Monday, January 23, 2012

A quick 14

This weekend has been very full for me which is rare for me. It has been all about the family and if I had time squeezing a run in, which I did manage early Saturday morning. Saturday I was ready to run by 0 dark 30. It was 7 am when I started and I was on a time frame. I had only a few hours to get my run in as I was needed elsewhere.

Off I went starting from Cavitt. I was a Trail Pigeon on a mission. My goal I was aiming for was 14 miles. I knew I could get that kind of mileage in in about 2 hours and 20 minutes. I really needed at least an 18 miler, but I just didn't have the time and I couldn't risk not getting back in on time. Plus I had just run 14 miles from Auburn to Cool and back on Thursday and I didn't know how my legs were going to feel.

My legs during this run were feeling great. I wasn't tight and my feet were light on the trail. It felt awesome to be running the pace I was running. I was pushing it on the way out. I knew I could hit my turn around in about 1 hour and 10 minutes, but I would have to move. I was running the hills, I was bouncing off the rocks, I was having fun and running with a smile on my face. I was focused on my task and kept moving. I was feeling so good at the turnaround that I really wanted to go for more mileage, but I knew better.

At the turnaround I took in a GU and 2 salts as the day was warming up and it was getting pretty humid out. I was off, heading back to my car and I was still running most of the ups and really pushing it on the flats. The return was awesome because I ran into a few running groups and that really energized me. I was given one group high fives as they ran past.

I also ran into the Fleet Feel Ultra Training Group, who were out running a training run. I think they logged 18-19 miles that day. It was great to see them because I stopped and talked to a few of my friends I hadn't seen in awhile and I am sure you could hear me calling out "HEY!!!! HEY!!!!" as a big train of them ran past. They were looking good and I was feeling really good. My legs felt awesome, my fueling on this run seemed to be spot on and I was still having fun even though I had just run through the grinder. In fact it wasn't so much of a grind this day as just a small obstacle to overcome.

As I pushed myself on the fire road all I could think about was how fast I ran that fire road during the Sierra Nevada 50 Miler Endurance run. Looking back on that day I always tell myself anything is possible if I just believe. I believe that the mind is a powerful tool.

I arrived back at the car in total time 2:20. Not bad for a quick 14 on the muddy trails. It was a great run, one that I hope to repeat in the future. I was focused, my mind was clear, my legs were responding and I was pushing myself. I can't wait to hit the trails again!

I believe do you?

Friday, January 20, 2012

A Little Rest Goes a Long Ways

It amazes me that how a little bit of rest followed by some healthy eating and proper hydration can really turn the body around. Today's run was fantastic. My head was clear, I was focused, I was motivated, my legs felt great and I was moving.

This 6 mile run was awesome, have I said that yet. Yes, it was only six miles but after yesterday's struggles on the trail and my head not being clear, not being motivated this was a nice change and for it to happen so quickly. I think all my body needed was some proper rest, no stress...which meant I was off work....some proper nutrition and some proper hydration and I am back in the game.

It was also nice to get my run in in between rain showers. It hasn't rained here in a few months so the rain was needed, but I was just glad not to be running in it just yet. Traildog came along with me this morning and he was moving nicely. He didn't pull me we were working together and enjoying the early crisp air and pretty much the entire parkway to ourselves. We did see a few running groups but they were all running in the opposite direction.

My legs felt fantastic, I didn't have any tightness except my quads were a bit sore from yesterdays trail run to Cool. But that is a good thing, at least I could still run which means I pushed myself yesterday but not to the extent that I couldn't move.

I also think that my light stretching and foam rolling has something to do with my recovery as well. The last few days I have been foam rolling more than I use too and I also have been stretching my legs after each run. This allows me to have some quiet time and to reflect on my run, what worked well, what needs improvement, how does my body feel and things like that. I actually enjoy it because it gives me a chance to refocus.

Focus is what I have been lacking, motivation has been lacking...but I believe that is all changing. My how one day of rest and relaxation can bring about a entire new attitude. Positive thinking goes a long ways.

Hoping that tomorrow's run will be just as awesome!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

To Cool and Back with Traildog!

Double down Wednesday yesterday did not happen. When I came home from work and put on my running shoes and headed out the door with Traildog my legs were just not responding. They were tight, achy, I had no power. I actually ended up cutting my run short and only did 5 miles.

