Friday, August 6, 2010


One would think that running the American River 50 Miler was one of the toughest things I have ever done. Nope. What I did last night was probably the scariest toughest thing I have ever done and I am not so sure I want to ever do it again. AR50, sure yeah, of course I'd do that again . . . last night . . . not so much.

Yesterday was Thursday (duh), one of the days I usually meet Pigeon for a run. Mind you, I am not training for anything whereas Pigeon has a 50 miler coming up in September. Okay, I lie, I have a half marathon I am training for (big whoop in comparison).

We've been comfortable as of late running just 6 here and 8 there during the week with no real purpose or quality to our workouts. This week that changed with some "pick ups"on Tuesday and last night we had decided to do hill repeats.

We decided to revisit Pennsylvania Avenue which is where my training group did hill repeats back in February. When we met the group, it was at night and therefore dark. We also met over near Sunrise and ran to the bottom of the hill. Last night however, neither Pigeon nor I knew how to reach that section of the trail again so I followed  Pigeon's instructions and parked at the Fair Oaks Club House. Fair Oaks. The chicken/rooster capitol of the world (not sure if that is necessarily true but that's what I call it). It is infested with chickens, roosters and lord knows what other fowl running rampant all throughout the town. I never go there. If I do, I never usually get out of my car. The only times I actually run through Fair Oaks is during the California International Marathon and even then I am on the look out despite the fact that hundreds have run before me and have scared all the chickens/roosters away.

So for the entertainment of the blog AND to get some quality hill repeats in, I sucked it up and drove out to Fair Oaks via Sunrise. During rush hour (mistake numero uno). After missing my turn and making a u-turn and just getting flustered I finally arrived at the club house and parked. This is what I saw outside my driver's side window:

Look at how HUGE that thing is!

I freaked, pulled out my cell phone and called Pigeon who was only 2 cars down from me. I was hoping she'd answer and then come over and scare that thing away. Luckily, she saw me pull in and was already on her way over towards my car.

By the look on my face I must have looked pretty petrified as she asked if I was okay. I told her I don't like Fair Oaks and she said we could have met elsewhere. I know however, that I needed to suck it up. I knew once we got to the hill the birds would not be near us.

We took off running towards Pennsylvania Avenue which is about a mile from where we parked. Only a few more rooster encounters happened along the way but nothing too serious. As usual, I had to stop and use the restroom. We also discovered they've built a new restroom at the bottom of Pennsylvania Avenue! Just for me! How sweet!

Before we started we took some photos. Pigeon wanted to show off where we were and did her "sign pose" for you:


Next it was my turn. I wanted to show that I was really a "tough" trailmomma and not the shaken bird fearing trailmomma I really am:

(gulp) Don't mess with me birds!

After that little session we took off. Pennsylvania is a pretty long hill. It flattens out in the middle giving you the impression that the hill is over only to fool you with a steep curving section that leads to the top. I decided to run this by heart rate and not by time. I took the lead with Pigeon close on my tail.

When I reached the top and turned around to make my decent, I actually jumped because I saw this:

It is hard to see in that photo but it is a fake deer (aka lawn ornament) holding a No Trespassing sign that scared me half to death! It looked so real (um, because all deer hold signs?). I had to laugh at myself and of course take a photo.

Pigeon finishing repeat #1

When I reached the bottom and waited for Pigeon to come in I realized my dead leg feeling had gone away! The hill woke me up and actually energized me. I had forgotten how long and tough of a hill it was but I also had forgotten that I actually LIKE doing hill repeats.

I waited until my heart rate cooled down a bit and took off again. I am also more of a "get them all over with quick" kind of person rather than dragging things out. We had decided earlier that 4 repeats sounded good to us.

Repeat number 2 was fairly uneventful. The road had much more traffic on it (both cars and bikers) than it had the night our training group met. It felt weird for me to run on the opposite side of the road you're supposed to run on. You should normally run against traffic but on this hill, the natural inclination on the way up is to run on the side with traffic.

Repeat #3 over and done. 1 to go!

On our last repeat we hit some teenage boys who were riding their bikes up from the river. It was pretty obvious they don't ride up Pennsylvania Avenue very much as they were struggling. I passed one of the boys as I crested the very top and turned to take a photo of Pigeon.

Instead the tired biker got in my shot but all I kept thinking was "yeah I passed you teenager! Woot Woot!" Childish, yes, I know.  

I flew to the bottom after that feeling great. I really do like hill repeats!

       All done and all smiles!

Then, a wave of fear took over me as I realized we had to run back to our cars which meant back to the roosters and chickens.

Yup. They were still there and they seemed to have multiplied! Apparently Thursday nights in Fair Oaks is "comedy night" or "concert in the park" night or something. In other words, hundreds of people were gathering in the park near our cars . .. dropping bits of food here and there no less causing all the roosters and chickens to come and join the party. Ugh.

Thursday night fun

Even the little gate that leads to this park has a rooster on it. Pigeon posed with it.

I, on the other hand, wouldn't even go near it. I didn't want the "real" roosters thinking I was bird friendly. When we reached my car I stopped dead in my tracks. This is what I saw:

Roosters hanging by my car!

How was I supposed to get in my car to go home?! Two of those big roosters were camped out right near my  driver's side door (and a few were under my car too). Pigeon was of course laughing hysterically at me. I texted Vans that I would "be a little late" getting home and sent him the above picture. He'd understand. He can't believe I actually agreed to go to Fair Oaks in the first place. Thinking back, neither can I. The things I try and do for blog entertainment!

Eventually the roosters wandered off (after I made Pigeon chase them away) and I jumped into my car. We were still in mid conversation but I couldn't stand out in the parking lot any longer, the roosters were closing in on me. So there we stood at my car, me inside with the window down and Pigeon outside basically laughing at me.

Minus the petrified emotional state I was in at the beginning and end of our workout, it was a great night and a great quality workout. Hill repeats really do strengthen you as a runner and I like how my legs actually feel like all the muscles are working.

While I was off battling the attack of the crazy roosters (okay, not really) Vans and the Peanut were enjoying their father/daughter night.

First up, their usual trip to Jamba Juice!


Yesteday was also "water balloon day" at daycare. Vans was suckered in by that sweet face into buying more balloons at the store. Which of course later became water balloons!


That just screams trouble!


  1. You got scared of the fake deer? Don't feel bad, once I got scared of a dried up banana peel on a trail - I thought it was a tarantula!! How funny is THAT? LOL
    You and your bird phobia - pretty funny. ;)

  2. You definitely crack me up about the birds! Did you get attacked as a small child? Love the getting scared by a deer. I get frightened by curvy sticks on the ground sometimes because they look like snakes.