April 2008 Archives

Walking wasn't too bad this past week; while I was in pain, it seemed to be less than the 22 miler I did a few weeks ago. I actually walked up and down three flights of stairs yesterday (on purpose!), and while it hurt, it wasn't impossible. Tonight, I walked to the park with Ash and then Chris joined us as we walked to Baskin-Robbins and waited 20 minutes in line for 31-cent scoop night. (mmm...chocolate fudge...)

No real blisters to speak of. No injuries (although the back of my knee was hurting today - that was the first thing that started hurting at ZG - in the first 8 miles, no less!). No sunburn. No real chafing (that stuck around after Sunday, anyway). No falls, only a few scrapes on my legs. I came away relatively unscathed!

Except I think I have the first UTI I've ever had. It was irritating for the last few days, and this afternoon, it just blossomed into this excruciating pain. Doctor, stat! They have no openings until May 6, but said I should call in at 8 tomorrow to see if anyone canceled. If not, then it's off to Urgent Care I go! I'm not sure if this is a result of Saturday's run or not. Women distance runners - have you had this happen to you, seemingly as a result of a long run???

I've definitely MORE than compensated for the amount of calories I burned on race day! Time to start cutting back. I'd really like to lose 10-15 pounds. I lost five during training, but want to lose more. I also want to start doing some speedwork. I'd like to get a little faster - I'd like to have 9-minute miles be my fast pace and 10-minute miles be my normal out-for-a-jog pace instead of where I'm at now (10 & 11, respectively).

I have no races planned on the near horizon. But I want to! I'll probably run the downtown 5k in June, and I want to do the Mt Lemmon Ascent run that my trail running group puts on each fall. But the next big race that I'm thinking about is Pemberton 50k in February (c'mon Taryn!!!). I'd like to think of something sooner than that, but with the price of gas, I don't know that I could afford anything if it's not in-state. I need to see if the fall 50ks will be held - Man Against Horse and Soul Run were 50ks held in the past... I'd LOVE to do something in CA, WA or OR (my aunt in Gig Harbor offered for Ash and me to stay at her place and she'd watch Ash if I wanted to do something, but I can't afford the cost of airfare; all my money got sunk into my stupid tooth/root canal!). I need a race to train for; otherwise, I can't get myself out of bed early in the morning.

As alluded to in the title, here are two vids that Jeff took of us out on the trail. Enjoy!

I’m riding in the car on the way back from the race while Chris and Renee talk. My entire body aches, my lungs hurt and I’m hacking up hard pieces from my lungs. It’s hard to breathe, hard to move and yet I am happy. My mind replays the weekend over and over and over again…

Short version:

I made it joyfully to the finish to hear “Howdy” Bob yell at me, “that’s what I’m talking about!” It was long and rocky day on an up-and-down course full of elevation gain – it was exhausting, crazy fun, I finished in something like 12:27 (official results to come) and I loved every minute of it. I had fun with Taryn and Renee and Chris, and found the world’s BEST pacer in jeff. See Taryn’s blog for pictures and posts from the weekend.

photo album

Long version:
The mysteries of Zane Grey revealed: Angie finally runs the first 33 miles of the course (after three years of crewing for fellow runners and one year sweeping the final 17 of the 50mile course)…

Pre-race
We pack up the car, pick up Renee and head up to Payson. I am excited to see the landslide that closed Highway 87, the road from Phoenix to Payson, a month ago. We make it to Payson in about four hours, stop at Safeway for ice and extra groceries and find our way to Camp Tontozona, aka race headquarters to check in and find our cabin.

Angie's feet on the balcony of the cabin

Angie on the porch of the cabin at Camp Tontozona

We unload into the cabin and sit for a few minutes on the deck, watching kids multiply exponentially on the field below while waiting to Taryn to arrive. We find out after Taryn arrives that dinner is already being served, so we make our way up to the dining hall. We enjoy pasta, bread and salad while catching up with Chuck and meeting his friends before heading down to the field for the pre-race meeting, birthday celebration and cake, where I meet David from Georgia, who is running his first ultra (he trained by for this crazy hilly course by running on the interstate!). We listen to ultrarunning legend Karsten Solheim tell us to *read every sign* that we come to, look for the silver diamonds and remember that we are running the *Highline Trail* - number 31. Yellow ribbon marks the good trail; stay off the trails marked with blue ribbons.

Perry - the RD - at the pre-race meeting

We finish prepping for the morning, I open a goody bag from Taryn for my birthday (Glamour and chocolate and beer and body butter and my favorite – Trader Joe’s chocolate Jo-Jos!!!), I show Taryn the newest style in arm warmers – a pair of Chris’s socks cut off at the toes – before heading to bed.

