Sunday, May 30, 2010


For years now, I have been telling Vans that I "was going to do the Western States Memorial Day Training Runs." Of course, back then I was thinking I might do one of the 20 mile days, not the 32 mile day. This also was before I even had started running ultras. Back in the day, my "main event" was the annual CIM (California International Marathon) in December.

Oh how times have changed! On Saturday morning as I was driving up to Foresthill Elementary School I recalled an old "goal" of mine which was to do (gasp) 2 marathon in one year! Um, in the past three months alone I have run the marathon distance 4 times!!! Amazing how that happens huh?

Anyway, back to the day at hand, which was the Western States Memorial Day Training Day One. The total mileage was supposed to be 32 miles. However, with the amount of snowfall recently, the buses could not reach the destination point originally intended and instead, had to go about 5 miles lower. There was however, still a lot of snow on the ground!

Complete mayhem getting off the buses.

The day started off pretty well. I immediately found Pigeon when I arrived and later saw Captain Kirk, Miss P and Killer Kuni (he's killer only because he can climb a hill like it's no one's business) and Diane Cressey. I also saw some "legends" like Tim Tweitmeyer and Gordy Ansleigh.

Pigeon and I rode the hour bus ride together and chatted for a bit until I immediately fell asleep. I have a knack for falling asleep spontaneously in automobiles. When I woke we were just about at our drop off point. I had over dressed entirely. I quickly deposited my jacket in the race directors car (which I of course never remembered to retrieve) and we were on our way complete with smiles.

trailmomma smile? Check!

Pigeon smile? Check!

Note to self, ask someone
to take our photo next time

The first official sign of the day! BEGIN!

The first four miles we were told would be in snow. In some places as deep as twelve inches. We strategically placed ourselves at the back of the pack (who am I kidding, we were giggling too much) in order to let the snow get compacted by the faster front runners.

A long stretch of snow

Running on snow is a lot like running on sand in some ways. Your calves start screaming at you because you sink, slip, slide and are bouncing all over the place. I prefer running on snow than sand though. This was too much fun although you did waste quite a bit of energy trying not to fall the entire time.

Immediately upon starting I realized something was not quite right with me. My tummy had been gurgling almost the minute we unloaded. Still I trudged on as best I could. Then finally I told Pigeon I had to stop. This involved hiking up a snow bank to find a nice large tree. Luckily, Pigeon also had to stop. I was amazed to discover that in all her ultra running she has never peed outside!! Sorry to share that with world Pigeon but now you can say you've done it!

I did it!

We continued on our way realizing quite a few of our friends had passed us during that mini pit stop. Whatever. We're not racing. We were out for a good time on the trails.

We saw some pretty amazing views out there. Once we were off the snow the temperatures rose almost immediately. I was boiling and so thankful that I didn't hang onto that jacket I had earlier.

We had not gone much further when my tummy started rumbling again. I immediately thought today was going to be one of those days most ultra runners dread. However, I found a nice hollowed out tree to take care of business yet again, and that was the last I heard from my belly all day. Nice. However I had one minor issue at this pit stop that would prove to be the comic relief we'd need all day long. Whereas most ultra runners fall while running . . . trailmomma apparently falls while walking back from a potty break. I didn't just fall, I about tipped over into a big mushy, slimy hollowed out tree stump. Pigeon was kind enough to take a nice photo of that moment.

I've fallen and I can't get up!

Alas, we were off running again and giggling the entire way. We came across some strange artifacts while out on the trail. Items that no one ever mentioned to us before . . .

like an abandoned tractor!

and a strange delusional trailmomma!

Devil's Thumb was our first climb. In the Western States 100 it is mile 47.8 but many consider it "half way." I have been to Devil's Thumb before when working at an aid-station and I've climbed part of the way down. However, I was in no way ready for what we climbed yesterday. The climb starts much farther back after a real steep and rocky decent. It was on that down some where that I looked up for a brief moment and rolled my right ankle. I felt something snap but the pain was minimal. It would continue to bother me the rest of the run but it wasn't an issue.

We hit the bottom of the canyon before Devil's and had to cross a precarious bridge.

How can 5 runners equal 3 horses?

Needless to say that didn't stop more
than 5 runners from crossing at a time!

