Tuesday, March 30, 2010


I went for a 6 mile run yesterday. Nothing too exciting. I found some flat bike trail surface and just went. The knee held up well and after the run I quickly applied some ice. Today however, it is screaming at me.

I began thinking about how my life has changed since I've been running trails and more specifically longer ultra distances and/or training runs geared for an ultra distance. I was and am a tomboy growing up and always had my hands (feet?) in sports. I grew up in a neighborhood of 10 older boys and zero girls. If I wanted to stay I had to play and play hard. I am proud that I don't know what the most popular nail polish color is (I pick a color dark enough to cover my damaged running toe nails, enough said) or what trendy shoe is all the rage (my closet has road shoes, trail shoes and recovery shoes that's it). Instead, I am known as the "running friend" or in some blog circles "runner girl" (quickly changed to trailmomma) and I am okay with that. My little Peanut looks at my race medals and says "momma run!" That makes me proud and sometimes a little sad.

Of course training for such distances requires time. Lots of time. Never before did I think I would be spending 7+ hours (like last weekend) out on a trail away from my family. Even more importantly, never before did I think I would be spending 7+ hours away from my family and have my family still support me, love me and encourage me. I am truly lucky.

Never before did I imagine that on Friday nights I would be packing ziploc baggies and tissues just in case "nature calls" while I am out in nature the following day. I get paranoid if I don't do this. Last weekend, Pigeon noticed that my "tissues" are in fact little Kleenex packages with honey bees on them. I am superstitious. They have been my lucky tissue package since day one.

Never before did I think I would be avoiding my Friday night glass of red wine! Don't worry, I only moved it to Saturday evening and switched it from a glass to a bottle.

Never before did I think I would meet so many wonderfully inspiring teammates! This team has been training together since the middle of December. We have seen each others ups and downs, highs and lows. We have lost some, as in physically, lost some members out on the trail. Don't worry, we eventually find them (thanks to our awesome coahes). We joke and laugh with each other (usually about being lost) and I think some really good friendships have blossomed among the group.

Never before did I think I would actually see a mountain lion. To be clear, I have not technically seen one but to have been within 10 minutes of another runner seeing one . . . that is about as close to one as I would like to get thank you very much.

Never before did I think I would be watching as many JayZ videos on youtube . . . thank you Coach Nikon.

Never before did I know the correct definition of manscaping . . . again, thank you Coach Nikon.

Never before did I think I would be slathering on poison oak preventative cream before every run and following it with poison oak post run cream after every run . . . only to actually end up getting poison oak in various locations one of which I have learned today is my right eye. Lovely.

Never before did I think I would be running in giant monsoons of rain and through puddles that reach my knees.

Never before did I think I would enjoy the above so much.

Never before did I think my little blog would be read by people with so many different backgrounds, hobbies and interests. I started this for my family and now it is my family. The comments on my last post really lifted my spirits and my attitude. I can't thank everyone enough for that.

And finally, never before did I think I would be training for the American River 50 miler. I am looking forward to the race, the aid-stations, the finish and the adrenaline.

What did you think you would "never do" before you started trail running or just running in general?

My Peanut. My biggest fan.

Sunday, March 28, 2010


It took me all day yesterday to decide whether or not I would write about Saturday's long run. Usually during my runs I get excited. I try to mentally note anything funny or interesting that happens so I can incorporate it into this blog. Yesterday was a struggle in so many ways. I was out there long enough to have plenty of "blog material" but my attitude and mental state were filling the blog with four letter words that really should not be posted on the internet. My family, in addition to my blog family, sometimes read this so I figured I better make it "PG" which then left me with absolutely nothing positive to say.

But after a not so good night sleep, I woke up to my coffee pot brewing and the Peanut still snoozing (for once) that I decided to use this time to write. I brought my camera but took zero pictures. I probably would have thrown it out of frustration if I even tried to take it out anyways.

The group decided to shake things up a bit yesterday. We met at 7 am at Cavitt Stallman and then piled into various cars and drove over to the Fish Hatchery. We unloaded and shed layers of clothing. It was extremely chilly but the sun was out and you could tell it was just going to get warm and fairly quick. Off we went. I had prepared the night before for this long run by charging my ipod and filling it with a whole four hour playlist of songs. I also made some boiled potatoes with salt and stuffed them into my hydration pack.

I never used my ipod. I ran the first 10 miles with my ear buds in but no music playing. Pigeon instead was my ipod. She ran along side and we talked and laughed and commiserated together about how nervous we were about today. Yesterday was Pigeons first run past 26.2 miles as she did not do Way Too Cool a few weeks ago. She rocked yesterday. I only wish I was still able to keep up with her to celebrate her 27th mile. Pigeon you're going to kick butt at AR50!!!

The first 10 took us to Beal's Point. We ran only on the bike path to simulate the first half of AR50. Snooze. Boring. At Beal's we stopped and used the facilities and I took this time to take 2 Tylenol for my knee which had started hurting at about mile .5. Yeah, it was going to be one of those days.

At Beal's we hopped onto some single tracks that took us up and out towards Granite Bay and onto the same trails we were on last Saturday. Little pink and orange ribbons guided our way. Pigeon took the lead and was considerate enough to check up on me from time to time. I had to walk the downhill sections unfortunately even this early in the run. I told Pigeon not to let me slow her down and if she wanted she should go at any time. Eventually, she did. I was happy for her and yet, I wanted to be able to keep up and just started getting so frustrated with myself that I couldn't. Shortly after Beal's we passed the trail that leads us back to Cavitt Stallman where my car was waiting. In hind sight, I should have called it a day and headed back to my car and left Coach Nikon and Captain Kirk a note. But I am stubborn and for some reason I thought the pain would get better so onward I went.

Besides the knee pain I felt okay. The tummy was good and I didn't have that exhausted feeling I had last Saturday. I went to bed at 7:30 pm on Friday night so I was definitely rested. My knee however was the thing slowing me down.

