Saturday, December 22, 2007

tired flat ass

I ran 25K in the Pigtails Flat Ass this morning. Rain, cold and lack of sleep this past week made for a long slow run. I had insomnia 3 nights in a row and finally got on Zolpiden Thursday night. Took a half pill and felt AWESOME on Friday. Last night took 3/4 pill and felt really exhausted this morning. So 1/2 pill seems to be my dose.

I almost didn't start the run, but got convinced that a run might make me feel better. It did except that run was 16 miles and now I am tired again! I ran most of it by myself as not many others were doing the 15 miler and we missed the one other person about my speed who was. Nonetheless, I had an okay time really working my focuses when I got tired and I was extra good about taking a gel every 36 minutes. As a result, my legs feel good (though my metarsals are a little tired) and the exhaustion I feel is mostly from the effects of the medicine, I think. The first 5 miles were really pretty going along the Cedar River on a gravel trail. The houses across the river were nice but I wonder if they have gotten flooded before. They sure were close to the river. After five or so miles, the trail became paved and eventually ran along a busy highway. Not so pretty anymore, and noisy with all the cars speeding by on wet pavement. Oh well. I was glad when I finished although it was a little longer (by my Garmin) than advertised. That's not a bad thing - more miles in the bank - but I was really anticipating that last mile and it became two! I got a cute styrofoam pig made by Van (RD) herself and a hot cup of soup.

Afterwards I made it back home in time to give some friends their birthday presents and see old friends I haven't seen in way too long! Then a hot bath and off to make tofu turkey!

I have reevaluated my goals and am definitely not ready for a 50 miler. With the blood pressure issues and tight hip (left over from surgery) I needed to scale back my training. I'm cool with it - when I have my lab tests done and my ultra sound on my heart done, and have a better idea of what my body can take, then I'll get back on track. I'm hoping for at least one 50K this spring (Chuckanut?) and a few 25Ks. We'll see.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Dumb Ass Indeed!

This morning Tracy, Ali, Shadow, and Tim met at Tiger Mtn to run at least one loop of the Tiger Dumb Ass run, which is to be held in two weeks. Holy moly! I'm renaming it Tiger Drag Ass. I guess I'm still a little tired from last Sunday's 20 miler, and my right side is a little touchy, so for me this seemed like a pretty tough run.

I picked up Tracy at her house - I was so glad for the company because there was light snow and ice on the road, and having her there somehow made me feel less nervous. We kept thinking about planning to turn around if the snow got any harder, and sort of planning an escape route. With no phone call (to cancel) from Ali, and Tracy not knowing Tim's number, we had accountability driving us there. Ali was waiting in the parking lot but no sign of Tim, so we dawdled and fiddled with packs and clothing. Finally as we were about to head out, we saw a car driving up the road - it was Tim. Other folks had the same idea, as the parking lot was pretty filled.

Tim came up and we got started. We headed in a few yards, and then hit the first junction, where we commenced climbing. We climbed and climbed for what I guess was about 3 miles, about 2000 feet, turning at several junctions. Good thing Tim was there - he knows Tiger pretty well. In fact, as we climbed higher, he commented that this was more of a climber's trail. How true! The going was fairly slow and tough, though I could feel the work I've been doing on my weak glutes paying off. Tim was very patient, since I am sure he's used to going much faster. Eventually, we got to Tiger Summit No. 3 where it was quite windy and blowing snow. At that point we weren't sure which way to go, even with the map and cue sheet, but thankfully, Tim knew from the description which trail to take. We headed towards No. 2 and started descending.

I wished I had remembered my Yak Trax for the run back down. Each of us, except Tim, slipped at least once. I came down, buckling my left knee under me, and had to sit a minute to see if it was okay. I was more worried about my right, as I am having some tightness over the VMO, which seems to be related to my hip stabilizers (for which I am doing exercises - see below). We came through several junctions that could be sketchy, but fortunately had the footprints of other dumb asses to lead the way. That's a plus for being slow! We got down a lot faster than we got up, so we topped it off with a run around Tradition Lake and back to the cars.

It was a tough loop and hard to believe that people are going to do five of these for a 50K! I'll be glad to crank out two. It will depend on the weather too. Today it was light snow and up top there was a few inches of snow on the ground. If it's raining heavy, it could get really slippery. So just have to keep my fingers crossed.

Back in Seattle, snow is coming down and even sticking! It's really pretty as I sit here at the kitchen table watching it fall. My lab buddy, Hemantha, sent this self portrait from Tasmania:

Looks so warm and sunny!!! I informed him of the snow he was missing....

I've been working with a colleague, Laura Robinson, who has a new place called 5 Focus, on my unstable hips/glutes. She uses a method called Stretch to Win, and also gave me some exercises to do. As I mentioned above, they are really having a positive effect on my climbing strength! I highly recommend her and this technique!

Off to a nap and watch the snow....

Saturday, November 24, 2007


Another Thanksgiving has come and gone, though I don't really consider it over until the Seattle marathon has been run. I joined some former Chuckit buddies Thanksgiving morning for a run at Discovery Park. For some of them it was only their first or second time to run here. That made me feel thankful for my trail running endeavors and where my training takes me, as this is one of my "in town" staples.

