Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Playing Catch Up

Blog has been ignored and I feel bad about that. I really do. To catch you up a tad, work has been keeping me busy. I would rather be busy than bored so rest assured, this is a good thing.

I am still running, but not as much as I had been. Perhaps I just needed a reboot. When I did get out for a run, it was the best thing ever. I held no negative thoughts or hatred towards running. It was nice to not be on a training schedule or worry about reaching my weekly mile goals. I ran when I wanted. What a concept. And, yes, I am also still enjoying bootcamp. We do a lot of sprinting in boot camp and while I am not putting in the miles I use to, I am very much enjoying the spurts of sprinting.

The cooler weather that has hit Placerville has also inspired me to get out more and run. I can’t wait until the cool weather sticks so that I can start doing runch! Oh how I miss runch!

This week starts a weight loss challenge I am participating in. I have never done a weight loss challenge and I am hoping it will help me lose the 10 pounds I seemed to have gained in the last two years. We shall see, but I am really excited to try it out. I am not so excited to give up dessert however. Goodbye sweets, hello smaller waistline...Hopefully!

So what have I been doing this lovely month of September? I raised money for cancer research and participated in Relay for Life. I am really glad I participated in this event and was able to raise some money for such a worthy cause. Many thank you’s and hugs for all the support! You all mean the world to me!

I traveled to visit my BFF who just recently moved to Mariposa. Two city girls now living in the country/foothills. I would have never thought, but hey, we are eating a lot of peaches, so it works!  And when in Mariposa, one should dress like Lucille Ball and stomp grapes, you know to blend in with the Mariposians naturally.

The next weekend, I took Penny on a running tour of my home town, visited with friends, and went to the Bark in Park event in San Jose .

I might have participated in karaoke hosted by Elvis with Cathryn and her lovely family on labor day weekend.

And there you have the highlights. There was so much more going on, but those were the highlights. I could also mention that the El Dorado Arts Council (where I work), moved to another location and had a successful fundraising event that I helped coordinate, but who wants to talk about work anyway, unless of course you love your job...And so I do!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Staying Healthy & Fighting for a Cause

It has been a couple of weeks since running the TSFM and I am back at it. I changed my routine up a tad and have started a boot camp with AMP Fitness.

I never really was a boot camp type of chick, but I do enjoy group fitness. This particular boot camp combines running and strengthening. Naturally, I love the sprinting part and need a little more work on the strengthening end. The first week, my whole body was sore sore sore, and I absolutely loved the feeling! Such a nice change of pace.

In addition to boot camp, I am also teaching a weekly Pilates class. I have always been very fond of pilates and use to be an instructor. It feels so good to be teaching pilates again and so awesome to have friends and co workers workout with me. I love pilates almost as much as I love running. It is so good for you and I just adore all the core work involved!

In other news, My dad was recently diagnosed with hodgkin's disease and is currently going through the motions of chemotherapy. A few years past, my mom had breast cancer. Cancer sucks and it seems to be everywhere. No one is safe from this horrible disease.

When my boot camp group, Amp Fitness announced that they formed a team for Relay for Life, I immediately signed up. Relay for life is basically just running laps around the track for a 24 hour duration of time. The team takes shifts raising awareness for the American Cancer Society. Because this topic is close to my heart, I am also fundraising for the event. It is the least I can do for my parents, and frankly, I am investing in my own future and that of ALL my loved ones. I rarely ask for money, but if you could spare a dime, please visit my fundraising page and give a little. No amount is too small and I would certainly appreciate your support! Huge cyber hugs to you all!

My friend Jenna has also set up Younique page for me. If you buy any makeup from Jenna from now until the date of the relay, September 6th, 25% of her sales will go towards my fundraising cause. While I have not used any of Younique’s products yet, I do really want to try the color eyeshadow options available. The colors are bold and striking. They are mineral based and  chemical free. Check them out, buy some makeup, and donate to this worthy cause! We all win!!! And thank you, Jenna for your support!

Saturday, August 2, 2014


Another San Francisco Marathon has come and passed. This was my third year participating in the race as well as my third year serving as an ambassador. A lot of memories were made along the SFM course. A lot of friendships were formed. I truly did leave my heart in San Francisco and am so humbled to have been apart of it all!