The plan was to run these trails until we hit Horseshoe Bar where Coach Nikon had stashed a little aid station for us. It was located at about the 20.5 mile marker. It was a tough mental struggle at times trying to figure out the half way point. In my head I kept thinking Beal's was the half way point because it IS during the actual race but yesterday it was not.

Up down up down up down is how the trail goes at this point. Not exactly fun for someone suffering with an IT band issue. At one point a girl goes whizzing by me. I recognize her as a Fleet Feet Roseville Employee and a friend of the coaches. She looked strong which deflated me a little bit. As it turns out she saw a Mountain Lion! I apparently was too oblivious or perhaps the kitty wasn't there when I was running by but when I found out later that one was spotted I can assure you I was a teensy bit scared.

I also passed some of my group who were already on their way back. In that group was Garmin. I owe Garmin an apology. He asked me how I was and at that point I was not so happy and I sort of just waved him off and kept going. SORRY GARMIN!!!

I eventually made it to Horseshoe where the crew was waiting. It was a beautiful spot, nice and sunny. I immediately busted out the cell phone (something I never do) and I called Vans at home. I wanted to tell him that I was struggling and that I would be home a lot later than expected. The minute I heard his voice and the Peanut's in the background tears formed. Vans was so sweet. He encouraged me and told me to take it easy and that I could do it. He had faith in me and so should I.

I hung out with the group until they all decided to go back. I was a bit afraid to venture out there alone with the mountain lion sighting. Wonder Woman and Captain Kirk stuck with me past the mountain lion spot and then were off. Since I was limping and walking the downs at this point I don't blame them. I was slower than molasses out there.

We had 10 miles to cover until we reached our cars. I probably walked the first 5. I would try shuffling on the flats but the flats usually followed a steep down which left my leg useless. Eventually enough time had passed by that I decided I could probably take another dose of Tylenol. I did and magically in 30 minutes my knee felt about 30% better. Not sure if it was the adrenaline, the Tylenol or the fact that Jessica's Mom had come up behind me that inspired me to run. I was able to run the last 5 walking the ups and shuffling the downs.

It took me over 7 hours yesterday to finish. According to my garmin stats I averaged a 14 minute mile pace (30.57 miles), burned only 1900 calories (normally it is in the 2000s) and my average heart rate was 139 (usually about 155). Yesterday was a struggle both mentally and physically. In my mind I had already pulled myself out of running AR50 in two weeks. Today, I am thinking that at the very least I will start the race and see what happens.

These next two weeks of taper will include, lots of ice, Advil, stretching, foam rolling and anything else I can do to help my knee. Today however, it is mom and Peanut day. Our training schedule says we have to do a 3 to 5 mile run and the coaches tell us it is mandatory. I'll probably do the minimum if that with the jogger. I plan to take the Peanut to the park which is about a mile away, play to our hearts content and then run home and maybe throw in an extra mile if I can manage it. The Peanut is my recovery today and I am looking forward to it.

C'mon on in Momma! I'll give you a lift!

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Yup, that's what my bum feels like today after last night's hill repeats! Bring on the fuzzy headbands and Olivia Newton-John's "Get Physical" because last night's workout was a doozy.

We ran as a group from the Aquatic Center over to the other side of the river and down the bike trail to a hill that was quite large, technical and long. We ran up the front side and then down the back which worked out perfectly as it spaced everyone out and no one was running on top of each other. We did that times four. I forgot to check my garmin but my heart rate was flying through the roof, the legs were burning and the lungs were on fire. Flashbacks of Way Too Cool's Ball Bearing were in my mind and others. Overall, a great strength workout.

How was my knee? Well, on hill repeats #1-4 it was okay. It set off a minor dull ache on the downs but I was able to maneuver and actually extend and bend my knee without too much pain. When we finished those repeats, just for "giggles" we made our way back to the Aquatic Center via another rocky hill that made the knee yell a little louder on the decent. Today however, the pain is minimal. A little rolling, icing and stretching tonight and I think things will be good for Saturday.

When things get tough on the trail, I just think of the Peanut. She is currently obsessed with Jaguars. Not really the car per se but the beautiful steal hood ornaments that such luxury cars have. Every time we pass the Jaquar dealership she "roars" with all her might. Heck, if you just mention the word "jaquar" the girl roars!


In hiding . . . waiting for her prey!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


It's been a while . . . I have not done much running since Saturday's horrific experience. Tonight however, is our group workout and hill repeats are the plan. I will say it again . . . I love the ups and I hate the downs. Last night I had a wonderful amazing massage by Lily again. I am telling you, this woman is fantastic. If you're in the area, book a massage with her ASAP (call Lily at 916.390.1035). Hopefully her magic fingers will help me get by in tonight's workout although I am anticipating that I will be walking the down hills no matter how my leg feels if only to save them for Saturday's monstrous run.

Yes, Saturday we're venturing out for a 31 mile run as a group. Oh boy. I need to start assembling my ipod music selection because 31 miles on portions of the bike trail will be boring! This will be our last super long workout though before AR50 and then that dreaded taper period begins. I have such a love hate relationship with taper weeks.

On a different note, I never wrote about my 28 trial period of Align that I started back in February. I finished my 28 day supply and I have to admit, I feel better. It is hard to explain but I definitely have had improvments in the tummy area since I started. Whether that has to do with my taking a daily dose of Align or my change in pre-run food consumption, I am pleased. So pleased in fact, that I bought a new supply of Align at Costco recently.
Now if I could only find a pill that helps me run down hills I'd be all set! No, don't say Advil as it does not agree with my tummy. Motrin and regular Tylenol only dull the pain. Tylenol with coedine in the evening however, erases it . . . kidding.

Someone else I know however, enjoys going up rather than down . . .

The Peanut planning her route . . .

Making her ascent . . .

Disclaimer: This is my biggest pet peeve. Children who climb up the down slide and the parents who let them. I must note, that I was not in fact present when this climbing up the slide occurred. However, it must be noted, the Peanut was the only one at the park. :-)

Saturday, March 20, 2010


Today the group met at Caviit and were planning on a 17 miler with the option of adding on an additional 3 miles at the end if you were feeling really good. Not all of us showed today, some decided to do the AR50 training run that was also being held today. I knew I didn't have another 30 in me today so I opted for the group 17 miler with perhaps an additional 3 at the end.