Race Morning
Renee, <br />
Taryn & Angie at the cabin on race morning

By 3:30 am, I can’t sleep anymore. I am awake and ready. I hear 50 milers leaving headquarters for their 5 am start. I toss and turn and talk to Chris when he wakes up, only he tells me he’s not *that* awake yet. So I get up and start preparing. Renee is up and getting ready. Taryn and Chris get up shortly after that. We start taking pictures and end up leaving much later than anticipated. Renee remembers my yogurt after we leave, so we end up going back to the cabin so I can eat breakfast. We speed to the start and arrive about 15 minutes before race start to grab our race bibs, use the porta-potties and take a couple quick pictures. I realize the only pink fuzzy thing on me is my hairtie. Runners migrate to the start, someone yells “GO!” and I’m not ready yet – my satellites haven’t been located on my Garmin. I say so out loud, causing a nearby runner to laugh.

Angie and Renee at the start

Miles 1-8
Runners at the start of Zane Grey

Nervous chatter fills the trail as we start out uphill, jockeying for position (more me letting everyone by). About a half-mile in, everyone takes a turn to the left at a junction, but Renee reads the sign that says Highline Trail is a half-mile to the right. We yell down the left trail, but no one hears us. Everyone but the last five runners have taken the wrong turn. I spend the first five miles in third to fifth place. We went up, up, up the first hill then down, down, down the other side. When the first of the fast 50kers caught up with me, I yelped, startling him. Oops.

Turns out the 50kers went off course anywhere from 2-3 miles. There are no yellow ribbons anywhere, but plenty of silver diamonds. The next three miles into the aid station, I am continually passed by the faster people who had gone off course. I am enjoying the company and the feeling of seeing other people on the trail. I am a little tired already; this is surprising, but I figure it’s just part and parcel of the ultra package. The back of my right knee hurts and I take an Aleve, hoping it doesn’t do as much damage to my body as Ibuprofen or Tylenol would during a race. I’m eating my sports beans every 30 minutes and enjoy talking with Lindsay, who is attempting her first ultra after running a marathon. Her husband is in fifth place after taking the early detour. There are a number of nice runnable sections in miles 1-8, in addition to the big hill. I am so grateful to the volunteers who have cleared the downed
trees off the trails.

Angie approaches mile 8

At the Geronimo aid station (mile 8), I am happy to see Chris and Taryn. I am 20 minutes off pace, but not too worried. I leave my sock arm warmers with them, decline more sunscreen, get more fuel and put my pack back on only to realize that my back is sopping wet. WTF? Turns out the volunteer who lectured me on needing to drink more water as she filled my bladder with a jug of water poured said water into my *pack* not my *bladder*. I pull the bladder out and dump about 16 oz of water out of my pack. I’m worried that the amount of water on my back will cause major chafing. I pull out the bodyglide and hope that helps. She apologizes profusely as she refills my bladder, Chris gives me kisses, Taryn gives me hugs, I thank the volunteers and I’m off for the next section.

Miles 8-17ish
Angie leaves mile 8

I take the volunteer’s advice and start drinking more water. The trail is going up, up, up and I am very tired. I am cramping (due to the antibiotics, I started a week early, dammit!) and I take a second Aleve. I make a couple pit stops and three guys who went off course early on catch up with me. They aren’t really sure which way to go, and I help them at each spot that there’s a question as to where to go. There are no yellow ribbons on this section either. One of the guys has a tattoo on his calf that says 140.6, so I assume he’s an Ironman. The Ironman and I drop the other two guys and I start babbling about how normally I’m a back-of-the-packer who is lonely and while I feel really bad for those who went off trail, I am enjoying the company of being passed and seeing people on the trail. I don’t think he likes hearing that and he picks up his pace to drop me. But he is slower on the downhills than I am so I keep catching him. He also isn’t sure where the trail goes and asks for directions often. I point and we keep moving forward. I babble on some more about I’m usually not a very good trailfinder, yet I seem to be finding the trail today, which is so cool! I don’t think he likes hearing that either. He is demoralized from losing the trail early on, and he keeps muttering about how this isn’t a run, and there are too many rocks, and this isn’t fun. I joke about how the rocks apparently multiply every year, and he doesn’t respond. It takes me awhile to realize that my babbling is probably adding to his mental fatigue and demoralization. Ironman, if you are out there and find this report, I am so sorry about my babbling, I didn’t mean to add to your misery, and I hope you are feeling better and come back to do the race next year!

We arrive at “the ditch”, a washout that is hard to navigate. I figure out how to get down into the creek, up the creek, and over to the trail on the other side. Three guys have caught up and follow behind me and then I take off up the trail, leaving them behind.

