Thursday, September 20, 2012


This report has been a long time coming. I am finally getting a chance to sit down and type. The reason is because I started my new job this week. So far things are going well in both the job aspect, the commute, working out before going to work and meal prep. I am literally nonstop moving from the minute I wake up at 4:30 am to the minute I go to bed, which lately has been about 9:30 or so.

The crockpot is my friend. I've prepped two crockpot meals this week. I fill the old pot before bed and then turn it on when I get home. Usually (because my kids are so picky) there is enough to have as left overs (or lunch) later in the week so I get quite a few meals out of it. I've also been pretty organized in planning all our meals this week. Tonight for example, I came home and made dinner for the girls while simultaneously prepping the crockpot (for tomorrow's dinner) AND making an additional meal for us on Friday because I have to make muffins tomorrow night. Catch all that? Are you as exhausted as I am?

But let's talk about more important stuff ... like running and racing! This past Sunday was the Bay to Bliss Trail Run in Emerald Bay. This was the third time I have done this race. I sort of have a vendetta against this race because the first year I ran it, I was pregnant with Squeaker and didn't know it. The second year I ran it, Squeaker was just three months old and I was up all night and nursing. This year, I had nothing holding me back. I wasn't working (yet) and I had basically 9 months of free running time behind me. The stars should have aligned and I should have had an awesome race ... right? Nope. Ugh, this race rocked me to the core.

It all started on Wednesday when we had an intense lower body workout at Diane's. I felt fine after and even ran with TigerT that day. The next day however, I ran with Pigeon and man, could I feel it in my legs. I took Friday and Saturday off from running as well. I felt semi-rested on Sunday morning but once I started moving, I realized that wasn't the case.

When the whistle went off and we raced UP hill to the trail head, my chest seized and I knew instantly this was not going to be easy. I can tell when I am tired from just running up hill and tired from something else. I couldn't catch my breath and my heart felt like it was going to rip out of my chest it was beating so hard.

Here I come, sucking wind!
There I go ... sucking wind.
Bye bye!
That was pretty much it. The entire race my breathing was super shallow, I was wheezing and my heart rate was holding steady at about 166 and topping off over the 170s on the hills. No matter what I did, I could not bring that heart rate down ... even when I walked a few times and I barely walked. I am getting ahead of myself. Let's start with some photos.

The girls

The usual crew came out to cheer me on. Vans likes this race because it ends at Lester Beach and we generally hang out a while and enjoy the private beach. This year however, there was a totally different vibe. The park rangers were gruff right from the start and the park was practically filled so Vans had to drop me off and I had to run and then he had to lug both girls to the starting area. We even left the house two hours before the race started.

Last year at this race Squeaker was just three months old! She couldn't even hold her head up ... now she is climbing on stuff.

So excited to be mobile!

Not so sure about this race stuff last year

Anyway, I started off just sucking wind up the hill but I kept running refusing to walk. I was in the front of the pack. When we entered the single track I pushed it hard and I passed quite a few people by running up the embankment. That was pretty much my theme all race. Race the downhills as much as I could and just try and stay steady on the uphills ... which are hard. There is a lot of stair climbing and hills the first five miles. I had forgotten.

At one point I took a gel thinking maybe I needed some energy or fuel and at the very least, it would be a nice chance to take a small walking break. I didn't carry water as they had two aid stations. I didn't feel like I wasn't hydrated and I didn't feel like I was low on energy. I just felt like I was breathing through a straw the entire race at altitude.

While I was out trying to survive, Vans and the girls were experiment with the self timer feature on our camera.

Wait ...

Wait, wait not yet!

There you go.

At mile 4 you hit Vikingsholm and you start climbing stairs. Mile 5 you just hit some up hill tracks. At this point, two girls and a guy were in front of me. The two girls had just passed me so I was feeling deflated a bit. But at one point I know the rest is down hill.

Once we hit that down hill section I turned on the jets and just started flying down. I was on the heels of this girl but she never offered to let me pass and every opportunity that I had to ask she sped up even more so whatever. I just let it go knowing once we hit the pavement parking lot I'd have a chance. Unfortunately at this point, I looked at my watch and new a PR was out of the question but I could still beat my time from last year.