Here we are in the parking lot before taking off. The sun was shining and the weather was perfect. It was a no arm warmer day for me and that felt good. What didn't feel so good were my legs and stomach when we started running. Uh-oh.

Coach Nikon and Captain Kirk led the crew out and we all seemed to fall into our spaced out sections along the trail. I was alone with Pigeon pretty close behind me tempting me with PayDay bars. First bathroom spot I saw I stopped. We had only gone 4 miles. Not good. Pigeon passed me and went on her merry way to try and catch Captain Kirk and crew. Me? Hit the porta potty and then about 1.5 miles later needed to find mother nature's porta potty. I am so happy this happened today though and not last Saturday!

Once "business" was taken care of I felt extremely better minus the dead leg feeling that just would not go away. I had zero energy or spunk today. I kept thinking it was a good thing I didn't opt to go on the AR50 training run. Still, it was a glorious day and I just focused on keeping my feet moving.

As you can see, the day was just beautiful! The poison oak was in full bloom too as it was everywhere. I used to never be able to tell what poison oak looked like but when 90% of the trails are covered in it . . . it is now easy for me to tell! Eek!

I was almost to my group meet up and turn around point when I crested a hill and came around a corner and heard "GO TRAILMOMMA!!!! YEAH TRAILMOMMA!" What a boost! It definitely made me smile. Who was it? It was none other than my two favorite blogging trail friends Pam and Shannon from Our First 50K blog.

In hindsight I should have taken a picture of all 3 of us. Bloggers meet up! Woot woot!

Not long after that, was the turn around spot. Here I learned that not everyone was feeling 100%. It was nice to hear. I decided to turn back before the whole group made it because I was feeling sluggish and at that point had to walk most of the technical downhill sections due to my knee screaming at me. 

We ran into some of our group who were out with the AR50 training crew.

A little chit chat here and there and then it was off running again. Starting to run again from a stopped position was not the wisest move today. Ouch.

Soon we were on the home stretch and Coach Nikon decided that the only thing missing on today's run was a really big hill. 

Enter the really big water tower hill.

Pigeon and I just kept moving watching Captain Kirk and Coach Nikon's cheddar shirts just slowly drift farther and farther away from us. We made it and the climb felt pretty good . . . that is until we had to go down the back side with a few steep technical bits that just about sent my knee into a frenzy. Really need to fix this knee. Or amputate it. 

Eventually we made it back to the car and I quickly Technu'd myself. I fear poison oak and will be miserable if I end up getting it. I have never been so happy to be finished with a run. According to my watch we ran about 16.57 miles. It took forever. I felt 100 times better last Saturday both during and after the run than I did today. Daylight savings has kicked my butt too so I need to catch up on some much needed sleep.

When I arrived home Vans was cleaning my car. Nice! I hobbled my muddy body to the complex pool and stood in the icy water for about 5 minutes. It was all I could stand but boy did I feel good!

Next weekend we are doing 31. Our last big hooray before AR50 on April 10th. This week will mean I need to plan for Saturday the way I planned for Way Too Cool. I can't have what happened today happen next weekend. 

With all that said, I still think it is pretty amazing that I ran 31 miles last weekend and still was able to do almost 17 today . . . never in my life did I think I'd be here. Thanks team!

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Last night was our group workout. It was the first time we've seen each other since Way Too Cool last Saturday. Some of the crew was missing for various reasons, including Coach Nikon. Still, everyone who showed seemed to still be on that runner's high from Saturday's event. Some of the group, who did not run WTC, are instead running the Pirate's Cove 50K this weekend. I want to send a shout out to Miss P and Poison Oak "GOODLUCK LADIES! KICK BUTT!" I have no doubts they will conquer on Saturday either. They looked really ready!

Last night we just took it easy and ran as a staggered group on some single tracks in Folsom. It was the first workout that our annoying headlamps were not needed! The weather was perfect too. Now if only mosquitos didn't exist!

We ran about 6.5 miles and we saw a lovely gaggle/herd/cluster??? of stray cats chowing down on some cat food that the local Inn leaves out for them. They looked all cute and snuggly but watch out . . . skittish little suckers!

My knee was "ok" unless we were running downhill or going down a set of stairs. Then I sort modified it to a shuffle but I think I covered it well. I better find some time to see Dr. Lau and get a massage from Lily the master before AR50 in a few weeks.

So while I was out with my group, the Peanut and Vans took a father daughter trip to Trader Joes for some needed grocery items. It seems mom has been too busy running a 50K to stock the fridge lately. Whoops! While at Trader Joes, the Peanut also ran into a leprechaun . . . who kissed her on the cheek!

Checking mom's grocery list

Kiss Me! I'm not Irish!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


A few pictures from Van's camera and some from Coach Nikon's.

Team Photo Pre-Race

The Peanut waiting for Momma!

Meanwhile, momma is out running!

Handing off my gloves and warmers

Meanwhile the Peanut keeps cheering!

Here comes Big D and trailmomma!

I see my family right about now.

I get a high five from the Peanut!

The Peanut enjoys momma's frog cupcake!

Check out the Peanut's shirt! (hee hee)

Family Photo!

Sunday, March 14, 2010


Awesome Race Swag

I don't even know where to begin. It's super early Sunday morning, the day after Way Too Cool. It is daylight savings and I didn't go to bed until after midnight so in reality, I should still be sleeping. But I can't. My mind is still super excited and thinks it is still out there on the trail. My body however, is happy that it is not.

I did bring my camera with me but I didn't take very many photos. That was probably a good thing or I might STILL be out on the trail some where! But I have a few and I will do a follow up post with some of Van's pictures and Coach Nikon's. They both took quite a few towards the end and after the race.