I got there early and ran one loop, expecting that they would be running the loop again, which would hold my mileage down to 5-6, on schedule for me. But a few were gung-ho to run to the beach, and I couldn't resist! It was such a gorgeous morning and the water was relatively calm, so I HAD to go to the beach. We were such a big group, and a bunch of folks from Brooks were also out there running, so I joked that next year there would be a race fee (all going to me, of course). A fellow from Toulous, France, joined us and he really smoked the trail. I asked him if he had heard of the Tour du Mont Blanc; of course he had. I thought he should consider it someday (he was only 23) and he kept saying no-no-no. I kept at it; hopefully I planted a seed in his head. :-)

After the run we headed over to Jim's house where I had some great smoothies and caught up on what was happening in people's lives. It was great to reconnect - I wish I could get them out on the trail more, but they are dedicated roadies and triathletes! I'm thankful to have those folks still there as I wander off into the woods....

Friday was a day at the marathon expo with Tracy. I picked up my race number for the half. There was a SNAFU where they never got my registration; I had signed up at JocknJill and fortunately they gave me a confirmation card in case this happened. Good thing as it had cost me $85 plus $15 to the charity (UWMC patient family housing). So after looking through all the races (full, half, and walks) I had to re-register, but for free (they attached my card to the registration). From now on, I'm signing up for all big races online, if that option is available. Anyway, after that we headed into the vendor show to get my race number and shirt and do some shopping. I saw lots of people, from trail runs, road runs and teaching ChiRunning. (I really hope we can swing a booth there next year. It wasn't as huge as Bloomsday, but it's pretty big.) Late, we headed up to Seattle Running Co., where Scott M. had put a Nathan Women's Intensity vest on hold for me. It fits much better than my old pack, which was designed for a man's torso, so I think I'll be pretty happy with it.

Today I will go to Farmer's Market with Donn, pick up some veggies for yummy burritos for tonight, figure out what to make for a potluck after the marathon tomorrow, and get ready. I am planning to run a 20 miler, with the half marathon in the middle. Compared to last year the weather looks pretty decent, though it's pretty cold. I am going to take it nice an easy - this is a training run with a bunch of friends.

What am I training for? Well, I had hoped to be able to run OP50, but may not be able to get in (I'm on the wait list). And I don't know if I'll be ready for it either, though I'd like to be ready if I can. So I decided I am training to be ready to do it, and have the benefit of being able to run other distances, and while at it, have FUN. For that, I am thankful. We don't know what's around the bend, so to be able to enjoy this moment is huge, and a lot to be thankful for!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Ramping up and feeling it

Since last Sunday, as of today, my weekly mileage is 30. Now that might not seem like a lot to most runners, but for me, it's the most (weekly) since last April. Add on to that two swims this week with our masters group. Another thing I haven't been doing much of since surgery. The pool has been closed since last summer, and after I was allowed back in the water, it hurt like hell. Took a while for the obliques and all those other muscles to come back. So swimming a mile in the lake just wasn't as much fun (though I did get in a few during September). Consequently, my upper body strength has suffered, despite starting a strength training regimen that includes biceps, triceps, and lats, to name a few.

So today we hit the trail at Rattlesnake Lake and climbed partway up Rattlesnake Mountain. I ran/walked up with Jerri while Tracy, Eric, and Austin zipped up the mountain. After returning to the start, we headed out the Snoqualmie Valley trail for a few miles, going down a gradual hill. Of course, we had to climb it on the return, so I was pretty dang tired by the time we got to the cars. Austin left, as did Jerri and Eric, so Tracy and I ran part of the Ironhorse Trail. We didn't go as far as we planned which was fine by me! I probably didn't eat as much as I should have, but it was also all the running, swimming, biking (to and from work and for errands), and weight training that added up to tiredness.

Despite all the crabbing, I still reached my goal of 30-35 for the week, and after resting, am looking forward to more.

I just got the video of Yiannis Kouros, the legendary Greek ultramarathoner, and watching him run is just amazing. It served as a great muse today when I was so tired - he would just keep going. On foot in front of the other, with attention to good form. I will try to watch it every evening prior to a long run!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

old friends/new friends

This weekend was a mesh of hanging with new friends and seeing old friends, all in an athletic setting! Saturday, I met the folks I've been trail running with for a 9-10 miler around Lake Youngs. I hadn't been there before and looked forward to checking it out. It's the end of a "recovery" week for me. My peak week ended with a (grueling) 13 miler at Cougar last Saturday, so I was quite pleased how easy this run felt. Though not as hilly as Cougar, it was rolling, and very pretty with all the fall leaves! The best part was I met more new faces. I ran with Tracy and Ali, whom I knew (though not that long) and met Jerry, Eric, Cam, and Kevin. We had such a nice time and they are such good people. I can't wait to run with them again - next week it's Rattlesnake Lake, or something along those lines. Afterwards, Tracy and I headed to The Balanced Athlete to look at shoes. We ran into Scott M. from Seattle Running Co and helped him load some shoes in his car. I got some Filas to try - they encourage a midfoot landing - and Tracy tried several shoes before she decided to take more time. We visited a little with Eric, who was running ragged as he was the only one in the store at the time. Then we went over to Wild Wheat and had a yummy lunch, before heading back north to Seattle. The rest of the day was spent hanging out at home with Donn and enjoying a movie. It was a very pleasant day!