I am by myself for awhile, climbing up and down slowly. I figure I’m just out here to complete it; no worries. Until I look at my watch and realize I have less than two hours to go 5 miles and at the pace I am maintaining, there is no way I’ll make the cutoff at Washington Park (mile 17). This is so stressful for me; I can’t stand the thought of jeff coming all the way out from SoCal only for me to DNF at mile 17 so that he can’t run with me! I decide that even though I’m exhausted and tired and ready to quit, there is NO FREAKING WAY I’m going to DNF this race due to not making the cutoff. I am in enough shape to make the cutoff, dammit!!

I speed up and go as fast as I can, so stressed and worried and ready to cry. It’s like something switched inside me. I am not out here for a jaunt in the woods. I am out here to run this race and to COMPLETE it. Which means speeding up. My pack is chafing my shoulder where my tank top ends and my underarms are chafing. I need to change my shirt at the aid station, but I’m not sure I’ll have enough time to do so. I am seriously freaking out.

Angie approaches 17

I make it to Washington Park with 15 minutes to spare. I am off pace by a cumulative hour and 20 minutes. Jeff is there and I am excited! I change my shirt (ahhhh) and an EMT gives me his bandana thingie that has gel in it and ties around my neck to keep me cool. I look like a cowboy Miami Dolphins cheerleader.

Angie at mile 17

Jeff wets my shirt, I put on some extra bodyglide, grab some potato chips and m&ms, thank the volunteers and head out.

Jeff and Angie leave mile 17

Miles 17ish-24ish
I quickly realize I left my handheld water bottles at the aid station. I run back and yell, panicked, at Chris, who grabs them and passes them to me.

I have eaten too much at the aid station and my stomach is nauseous. The trail goes up, up, up and I am slow. Jeff tells me to take it easy, just hike it out. We immediately fall into a comfortable, fun conversation and he keeps my mind off my pains. I fill him in on the day so far and he tells me I’m looking good. He can’t stop exclaiming over the beauty of the run, even as we run through miles of burned out forest and grasslands. The views are expansive, mountains upon mountains tripping over each other on the horizon.

We finally get yellow ribbons marking the trail, which really help. After a few miles, I am ready to speed up the pace. We shuffle along, goofy kids, laughing at silly jokes, singing songs that get stuck in our heads, sharing stories of similar childhoods. We laugh and giggle, I moan occasionally when my knee hurts on steep downhills, we crawl over and under downed trees, cross streams – getting ourselves wet at every crossing to help keep our temperatures down. We play leapfrog with Rachel, another runner from Tucson who got lost early on.

After sixish miles, we see Hell’s Gate at mile 24. What a welcome sight! My knee and lower back are cramping as we approach and I have to walk instead of run (er, shuffle). I am off pace by a cumulative total of an hour and 50 minutes. The volunteers at this aid station are fantastic, helping me with my dirty feet, encouraging me to take some Endurolytes for the cramping, telling me to put bodyglide on my socks instead of my toes to keep the dirt from sticking to me. They’re out of ice, but have plenty of ice water. I sit for awhile and enjoy the view and company but decline any food they offer. I ask for an espresso hammer gel; they raid one volunteer’s personal stash to give me two. Awesome! I thank the volunteers profusely. Finally, I’m ready to tackle the final nine miles.

Miles 24-33
I quickly realize I have left both my handhelds at the aid station (again!). This time, Jeff returns to the aid station to grab them for me. We set off for our final stretch.

“Cake, Angie, Cake!” Jeff tells me time and time again as I count down the miles left. It’s easy; no sweat! This reminds me of lyrics and I start singing:

“Reluctantly crouched at the starting line,
Engines pumping and thumping in time
The green light flashes
The flag goes up
Churning and yearning
They race for the cup…”

And on and on through the song. Jeff joins me and we laugh and giggle and sing some more. We wonder if we’ll make it in before sunset and guess that we’ll hit the finish line at 7:30.

But this section is easier than the last section; much less steep – both up and down. This is much more runnable (er, shuffable) (um, fast walkable?) and we move quicker than expected. I realize we’ll beat 7 pm. I am joyful and dancing down the trail. My garmin tells me it is low on batteries so I expect it to turn off at any time; I instruct Jeff to remind me to eat every 30 minutes. But the garmin doesn’t die and we continue to count down the miles. I am in pain and any steep downhill is hell on my knee. I move slowly down these sections; thankfully there aren’t many.

I tell Jeff that the knee and back pain makes the tooth pain insignificant! I look for the silver lining each time I start to complain about my right knee hurting. At least my left knee doesn’t! I come to a dead stop at a log across the trail. I’ve climbed over dozens of these today, but my brain is dead and I can’t compute that there is a log across the trail that I must climb over. Each time I stop in the middle of the trail when my brain can’t compute how to handle the obstacle (downed tree, eroded trail), Jeff almost knocks into me; he’s too busy watching the views and enjoying our time on the trail!

