Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Run On The Sly 50k Race Report 2011

Run On The Sly 50k was my birthday present to me. It also wasn’t my target race for the year, but rather a training run to log some miles before my 50 miler in September. Race morning I was up really early, I have been having a hard time getting a normal sleep pattern since moving to the early morning shift and my internal clock was still on work mode. But being up early wasn’t that frustrating for me, I was able to enjoy my morning and the weird thing was I wasn’t nervous or anxious about this race. Probably because I didn’t put any real expectations for the race. I did have a time goal, but once I was out there I threw my time goal out the window. Here is how my race unfolded and the early low I had to battle through that lasted for 5 tough miles.
The first 3.89 miles of Sly is all climbing, with a few nice rollers, but straight up. What a way to start the race and really shock my legs and cause that dreadful dead leg feeling. I did my best and kept on trucking. I walked only a short bit, but I was secretly hoping that the next bend would bring relief and some downs or some flats, but nope I was still climbing. I hit the first aid station and quickly grabbed 2 triangles of PB&J and was off just as quickly as I came in. I was trying to stay with solid food as long as I could before I taking GU. A strategy that I am sure caused my extreme low so early in the race.
After the initial 3.89 climb there is a gradual descent where my legs were alive and I took full advantage of making up some time. But just as I was getting comfortable there was another grueling climb that took the wind out of my sail. I kept on moving knowing there would be a nice long descent coming. As the second aid station neared I had the same plan in place, 2 PB&J and I was out. I had enough water in my hydration pack and I didn’t want to start drinking Pepsi this early in the race as I was only at mile 7.

As I continued on I found myself in the company of Eric, who I know from the last ultra training group. We talked for a bit. As we neared the single track I took the lead, but soon he passed me. My legs were not feeling right. I kept a nice pace, but backed off a bit.
As we made our way around the lake my legs would come and go and I was just focused on keeping a nice comfortable pace. The views were gorgeous, but I dare not look to long as part of the trail had a nice drop off to the water. Going around the lake was very runnable and I was frustrated because I couldn’t find a rhythm. It had nice rollers that weren’t that large and the single track trail was smooth and for most fast, but for me it was just the opposite. Eric slowly left my sights as I slowed down, but not before the hornet invasion. I saw Eric fling his arms and I couldn’t figure out why, then I heard the buzzing sound and then I felt the searing pain as the hornet stung my wrist and flew into my face. I screamed and yelled out and then the guy behind me was yelling. I would say that in the line I was in more than half were stung.

After the invasion I had another runner on my heels. I mean he was really on my heels and he was doing everything I did. If I hiked he did, when I started to run he did and he stayed really close. This started to annoy me and I tried to pick up the pace, but he also picked up the pace. I was dragging this runner around the lake and I could feel my energy being drained. Usually having a runner trail me doesn’t bother me, but there is also a “zone” I need. This guy was invading my “zone “and I could do nothing about it. I finally stepped off the trail because it felt like he wanted by. As I stepped off he yells “Oh you are going to make me lead now?” and as he passes me he stops dead in the middle of the trail and doesn’t move. I am speechless, I manage to say “I thought you would run as it is a downhill” He starts walking and I am pissed off now, I tell him “move over than, let me by!” I retake the lead and just as I start running so does he. Really? Now, maybe it is just me but shouldn’t he have taken his turn pulling me for a bit, or was that asking too much? Eventually I make it into the next Aid Station with the guy right on my heels even though it is a fire road.
Here I grab some Pepsi, but the Pepsi isn’t flat it is still bubbling. I decide against any food, as my stomach doesn’t feel right. In fact it is bloated and as hard as a rock. I think I am not processing my food or water and that is why I am feeling sluggish. At this aid station I ask the volunteer “How far is the loop?” He tells me 8 miles with an aid station out there. All I really wanted to do was turn right and take the path the 20 milers were running. I really didn’t want to venture out on this loop. I am at a low point and it is far too early in this race to be hitting a low. There is still a ton of miles to go and I had no clue how long this was low going to last. I slowly make my way out of the aid station; I was walking this fire road just trying to wrap my mind around this 8 mile loop. How tough could it be?