Then, today, for the first time since July (?) Queen Anne pool was open for our swim club! It was SO GOOD to see old friends, and I even managed to make some new ones too - met a trail runner in our lane! But first, I met up with Charlene and Sarah for an easy run around the top of Queen Anne. Then we got back to the pool (Sarah went to work) and got in to see all the changes they made- new filtration (half UV, half chlorine), cool new pool lights (LED, and they can change colors or go to disco), and new spiffed up locker room. It was way cool!! I came in all sweaty from my run, and saw Michael coming out of the locker room in just his bathing suit. I couldn't resist giving him a big hug and rubbing my sweaty face on his chest! :-) The pool was a little cool - 78F - but not bad for swimming, once you got going. They are still bringing it up to temp; too bad! Our swim was good and I took breaks when I felt my bp was getting too high (headaching, pounding). I even managed a hypoxic set - 3-2-1-0 breaths for 25! I just loved it! Got some sauna time afterwards and then out to Cafe Ladro with some of the gang. I'm so happy to be back there - signed up for 2x/week come hell or highwater!

What a great weekend! I shall sleep well tonight!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

trail running and blood pressure

Since my surgery last August, my body has gone through some expected and some unexpected changes. One of the unexpected changes is my blood pressure. It had been running borderline high (around 130/90) for the last three or so years and my health care provider and I had been keeping an eye on it. She said she didn't know what to tell me about modifying my lifestyle, since I was so active, didn't smoke, didn't drink to excess, and all my chemistries looked good. So it never really climbed higher; in fact the only time it had been high in my life was when I was pre-eclamptic right before my kid was born - 25 yrs ago. So I got laid off last January and lo and behold - my bp returned to normal! Wow! Was that all it was - stress?? Things were going along great until I recently went to see a personal trainer at the gym. He took my bp and it was 150/90. What??? So I started monitoring it again. I had noticed at night when all was quiet, I could hear ringing and had a "tight" sensation in my head. Anyway, it was still up. I bought an automatic sphygmomonometer and started monitoring it. I also contacted my health care provider, and she saw me last Tues. It was still up, so she ordered some blood tests and a chest x-ray (I had an EKG on file from surgery). Also, she said to start monitoring it several times a day. So I am doing that - yesterday was the highest reading - 149/100 - just randomly in the middle of the day. A little scary - but I'm trying to let that go. It could be tranistional, like all these other menopausal symptoms.

So today, I went up to Cougar to meet some people for a run. I was running late, lost my wallet (I found it) and got stuck behind a wide load on I-90. I phoned ahead and left a message, but knew I'd probably be running alone. They were gone running by the time I got there, so I took off on a 5-6 mile loop. When I was climbing, if my head started pounding, I walked. I was glad to be alone because 1) I didn't have the pressure of trying to stay with a group, and 2) it gave me a chance to work on my navigational skills. I returned to the parking lot and still no sign of the gang, so I took off on my second loop. It was much slower; there was more climbing, but I felt like my body was moving more smoothly. I also worked on downhill skills - only rolled my ankle once! Looking ahead and shortening up the stride, sitting back a little (engaging the glutes/lower abs) really got me over the wet leaves, rocks, and roots. When I hit a really hilly part (Quarry Trail upwards from Indian Trail) I started walking and paying attention to my HR, as well as how much my head was pounding. Before I knew it, I was on"flat" land again. Soon I was back at the parking lot where Tracy was stretching. I chatted with her and then headed home to a long soak in the tub (I even ate lunch in the tub). Afterwards, I took my bp machine downstairs, and read my pressure - it was normal. Several readings were normal! Was it the trail? Was it the teary outburst I had at Donn right before I sat down (in which I did feel some relief)?? I'll continue to monitor it, but maybe a morning in the woods (and or a cry) is what I need to calm it down. I just love (not) going through all these changes!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Northface Endurance 10K

At the last minute I signed up for the North Face Endurance 10K run to be held up at Cougar Mountain. With four distances to choose from, runners could go long (50 miles) or short (10K) or somewhere in between (50K or half marathon). I chose to go short. It would be my second longest run and first time back at Cougar Mtn. since my surgery. I've done only two runs in Discovery Park since the summer, so I knew my hill climbing skills, which aren't that strong to begin with, were going to lack a bit. But I was anxious to try out my new Teva trail running shoes and ready to buck up and hit the mountain.

