Sunday, February 21, 2010


     That was what the scene looked liked this morning at Placer High School. Today was the first Western States Training Run of the year. Am I doing Western States? Hells no, but that didn't stop my Fleet Feet Training Group from piggy backing and joining in on all the fun. To be honest, today I fulfilled one of my biggest dreams, (short of actually running Western States) and that was to do one of their training runs. To date, I have run the first 4 miles of WS and now after today, I can say I have run the last 21 miles of WS. Perhaps some day, I'll do the middle miles. Just not tomorrow . . .

     The day started early as we had to make it to Placer High in time to hop on the old yellow school buses to drive another hour to our "drop off" location. By drop off, I literally mean, they opened the bus doors and POOF people took off running. No stopping. No pre-run chit chat and absolutely no relieving yourself before the designated "pee spot" (more on that later). Garmin and I just thought everyone was just jogging to get to a certain spot. We had no idea this was "it" as in "game on get your bum moving!" I would later regret flying down the gravel road the way I did. Although I have to admit, I can't say I wasn't warned!
The sign says "Rough Road" . . . why thank you for that clever observation!

That sign says "Loose Gravel" . . . Really? I didn't notice.

     The days leading up to the run we had received a few emails from Greg Soderlund, Race Director for Western States informing us that there will be no bathroom stops upon exiting the bus. The locals don't like it and from the looks of some of the "lawn ornaments" I saw from the bus windows, I wasn't about to test them either. He did tell us that "we'll know" when it is safe to use mother nature as our pitt stop.

The almighty "P" marking indicating you may now go ahead and relieve yourselves.

     And boy did everyone. I refrained from taking photos of the hundreds of men and women lined up on either side of the "P" taking care of business. I, on the other hand, waited until I found a nice thick three to hide behind. 

     Besides the obvious, the "P" also meant our run had officially begun and so consequently, did the conga line of runners hitting the single tracks.

     Compared to last weekend, I felt absolutely, positively wonderful. I was on a high and grinning ear to ear the minute we stepped onto the school bus. I didn't mind being in a conga line because that meant I was conserving a little energy for later . . . and I got to take a few pictures along the way. We crossed a ton of streams soaking the shoes and socks once again but I admit, I am beginning to like the way that feels. The rains held off the entire run so the weather was picture perfect.

     One of the awesome benefits of doing this organized training run is that you get to partake in the aid stations set out for you. Today we'd find two, one at about mile 13 and another at about 17. So my mental mantra was "aid station to aid station." I knew I could make it easily to the first aid station, 13 miles is a walk in the park for our group now and beyond that, the aid stations were "just" four miles apart. 
     I am not sure exactly how many runners were out there this morning but I never really found myself too alone on the trail. I ran with a few from my group, I passed Diane Cressey and a few other of the Folsom Lake Trail Runners crew. Then, to my surprise, a runner passed me and then turned to ask "hey, are you trailmomma?" Oh how my little blog ego was elated! It was none other than Mike L. It was nice to "meet" you Mike, I hope you had a great run!
     About mile 5 or so, my old tummy started acting up again but there really wasn't anything I could do about it and there was absolutely no where I could stop. Mile 10 however, presented itself with a prime location to which I "took care of business" and then I was off and running again.

     Just following these yellow puppies all day until you reach an aid station. Actually, today was the first time our group has ever experienced an aid station out on a run. I approached that table like a ravenous dog kid in a candy store. What I really was hoping for was some boiled potatoes but unfortunately those were not on the menu today. I had to settle for some bananas, maybe a potato chip or two and then . . . I saw them. Innocently sitting on the corner of the table cut into small pieces but still within their wrappers . . . PayDay bars. Holy mother of all that is yummy, that was by far the best thing I ate today. I cannot even remember the last time I had a PayDay bar and trust me, its been a while since I rarely eat candy bars anymore. PayDay fo' sho!!!!
     I reconnected with Pigeon, Hawaii Mark, Miss P, Partner Jim and a few others from the group at this aid station and continued on to the next one with them. At this point we hit some familiar trails, crossing highway 49 and heading towards Cool before we turned. Then we hit the killer downhill section to which I said "bye bye guys" because they took off like their pants were on fire and I slowed down like someone was hacking at my knees and ankles! What the!? Downhills used to be so much fun! Today I found myself detesting them immensely. Still, I was smiling big time.

