Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Day Filled With Surprises!

Today marks the end of 2011, and what a year it was. I can not wait to see what 2012 brings.

Today I was surprised at work. My sister and Lil Man dropped by to do some shopping and also to say hi. Lil Man is very excited about his game night. He picked up a new video game for the WI, his Christmas present from Grandpa Al.

Not only did they surprise me at work but they even surprised me by stopping by the new place and having lunch with me. Lil Man was super excited to see my new place....Traildog. Traildog was so excited to have company. Although he was a bit upset when we left to eat lunch.

After lunch we came back to my place and played a bit. When it was time for him to go he just wanted 5 more minutes. I think next Tuesday when he comes over for a few hours he is going to have a blast. He loved "his playroom" and even thanked me for it. The funny part was I don't have any toys and that is the first thing he asked me. Hey, Meme where are the toys? My answer, You didn't bring any over.

After the great lunch and visit Traildog and I headed out for our last run for 2011. We ended up doing only 6 miles. My legs were feeling a bit off, or maybe it had something to do with the rather large lunch I had an hour before.

Out on our run I was also surprised once again by running into a Trail Turtle Shannon and Ralph. They were both out enjoying a nice bike ride. I visited with Ralph for a bit and learned that we both live near each other and we both frequent The Beer Garden. We will most definitely need to get together for a drink or two.

Today seemed like it was full of surprises. Sometimes that is just what is needed, just like yesterday Coach Nikon and Lily stopped by work and I was given the best hugs by them. Again a pleasant surprise. What a way to end 2011.

Happy New Year Everyone!!!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Guilted into Running

Have you ever had one of those days when you get home and you just aren't feeling it. You really don't want to go for a run. The couch looks so inviting. Yup, that was me yesterday. Wednesday after work when I came home I really wasn't feeling my run. I was tired, my stomach was growling and I was so hungry that I felt sick. My legs were tired and I really just wanted to put my legs up and relax.

But I didn't. Lil Traildog wouldn't let me. He sat down in front of me and wagged his little tale and than would sit in front of his leash wagging his tale. He really wanted to go for his run. Talk about pressure. So I did what any good parent would do, I ate something, changed my clothes and laced up my shoes grabbed his leash and off we went. We ended up doing 6 miles.

What I really wanted to do was a recovery run. A very nice and easy run, but Traildog being the little spite fire that he is pushed the pace and I did whatever I could to keep up. This run wasn't going to be easy. Traildog pushed me and pushed me. He was having the time of his life. He loves being out and running and enjoys his daily runs with me.

Of course I was happy that Traildog pushed me to get out the door and happy that he pushed the pace. I do believe that he has the running bug and that makes me happy. I always enjoy when we get back how quickly he goes and lays down. He is usually out the rest of the day/evening. Sleeping soundly and I am sure dreaming of next big adventure with his mom.

I was guilted into running, but I am glad we went out. It has been tough on him ever since we moved out as he doesn't have someone home with him all the time and running gives him the exercise he needs and gives us some quality time together. I have to keep him happy and he keeps me happy!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Santa Came and Santa Went

Christmas for me is very hectic, well I am sure that it is very busy for everyone. For me this year I was working Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Luckily our family get together wasn't until mid day on Christmas day. Since I was working both those days I asked my boss for the day after Christmas off. It only made sense and seemed fair or else I wouldn't have been able to enjoy this Holiday. He said yes, which meant I would be able to see my little nephews open their presents and see their excitement and also see the meltdowns followed by more excitement and more meltdowns. But it was totally worth it.

Christmas day I headed over to my sister house with Traildog so that we could spend a little time together plus I wanted Lil Man to open his present and enjoy it as we wouldn't be able to take it with us. He was very excited when I arrived and immediately asked me if he could open the biggest present. I of course said yes, but first I told him I had a special surprise. His excitement was building and I could feel his anxiousness. I told him that Santa Claus came to my house and dropped off a present for him. He became very excited at this point and ran around the house literally in circles because he was overjoyed. Santa not only came to his house but my house as well!

He looked at me and said "He came through the front door, right?" Yup, that is correct he came through the door as I don't have a chimney and Lil Man had remembered that conversation and my fear that Santa would skip my house. But he didn't. He showed up with presents in hand. Lil Man opened his "gift from Santa" and wanted to watch it right away. Lil Man had received The Smurfs movie. you see when I let Lil Man one time watch t.v. in my room the smurfs were on and ever since than when he asks to watch t.v. in my room he always wants to watch the smurfs. How did Santa know????