We hear a radio beep; it’s a ham operator. He tells us we’ve got about less than a mile to “Lifeguard One,” another radio operator, then two miles to the finish from there.

We cross the drainage (the 1000th since the start???) and climb to the next ridge to find Lifeguard One. “473 and pacer!” I announce happily. He informs us we have two miles to the finish. “Cake, Angie, Cake!”

And it is. The espresso hammer gel has given me yummy fantastic fuel and the siren call of the finish line is beckoning me. I am dancing down the trail, picking up pace. In the last mile, I start running (er, shuffling) again, and I pass David, the runner from Georgia. He’s going to finish! Jeff tells me this is the longest amount of time he’s ever been on his feet; he finished Twin Peaks 50miler in 6:05.

I realize we may beat 6:30 pm. I see a paved road and our final descent. I pick up the pace and Jeff tells me to be careful on my knee. “I know,” I say carelessly as I plummet down, down, down. I see people and let out a primal yell; Jeff joins me. Bob yells, “That’s what I’m talking aBOUT!” And I cheer. That’s what I’ve been waiting for. “I ran 32 miles to hear that yell!” I shout below. Chris and Renee and Taryn are cheering and taking photos and I make the final turn and make it to the finish line.

Angie and Jeff approach the finish

“I DID IT!!!” I yell as I tackle Chris, almost knocking him over with a hug. We get photos at the clock at the finish, which says 2:28 (total cumulative off pace amount of time) instead of 12:28. I open the Arrogant Bastard Ale that Taryn brought me and I eat three of MaryAlice’s turkey wraps.

zane grey 2008 048

I get my finisher’s chair and (bright yellow) technical shirt (to join the seat shield (score!) and visor we got for registering for the race). I give Jeff big hugs before Chris returns him to his car at mile 17ish, and us girls head into town for dinner at Chili’s, which I can’t finish, although I adore my hot chocolate.

I don’t sleep well that night; I’m in pain and my stomach is upset. But the next day is beautiful; we pack up the cars, give Taryn big hugs and head home.

Me running two ultras two years ago wasn’t a fluke. I can still do it. This was one tough-ass mofo of a run and I completed it. Joyfully, painfully, happily.

Final countdown

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****UPDATE: I just found out that Taryn can blog from her phone. Provided she has coverage, she'll be posting updates throughout the weekend. You can check her blog to see how things are going!****

Inside her heart is dancing

A new addition to my ever-growing collection of art pieces to eventually be sold at some point...it's not listed on my etsy shop yet. Also in art news, I donated a piece for an online Save a Child auction benefitting Child & Family Resources. Bidding starts Monday!

In taper/race-related news, I'm still freaking out. I'm doing better than earlier in the week, but I'm still twitching like mad. I went back to the dentist yesterday and got a new temporary crown that fits much better. I also talked to the dentist about my race on Saturday. When I asked if I was ok to run that distance, he said, "Well *I* wouldn't recommend running that distance, but that's even without a root canal." He gave me the okay, and told me what to do if the crown comes out (clean it off and pop it back in). The dental assistant gave me my old temporary crown, "just in case the new one breaks while you're out there," so I now have a fake tooth in my wallet :)

My gums are still sore, and have an ulcer on them. The dentist prescribed a steroid ointment to help it heal, and told me to wash three times a day with listerine. They'll let my gums heal up more before they take an impression and give me the permanent crown.

The new temporary crown feels better than the old one, but it's still bothersome. Sigh.

And the antibiotics have screwed with my birth control pill and therefore my hormones, making me PMS early - everything's amplified!

And I'm worried about money, and root canal (is it healing right?), and my hormones, and being a woman, and being slightly overweight and undertrained, and getting all my work done before I leave, and getting packed and ready on time. I have a public meeting the night before I leave! Argh!

But I journaled this morning and used my OCD to my advantage: I wrote out (3 pages long!) my schedule from this morning till Friday morning. Everything that needs to be done and when. And I've got my packing lists ready and packing has commenced. I am finishing up packing tonight. I will run 2 miles at lunch tomorrow. I keep telling myself that I'm doing my best and to let go and trust myself that I can make it happen. I'll be okay no matter what happens.

I had a really good chat today with jeff, who offered to pace me for the final miles at Zane Grey. He was so upbeat and goofy and funny and I came away from that feeling so much better. Thanks jeff! I'm looking forward to our time on the trail :)

I don't think I'll get a chance to blog again before the race on Saturday, and I'm not sure when I'll have the update ready afterwards (probably Monday). Wish me luck!!! I need all I can get!!!!!