As I would later find out the girl in front of me was from Indiana and she was having an "ah-ha" moment on the trails with the lake being SO close to her. She was just in awe and I had to smile because really, that is one major reason I do this race, the views and being so close to Lake Tahoe. At one point we hit a really sharp curve and the Indiana girl went flying off the course and almost down the embankment which was steep and would have been really bad. Luckily she caught herself and gave her some grief about making me nervous.

Soon we hit the parking lot opening and I said "I don't meant to be rude but I have a PR I want to try and beat" and I just flew by the two girls and the guy and raced as hard as I could.

The Peanut was watching for me ...
And was so happy to have someone to wait with her. ♥
This year I came flying down the hill and I jumped the stairs instead of trying to be careful. Vans was too busy fiddling with the camera to catch me. I ran through the finish shoot and straight into the lake without stopping ... shoes and all and it was awesome.

It felt SO good.

I ended up getting fourth in my age group. The first place girl was Gretchen who was also first or second female over all ... she's fast AND she just ran Hardrock. Tough. Go read her race report on that. Wow.

The rest of the time we just had fun on the beach until it was time to go home. This race is tough for the family because we have to load the car and get up early. This year the park rangers at Lester Beach were kicking us out near the end of the race awards. Boo. Still, the girls had fun.


Even Vans was having fun ...
with the free post race Sierra Nevada Beer
**This was not proof read ... no time, so please excuse typos, I will fix ... eventually. :-)


Thursday, September 6, 2012


Today's post is long over due. I know over the last few years, the Trailmomma blog has changed. What started out as a goofy fun loving "beginner" trail running blog morphed into a "beginner" ultra training blog and eventually a child rearing blog with some running (road and trail) sprinkled in for good measure.

I have been running. I just have not been blogging about it. Most times I forget my camera or the run itself is not that memorable or exciting. Usually I am by myself except for the few occasions when I am lucky enough to run with TiggerT or Pigeon.

However, this last month or so I have been running a lot more. Mostly by myself which has allowed my mind to wander and reflect on the last nine months of my life. I will warn you now, feel free to click away as this post won't be anything but a reflection on what changes my life has gone through lately and where I am now and where I want to be.

Almost nine months ago I was laid off from a very unsatisfying job that left me pretty much self conscious, afraid and honestly, stupefied. I had been with them for five years and even though the last year or so things were "unhealthy" (to say the least), I stuck it out because I thought I was "lucky" to have a job. What I now realize, is that it was a blessing that I was laid off. I would never have left on my own and I would have endured countless negative comments and energy thrown my way.

Of course nine months ago I didn't see it this way. I was nervous, scared and worried we wouldn't survive. I have a wonderful family (both by blood and by marriage) who supported us in more ways than I can list and who I owe a world of thanks.

♥ They thank you too. ♥

I spent the first month of my "vacation" running. A lot. Since TiggerT has a flexible schedule she called me often to run. That poor girl. I can only imagine what she must have been thinking on those runs. I would just rant and rave, complain and talk non-stop about what I had just been through. I would throw out crazy ideas about "trying new professions" and "doing something completely different." I even went and had an interview at a local college to discuss what it would take to change careers. TiggerT was awesome. She listened and told me to be patient. Let things be and who knows what would happen or where life would take me. She never once told me what to do and for that I am grateful.

Over the course of the summer I got to experience some pretty awesome things. I was able to spend some quality time with my two girls twice a week every week while also allowing them to continue going to daycare so as not to completely disrupt their lives.

Peanut at school
Squeaker at school
At first it was rough. I am not a "stay at home mom" type and I give all stay at home moms many kudos. It is a difficult, selfless job that requires creativity, patience and the ability to tune out a lot. Squeaker was nursing for half the time so in a way, that made our bonding experience much closer because I was able to toss the pump and just be with her. The Peanut learned to be patient and self sufficient because of that as well and she also developed an amazing attitude and relationship towards her sister. I watched their relationship blossom every day together. Peanut is an amazing big sister with an even more amazing heart.