I knew my stomach wasn’t feeling right, so I slowed down my water intake and took a salt pill. I also knew I needed some fuel so I started taking my GU, hoping it would digest quickly. I also started having severe back pain with each running step. I continued on and hit the single track to be treated to a gnarly climb once again. I swear this 8 mile loop felt like 7 of it was climbing. I was passed left and right, by at least 7 male runners. I couldn’t pull myself together. I did know that this low would and could go away but I had to start readjusting my fuel. I focused on fuel and salt and positive thinking. I kept telling myself it was a training run, time on my feet was the most important thing, just keep moving, one foot in front of the other, and you can do it. Eventually I found myself running again.
I was on a nice fire road with a runner just ahead of me. I was comfortable at this point just following, he kept going straight up a nice hill. I for some reason looked to my left and saw the orange ribbons and arrows. I yelled “Hey!!!” to him as he reached the top. He stopped and yelled back “Are you OK?” I ask him “are you in the race? Because the trail goes this way.” He comes back down, questioning me and saying he was just following the runner in front of him. Another came upon us and reassured us that yes in fact we were suppose to go the left. All three of us continue on the single track trail and those two guys slowly leave my sights. I am climbing again. I took some Tylenol a bit earlier to help with the achiness in my legs and the pain in my back. I keep telling myself that once the Tylenol kicks in everything will be alright. Stay comfortable and keep moving forward.

I finally make it to the aid station and am so relieved, only they don’t have any flat Pepsi; it is still in the can. I didn’t think that my stomach could handle the bubbles. I refilled my pack as it was running pretty low and it was also starting to warm up a bit. I was at mile 15 and I am still not feeling too hot. My legs were sluggish and not really responding, how long is this going to last? I left the aid station walking. I hit the fire road found myself run walking. Soon Robert passed me and I run with him a bit. As we neared the single track I tell him to take the lead, no really please take the lead. As he takes the lead I find myself walking again. I have a nice mile hike to the top, but a beautiful thing happened during the hike. My legs started to feel better and I found quickness with each step a new strength.
My legs were slowly coming back. As I crested the top I started running and it was the most awesome feeling of the day. It had been a long and slow 5 miles of death, but I was reborn and ready to finish this race. I took off on the descent and slowly started passing everyone who passed me. As I passed I yelled out in excitement “my legs are back!” I was gaining speed and enjoying this newly found strength. I cruised into the Aid Station, downed some Pepsi saw that there were 3 guys there and I slowly and quietly left the aid station. I was feeling good.  

This descent was a bit technical, but it was very short. I hit a fire road and kept on moving. I fueled with my GU and took another salt. During mile 17 to 19 I had passed everyone who had previously passed me. That was a superb feeling and one that carried me on. The adrenaline was unbelievable.
As I neared the water crossing I saw on the other side Grahm. He was just making his way out of the water and I yell out to him “Hey!” He yells back “Hi.” But I am not sure if he knows who it is. I quickly cross the water and now I have a new target. I am now hunting and my prey is Grahm. I don’t push myself on this next section as it is a bit of a climb. Grahm is a solid climber and quickly puts some distance between us. I knew that I was a good downhiller and if I had any chance to catch him that was where it was going to be. Slowly he would come into my sights and then slowly he would leave them.

There was a road crossing with a Sherriff there to help us safely across. I asked him as I crossed “how far is the guy in front of me?” He responded “maybe 100 yards” sweet!!! I am gaining on him. I could see a runner in my sights, but it isn’t Grahm. I slowly pass this runner and then I see Grahm again. I am within striking distance. We hit the single track and I call out to Grahm “Hey, you know I have been hunting you for the past three miles right?” He says “I know, I can feel it.” He steps off the trail and as I pass I ask him if everything is ok, he is having some trouble with his quads and calves. I offer him some salt and or Tylenol. He tells me he is good. I continue on knowing that he is now hunting me and I am the prey. That fuels me and I hike with a sense of urgency more so than before.  
I am climbing and I know he can climb, I have to keep moving, don’t stop keep moving. He is literally 5 paces behind me now and he could pass me at any moment. I hike faster and as I round the next corner I see it. The next to last aid station. What a sight to see. I inhale 3 Pepsi and for some reason I had in my head that it was 4 miles to finish. When I stated that nice fact they were quick to tell me “oh No you have 7 miles to go.” Umm not what I wanted to hear and boy did that slow me down a bit. It was pretty warm and the volunteers offered me a shower. A shower, what is that? Oh you mean you have a hose to cool me down. I took that offer and that cool water was so refreshing, I was probably over heating a bit. Before I left I refilled my pack and had the best thing every, ice put in my pack. That cool water tasted so good and was so refreshing. Grahm came into the aid station and we chatted a bit, he sat down and I told him “I need you to go first so that I can hunt you.” I was joking and he said he was hunting me. I left and Grahm told me he would leave 15 seconds after I did. Ok so I had a 15 second head start with 7 miles to go.

