Thursday, September 30, 2010

CHANGING THINGS UP

Exhibit A: Swollen Ankle

That my friends, is not a pretty sight. After being on my feet a lot yesterday at work, my ankle swelled up considerably when I got home that evening.

I have not run since my pathetic attempt on Tuesday. I don't plan to run tonight either based on the above photo. I don't really have any pain per se, it just doesn't necessarily feel "good" either.

So tonight my form of exercise is going to come from a bike ride. I am going to dust off my old bike and hit the bike trail. They just recently paved all the trails near my house and it would be nice to make use of them before we move up the hill where there are no bike trails to ride.

I am seeing Dr. Lau on Wednesday of next week which is a good thing but I really wish I could have seen him sooner. I am supposed to help a friend out and run the NIKE Marathon (yes, the full) on October 17, 2010 in San Francisco. Have I been training to run a marathon? Nooooooooooo but that doesn't mean I can't go out there and give it my best shot without blowing up on the course. I have run the half and I know how tough of a course that can be and I remember last year thinking "thank goodness I am not running the full" as I was cruising into the finish line for the half marathon. Still, this would be my first marathon that isn't the California International Marathon (CIM) which I have run countless time and um, have not officially signed up for this year. I am totally slacking in the marathon training department . . . tsk tsk Trailmomma.

My mind is consumed lately with moving, figuring out when to pack and of course purging the house and closets of all that crap we no longer really need so I don't have to lug it to the new house. Oh yeah, and also this girl . . . who is sans diaper day two today! Woot woot! Now if she'd only sleep well!!






Wednesday, September 29, 2010

STRUGGLING

We're back. We've been back since Sunday evening and we've been struggling to get the Peanut back into a routine. It is so easy to get sucked into the peacefulness and ease of vacation life. I can't blame a two year old for finding it hard to go to bed early and stay asleep . . . but man, are Vans and I tired this week!

We miss this:


But if I close my eyes . . . sometimes I can see it and smell it . . . sometimes.

Since being back in town I haven't tried running . . . until last night. I went out and met my old group The Buffalo Chips who I have not run with in a very very long time. It was good to see them however the temperature gauge in my car was reading 102 degrees. Ouch.

Just putting on my shoe made my ankle hurt as it is still pretty swollen even if it doesn't hurt to walk or anything. Just the pressure of the shoe made it hurt. The workout was 4 x 1200 meters but I only managed 2 of those 1200 before my body shut down. Partly dehydrated and just partly exhausted from two sleepless nights. I hung my head and waddled off to my car to head on home. Bummed with my performance and lack of stamina I decided I just need to get the ankle back before I go ahead and try doing something like speed drills right now. It'll come. I also need to work on time management and finding time to run as a few things have been in the works and my weekends are going to be filled with some other activities soon.

Regardless, I am firm believer if you want it, you make it happen. If I want to continue running and stay in shape then I will find the time whether I have to wake up at 5 am and hit the dark streets of my neighborhood or just wander over to the elliptical . . . I have to make it happen. Only I can do it.

The Peanut is very much like me . . . she watches, she observes and then decides to just go ahead and do it.

Observe . . .

Just do it!

video
Sorry. . . cell phone video.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

HAPPY SIX YEAR ANNIVERSARY

We're home from Tahoe . . . Happy Anniversary to my wonderful Vans. He's my best friend, my biggest fan and my partner in crime!

Thank you for making me the happiest bride, wife and mother ever!





I love you!!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

WHEN IT RAINS IT POURS!

Today is our last full day in Lake Tahoe. Thursday I wrote about how good things always happen while in Tahoe. Late last night or early this morning depending on how you look at it . . . we had another piece of great news come our way!!!

Our great friends, Mr. and Mrs. REI are the proud parents of a new tiny baby girl!!! Baby REI, the Peanut's best friend and trouble maker is now a big sister. I cannot be happier for the REI family!!! This does however pose a problem for my blog as Baby REI is no longer a baby and the new baby needs a Trailmomma nickname! I am sure it will come and I cannot wait to meet her. Please send best wishes and sleep filled nights to my two dear friends. The Peanut I know is VERY excited about the news and declared that she too "wants to be a big sister!"

