Thursday, August 18, 2016

All By Myself

As an only child, I am use to doing things by myself. While I am a social creature, I enjoy hanging out with just me...Well, and my dog! The way I see it, I am not going to let an opportunity pass me by if I can’t find anyone to join me. When hiking, I always make certain to let someone know where I am, what path I am going to take, and when I return. This of course is common sense as anything can happen.

While I often do things on my own, I remember awhile back in my early 20’s attempting to do activities on my own and feeling quite nervous about it. I will never forget the first time I attempted to go to the movies by myself. I was anxious, but wanted to try. I figured, if I had a horrible time, I would never, ever go to the movies alone again. As I entered the theater, I took  a deep breath and went for the plunge, purchased popcorn (because I can’t resist movie theater popcorn), and took a seat. This particular theater was small, and as the previews started I settled in for the next hour and a half.  At the end of the movie, I felt proud for accomplishing this achievement. Sure, it wasn’t much, but at that time in my life, it was a big deal. Walking out of the theater, I was relishing in the fact that I had watched a movie in the theater all by my lonesome when a guy came up to me and said “excuse me, I was watching you in the theater and the way you eat your popcorn, is very strange.”
Talk about making a person feel self conscious! I am not certain if the guy was using a poorly executed pick-up line or what his deal was, but my little triumph quickly was taken away from me. It was some years later that I mustered the courage and went back to the theater alone, and the next time(s) I did, happy to report were a success (and yes, I still bought and ate the popcorn)!

A couple of weekends past, I went camping on my own for the first time. Friends came out and met me for a fun-filled day, but the evening was mine and mine alone. I looked forward to the solitude of hanging out in the wilderness with my dog, dining on a gourmet meal of Cassolette, and reading my book.
Hike to Grouse Lake
As the evening started to roll in, I began the process of preparing my meal. I had brought with me a propane camping stove to cook on. I tightened the knob on the propane and immediately that propane smell started wafting from the stove. The stove was off. Scratching my head, I unscrewed the propane, checked the valve and then screwed it back in only to have my stove go up in flames. Startled, I gave a yelp and stood there shocked, staring at the flamed induced stove. Time seemed to move in slow motion until I snapped out of my flame like trance and unscrewed the propane all while being careful not to get burned in the process. I ended up cooking my meal on the fire which in my opinion, only adds to the romance of camping.

This make not look like much in the orange bowl, but it was delicious, thanks to Allez!
I am still unclear to what happened with my stove, but at least I am alive to tell the tale. And unlike the movie theater story above, I won’t let a little ol’ stove malfunction stop me from getting outside, camping, and enjoying my own company!

Wright's Lake

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Get Outside

It has been two months since my last blog post and I’m okay with that. I spend my workdays behind a computer thinking up creative jargon or performing mundane tasks. While I love what I do, the very last thing I want to do in my personal time is sit at a computer.

So what have I been doing instead? Exploring the great outdoors! And the best part, I don’t have to travel far to experience all the beauty that mother nature has to offer.

Highlights? Why I thought you would never ask!

Friends Paulette and Shannon came out to visit and I planned a trail run out at the Cronin Ranch Area that included post run hydration and a river soak. I might have even dragged them out to get glitter tattoos later in the day!


4th of July weekend I went camping at one of my favorite places and went exploring the surrounding area. I love where I live and feel so lucky to be able to experience all the beauty not too far from my own backyard.

Lake Margaret is a 2.5 mile jike (jog/hike) to the lake (5 miles total). Plenty of streams and bodies of water along the way make this trek dog friendly and fun!

The Wrights Lake area is a trail and lake mecca. Wrights Lake is stunning don’t get wrong, but there are also many trails that will lead you to other stunning lakes! How fun it is to jike to a distant lake destination, cool off with a dip in the lake, and then jike back. So beautiful! So fun! So Amazing!

When in the forest or let's face it any area I have traveled many times over again, I am directional dysfunctional. My little dog Penny the Pup, my running and hiking companion is my little GPS. When I start to stray off the beaten path, which I tend to do a lot, Penny the Pup is there to guide me in the right direction! Nothing better than exploring with my little dog!

Speaking of Penny, I recently invested in an ISUP. I love to Stand Up Paddle and I finally gave in and invested in a water toy! Best investment ever! At first, I was worried about Penny while I am playing on the ISUP. She is not too crazy about the water and does not care to swim, or kayak. She does like to wade in the water and chase the fish and waves. Penny refused to get any where near the ISUP and would try to follow me on the bank while I was gliding on the lake. It worked for awhile until she could not go no further on the bank. She moaned and wined. I ended up turning the ISUP around and as I got back to the bank, she jumped right on. And now, ladies and gentleman, my little dog is a SUP boarder! I couldn’t be happier. It just  melts my heart that she SUP’s with me. It might not be her favorite thing ever (like running is), but she does it for me! And I love it because that just means I can spend more time with my little dog!