So in true Peanut style, the Peanut woke up at 2 am on Saturday morning. I woke up and thought "oh no, not today!" Luckily (and unfortunately) Van's took care of her but she was up from 2 to 4:30 or so. I woke up at 2 and then tossed and turned until I finally had to get up a little after 4 am. I woke up feeling exactly like you do when you have to catch an early morning flight. My mind was buzzing, I was rushing around even though I had pre-packed everything last night. By 5 am I was pulling out of the garage and heading to Cool.

It was so foggy when I was driving down Highway 49 I could barely see the turns in the road! I could also see significant frost on the ground. Oh man, it's going to be a cold one.

I arrived at Cool and scored a sweet parking spot right in the fire station lot. I could even see my team's tent from where I parked. Instead of getting out of the car however, I reclined the seat and took about a 30 minute nap. Aaaah, that was nice. When I woke up I decided to venture out to see my team and see just how cold it really was out there.

Cold. Freaking cold. Our awesome team coaches brought a nifty little heater though for our tent to keep us warm. We chatted nervously and Coach Nikon assured us that it will warm up when the sun comes up . . . in 90 minutes!

When 7 am hit I started my usual routine. I had a can of Ensure and then hit the porta potty. The only thing I did differently this morning was not have any coffee. None. I usually have a few sips if only to get the juices flowing (ahem) but decided against it. Best move ever. I will tell you now, I had absolutely zero tummy troubles yesterday. Not even a pre-race gurgle which I ALWAYS have!!!! I was beyond excited. I think the combination of the no coffee followed by my religious daily dose of ALIGN is really helping!!

A little before 8 am  I ventured to the starting line with Garmin. We sort of positioned ourselves in the middle of the pack. The first two miles of WTC are on pavement and many runners are notorious for starting out super fast despite it being an uphill two miles. I didn't want to burn out too fast and I know myself, I can get caught up pretty easily. Instead, once Garmin took off I found myself running along side my awesome dear friend Big D. Big D and I met during the Summer 7 training group. We ran together after that was over and we both did a big 20 mile race in Auburn last September.

Big D is my trail partner. We just know each other’s quirks and thoughts out on the trail. Big D is the only person I can feel comfortable running in front of and she prefers me to be in front. I know that she only likes people running on her left and I automatically gravitate to that side. She reminds me to drink and we talk and support each other no matter what. So it was a complete joy for me to find her within the first mile yesterday. She only found out she was running WTC about 2 days ago. She had never run an Ultra before either so we were experiencing our first together. Cool.

After the first two miles you hit trails. Muddy, sloppy, watery trails. So many people were puddle jumping and I was thinking “c’mon. Really? You do realize what will be ahead of us right?” ha. I also saw Mike L. out there taking pictures! Thanks Mike!!! I can’t wait to see them. 

The first 7 miles were uneventful. My knee felt fantastic. I was watching my footing so as not to tweak my ankle which I normally do on this rocky downhill section. I saw Lily, Coach Nikon’s wife and Pigeon on the side and they took our arm warmers and gloves because the sun was out and boy was it warming up nicely!

At mile 7 you hit the first aid station. I asked for a cup of water and was handed a Sprite. Gross! Not what I needed but whatever I was still happy and excited to be out there.

At this point you cross Highway 49 and head towards some single track. Big D was with me all the way. We were slipping and sliding all over the place. People were losing shoes in the big sticky piles of mud out there. You really could not get proper foot placement it was just so slippery. Still, that made it fun.

Big D and I chatted the next 8 miles. When we hit the next aid station (ALT 1) we were super excited and ready. As lady friends do . . . we grabbed some food and then took a potty break.

I think we both were feeling pretty good. I had been taking an SCap every hour as I have done on all my training runs. At the aid station I found the potatoes. Yum. Just what I needed. I don’t think we stayed too long but boy was it rough starting out again. It is amazing how stiff the legs can get when you stop running, even for just a short while.

I apparently became “trail leader” and was leading a group of men and women. None of them wanted to pass but since Big D was directly behind me, I didn’t feel pressure. If they wanted to get by they’d ask. We were starting our loop which was about 6 miles on a portion of the course I don’t think I had ever been on before. I was feeling great, that is until we hit Dead Truck Trail.

It is called Dead Truck because there is supposedly an old truck at the bottom of a ditch but I never saw it . . . although my head was down almost the entire race watching for rocks and mud so that isn’t surprising that I missed it. Dead Truck has a big down hill section. This is where I lost it. My knee decided to revolt and completely went from zero pain to agony. We were at mile 20.  I told Big D that my knee was done and my speed going down hill quickly slowed. No one seemed to mind so maybe I wasn’t entirely alone on the downhill agony.

Soon we approached the river crossing. There has been much talk amongst our group about this crossing and just how “high” the water really was. See for yourself. The guy in the read shirt my mind you is quite tall.

The water came up to just below my waist. It DID however cover my knee and let me tell you, it took everything I had to get out of that water. Not because I was stuck, but because that icy cold goodness felt fantastic on my knee! Alas, we had to keep going. 

After crossing that we eventually hit Ball Bearing. I remembered this massive hill from our training runs. What I didn’t remember was how incredibly long it was! It was probably over a quarter of a mile long and straight up. I slipped here and my hand braced my fall and landed in about 3 inches of icky red mud.

My knee was super excited to be climbing though. Up hill climbs equals zero knee pain so that was a nice break for the knee. We were also climbing this hill with some animated people who were hooting and hollering up the hill which makes for some great energy when you need it.

After we climbed Ball Bearing we reached the next aid station, ATL 2  which is at 21.7 miles.

It was here that I noticed my knee hurt the most whenever we stopped. So in addition to more PayDay bars and potatoes, I also took 2 Tylenol. I figured we're only 9 miles from the finish and it was worth risking any tummy troubles. 

Once again trying to run from a stopped position was almost impossible. It takes a good 3 to 5 minutes before your legs remember exactly what to do. Thirty minutes later the Tylenol kicked in and I felt much better . . . so long as we didn’t hit any significant down hill sections.

