February 2007 Archives

Running Scared

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I'm pondering the wisdom of eating a cereal touted as "low-carb" for my post-run glycogen recovery meal. I've heard cereal is one of the best nutritional values as a post-run snack; but isn't that mostly due to the carbs? If you take the carbs out of the cereal, then what's the point?

Anyway, on to my post. Oh wait, I was going to do a spiel on the Oscars. Nah, I'll leave that up to Donald. (Is that coming yet, Donald?)

Okay, now, REALLY, on to my post.

I met my friend John at the River Path trailhead at 4:40 this morning. (For those of you who don't already know from regularly reading my blog, the river path is a cool, 20-mile-long multi-use paved "trail" along the banks of a wash here in Tucson. A wash is what used to be a river, but is now just a dry river bed that carries water during floods. In some parts, the path has a gravel side path and in other parts, it's purely dirt. I like to run it, because it's not too far from home, and I still get dirt.)

We set out for our 5.5-mile loop. It's chilly and dark out, and I am slightly less-dressed than I was last week (this week I left the fleece headband at home). I can already tell I'm doing better than last week, when I was soooo sloooow. It's a relatively uneventful run for the first mile. I try to unzip my jacket sleeves and have difficulty - we have to stop so John can untangle my left sleeve. Then some random guy in a hoodie on a bike comes flying by. I pull out my pepper spray and remark to John, "This is why I don't run the river path alone in the dark..." The guy takes off and we have no problems. I'm glad that at least in the winter, it's cold, so we don't have to worry about hobos stealing our stuff or otherwise harrassing us (known to happen on the river path). The next mile and a half goes by okay, although I manage to get the zipper pocket in the back of my jacket stuck as I try to stash my hat and gloves, and I get a side stitch from taking too much, just like last week. Then suddenly, a large shape looms directly to my left. A light is shining from the figure and I scream loudly and jump across the trail, almost knocking John over. He freaks out - "What?!" - and then I realize it was just a barricade on the side of the trail, with a light glinting off the reflective orange and white stripes. Whew. Our pace picks up from the adrenaline and we laugh down the trail. We run across the bridge to the other side of the trail, through the bus stop, and have fun talking fueling strategies. Suddenly, a cyclist wearing a headlamp plunges off a pedestrian bridge towards us and freaks us out. Oh my god, I'm gonna get run over! Then I have to stop yet *again* - this time to re-tie my shoe. We start back up and I notice a gigantic shooting star overhead. Oh, oh, oh! I say, pointing, unable to come up with words. John looks up and this meteorite just hurtles through the sky forever, taking it's sweet time burning up. Sparks are flying off of it, and I'm breathless. Wow.

We make it back to our cars, and realize we were 2 minutes faster this week, even with three stops (arm zipper, back zipper, shoelace). It was the adrenaline, I think! Still over 12-minute miles, though. (12:13 to be exact.)

Last night's yoga class was a good, slow stretching class, and today is the first day for the kids yoga class that Ash and I will be participating in. I'm excited, should be fun. For some reason, I had three miles on the schedule for yesterday, even though I'm not going to be running Mondays, and I was cranky so I blew it off. I can make that up easily in this next week. I got 15.5 miles last week, yay! So it's not exactly the 10% percent increase rule, but I think I'll be okay. My knees are still doing great (whew!).

I'm off to an incredibly busy day. Happy Running!

Screamin' Fun Run

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Kiera and I headed out for what I thought would be a five-mile run this morning around Sabino Canyon. We were planning on running the same loop as last week, except in reverse and without the back-and-forth route-finding that added a little bit extra mileage.