Yesterday was spent mostly at Kings Beach and away from the confines of our room and Squaw Valley. Vans and I decided to fool around with the nap routine and we all hopped in the car complete with swim suits, snacks and the Peanut's bucket and shovel and headed north. We were not planning to stop at Kings Beach as we had intended to go over to Sand Harbor which is another gorgeous beach area but the Peanut, while stopped at traffic light in Kings Beach spied a playground and declared that she wanted to "go on that playground" with the cutest "please" and puppy dog eyes to boot. I figured it was fine and I liked the ease of the rest rooms and the beach was fairly empty so I figured why not. It turned out to be the best decision because the water was so shallow that the Peanut could pretty much walk out into the lake and remain knee high the entire time.


We layered on the sunscreen, set out the picnic blanket and the Peanut got to work building "birthday cakes" in the sand (her new obsession). The sun was out and strong and not a cloud in the sky. It was a glorious day on the beach.

Vans took the Peanut down to the water and even though Lake Tahoe is notorious for being very very cold, the water in the shallow parts was not that bad. I was shocked when I sat up from the blanket and saw this . . .

Vans and the Peanut

They actually went out quite a bit farther and when I wandered over to see how everyone was doing, the Peanut proudly declared "This is as far as I can go mommy. This is as far as I can go!" She'd walk out into the lake and then run back in. Walk back out and then run back in. Repeat over and over. She really liked it when a boat came by and "made waves" for her.

Overall we spent quite a bit of time at the beach. However, we soon realized that the snackage I brought was not going to cut it. We were hungry! I had grand ideas that the Peanut would actually nap on the beach allowing Vans some time to get us some food but unfortunately the sun was moving way too fast for us and the little piece of shade we found kept disappearing.

Instead we loaded up the car and just as I suspected . . . this soon followed:

A tough day at the beach!

Now we were faced with a bit of dilemma. The Peanut unfortunately is not one of those kids who can fall asleep in a car and then be magically lifted to her bed and actually stay asleep. Oh no. Instead Vans and I drove around for a bit before deciding that we would head over to Sunnyside on the east shore, one of our favorite spots and let the Peanut sleep an hour or so before heading inside for something to eat.

It was such a nice drive along the lake looking at the gorgeous lake view homes scattered along the shoreline, many of which were for sale . . . for only a couple million.

Finally we made it to Sunnyside and eventually had to wake the Peanut. I lightly rubbed her head and asked her if she wanted to get french fries . . . her eyes remained closed but I heard a very soft, yet enthusiastic "yes!" come out her mouth.

Sunnyside is an awesome awesome place. If you ever visit Lake Tahoe you have to go here. The deck sits on the water and they have quite a selection of beverages and food to choose from including a kids menu. My meal came with chopsticks which has been a fascination of the Peanut's lately. She obviously needed them for her meal.

First jab french fry with chopstick

Then enjoy!

Overall it was a great afternoon followed by a great evening with the news of the new baby. Like I said, today is our last full day here. My ankle is a bit swollen and unsteady so I will probably just ride the bike and lift a little weights today.

Tomorrow is our six year wedding anniversary. We will probably wake up, pack and get on the road fairly quickly as we learned we have a few immediate home buying issues to deal with. I am hesitant to leave here as I have had the best week of vacation. I needed this week more than anything and although I look forward to moving into our new home . . . Tahoe is always on my mind.

****Please send some great running vibes to my friend Pigeon as she is right now out on the course of the Sierra Nevada Endurance Run running 52 miles!!!! GO PIGEON GO!!!!!!!!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

GOOD THINGS HAPPEN IN TAHOE

Lake Tahoe is gorgeous. That goes without saying. Whether you have been here or not, if you have seen the photos, you know this is one special place.

For my family however, Tahoe is extra special. It was while in Tahoe that my love Vans first said those three magic words to me while we were dating. Then years later, it was here that he said those four magic words "will you marry me?" to me. Six years ago this Sunday we were married on the shores of Lake Tahoe at a wonderfully amazing spot on the east shore of the lake. In 2007  it was also while in Tahoe that we discovered we were going to be parents to the Peanut. Now, I can happily say, that while on our vacation in Tahoe this week we found out that the home of our dreams was approved and that we will soon be moving!!! It has been a long and arduous process but one that is finally working out in our favor.

Today has been a whirlwind of emotions ranging from elation to nausea but we are happy. Today was also my trail run day. Yesterday Vans disappeared for 2 hours as he mountain biked on the Tahoe Rim Trail. Today, I ran for almost 90 minutes 6+ miles on a portion of the Western States Trail!