After that he opened his biggest present of all.......a little tike's basketball hoop. I immediately went to work putting it together, I only had to take it apart once as I put it together wrong. We took it outside and Lil Man showed me his Michael Jordan moves......I think he liked it!

He couldn't wait to open his present!

His shirt is right for the present!

Look he is dunking it already!

Check out that air!

The best one yet!

Next we all piled into the car and headed up to Vacaville to celebrate with my other sister and my nephew Q. When we arrived I told Q that Santa had come to my house and dropped off a present for him. When Q heard this he was so excited that he jumped up and down clapping his hands and than he ran in a circle he was so excited. Santa thought that since my sister was very neat and organized and doesn't like messes that playdo would be the best thing for Q. He was super excited while my sister may not have been. Santa Loves you! hehehe......

Q gift from Santa

I think he is happy!

Q also received some Cars toys from the movie as he is really into it now. I believe that Cars the movie was his first movie that he actually sat down for the entire show. Both nephews loved their gifts from their Meme and best of all I enjoyed being with them and my family.

just chillaxin!

ahh mom and son!

I ended being up for 22 hours before I went to bed. Would I do it again? You bet, as seeing them so excited over their Santa gifts and running around and screaming because of their excitement was worth it. Christmas was all about the nephews and being with my family and playing pass the phone around! I wouldn't have changed a thing.

I almost forgot about the music we made!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Double Down Wednesday

Double down Wednesday was actually a lot of fun. The first run was a quick 6 miler with Traildog. I love Traildog so much, he keeps me honest as all I really wanted to do was come home from work and sit on the couch with my legs up as my days this week have been stressful. But he knew the right thing for me us was to hit the trails and enjoy the cool mid day sun on our faces and the light breeze on our backs.

That is what we did we headed out and I can't believe how well my legs have been responding. The legs are feeling strong, the tight hamstrings I have been having trouble with are feeling a lot better. I would like to chalk that up to the dedicated foam rolling I have been doing before and after my runs along with some light stretching. It is working as the hamstrings are feeling free once again and my form is coming back.

My legs are feeling good the leg turnover is there and you know what else I was enjoying the run. My mind was free and clear for once. All the chaos and craziness that happens at work this time of year was gone. It was peaceful and just what I needed to recharge to get through the final two days of mad crazy holiday shopping.

After our awesome 6 mile run I called up Coach Nikon and we decided to hit the trails for a nice 5 mile run before the Fleet Feet Ultra Training Group had there workout. Sadly I am not apart of that great group this year as my work schedule really wasn't able to work around it. I really wish I was still apart of that group as I have learned so much and the friendships I have made will always be.

I decided to leave Traildog home for this run, as I didn't want to push his body. But I will say, he really wanted to come and it broke my heart to leave him home in a nice warm cozy house. I ran to Karen's Bakery which was about 1.27 miles and hooked up with Coach Nikon. We caught up on our lives as we hadn't really spent anytime together in awhile. He told me about his "movie drama" at work as he put it. And as I listened to his story it totally was a scene from a gangster movie. I laughed so hard that is until I saw the Pigeons.

We were running across the bridge and I was near the outside and I looked up and literally inches away from face were 2 huge Pigeons. I immediately jumped across the narrow path and almost threw Coach Nikon into the pigeons. I think I almost jumped the barrier, but I didn't. Coach Nikon just started laughing uncontrollable and both of us thought of our good friend Trailmomma. Ohh how I miss running with her. I just had  a Trailmomma moment!

We continued on our run, all the while I was on the lookout for the 2 Pigeons to come and attack me at any moment. At the start of this run my legs felt a bit heavy but they soon loosened up and we hit a nice stride and soon we were turning around. On the return we talked about upcoming races as I haven't really put my 2012 plan together. Or I should say I haven't written it down, I think I know what I want to do but I am not positive.

Back at Karen's Bakery I waited around and said to Hi to some of the runner group and of course everyone asked where Traildog was. Next time I will bring him. As they started their run I headed home as our paths were going the same way. I peeled off at my left hand turn and ended up with 13.5 miles for the day in my first of many Double Down Wednesday's.

