Friday, December 31, 2010


When I last wrote I was not running much, I am still not running much. But I am hoping that is going to change because this week has some exciting news. Regular business hours!!!! I was so happy when Monday night came and the store closed at 10pm instead of midnight. This means that if all goes well overnight I can get my team out the door and done by the latest 3:30 for filling the floor and around 5 for back room, sometime earlier. OMG!!! How happy am I????? Very happy, the only done side is when P-fresh trailers come, I really need them on time but with everything else in the store being done that means I can blitz out the p-fresh push and be done by 6am or 7am. This is exciting stuff for me.

Work has still been draining. Just because Christmas is over doesn't mean things slow down. There are still a ton of people out there returning gifts, getting the great clearance deals on Christmas items and toys, and a ton of gift cards going on. Busy, busy, busy. But soon enough it will all slow down because next week I am taking a personnel day. That means a four day weekend for me and I might be able to meet up with the Fleet Feet Ultra Training group for the Wednesday night speed work.

Speaking of Fleet Feet Ultra Training, we are still meeting tomorrow morning for our long run. This time though we will be starting from Twin Rocks and heading out 6 miles and then turning around. No fire road this week. YES!!!! Double bonus. But this section of the American River 50 miler course is a bit more technical and the last time I was out in this area was back in September for the Sierra Nevada Double. Going to bring back memories.

I am trying to find the motivation and passion again for running. I believe that once I re-charge my batteries from this holiday season all will be right again. It is just going to take time, I just hope not to long. But I guess this would be a great time for me to practice patience. Right Trailmomma? patience is hard for me, I am so go go go that having to slow down and re-charge is difficult but I know it is needed. Re-charging is what is going to help keep me healthy in 2011. I hope! Here is to finding the passion and motivation again.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Busy Busy Busy

It is amazing how quickly things can get crazy busy. I have not logged as many miles in the past 2 weeks as I normally do. In fact I think I ran only four times in four weeks. Wow, an all time low for me. Typically I am running no matter what, no matter how much pain I am in I run, but recently I have been too exhausted to run. My sleep cycle is all out of whack. I sleep for a few hours then I am up for a few hours then I sleep for a few more hours and soon enough it is time to go to work only I do not feel rested. So running has taken a back seat right now.

The Fleet Feet Ultra Training Group has been meeting on Wednesday evening for speed work, but I haven't been yet. One day soon enough. I have been making it out on the weekends for the scheduled long run, but after that run I am totally drained. This past Sunday was our 12 miler.

We started at Cavitt and headed out on the fire road. My love hate relationship with this road as Trailmomma would say was still there. This time though on the way out I was running with GPS Michelle. Our group was large but by the second rolling hill we were already spread out. GPS Michelle took the lead and I followed. I really wasn't in the mood to be leading I just wanted to follow. We hit the single track and there were four us just cruising along splashing through the puddles, stomping in the mud and trying to stay on our feet.

The weather was a bit cool with a few light sprinkles but it was absolutely gorgeous on the trail. It was peaceful and it was a place where I could quiet my mind and just be without all the hustle and bustle I have at work. Soon enough we hit the turn around spot and I took in a GU and headed back. I took the lead with Happy Chuck. But soon enough Happy Chuck was off and GPS Michelle was right behind me. She passed me on a climb and I found myself all alone. I was coming upon the fire road and I just embraced it and ran when I felt like it and walked now and then. The end was near and it would soon mean that I had to return to reality.

It was great to be able to let go for a few hours, it does the body good. I felt re-focused and re-centered and ready to tackle to what ever this week has in store for me.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Windy 10 on the Trails

This week the weather had decided to turn. First it became really cold, as in when I left from work on Thursday morning there was at least an inch of ice on my windows. Then it rained, and now it is windy and rainy here and there. So with all this weather today's run was going to be interesting because who knew what we were in for. For all we knew it was going to be a swim.