I'm so cranky! *twitch* I can't handle such a drastic *twitch* taper! I feel like I'm *twitch* PMSing or *twitch* going crazy. I can't *twitch* handle this!

All of a whopping 9 miles this *twitch* week, along with four hours on my feet walking slowly at the fair (and eating fried foods). No cross-training. One *twitch* root canal that left me with an annoying-as-all-get-out temporary crown that I swear *twitch* is about to fall out.

And I'm *twitch* totally stressing about race day itself. I'm not *twitch* ready! I haven't done enough *twitch* training! And if I'm not supposed to eat sticky things, how the HELL am I *twitch* going to eat sports beans without *twitch* yanking the fake tooth out?! And I tried *twitch* to drink out of my camelback at the fair on Saturday, but that *twitch* involves both biting the valve and closing my entire mouth around it and creating a *twitch* vacuum that totally puts pressure on the stupid fake tooth, causing it to both loosen further and cause more *twitch* freakin' pain.

I'm FREAKING out! *twitch*

In sharing this with my friends Barb and Daniel on a 3.25 mile run this afternoon in 82 degree heat after eating a homemade southern style breakfast (and therefore going really slow and feeling like if I can't even run a measly 3.25 miles now, how the HELL will I run 32 miles on Saturday?!?!?!?!), they let me shriek and almost cry and have a total freakout before reassuring me that everyone has bad days, it wasn't an optimal time/heat/fueling for the day today, and Saturday will be totally different because I'll have race day adrenaline going. Barb did a great job reminding me of all my long runs that I did (which of course led to me thinking about the missed long runs), and all the weekly running I did my best to cram in (which of course reminded me of the few weekly runs I missed).

I was worried about eating too much during my taper. I figured I'd let myself eat what I want on my birthday (last Sunday) and then be good after that. Yeah, the be-good part hasn't started yet. I ate unhealthfully on my birthday and I haven't stopped yet. That worries me. I haven't stepped on the scale, cause I don't wanna see the number!

And I'm still very very very very worried about the temporary crown, which I'm supposed to have for three weeks. There's too much material on the backside where it meets the gum, and it's also shaking loose, so that I can taste the filling stuff that they used to fuse it to my gums as it leaks out, in addition to feeling food get stuck back there. Where the fake thing meets my gums in front is also feeling strange. I'm worried about brushing it and they told me not to floss it, cause that would make it pop right out. I see the dentist on Tuesday for an impression (whatever that is) in preparation for the permanent crown, and I plan on asking them to fix it and also if what I'm experiencing is normal. I'm also going to ask them what I should do if I do happen to lose the fake crown on race day (sucking down on a bladder hose and eating sports beans and all). I'd like to be prepared for the worst!

*sigh* Thank you all for listening to me rant and rave. I hope the week brings calm and peace. I know Chris coming back from Indiana will be nice. I hadn't realized just how much comfort, calm, peace and reassurement he adds to my life, not to mention how damn *good* he is at listening. I haven't been able to talk and express NEARLY as much when he's not around! I hope I can be a good girlfriend when I pick him up at the airport tomorrow; let him tell me all about his trip before I launch into my fears, worries and twitching!

Good luck to everyone at Boston tomorrow :)

So Chris is off to Indiana for the weekend, to catch up with friends. He says to me before he leaves, "you know they are going to want to see photos of you....can I just point them to your website?"

"Sure!" I say with a devilish grin and a joke about making sure I take his photo off the site first (he's a little reserved - not exactly the type of person to post his mug all over the 'net...not like *some* people I know...ahem...).

Soooo...here's my shout out: Hi to Chris's friends! Do I pass muster?! (Is Chris just totally embarassed that I've done this? Is he all red and dying over there?!) I hope you guys are having a lot of fun :)

Okay, back to my regularly scheduled programming: running.

Or more like, the lack thereof. I mean, I know I'm in my taper and all, but shouldn't I still be running, oh, just even a little bit? I skipped Monday night's run thinking, oh, I've got time this week; only ran 2 miles Tuesday morning (cranky!); stuck to my "no-running-on-Wednesday" rule; and I was supposed to go out tonight, except the dentist this morning said, "Hey, I've got an opening this afternoon; let's do your root canal!"

I'm contemplating running after the root canal, although I've heard horror stories about the pain...and that's even if I get the root canal. They've already called and bumped me back an hour due to a more urgent emergency that came up in the meantime. Chris thinks I should go spinning - not as much of an impact and I don't have to worry about forward motion and all. Of course, he thinks I need more cross-training in general anyway :)

My only other times for running this week are tomorrow morning and Sunday evening, since I have Ash. I may end up with a much more drastic taper than I was anticipating! Yikes!