My body was telling me to rest. When I made it back home I immediately spent some time with my foam roller and I spent a bit of time stretching my legs out. After that I put my legs up and relaxed. It has been a long week for me and I really needed my days off to come. Which they did I am off until Monday morning which also means I can get some killer runs in on some sweet trails! How awesome is that.

Today when I woke up I immediately noticed my legs were feeling better. They weren't 100% but were feeling pretty good and I wanted to hit some trails I haven't been on in a few months. I actually can't believe how long it has been since the last time I have run from Auburn to Cool and back. That is one of my favorite runs as it has everything I need to test myself. It has some awesome descent, some gnarly climbs and of course some great views.

I decided to also bring along with me Traildog. This would be his first run on this trail. he was super excited. We hit the trail head and it was a bit chilly out. I was only hoping to get my run in before the rain came. I wasn't on any sort of time limit nor was I going to push my legs to hard. I just wanted to enjoy this trail and my me time. I really needed this run.

Traildog did outstanding and he even was allowed to run off leash for a bit. He loves when I unclip him and takes off and than turns around and waits sometimes he will run back to me and jump up to me, trying to give me a kiss. We were cruising along and making our way to no hands. My legs were feeling pretty good, but I did notice they were also feeling a bit achy and tight. I took in some salt to hopefully help and the salt worked. I also took in a GU before starting the 3 mile climb up to Cool.

The trails winds itself along the road and at times I can see the road. During this stretch is when the darkness came over me and the negative thoughts for some random reason started to creep into my head. I had the toughest time pushing them out and trying to stay positive and on course. I really just wanted to turn around. My legs were more fatigued than I had originally thought. But I didn't let those thoughts get to me, I kept moving and I took in another GU to help.

We arrived at the Cool fire station and we both enjoyed a snack. Well, Traildog did that is. I gave him some puppy chow and some water and I used the bathroom and than packed everything up and started back to Auburn.

At this point I was feeling confident, relaxed and ready to rock this 3 mile descent. I took Traildog off his leash as I didn't want to get tangled up and off we went and he bolted down the trail like a dog on a mission. I kept my pace nice and relaxed and just focused on not trying to blow my quads up. Traildog was so focused on his own run that he took off on a side game trail and started bonding up the mountain. I called his name, he wouldn't come, I called again. Still nothing, than I whistled his tune and down he came like a very happy puppy coming to his owner. Only I wasn't very happy. Well I was at the fact that he finally came back down.

We continued down the trail, but this time Traildog had to stay behind me. He had lost his roaming privileges. I still kept him off leash but instructed him that he needed to keep behind me. He did just that for the remainder of the descent which I was very proud of him. He didn't once trip me up and he kept a nice and steady pace with mine.

At no hands I knew it was going to be interesting on the climb back up to the overlook. My legs once again were feeling funky and the effects of the downhill running plus having been working the last 6 days sure was taking a toll on them. I ran when I could and power hiked when needed. I was out here to enjoy myself and to get some trail miles in. I didn't need to go and push myself and end up injuring myself.

The run today was just what I needed. Even if it wasn't my best or fastest run it was just what I needed. It helped get the cob webs out. Today's run allowed me to focus on my body and to listen to my body. 14 miles is 14 miles. I enjoyed myself on the trail, I did a lot of thinking which is sometimes strange for me and I spent some great time with Traildog who by the way right now is resting comfortable on the couch as I type this not moving an inch.

Every run isn't going to be perfect and I am OK with that. Some runs well really be a struggle and it is those

I can't wait to see what tomorrow brings and neither can the resting Traildog! I am happy that I found the motivation to hit the trails this morning. I am happy that Traildog came along and I am happy that I am able to run.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Double Down Wednesday

This week I wasn't sure if I would be able to complete my double down Wednesday with coach Nikon. Originally I had planned on watching Lil Man while my sister ran some errands. But come to find out those errands had been postponed until Thursday which meant double down was on again.

When I left work on Wednesday I bumped into Coach Nikon and we talked for a bit when out of nowhere I yelled out with enthusiasm "I can run with you tonight!" I was a bit excited as training by myself sometimes can be hard and I miss the company of my trail running friends. We made arrangements to meet at Cavitt as soon as he was off work for our run.

