had to keep going for 25 more miles and conditions were sure to change. In the light I could also see very well. I could see where to jump to and how to maneuver and get around the stumps and roots. I could run behind Rob or another runner and track well. You could see where the trail went and knew you were in the right place.

By the 3rd loop it was pitch black, raining and super puddley and muddy. I had two lights. One on my head and one around my waist. Now the fact that it was dark didn't bother me. I wasn't scared or anything. It was just plain hard to see. I figured out that I had to be several steps behind Rob or Steve or else my lights shone on their feet and I would focus on their feet instead of the terrain and where to place my feet. I had to concentrate very hard on myself. I had to get into a zone. It was interesting, but being in the dark like that and focusing on my light I felt out of my body. I was aware that I was moving but it was like my brain and my feet and the light. Nothing else. If I glanced at the runner ahead or at an ambient light in the distance I would stumble. It was about that intense focus on the light in front of me at my feet and following only it, no diversions. I was totally dependant on that light. I couldn't succeed without it.
Today as I thought more and more about last night and as I sat in church and listened to the pastor talk about the "light (Christ)" I put some things together. As a Christian I have always tried to "shine like a light in the darkness." But last night I had to follow the light and be super focused on the light or I could be in trouble. I had to be totally dependant on that light. I think that goes for the life of Christian as well. Be focused and follow the light and be the light for others or you could find yourself in a bunch of trouble. A favorite song of mine came to mind as I was pondering today:

"Let It Be Me" by the Indigo Girls

Sticks and stones battle zones a single light bulb on a single thread for the black sirens wail history fails rose-colored glass begins to age and crack while the politicians shadowbox the power ring in an endless split decision never solve anything from a neighbor's distant land i heard the strain of the common man

let it be me (this is not a fighting song) let it be me (not a wrong for a wrong) let it be me, if the world is night, shine my life like a light

well the world seems spent and the president has no good idea of who the masses are well I'm one of them and I'm among friends trying to see beyond the fences of our own backyard I've seen kingdoms blow like ashes in the winds of change but the power of truth is the fuel for the flame so the darker the ages get there's a stronger beacon yet

let it be me (this is not a fighting song) let it be me (not a wrong for a wrong) let it be me, if the world is night shine my life like a light

in the kind word you speak in the turn of the cheek when your vision stays clear in the face of your fear then you see turning off a light switch is their only power when we stand like spotlights in a mighty tower all for one and one for all then we sing the common call

let it be me (this is not a fighting song) let it be me (not a wrong for a wrong) let it be me, if the world is night shine my life like a light.

I love this song. "Let it be me, If the world is night, shine my life like a light." Sorry I coulnd't get it to write in stanzas. It keeps jumbling up into paragraphs making it hard to read.

So, running in the mud and darkness have their lessons too. It was a great run and a good time. I struggled to stay warm for a while afterwards, but warmed up by staying in the bathrooms while I waited for everyone to finish their 6 loops. I know now how to focus in the dark, a skill I look forward to applying!

Grace and peace to you...and a little light.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Cascade Crest 100 mile Endurance Run

Well, my entry form for CCC 100 is officially in the mail! Woo Hoo!
On to lots of training!

Grace and peace to you!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Doing the Double

Well I finally completed a double. The Last Chance marathon in Bellingham on New Year's Eve and the First Call to Run 50k New Year's Day.
Today I am a bit tired but feel pretty darned good. Michelle and Rob have written great reports of how the races went so I will direct you towards their sites. I plan to come back an d write a bit more, but I have to get caught up with housework after being gone for essentially three days! With a husband and two kids, the task can sometimes seem as big as running the double! :)
So I'll try to add more to this post soon!

Grace and Peace to you.