Those are just a few of my summer highlights! Short and sweet! Future posts will include detailed trail information on my adventures. But, given my track record, you might have a bit of wait! Stay tuned and in the meantime, get off the computer and get outside!

Monday, May 16, 2016


I had the honor of serving as a race ambassador for the inaugural Pony Express Marathon (#PEM2016) that took place in Sacramento.  

Leading up to the event, I ran the Folsom Lake Trail Half Marathon a week before #PEM2016 organized by Inside Trail Racing as a training run. This race is near and dear to my heart as I ran my first and only 50k and return back each year after to volunteer or run the shorter race distances offered. Here is my 10k recap.
The Pony Express Marathon was my 5th half marathon race that I ran within six weeks, and my first road race half of the year. The race was very well organized and a great event to be apart of. At the expo, I got my  bib, race shirt, and received a delicious bottle of beer from Yolo Brewing Company. What an awesome surprise!

I am in the program! Fancy!
The race started and finished at the Capitol Mall in Sacramento. I was a bit shocked to discover that the race offered no bag check, but I made sure to park as close to the finish line as possible. The course was flat and for those running the marathon, a Boston qualifier. I loved running through the different areas of Sacramento with views of downtown, the river, and quaint little neighborhoods. Aide stations were abundant and it was wonderful to have them easily accessible every couple of miles. I ran the race at a comfortable pace and finished in 2:14.
The finishing time is what I seem to be averaging now at road races and am certainly okay with that for right now…

It was so good to see some old friends and meet a couple of new ones. A great race weekend, I certainly recommend the Pony Express Marathon to add to your race calendar for next year (April 30, 2017).

At the Tweet-up with Wes

A few of the #PEM2016 Ambassadors
Patty, Laura and I at the start
Found this photo floating around the internets. I like it! Thank you to whoever took it!
I asked to Albert to pose with his medal since I stopped collecting race bling. It is pretty!
Finish line with Jessica

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Hotshot Half Part Deux

It was in the first three miles of the Hotshot Half Marathon that everything fell to pieces. A race that I had been looking forward to, but undertrained for, a race that I just couldn’t wait to run. And it was in that first three miles of this wonderful race that I contemplated a DNF.
It was not the weather that clouded my thoughts, though there was a light rain.

It was not the fact that I was well overdressed, it was quite muggy you see, and while I prepared for rain, three layers did seem quite extreme.

It was not the lack of friendly faces on the course as my good friend Shannon was up ahead within reach and there were plenty beyond.

While it was none of the above, it was due to the terrible, awful, no good cramps I experienced. And I’m not talking leg cramps. I stopped at an aid station on the course and asked for ibuprofen. The very nice lady informed me they did not have such, but offered me Tylenol. I asked if it worked for cramps and she said no. She then proceeded to dig into the endless first aid kit and offered me a white packet that nearly had “cramps”written on the label. Inside, were two pure white tablets that I popped in my mouth with no hesitation. I was desperate. In hindsight, perhaps taking a drug unknown was not the smartest idea, but I’d like to think those white tabs of wonder helped. Anything would have been better than taking ibuprofen of course. They could have been salt tabs for all I knew! And, with that, on I went. I felt better. My spirits lifted and I did not DNF but ran till the end. I even managed to get a course PR by four minutes! Go me (pats on back)!
The start of the race. Penny the Pup was not too happy about hanging on the sidelines.
2015 Pint Glass meet 2016 Coffee Mug. I love and use them both daily!
After digesting mystery medicine, I am all smiles!
I love this race. I loved it last year when I participated in the inaugural (click the link for a recap down memory lane), and I think I might even love it a little more the second year! The course is breathtaking, and the organization is stellar. Not only does the race organizers sweep the trail beforehand, but there are people cheering for you all throughout the trail. Yes, cheering on the actual trail! How awesome is that! The proceeds go towards a great cause! And, you certainly can’t beat the after party. Camping is included in registration and if you are a single gal (which I am not, but just saying) there is plenty of hotshot eye candy to go around.
Time for the perfect selfie!
Shannon and I with a swoon worthy background
Oh, you know, just a blurry picture of UMM rolling a log down the road of life.