Climbing Devil's Thumb we passed a few of the slower people. We weren't running and we got passed ourselves but it was necessary to space out because it was just that brutal. You'd take a few steps, stop, look up and see that the climb just kept going, sigh and continue on your way. It was here, that my right knee really started to hurt. I am not sure if when I rolled my ankle something twisted in my knee as well but all I know is that the right knee would continue to be my biggest obstacle for the rest of the day. It was reminiscent of during my Way Too Cool training when my left knee would flare from IT Band issues and scream at me on the down hills. The only difference being, the right knee would hurt on the way up a hill and on the way down.

We approached the top of Devil's Thumb, it was mile 13-ish on our garmins. We were devastated that there wasn't an aid-station at the top. We were quickly approaching 15 miles and we hadn't had one real aid-station yet! My stomach was growling (with hunger) which was a sign I probably should have eaten earlier.
A blurry Devil's Thumb

Not many people realize that Devil's Thumb isn't named for the brutal climb but for the odd shaped rock at the top that looks like a thumb.

Finally, at Deadwood we saw the aid-station, mile 15. We stuffed our faces and downed multiple cups of sweet heavenly Coke.

After leaving the aid-station, we noticed that we often were alone on the trail. Occasionally a few runners would come up from behind but for a long time, we were alone. The Pigeon and I never spent a lot of time at the aid-stations. We noticed that some people would spend quite a bit of time there.

We were often quiet for long stretches, I think both of us just mentally calculating how much juice we had left in our systems. We discussed how best to tackle the next big climb, Michigan Bluff, the largest climb yet.

That is a map of the entire Western States course. That ginormous dip in the middle is bottom before the climb up Michigan Bluff. This climb took us well over an hour to complete. We decided before the climb we'd each take a Gu and and SCap. Boy did that help, but still, the climb didn't seem to ever end. Here we met up with Killer Kuni again and Diane Cressey. We had been told that the next aid-station wasn't far, however we soon learned that wasn't exactly right. It was still quite a ways off.

Long stretches of the trail were often in the dead sun, as you can see above. I have to say I have very interesting tan lines after yesterday's adventure.

We finally reached the top. It was definitely hot out but the views were still killer. Upon reaching the top however, you enter into a residential neighborhood.

Reaching the next aid-station was heaven. I saw Mo Bartley and she quickly filled my hydration pack which was nearing empty. They also had ice at this aid-station which was just awesome. I heart ice.

Again, we didn't stay too long. We could feel that we were pretty close to the end. I believe this last aid-station was at about mile 23 or so. We had been counting down the miles since we had hit mile 20. We were thankful that we'd only be running 28 and not the scheduled 32.

As we were flying down yet another steep decent, we ran into a runner. He was quite friendly and fairly new to trail running. He told us that he was doing both the first and second day of the training runs held this weekend. Impressive. We warned him that the next day's run would involve a river crossing. He wasn't happy to hear that and then quickly disappeared.

The next thing we know we saw this:

Our very own river stream crossing!

As you can see above, those people decided not to use the rope. That current was pretty strong and I didn't want to risk slipping so I used the rope and went first.

Followed by Pigeon . . .

That water was C-O-L-D but man did it feel awesome. If the current had not been as strong, I might have stopped a bit longer and really submerged my bum knee. The water level didn't quite hit the spot that was killing me.

After this it was another big climb. After Devil's Thumb we caught on that any type of decent would be followed by a long brutal climb.

We stopped for another photo session before the climb.

And it was around this point that this trailmomma became a Whiney Wilma. I am not sure how Pigeon tolerated my moans, whines and complaints. By this time my knee was d-o-n-e as that last decent had just about shredded anything it had left and the impending climb didn't make it feel any better.

Introducing Whiney Wilma

This final climb was a mix of gravel road and pavement. Very reminiscent of the Damn Hill climb at AR50.

Pigeon tried her best to get me to run and I did shuffle from time to time but mostly I just wanted to walk. We eventually made it to the top and saw the Foresthill street sign and knew that we were less than a mile to the finish.

The long road back to the finish is flat but my knee was rejecting any surface at this point. It would give way a couple of times and I had very obvious limp to my gait. Pigeon was awesome, she just kept me moving.
At the finish! Yeah!

I have no doubts Pigeon
will run the WS100 some day.