Today the Fleet Feet Ultra Training group met at Cavitt and headed out to Los Lagos roughly round trip 10 miles. When I arrived everyone was still in their cars. It was cold, the wind was howling and it was lightly raining. Captain Kirk was out marking the last little bit of the trail so I chit chatted with Wonder Woman and soon enough everyone in the group slowly showed up. Their was roughly 40 of us out on the trail this morning. That is a huge group. Captain Kirk took the lead, Wonder Woman stayed in the middle along with Coach Nikon.

The group started off and I was up front, which last year I was in the back. It was a nice change for me. I haven't been back on this trail since September, and I had forgotten how much I hate the fire road leading out of Cavitt. It is fine heading out but on the way back in it just feels like it takes forever.

The fire road was really windy, so windy at times it stopped me in mid stride but once I reached the single track things calmed down and became muddy. There was a ton of slipping and sliding but luckily I stayed on my feet. The trails today were muddy and had a ton of puddles. At first I was running around the puddles but I soon found myself running through them.

I had a lot of interesting thoughts running through my head, I was singing Christmas songs one second and the next second I was cursing myself for carrying a bottle instead of my using my pack and then the next second I would be thinking about work. Probably a good thing this run was only 10 miles. Who knows what else would have gone through my head. But I did enjoy running in the puddles and mud and the trail felt so much better then the road.

As I neared the turn around point Captain Kirk was there waiting, I didn't stick around too long as I didn't want to get to cold. I turned it and headed back. On my return it looked like everyone was having a good time with smiles on their faces and mud on their legs. I ran the return by myself and just kept a nice and steady pace. Once I hit the fire road though the wind really slowed any forward progress. It just howled and blew fiercely the entire time. It was slow but I made it back to the cars and I quickly changed out of my wet clothes and shoes and into some warm dry clothes and waited for the rest of the group to get in.

It was a good run I stayed within myself and didn't get caught up in going out to hard. It can be hard to do that as running in a group the competitiveness comes out in me, but I kept it in check today. Can't wait for more great runs like this on the trails in the weeks to come, just maybe a little less wind. Keep on running everyone!!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

What's to come in 2011

For 2010 being my first official running year I am very proud of the races and results I managed to achieve. It took a lot of hard training, dedication, stubbornness, heart and I wouldn't have changed a thing. Just like last year I will be training with Fleet Feet Ultra Training Group for Way to Cool 50k and American River 50 miler.

 What else is to come in 2011 you might ask?

I didn't get into Western States as the lottery selected 219 runners out of over 1500 that applied. I knew my chances were slim, but I am very excited for those who are running in States. 2011 is going to be about going for Pr's and also redemption in September.

I have already achieved my first PR in my second marathon a few weeks ago. I ran in CIM and PR by 24 minutes. Up next and my first time running in this event:

-Way to Cool 50K on March 12, 2011. This race is going to be off the hook with a brand new course. I am excited to see what I can achieve out there as long as I stay healthy. Followed by,
-American River 50 mile Endurance Run on April 9, 2011. I am aiming for under 10hrs. I am sure the training group is really going to push me so that my fitness is there.
-Tahoe Rim Trail 50k on July 16. This is a beautiful race with breathtaking views but also a very tough course. Love the challenge of it.
-Sierra Nevada Double- This race is for redemption on September 24, 2011. I dropped at mile 47 ish after battling some major injuries where most runners would not have even started I did and fought my way on the trail for 13.5 hours before dropping.

These are the 4 races I know that I will be running in. It is time to get serious about my training as I have been slacking recovering from CIM. The spark needs to get fired again.

 I have been exhausted from work and I think that is playing a good part my motivation department. But this morning I did force myself out the door at 6:00am for a 5 mile run in the cold, wind, and rain and did I mention it was dark and the neighborhood dogs like to bark and scare the crap out of me.

Here is too hard training, even more dedication, and more heart and a positive attitude and a healthy me in 2011. Enjoy the trails everyone and keep on running!!!!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Kitchen Restaurant in Sacramento

My sister and her husband

The twins

Cousin Q, spent the night with Lil Man

The birthday girl and my brother

The Kitchen!