I drove out Friday morning where I picked up Corinne and Wes  near our hotels. The weather was quite warm for a day in the city in July. There I was just standing on the sidewalk sweating like a sweat monster. I was hoping for a cool foggy day and feared a bit that come Sunday morning on race day, that it would be the same hotness.

We arrived at the expo in high spirits where we stayed for the afternoon working a shift.

Expo - Non stop laughs with Miriam and Tricia

Trying to find my center
Pavey ran the double marathon. And here I am complaining about running the course once! ;)

Love these guys - 3 years serving as a SFM ambassador together!
Charles and I posing with the talented Ronnie. His masterpiece on the right.
Sea of orange with Chewbacca.
Sorry awesome volunteer, I just couldn't resist. I was exhausted too!
I am madly love with The San Francisco Marathon race as a whole. This year, the race team added some pretty cool features.

No plastic water bottles. Drinking out of a carton was fun, but a bit challenging. Drinking out of a carton is a challenge after all.

And, free race photos! How awesome is that?

After the expo, we went and had Ramen at Genki. The heat wouldn’t stop me from getting my ramen fix. No sir! It was delicious!

Wes arranged an ambassador meetup at Thirsty Bear Brewing Company for that evening. A couple of days before the meetup, I had invited the infamous Bart Yasso to join us. He accepted the invitation even though he is not much of a drinker. The hard part about Bart attending, was keeping my mouth bloody shut. I told Wes since he was the organizer and teased the rest of the team stating that there would be a “surprise mystery guest” joining us. Yes, I have a big mouth so…. I may or may not have let the cat out the bag before Thirsty Bear to a couple of people noone. Regardless, everyone seemed surprised and happy to see Bart and we all had a lot of fun!

At Thirsty Beat getting ready for our tour.

Where the magic all happens.
No picture caption needed, right?

Group photo of all us crazy kids.
Table time!

Ragnar relay reunion with some of the teammates
The next morning, Corinne, Wes and I, woke up super early and arrived super early for the shakeout run with Bart! More Bart! Seriously, it was truly a Bart weekend. I loved hanging out with him and getting to know him better. Bart is such a great guy! Not to mention super fun!

After the shakeout we hung out with fellow ambassadors, ate lunch, and soon we were on our way back to our hotels to rest.

Photo Credit due to Albert taken during the shakeout run!
What a terrible view!

Gotta love Barts famous selfie shots!

Gift Basket for our fearless leader, Lark!

Wes, Corinne, and I!

Expos are exhausting!
The San Francisco Marathon would mark my 5th marathon and if we want to get technical, 4th road race marathon. It’s no secret that I don’t love running the marathon distance. I did put in the training, but I was not able to stick to my training plan to a T. I started a new job and life got in the way of running. Imagine that! But alas, I wanted to be apart of the 52 club and well, I wanted to run the marathon! There I said it! Don’t ever make me say it again!

So just like that, it was marathon morning and a cool and overcast morning at that. Wes, Corinne and I took uber to the start line where we hung out at the ambassador and pacer tent. I had a freak out moment, went to the bathroom a hundred times, chatted with friends, and soon it was go time!

This view also sucks!

Tricia, Heather, Corinne and Wes! 
Cutest just married couple ever! No seriously, they were married just mere hours before this picture was taken!

Wes and I had already discussed running together for the first half where he would head on to his half finish and I would continue on with my marathon journey. We also ran with Miriam and Paulette for the first few miles until we broke off. I felt pretty strong during the 1st half running with Wes. It was pretty awesome. I was also pretty impressed with the way I conquered the hill climbs. Thank you Placerville, as now in my new home, all I run is hills!

My favorite photo! Thanks Scott for snapping it!
I absolutely loved running on the Golden Gate Bridge and not because it was running on the Golden Gate Bridge, but because I got to see so many of my friends on the out and back, fellow ambassadors, and familiar faces. Such a treat!

Soon, Wes and I were parting ways. Honestly, I was dreading running the next half by myself, but it wasn’t so bad really. And, I can totally say that now that I am not in the moment of it all. So yes, I am technically a big fat liar. During, it was hard. I was happy that Cara caught up and ran with me for a mile or so before she left me in her dust. I adored the bubble machine somewhere along Haight/Ashbury. I loved the bicyclist who rode up and down the course with some awesome tunes. I enjoyed snacking on my delicious rice cakes that UMM had so kindly made for me. I appreciated at mile 23 that I had brought my earphones that allowed me to listen to some music that pushed me through that deep dark wall.