Vans talked to some locals and they told him about a tiny trail that is located behind the Far East Chair Lift of Squaw Valley Ski Resort that connects with the Western States Trail. I should clarify this is not the Western States Trail that the Western States 100 Miler takes place on but instead, and I could be wrong, it is just a trail where perhaps the original Tevis Cup took place? I don't really know but I do know it was pretty cool place to run today.

I am usually a big wuss when it comes to trail running alone. My mind wanders and I make up crazy noises and stuff that basically scares me out of running too far but today, I just ran. The first two miles were a switch back that goes up hill on a rocky un-runnable portion. I am learning that in order to get to any decent trails in Tahoe, you are forced to climb first.

So sucking wind I climbed and climbed in the pure sun totally exposed to all those wandering around Squaw Village. Although not technically off limits to the public, the locals don't really like outsiders using this trail. Finally I hit the top and some single track.

Single track . . . in the wrong direction
I ran this twice.

Aaah this is the right direction

There were no markers on this trail. No indication that I was going the right way. I saw a few mountain bike tracks but that was about it.

The views were just amazing

I did stumble upon this.
Proof that I was on the WST


The single track dumped me out onto a gravel service road. I had the choice to go up or down and I chose up. I entered a clearing where about 5 horseback riders were out for a ride and taking photos.

Big open clearing

The trail got a little rocky

The service road did eventually lead way to a trail again that was a bit rocky at first but eventually smoothed out and was a series of rolling hills along with a lot of forks in the trail to choose from....

Which way?

I was having way too much fun. I'd run the downs and sort of shuffle uphill when my lungs would give out. Mind you, it was never my legs, only my lungs that have been struggling here. You would think after 4 or 5 days here I would finally adjust to this altitude when running. Ugh. My lungs and my heart rate said differently.

Finally I decided that I had been gone over an hour and that even though I knew the trail back would be faster, I figured that I needed to turn around.

Yeah that switch back goes down.
Good time to turn around.

As I expected I made up some time on the return. My distance was over 6 miles and I was probably gone 90 minutes. With the uphill climbing in the beginning, I am okay with the workout I got.

When I got back to the Village I realized that the Peanut was still probably napping in our room and that I couldn't return just yet. Instead, I wandered myself over to Starbucks and sat down and had a "recovery" drink.

Nice!

On the last switch back down the rocky slope however I rolled my ankle pretty darn bad. I am prone to rolled ankles and I was trying to be very careful running down through the rocks but I looked up just once and bam, the ankle rolled and I heard a bit of snap . . . um, that can't be good.

I don't think I have done anything too serious but whatever I did it isn't just the usual ankle roll. The ligaments and muscles running from my achilles up my calf are pretty darn sore.

Tomorrow will be a rest day as I think we're heading out early as a family to hit up a beach and let the Peanut play in the sand.

She loves the beach



Wednesday, September 22, 2010

SCENES FROM VACATION

We have been enjoying our time here in Tahoe doing various activities.

There was a little of this . . .

Walks carrying about 35+ pounds


Vans and his crazy mountain bike rides . . .

Some exploration by the Peanut

I am TWO!

oopsy daisy!

Tuesday I  decided to head out my back door and go for a trail run . . . which really turned into a hike. While I was out hiking/running, Vans and the Peanut went for their own adventure.


My little run however was quite the adventure. I started out just following a very obvious trail. I knew I needed to hook up with a marked trail that would lead towards Shirley Lake. The "markings" however were not exactly obvious . . . all of the time.

Pretty obvious right? Yeah, not always.

The trail also had quite a few obstacles

It was also very rocky at times

It took me 40 minutes to do 2 miles. With the climbing, dodging and getting completely and totally lost numerous times and having to back track ... I realized this was not going to be a long run in terms of miles.

Every time I finally got some momentum and began running I would totally lose track of those little blue markers.


     Now is THAT one obvious? I think not.

The above missed marker caused me to back track a few times. I would run back to my last seen marker and then look for the next . . . eventually finding the hidden one above. In my back and forth though I ran past this a few times:


    Beth from Shut Up and Run would have been proud
   should "nature call" in the midst of my getting lost.

Eventually I was on my way and this is when the trail started to climb.


Up

     That arrow is pointing straight up the rock

    The view but not from the very top as I turned around.