I was able to go on many trips that I might not have been able to go on before. We had fun in Tahoe (many times), I went to Sunriver Oregon to run a marathon and relax with some great friends and I was able to spend a lot of time with Jersey Dad and Jersey Mom when they came out for their annual visit. Never, never will I have this much time to enjoy so much. I was and am, truly blessed.

At some point over the summer, Squeaker stopped nursing and I started trail running more in my own neighborhood and enjoying it. TiggerT and I started running the Ridge Loop (of Death). I really like this run. It has a mix of everything, some single track (minimal, but some), some fire roads, some pavement and lots of up and down hills with very little shade coverage. It is here that I do most of my thinking.

It was on one of these runs that I decided in July to be part of the Breakout Fitness's Breakout Body session which is 3 months long. It is kind of like a "biggest loser" type of thing without all the competition. This session, Coach Diane decided to do a gluten free and vegan program which is what I wanted. I already am gluten free and vegan so it wasn't a huge change for me in that regard. What was a huge change however was strength training, TRX and core work four to five times a week (in addition to my running). She also requires that I write down everything I eat which really opened my eyes to how much I snack throughout the day. With two kids, that is very easy to do (picking pieces off a kid's plate DOES have calories despite what your brain tells you).

Come on mom ....
have some food!
I have to say, I am in the best shape of my life right now. I should be when I am able to workout five days a week with Diane and then add an hour to two hours of running on various days as well. This also will not last forever and I am actually very sad to see this part of my summer go away. Working out and running gives me sanity and time to contemplate things going on in my life. This will all change in a week.

Bye bye daily running!

What is happening in a week? In one week I start my new job. Yes, I got a job. I actually secured a job back in early June but they didn't "need me" until mid-September. How is that for awesome? I feel like I am in college again having a job lined up for me at the end of the summer. This new company has been on my "wish list" for years as it comes with a reputation that can't be beat. What is even more amazing is that they found me and encouraged me to apply. I applied in April. Interviewed all through May (they have an extensive interview process) and then was offered the job in June!

I am excited. I am nervous. I am also scared and sad. I have really grown accustom to being a stay at-home wife/mom but financially that is not something we can manage. I jokingly tell Vans that I would make a great "Trophy Wife" for him but he just rolls his eyes. I guess I can't persuade him.

I have spent the summer really turning my family around health wise. It has been wonderful to have the time during the day to prepare and make really healthy meals, grocery shop on a moment's notice and never have a pile of laundry. I am slowly removing all the plastic tupperware containers from our house and encouraging us to use glass containers to avoid the toxins heated plastic can let out. Vans pretty much eats vegan/vegetarian at home and both Peanut and Squeaker have been introduced to all sorts of new vegetables, grains and meals. They may not like it, but they try it (most times).

What are you making for dinner this time mom?

These are the things I am going to miss.  My new commute is not going to be pretty and we will not be getting home until late. Luckily (or unluckily?), the four of us will be commuting together to and from work/school. Sadly, we will be getting home so late that it will literally be dinner, bath and bed for the girls ... which means I am going to have to have something for dinner in mind. Our departure in the mornings will be early as well which means breakfasts to go packed and lunches packed as well. Lots and lots of planning and being organized ahead. Also, I need the ability to just let go if something is not going to go as planned which is most likely going to be the case most some days.

Just chill out mom. Relax.

As for working out, I will be going from two hours a day to realistically (hopefully?) one hour a day. I plan to keep my strength training classes (for now) with Diane because I love them, they are effective and right now it is my only option since it will be too late to run after work. Running will have to happen on weekends and the occasional evening at the track with TiggerT if the evening goes well.

I suspect a rough road ahead full of new adjustments and new routines. I guess just accepting that is half the battle right?

Still, I am excited for the future. This new company is a dream come true and the people I have met there so far are super nice and they seem to really value their employees. I am eager to get my brain functioning again in a way that is not focused around dishwashers, vacuums or baby wipes.

Still, I will miss thinking about baby wipes every once in a while ... these girls are pretty awesome.