Free race photos! Score!

And when I got to the point where I was just over this whole running a marathon thing, I crossed the finish line! Hooray for me! I finished in 4:45. This by far was my slowest marathon time yet, but I’m most certainly okay with that. I wasn’t running with any particular goal in mind. But I got out there and I did it. And, I might even do it again. But only because my favorite number is six and I might just have to run one more marathon just to say I did.


Ambassadors Finisher selfie with Scott and Steve.

My fab friends Shannon and Shila. We didn't run together, but we found each other at the finish line at least.

Loved all my race swag and gifts!!!!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Western States Race Recap Part Two

Running Western States was a long awaited realization of a dream. An understatement as that is probably true for many ultrarunners.

I thought about running Western States in 2001 when I first learned about it. Weird thing is I hadn’t even run ten miles yet! I guess I filed that thought away deep inside my brain. A saying I learned a while back: “Thoughts become things, so choose the good ones!” I guess it’s true because the thought I filed away over a decade ago came to fruition. A person doesn’t learn to conquer an ultra distance in a short period of time, it can take years. Well, I feel my training started years ago. Just some thoughts I had while trying to figure out how to begin this blog of my 2014 Western States journey.

Lets begin with race day. My day surely didn’t start out as any normal day. Waking up at 3:15 A.M. always sucks. Especially when you didn’t sleep well and your mind is boggled with so many thoughts of; did I train well enough? Is everything prepped right? Am I missing any gear and damn, I should have checked my socks over more thoroughly because I brought a pair with a hole in them! Good thing I brought extra pairs. Also, it must be a tradition for me to wake up in a hotel room on race morning with a pinched nerve in my neck. Second time this year. So yes, I had some negative thoughts because I was nervous about running 100 miles. The good things were, I had an awesome cheerleader and crew captain in Alisyn, she really kicked butt in preparing and planning for my crew. She also gave me a good pep talk the day before the race. Alisyn reminded me that through my job I had plenty of nights where I worked for over 24 hours and so running into the night wouldn’t be all that bad. Also, I was coming in to this race injury free, a first in quite a long time.
Lot's of awesome WS swag!
Aside from all the nervous emotions I was really excited to get the show on the road! We arrived in Squaw Valley a little after four and checked in. Got my bib, finally, and timing chip. We thought there was supposed to be a nice pancake breakfast, I don’t know what happened this year, but there wasn’t one. Strike one, WS! I usually eat a hearty breakfast before a race but I had to make do with some sugary yogurt and a little fruit. 5 A.M. was approaching rapidly. The waiting for six months was almost over and I was feeling ready to get started. It wasn’t as cold as I thought it would be outside. I gave Alisyn one last goodbye and got into the starting line pack. Excitement was building as Gordy Ainsleigh started to give a speech. His timing was behind as he was cut off with the final 10 second countdown the crowd all shouted in unison. The traditional shotgun blast blasted and we were off! And I was not running but hiking. That was a weird feeling at the beginning of a RACE!

The race begins with a 4.5 mile ascent of over 2,000’ of elevation gain to a summit of 8,750’. I wasn’t planning on hauling ass over that, and I knew I needed to expend my energy evenly over the next 20 something hours. I chatted with a few people here and there and looked back now and then into Squaw Valley. There was a beautiful dawn and I could see a bit of fog over a green meadow. There was a line of red tail lights as hundreds of cars left Squaw en route to Forest Hill or wherever. There was a nice sunrise behind me as I approached the escarpment, the high point of the race. It would all be downhill from there, not! At the escarpment we turned off the dirt road on to a single track trail. Let the congo lines begin. Normally I would run along past a long line of people but I had self preservation on the mind and I congo’d along. We passed through some meadows and red fir timber forest, muddy water flowed down the trail in areas and we passed a small sign letting us know we were entering the Granite Chief wilderness. I continued to congo. I didn’t realize we had left the wilderness until we got on to an old two track road. On it there was a small group of people sitting in lawn chairs all bundled up in blankets in the middle of nowhere cheering us on. We eventually came to Lyon Ridge AS (mile 10.5) and I was only 10 min behind where I thought I would be. I didn’t train all winter with any sort of GPS, only by feel. I carried a watch during the race to keep track of the day and maybe do some pacing math.