Overall, I only ran about 4.5 miles total but was gone for about 90 minutes with all the stopping, turning around, back tracking etc. It wasn't about the distance, it was about getting out there in some peace and quiet and although it was so beautiful out and I basically had the trails to myself . . . I didn't want to spend too much time away from the Peanut and Vans. Vacation is about family and I am really enjoying mine this week.


After my run and the Peanut's nap we pulled out the bikes and biked for a bit to a local park near by. The Peanut was loving it.


The park had the most beautiful soccer field I have ever seen and so the Peanut and I did "sprints" on the field . . . she was loving this.

    Pure joy.

Monday, September 20, 2010

STUPID IS AS STUPID DOES & THE BIG BLUE ADVENTURE RACE

To clarify, the Emerald Bay Trail Run I ran yesterday, which is put on by Big Blue Adventure was not stupid . . . the stupidity is was what I did in preparation for this race.

Yesterday marked the first day of our vacation. Every year we head to Tahoe for a week. This year Vans learned that there was going to be a trail race at Emerald Bay on the day we head up. I should mention that we don't normally depart for our vacations in Tahoe until late morning or mid-afternoon and we do not normally go via Emerald Bay. However, when you present a Trailmomma with a trail race especially one that coincides with vacation . . . I am going to sign up no matter what. That is exactly what I did which meant that yesterday morning we had to have our car packed and loaded (for a week's vacation) by 5 am and was on the road by 6 am . . . with a two year old in tow. It was not easy. I was up at 5 am scurrying around the house loading the car, packing road snacks for the Peanut and simultaneously thinking about how to fuel for my race which started at 9 am.

In all honesty, we were on the road driving by 6:30 . .. Peanut was in good spirits albeit a bit confused and Vans was groggy but coherent enough to strap our bikes and bike trailer onto the car correctly. Since this was "my fault" I offerred to drive us the 2 hours to the race. I wore my awesome (and life saving) ZOOT compression socks on the drive up. I think I might wear those before a race now all the time. My legs felt amazing getting out of the car. I normally only wear them for post race recovery, not anymore.

Just to warn you, there will be a lot of photos with this blog. The race was only 7.5 miles but whenever Vans comes along . . .he's my personal photographer and his photos sometimes are too amazing to leave out.

We arrived at Eagle Point camp ground close to 8:30 as I still needed to pick up my registration and bib. Eagle Point was the starting location. This was going to be a point to point race so keep that in mind if you ever choose to do it in the future. They provide shuttles however which is a nice touch. The camping season is over so the camp ground was essentially closed and therefore all bathrooms were empty and accessible for the runners. There were only 80 registered runners though so it was not overly crowded either. After checking in and getting your race schwagg bag . . . I was ready to run.

NICE schwagg!

Big Blue Adventure has some awesome sponsors including MERRELL, SALOMON, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale (ahem), Hammer Nutrition and Technu! The goodies included a really nice tech shirt, a cool mesh bag, samples of Technu, a water bottle, a few Hammer gels and sunglasses straps. The race director and Big Blue Adventure owner was chatting me up before the race as he noticed my Way Too Cool 50K arm sleeves. I think next year's races for Big Blue might include some arm sleeves as he thought that was a pretty good race gift. I agreed.

On to the race. The start involves walking .5 mile down a paved road to the bottom of the campground. The views of Lake Tahoe were outstanding. It was crisp outside but not overly cold. My arm sleeves proved to be too much later in the race. At the bottom of this hill we learned that we would be running right back up the same hill to a single track and then remaining on single track the rest of the way. The start was very "informal" as it was literally just the race director saying "stand behind this tree" and then we counted down and were off. The start was very reminiscent of the Way Too Cool 50K start where we run up hill for a mile only this was just a .5 mile. Right before we were told to go . . . the rains came. As we were ascending the hill the soft light rain drops started to get a little stronger and then out of no where they stopped. I looked to my right towards the lake and saw this:

A rainbow!

I even turned to the girl running beside me and say "hey look at that!" She might have been a local as she didn't seem as overlly impresed as I did. When I reached the top where the single track starts I saw Team Trailmomma!

         Peanut was practicing her trail running skills

          Nothing gets in her way

      Here I come . . . bringing the rain with me!

Hey family!

There I go . . . let the games begin!

The trail was absolutely gorgeous. Lake Tahoe remains on your right and at times, you are super close to the water's edge. The trail meanders around Emerald Bay and then eventually up the Rubicon Trail to D.L. Bliss camp ground and ends right at Lester Beach. Breath taking.