We quickly come to a creek crossing, and while the water is lower than it was last week, we still have difficulty finding a way across that will keep our shoes dry. Once we stake out the best possible place to cross, I pause for a good minute, visualizing my body soaring through the air gracefully and landing on each small stone perfectly. Yeah, it doesn't quite work out that way. The second stone slips and I scream as my foot plunges into the icy cold water. Okay, so I'm dramatizing it slightly, but I do scream rather loudly ("Like a girl!" says Kiera), and the top of my foot gets a little wet. Kiera does the same thing sans the scream (also, when she hits the small stone I slipped off of, she manages to flip it completely under the water). We continue on our merry way, but that really seems to have sapped a lot of energy out of me, and I spend the rest of the run trying my damndest to stay up with Kiera. It's like she has a rope around her waist tied to mine, and she is dragging me up the hills. Imagine, running *up* the hills! I don't know where she gets that energy from. We are still working on our route-finding skills, or at least, I am. There's a reason the folks in my trail running group have commented that if you want to know if someone will get lost on a trail, put Angie on it - if Angie can find her way, then anyone can :) Kiera seems to have a fine sense of trail direction and route-finding, though, and I'm quite glad to be running with her in front.

Once we make it back out to the Sabino Tram Road, Kiera looks at the GW (that's Geek Watch, i.e. Mike's Garmin) and states, "We need more miles." "But we're only doing five. We'll get five by heading back to your house now." I say, puzzled at needing more miles. "Oh, I didn't tell you? I'm aiming for six today." Well, then. I guess I'm getting six! Kiera says, "Hope that's okay!" and I reply, "Of course. It's only if you want to shorten the run that I'd have problems." I spend the next few minutes pondering the words that came out of my mouth - I must really be serious about this running thing if I actually said shortening the run would be a problem. Hmm... Anyway, we head back over to the dirt road/trailhead where we started our loop and Kiera realizes we may not actually have time to get more miles, so we head up for a bit, then turn around at a random spot and head back to the house. All in all, we got a good 5.54 miles in.

Now I'm up in Mesa at my mom's house (it's her birthday tomorrow - happy birthday Mama!); I've finalized my schedule and Ash is happy playing with his cousins. I realized on my way up here that I should have let the Phoenix bloggers know I'd be up here - we could have met for a run possibly! Next time I'm planning on coming up, I'll let y'all know in advance and maybe we can meet up.

A quick note: I was discussing with someone whose counsel I take very seriously my struggle with the fact that I really want to run 30 hours for my 30th birthday even though it seems to be in deep conflict with my desire for "balance" and "moderation" in my life. She said, "Perhaps running this much *is* your balance, your moderation. Or perhaps running this much will *help* you find your balance, or what moderation means to you." Hmm...food for thought...

Still working on it...

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My training schedule, that is. Hopefully I'll finish it up tonight (but first I had to catch up on my blog reading).

My fab run Tuesday was followed by a fab yoga class in the evening; my first double workout this "season". I did my first headstand ever! I was very sore yesterday, and glad I was able to totally rest. This evening's yoga session was a nice, slow-paced, stretch-oriented session, exactly what I needed.

My hit counter reached 25,000 this week, wow!

Work is busy, yay! I love being in the "zone". Tomorrow marks three years at my job. I started out as a temporary receptionist and worked my way up to project manager, which is pretty darn cool :)

***UPDATE***
I thought I finalized my schedule, only to realize I had the 50k on the wrong week! Argh!

I went for a 2.4-mile lunch run today after I received my flowers for my three-year anniversary. It was AWESOME. 10:35/mile. Dark clouds surrounding me, rain in the foothills, chilly gusty wind. The way out I had a tail wind (woo hoo!) and the way back was a head wind (but I was doing so well, it didn't matter). I totally got in a great groove. This run was easy. Maybe it was the carbo-loading dinner consisting solely of a basmati/wild rice last night? In any case, I'm quite psyched with it. I wondered, though, on my run, why the southbound side of the road had so much more trash on it than the northbound? Also, I'm sure I got a few drivers scratching their heads as I ran on the flat asphalt in the bike lane instead of the the perfectly good concrete sidewalk. *grin* I made sure to run facing traffic, and I liked how the asphalt felt spongier than the concrete. And BadBen, I wish I could run solely on trails! But I must cram some running in during the week, and it's not feasible to drive 30 minutes out to the trails at lunch :( Otherwise it'd be all trails, all the time!