I signed up earlier this week, and got up early this morning to drive over to pick up my packet and get ready. It was cold and rainy, typical NW fall, so I brought lots of options to wear over my base. One thing I will have to work on is suffering the cold at the start. I look like a clothes rack by the time I am done, with all the stuff hanging off of me! One gal, who watched me peel layers during the race, was convinced I was going to be naked by the time we were done! I started out with 3/4 tights (Sub4), my Seattle Running Co short sleeve shirt, a long sleeve tech shirt, a vest, gloves and hat. The vest, gloves and long sleeve shirt were hanging off various parts of my body as I crossed the finish line. But back to the race.

I saw Teresa there who, along with Jan, was doing the Half. I hadn't seen her since the end of July, so it was good to see her and catch up a little. Tom Cotner was there doing the announcing and I struck up a conversation with him between announcements. I know several of his athletes, as well as work colleagues, since he is (was) at UW. I mentioned that my goal was not to be DFL, which is why I chose the 10K instead of the Half. More to come on that later. We saw the Half folks off at 9, which included Dean Karnazes and Nikki Kimball. She is SUCH a stud - I like that (can't remember where I read this) she is my height, and not a skinny stick (she said she weighed in about 130?) and KICKS ASS. I'm sure all that "extra weight" is muscle; she's just tough!

After they were off we gathered round for our directions which amounted to "follow the red arrows and you won't get lost". We took off at 9:16, and headed out to Clay Pit road and on to the trails. My usual doubt about being on course kicked in when we hit a stretch without markers, probably for a whole half mile. I was able to quell it, thinking I could go back if needed. I was really panting hard in the beginning because I stayed with the pack; they finally took off when we got in the woods and I hung near the back. I had been running the hills; after all this was only a 10K! But my steam soon ran out and I started ChiWalking the hills. It was the only place I could walk with my hands and arms moving fast upwards and nobody gave me a funny look. I played leap frog with a few people, and finally, about 40 minutes, we came to the first aid station. Tom was there and cheered me on - really cool! The trail was relatively level for a while and then we took a sharp right and started climbing again. By now, there was a guy following me, but at some distance. Still I felt like I was pulling him along, which was fine. I really focused on trying to be strong and using my upper body to climb. I need to do more upper body strengthening to be able to do that up here where it's hilly. We got to a right turn and started heading down to a creek. This time I worked on my down hill skills and tried to remain light on my feet. Also focused on keeping my left foot landing inwards so as not to roll it, and kep the right glute engaged. Focusing ahead for rocks and roots helped too. My buddy passed me and said he would pull for a while. He pulled way ahead! Finally we got to the creek and crossed the bridge. Now it was pretty wide but I still managed to bang my arm on a railing! Ouch! We crossed and started climbing again. My buddy ran out of steam and I pulled ahead again. At the top, we turned onto a trail going up up up. I hate this trail when I start from Red Town Trail head. You have to climb forever. Ugh. Fortunately, it wasn't that far before turning off of it onto the final trail, which was level. I could hear the finish line but couldn't really see it. Soon I came through and we went right into the finish while the "50" people had to still keep going! I came in at 1:12, which was good enough for first in my AG, especially since all the other 50 year old gals were either running the longer distances or stayed home in bed!

I was glad I chose the 10K. You have to have endurance since you start tripping and falling when your body gets tired. I remember almost falling on the way down to Coal Creek and seeing a huge rock in the ground ahead. Had I fallen, I most certainly would have hit my head on that rock, and it wouldn't be pretty! At any rate, my body is still bouncing back, and I need to remember to be patient with it. I also need to go even lighter in the clothing dept from the get-go so I don't waste so much time pulling off layers. And lastly, I need to trust the trail markers and know that I am on the right trail!

And now for the best part - the awards. As I said, I was the only one in my AG. Nonetheless, Henry Wigglesworth told me a Woody Allen quote - 90% of life is showing up! For my efforts of showing up, I got a gold medal, a nice technical tee, a North Face waist back and water bottle holder, and - get this - a Zune! Since my age group category was last, and I told Tom I had won and that I was the only one in my AG, instead of just announcing my name, he prefaced it with "And dominating her field". What a crack up!

I hung out a little and saw my friend Linda come through during her 50 miler. She said it was tough, very brutal. Also talked to some of the Half finishers who said the course was harder (and hillier) than they expected. Welcome to Cougar Mountain!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

progress - racing and a hiking/driving adventure

I raced (more than just "ran") the Fremont Oktoberfest Brew Ha-Ha 5K this morning. It's in my neighborhood so it was an easy jog down. I saw lots of friends - some I hadn't seen in a while and some I saw just last week at Cle Elum Ridge 50K.