With my work schedule I have to find a way to get the miles in when I can and doubling up on work outs one day a week is the plan. Plus I get a chance to run with someone as I don't run much with my friends. Again that darn work schedule. Thanks Coach Nikon for a great run and I hope that we can continue to Double Down on Wednesday.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Lil Man and Traildog Together Again....For a bit at Least

Yesterday I was off. I enjoyed a quick 6 mile run in the chilly morning, than I started and finished my Christmas shopping and I even wrapped the presents. Next it was time for "Meme time!" with Lil Man, my best bud. Of course Traildog was invited to come along as Lil Man has really missed him. This is how the phone conversation went on Monday:

Me: You want me to bring Traildog?
Lil Man: YEAH!!!! Make sure you bring his harness, his collar and his leash!
Me: OK, I wont forget......Only I did forget something and he noticed!

Traildog, minutes before we were leaving. I don't think he was ready!

Being a good boy in the car!

I can't believe he is telling me what I need to pack for Traildog, how cute! Anyways off Toby and I went to enjoy some Lil Man time. I arrived early and let Toby play in the backyard while I unloaded the car with the presents. What a neat surprise I hope.

Ramsie enjoying her bone, Lil Man thought she managed to get into a Christmas present and told her she was suppose to wait for Christmas! He is all about the rules.

Traildog even got in on that bone action.

Lil Man found his present, I wonder what it could be?

It has been awhile since I have watched Lil Man and boy have I forgotten how slow time can go. Now don't get me wrong, I love my nephew, and I even had the entire hour planned out, I just didn't realize how quickly we would blow through the activities.

First up it was time to play with Traildog out side. We threw his ball and Lil Man wanted to play with his ball. So we bounced it back and forth until he thought it would be great idea to get as close as he could and hit me with it.

Look at Traildog go, he even ran 6 miles earlier that day! Full of energy and life.

Then it was time for some more ball with Traildog and he also needed to mow the yard. He grabbed his lawn mower and cruised around the yard. He is a good worker.

Mowing the yard!

He is a good helper

After all that work it was time for hot chocolate mile with marshmallows! He loves this special treat and it is an expectation anytime it is Meme time. I think it is our special thing, even though I don't drink milk. He even received extra marshmallows, but please don't tell mom.

He had been waiting for this all day!

Big smile, I think he got some chocolate milk on his fingers

Next, we headed back out side where he told me he had to get to work. His job he told me is he fixes things. He loaded up his jeep, with this super long PVC pipe and drove around the yard to his work. After successfully parking and avoiding damaging anything with the rather large load he was ready to fix the pipe. Together we fixed the pipe and put it in place. It was a tough job and somebody had to do it. After a tough job it was time for a break and a rest on the lawn chair.

Driving his load to "work"

Very serious when he is driving

While he rested for a bit I played with Traildog. All this activity we did within the first 15 minutes. But never fear, I had a plan. Afterwards we headed back inside to run around the house with Traildog and than we enjoyed a short show. During this time span he looked at Traildog and yelled out "Meme! Traildog doesn't have his collar! I told you to bring it." Yes, Lil Man was right, I left it at home. Sorry Lil Man, you did tell me to bring it.

Hanging with Traildog

 It was great to visit with Lil Man and enjoy some special Meme time. In two weeks we have another day planned, but this time he is coming over to my new place. Guess I need to buy some chocolate milk for him. Thanks Lil Man for a great afternoon, it really made my day!

Traildog had a great visit and I can't wait for Lil Man to come visit us!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Surfin Santa

This past Wednesday was Lil Man Christmas program at his pre-school. He had a very special part and front row seats were reserved for his family. This year, I wasn't going to miss out on his Christmas program like I did last year. This year I sat front row and center to enjoy his program.

He had to show me his Candy House!

The teacher's at his school have been working with the students since before Halloween. It is amazing how many songs the little kids memorized. That is dedication on the teachers part and also on the students part.

Mom (my sister) and Lil Man!

Lil Man spilled the beans and told me what his special part was.....or maybe I should say I asked
 so many questions that he told me. What???? I wanted to know!

The entire School!

This year he was to be the surfin Santa. He was very excited about it. The teachers later told us he was picked because he was so animated and was the least likely to get shy in front of all the parents and family. They were right, he is very animated and talking to him is always exciting because I never know what he is going to say or how vocal he will get about it.