I can do this, I am feeling confident. I am also climbing the fire road that has minimal shade. I find myself hiking to the side of the road that the shade is on and I go back and forth from shade spot to shade spot. The fire road was dry and dusty and hot.
I run when I can and I see a few spectators, they tell me the next aid station is .5 miles away. I yell in excitement “Thank God” .5 I can do that. That .5 felt longer, but I made it.

The volunteers said “welcome back, and what do you need” “Um was I hear already?” “Yes this is the first aid station and you look much better now than when you first came through.” “ohh I don’t remember I choose to forget the first 3.89 miles, maybe I need some Pepsi.” I could have sworn I saw them at another aid station, but all I knew was I had 3.89 miles to the finish that was pretty much downhill. I chit chatted with them a bit. I told them I did TRT four weeks ago, and that this was a training run. I was pacing my friend at Rio in three weeks and then I had a 50 miler 2 weeks after that. Why I am not sure, it just all came out. The guy couldn’t believe I did TRT and told me that mountain races are tough but nice job getting the miles in. I saw another runner approaching and I quickly thanked them for being here and the talk. I was off, just 3.89 miles to finish.
I was hammering this downhill stretch. But it wasn’t all downhill, it had some rollers which I power hiked but as soon as I crested I was running. I was transitioning pretty well and my legs were still strong. I was almost done, I could hear the announcer but I still had 2 miles to go. Wow, only 2 miles especially after the low I hit from 12-17. It is amazing I managed to pull myself out of that low. 1 mile to go almost there and it really is all downhill from here. I hit pavement and I can see the finish line. I cross in 7:01:41.4, 63 overall. As cross I let out a huge breath of relief.

This race didn’t go exactly as I wanted it to. But what race does? I learned a lot out there during my low point. I pushed through and managed to correct my mistakes. I learned that solid food really doesn’t process fast enough for me. I need to have a combination of solid food and GU. I learned that I am a strong runner and that I will bounce back, it just might take some time.
It was time on feet that counted most, but the most memorable experience for me was when I came out of that low with legs that were alive and I slowly picked off each of those runners that had passed me. Even during my darkest moment I still have a competitive drive that will carry me to the end.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Mini Break

I am officially on a mini vacation! What do I do on a mini vacation? I sign up for a 50k, Run On The Sly. The race is held on a Sunday which is different for me as I am use to ultra races being on a Saturday. The other different thing about this race is Coach Nikon isn’t racing as he is preparing for Rio Del Lago 100 mile race. Most of you know that I am routine oriented. I thrive on routine.

My previous races I have always stayed the night at Coach Nikon’s house, I sleep on the couch or we car camp like we did for Tahoe Rim trail. I am always the first to rise and I typically do that without an alarm. We car pool to the races together and we wait for each other to finish. Well, I should say he waits for me as he is much faster and a more experienced runner than me.
I am branching out of my normal routine and forging where I have never been before. But who knows maybe Coach Nikon will make his way up to Fresh Pond. I won’t be alone at this race, a huge group from the Fleet Feet Ultra Running Training Program is going to be there including Garmin who will be running his first ultra in over a year. Also there will be some of my new friends I have made while out running. So it should be a great day.

Run On The Sly has a lot of options, a 12k, a half marathon, a 20 miler, and the 50k. I am doing the 50k. I thought it would be a good training run for me in preparation for Sierra Nevada 50 miler in September. This also gives me a chance to get a long run in that is fully stocked and supported. With my hectic work schedule my long runs have been sporadic sometime falling on a Thursday or every other Saturday. I knew I needed to get a quality long run in before Rio as I will be pacingCoach Nikon for the last 35 miles of his 100 mile run.
Run On The Sly is a perfect opportunity for me to test myself. I still haven’t really figured out my goal time, but I plan on running how my body feels and if all is right pushing myself a bit more then I usually do.