Live Life
Love Life
♥ Thank you to all who have supported us these last nine months. ♥

Monday, September 3, 2012


Every Labor Day weekend, we go camping. Here is 2011's camping recap with photos.

Just like last year, we camped at Donner Lake. The Trailmomma family headed up late Saturday morning with a truck full of stuff (for just one night) and arrived shortly after noon ... with hungry kids.

We stopped at a rest stop on our way up and unfortunately Squeaker took a tumble off of a concrete bench and fell onto the pavement below ... face first. She split both her top and bottom lip open and screamed bloody murder. I was using the facilities when it happened and I could hear her scream loud and clear. Luckily, it did not prevent her from having a nice time camping.

Having a snack in the dirt once we arrived.

Once again we rented a tent from REI since our own personal tent is way too small. Last year we brought the air mattress but for some reason I don't think it worked out to sleep on ... this year we purchased a pump that actually works and tried sleeping on it again.

Sadly we have no photos of us assembling the tent this year. It is much harder to assemble your tent, unpack your car and keep an eye on two kids.

Checking things out

Squeaker was only about 3 months old when we went camping last year so this was a whole new adventure for her. She had a blast.

Not long after arriving and unpacking we took a walk to Donner Lake. The trail leading to the lake is not that far and surprisingly, the Peanut rode her strider bike the entire way and it wasn't an easy ride. There were lots of rocks on the trail. I was so proud of her.

Cooling herself off after the ride
But clearly not that tired
Squeaker just loves sitting in dirt. Period.
Walking back ... I guess she was too tired to ride her bike.
After our time at the lake, we headed back to the campsite to get ready for dinner. I think finally after five years of camping with kids ... Vans has come to terms with the fact that they will just remain dirty all.the.time. He stopped trying to clean hands and faces because after a while, he realized it was pointless.
Giving up keeping them clean.
The temperature was pretty chilly for this time of year. It was definitely colder than last year but I think we all managed just fine. Squeaker might have been squeezed into some old jammies that were a touch too small for her but she didn't seem to mind.
She went to bed fairly easily despite not sleeping in a pack and play or anything. I put her down a bit later than normal because she was just so revved up with all the excitement camping brings. The Peanut stayed up later to enjoy some S'mores but eventually went to bed well too.
Can't have camping without S'mores

Off to bed ... full o'sugar!
For the first time in about five years of camping, I was able to leave the kids in the tent and enjoy some wine by the campfire with Vans instead of sleeping in the tent with the kids!
However, at 6:30 am Squeaker sat up in the tent and looked completely bewildered as to where she was and why she was there. Once she saw all of us, she was fine but she was not quite ready for the very cold temps that morning!
You can see the tears in her eyes.
Actually she cried hysterically when I had to change her diaper (who wants their bum exposed when it is that cold?) ... and then cried even more when I had to leave the tent to make breakfast for my crew.
However, while I was gone ... there apparently was a photo session in the tent ...
Tiger of course came camping

Squeaker laying on her sister's cot
Not happy. Wants her Mama.
Soon it was time for breakfast and sitting by the morning campfire.
Hot chocolate!
Then it was time to burn off some morning energy.
Chasing her big sister!
Vans went for a late morning bike ride to Donner Summit and I took the girls back to the beach with the rest of the crew.
Back at the beach
Having a good time
Running around
When Vans finished his ride he came straight to the beach. We both took a nice dip in the (freezing) cold water. It felt great to rinse off the dirt and sort of refresh. Sadly, it was time to pack up and go home. The kids were hungry and tired and we had to return the tent to REI before they closed.
The following picture pretty much sums up the day/trip nicely ... Your classic end of the weekend photo.
Before we even left the parking lot.
 As much as I like camping, it was nice to be home, clean and having a nice healthy dinner. I woke up this morning to go for a speed workout run with TiggerT at the track. She had 4 x 800s on tap with 3 minutes of rest in between. I admit I was slow, dehydrated and a little "off" tummy-wise for the run but it felt great to run and get things moving.

Today is Poppa's birthday and so we are going to head down to Sacramento to celebrate! Happy Labor Day all ... - Trailmomma