The program consisted of 9 songs: Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer
                                                        What a World We'd Have
                                                         Jingle Bells
                                                         The Angel Band
                                                         The Merry Hula
                                                         Must Be Santa
                                                         I'm Gettin Nuttin' For Christmas
                                                         Christmas Time's A Comin
                                                         We Wish You A Merry Christmas

Lil Man the surfin Santa!

Listening to Lil Man and his classmates really got me in the Holiday Spirit, and I thought they did awesome. I am so proud of him. I enjoyed it so much that all the stress from earlier had melted away and I was left with a open heart, a smile on my face, and a laughter throughout.

Me and Lil Man

He was serious about ringing the bells. "Are you ringing your bell?"

Thank you Lil Man for such a special evening and I can't wait to celebrate Christmas with the family!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Wildlife Sunday

Within 16 minutes of my trail run this morning the four of us, Captain Kirk, Wonder Woman, and Power Girl had seen a huge buck, than a herd of Turkeys, than on the left maybe 5 feet from the trail a huge mama bear and her rather large cub and than not 10 feet later another mama bear and her 2 cubs. That was 5 bears!

The best phrase I have ever heard, "Quick, everyone grab a rock!"

This was all within 16 minutes of our run. We started our run at the Cool fire station and the plan was to do the Olmsted Loop and hook up with the secret trail than back on the Olmsted Loop. Only we hadn't planned on seeing 5 bears. I was taking up the rear, as the other three are super fast, but I did manage to somewhat keep them in my sights. 

As I was running in my own little world I see two runners coming up the hill, at first I didn't know who they were as my friends didn't need to stop for me at this point as we were on a fire road. Than I realized it was Power Girl and Wonder Woman sprinting up the tiny hill. Then I heard the words "BEAR!!!" Captain Kirk was busy making loud noises as us girls were keeping our distance. Than I saw the cub and the gigantic mama bear not 20 yards off the trail. Wonder Woman told me the bears when they came upon them were maybe 5 feet from the trail.

As we approached Captain Kirk I heard him say "Quick everyone grab a rock!" Wonder Woman and I grab the biggest rocks we could find, but small enough that we could throw them if we needed too. Captain Kirk had picked up three rocks and Power Girl picked up a medium size rock. Wonder Woman and I weren't taking any chances. As we ran by we tossed our rocks thinking we were in the clear and we were nervously laughing and talking about the experience when on our right maybe 10 feet from the first bear sighting we saw another bear. Dang it and we already dropped our rocks.

As we slowed to a walk Captain Kirk yelled a bit, and than I heard him say "Ohh crap there are two cubs, lets get out of here!!!" and off we went, sprinting as fast as we could. This group of bears were not going to back down, a huge black bear and two rather large brown cubs.

As we ran away, we again started laughing and joking around, I made the comment that next time we should all throw our fuel! I  have had beer encounters before, SNER 50 miler but nothing like this. This was way more intense I mean 5 bears within the first 16 minutes. Crazy!!!

I knew that this was going to be a great run. When Captain Kirk is leading the charge we always have great adventures on the trails. I am just glad I was with others.

As our run continued on I slowly started fading, as I couldn't keep up with them. They were kind enough to wait/or yell which direction they went. That is the great thing about the ultra community and running with some great friends. My legs started to ache as the hills became more intense. I thought maybe I was low on salt so I took a salt tab and that seemed to help right away. I still could run the downhills pretty well and I just knew that I needed to slow the pace down and listen to my body because it was telling me it wasn't liking what was going on.

The miles seemed to tick by pretty fast, or it might have just been me. I was really enjoying the single track and the greenness of the bushes and the stillness of being in nature. Ever so often I would here the scuffling of birds and a bird even caused me to yell. I was a bit jittery after the bear encounter.

As we neared the home stretch I was still smiling and was just enjoying being on the trails. I have missed them as I have been staying close to home. I couldn't have asked for better running conditions today and I wouldn't have changed a thing. Being able to run with good friends is price less and better yet being able to experience seeing 5 bears with my friends is extraordinary and I am sure that we will never forget today's run. I know I wont.

Thank you Captain Kirk, Wonder Woman and Power Girl for a solid 14 miles.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Catching Up

I have been without Internet for the past week. It actually wasn't that bad....umm what am I kidding. I totally missed on keeping up with some of my favorite blogs not to mention facebook. But I am back and in full operation plus it is wireless now, so much better, I am a happy little trail runner now.