One Happy Runner

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One Happy Runner
It's still dark out. The market and flower shop outside my window are just starting to come to life. I'm listening to KXCI and finishing my grande, non-fat, no-whip mocha while I write this. Can you see the clock in the picture above? It's just after six, I've got my Starbucks in hand, wearing the awesome Twin Peaks shirt from Jessica's race, and feeling great that I've already got 5.5 miles under my belt. I'm grateful to have friends willing to meet me at 4:40 am to go for a run in the dark in the winter :) I was dreading getting up so early this morning, but I was looking forward to the run itself. It was a good run, a solid run, albeit slow. I had to walk early on to take off my jacket (I was a wimp and chose to wear more at the start than I knew I needed; I figured I'd rather be warm and carry it all with me to the end) and eat a gel, and then later I walked due to a side stitch (I was too busy talking to keep breathing). The overall pace was 12:38/mile, which is slow on the river path, even for me. But the good part is that I did it - I got up early and made it out there to run! And with consistency, I know my pace will pick up.

My yoga class last night was incredible. It was a basic class, and we did some yang yoga - new moves for me. No warrior poses, which I thought was unusual and nice (sometimes the warrior poses get old). And by the end, I finally managed to actually allow myself to get into a deep relaxation. It was amazing. I called Johnny after the class, and he said I sounded drunk! I said, nope, no substances in my body, just a great yoga class :)

And on to my BIG NEWS:
I am going to run the PCT 50k in Oregon on July 28!!! I found cheaper airfare from Phoenix, and Olga said she will pick me up from/drop me off at the airport, as well as host me for the weekend! Many many thanks to Olga. ((hugs)) to my friend.

I'm having to go back to my schedule and redo it, now that I'm adding an ultra this summer. Plus I accidentally left out a week in April (oops). WOO HOO!!!!!!

Better than Coke or PB&J

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First, CONGRATULATIONS to Mike for winning his 5k this morning. Rock on!

I did a nice four-mile hike this morning with a friend. It was perfect - cloudy, beautiful, peaceful. Dreamy, even :)

I received a phone call this afternoon asking me if I was still available to volunteer at OP 50 next month. You bet, I said! I will be at the 33-mile aid station; I'm so excited! When I told Jeff, he said, "Nothing like a little package of enthusiasm at mile 33. Better than coke or pb&j!" *grin*

Further planning reveals that I don't need to run Monday or Wednesday next week. To up my miles smartly, I need to run 12ish miles next week:
Monday: basic hatha in the evening
Tuesday: 5.5 flat on the river path in the am, hatha flow in the evening
Wednesday: total rest
Thursday: basic hatha in evening
Friday: 2 to 3 Friday at lunch
Saturday: 5 with Kiera before Ash and I leave for Mesa (for my mom's birthday)
Sunday: total rest

10.5

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Right on. 10.5 miles for the week. This is my first real week towards training, and I'm proud of it.

Monday - rest
Tuesday - 3.3 at lunch, hatha flow class in evening (very sore-inducing)
Wednesday - rest
Thursday - basic hatha in evening (very sore at this point)
Friday - 1.9 at lunch
Saturday - 5.34 on trails with Kiera
Sunday - hike xx? distance

This morning's run ended up being a little farther than I expected, as was yesterday's lunch time run (I ended up using gmap pedometer to check and see). Mike let us use his "geek watch" for this morning's run. (Many thanks go to Mike for watching Ash on Saturday mornings.) At the end, as we were running back on the road (yes, we actually ran the additional one mile round trip from Kiera's house to Sabino this week!), the Garmin showed us at a sub-10-minute mile. That was pretty darn cool, and really made me want to get one of my own. Sigh. Maybe someday.

Because this morning's run was farther and I've been feeling extra sore, I decided to forgo tomorrow's hatha flow yoga class. I am going for a hike with friend, and I'd really like to take care of my body. I don't need to add that yoga class in. Instead, I'll do an easier class Monday night. My schedule for next week (not the one Kiera found; I'm still working on that one) has me running five times:

Monday - 3.3 at lunch, followed by basic hatha in evening
Tuesday - 5.5 in the morning, followed by hatha flow in evening (my favorite!)
Wednesday - 2 to3 at lunch, rest in evening
Thursday - rest, basic hatha in evening
Friday - 2 to 3 at lunch or in the morning, rest in evening
Saturday - 4 to 5 with Kiera, head up to Mesa for my mom's birthday
Sunday - rest

In reviewing this, I am a little worried about it. I want to ease into my training. I only ran three times and had two yoga classes last week and I was sore. To go up to five runs and three yoga classes makes me worried. The three yoga classes aren't bad; I've been doing that for awhile. It's the five runs that's got me worried, even though they are so small. I think I might skip Monday's run, depending on how I feel. If tomorrow's hike isn't far, I'll run. Maybe I'll run Monday and take Wednesday as a full rest day - no yoga, no running. Oh, I think that's much better. I'll do that.