When I got there they were pretty disorganized. I decided to do day of race sign up, along with about a thousand other people, and they ran out of chips. They announced that you had to yell out your number as you finished and someone would write it down. Good thing I had my Garmin 305 on to keep all my data! I got in a line that looked right, until someone said it was for M-Z. So I got in another line; this one turned out to be for the porta potty. Finally I got in the A-L line. I was still near the street at the top of the stairs at Adobe Plaza. I looked down and saw Barefoot Jon talking to James Varner and Alison Hanks, so I ran down to say hi. Before I knew it I was registered and ready to go. As I was hanging out I saw Tory and Roy Klementsen and chatted with them a bit. They were there volunteering for the Street Scramble. Finally the race was about to start so I headed up to the street. The horn went off and we headed down 34th. As we started to head uphill, Jon passed me - kicking some barefoot ass! I felt pretty strong but could tell it had been a while. We headed down towards Latona and made a hairpin turn onto the Burke Gilman trail. As we headed back towards Fremont, I kept trying to wander over to the dirt part on the east side of the trail. Not often that one gets to run southward on that part so I took full advantage! As I felt my body tighten up, I gathered to my center, as Danny says, and relaxed. Also focused my foot landing so I didn't supinate too much. Glute medius and quads felt good. My stomach was a little nauseous, reminding me it'd been a while since I raced. By mile three I was mainly trying to not throw up and just let it be what it was, not focusing on finish time. After we went under the Fremont Bridge (not on the trail) we had to run down the weird stairs to the trail. I walked down them so I wouldn't fall - they are irregular and "artsy". I resumed running to the finish. A guy instructed us to head left to remove our chips. I told him I didn't have a chip and asked who I was to give my number to. He looked confused and then wrote it down. I have no idea if I will be listed in the results and know I didn't win my AG as I saw Karen Buttram hanging around waiting for someone. She looked like she had finished at least a few minutes prior.

My finish time was 26:27; not bad for coming back! I ran into Jon when I went to look for water and we wandered into the Tshirt line. We found out they were just cotton, but wandered up to the front to ask for sure. One of the guys said they only had small, so Jon got one for me. I sort of felt bad for all those people standing in line waiting, but I still took it. Nothing fancy - I don't think I would have stood in line for it. I hope they all got one though, if they wanted one that bad.

I wandered back towards Wallingford, running into Matt Manges who had just flew in from Colorado where Circus Contraption was on tour. Finally I made my way back home to food and a shower massage. Nice workout and social time to boot!

Yesterday Donn and I headed east to Vantage to hike in the Petrified Ginko forest. We climbed up a jeep road for about 2.5 miles. It was super windy and very exposed. Didn't see any ginko trees as we didn't go through the interpretive center. We mainly just wanted to hike the desert. On the way back down, we detoured off the road towards the Columbia and got a little out of the wind where we ate some lunch. We enjoyed the view of the Columbia for a while, and then bushwacked our way, as it were, back to the road and eventually the car. We then headed back west, where we took another detour to get to Taneum Junction Road. I wanted to show him where I had been for the Cle Elum 50K last weekend. We got to the campground and stayed on road 33, as the sign said Cle Elum, 14 miles. Soon it turned into a forest service road and a lot of climbing. About two miles in I heard a clunk clunk clunk. I stopped the car and Donn jumped out to see what I was dragging. He laughed and said Uh-oh. Your muffler is hanging on barely. I got out to look and sure 'nuff, one of the extension pipes had broken (probably the one with the hole in it) and the muffler had hit my rubber bumper, leaving a nice mark in it. It and another pipe were hanging on by a rubber clamp, which we easily cut off. I threw the muffler in the back and continued towards Cle Elum. We got to a junction with no sign of which way to turn. Donn said right so I went right. Immediately (and fortunately) I saw the back of a sign; as I passed it and looked, it told me Cle Elum was the opposite way. I turned around and continued a little up. Finally we started seeing a couple more folks, and within 45 minutes or so, houses and a paved road. Eventually we ended up on a major arterial and kept following that by pure instinct, and got to South Cle Elum. We kept at it, ending up in Roslyn at the Village Pizza for a well deserved pizza and dark Roslyn beer. Yum!! After our bellies were full we headed back over the pass to home. Car ran much better without that pesky muffler and wasn't too noisy either. Still I have to get that taken care of before my trip to Vancouver BC next Friday, as the border patrol will most likely not appreciate my noisy arrival. What an adventure!!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

My own private Hood to Coast

Last weekend I really ramped up my running and I am pretty tired tonight. Friday I was off work and had free time to get a casual run in - about 3 miles. I was itching to go since I have been coming back very conservatively and not running two days in a row. I also took a risk knowing that Saturday I was going to run with Charlene and Sunday I was signed up for the IronGirl 5K at Greenlake. The run on Friday left me with a ton of energy so I really cleaned the house - mopped, dusted, straightened the clutter up. It felt great!!

Saturday I met Charlene at Discovery Park where we did a loop that included the beach trail. She was getting over a cold, and I was trying to hold back so we promised to walk the hills. But I must say, for getting over a cold, she sure was getting speedy! I think Scott has been "training" her hard! I was huffing to keep up at the start!! I want to improve my downhill technique so I really tried to open up going down the hills. Right foot is a little sore today. It was great fun though!

Then last night, I didn't get to sleep til after 12, and had to get up a little past 6 to get some food in me before heading up to Greenlake to the 5K. I walked/jogged to the community center, and got there in time for the race. I saw Ann Rinehart warming up, and she said she hadn't been racing all summer. She and Gina Young did the 5K. I got in line at about the 9:30 pace, and really felt woozy for a minute. I think it was a hot flash. When we started, I took it easy for a half mile, then started passing folks. I leap frogged with two gals I had been standing next to through out the race. They stayed ahead of me the last mile, but I caught up to them near the finish chute and we came across 1-2-3 with me as #3. My time was 27:41 - not a PR, but not bad for my first comeback race and also for being tired. Ann and Gina beat me in our AG, as well as two other women. I came in 5 out of 49. Not bad either!