I have been running, Traildog has been running. In fact this brisk morning we completed 14 miles on the trails and pavement near the lake. When I started this morning I actually had no plan on what I was going to do, no fuel and no water, but there is water fountains through out the run so I wasn't too worried about it.

Traildog started us off on a mad dash and I did everything I could to keep up, I looked down at my Garmin and noticed I was running sub 8:00 minute miles. I guess all this running with Traildog has really increased my pace. The crazy and fast runs I mean the tempo runs Traildog makes me do have really increased my speed. It felt really comfortable and my legs felt great. So great in fact that I just kept going past the 3 mile turn around, so great that I kept going past the 5 mile turn around. But once I hit the 7 mile mark in 1:03 I knew I should head back in. Not for my case but for Traildog as I didn't want him to have a serious bonk, plus this is the furthest he has run since the 12.3 around the lake a few weeks ago.

On the return my legs were still feeling great, but I knew I needed to slow the pace down for Traildogs sake. He was locked on my heel, his gaze was telling me that he needed a little break. After his little break of a slower pace he increased his speed and we took off. We arrived at the 14 mile mark in 2:07. I was pretty excited because I felt like I could have kept going and my legs didn't feel stiff. Traildog looked tired and after I feed him again, he immediately went and layed down and he is still sleeping 4 hours later. Such a good boy. Glad I was able to get the miles which brings my weekly mileage up to 25 miles with three more days to go!!!!

Saturday is the LOTTERY for Western States. I am super excited about heading up to Placerville to be there. I have instructions from Coach Nikon to text him with names of our running friends who get in and especially to text him if he gets in or I get in.

Lots going on, work has been super busy, but I haven't let that slow me down. I am more focused than ever. I am also eating a lot more which I think is a good thing. I eat a bagel for breakfast, a few hours later I have been eating a Turkey sandwich, a few hours after that a snack like goldfish or an apple, than it is dinner time. I am glad that I have finally figured out how to get food in me while being at work. All though sometimes I am eating the sandwich that I find myself walking and eating. But at least it is fuel, to get me through my long days.

Looking forward to the Lottery this weekend and my last weekend off until January. Ohh how I will miss two days off in a row. But I will find a way to get my runs in as Traildog expects me too.

Thursday, December 1, 2011


My place is close to this awesome Beer Garden/Pub. It serves some great food and has a pretty awesome beer selection. I think I go there about once a week. What can I say, I like the place and it is close. Last night I headed over there and met my cousin whom I haven't seen in a few years. Ever so often we contact each other and check in and than time goes by and than next thing I know she is calling me to see how things are going. 

Wednesday night at the Beer Garden is Flip for your Dinner. Basically the waitress flips a coin heads you pay, tails it is on the house. Last night we WON!!!! Free FOOD!!!! We only had to pay for our drinks. How awesome is that. The food is fantastic and not expensive. I can drink two beers and enjoy a pulled pork sandwich with fries for under $20. Not bad I think.

It has a huge outdoor seating area, pool tables, I think Foosball and NFL all day on Sunday. It's a neat place and I know I will be back for sure.

My cousin and I caught up for a good 3 hours just talking and enjoy each other company. My cousin is really easy going and full of life and when she walks into a room you (I) can feel her awesome energy. We picked up right where we left off. I hadn't seen her in at least 2 years. The last time I saw her I was training for my first 50 miler. Seems ages ago.

It was awesome to catch up and I really can't wait for the next time we get together. It is nice to get out every now and than for me and with my hectic schedule it makes it even harder to see any of my friends or family.

Today I actually slept in and enjoyed a relaxing morning just lounging around with no particular schedule. After lounging for a few hours I treated Traildog to a quick 10 mile run along the parkway. I think I exhausted him because as soon as we came home he is sound asleep on his bed right next to me.

The run for me was awesome. My leg turnover is getting quicker and I can feel my motivation coming back. I know I haven't logged anything longer then 12 miles but it is down time for me and I am recharging my batteries. I will say this, I can't wait to hit the trails with my friends once all this crazy retail holiday season slows down.

I think it was smart of me to take a few months off and just focus on the basic and run what I wanted. I have had a few high mileage weeks which is great and I can feel that spark coming back and the twinkle in my eye is shinning. Running is great for me and I am very lucky that I found it with the help of my friends.

I am patiently waiting for December 10th to come. The LOTTERY is slowly approaching and I can't wait to find out. I am looking forward to my race schedule next year and I know that there will be a 100 miler on the docket!