Thanks for listening to me work out my training! :)

This weekend

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Oh man, I was so sore yesterday. I did not want to run or go to yoga. I skipped the run, but made myself go to yoga. It was hard; I felt like a dud. I wasn’t inspired; I didn’t want to be there. I thought it was good training, though. Consistency is the key during training, and I want to keep my consistency in yoga. I’m still working on the consistency in the running :) Paki and I did go out for a short run at lunch today in the midst of crazy busy work. It was a great run that we probably could have extended, but I wanted to take it easy since I’ve been so sore and I had taken a bunch of ibuprofen. I was worried I would push it, since I was feeling okay from the ibuprofen, and then end up hurting myself more.

Kiera found a great mileage build-up plan. We’ll be modifying it over the next couple of days to make it fit our timing and schedule for the marathon.

Ash and I ate at Fronimo's tonight after we went to the park. Mmmm, gyro...mmm, baklava...

I’m running Sabino tomorrow morning with Kiera, then Ash and I will hang out for the day. Not sure yet what we’ll do; probably paint and go to the library. I want to clean my house! Saturday night will be fun; my company has won some awards and our boss is taking us to the awards dinner.

Sunday, I’ll be going to yoga, then probably out on a hike with a friend. I’ll be picking Ash back up in the afternoon and we’ll chill for Sunday night. After checking in on a friend’s cat and chickens, I might take a bath…mmm…

Sunday is the end of my running week; I’ll probably end with about 9 miles, plus whatever I hike on Sunday. That’s not much, but it is a beginning. I’ll be building from here, yay!

Which is worse to run on: sidewalks or street surface?

Planning

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So I've got a relay race at the end of March; I'll be running three legs of anywhere from 3 to 8 miles. We haven't had our planning meeting yet to determine who will be running what. I'm a little nervous about this; I've never run a relay, I'm slow and most of the team is fast and I'm not exactly in great shape. I'm taking it easy plunging back into training, which is hard for me to do. I want to be back running 20+ miles a week like nothing! But, alas, I can't. I need to ease into it slowly, so as to not hurt myself.

I'm getting better at the pigeon pose :) The yoga is really helping my body. Last night's class was a beautiful, sensual experience. I'm used to concentrating on the poses as I'm going through the motions, and feeling a sense of grateful release at some point during the class. Last night, the teacher - a sub - wanted us to focus on playing within the poses. Moving back and forth, moving the shoulders, never actually "holding" a pose. We were in constant flux, constant side-to-side or back-and-forth movement within every pose. It was so different, so fun, so joyful, so playful. She kept saying, listen to your body: what does your body want to do? Where does it want to move? I felt like I was dancing. I liked how she emphasized everyone is different, every body is different, everyone's practice would be different. She also had us try the crow pose as well as a head stand - pretty adventurous stuff for this newbie! I wasn't able to hold either pose for more than a few seconds, but it was great fun to try.

I am so sore today from the lunch run yesterday, last night's yoga class and then lugging a heavy laptop around downtown today - I had to report for jury duty. I should find out in the next couple of weeks whether or not I've been excused.

Work has been incredibly busy. It's a little overwhelming, but absolutely awesome. I love being this busy - I get into it, things move smoothly, I'm on a roll. I'm a little tired and sometimes I have to stop and take deep breaths :) Yoga breathing, I remind myself.

Yesterday's lunch run was beautiful. I managed to get out before it hailed, and the nippy chill in the air was great. My pace is definitely slow - 11:40/mile, and that felt tiring. I had about .75 to go when my legs felt shaky and I realized I was STARVING. I wanted to be done, and I felt like I couldn't go on. I got discouraged with that feeling, because I had only run 2.5 miles at that point! And I want to run an ultra?! I've RUN two ultras and I'm feeling like I can't run after 2.5 miles?!?!?! AAAAAAAA!!!!! But I just dug deep, said this is great training and focused on the street light that signaled the home stretch. It was great to get back into that groove - that deep groove of running mentality. Geez, it's been awhile since I've been there!