Since you do three legs in Hood to Coast, and since I missed H2C due to surgery, I am calling this my private H2C, even though it was over three days instead of two! Now time to rest those legs and feet!!

Friday, August 24, 2007

back in the swim

After a trial swim of 500 yds at the IMA last Wednesday, I wasn't sure I was ready to swim yet. My belly muscles were SORE after that swim!! And the hip flexors were a little sore too. But I thought - wait - I have a wetsuit that can act as an ace bandage! And if I wear my full one, I don't have to kick as much.

So this morning my friends Sarah and Karyn joined me at Greenlake. We decided to swim east beach to the dog tree (it looks like a terrier profile) and see how I felt. Sarah wore my shortie suit and I wore my full. The air was cool enough that I was not going to overheat. We got to the dog tree and I felt pretty good so we continued to the other side. Nice! After hanging out at West beach side and answering a guy's question about wet suits, we headed back east - INTO THE SUN!!! It was almost impossible to see the other side due to the glare, so we went to a buoy a little south and out of the sun. We hung out and chatted a bit, and then continued to east beach. We stopped to savor the beautiful morning. Karyn and I lamented that neither Donn or Chad liked to swim, and Sarah said Zach didn't like to get his face wet. I said Donn didn't either and Karyn said the same about Chad. Then I launched into a little teasing about them being afraid to get their makeup wet and called them girlie men. Pretty soon we were all giggling hard and treading water. I wonder what the people on shore thought....

It was an awesome morning and it felt great! to be back in the water and great to be with good friends!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

first run post surgery

I ran around Greenlake with Terry last Saturday. Or I should say gently jogged and walked in the middle when my low abs were talking. It felt a little weird like I was not quite ready. A little out of shape. It could have been that we stayed out way too late on Friday visiting friends for dinner out in West Seattle. And we had a gig at Pike Place Market for their 100th anniversary. I am definitely not ready to run Hood to Coast so I am glad I dropped out of the team!

Afterwards I came home and took a hot bath (finally, I can soak!!) and lay down for a nap. Almost woke up too late for the Marysville gig! Donn drove and I was still groggy by the time we arrived. But it gets a little better each day though today I didn't get to all the errands I wanted to do. After shopping at Ballard Farmers market and PCC, I was too worn out and just wanted to go home and start the peach ice cream.

So tomorrow I may attempt a swim at the IMA before work and maybe a little run after work - who knows. I'm taking it one day at a time.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

And they're gone!

Had surgery on Thursday (8/2) to remove the ovaries and all seemed to go well. I remember getting all groggy in the OR while they held a mask over my face to breathe in, and one of the anesthesiologists asking me if I was alright. I told her I was just getting all wonky-eyed and sleepy. In my mind's eye, I saw a casket sitting across the room with the sun shining on it. There was a body on top - it was my father's. Very weird.

The next moment I heard someone call my name and I opened my eyes. I was in my recovery room and the nurse was by my side. I said "Wow! You guys were fast!" She said it took a while to wake me. Also they pumped a lot of fluids in me - I gained at least 8 pounds! After a while they got Donn and he sat while I worked on waking up. I threw up a few times (before he came in) probably because there was blood in my stomach. They had scratched a few spots in my throat and mouth when intubating me, and I guess that causes nausea. My throat is still a little irritated and I have noticed some rough spots in my mouth.

My mouth was SO dry the crackers just sat there. The nurse got me some jello and it reminded me of the final heat in a mash potato eating contest in college. They ran out of mashed potatoes, so they gave us jello instead. I started spooning mine in and at some point noticed my fellow contestants had the bowl to their mouth and were slurping it in. I came in third, but I learned better race strategy for the next time.

Finally about noon, the nurse asked if I needed to pee, and said before I could leave I had to demonstrate I could walk to the toilet ( with her beside me) and also pee in it. She was a bit surprised (or may have just been humoring me) that I was able to stand and walk without hoding a pillow over my abdomen for support. I told her I had relatively good core muscles - finally - they came in really handy in something other than running or swimming! I passed the pee test and the next challenge was to get myself dressed. First I had to take a quick "power" nap. Then Donn handed me the garment bag and slowly I managed to get dressed. The nurse came in surprised (again) to see me dressed. She got a wheel chair and Donn took me for a (fast) ride to the car.

Back home and on the couch I slept most of Thursday. I noticed on Friday that I was really puffy all over. Legs, arms, face, belly, etc. I stepped on the scale and saw I had gained 8(!!) pounds from Thursday morning. If I were in an ultra, I would have been pulled from the race! I called my doc, and the nurse said it was probably all the IV fluids and I should expect to be peeing a lot, which I had been doing, but not a lot by my standards. So wait and see...