Instead, we hit Goat Hill which is another monstrous climb. Apparently it is shorter in distance than Ball Bearing but much steeper. Big D and I just kept moving. Walk. Run. Walk. Run. Again, I welcomed the up hill climb. Your reward for reaching the top of Goat Hill is the Goat Hill Aid Station which is at mile 26.8. Big D and I hooted and hollered because we had finally run farther than a marathon! I didn’t want to stay too long for the fear of not being able to keep going.

The sections after Goat Hill were probably the most muddy and the most unstable footing wise. We were slipping and sliding. By now, Big D and I were not talking but that is how we roll. Even though we can run for hours with each other and not say anything, it is nice to know she’s there. Every once in a while we’d do a check-in with each other, “how you doing?” or “need anything?”

From the ALT 2 aid station I started playing some mind games with myself. I’d count down with each beep of my Garmin. 9 miles, 8 miles, 7 miles. It sometimes helps to think that way. I wasn’t miserable but I was eager to see my friends and family. I had told them I would finish much earlier than I knew we really would. I didn’t care about time but I knew Vans would be worried.

At some point on this section I hollered back to Big D that we were not stopping at the Hwy 49 aid station. I wanted to keep moving since it was at mile 29.7 and so close to the finish. I came into the aid station first and waited just a few seconds for Big D. I tried a coke while I was walking . . . yeah, do not recommend. Ick.

Finally we were on the home stretch back towards the finish. We had another uphill climb in front of us and we were walking but walking fast up this climb. When the rock infested gully finally cleared a little, we started running up the hill.

We reached a section where a man was standing with a big megaphone. He yelled out “if your name is Pam raise your hand!” Oh boy was this the jolt of energy I needed. Turns out it was my friend Jersey Girl and her horse of a dog Crush. I got some big cheers here and all my pain slipped away. We were on our way in!!

Big D and I crossed the finish together. 6 hours and 30 minutes, a full hour longer than I had hoped but I did not care. I saw Vans and the Peanut immediately, both with big smiles on their faces (Van’s also had a look of relief). They gave me hugs and high fives. Big D and I hugged each other too. She is the best running partner. Thank you Big D for everything!!

The adrenaline was flowing so much I barely remembered my knee. Coach Nikon was the first of the team to find me post finish. He had finished over 90 minutes ago. What an amazing day. The whole team continued to trickle in and we all lined up quickly to get a post race massage by the awesome Lily.

The whole group hung out for a while after the race eating cupcakes and drinking beer. I got my massage and was hugged repeatedly by the Peanut. Who said "go momma go" ever so sweetly. 

Today I feel okay. My knee is swollen like a softball but and I am still wearing my compression socks for recovery. I was never hungry upon finishing the race. I know I ate a ton out there on the trail. I had 2 GU gels, 1 Luna Moon package, probably the equivalent of a bag of potatoes and at least one full PayDay bar if not 2. 

Despite the knee, I had a fantastic time out there. It was so much fun and I am so happy that Way Too Cool was my first ever ultra. It didn't hit me until Captain Kirk said "hey ultra runner" to me that, yes, I am indeed officially an ultra runner! I guess I need to change my blog profile! 

Thank you to everyone who supported, encouraged and motivated me whether it was during yesterday's race or during my entire training period. Because of you I finished. Thank you!

Race pictures to follow!!

Saturday, March 13, 2010


Hi blog world! Just a quick note to say I SURVIVED!! I had a blast out there today. Full race report to come in a day or so.

Just have to add that I have the greatest friends, hubby and team ever!!! Thank you everyone!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, March 12, 2010


. . . until Way Too Cool!!!! My mind is buzzing like crazy. I am at work and cannot seem to focus. I thought it would be a way to take my mind off things . . . not the case. I am mentally packing and re-packing in my head instead of reviewing work documents. Changing my race wardrobe internally instead of wanting to talk to clients on the phone. Visualizing the course when I should be reading work related emails. Sigh. Will today be one of those days that never ends or will it fly by so fast that later tonight I will stop and go "wait! it can't be time for bed yet!!"

For three months our team has been training together. When we first met our group was silent, shy and maybe it was just me, a little intimidated. Now when we get together it is "hey fruity!" or "hey dude!" (followed by some wise crack of sorts). We've bonded. We're supportive of each other.

I have always heard that you never forget your first Ultra. For my group, I know this rings true. From the random goofy nicknames I have dished out these past three months, to the musical tastes each person has, to each person's aches and pains . . . we have grown, we have gotten poison oak and most importantly we have laughed. I am so excited for my group and I cannot thank our coaches enough for their support, advice and confidence in us. It has never waivered. Goodluck team!!! - TM

Thursday, March 11, 2010


No, not a political post don't worry. I am talking about the left side of my body. That side has been plagued forever. Let's back up . . .

Yesterday was a fun filled packed day for me. It began with a lunch time "date" with Dr. Lau from Elite Spinal and Sports Care. Dr. Lau confirmed my IT band suscpicions. At one point he pushed on a spot on my left knee and I about jumped 10 feet off the table in pain, "Yup, that's an IT issue" he said . . . gee, thanks! He then asked me if I had recently switched shoes . . . I immediately started with a "nooo, oh wait! Yea, I did, about a month ago!" DOH! How could I have forgotten!? I switched shoes (Asics to Brooks) because the Asics were bothering my ankle. Well, the Brooks Casscadias solved my ankle problem but apparently brought on a new one. Dr. Lau said a lot of times, IT band issues stem from a shoe switch, however minor it is, it's enough to throw off your stride ever so slightly causing the IT band to hurt. Great. He also said my left hip does.not.move . . . mmm, that can't be good.

He worked for a long time on my IT band area and I left feeling about 10 to 15% better than when I had arrived. I'll take it. Generally with Dr. Lau you feel "the magic" in a day or so anyway.

Next up, was our final group workout before the Way Too Cool 50K on Saturday. Just an easy 45 minute run as a group chatting about pre-race, mid-race and post race stuff along with random musical choices and preferences. Coach Nikon gave me some garter belt advice, basically positioning and tightness which really made a huge difference compared to when I ran with it on Monday.