****
UPDATE - Thursday evening
****
The root canal is done. I'm numb. I decided it was stupid to go for a run and/or do spinning tonight; I need to let my body heal. They're putting on a crown, so they drilled away my entire tooth after filling the root canal and putting in a post. I have a fake tooth that's bugging the crap outta me in there now. I have to keep it for about three weeks until I get the permanent crown.

I'm tired. I'm ready for my roasted corn chowder soup and the movie "Stardust".

****
UPDATE - Friday morning
****
Just finished 3.25 miles and am feeling good :)

How I turned 30

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Angie, Barb & Daniel at the start of Angie's 30th Birthday Run!

It starts Thursday, when I learn I have 16 cavities and $5000 worth of work that needs to be done on my teeth. That’s what 12 years of no dental appointments will do to a girl. No cavities at all growing up, and then BAM! I learn I also need a root canal. I am depressed and panicked and in need of a dental plan, stat! And that root canal – can I get it done before Zane Grey? I am in so much pain! I research dental plans and come up with some possibilities to mull over the weekend. I am bummed to start my birthday this way, but I know I will find a way to pay less than the original quote and I will take care of myself from now on.

The celebration starts Friday afternoon, at work. An American Idol happy hour kicks off the festivities at 4 pm in the conference room: bread, fruit, cheese, beer, wine and a karaoke machine. The conference room door is adorned with the American Idol logo along with photos of me: Halloween as leftovers, Halloween as an ice dancer, Christmas portrait looking coyly over a shoulder, a random candid photo of my head thrown back and my mouth frozen, open with laughter. We laugh and giggle and dance and sing YMCA, Dancing Queen, Friends in Low Places.

I leave the laughter and song behind to join Chris and his nieces at his soccer game, where I spend joyful quality time with a friend's infant in a little bear outfit, holding him, snuggling him, walking him, quieting him, helping him fall asleep while both his parents run to their hearts content during the game. My friends Barb, Daniel and Mary stop by to check out the game and meet the team; Mary is contemplating joining. I return Little Bear to his parents, and head to Trader Joe's with Barb, Daniel and Mary to pick up wine, frozen pizza, cheese and crackers. At Mary and Daniel's house, we dissect the beauty queens on display at the Miss USA pageant and decide that Miss New Jersey should have won, but not just because Jersey is Barb’s “homeland,” although that is part of it. Chris joins us after the team’s post-soccer dinner and we play Cranium, try to find "Cops" on TV for Barb and try our hand at Wii before finally, at 1:30 am, heading home.

I sleep in Saturday morning, and enjoy the luxurious space of time to myself for the entire day: I read, I paint, I clean, I cook, I read some more, I shop. I can’t remember the last time I had such a long time period of me and only me to think about. I am relaxed.

At night, we join Chris's nieces, mom and dad at a posh restaurant to celebrate his dad's birthday. Us girls make sure to dress up. After dinner, we wander through the nearby outdoor upscale mall, Chris’s younger niece pretending to stalk us, his dad running the wrong way down the escalator and trying to convince me and Chris's older niece to do the same, salivating over Tiffany & Co. and BCBG Max Azria.
Sunday morning dawns windy. I am thirty, for real. All the lead up, all the anticipation, comes to bear. This is it. I am no longer in my twenties. I open my eyes to Chris singing me happy birthday softly. I am excited and ready for this new decade.

I’m also excited and ready for my birthday run. Barb and Daniel pick me and we head to Sabino Canyon. The road up Sabino - part of my favorite, Phoneline Loop - is closed till June, so we travel over to Bear Canyon and Seven Falls. The four miles out are warm and fun and full of laughter and joy.

Daniel poses at the Falls

Angie at 7Falls - it's cold!

I chase Daniel down to the base of Seven Falls, yelling that I’m going to get him! Unlike previous training runs to the Falls, I decide to take my time at the turnaround. I strip my shoes and socks off to wade in the water. Barb gingerly makes her way down to the base of the falls, choosing her way carefully, making sure to avoid tripping, falling, hurting herself on the trail. We'll make a trail runner of her yet!

Barb approaches

She joins in me in the water, then starts wandering down the slick rock. I open my mouth to warn her about just how slippery the rock gets when mixed with water when she walks into a pool and her legs slide out from under her. She splashes down, landing on her left wrist and her bum.

Barb ices her just-broken wrist

It takes us awhile to realize just how badly she is hurt. I tell her to keep the wrist in the snowmelt-fed water, to "ice" it and keep the swelling down. After a few moments, she pulls it out of the water, and a huge bump has formed. A fellow hiker at the falls introduces herself as a pediatrician; she pronounces the wrist broken. The doctor finds a stick, wraps it in medical tape and tapes the splint to Barb's broken wrist. The doctor also provides ibuprofen. After a few nervous moments of a gray-faced Barb whispering that she is going to throw up (she doesn’t), Daniel and I tie her shoes back on her feet, pack up our stuff and slowly start making our way out.