I am excited that a friend is willing to meet me early Tuesday mornings to get 5 miles in before work on a weekly basis. I ran with him for a little bit last fall, and our conversations flowed easily. I'm looking forward to starting that back up again. You know, it's just that much easier to make sure I actually get out there and run when I'm supposed to meet someone. Once the sun starts coming up earlier and it gets slightly warmer, Paki and I will start our pre-work runs again (I can't wait!). Probably twice a week - once up at the River Path and once down near me. And Kiera and I have our Saturday morning trail runs as well. I took a quiz in a recent Runner's World - what kind of runner are you? - and no surprise, I'm a socializer!

Right now, I've got about three days a week of evening yoga and four days a week of running 3 to 5 miles in the mornings or at lunch. I'm hoping to get a few runs of up to 10 miles before the relay; I'll probably do a couple runs on Saturday afternoons after Kiera and I run, just to get my body used to running more than once, to simulate the relay conditions. Once the relay is over, I can start really working on building my base mileage toward the fall marathon. It feels like the marathon is too far away; I want a race closer in time, but it's too hot in the desert to have any races in the summer. Sigh. Although I worry about getting burned out on training or getting discouraged or losing faith/sight in the goal, I think it's good to have till September to train - I'll be able to gradually, gently, up my miles and take care of my body. I should also get some good heat training in by continuing to run in the spring and summer months.

I've started outlining my miles per day/week for the upcoming few months, but got stuck for the after-relay part. I have to find out with Kiera/Mike which days would work best to start incorporating long runs (Saturday or Sunday). To properly train for the marathon in Flagstaff - at elevation - during the hot hot summer in Tucson - we'll need to do our long runs (up to 20 miles/4 hours on trails) up on Mt. Lemmon. Once you count drive time in, that's a good 6 to 7 hours toward our weekly long run! From what I understand, at this point in time, Kiera is aiming to do the marathon. She's just got some logistics to work out first (like finding someone to watch her kids for an entire day so she can go run).

I'm also happy to get back into thinking about food as fuel - this is comfort territory, this is what I know. I know how to eat to take care of myself, I know what I need to eat before and after a run, I know how much water I need, I know how to fuel myself on rest days. This is an easy habit to fall back into. Running is motivation to eat well. I'm not nearly as tempted to eat a greasy burger for dinner, knowing I'll be up in the morning running.

I am so relieved to be getting back into training! Oh, and Happy Valentine's Day! (I did actually receive some candy from a coworker, and a friend sent me an absolutely beautiful e-mail this morning, part of which stated: ...if you find yourself without a significant other today, just take a look in the nearest mirror and gaze at the wonderful person that you do get to spend time with... I'm sharing that with all of you, because it's a beautiful sentiment that I believe everyone should internalize. It's my Valentine's gift to you all!)

Twin Peaks 50/50 Photos

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Meeting Jessica
Race Prep
Pre-race Dinner
Course Marking
Race Day!
Final Day in SoCal

Angie and Jess

I had so much fun this weekend! It was exactly what I needed.

Descending to the beach

Angie greets the ocean

Unfortunately, a combination of a rich lunch with two beers, followed by two glasses of framboise ("fram-bwah"), topped with two flights to get home to Tucson caused for a sick night (I'm terrified of flying; I had no clue my palms could sweat!) :( I spent most of last night in the bathroom, and am waiting to feel slightly better before I head into work.

Coming up: a challenge has been thrown down, plus - my return to ultras

onepinkfuzzy

I can see Twin Peaks through a window framed with white plantation shutters as the sun casts a muted glow through the room. I am comfortably ensconsed in a soft rocking chair with my feet up on Jessica's bed. We want to go to the beach before I fly out today, but first, we are sorting through the hundreds of photos we've taken over the last three days while attempting to capture some of the exhaustion, excitement and joy of organizing (in Jess's case) and volunteering for (in my case) an ultra race. I am sipping a Coffee Bean mocha (made with whole milk instead of the requested skim milk - it is so damn rich!) and trying to figure out where to start this story...