When I came home I immediately got Traildog ready and myself and out the door we went for 6. This was suppose to be a recovery run as my legs were really heavy and filled with lead. They were achy, but I was gambling that my legs would loosen up and all would be well. Traildog allowed me to dictate the pace this time as he was just happy being out and running.

We ended up doing 6 miles of recovery run and that is just what I needed. Once home I immediately ate something as I was pretty sure that I was running on fumes and than put my legs up as they were aching and everything was pretty tight.

When the time neared for Coach Nikon to text me that he was on his way I pulled out the foam roller and rolled to help loosen my legs up. My hamstrings and calves have been super tight and I was hoping that this would help my run for the second time this day.

Coach Nikon texted me and off I went to meet him at Cavitt. I left Traildog at home to rest. At Cavitt Captain Kirk and Wonder Woman were there and the four of us enjoyed a great run. My legs were feeling awesome and I was able to keep up with the those three. We enjoyed around 5.6 miles of fun. Catching each other up with our daily lives and how training is going.

It was really good for me to be running with my friends and I really enjoyed the company. All in all double down Wednesday was a big success as one I was able to run with my friends and two I got some nice miles in for the day. Roughly 12 miles for the day with the first 6 being a struggle and the last 5.6 feeling like I was running on air.

It always amazes me how much different running is when I run with friends. Thanks for the great run Coach Nikon, Captain Kirk and Wonder Woman. I really miss running with you guys. Until next time, keep on running!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Secret Weapon

So, I have a secret weapon that really has helped me with my training and I am going to share it with. But I am sure some might have already guessed what the secret weapon is. Sometimes I find it hard to find the motivation to go out and run especially after a long stressful day at work. But this is who gets me out the door when I really don't want to.

My Secret Weapon after 14 trail miles

My little bundle of joy. He is full of energy and loves running. Those days when I really just don't want to run he is the one who gets me out the door and on the pavement and the trails.

This past weekend I took him out on the trails and he loved it. He was a very strong partner and really pushed me. He pushed me on the way out and also pushed me hard on the way back in. I found myself running harder and smoother on the trails. We were flying through the technical sections like it was nothing. He had me running 9 min miles. I guess all our week day "tempo" runs is really helping.

Being a little shy

We hit our turnaround in 1:11, we had gone 7 miles. Not bad for a trail run. At the turnaround we each enjoyed our snacks. I had a raspberry cream power gel and Traildog enjoyed some puppy chow and some water.

We headed back and I practiced him off leash. He did a really good job and would run ahead and than stop to make sure I was still behind him. One time I stopped so he couldn't see me and he came running back to me wondering where I was.

On the return he pushed the pace. We were running the hills and flying on the descents. He would lock onto the back of my feet and just keep running. I could feel him right behind me and I knew I couldn't slow down. He was pushing me and on the last mile we were running a 7:56 time on the return was 1:10 with a total time of 2:21. Not bad, and there are some nice hills out there by Cavitt.

Can we run again

We both really had a great time and when we were finished his little tale was wagging. He enjoyed some more puppy chow and when he was finished he wanted to hit the trails again.

He is my secret weapon because when I come home I can't sit down, I have to change and go run with Traildog. Running with Traildog he has pushed the pace and he keeps me honest with my training program. I don't miss a run and neither does he.

In fact the next day after running 14 miles on the trail we headed back to Cavitt and ran 12 miles. It wasn't as fast as the day before but none the less we were both out there running our hearts out. What a great weekend and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

A Unexpected Day With Lil Man

On Thursday my brother in law called me and asked me if I could watch a sick Lil man. Now, I had only been up for maybe 15 minutes. I had had enough time to make coffee, use the bathroom, let Traildog out, and sit on the couch and check my email when the phone rang. It was maybe 6:30 in the morning.

I of course said yes, I could watch Lil Man. I mean I am the best auntie as I am on the nice list as Lil Man puts it. I enjoyed my coffee, took a really quick shower and packed up my gear as I was planning on running once mom came home and I also packed up Traildog. I didn't think it would be right to leave him at home when he could enjoy his time at his old house.