After the run, I stalked followed Coach Nikon to his home. I followed him because I had scheduled a massage with his amazingly awesome wife Lily. Lily is a Certified Massage Therapist specializing in Swedish Massage, Sports Therapy, Stress Relief, Deep Tissue, Soft Tissue and Hot Stones. This was my first ever massage by her and oh.my.goodness! I don't even have the words to describe the heaven I was in! She is absolutely fantastic. She, by far, gave one of the best massages I have ever had (and trust me, I've had a lot). Before we began, I explained to her my problem areas and she discussed with me how she goes about treating the IT band area. She's also a runner herself. She's running the Shamrock Half Marathon this Sunday in addition to coming out and being race support for our team on Saturday. She knows what she's talking about and she knows where to massage. Because I am 3 days out from a big race she explained that the pressure should not be too deep. It was perfect. I'll share Lily's information at the end of this post and strongly urge everyone to run, not walk to her immediately!

Interestingly, Lily also noted that my left hip was tight and my left shoulder was jacked up (my words, not hers). Like I said, my left side has plagued me my entire life. I am extremely bow legged. It's bad. So bad that when I was in the 5th grade and was (gasp) a cheerleader, my coach used to hide me behind the squad because you could see right through my bow legs to the other side of the arena . . . apparently a team loses points for stuff like that. Nice huh? When I delivered the Peanut she got "stuck" in my left hip area and it required two nurses to um, assist with that. Not fun. My dad, who also has bow legs, had a hip replacement in his early 60s which is not old by any means. He also had to stop running in his early 30s due to hip and knee problems. So it is probably okay to say that some of my IT issues are not entirely caused by new shoes and the fact that I can't cross my left leg over my right because my hip doesn't move that way is partially to blame as well. Sigh. Yoga anyone?

While I was out getting pampered last night, the Peanut and Vans were off doing their own thing. Van's mountain bike racing season is approaching so he brought his bike to REI for a tune-up. Sure enough, our friend Mr. REI was working.  He happens to be one of the Peanut's most favorite people in the world right now. She literally starts squealing the minute we enter the REI parking lot and then races to the front door screaming Mr. REI's name! It's adorable. Mr. REI took the Peanut on her own little adventure last night.

First up, a tandem canoe ride!

Followed by chilling out on the bike repair counter.

Finally, the Peanut was off on her own canoe ride.

If you would like to schedule a massage with Lily (highly recommended, you won't regret it) you can reach her by calling: 916.390.1035 or emailing her at: Brantley.Lily@yahoo.com

Her rates are as follows:   
$55 for an hour in her office; $75 for 90 minutes in her office.
$75 for an hour at YOUR HOUSE!; $100 for 90 minute AT YOUR HOUSE!

Finally, Coach Nikon, if you're still reading my blog . . . this is for you!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


First of all, thank you to everyone who commented on my last post and is sending me positive happy vibes for Saturday. Mentally, I am feeling much better. I even decided to go for a run last night. The workout called for 5 to 7 miles at a relaxed effort. Since nothing is relaxed anymore with my knee problem, I decided four would probably be okay.

Mostly, I was eager to get out and try my new gear! I used to be a Garmin 305 owner. Technically, I still am but Vans now uses it. I loved my 305 (still do). It is by far the best Garmin out there yet I was drawn to the new technology and the fancy look of the Garmin 405CX. Yeah, not just the 405, the 405CX. The CX comes with interchangeable bands. A long time ago, Vans bought me the regular 405 as an anniversary gift (the man knows the way to my heart I tell ya) but I didn't like the way it felt on my wrist and we returned it. It was built for a man. Now I am not a tiny woman but for some reason, I have extremely bony/tiny wrists and long bony fingers. No, I don't play the piano although I probably should with these lengthy digits.

Back in November I purchased the 405CX from REI. I'll be honest, it took a lot of getting used to intially but I loved the way it felt on my wrist. It's almost like a watch vs the 305 taking up my entire arm. I had no problems with the 405 until a few weeks ago on our (Not) Western States Training Run when after 3.5 hours my 405 started beeping "battery low." At first I thought it was talking about MY internal battery running out of energy and I thought "man that is one crazy good watch!" It survived the whole run but beeped the entire last hour. Same thing happened on our 24 mile training run. Now, I am a gadget freak and quickly jumped online to look at the 405CX manual and it said "battery length = 8 hours" . . . um, yeah I don't think so. So, again, because I am a big freak, I immediately emailed Garmin (the company, not my friend Garmin) and told them the situation. I thought that maybe because I was out in the middle of Timbuck Too that the 405 was fighting so hard to find a GPS signal that it was eating the battery power. Well, according to the techy folks at Garmin, my battery sounded like it was defective. They wanted me to mail it back to them for $79 so they could refurbish is and find out the problem. I said "no go, my race is in a week. I can't run without my Garmin" . . . so what next? I talked to my friend Mr. REI who said "just bring it back to us and I'll see if we have another one for you." YES! I love REI and I love their stand by their product policy. Sure enough, I returned my 405CX and got a brand new one. Last night was my first run with my new 405. I had to make sure I set it up exactly the way my old one was and change the bands so it fit my wrist. Hopefully, this battery will last and will not start beeping at me during Way Too Cool on Saturday! So that my friends,  was "new item" number uno.

"New item" number duo I purchased on Sunday from the Fleet Feet Roseville Store. I've been toying with this for a while now and decided I might as well give it a shot as I have nothing really to lose, well, except $17. I bought this:
(no, that is not my leg)

I figured I would see if it helped with my knee pain. If you want more information about the Iliotibial Band Compression Strap go here. Last night was the first time I put it on for a run. Considering I had been in pain from just walking around at work all day, it was nice to go out for a run and have no pain for the first 3 miles. Then, the pain started again albeit a bit dull. If I can run WTC with the dull pain I'll take it. Yet after my run the pain came on full force for the rest of the evening and today. Sigh.