When we arrived at the finish we quickly checked in and hit up the beverage table. It was extremely warm and sunny out. I immediately jumped in line for one of the free massages at the end hoping that perhaps my right IT was the reason behind all my knee pain. As it turns out, the therapist said my right IT felt absolutely fine. Not the news I wanted to hear but the massage felt good all the same.

Pigeon had to jet home as she was scheduled to get an awesome massage from Lily. When I arrived home I found the Peanut and Vans finishing up dinner. I was instructed to shower and grab my bike helmet. Having left Vans alone with the Peanut for over 12 hours today I couldn't really deny his request. So, on the bike I climbed and off we rode as a family around the neighborhood.

The ride wasn't too bad actually, it helped to loosen up some muscles and it was totally worth it because we ended up stopping . . .

Mmmm, frozen yogurt! Our favorite!

I am still amazed that I actually ran a big chunk of the Western States Trail. I can check that off my "wish list" and am already thinking that perhaps next year I might try Day 2. My favorite part of the entire day was the amazingly beautiful pine smell that surrounded you as you ran. The views were breath taking and the people running along side you were friendly and supportive.

I will say that it has made me realize that if I ever decide to run Western States it won't be in the near future. That run deserves respect and lots of training time. With the Peanut as young as she is, I don't have the time to commit to something so big and so challenging. I can see how this run is half physical and half mental. Being out there for over 24 hours requires more dedication than I have at this time.

For now, I am done with long trail runs. My blog may suffer from this but I have decided to stop going the distance for a while and focus on some road runs. I have a half in June and really, I am looking forward to spending the majority of Saturdays with my family and not out on the trail.

I think Vans would be happy with that decision. He told me yesterday that he was proud of me (and worried that I wasn't home sooner). He had a rough day with the Peanut since she is at that age where "no" is pretty much the most popular word in her vocabulary. That didn't stop him from putting her to work yesterday though . . .

Washing Daddy's car!

Friday, May 28, 2010


The word "short" always gets a bad rap. No one likes to be labeled as short. Men especially do not like the word short (or small for that matter). If you talk to triathletes and you tell them you are doing a "short distance tri" they are usually quick to correct you with "you mean SPRINT distance, not short."

Last night I ran the "short course" for the Folsom Lake Trail Runners Series race at Beal's Point. Last year all I did was the short course. I loved it. I generally placed and I usually had negative splits. Last year's short course had a helluva lot more hills if my memory serves me correctly. However, last night's short course race was challegning for many reasons. Speaking with Scrapbook and Biceps last night, we determined that a full week off from racing probably had a lot to do with how "hard" last night's race seemed. The weather was also questionable. It didn't rain but the course was slippery. Still, it was a fun night. It made me realize how much I missed the short course.

When the whistle/horn/race director yelling "go" went off we were off and running. When my garmin beeped with the first mile I actually had a sigh of relief . . . "only 2 more to go!" as opposed to my usual "crap, 5 more to go."

The only downside I see of doing the short course is that you run into oncoming traffic on your way back to the finish. The long course is so spreadout that you generally do not have that problem. Still, on the flip side, it was nice to hear everyone cheering for you on your way back. Oh and this has to be said, THOSE ARE SOME CRAZY FAST 10, 11 and 12 YEAR OLDS! HOLY COW!!!!

Actually, I came in second female overall in the short course last night. The first, was a 12 year old from El Dorado Hills.
Yeah, she's serious.
photo from here

I had to do the short course last night with my big Western States 32 mile training run tomorrow and the fact I was sick as a dog all last week. I finished last night's run and proceeded to cough for about 30 minutes. Tomorrow should be um, fun?

The Peanut got to spend some time with Spy Girl last night before Van's made it home. She enjoyed that but she also enjoys playing with Daddy too.

Come on Daddy . . .

take my hand . . .

and watch me climb like a monkey!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Kids, do not try this at home

Not to worry, Vans was near by when the above photo was taken. However, that is what he had to do to entertain the Peanut on Saturday while I was sick in bed. I am working my way back up the healthy ladder.

Technically, I have not run since May 21st, last Thursday when Biceps and I did a 5+ mile trail run at Beal's Point. I was too ill to run 20 with Pigeon on Saturday (she ran by herself that rockstar) and Sunday's Veggie Chase 5K was really a veggie joke. Completely unorganized and a total disaster on all fronts. I walked with the Peanut for most of the course.