My friend Karyn came over with ice cream and Donn made us dinner. It was really nice and a good break for both of us - she's in the middle of a trial (she's a prosecutor) and has been going at it hard. I feel bad for her but it will be done soon! Anyway, later, I went to bed. About every two hours I had to get up to pee - and I mean pee! Not just a small trickle but like I hadn't gone in days! Sure enough, the 8 pounds I had gained were all (save one pound) gone this morning and my arms and legs and most of my face were back to normal. My lower abs still look weird - like I had been obese and had the underlying fat taken out, with no muscle tone. I'm sure that's because they had to blow up the abs and stretched a few muscles and also it's still swollen there. I'll worry if it's still that way in a month or so.

For now, just taking it easy and following the road to recovery!

Friday, July 20, 2007

another nice swim

Last night I found out my friends Paul and Teresa were back from climbing in Russia so I called Teresa to see if she was up for a swim. We hit Madison Park this morning at 8 and swam to the Tennis Courts and back - about 1.2 miles. It was lightly raining and very humid and still so the water was nice and flat and not a lot of boat traffic. The water was AWESOME and it was fun to watch the rain dancing off the surface. It just felt great to get out there and enjoy it. I think the time (for me) was about 40-45 minutes, and I had plenty left in the tank (I was taking it easy). So that got me to thinking about the Park-to-Park swim - if it's not too soon post surgery. I'll ask my doc next week at my pre-surgery meeting.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

nice morning

It's raining (duh!) and we are back to more familiar PNW weather today. I was going to go to Madison Pk and swim early (6-ish) this morning but as usual didn't make it out of bed. And I had a hard time visualizing getting warm in the rain after swimming in the lake. However, Pop Mounger pool has lap swim 6-7:30 and I just wanted time in the water, so I made it there at 7. It was a nice swim - not crowded at all and I split the lane with another person. Fun part was watching raindrops hit my goggles during backstroke. Got in just enough to wake me up and make me feel good!

Right knee feels a little "congested" today - there is some swelling over the lateral meniscus. Don't know why since range of motion is good, but should know when I see John O'Kane this Thursday, who will tell me what the MRI showed. He's predicting inflammation which a cortisone shot should stop. We'll see. Have been back on the "strengthening wagon" this week and running a little.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Seattle Hardrockers

Last Friday was the Hardrock 100 - one of the toughest 100M ultras there is. It's all above 13,000 ft and has an overall cumulative elevation gain of 33,0000 ft. This years winners were both from Seattle - Scott Jurek and Krissy Moehl (also 3rd overall) and they both broke course records for the men's and women's races. Not only that, but Scott ran it on an ankle he rolled the Monday before the race! Damn! Good thing his PT background was there to help him decide whether to run. He almost didn't, according the paper. And I was impressed by Krissy in that she said she had cut her training mileage this time around from when she broke the course record in the HURT 100. Anyone who finishes HR100 is a mega stud in my book - like James Varner who got in at the last minute. He was undertrained and I'm betting didn't get there a month ahead to acclimatize, yet he was on pace to be in the top ten til it caught up with him. He walked more or less the last 25 miles but he finished! That's perseverance.

Congrats to all the runners - what a show!!

Friday, June 29, 2007

out they go!

After another weekend of missing a race and barely able to stand straight thanks to a swollen ovary, I've made the decision to evict both from the body. Surgery is scheduled for August 2, the day before my son's birthday. How ironic! I was thinking of having a going away party for them and having my friend Charlene design a cake in the shape of ovaries. I have a pattern from when I made a dish cloth for my boss, complete with infection with Mycoplasma genitalium! I also have a Tshirt with "fighting ovaries" on the front - that should be worn to my surgery! Let's hope for a warm day as it is a tank top.

Post surgery recovery should be about 2-3 weeks with no heavy activity - i.e., no running? After the incisions heal, should be able to swim (and kayak). And can bike too. But I PROMISE to take it easy!! This also means no Hood to Coast and no fall ultra. Maybe I'll find a half and work into it....Best of all - no more pain to keep me from running!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Back on the water

Finally - a beautiful evening! After dinner, Donn loaded our kayaks on the car and we went in search of a launch site. Lake WA rowing club had no parking so we headed along Lake Union and put in at a public boat ramp (forget the name) with the motor boats. We went across the lake and headed towards Portage Bay. Lots of boat traffic made for choppy but fun water. We saw a very able kayaker coming towards us near the University Bridge. He was zipping along in a little fiberglass boat - glad I didn't have to keep up with him! At the east end of the house boats we headed back from whence we came. There were some new house boats in the 'hood - one that was made of metal and had some really cool artwork and sculptures on and in it. We gawked at it for a bit before noticing the occupant fiddling around inside. Guess he's use to that.