Off to Lil Man's I go. Once I arrived I was told that he was thrilled to hear that I was going to be watching him. Right away I knew what was going to happen that day. Lil Man was going to take it easy and try and rest up while I was going to vacuum the house and the couches. While I was getting ready to clean Lil Man began to clean up his room. Let me tell you it was a disaster. Once his room was clean he helped me with the couches. He really is a good helper.

Is this right Meme?

I think it is clean!

Lil Man enjoyed some T.V. while I mopped and moved all the couches so I could get under them. Than it was time for him to get dressed and we actually headed out back to play for a bit. We played basketball, he showed me how he could drive his jeep without hitting anything. It was pretty cool to watch he would go forward than go back wards avoiding any obstacle in his path.

Showing me his mad driving skills

Trying to dunk it

After playing out back we decided to take Traildog for a walk around the block. I talked Lil Man into riding his buzz light year big boy bike. He was really timed on the first trip around and wanted to get off to walk his bike down the really big hill little hill that I could barely notice. On the second trip though he was zooming and stayed on his bike going down the hill.

Heading out for our walk, fighting for the lead.

It was a pretty active day now that I am thinking about it. But his cough was under control and his nose wasn't running all over the place. And he wanted to be active. Once home we put up his tent and he and traildog played it in than Lil Man had this bright idea to RUN traildog around the house. It worked until Traildog would see me and put the brakes on and when that happened you could see Lil Man stop in tracks.

It was a great day, I am glad I was able to help out my family as that is what family is for. I can't wait for Wednesday as I will again be watching Lil Man. It is a good feeling when he asks his parents every day if he can come over to my place.

After watching Lil Man I visited with my sister for a bit and than headed out for a really easy 3 mile run. I left Traildog at home as I thought he needed a rest day. My legs during this run were super heavy and fully loaded. It took everything I had to just go the 3 miles. Thank goodness for my massage later on that day. Lily worked some serious magic on me as everything was really tight. So tight that when she tried to move my arm it could hardly move the direction she needed it. She always fixes me and seems to always have a spot for me especially since I call so last minute. Thank you Lily for working your magic and thank you Lil Man for such a awesome day.
Such happy boys!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Double Down Wednesday

This post is a bit late, but I have been super busy the past few days. But double down Wednesday did happen. In the morning Traildog and I ran with a friend. We ran on the AR course and hit the bluffs and trails along the other side of the lake that I usually run along each day. Traildog was excited to be out and running. He loves his daily run, in fact he loves it so much I decided to switch him back to puppy chow to get some more calories in him. He eats at least 3 times if not 4 times a day and he still looking good.

Traildog took off like a bat out of hell. He was on a mission and that mission was to run as fast as I could keep up and not slow down. I have tried to have a conversation with him about pace and to not go out to hard. But he didn't listen. I can't really slow him down. He is a Traildog on the mission.

On this morning run we were on the trails and about 10 feet in front of me a animal ran across the trail. Traildog didn't slow down, or even look in the direction it went. I yelled back to my friend if she saw that animal that just ran across the trial and she said no. I stopped in my tracks and started a slow walk keeping my eyes to the right where the animal went. I wasn't sure what it was and than I saw it. It was nice big coyote. The coyote was eyeballing us as we walked by. Traildog did nothing, didn't even acknowledge his presence. Traildog just wanted to get back to running and that is what we did after I pointed the coyote out to my friend.

We kept on cruising along and the day warmed up. We hit the turn around and started back. I noticed that Traildog was slowing down a bit. He would also cut in front of  me and slow down which in turn caused me to slow down. Then I noticed that my walk was faster than his run. He was trying with all his might to keep going, because he really wanted to. I stopped and let him rest. After the brief stop he took off again and I did what I could to keep up. Then the entire cycle started over again. He would run in front of me and slow down. Eventually I found both of us walking as I didn't want to run him into the ground.

He has been putting in a lot of miles and I try to regulate his rest days and how many miles he does. We eventually made it back to the car. Once back at the car he was wagging his tail and was happy as could be. I think if I had let him he would have gone back out again. What a trooper and a good little runner he is. We ended up doing 9.5 miles that morning.

Traildog resting after his run in the sun!

Once home he immediately went to sleep after I feed him his puppy chow. Now usually he will rest next to me in the same room either on his bed or on the couch next to me. But not this time, he went straight to the bedroom and was out for the rest of the day. I let him sleep as he needed it.