Hotshot Half Marathon, I think I love you! But I want to know for sure, so I just might have to come back and run you for a third time. After all, third time is the charm! Until next year!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

At a Slackers Pace

I signed up for the 2nd annual Hotshot Half because I absolutely love this race and am very much looking forward to a weekend full of camping, running, friends, and celebrating life. A few weeks ago it occurred to me that I hadn’t really been training for this particular race.
Of course I am still running between 15 - 20 miles a week, but it’s not really training as I run whatever I feel like doing that day. No training schedules, no plans, not even weekly long runs out on the trails (though I have been hitting the trails, so that is something).
Did I mention that the Hotshot Half is in this Saturday, April 9, 2016! In true slacker fashion, I signed up and ran the Knickerbocker Canyon Half Marathon organized by Inside Trails on March 26. It seemed a good idea at the time and it all turned out great, really. I mean, I was pretty sore after the fact as the race was no joke. In actuality, the course is tougher than the Hotshot Half course. But, it was a beautiful spring day out on the trails in Auburn, and thanks to the K2 Hill and that horrible climb at the end, my butt has never looked so good! It took me three hours and thirty one minutes to complete the half and happy to report that I was smiling every mile of the way...Well, er, except for that last little bit with the bonus climb added in.
It was good to be out there though! I cleared my mind, stopped and smelled the flowers, chased butterflies, and took some swoon worthy pictures of cascading water.

Now that I crammed my training into the last few weeks, do you think I am ready for the Hotshot Half? Not so much, but I will enjoy the moment of being out there experiencing the beauty of the Tahoe National forest. I will be sure to report back!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Running in the Foothills

It has been three years since I moved to Placerville from the Bay Area and everyday I am more in love! Sure there are things that I miss from my hometown area of Santa Clara County, but overall, I live in such a gem of a place that I pinch myself everyday.
When you come to visit the foothills be sure to grab your running shoes (both road and trail), have a readiness to explore, and clear your wine tasting palette (optional of course).
The El Dorado Bike Trail -
It is rare to find sidewalks in Placerville except for on and around Main Street. Where Placerville lacks in sidewalks, it certainly makes up for in bike trails. The El Dorado Bike Trail is a recreational corridor for running, biking, and even equestrian use.

Starting from the Missouri Flat Road trailhead you can follow the path for an out and back of a little over 20 miles, leading you over bridges, down Main Street, through vineyards all the way out to Camino. While this trail is paved, don’t be deceived as you are treated to running amongst beautiful Ponderosa Pines and cedar trees. If you are an animal lover like me, you might just squeal in delight at the sight of cows, deer, squirrels, Mountain Lions (rarely but have been spotted), llamas, chickens, wild turkey, and other birds of a feather.

Restrooms are located in a few spots throughout the trail. The bus stop on Mosquito Road between the trail entrances is the only water fountain on the entire course. The water coming out of that fountain is amazing, so don’t be afraid to fill up those water bottles!

What to wear -

It is cold in the winter averaging 30 degrees and hot in the summer averaging 90 degrees. I would suggest lots of layers for those cold months and next to nothing for those warm summer days.

After the run -
Have a cup of coffee at Totem Coffee where beans are roasted in house and everything is made fresh that day. Shop at the many cute stores on Main Street like The Bookery or Mattywags. There are plenty of restaurants to fill up on that are all unique and delicious! If wine is what you crave, take a 15 minute drive out to Camino for a plethora of wineries or a 20 minute drive out to the Pleasant Valley and the Somerset area for even more winery options.
Visit El Dorado Wines to map out your wine tasting adventures!
Lake Natoma Loop Trail -
Twenty minutes down the hill in Folsom is a paved bike trail that I can’t get enough of. Most of the locals consider the Lake Natoma bike path a part of the American River Trail. And, while the two trails do connect, I consider them separate. For one, Lake Natoma is an 11.5 mile loop around the lake providing beautiful water views throughout. In addition to the paved bike route, there are also many trail options to detour for those runners who prefer dirt. Along the paved trail is a couple of restroom facilities and there is one water fountain located near the Aquatic Center that you will pass en route.