"New item" number three? Well, not really a new item per se more of a new beginning in the trailmomma house. Last night while I was struggling putting the Peanut to bed (fyi it is never an easy task in our house), I was beginning to think last night would be a repeat of Sunday's marathon going to bed routine (um, 5 am anyone?). When all of a sudden, after a few bouts of crying and being stubborn (ahem, not just the Peanut here), the Peanut stands up and tells me "pee pee momma!" Of course I think she's totally using this technique to avoid having to go to sleep. But she tells me again and then she tells me she has to go "poo poo" too. I asked if she HAD GONE and she said no. So I asked if she wanted to use the potty and she said yes. I said "you know this means you have to take off your Monkey Jammies right?" (which is a mortal sin when it comes to the Peanut) and she said "yeah, monkey jammies off" . . . well enter new item number three . . . the Peanut went potty all by herself on the big potty! Of course she didn't use the fancy smancy princess potty I bought months ago but who cares! One small victory!

from this morning . . .
"It ain't no thang ma! I'm a big girl now!"

Sunday, March 7, 2010


"We're leaving together!" Any Europe fans out there? That song has been running through my mind lately because it is countdown week to Way Too Cool this Saturday.

Yesterday our group met up for our last "long run" before WTC. I managed 11.5 miles from Karen's to Beal's Point and back. Mostly trails, some bike trail stuff but a glorious day weather wise. No rain, maybe  slightly chilly at the start but I warmed up fine.

My body is not sure what to do anymore on these "short/long" runs . . . normally I am used to eating for four plus hours and not a measly two. I brought my camera but really wasn't in the mood to stop and take any pictures, plus we've been on this course before. If you want to see them, you can go here.

I tried to run steady and not push it although I think the first mile I might have pushed just a little. Like usual, my knee started off okay. I basically spent the night before on the floor stretching it out like crazy. But unfortunately, just a few miles in it started to hurt. I ran with Coach Nikon for a bit on the way back and we stopped and stretched a little. Not sure if that helped. I am looking forward to getting in to see Dr. Lau this week and a massage on Wednesday night. I need some relief and I need it fast as this is starting to play mental games with me. Prior to this recent pain in my knee I would have said I am 100% ready for Cool. Mentally I feel fantastic. I know what I want do during the race (which is mainly have fun) and I was super excited. Now, Negative Nancy is creeping her way into my brain can causing doubts. "What if I can't run?" "What if it hurts too much out there?" I hate negative thoughts. I am usually out there running with a smile and laughing over the littlest of things but yesterday, I barely smiled and never had a happy thought.

I think about two miles from the end I realized what my brain was doing and I tried hard, real hard to push any negative thoughts from my head. I tried reminding myself that I still am in this and that after Wednesday, things should improve. Negative thoughts can bring you down faster than any injury.

Today I am spending the day with my Peanut. Just mom and daughter all day long. That alone is enough to lift my spirits.

If you're looking for some motivation, in typical Coach Nikon style, I will leave you with the link to:

The Final Countdown video

Thursday, March 4, 2010


This morning Vans was singing to the Peanut (FYI, Vans does not usually sing. Anything!). He was singing "rain rain go away come again another day" however, I noticed that the Peanut would giggle just as he said "rain rain go away" (insert 2 year old giggle) "come again another day." She even did it when I picked up the lyrics while taking her to daycare. Is she too young to get irony? Is she laughing because even she can't imagine a day without rain? I know I can't because last night was one wet workout.

The group numbers were LOW last night. I think 9 of us showed up. Hard.Core. It was raining pretty hard when I arrived and everyone was sitting in their cars until about 5:59 pm. Then we got out and said "are we nuts?" and took off. There was no real discussion as to what the workout would be, I don't think anyone really cared all that much as we just wanted to get running so our body temperatures would rise. For the record, we ran an hour or about 7 miles at a nice steady pace.

My trail shoes are soaked from last weekend. Now my road shoes are now wet too. Hmph, I hope one of them dries for this Saturday's 12 miler!

After taking two days off from running, my IT band felt pretty darn good when I started my run. When we were finishing however, it started barking. When I got out of the car at home, I could barely hobble into the house. Today, I am wearing some fugly shoes because I can't fathom putting on anything with a heel. I sat stretching while watching TV last night and noticed I am exceptionally tight on my left side. I dug out the rolling pin and even tried massaging my left thigh (for the record, I do have a foam roller but it doesn't help, perhaps user error who knows). I wish my desk at work was on the floor so I could sit in my office in the pigeon pose all day long. Sigh.

I have some appointments set up next week to try and alleviate the problem. I am getting a massage and I am going to see Dr. Lau for a final fix before WTC. If all fails, WTC used to be called The Cool Canyon Crawl and so if I have to crawl my way to finish so be it.

If the Peanut can crawl through nature . . .

So can her momma . . .

However, this is really how I'll look.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


Even the Peanut was channeling Jersey after I left for the concert last night. The above is now my all time favorite picture of the Peanut. Thanks Vans!

Apparently by the lack of comments from yesterday's post, I can see there are not many Bon Jovi fans out there. That's alright. I'm still going to blog about the concert because I know everyone is dying to know if this trailmomma busted out the Aquanet and acid wash jeans while joining her partner in crime Jersey Girl and friends at last night's concert.

pre-concert photo

As you can see, we did not attend the concert dressed like Snookie although, I saw quite a few Snookie-wannabes AND an unsightly amount of mullets. Mullets? Really?
The girls and I met up at Jack's Urban Eats and apparently so did all the other women attending the concert. Holy cow was there a lot of "girl power" going on in that place not mention a potty line.

We piled into my friend Chipotle's car and headed to Arco. With my super duper employee badge we were able to avoid any parking fees (score) and a decent parking spot that allowed for easy exit post concert (double score). Upon entering the arena we were hit by a plethora of age groups. Seriously, I saw kids ranging from 10 years old to adults who truly surprised me by singing all the words to Jon's top 80s songs. Apparently, that video game Rock Band has established a new fan base for Jon Bon Jovi as these little kids were rocking it last night.