As soon as we walked into the front doors this is what we saw. The Kitchen where the chef prepares the meals fresh and right in front of you. It is a unique and exciting experience and the food is just amazing. The chef and staff will cater to whatever the individual needs. The meal has six courses with a intermission of Sushi and Sashimi and right before dessert a white gloved tea service and fresh brewed coffee.
 The great experience about the Kitchen is it has one service a night so there is no pressure to hurry up and leave. It is truly a unique dinning experience!

Chef Noah Zonca

Taste, taste, taste

The birthday girl in the wine cellar

The sous chef preparing Act I

Act I:
Preparing and selection of ingredients presented by Chef

Fresh Lobster

Act II: Opening Dish
 Randall's French Onion Soup with Aged Swiss Gruyere

This dish was just fantastic. The onions were not over powering and it was a great opening dish.

Fresh Salmon

Fresh Brussel Sprouts

Act III: Second Plate
The Kitchen's Maine Lobster
Mac 'n Cheese

This was the best tasting Mac 'n Cheese I have ever eaten. The cheese wasn't over powerful and the Lobster was fantastic.

Preparing the Salmon

Cold Saki Bar with Intermission

Intermission: Sushi and Sashimi served outside by the fire pit.
I loved the crab cakes and I even adventured outside my comfort zone and tried the oysters.

The birthday girl with the special birthday belt!

Act IV: Third Plate
 Wild New Zealand Salmon with Truffled Hollandaise
Local Dungeness Crab. Tarragon and Buttered Brussels Sprouts.

The sauce was unbelievable. The Salmon tasted great and was seared.

Preparing the strip loin

Act V: Fourth Plate
Grilled Angus Beef Strip Loin with Bone Marrow, Toasts, Parsley, and Red Wine

Act VI: White Glove Tea service and fresh brewed Coffee

"Mr. Tea" prepared fresh tea.

Act VII: Dessert is Served
Navel Orange Tres Leches Cake with Ice Cream, Walnut Infused Maple Syrup and Sugared Cranberries

This was by far the best dessert I have eaten. The sugared Cranberries were fantastic the ice cream was refreshing and the cake was fabulous.

Our ride the rest of the evening. Happy Birthday Lianne!

The Kitchen shares their passion for food. It brings fresh ingredients in and only serves the best. This by far has been one of the best dinning experiences I have ever experienced. The food was excellent, the service splendid and the passion from the chefs could be felt and the attentive staff made me feel like I was the only guest in the restaurant that night.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

First Official Training Run

This morning was the first official run with the Fleet Feet Ultra Training Group. There were a few familiar faces and a lot of new group members. All in all there is roughly 32 group members plus our awesome coaches Captain Kirk , Coach Nikon and Wonder Woman!!!!

Photo by Trailmomma
Garmin, Molasses, Miss P., Boss and me Pigeon!

Today since most of us ran CIM last Sunday the group spilt up into two groups. One would run 6 miles and the other would go for 10. I ran in between and choose 8 miles. The first mile was nice and easy, I was running with Hawaii Mark and we caught each other up on what has been going on since the last time we saw each other.

 Once the first mile went by we picked up the pace a bit. I didn't want to go to hard as my quads were still a little tender and I was still recovering from CIM. By mile 3 I knew I was only going to go one more mile and turn around and make my way back. Hawaii Mark continued on and I turned around. I saw some of the group members and said Hi. It was a good thing I only went out 4 miles because my legs were a little tired on the return trip. Another thing that flared up was my chest wall. Today I carried my hand bottle and that aggrevated my chest wall just a bit. Note to self, do not carry hand bottle!

After the run we hung out and waited for the 10 mile group members to come in. I met some more of the runners in the training group and shared some of my experiences. After everyone was back in a few of us decided to head over to Coffee Republic in Folsom. There we shared our experiences and talked about what the training is going to look like over the next few weeks. We mainly listend to Coach Nikon who has a ton of experience including a Western States 100 finish. I am really excited about this group and I can't wait to continue to train.

Back at home Trail dog has been enjoying some quality time this week with me and he has been following me around the house. What ever room I am in he is there. What a good boy such a momma's boy. He has been enjoying afternoon walks with Lil Man around the block and playing fetch in the back yard and his speical new treat, a new bone!