I was feeling fine and happy. Happy to be alive and to be on this great adventure. The only things I ate from the AS all day were fruit, salted potatoes and salt caps. Otherwise I was supplying my own drink mix, Skratchers, and my own food, homemade rice cakes. One rice cake contained blueberries and semisweet chocolate chips and the other contained raspberries and mint leaves. They both had a little sugar, salt, lemon juice and ginger in them. I ate when I hiked, drank when I needed and always tried to keep moving forward.

Fast forward a few more hours. Coming in to the Duncan Canyon AS (23.8) I saw my first familiar faces, Rob and Cara Scott. I know it’s a long drive out to that aid and I was surprised and happy to see them. Rob ran the race in 2013 and paced for his uncles many times over the years. He’s also the person who first educated me about WS back in 2001. It was definitely uplifting to see friends even though I wasn’t tired yet. I did waste a lot of time in that AS fumbling with trying to put Skratchers in my bottle. My hands were swollen and fat. They had been freezing cold at one point and now that the day was warming up they were thawing and swelling.

Moving along, I cruised through the Duncan Canyon area and got some more climbing out of the way. Steadily passed people but kept self preservation in mind. I was excited to get to Robinson Flat AS (29.7) because that’s where Alisyn would be. It was also the first weigh in. Nutritionally I was feeling good. No stomach issues and I had plenty of sweat. I came in to the AS happy and energetic. The crowd of spectators was crazy. I weighed in and my weight was spot on. Grabbed some fruit and then started wondering where Alisyn was. It took me a while before I realized I should look on the exiting half of the AS. I finally found her and my friend Ruben, (who would pace me later) and his girlfriend was there. They put more sunblock on me and refilled my rice cake supply. Alisyn was trying to kick me out but I wanted to stay and visit. I had no idea that I had spent 10 minutes at that station. It was time to move on. From this point forward I was familiar with the remaining 70 miles of trail.

I moved along nicely, passed people who already looked like crap, caught up to and repassed people who passed me during my long stay at Robinson. My neck kink went away. Generally enjoyed the next nine miles to Dusty Corners (38). On the way I saw Rob and Carra again and they told me I was on a good schedule to be under 24 hours. At Dusty I got to see the other half of my crew. Shannon, Paulette and Kevin. They sunscreened me, gave me rice cakes and ice. It was fun to see more familiar faces. I was also informed by another friend that Scott. wasn’t doing well. Scott is a friend who I trained with a bit. I made a mental note to think about Scott while I ran. I really took some time to think about everyone who means something to me while running the race.

Some of my awesome crew mates - Shannon, Alisyn, Kevin, and Paulette
For the next four hours I would be running some of the toughest parts of the course. The canyons at midday. It’s steep descents followed by steep climbs and it’s hot. I’m a terrible downhill runner and I got passed by quite a few people. Fortunately I’m good at climbs and I reminded myself to play to my strong suits. There was a nice waist deep river crossing at the bottom of one canyon which was very refreshing. I knew the canyons would be a bitch but I was also looking forward to them because I knew the halfway point was in the middle of them. I gritted it out, agonizing poison oak dodging descent followed by kick ass climbs and repassing people who got me on the down hills. On one of the ridges a guy had set up a shade tent and was playing a cello! So cool, people are really neat. Eventually I made it to Michigan Bluff AS (55.7) and I was almost 12 hours in. I was actually still feeling pretty well. Happy to see Alisyn and crew. I was also greeted by Doug, a Folsom Trail Runner and 4 or 5 time WS veteran. He was super energetic and positive. I had been running with pebbles in my left shoe for 30 miles and he made me take that shoe off and get them out. Why didn’t I do that before? I wanted to, told myself to, but I couldn’t. I needed someone to make me do it. Ahhhh, relief. Thanks Doug!