Today I am meeting up with Trailmomma, for a nice and easy run to help stretch my legs out and to also catch up since it has been a long time since we have seen each other. What do I have planned for the rest of my mini vacation? Not much, some drinks planned with some friends after the race on Sunday and a BBQ the following weekend. I am really looking forward to the fact that I do not have to work at two stores and I actually get to relax in a stress free environment.
Good luck to everyone who is running Run On The Sly, and I will see you out there.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Another Remodel For Me, Sort Of

The past week and half I have been pulling double duty with my job. I have been "volunteered" to help out a remodel store. If you remember last year I did the remodel at my store and was asked to do the remodel at another store and with some hesitation I said “Um, No Thank You.” But as fate would have it I am being “farmed” out as my team likes to call it for daily field trips to the remodel store.
What am I doing there, you might be wondering?
I am fixing the back room. The back room which was supposed to be completed in weeks 1-4 and they are now in week 6 of a 13 week remodel. The first day it wasn’t that bad, just helping them get caught up on the overabundance of back stock. Then I was asked to return to set up the metro racking for the P-Fresh coolers and freezers and dry room. A task that is very complex, especially when I don’t get a map, any profiles. I was just told to set up the metro racking. I spent a good solid 4 hours trying to untangle and get my brain function on remodel mode. Once I was able to get all my tools, the back room map from remodel, metro racking profiles, and my team ready it took about 4 hours to actually complete this task and move the racks into their respected rooms. Not a small or quick task to complete. It is very detailed oriented as it needs to be per the map.

Once I completed this project and printed reports and helped complete more back stock I thought I was done. Nope, I was volunteered to head over after my process is completed with “A” my team and really fix their back room. Can I just say it is very stressful having to push myself and my team to complete 160 hours of work load in just 4 hours so we can have time to really get things done over at the other store. It is challenging needless to say.
This week I really dived in and helped them problem solve some key issues. The first being they are really heavy in the back room with freight while the floor is light. I have a plan we are going to work on Friday of this week which will hopefully fill the departments that are 100% set. My list of things to do is rather large and overwhelming at times, but I only have so much time in the day to get it all completed. But with some of the suggestions hopefully going forward there won’t be any more issues on the floor and I can really just concentrate on re-organizing their back room and making it more efficient for their team. That is my ultimate goal, to give them a back room that I would want, one that is productive and easier for team members to navigate. I do have a lot of detail work to complete but I am hoping to have that completed once their back room empties out.
With me being so busy by the time I get home from my double duty I am completely wiped out. I have found myself forgetting to eat because once the creativity flows it is hard to stop for fear of losing that thought. I haven’t been running much, I guess it is a good thing it is my taper week. But I might be tapering a bit to much. I will be heading out this morning for a run around the block to shack the legs out and I have plans on Saturday to meet up with Trailmomma for a nice run at Cavitt. I haven’t run with Trailmomma in a long time. It will be good to catch up. Ironically I think the last time we really ran together was during my previous remodel, and now that we are getting together I am helping out in another remodel. Run On The Sly is on Sunday, I really don’t have a goal in mind. What am I saying I do. I have never seen the course so my goal could be totally off or right on. My past few races I have been spot on with my times give or take 15 minutes. I want to have fun out there and run a smart race as well.

Check back later for my goal time!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Busy Busy Busy

This week has been pretty hectic especially at work. It has been nonstop action, high stress, go go go time. There was an unannounced visit at work on Monday, which lasted a good 2.5 hours with a walk through the various departments at the store and a recap of our wins and opportunities. It seems the Logistics opportunity is cleanliness in the back room. Yup, there are a few problem areas of the back room that clutter builds up, no matter how diligent I am in following up. It is embarrassing when that happens. But on a good note, my operational numbers are high which is great and I have been sent out to two different stores to help them “clean” up their back rooms. Not bad! But, I had a lot on my plate that day which I didn’t get to complete as I really didn’t want to spend more than 10 hours that day working.

Tuesday we had a general merchandise trailer and on top of that, our normal P-Fresh trailer (fresh produce, dairy, meat and freezer product). The bad news being it arrived around 6:00 am when normally it arrives at 5:00. The P-Fresh trailer had been delayed. I immediately got my team moving to unload the 7 pallets. When I went to get my 2 freezer pallets one of the pallets had fallen over. I asked the driver what happened? He responded “I thought I heard something when I went around the corner.” I am not a rocket scientist, but wouldn’t it have been better to place the pallets side by side to avoid this situation. He had the pallets lined up all on the left side of the trailer. I challenged him on that because it was going to take time for my team and I to restack the fallen pallet. He didn’t’ understand, he was already running later than usual and now I have to restack a pallet. He said he would restack it but at this point I just needed my product so that I could get it pushed before my team left in an hour or so. Plus I still had some general merchandise to finish up. Long story short, we finished everything though it was a bit later then when we usually finish it, but it was done 100% and the floor was full and impactful. I also had 8 interviews scheduled which took a good 2 hours to complete. Not what I really wanted to do for 2 hours.