Anne, Jess, Jeff, Matt and Angie

I was "roamer" or "gofer" for the day; driving Jeff's Xterra was fanTAStic. I was thinking that Wendy and Jess couldn't have given me a better job for the day. I love and am in love with Jeff's truck. Bouncing over the rocky dirt roads, laughing out loud even though I was the only one in the car. It was a roller coaster that I was in charge of.

Angie drives Jeff's Xterra

Angie and Jeff

In the dark, meeting Anne was a fun moment. This car pulls in, and a woman gets out. "Can I park here?" she asks, worried about being towed. "I think that's okay," I say. I wonder why her sillouhette looks familiar. "I have food," she says, digging into her trunk. "Anne?" I ask, remembering that she is bringing brownies. "Yes," she says. "Angie?" We run toward each other in the dark, arms outstretched, and embrace. "It's so nice to meet you!" I exclaim, and pick up the box of brownies to carry over. She launches into conversation; I love listening to her talk.

Angie and Anne

People prep for the races, I take lots of photos and joke around with everyone. The excitement is contagious and everyone is ready. I love ultra races; the runners are so inspirational and there are so many stories out on the course. The grit and determination, the look of relief on runners' faces as they come into an aid station.

Skip talks to Greg and Kiera at Santiago

Matt on the course

I meet Matt, who is so sweet and just a pleasure to be around. (At the end of the day, I reach the start/finish line and Darrell says, "Matt just got on the bus; he wanted to see you before he left." I run toward the shuttle bus as it leaves, waving my arms. The bus stops and I launch onboard. "Where's Matt!" I yell. Matt pops up, and I give him a giant hug. He tells me, yes, he finished, and at about 8 hours (30 minutes faster than he projected when I ran into him on the course). Another run says, "What, don't I get a hug?!" so I hug him too. Then I get off the bus and let Matt get home to his wife and son.)

Angie and Matt

I am excited to have met David Goggins (I did a double-take at the pre-race dinner the night before when he checked in. I think he noticed my double-take; it was pretty obvious. Hey, the guy's a semi-celebrity in the ultrarunning world, I'm so psyched to have met him!), and I meet Kirk, who introduces himself and says he reads my "interesting" blog.

Wendy and other volunteers at the start/finish

I have fun hanging with OC Trail Runners - Kiera (who is funny and cute and full of energy and who ran her first 50 mile and smiled the entire time) and Greg (who got Dean Karnazes to sign his forearm the day before the race) and Charlie (who with is two cute sons helped with the course marking; he is truly funny) and Wendy (who has two kids and a full-time job and still managed to coordinate all the volunteers and who - along with Jess - was attempting to get me to move out to CA) and Kyle (who is fast and an awesome runner and who we dropped off the day before with a ten-pound bag of flour to mark nine miles of trail and then he was a course sweep on race day).

Charlie's fashion statement

I get to see Nattie again too. Nattie is sweet and beautiful and has a slight accent that is gorgeous. She smiled the entire day, even at the end of the very long day she was smiling as I fell asleep and we talked with the RD of the Antelope Island Buffalo Run (which I've wanted to do for awhile).

Nattie!

After both races start, Jess comes with me for a coffee run (I need my Starbucks!) and we drop supplies off at Holy Jim - mile 27 of the 50m race. Then I head back out to get ice and drive to the top of the peaks.

Kim (aka OC Runner Girl) comes into Harding

First stop: Harding - the first and last aid station for both 50k and 50m, 9 miles from the start/finish line. I drop off ice and take pictures. Then I head to Santiago Peak, the high point of the course. The 50k runners turn around at this point and head back down, while the 50 milers head out for the lollipop part of the course from here. I hang out here, taking tons of photos of runners and volunteers. Skip does boot camp workouts in between runners while blasting Republica and Cat Stevens and Jethro Tull on his stereo and Jen files her nails and Eric mans the ham radio.