Our group split up as Jersey Girl, Chipotle and I shelled up major bucks for lower bowl seats. And by "lower bowl" I really mean third freaking row!!! We were not "on the floor" (apparently that requires a hoochie dress code) but were right.next.to.the.stage. Don't believe me? See for yourself:

That would be Mr. Jon Bon Jovi (who was also celebrating his 48th birthday last night) singing directly to me. Okay, so maybe not right TO me but I was close so let me pretend.

We also had a killer aisle nazi. No one, and I mean no one was able to sneak past her or hog the aisle unless you belonged there.

Don't mess with Martha. She may look sweet but she's tough as nails.

The concert was awesome. Fantastic lighting and a killer monitor display. Huge monitors descended from the ceiling and completely flew around the stage. It was crazy. Here is a picture of Jon walking on the monitors!

He is standing on the monitors all lined up below him. When he started walking the monitors turned into steps to get him back to the main stage and then flew up behind him. Crazy.

This has to be one of the best concerts I have ever been to. I definitely had the best seats ever, unless you count Vans and I sneaking up to the stage in Lake Tahoe at Fergie's last concert.
They played old songs, news song, songs there were on albums that were not really all that great . . . and yes, they played It's My Life early and then finished the concert with an encore of Living On A Prayer. Niiiiicccccce.

Minor vent here, I hate blogger today as I cannot post videos in the new "upgraded" format and the old format doesn't allow for appropriate picture placement (grrrrrrr) so therefore you get links to youtube. These are part of the encore songs . . . but you can see how close we were.

Concert Video

Concert Video 2

They played for over 2.5 hours!! You can burn a lot of calories dancing for that long. However, the Peanut did not enjoy her momma being gone for so long and quickly reminded me of that at 3 am.

Back to reality.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


If you don't know me very well, you might not guess that I am a Jersey Girl. I was born and raised in the Garden State (FYI there is more to NJ than Newark). I don't have the 'joisey' accent . . . well, unless you piss me off and/or give me one too many glasses of wine. The accent also comes back when I visit my family, much to Vans dislike, and I will forever pronounce the word "tournament" like "torn-a-ment" with emphasis on the "torn." Vans hates that as well. Sorry honey, you married a true NORTHERN Jersey Girl . . . not to be confused with the "Snookie" and "The Situation" and the cast of the Jersey Housewives (although they are almost northern jersey-ites, they are however, in a world of their own).

But tonight however, I will be channeling my inner-Jersey. Tonight my friend, Jersey Girl, and I will be sitting  feet yards away from Mr. Jon Bon Jovi. Yeah his music is not all that it used to be. Honestly, if he just plays Living On A Prayer and It's My Life I'll be one happy trailmomma. I don't oogle him the way most women do. He's short and has better hair than I do . . . but man can he sing! I think I have only been to one wedding in my entire life that has not played at least one Bon Jovi song . . . obviously it didn't make my top 10 list of favorite weddings. Shame on them.

Today however, Jersey Dad emailed me some pictures. I knew the east coast was getting dumped on by Mother Nature but when I saw these pictures I actually welcomed the rain outside my window today.

Notice the mailbox peeking out!

It also is convenient my dad bought a snowblower AFTER I left home for California. Shoveling that much snow would make anyone a permanent hunch back with some Arnold-esque arms!

Tonight Vans and the Peanut will be hanging out together hoping and praying I don't come home with an accent, a black eye from having gone "jersey" on someone or a giant sized "I ♥ BJ" tattoo because you know that would be bad. For many reasons.

And so tonight, Tommy used to work on the dock . . . union's been on strike, he's down on his luck, it's tough. So tough. And, Gina works the diner all day. She's working for her man. She brings home her pay for love. For Love.

Monday, March 1, 2010


Yesterday the schedule said "3-4 easy miles to teach the body how to run on tired legs." Well, after Saturday's 24ish miles my legs were definitely a bit tired! Not as tired I am sure as one of my teammate's. Late Saturday evening we discovered she had some trouble out on the trail on her way back to the overlook. Stitches, as I will now call her, apparently fell and fell hard cutting her leg so severely that she ended up in the emergency room with about 14 stitches in her leg. However, that was AFTER she hauled it up Damn Hill . . . you go girl! She's out of the game for about 10 days and we're all hoping she'll recover quickly.

Sunday however, I signed myself up to do the Folsom Lake Trail Runners Winter Series final race out a Beal's Point. It was only 3.5 miles and my "plan" was to take it nice and easy and treat this as my "recovery run." Yeah, I should know better right? The first 1.5 miles WAS hard and definitely SLOW. My IT band is not in good shape these days and any downhill portion I look like I have a pegleg but after a while things loosened up and I felt "better." I felt so good in fact . . . that old (short distance) competitor in me came out. I spotted one woman . . . "mmm, she looks like she could be in my age bracket. I better take her out". . . pass . . . then I saw a couple of young kids . . . "mmm, I can't have those young whipper snappers beating me now can I?"  . . . pass . . . then going up the final paved hill I saw another woman . . . "she's mine!" . . . pass. My time was 27:57 which is generally speaking slow for me for a 3.5 race but considering I ran 24 miles the day prior . . . I'll take it . . . and second place in my age bracket!

  The Peanut had just woken up from her nap as I was crossing the finish. She loves races and so we stuck around most of the morning while Vans ventured out for a solo mountain bike ride. Overall, it was a glorious Sunday morning. The weather was spectacular especially compared to Saturday's monsoon.

This week is an exciting week for many reasons. I am taking tonight off completely to rest my knee and because tomorrow night I'll need all the bounce I can get as I sit third row in front of Bon Jovi!! This trailmomma will be rockin it tomorrow night at ARCO Arena!

Wednesday it is back to work with our weekday group workout. We're approaching the taper for Way Too Cool which is a week from Saturday. Eek! I feel ready. Nervous and excited but ready.

The Peanut is also ready . . . she's been hamming it up lately and it totally makes me smile. She's been dishing out the hugs lately too which I absolutely love and need.

"Yo Dad look at me!"

Seriously, how can you not just hug her all day long!