How can you not smile with views like that!?

     The second aid station was only 3 miles from the finish (those white specs at the end of the bridge). 

The infamous "no hands" bridge. 

Same drill, bananas and the almighty PayDay bar. Shortly after the aid station there were some flat sections which had me cursing my aching IT band. But then we came upon this . . .

Oh so pretty (this is for the group who kept asking me if I took a picture of the waterfall)

     Just when I thought I would have to amputate my left knee, we finally made it to the uphill section that would lead us out to the paved road (Robie) and eventually back to Placer High School. Here, I dominated. Somewhere inside me a whole load of energy surfaced and I just took off up the hills. I walked some but I ran more. I passed four men (who didn't seem to enjoy that) along the way.  

     Oh what a day!? Coach Nikon, Captain Kirk, Wonder Woman and Garmin were all standing near the finish and greeted me when I arrived. It was well after 1 pm when I finished. I ran 21 miles in 4 hours and 15 minutes. A bit slower than I had planned but I had two pitt stops along the way not to mention some time at the aid stations. Still, overall I am thrilled with how I ran and how I felt today. It seems a week of pure rest does do a body good!

     Despite being gone for almost 8 hours today, the Peanut and Vans were able to entertain themselves. The rain held off enough for some time at the playground AND for Vans to get some errands done, much to the Peanut's disliking.
"Dad! I thought you said we were going to the park first?!"

Oh and I almost forgot . . . Boss today emailed our group the team photo taken before we boarded the bus . . . she apparently has Coach Nikon's blurry photo disease. Thanks Boss!!

What a good looking crew!

     And despite what I may have sounded like above, I hope I did not look like this . . .

while consuming my PayDay bars at the aid stations today.

Great run today everyone! I hope you all had fun!! 


  1. Totally awesome. I am envious of the run and your fitness level (I will get there though, so watch out :) ). It must be such a thrill to run even a part of WS. When I was in MA last summer I ran a part along the Boston Marathon route. That was neat.
    So when are you thinking you will run the entire thing? :) Just a little tease.
    As for the pit stops thank goodness for tress. One would not want to end up like Paula Radcliff (sp?) at one of the marathons.

  2. Pam I'm so happy for you that you were able to run 21 of WS!! That's awesome! The views were beautiful, thanks for sharing. Oh yeah, PayDay bars don't taste as good unless you are running that far!! Were the heavens singing when you were munching on it?? I bet those salty peanuts really hit the spot. Kudos and keep it up!!

  3. Nice meeting you today, you looked real strong out there and are going to kill it at WTC!
    I made your blog twice... That's me in the beanie and knee high nylons in your first picture.
    Your assessment of the Pay Day bars is right on!

  4. That was really a great run yesterday! I woke up this morning pretty sore, but after a Tylenol and a long walk with Lowi and the dog, I feel great! I wonder if the fine people at Mars Candy Bars, Inc will read this and send you a lifetime supply of PayDays? :) If so, don't forget your friends!

  5. Wow Trailmomma, it sounds like you did great! I'm glad you didn't amputate. Perhaps I'll get to do then next one, although, I don't like the idea of riding for an hour and then not getting to go pee before you start. There would be a major mess for me.

    BTW - I got the Align yesterday, thanks.

  6. TM,

    Glad you had a great run, I did also, perfect conditions. Don't forget about the May WS100 training runs. If you run day 1 and 2 you will have seen 98% of the course. I know Kirk and I ans others will be there for day 1. If you like yesterday, you'll love the May runs.

    Coach Blurry Photo

  7. Over promising and under delivering, i only had 3 taco plus's at the TREE, but backed that up last night with an entire pizza and did my best to kill the 6 pack in front of me before lights out at 8:30pm.......great recovery from an incredible run!
    Our group did great and i saw nothing but smiles at the end. If yesterday was any indication, our team is gonna do extremely well at WTC.

  8. Such a great post, Pam! I am sad I had to miss this run. I'm hoping to make the one in May. Your posts always make me smile :))