Woman's 50 mile Winner Teresa comes into Santiago for second stop

Ladybug

A few hours later, we get word that a runner is vomiting and is not feeling well. I debate driving down the course to him. On one hand, he could be going through a rough patch and seeing the car might tempt him to DNF when in actuality he'd be fine. But on the other hand, it could be medically serious. I decide I'll take him some water and S caps and see what he thinks. Better to tempt him and be safe. I drive down the course, passing four runners who all say the same thing: "He's looking bad, he's down a ways." I find him and he looks relieved. He says he was going to walk to Santiago and drop there, but since the car is here, he'll gladly take the ride. I am glad that I was able to help him.

His name is Sam and we pick up his mom at Harding, where she was waiting to pace him to the finish. I drive back down, stopping once to let him out to emptly the contents of his stomach. Back at the start/finish, I chase down Matt in the school bus, eat a bunch of pizza, talk with Darrell forEVER (as he says at least three times, "Really, I have to be going now..."), cheer on finishers, meet Eric (handing out medals) who says he'll check out my blog, talk with a gentleman named Bill who is doing the 6-day race to be held soon in Douglas, AZ, and in general have fun.

Darrell and Angie

By the end of the day, I am falling asleep on the table. I got to meet and hang out with so many genuine and awesome people, and I am surrounded by what I love most: nature, food, running and fantastic folks. I feel like I hit the wall, and there was nothing left inside me to keep me going. I love that feeling.

UPDATE: Some Photo Links
Meeting Jessica
Race Prep
Pre-race Dinner
Course Marking

The race day photos are still to come...

I'm exhausted

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And the race hasn't even begun! My arms are shaking right now, I got such a great workout with lifting and carrying all that water today! My abs and core also got a good workout while I attempted to stay upright in the truck as we drove all the mountains today.

Last night was an awesome Mexican dinner (out on a fantastic patio), followed by bag stuffing and food prep. Today's course marking was a big, long adventure. I got to see parts of the course (which is a good thing, since I'll be driving Jeff's Xterra tomorrow, and don't want to get lost!), and meet Jeff - the amazing hip! He is just as amazing in person as he is on his blog (he and Jess had a blast laughing at me on the way home). I also got to meet some cool local runners (Hi Charlie! Hi Kyle! Hi Pat!) as well as a documentary filmmaker who is filming the race (and pre-race preparations).

We are getting ready for the pre-race dinner, after which we'll come home and crash. Up early tomorrow for the race itself, where I get to meet Anne (Run-DMZ), Nattie (accounts of madness) and hopefully Matt (igotblistersonmyblisters), in addition to tons of awesome runners.

Monday we'll sleep in and then hit the beach; can't wait!

I made it!

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I flew in to SoCal this morning. I had to get up at 5 a.m. to make it to the airport on time (um, I didn't think about the fact that a 6:40 flight meant I had to be there, well, earlier than that). I flew to Phoenix, then to Santa Ana/Orange County; both flights were uneventful (thank goodness - I'm scared of flying!). Watching the full moon set over the orange and white twinkling lights of Tucson spread across the luminescent blue of the desert was incredible.

I spotted the ocean as I flew over the Santa Ana Mountains, the mountains where Sunday's race will be held. A smile spread across my face and I couldn't contain my excitement. California! The ocean!

I found the baggage claim and made my way outside and waited about 30 seconds before Jessica's car pulled up. I tossed my bags (a duffel bag for the running gear, a backpack for everything else, plus my laptop/carryon bag) in the backseat, and we headed to her house, where a delivery truck was waiting to unload 160 gallons of water and 1000 bottles of OC energy drinks into her garage. We talked nonstop as she pointed out the Newport back bay where Nattie and Jeff run, her offices, the mountains and more of the OC. Once to her house (and a gorgeous house it is!), we took pictures of the aid supplies (and my bags - too many for a weekend trip, I admit) and got my computer hooked up (which took awhile, but we managed!). I am currently lying on her bed typing this while she finishes up some work stuff, then we'll head out. Bag stuffing is our activity for the night! Hopefully we'll get a run or a beach visit in today; otherwise it'll be Monday. I'm looking forward to the course marking party tomorrow; should be fun!

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angie's essence...as explored by trail running (and mixed-media art)

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