What a good boy!!!!

This week we went to Wise buys and bought a chrsitmas tree and today Lil Man and his dad are decorating it.

Lil Man helping with the lights. Not a bad tree for 10 bucks!

It has been nice enjoying some quality time with the family because I know once we really get into the heart of the training program time at home will be short.

Tonight the family is getting together to celebrate my older sisters birthday. We are going to The Kitchen. I have never been but I hear it is delicious and very entertaining.

Happy Birthday to my sister Lianne and a special Birthday shout out to Trailmomma!!! I hope each of you enjoy your very special day!!!!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Rest and Recovery

I have not run since the Marathon on Sunday. It is a good thing, I am letting my body recover for once, my chest wall pain has flared up a little bit and I don't need Costochondritis to return. Costochondritis is a condition that causes chest pain due to inflammation of the cartilage and bones in the chest wall, and I suffered from this for a few months. This condition is thought to be best commonly due to repetitive micro trauma, or overuse. Activities are causing repeated damage to the cartilage of the chest wall leading to inflammation. Not a pleasant injury to have. But I have healed nicely since seeing Dr. Chu from Elite Spinal and Sports Care and also receiving weekly massages from Lily. Rest and recovery this week is what it is all about.

There is some very exciting news though, Fleet Feet Ultra Trail running program starts up on Saturday (tomorrow.) Thursday night the group met at Fleet Feet the sister store in Roseville and enjoyed a introduction to what to expect over the next few months. It was great to see the returning members from last years running program. We caught up and and enjoyed a few beers together and laughed. I remember last years meeting, I was so nervous. But this year I was laughing and had a bit more confidence.

Saturday is our first official run. We will be running anywhere from 6-10 miles depending upon on how we are feeling as most of us had run in the marathon on Sunday. I am really looking forward to this ultra training group. I had such a blast year with so many memories. I am looking forward to the next 18 weeks! It is going to be awesome! Don't forget to sign up for Way to Cool 50k and American River 50 mile Endurance Run. AR 50 is half full and will fill up soon.

Monday, December 6, 2010

California International Marathon Race Report

What a year! It has been a great year and what a way to finish up the 2010 season then with a PR at the California International Marathon. I ran CIM in 4hrs and 14 minutes. Wow!!!! I still can't believe that I made my goal for this race.

Just like last year I stayed with Anthony and Lily and we car pooled to the start. As I was getting ready and putting on my race bib a little bit of anxiety came flooding through me. This is the first race since my DNF at the Sierra Nevada Double back in September. The anxiety didn't last long but long enough for me to remember. I told myself to calm down and just to enjoy this day. Run the race as I had planned and if it is meant to be a PR then it will happen.

The weather at the start was unusually warm. Last year it was freezing cold and a bit windy. Not today, it was was actually a bit warmer then anyone had imagined. Which meant I had over dressed just a bit.

At the start I had planned on heading out with the 4:05 pace group, but had planned to trail them a bit. I didn't want to push to hard in the start and have nothing left for the second half. The first mile was within my time frame about a 9:36 pace, probably due to the congestion. I stayed calm and relaxed knew that the field would open up. I remained comfortable and in control working my way to the far side so that I could have a little room to maneuver when I needed to. By about mile 3 I found Ralph and we ran a few miles together just chit chatting and cruising along. At this point I noticed that I was going out a little bit too hard and was running around 9:20 or so, so I slowed it down a bit. I was feeling comfortable but I also knew that there was a lot of miles left in this race.

The biggest delima I had was where to shed my clothes. I had on gloves, sleeves and a vest and I wanted to dump them. I had a few options and a few miles to think about it. I ended up taking the gloves off and just holding them, they came in handy as when I would eventually be able to get some water it went all over my face instead of in my mouth. Maybe I should practice how to drink out of a paper cup while running. It is pretty tricky. I had opted not to carry a bottle as it would put too much strain on my chest wall. I didn't want to strain my muscles because they were actually healing and just about 100%.