I was just motoring along at a pretty decent pace (for me). A few people passed me on the paved uphill section because the altitude hit me hard although I never stopped to walk. I could see which runners were "local" because most had some form of Tahoe race shirt on. Running the flat paved bike trails of Sacramento in preparation for this race was mistake number one. Mistake number two? Not fueling. At all. Yup, this dumbass got up at 5 am and made sure the car was loaded, kid was fed, husband was fed but failed to feed herself OR drink much water. I had a cup of coffee while loading the car. Stupid Trailmomma. I also had disposed of the Gu that was stashed in my water bottle from a previous run. So the lack of fuel before the race, combined with getting up early and also eating a poor dinner the night before, hit me like a ton of bricks at about mile 5. I had made it more than half way (thank goodness) but the trail itself was not exactly flat.

The initial sections were downhill and not very technical at all. A few times we had to scale over some giant fallen trees and cross a few bridges. When you hit the area by Emerald Bay you start climbing stairs. Yes. Stairs. Up hill and not exactly even. At one point I did stop to walk up the stairs and I wasn't alone. The descent on the other side were also stairs making it hard to get great footing but believe me when I say it was so beautiful that you really don't care. It was also here that I notice my heart rate was averaging 175 beats per minute. I normally average 155 on most runs . . . yeah, my heart was pounding, my lungs were burning and my legs felt like rubber all of a sudden. They had an aid station at mile 3 with water and heed but no Gus and why would they? It was only a 7.5 mile race and most smart people know to fuel before a race. I was bonking and fast. I channeled Beth from Shut Up and Run and just kept telling myself . . . "shut up and run. stop complaining" and it worked. One foot in front of the other. At one point I realized I had a rogue SCap in my water bottle and I took it just because I prayed that it would help me. It brought me back to life a little bit but it also caused the most massive side ache/cramp  I have ever had! I have not had a side cramp since I was in the 8th grade doing the Presidential Fitness Tests. I just had to laugh at myself. What a mess I was and yet I knew I had a smile on my face. I love trail running.

At some point you hit D.L. Bliss camp ground which is where my friends and family had camped just a few weeks earlier. The trail dumps you out onto a parking lot and winds you back onto a trail for a brief portion before you hit the stairs (again) and descend down right onto Lester Beach. I will let the photos speak for themselves. Gorgeous (have I used that word enough today?). 

 
        Emerald Bay. Wow.

Headed to the finish line!

Down the stairs . . .

Onto the beach to the finish!

It looks like I was first . . . or last.

The Peanut spies her mommy!

Here I come mommy!

The best prize ever!

My Peanut

After the hugging I joined the rest of the runners and made my way into the lake for a natural ice bath.

The best recovery ever.

My mommy is in the lake!

The festivities on the beach post race were awesome. They had food and beer and electrolyte beverages. Some of their sponsors like Merrell were there with a tent doing raffles. After talking to the rep for a bit, I walked away with a free Merrell shirt. Nice considering I didn't win any of the raffles nor did I place in my age group therefore not getting any other freebies.

For those interested (ahem, Coach Nikon, Captain Kirk and Wonder Woman) the first place prize for the first runner in was a season ski pass to Northstar at Tahoe! That's a minimum $300! The winner was a guy in his mid thirties who ran the 7.5 mile race (although my Garmin reigstered only 6.9) in about 43 minutes. Second place was a $110 Merrell gift card. Pretty sweet prizes for such a low key 80 person race.

Overall I would absolutely do this race again next year especially if it falls within our week here in Tahoe. Of course I would prepare much better . . . as in actually fuel and maybe run up a hill or two the week before but regardless, this race was awesome.

Vans, the Peanut and I hung out on the beach for quite a while enjoying the scene. The Peanut built sand castles, we got drizzled on a little bit but nothing too bad and the winds kicked up occasionally but still, it made for an exciting afternoon.

I am not that sore today. The legs are definitely a bit stiff but 15 minutes on the elliptical helped. Vans is out mountain biking and the Peanut and I will probably head out for a hike or walk around the village. She loved every minute of the race yesterday and even asked me if I wanted a Gu . . . post race. Better late than never.

Blogger is being diffult and preveting me from uploading any more photos . . . maybe I surpassed my limit with the 5592972 I posted in this race report . . . for a 7.5 mile race. Oops. Thanks Vans for all the photography shots!