Barb's splint

Once on the move, Barb feels much better. We walk about a mile before she declares herself ready to run. We take it easy and slowly speed up as we make our way down-canyon. She keeps the broken wrist protected, held close to her heart.

One tough chick

Three hours after our start, we arrive back at the car. Barb insists on our coffee ritual after the run, and the woman behind the counter at Ike’s is shocked to hear that we are stopping there with an injured runner and have not taken her to the ER yet. She is also shocked to hear that I am thirty. You don’t look thirty, she says with a furrow in her forehead. Why, thank you!

Barb drops me off at Chris's before heading to get donuts at Mary and Daniel's. She takes her time showering before heading to the ER with Mary.

After making me blueberry pancakes, Chris takes me to see "Juno,” which I love. Ash comes back that afternoon from his weekend field trip, and the three of us head to Fuddrucker's for my birthday dinner, where Barb, Daniel and Mary join us after Barb gets out of the ER, bringing me donuts from the morning. After dinner, Ash and I take Chris home before heading to our place. Ash crashes, he is exhausted, and I finalize the dental plan I need. If I’m understanding the plan correctly, I will end up paying only $1500-$2000 for what is needed. I am relieved.

It was definitely an awesome weekend, even with the broken bone and dental woes, and I am happy to be where I am in my life.

I'm 30!

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30th birthday cake, complete with pink fuzzies!

And I celebrated by taking my friends Barb and Daniel on a trail run to Seven Falls, where Barb broke her wrist. Fun times! :)

More details tomorrow.

(PS other than the wrist-breaking incident, it's been an absolutely fantastic birthday weekend. And Barb did such a great job on the four miles back to the trailhead - she even ran a good three miles on the way out! She's one tough chick :) )

My mom and me before the run:
Angie and Mama before the race

Look how similar our jogging styles are:
Mama and Angie start the race

We have identical body posture!:
Mama and Angie round the curve to the finish

On another note, I've been tagged by Olga. Here are the rules:
1) Write your own six word memoir
2) Post it on your blog and include a visual illustration if you want
3) Link to the person that tagged you in your post, and to the original post if possible so we can track it as it travels across the blogosphere
4) Tag at least five more blogs with links
5) Leave a comment on the tagged blogs with an invitation to play!

6 word memoir:
Breaking barriers with patience, determination, joyfulness.

Doing my best "Scott Jurek" at Pemberton Finish

Tag! You're it - Zane Grey Buddies: jeff, Renee, Taryn, Troy.

A Lark in the Park

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This past weekend was an overwhelming blast of fun. On Saturday, Chris, Ash and I headed up to Mesa to hang out with my family. Saturday night was my first of many birthday parties planned over the next month - this one with my family. Seven kids under six years old running around screaming their heads off, my sister and her husband, my step-brother and his wife along with my mom and step-dad eating cake, wading in the pool, and eating my mom's awesome tacos and burritos made for a fun time.

We stayed overnight, and the next morning, my mom, Chris, Ash and I headed to the Phoenix Zoo for "A Lark in the Park 5k". My mom is trying to get into shape, and likes power-walking (and running a little bit). We ran a 5k about 18 months ago, which was fun, and I was looking forward to this one. It was two loops through the zoo: we got stalked by a tiger, ignored by lions and flamingos, screeched at by parrots, dusted by rhinos and cheered on by Ash and Chris. We worked on jogging vs running (my mom laughed that she had two speeds only: fast or slow), talked up a storm, enjoyed some companionable silence, and worked our butts off to beat the girl in gray pants (which we did, go mom!). We finished in 43:38, a great time for my mom, and an enjoyable time for me (still recovering from last week's major mileage). (Photos to come)

Once we made it home, Ash went to his dad's, and Chris and I headed to a wedding, which was beautiful and a lot of fun.

Monday afternoon, I headed out for six miles around my neighborhood. Boy, let me tell you, an evening in heels does not make for a comfortable run the following day! Plus it was hot. But it felt really good to be out there. Plus - I got to run with my new Nathan pack! (My birthday present to myself.)

This morning, I headed out for an additional six miles with the pack again. Even though it was cooler than yesterday, it still was a tough run. (Those damn heels!) I'm looking forward to resting tomorrow, spinning or running on Thursday, running six miles on both Friday and Saturday mornings, and then heading out for 8-10 miles as my birthday run on Sunday!!! This is my final week before a two-week taper. Yay!