By mile 6 I was still feeling very comfortable, I found a nice rhythm. I didn't drop my clothes where I had intended to but instead decided to drop them at the Fleet Feet Aid Station which was at mile 8.9. As I approached the aid station I had already tucked my gloves in my vest pocket and had my vest and sleeves off and was ready to throw it. I saw Kirk and tried to get his attention but he didn't hear me. I heard "Melisa, just give it to me." It was Pam, I hadn't even seen her. I had such tunnel vision. I said "ohh thanks, I didn't even see you." I gave her my things and I think I grabbed some water from her and I was on my way. Thanks Pam, you rock!!!!!

9 miles down, my legs were feeling good, mentally I was focused on the task at hand and I also noticed I was still pushing a bit too hard. I had to reassess my situation, I know there was still a long ways to go, I needed to back off a bit. But that is so hard especially since I had a nice rhythm going. I backed it off just a bit and was very glad I did. The course was coming upon "the big hill" for CIM. I just cruised up it and fueled as I went.

I became a little over anxious approaching the half way point because I knew my family was going to be there waiting for me with some more gels and some coke. Last year I was walking when they saw me, but not this year. This year I was looking strong and I looked like I could keep going at the rate I was running. I could see my family, my sister Kristina, Brent and Lil man and some friends were also there. I stopped and took some GUs from them and drank a few gulps of coke and I was off again. They said I looked great and wished me luck. What support, it was great to see them and the good news was I was right on schedule. I came into the half way point at 2:03. There isn't a better feeling then knowing that I am on track to reach my goals. Now all I have to do is keep it together. Because here is where the race really begins.

At 13 miles I took in 2 GUs. It was good thing I did. Because the next few miles were a mental and physical battle. By mile 15 my legs were feeling a bit funny. You know the feeling, it is not a good feeling. I was trying to keep a steady pace, but things drastically slowed down. Uhh ohh, not good. I took in another GU but that didnt' help. My pace was really slowing down. I could hear the 4:15 pace group slowing catching me. I knew if they passed me it would mentally defeat me. Then I had a thought, I needed salt. I saw the medical tent and immediately ran to it and asked for salt. Thank goodness that medical was there because once the salt hit my system my legs felt better and my pace was back. I was once again hitting my goal pace.

It was also at this point that sheer panic hit me. As I was getting my salt the 4:15 pace group had passed me. Crap that is not good. I had a adrenaline surge and took off. I just kept thinking, no I have to get back in front of them. I need to stay in front of that group to have any sort of a chance to make my goal. The salt really helped me because my legs were back. What a feeling to have my legs back. I started to make my move. I regained control of my frantic pace and within a few miles I was back in front of the 4:15 pace group and still feeling strong.

Sometimes during the lows of running all it takes is someone to call my name and smile. That is what kept me going through out this race. It is so uplifting to have such great support from family and friends and it was great that they were there during those moments where on the outside it looked like I was doing great but on the inside I knew I was hardly holding it together. Just a simple "Great job Melisa" and a clap and that would give me the confidence to push just a bit harder. To find the next gear. Thank you so much everyone!

I was in front of the 4:15 pace group but once again my legs started feeling shaky. My quads were burning and I was again having doubts. Then I saw it, the medical tent. I made my way to it and asked for 2 salts. I was cramping again. This time though I was able to stay in front of the 4:15 pace group. The salt again helped with my cramping and my legs began to feel better which brought me more confidence.

Once I hit mile 20 I told myself only 6 more miles, I run that all the time. No problem! Only this was going to be where I had to dig deep and find my inner strength. It could have been easy for me just to say ohh well and stop pushing myself, but that is not who I am. I wanted to reach  my goal and if I was going to reach that goal I was going to need to push myself these last 6 miles like never before.