Wednesday was just as busy and again I didn’t get everything completed as I needed too. I had to postpone a meeting with my boss as I wasn’t prepared and I explained it to him that I have been slammed the past few days. He understood and rescheduled my meeting, which I am grateful for.

I haven’t been running as much this week. I have a few aches and pains, which is normal I guess. My back has been causing me some pain. It is the middle of my back and the pain shoots straight through to the front of my chest and causes me to lose my breath sometimes. I am having trouble sleeping because my back feels like something is catching and won’t release. I am not sure if I tweaked my back when I fell on Saturday or if it is stress related. Either way I haven’t wanted to run because of it. I thought a few extra days would do my body some good. My hand, well the swelling is going down each day. Each day I am able to move and bend the fingers and each day the pain is getting more manageable. It is healing, I have been buddy taping it while I am at work so that it can heal and have a bit of protection as I use my hands a lot at work. I can almost make a fist, but when I do it still hurts. My fingers still feel weak but glad the swelling is going down.
Today though, I did head out for a run. It was 6 easy miles, running how my body felt. It took a bit for my back to become comfortable but once it did I didn’t notice it. I have race next Sunday Run On The Sly 50k. So this week I guess is suppose to be my taper, even though I haven’t been logging many miles since Tahoe Rim Trail 50k back on July 16. I could race this race if I wanted to, or I could just use it as a training run for the Sierra Nevada Endurance Run 50 mile on September 24. I haven’t entirely decided want I want to do; I still have time to decide. Right?

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Eating Dirt and Leaving Blood on the Trails in Tahoe

Saturday morning I packed my running gear and headed up to Coach Nikon's cabin in Tahoe. He had invited some of us runners for a nice 20 mile run in Tahoe. Earlier in the week I didn't think I was going to be able to make it. My legs were still fatigued and not responding on my runs. But when I woke up on Thursday they felt solid so I ventured up there to check out some trails I have never been on.

There were a total of six of us, I knew from the company I was in I would be bringing up the rear and I was ok with that.

Heading out

We headed out and had to cross highway 50 to hit the single track trail. Once on the single track trail it was a 2.5 mile descent. The views were beautiful. We could see highway 99, the lake and trees forever.

Just breathtaking

Maybe a mile in we had a water fall crossing we had to negotiate. On the right side are the rocks and water fall that we walked through and on the left is a shear drop off. The water felt cool on my feet. I really didn’t notice the extinct of how high we were until the climb out. The trail had a nice gradual downhill till we reached the base. We even went through a canopy like orchard of Aspens with a little bit of snow runoff. I had to duck and bob and weave to avoid the branches but also had to remember to be careful as the drop off was still pretty significant.

Canopy of Aspens

Once at the base we regrouped as the group spread out a bit. I didn’t bomb the downhill section as I didn’t want to blow up my legs and there were still plenty of miles to go. Coach Nikon explained the next few miles to us. It was a rolling upward terrain. Very run able. The terrain was very run able and the gradual incline wasn’t as steep as I have seen on other trails in the Tahoe area. I respected some of the rolling terrain and found myself power hiking while the rest of group charged on.

At the base of the descent, regrouping

Coach Nikon was very awesome and would wait for me to make sure I was doing ok. That is one of the great things about running with him; he lets you and encourages you to run your own pace. It was a welcoming sight to see him and we would run a bit together, he would tell me the rest of the group were maybe 4-5 minutes ahead. Not that bad, I wasn’t that far behind then!

I was still climbing and I needed to walk. Coach Nikon looked excellent on the climb. It looked effortless for him. I lost sight of him but I knew I would be seeing him later. My legs during this climb were feeling pretty good. I was able to run sections at a time and then I would hike for a bit. I was off in my own little world when I heard Coach Nikon yell my name. I yelled back “I am here.” Thinking he didn’t hear me I blew my whistle so he would know I was just around the corner. He told me he had lost all his water from his camel back. He had accidentally popped off the bite valve and when he set the pack down to go to the bathroom, his water dumped out. We both sort of laughed at his situation, but he had a bottle on him and would be filling up at the lake. One good thing was it made his pack lighter as he was also carrying the filter to clean the lake water.