Tonight is my Buffalo Chips speed night. I plan on heading out there to see what my body can handle. The workout calls for 6x800 and 4x200. I wish it was the reverse as I so love 200s over 800s.

I am sort of at a loss as to what to do with myself this week. Do I attempt to run? Do I just do small tiny runs in an effort to stay loose for Saturday's crazy run (which by the way, has been upgraded to 4 miles of snow at the start thank you very much). Do I continue with my Wednesday lunch time run and my Thursday Folsom Lake Trail Runners Series race? I was contemplating downgrading to the 5K on Thursday instead of my usual 10K. Thoughts on that? Any experienced readers/lurkers/stalkers who never comment out there who can give me some good advice?

Otherwise, the upcoming Memorial Day weekend is predicted to have (besides an insane Western States Training Run) more BBQs than this vegetarian can probably handle. Yet, the Peanut will be over joyed to attend them all as she loves a good BBQ as long as hotdogs are involved.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

AND THE THINKTHIN WINNER IS . . . was boring so the Peanut picked the winner of the thinkThin giveaway and she picked comment #1 Pigeon. Dear Pigeon since you are local you're also saving me some shipping costs! Woot woot! You'll get your prize the next time I see you out on the trails!

Thanks for playing the trailmomma giveaway! I hope to have more of those in the future!

As far as running goes, I am still battling a nasty chest cold. The trailmomma family headed out the Veggie Chase 5k in Rancho Cordova and I have to say, that was the most unorganized, non-stroller friendly race we have ever raced in. Needless to say, the Peanut did not like "off roading" in the stroller and therefore I ended up carrying her for a mile and half (that's 30 lbs of Peanut) before she went screaming back into the stroller. It was more of an upper body workout for me than anything cardio.

In terms of the Western States Training Run next week, I have learned that there is going to be some snow the first 2 miles or so and most likely some pretty hot temperatures when we finish. Oh boy! Bring it!

Saturday, May 22, 2010


TURD = Totally Unscheduled Rest Day.

Today is a TURD. I was supposed to wake up and run 20 miles with Pigeon today but instead I am in bed with no voice, a sore throat and a nasty cough.

All week my body has been screaming at me to "slow down" but I didn't listen. All of my runs this week have had zero energy, pep and zip. I just thought I was not getting much sleep but instead my body was fighting this cold and the cold has won. I am one sick trailmomma.

This unexpected turn is making me a little nervous about next week's 32 mile run on the Western States Trail. My last long distance was 18 with Pigeon about 3 weeks ago. Nice and easy will be my mantra next week.

Tomorrow is the Peanut's toddler dash and our 5K. Looks like I might be walking that if things don't improve today.

Why does doing absolutely nothing feel so weird?!!

What!? My momma is actually sitting still today?!!

PS: Don't forget to enter my give away. Just scroll down to find the give-away post.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, May 21, 2010


Last night my FLTR Series race didn't happen. For some reason or another, both Vans's mountain biking and my trail racing had the week off. In an effort to keep a routine (of sorts) Vans and his buddy "Sarcasm" had a brilliant idea of getting our two families together for an evening BBQ at Beal's Point. The men would go and mountain bike for an hour and the women, myself and Sarcasm's wife "Biceps" would then go for a trail run while the kids all played at the beach and ate hot dogs.

The Peanut and I headed out to Beal's right from work. I had loaded the car with all sort of beach and BBQ paraphernalia. I also included the Peanut's new Strider Bike and helmet hoping that perhaps the other kids would ride it and maybe show her how it is done.

Lil' Man taking it for a spin

My plan didn't exactly work however. You see, Lil'Man and Sarcasm's older daughter have never seen these bikes before. Not long after the above photo Lil'Man took a dive which the Peanut saw which did not bode well in my effort to convince her to get back on the bike.

Ah well. I had a great 5.7 mile trail run with Biceps. She's super fast and strong and was very curious what the 10K Beal's Point course looked like. We didn't run the entire course but she got a good taste of the hills and the intensity of the sun beating down you in certain unshaded areas. When we returned the men had the BBQ running and beers flowing.

The kids were nice and sandy and quite content. Not your regular Thursday night activity for either family but still, a good time had by all. Especially the Peanut!
Checking out the murky waters at Beal's Point

Getting nice and muddy!