Before my crew sent me on my way Alisyn told me that my cousin Andrea was waiting for me in Forest Hill. I started running and totally lost it. Emotion surged through me. It was very meaningful to have family come see me. I know that everyone was thinking about me all day but to have someone take the time out of their day was meaningful. And it was Andreas birthday to boot! So there I was running and sniffling along for a while until I could pull myself together. Gritted through one last canyon as I came to Bath Road AS where Kevin was waiting for me with a pillowcase full of ice. I slung it over my back to cool myself as we hiked in to Forest Hill (62). I was an hour and ten behind where I had hoped to be at that point but it was no matter. The important thing was I was still injury free and feeling decent. So cool to see Andrea there and I lost it again but not as bad. Alisyn washed my legs and tried to force a sandwich on me. I wanted to have it, it looked so good but I didn’t want to risk eating anything that might upset my stomach. My GI tract had been in perfect working order the whole time. There were some more FTR friends there as well and it was good to see so many familiar faces. Ruben was ready to pace and we got going quickly. I felt bad that I only saw Andrea for just a couple minutes after she had waited there for at least 2 hours. But, in my head I was still racing. Thanks for coming out Andrea, love you!!!

Cousin Andrea!
I'm just going to enjoy Alisyn washing my feet. She hates feet!
Every step after FH was breaking new ground for me as I’ve never run more than 62 miles. Ruben and I started making our way to the famous Rucky Chucky river crossing 16 miles away. Ruben was saying that he came prepared by bringing a headlamp. It dawned on me then that I should have gotten my headlamp from FH and being an hour plus behind meant it would be way past dark when I saw my crew next. Woopsies, that was an ameture  mistake, oh wait, I’m a novice 100 mile runner. What a concept to run from darkness into the day, all throughout the day and back into the night!

We cruised along fairly well. My energy was definitely starting to wane though. I exchanged places a couple times with Sally Mcrae, who ended up being the 10th place female. It eventually got dark and Ruben allowed me to carry his headlamp. I felt like an idiot not being prepared. I was glad to get to the American River. Over the past few months I had envisioned myself crossing it in the daylight. It was not light however, and my body was starting to have trouble regulating temperature. I was suddenly not looking forward to getting into the water. I had to suck it up though, and do it. I was very tense and that made it worse. There were glow sticks in the water illuminating the rocks which was really cool. I just concentrated on that and thanked the volunteers who had been standing in the water for hours. Once on the other side I didn’t feel so bad and we power hiked up to Green Gate (79.8). At this point I was 17 hours on my legs. I thought for sure I could finish in the next 4 to 4.5 hours.

Green Gate was the last time I would see my crew until the finish line. We performed the normal tasks. Got that dang head lamp and headed out. The remainder of the trail was really mellow. I passed quite a few more people. I saw a set of large glowing eyes and discovered it was either a large kitty cat or a small bobcat. The aid stations along the remainder of the route all blast music and the volunteers are really chipper for it being the middle of the night. I was glad Ruben stayed running with me just for the company. Normally people have two pacers but my plans didn’t work out so Ruben volunteered to run the whole 38 miles with me.

The only time I really got down was around mile 91 when I stubbed my toe on a rock. My feet were pretty beat up by then so it didn’t take much. There was one last hill to descend that really slowed me up too. I was starting to get frustrated that I had to go so slow down it and lost about 20 to 30 min. Then I hit No Hands Bridge (96.8) and I knew I was just about home free. Even still the next few miles were a bit of a grind. I hadn’t eaten as much and my blood sugar was getting low. Mentally I was feeling weary too. I was getting that “I’m ready to be done,” feeling.

Seeing the Mile 99 sign was a great feeling. We were on pavement now, just following the red painted footsteps to Placer High school. Then I could see the bright lights of the stadium. I picked up the pace a little. I told Ruben thank you and that I’d see him at the finish line. When I hit the track I saw my whole crew and a bunch of FTR’s waiting for me and cheering me on. They started running with me around the track and I felt their energy. I started sprinting, then my friends couldn’t keep up and they dropped off and those few seconds were all a blurr. I crossed that finish line in 22:08:24! Good enough for 71st place. (goal was 20-22hs) I can’t describe how good it felt to be done. Tired, yes but still healthy and good. I received my finishers medal from the legendary Tim Twietmeyer. I really wish I had gotten a picture with him. At that moment though, I wanted to hug Alisyn and see my friends. I drank a little beer and ate a little pizza. I was glad to get my shoes off too.

My finishing time! Here ia complete listing of my stats, in case you are interested. I am #71. Just click the number!

Hats off to all who supported me and aided me. I had a great race and I couldn’t have done it without you!

Would I run 100 miles again? Heck yes! One lesson learned? Get faster in the aid stations. I trained to run conservatively and I did just that. I’m sure with the experience I gained at WS I could knock a good amount of time off. I can’t wait to try! The race committee and volunteers of Western States put on a world class event.