The little bit of snow we saw

We continued on our way, still climbing. I was getting a bit tired from climbs and frustrated for some reason. But then I remembered that on the return this would all be downhill and a section to make up some ground if I wanted. That seemed to calm me down for a bit. Not long I arrived at Round Lake, the group was waiting and we all regrouped. We had maybe 1.5-2 miles before our turn around spot. The lake was beautiful, there were a quite a few people enjoying the water and the sunshine.

Round Lake

We continued on and after leaving the lake we had another good climb. This climb was also very runnable and the group quickly left my sights. I climbed and eventually came out to a meadow and a short bit later the turn around. I could see the group in the distance doing “the mosquito dance” as we were near a water source refilling our water supply. The mosquitos were out in force once I stopped. I refilled my pack with Coach Nikon and we refilled his one bottle and quickly turned around and headed back.

Coming back to Round Lake

I knew the group was going to bomb the return and sure enough they did. I never saw them again. I took my time on the return just letting the trail carry me down. I remembered the way back so I wasn’t nervous about getting lost. I was again just in my own little world. I just kept placing one foot in front of the other and enjoying the moment and beauty of where I was. I could smell the pine trees, I could smell the dirt, I could hear the wind through the trees and I heard the insects buzzing about. My senses were enjoying every minute of this run. How lucky am I to be able to run such gorgeous trails?

Soon a voice took me out of my trance. It was Coach Nikon. He had come back for me to check on me. He told me the group had started the climb back to the cabin. I had maybe another mile before reaching that climb. We chit chatted as we ran down the mountain. Coach Nikon telling me he knew he didn’t need to worry about me because he knew I was a smart runner and wouldn’t freak out or get lost. I found those words comforting.

The trail was pretty rocky with some huge rocks, larger then both my fist combined. Coach Nikon was in the lead and I was talking about something when the next thing I knew I was face first on the trail. Both of my feet had been tripped up. It is explained best as a dropped phone call. One second I was talking the next just the sound of body hitting the trail and bouncing a bit. Coach Nikon immediately turns around and sees my laying on the trail. I think I told him I was ok, but I don’t even think I responded to his questions. My left fingers were hurting and bloody, I was caked in dirt on my left arm. My left arm had somehow gotten tangled up underneath me and my fingers were slammed into the ground. I think my force landed on my left fist as that is where most of my pain was. I was still laying on the trail trying to make sense of what just happened. Coach Nikon said I was real lucky because my head landed perfectly in-between two rocks. If I had landed a few inches either way my head would have hit the rocks and a more serious injury would have occurred. I started to cry from the shock and slowly gathered myself up off of the trail trying to still asses what happened. I told him “my fingers” that is all I could get out. He asked if I could move my fingers, I could but it was painful, there wasn’t any immediate swelling. As I got to my feet I wanted to get moving but Coach Nikon was still making sure I was ok. He told me not to move too quickly to stay put, he didn’t want me to pass out. I must have been in shock from the impact. I remember him telling me to stay put. Slowly things started to register again and I quietly told him “I think that fall scared me more than anything.” My fingers were bloody and throbbing and we slowly continued on down the trail, slowly meaning we were walking and then started running a few yards later.

I don’t know what I tripped over but I hit the ground hard. Coach Nikon didn’t see it but he heard it.

My battle wounds, do I look funny in this picture? As in really short?

As we finished the descent and were picking up the fire road to take us to the climb out, Coach Nikon was telling me how he had knocked himself out on a run awhile ago. As he was reminiscing his right foot caught a root and I see him flying to the ground. His fall happened so quickly he didn’t have time to try and recover. I remember seeing his right leg take out his left leg and as he hit the ground his water bottle flies out of his hand and bounces on the trail. I am in shock at what I just saw. We are both laughing, because it just happened so quickly. His foot found the one obstacle on the trail. I am laughing so hard that I almost pee my pants. I help him up and by this point we still don’t understand what just happened. We are both laughing so hard at what just happened to both of us. As I am typing this I am laughing at the scene in my head.

Showing off his battle wounds, don't mind the water bottle.

Since we both just fell and are pretty banged up Coach Nikon suggest we walk for a bit to regroup. I was totally ok with that. My hand was burning and I cooled it down in the river. We ended up walking the fire road to the single track trail. There were a few hikers out who looked us up and down and cross eyed. We both looked like the walking wounded. We were caked in dirt, I could taste the dirt in my teeth, I could feel the dirt on my face, my left arm was dirty, the front of my shirt was covered in dirt and a little blood, my left hand had some deep cuts on it and my legs and shorts were covered in dirt. Coach Nikon looked a little better, he wasn’t as covered in dirt as he fell in the grass, but he did have a little blood on his shirt from me and he had scrapped his arms up a bit. The walking wounded. We still had at least 4 miles to go.