Tomorrow I am hooking up with Coach Nikon and Pigeon for a nice long run on the bike trail. We're thinking 20 miles or so which will be interesting considering I haven't run long distances in quite a few weeks. Running with those two however never disappoints and I am actually really looking forward to it.

Also, don't forget to enter my giveaway! I'll pick a random winner Sunday night! Happy Friday!!!

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Yesterday when I got home from work there was a package on my front porch yet again! Not another Strider Bike for the Peanut but a delivery from the awesome Julia at thinkThin! If you recall a few weeks ago I did a product review of thinkThin's newest product, thinkThin Bites. In that review I stated I had not tried their other new product thinkThin Dessert Bars to which Julia quickly emailed me and said she'd send me some to try!

But instead of just sending a few bars for a taste test, I received this:

A whole lotta bars!

In the box was a mix of both their new dessert bar line and their old tried and true protein bars. I already know how much I love thinkThin's bars. As a gluten free mom/athlete they are the perfect "go-to" bar when I don't have time to sit down and eat. They are nutritious, full of protein, have ZERO sugars and are GLUTEN FREE! One of their bars even has 20 grams of protein in it! They are totally filling and delicious. I haven't tried the new dessert ones I just received so I can't comment on those but so far, I can say, I haven't tried one of their bars I didn't like.

Looking at my delivery I decided I would do a trailmomma giveaway and let all of my readers join in on the taste test! So, I am going to give one lucky reader an entire box of thinkThin bars! That's 10 bars total (one box is worth $18.90). The box will be a mix of their dessert flavors (go here to see their dessert line) and their regular protein bars (go here to see their line of regular bars). I will choose a winner via on Sunday evening.

Here is how you can enter. 1. Go visit the thinkThin website and leave me a comment telling me what flavor bar, bite, dessert bar you would like to try most (worth 1 entry). 2. Blog, Twitter or Facebook about the giveaway and leave me a comment that you have done so (worth 1 entry) and 3. In an effort to bring more happiness into this world, do one random act of kindness and leave me a comment telling me what you did (worth 1 entry). That's it! Trust me when I say, you won't be disappointed in these bars!

The picky eating Peanut apparently approves as she quickly dove into my box of bars! There were a few tears as well when I had to finally take it away from her! 

On a running note, last night I met up with my great friends at Fleet Feet Fair-Oaks/Roseville for a group run. We ran 9.5 miles and chit chatted the entire way. We got rained on briefly but the storm passed quickly. It reminded me how much I miss the old crew and how much I am looking forward to their new training program that starts in June. Although I am not doing the Sierra Nevada Endurance Run in September, I do plan on training with the group whenever I can. They rock . . . so go sign up for it now and tell 'em trailmomma sent ya!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Last weekend we went to South Lake Tahoe with friends. We rented a house for 3 days and 2 nights. Though I prefer the northern shores of Lake Tahoe, you can't deny the beauty of the lake no matter where you are. Not to mention the wonderful crisp mountain air.

The view from our deck.

Look Momma! A creek!

We went to The Beacon Bar & Grill on Saturday for lunch and to hang out on the beach and let the kids play.

Who needs a playground when you
 have paddle boats to climb on?

Vans enjoyed taking some great pictures of the sky.

We even attempted a group photo but
a certain little Peanut was having none of it.

Hey waiter can I get one of these please!?
Mmm, Mimosas on the deck. Lovely.

In the evenings we would cook at the house and just hang around watching the kids play/fight/cry. The Peanut and Little REI rekindled their friendship since it had been some time between playdates.

True friendship.

On Sunday we cleaned up, checked out and stopped in El Dorado Hills to watch the Tour of California. The Peanut really enjoyed seeing this.

All smiles because the cop cars were blinking their lights!

Here come the leaders!

The Peanut and I watch on as the Pelaton flies by us!

In exciting running news today, some of my Fleet Feet crew are getting together tonight for a group run. Van's mountain biking is on hold tonight which leaves me with an open Wednesday evening to meet up with Captain Kirk, Wonder Woman and Coach Nikon. I have no idea who else from the group will be joining us and the skies are threatening a bit of rain but that's nothing for our little group. I am excited to see everyone and get in a few miles. The Western States Training run is quickly approaching.

The Peanut is just too cool for school.