This is where he spent the rest of the day.

The second run on the day I was meeting Coach Nikon at Karen's Bakery in Folsom. I just ran from my house and met him. We headed over the bridge and hit the parkway. We ended up doing roughly 5 miles. I always enjoy these runs because it gives us both a chance to catch up on each other trainings and how things are going not running related.

My legs still felt pretty good, but I also noticed how tight my body was. I couldn't even remember the last time I had gotten a massage. It had been that long. Overall I was please with my mileage thus far for the day as I had just gotten in 7.5 miles that evening and in three days had logged 26 miles. Not bad. I did leave Traildog at home as he was still resting.

Next Wednesday I probably wont be able to meet up with Coach Nikon as I am watching my nephew Lil Man and might just run around my old route to get my miles in.

It was a great Double Down Wednesday logging a total of 17 miles.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Lil Man Comes Over

It has started to slow down a bit at work, but not much. In my position it never slows down. Freight is always coming and payroll is always getting tighter. Of course this week I did screw up, I totally miss read a trailer schedule and ended up with two trailers on my dock door. But someone was looking out for me as we managed to get a cancel and that allowed me to catch back up. Now I have never made that mistake before and I am a bit embarrassed that it happened, but I am human and stuff happens. Now the real lesson in all of this is....well it happen again? No, it better not.

With that near miss I have been looking forward to actually having two days off in a row. Now, that may not seem like much but when I go to work at 1:30am and get up at midnight one day off just doesn't seem to cut it as I don't adjust my schedule. So having two days off is going to be a slice of pumpkin pie. But get this, not only do I have two days off in a row I actually have four days off in a row. WOW!!! What to do? What to do? Now that is the question and I have the answer. I will be running of course!

But before all of that happens yesterday was a very special day. Lil Man came over to my new place and stayed the afternoon with me. He was super excited. I have been telling him he should bring some of his toys over and put them in the "playroom" so that he has some things of his when he comes and visit. Now, when he walked up I wasn't expecting to some the toys he brought over. He had the biggest smile on his face when he walked up. He brought over his new loopy loop with a zip line *say that three time fast* his fire truck, dump truck, some castle thing, his lady but tent (really??? his tent?) and a shoe box of assortment toys, plus a bat and ball. I am sure there are other things he brought. It is almost like he was moving in. My sister told me that she actually had to stop him as he kept wanting to bring more toys. I am sure he would have brought them all if he could.

The new race track!

Not only did he bring over some of his toys, but being best auntie in the entire world I picked up a new toy for all both my nephews to play with. I picked up the cars race track and surprised him by having it put together when he arrived. When he opened the door I could hear him fill with room with laughter and delight. He was super excited and really wanted to play with it. I am sure this new race track will get some great use from all the little ones and adults alike. I also picked up his own set of plates and cups and he like them.

Snack Time!

During our special day together I had all sorts of surprises line up for him. When he wanted his snack of cheese its I told him there was another surprise in the fridge. He opened it up and what did he find, but chocolate milk and I even had marshmallows to with it. After snack time and some play time on the new race track it was off to Old Folsom for get some candy from the Snook's Candy Factory. He loved this trip. We even saw the train (RT Transit) go by on the way.

Oh yeah! Candy

Time to enjoy

Yum! Yes, he didn't get any chocolate

He picked out his own candy and payed for it and then enjoyed it. He was nice to offer me some. After his treat we walked down Sutter Street and made our way into the Karma Cafe where he ordered his own hot Chocolate and I enjoyed a very tasty Americano. In fact it was the best cup of coffee I have had. While we enjoyed our drinks we played some Chess. It was Lil Man's first time and I haven't played in a very long time. He beat me, but I don't think he was playing by the rules.

Time for some chess

When it was time to head home he walked up to the counter and told the worker this "I am sorry, I couldn't finish my hot chocolate. Can I have a to go cup with a lid please?" I thought that was the most adorable thing. He really is growing up.

That is one way to drink it!

Once back home we relaxed on the couch and we played with the race track and enjoyed some cartoons. I would say we both had a fantastic time and I can't wait to do it again. Ohh and Lil Man even told me this, "Meme, you are on the good list!" How great is that. Now to enjoy my days off and hit up some great trails!