Water fall crossing

We started the climb out keeping a nice steady pace. By this time the trail was basking in the sunlight and it was a bit warm. Hiking up I realized how close the drop off is and one mistake could send us over the edge. We neared the water fall and cautiously crossed. Then the real steep part is upon us. Coach Nikon told me it reminded him of the climb up Devils Thumb. We could see where we needed to go which sucks because of how steep it was. Once on the top we had on last major obstacle, crossing highway 50.

In the middle of the water fall

The view going down the cliff, it really was steeper then this looks

The trail, notice how close it is to the cliff?

Traffic was much heavier and as we started to job across a car came around the bend and we both started sprinting as we still had a ways to go. We made it across and slowly made our way back to the cabin. The last mile was brutal, we were so close but we were still climbing on the pavement. We ran the small descent and arrived back at the cabin in one piece, well sort of.

Jumping Bean doing planks after the run

Doing bicep curls with a coke and a beer, much better then planks!

The run was great; it was just what I needed as my last long run before Run on The Sly 50k in two weeks. Coach Nikon gave me a confidence boost saying a 5 hour 20 mile run at elevation is really good, especially with the climbs we did today. I always enjoy running with Coach Nikon because he is very positive and encouraging and that is very contagious. Thanks to everyone who ventured out on this adventure.

 Out of the 6 of us 3 of us fell. 50% ate dirt on the trail in Tahoe. I left some blood there and I took some Tahoe dirt home with me as it is embedded in the cuts on my fingers.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Feeling Good

The past couple of weeks my legs have not being feeling 100%. They have been achy after a long days work, stiff when I first wake up in the morning, and all around sore and fatigued. My longest run since TRT 50k was 10 miles with a few 6 miles thrown in to try and loosen them up. Nothing was working, it was hurting to run and my body was feeling it.
I did have a new pair of shoes on order which I picked up on Wednesday of this week. You know what the most amazing thing was? The next Thursday, I woke up and my legs felt alive, no aches, no stiffness no pain. It was almost as if my legs and feet new that I had a new pair of shoes and my legs were no ready to actually run again.  I headed out that day for my 10 mile run and everything clicked. Now I do believe the new shoes had something to with it but I also believe that my recovery from TRT just took a bit longer. I also had just returned back to work so my body overall was stressed out to the max with trying to adjust to my abnormal work schedule and stress of being on my feet all day long.
I am very glad that my legs have been feeling better because I almost didn’t want to head up to Tahoe today for a run with Coach Nikon and Jumping Bean. I didn’t want to get there and have my legs rebel at me, but I don’t think that will be an issue.  Plus this long run will give me chance to really think about an opportunity that came my way. I can’t touch too much on it, but I will say it is a big decision not to be taken lightly.  An opportunity that won’t last forever either.  
I am glad my legs are feeling better and I am sure today’s run will help me clear my head. Here is too a great run, one that will help recharge me.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Lil Man and Fleet Feet

Today after work was Meme time with Lil Man. I had the honor of picking him up from preschool. Once I arrived and rounded the corner he was already running to me and jumping into my arms. It was almost as if he knew it was me. He gave me the biggest hug and he couldn’t wait for our special day to begin.

Our first stop of course was Fleet Feet. We wanted to check out the new renovations that have been taking place. Let me tell you the store looks awesome. It is a totally different store visually stunning. If you haven’t checked it out you need to head over there, it looks awesome.

This is where all the cool kids put their Fleet Feet Stickers

His collection

After the tour of the new and improved Fleet Feet Fair Oaks store both Lil man and chit chatted with the staff, who have become very fond of Lil Man. When he walks in everyone says hi to him and he enjoys it. He gets a huge smile on his face and he is even getting braver in the store. This time around I didn’t have to go to Captain Kirk’s office with him he went all by himself. He even explored the back room as he was looking for the exercise balls he uses to do his arm exercises.

During today’s visit there was almost a minor situation as in my shoes that were ordered last week might have been sold. I knew that I couldn’t take 1 more week in the shoes I was in, but Captain Kirk came to the rescue and found them in the back room. Thank You Captain Kirk, I almost had to buy the shoes with pink on them.  Lil Man of course was paying really close attention to the conversation and had no problem telling Captain Kirk “you messed up Meme’s shoes” and once Captain Kirk told Lil Man he fixed everything Lil Man said “You fixed everything!” In the long run I have my shoes, Lil Man challenged Captain Kirk, and Captain Kirk saved the day!