After the Run -

Avocado toast can be found at Karen’s Bakery that in my opinion is the best post run recovery food ever! I purposely park my car in the Historic Folsom area so that my run starts and ends at Karen’s. It is my running reward! The Fat Rabbit Public House holds an amazing selection of beers from across the globe. If a running store is what you seek, check out Fleet Feet Sports Folsom/Roseville.
Jenkinson Lake -

Back up the hill and 20 minutes past Placerville lies one of my very favorite places to trail run. A magical place called Jenkinson Lake. The mostly dirt trail holds continuous ups and down hill climbs that lead you on an 8.5 mile loop around the lake.
A waterfall on the back side of the lake is a true gift to this route, best seen in the winter and spring months, is absolutely breath-taking. During the summer months, while the waterfall might not be flowing, the swim hole below is a nice addition to keeping cool from the sun.The shoreline trail is not the only option for running at Jenkinson Lake, though it might be the least difficult. A Higher trail option also surrounds the lake providing stunning views, difficult terrain and steeper hill climbs.

Jenkinson Lake, located in Pollock Pines, is easily accessible just off of highway 50 from the Sly Park Road exit. There is parking  available at the entrance of Sly Park for $10 a day. You can also park along Mormon Emigrant Trail at dam one or two for free.

After the Run -

Stay and Play in the Lake in the summer, or grab your snow toys in the midst of the winter months. Drink a bloody mary at Sly Park Resort.

Races held on each course mentioned above -

So there you have it! Come run where I live. You won’t regret it! And if you happen to be on my side of the tracks, give me ring, a tweet, or a smoke signal even, and I would be happy to suggest places to visit or simply just join you for a run!
This post is part of a Where to Run Where You Live Series.
Explore these other great blogs about running, what to see, and do in other parts of Northern California and beyond.

Run in the Bay Area: Running Ruminations
Run in the San Francisco Peninsula: My Hearts Content Blog
Run in the East Bay: Jens Running Blog
Run in San Francisco: My Hearts Content Blog
Run in El Paso,Texas: Just Plodding Along

Happy exploring in the foothills and everywhere else your feet will guide you!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Such Great Heights

My blog posts of 2015 have been sporadic and I have neglected to write an entry since November 16, 2015. That is not too bad I suppose. While I love writing and enjoy interacting electronically with amazing people I would otherwise never have crossed paths with, I feel that the blog, specifically my blog is getting a tad stale. Like bread that sits in the refrigerator. A bread that you love and couldn’t possibly throw out, but it might be time as the green spots say such.
I am not saying that this is the end of my blog as we speak, but I do think that there will be a few tweaks in the coming months. Changes perhaps? We shall see.

On that note, I have started 2016 out with a bang. By now it is no secret that I work for the El Dorado Arts Council. I am fortunate enough to combine my passion for art as well as leading a healthy, active lifestyle in our current gallery show; Such Great Heights--The Art of Endurance. This particular show means a lot to me for obvious reasons as it portrays that art is truly everywhere! Not only are we featuring some amazing local talent on our walls, but I had the honor of hosting the one and only Ann Trason at our Ultra Running Unplugged event. Ann Trason is a true ultra running badass and really an inspiration. The event also featured locals Rick Simonsen and Bruce La Belle. It was an evening filled with laughter, stories, and overall bonding with the running community. It was a wonderful treat! Bonus: We also had delicious beer thanks to the good folks at Jack Russell Brewery (who are opening a second location right on Main Street here in Placerville).
In a time when not too many women were running long distances, Ann Trason was out there getting it done, setting world records, and being an overall ambassador for the sport. And she is just so bloody humble about it all. Ann would much rather turn the tables around and talk about me and my running experiences than herself. I am so humbled that she gave her time to speak at our little organization event!
Doing what we love to do - Run and then drink beer!
Ann Trason, her adorable dog, and me!

Another amazing women who I would like to highlight quickly in this post is Margie Lopez Read. Margie was an ultra runner completing the Western States 100 a few times, as well as starting the Run on the Sly race back in the day. In a addition to being an overall awesome gal, Margie is also a very talented artist.

Run Sly by Margie Lopez Read

Rucky Chucky by Margie Lopez Read 

These are a couple of my favorite pieces currently featured in the show created by Margie. While the originals are not for sale, I do have a couple of limited edition prints for sale. Interested? Contact me for details. Margie has a program called Donation Art.

“I believe that art is at its best when it teaches, records a memory, tells a story, or provokes thought. For this reason, almost all of my pieces are accompanied with a story. My goal is to use art as a means to raise funds for programs that improve the condition of our world.”
- Margie Lopez Read

It is a wonderful program where the proceeds of her sales go to good causes. If nothing else, check out her work and support the artist community.

Here are a few other artworks featured in the show:

Solitary Gratitude by fellow runner and friend Charito Bartlett

Rafting by Joyce Martin
It is pure magic when art and endurance meet. For without them both, what would we ever have to write about!