And finally - I'm in the March/April 2008 issue of Marathon & Beyond! The article is "Mountain Running: East vs West". They interviewed me a couple years ago, so they used my married name instead of my maiden name, which I'm currently using. If you are interested in reading it, e-mail me (I've got a PDF of the part I'm in).

Musing on Running

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Okay, so I haven't hit the taper yet - usually when the real musing begins - but Michelle's most recent post got me thinking about running (although it doesn't really take much to get me thinking about running...).

More specifically, about HOW I run. I've noticed, now that I have a Garmin, I tend to go out with a general idea of how far I want to go, but really it's more about how much time I have. "Oh, I think I'll go about an hour this morning," I might think, knowing that'll probably give me somewhat over 5 miles, close to 6 miles, perhaps, if I'm feeling really well. Or maybe if I feel like shit I'll tell myself, "C'mon sweet thing, you can do 2 miles. Just get out the door for 20 minutes and see how you feel once you're out there." (Yes, I really do use terms of endearment for myself on a regular basis when I'm coaching or encouraging myself through my runs. Is that really weird, or are there others out there who do that?!)

I don't have specific speedwork on specific days. It's more like, "Oh, this is a good song. I bet I can speed up a bit to make my cadence match the beat. Oh, look at that! I'm running 9-minute miles! Woo hoo!"

I don't have specific elevation gains I'm looking for necessarily. This winter, I knew I needed a lot and I needed to work it up gently. I just looked up the Tucson Trail Runners' schedule and see what I'm running on Sunday - and see if I need to alter it! (They have a tendency to go much much farther and higher up than I'm in shape for.) Sometimes that means I end up with a lot more elevation gain than I was expecting!

In past training cycles, when I pushed myself hard because I thought the schedule called for it, or because I thought that's what I needed to do (must! get! faster!), I got injured. This time around, I'm running slightly less, cross-training more, climbing WAY more elevation (another injury trigger in the past), and yet - knock on wood - I'm not injured yet. I've pushed myself beyond what I've done before in terms of single runs (not weekly mileage), and I'm doing okay. In fact, I feel stronger than I ever have before.

Which brings me to what I was thinking about in the shower this morning (my favorite place to think) - how to maintain this fitness level that I've gained. Really, what better way to prepare for my third decade than to whip my ass into shape. Now I want to keep that - and improve upon it! I LOVE being able to go out for a Sunday jaunt and climb from the desert to the pine trees. I LOVE thinking four miles at lunch is an easy run - it's nothing, just four miles. Really, it should be five or six. I LOVE seeing how my quads look and how my face looks and how my calves look. I LOVE thinking that two hours of working out a day feels great - an hour for running, an hour at the gym.

I don't want to lose this fitness - I want to use it as a base to catapult me into a realm of lifetime fitness. Of lifetime running. Of being able to pick up and run up Mt Lemmon if I want, because of course, I'm in shape to do so. I want to be able to pick off 50ks as training runs, and not be so intimidated by them.

I'm sure I'll be pursuing this train of thought over the next month or so as I finish preparations for Zane Grey and start thinking about how to capitalize on my current fitness in the months following....

Can't. Move. Legs.

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Here's why:

Elevation Chart for Mica Mtn Marathon

AngieMicaMtnMarathon

And why else:

AngieMicaMtnMarathon2

Action shots, baby! How exciting. Something other than my face grinning like a cheeseball.

So I now know I can do 7495 ft of elevation gain. Can I run again after that?! I was supposed to do three miles this morning as a recovery run. Sure, I can do that!

NOT.

I walked limped 1.3 miles. I'm going to try and walk another mile tonight. Tomorrow at lunch, it's four on the schedule. I think that's cra-a-a-azy. Wish me luck.

I can't stop thinking about Sunday's run. It was an amazing experience. I've only run that length of time two other times in my life; I've never climbed that elevation or anything near it; I've never run from the desert floor to the pine trees. I planned my attack for Zane Grey on the run, I thought about my pacer on the run, I wondered how Renee was doing at her marathon, I talked out loud to myself more than I think I ever had during those 8 hours. I composed a long blog post that was promptly forgotten when I sat down at my computer. I've dissected the run with Chris so many times that I think he's tired of hearing about it (although he's been so awesome in talking training with me). I keep finding myself back in the woods, running through the pine trees. Or in the grasslands, waiting for a snake to pop out at me. I think this is a run that will stay with me forEVER.

Amazing.

I'm running a 5k in Phoenix on Sunday with my mom, after we have an early birthday celebration on Saturday night. That's right folks, it's officially my BIRTHDAY MONTH!!! And this year is particularly significant - the big 3 - 0. Woo hoo!

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

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