Before we left Lil Man was given a present.
Bringing the present home

Getting ready to unwrap the present

If you remember he is in charge of store operations, basically it is his job to inspect the store for any outstanding violations i.e.; the door mat needs to be outside, shoes in the back room need to be put away, ECT…you know things everyone notices. (Not really everyone) Today since there is a new door mat he was allowed to take the old door mat home. But before we could bring home he needed to vacuum it. Then it was rolled up and placed in the back of my car. What a special day, I mean it is not every day that you get an awesome Fleet Feet door mat. Do you have one?

Once we arrived home we had to put the mat in its place and what better place then to designate a spot in the garage as his parking space for his buzz light-year bike.

Parking his bike

Yup looks good Meme

 After that it was time to get ready for swim lessons.

"Meme I am ready"

Off to swim lessons we go:
-Swim suit on-check

- sunglasses-check

-chocolate milk-check
-book for car ride-check.
He was set. He did awesome at swim lessons, his 15 minute lesson actually ended up being 25 minutes. He showed me how he could blow bubbles, hold his breath, roll over, swim arm over arm splashing in the water. He swam the entire length of the pool rolling over on his back to catch his breath. Pretty impressive for a three year old.

Keeping entertained

All in all it was a great day with Lil Man. He had exceptional listening skills today and was a little gentleman. I always enjoy my special time with him and today was really special.

This is where I am sure Traildog is spending his time while I am away

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Getting Enough Calories

I have been back to work now a full 7 days. The first few days my sleep cycle was totally non existent or I should say I was no where to be found. I was so tired and exhausted from returning to work all I could do was sit. Now let me remind you that I am on my feet for a good 9 hours a shift give or take a very quick sit down break like maybe 5 minutes if I am lucky. My body is tired from the day and also still trying to adjust to getting to sleeping at a weird hour.

With that I haven't run that much. The last run I did was on Friday and it was only 6 miles. My legs last week weren't feeling "right." They felt tired, loaded up, dead, heavy the list goes on. I thought it best to rest a few a days and see if that helped. I rested after work of course all weekend and again on Monday. Today Tuesday after work I decided I should get some miles in. I mean I do have a race in August and then my 50 miler in September.

I did do some thinking while I was resting, and I thought that maybe just maybe my legs were feeling this way because of lack of calories. Maybe I am not eating enough. I eat a bowl of cereal with some fruit in the morning, glass of water and my coffee. But recently I am finding myself starving just 3 hours into my shift. I do a lot of brisk walking at work, some lifting and pushing of tubs and flat beds, pulling of pallets, and the occasional climb up a ladder. But 3 hours in and I am starving. My stomach is growling at me and demanding some food.

The next time I eat is usually a handful of pretzels or goldfish and that is maybe 7 hours into my shift, I deny the initial hunger early on. If I remember I might have had a sip of water, even though my water cup is sitting on my desk in plain sight, but I don't always walk to my desk. I usually get some real food in me when I get home. That consist of a cheese stick, followed by a sandwich and then some water and then I might run and play with Lil Man and head to bed. So probably not enough calories for what I need my body to do.

Going forward I need to eat a heartier breakfast, maybe throw in a bagel with peanut butter. I could even take that to work to snack on a few hours in. I also need to do a better job at packing more food to eat. Today I managed to eat a chicken salad sandwich, and a breakfast bowl which had eggs and bacon and potatoes. When I got home after running this afternoon I enjoyed some fresh vegetables, mashed potatoes and chicken. A little bit better, but I need to find consistency with my calorie intake. I need more calories, that way I wont be craving the junk food which I try to avoid and maybe I wont feel so tired and irritable. Hmm what a concept.

Lil Man has missed the past few days as I am house sitting for some friends. I did head over there after work today, I ran 6 miles cleaned up and waited for Lil Man to come from pre-school. He told his mommy when he saw my car "Meme is home from the other house." I find it cute that he remembered where I was. I also learned that Traildog has not been very good. My brother in law just put in a new drop system and Traildog was caught chewing on it. Not a good boy.

Tomorrow is Meme day with Lil Man. I get to pick him up from pre-school and spend some quality time with him. I even get to take him to swim lessons and I am sure a trip to Fleet Feet will be made. I can't wait, he even remembered when I came over for a short visit today.

Anybody else struggle with getting enough calories?