I ran hard or as hard as my legs would go. I kept my eyes on the prize. The 4:15 pace group kept pushing me. I could hear the cheers as I ran by and then I would hear the cheers and the crowd yelling "go 4:15" and I would panic and push harder. I kept looking over my shoulder and man they were still there not fading at all. I kept pushing, but my legs were tired but my goal was so close to me. I dug deep and kept moving. I knew that if I stopped I wouldn't be able to get moving again. I was slowly giving myself some distance from the 4:15 pace group. But I knew I couldn't relax I had to keep pushing. It was almost like they were chasing me the last 6 miles and I didn't want them to catch me. Try playing chase for 6 miles, it is draining!

3 miles to go. This would be the longest 3 miles ever. Longer then the dam hill during the American River 50 mile endurance run. I kept pushing, pushing to stay in front of 4:15. Then out of nowhere I hear "Melisa!!!! Great job!!!" another friendly face. 2 miles to go, I can do this. I am going to do it! Again the longest 2 miles ever. It just kept going, the end was not near, I don't know if I can hold on any longer. But I kept pushing. 1 mile to go. .50 to go, almost there, keep going. Then there it is. The Finish. I can see it. The final turn and the finish chute is near. I crossed in 4hrs and 14 min. I did it!!!! I finished but not only did I finish I made my goal.

It was a great feeling overwhelming knowing that I didn't give up, I had recovered from cramping and that I had executed my race plan. I Pr by 24 minutes. Wow!!!! I still can't believe it. I had a goal and I achieved that goal. What a day! Thank you to all of my family and friends who were there encouraging me along the way. A huge thank you to all of the volunteers!!!!!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Recenter and race goal

It has been a crazy week for me especially at work. Granted it was a short work week for me, I worked three nights and have four nights off. I have been feeling burnt out. Saving everything I have just to get through the nights. Planning, strategy's, driving my team, motivating them. It is exhausting mentally always having to be on top of my "game" and physically always having to have the high energy because if I am off the entire team is off. But that is also why I enjoy my job, the excitement of the new challenges day in and day out, the planning and looking at the numbers and crunching the numbers to ensure a completion of the trailer.

Every night is different the plan has to be different every night as the plan that worked so well say on Sunday wont work on Monday. It is about knowing my team and their individual strengths and how to motivate individuals as everyone is motivated in a different way. What works for one may back fire on someone else. The real question one of my team members asked me is "How does one motivate the motivator?" That is a very good question.

What motivates me? Challenges motivate me, high expectations, or when someone says it can't be done I like to prove them wrong that it can be done. What motivates me when I run, the same thing. Challenges, having a goal, the feeling that I pushed my body and mind, that I left everything out there. Sometimes it is as simple as getting me angry, but be careful as that is a fine line that could lead to disaster. I push myself, I strive for completion, I look forward to achieving my goals it is what keeps me going. I am still figuring out what motivates me. What motivates you?

With everything at work I am burnt out. My body has been tired and it is telling me so. But I am still ready for CIM on Sunday. I am excited and it is going to be a way for me to recenter myself. I am off balance. I saw DR. Chu on Wednesday for my pre-race adjustment. Everything was out of whack. My hip was out of alignment, my back was out alignment, some ribs were out of place -yes I am still having rib problems but not as bad as a few months ago-, and my neck was the tightest he has seen. He fixed me up and realigned everything.

Then on Thursday I saw Lily and she gave me my pre-race massage. I didn't realize how heavy everything was. She said that my legs were so loaded that if she didn't know better she would have thought I had run a marathon already. She spent a lot of time on my legs getting them lighter. It is interesting how I hadn't really noticed any of this but after each appointment I felt a huge improvement. I could move my neck for one, and two my legs felt a lot better.

I have also figured out my race goal, a goal that I believe is attainable. I am aiming for a 4:10 finish. That is a 9:30 pace overall or for the first 13 miles I am taking it nice and easy with a 9:45 pace and the second half I increase my pace to a 9:20. My friend Anthony has been helping with my race strategy. I know that I need to stay contained during the first half, I have a tendency to go out to hard. I will most likely stick with a pace group and as Kirk mention if at mile 22 I am feeling good to go for it. Either way I plan on PR on Sunday. That is the ultimate goal to PR. Hope to see you out there!

Western States Lottery is Tomorrow!!!!