I found Cal's place but felt too shy to paddle up to it. Maybe next time. Must also find where Sarah's boyfriend Zach lives. There are lots of places to visit! When we got back to the launch site, we had to wait to get out. It was busy! What a beautiful day! We deserved it!!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

on the trail again

After recovering and then getting sick off and on for a couple of weeks, I am ready to get back out and hit the trails again. Only problem is 1) summer Saturdays are usually tied up with helping at a triathlon clinic, 2) I started a new job (which I love) and don't have free time during the weekday, at least not like I did when unemployed, 3) teaching ChiRunning and ChiWalking (which I also love) has increased, leaving little extra free time, and 4) band gigs are more numerous in the summer. So when do I get out there??? When I can. No more excuses. I had a scare last week that reminded me be in the moment more and take that running (and swimming and biking) when and where I can.

The week after Folklife, I woke up in the night with some abdominal pain and a fever. I called the doctor and my ensuing visit ended up with a CAT scan (to make sure I didn't have diverticulitis). Something seen on the ovaries put a pelvic ultrasound on the schedule for six weeks out. The next week, after a week of feeling better, the cramps were back, so I went back in and ended up getting an ultrasound sooner than six weeks out. A swollen ovary and mutliple cysts promted a blood test for a CA125, a marker for ovarian cancer. This is where I started freaking out. My mom died of cancer, possible ovarian, but it was too metastisized to tell. Plus I have/have had other friends with various types of cancer (breast, ovarian), so it was hitting a little too close to home. I left work early, got the blood drawn, got Donn to leave early, and went to Tutta Bella, where I got drunk (on only two glasses of wine, mind you). I spent a teary evening and got up early to swim with Teresa, after which I looked like I had been beaten up pretty badly, between puffy eyes and goggle eyes. By then I had gotten into a place where, if it was positive, I'd handle it like an ultra. Follow a plan and just get from aid station to aid station. Even fantasized about how I'd look with all my hair gone. By Friday afternoon, I was able to get hold of the nurse, who told me the test was neagtive. WHEW! I feel like I dodged a bullet!

Now the plan is, when I see my doc, to talk about my options and get another ultrasound to see if the ovaries have calmed down. I also intend to ask for the test for the genetic marker (can't remember if I had one) and if it's positive, out they go! I'm not using them much these days anyway, and my chances of osteoporosis are pretty slim, based on my last two Dexa scans.

So I celebrated last Friday with a run up at Cougar mountain! It was raining at the start, but not hard enough that you could tell in the canopy. I took it really easy and walked when it got too steep, protecting my peroneal muscle (I have peroneal tendonitis going on). I had a great time and cherished every moment of it! And the sun came out by the time I was finishing up! Oh yeah, and since I don't work on Fridays, that's my new long run day.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Another Folklife Festival has come and gone. I played in two bands this year - Orkestar Zirkonium and The Ballard Sedentary Sousa Band. Someone got us on video:

We had a great time -but all that fun and food led to a stomach bug....:-( This too shall pass.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Wherever you go, there you are

Last Friday night, as we sat down to dinner, the phone rang and it was a social worker from a local hospital calling to let Donn know his dad had fallen and been taken to their ER. His dad lives on an island, and she wanted Donn to come take him home when he was all fixed up. So we finished dinner and I offered my car to Donn, since it was easier for his dad to get in and out of. He left about 7:30 to go 5 miles away. I settled down to prepare for the weekend ahead to assist Chris Griffin in teaching a ChiRunning and ChiWalking workshop.

About 8:30 the social worker called to ask where Donn was. That was a little worrisome. I waited and she called back about 9:30 to say he still hadn't gotten there. Now I was genuinely worried. I ended up driving what I thought would be his route to look for my car, and didn't see anything. Meg called again to see if I had heard anything. I told her I didn't see my car, and didn't know what to do. She suggested I call the police to see if there had been any reports of an accident. I called my son, who was manning the phone at home, and asked him to do that. He also called the local trauma ER to see if they had Donn. No accidents and no Donn at the ER left me really baffled. How could he ride his motorcycle across the state and yet go missing on a five mile trip to the hospital? Meg had said she would see about sending his dad home in a cab.

Back home I called the hospital again to talk to Meg but she had gone home. The person I talked to said they couldn't send him home in a cab because the cab driver would not get off the ferry. I told her I couldn't take him and besides I was worried sick about Donn at this point. She condescendingly offered "Of course. That would be out of your comfort zone." (I wanted to use my foot to get her out of her comfort zone!) So she said they would send him home in an ambulance, which he would have to pay for. It would cost $500-$1000. I said go ahead because I wasn't going anywhere until I figured out where Donn went. By this time I was fighting going into convulsions and trying to stop shaking. I calmed my nerves, telling myself everyone has to go at some point, and maybe this was Donn's time.

I called the police again, and they had no reports of accidents, nor did the State police. Harborview once again confirmed no Donn at their ER. I called the police back to see about putting an APB on my car. The policeman suggested I not do that, beacause if they found it, with Donn in it, they would have to book him into jail. I asked about filing a missing person's report, and he said to wait a few hours, and then file, to give Donn a chance to show up. So all I could do at that point was to drift off to sleep. I decided I would call Chris in the morning to tell him I couldn't help out because I was looking for Donn.

About 4 am I heard Donn's key in the door. As he walked in, I yelled "where the hell have you been?" to which he replied "the waiting room at the hospital". He had gotten there and asked to see his dad (didn't say he was his dad but used his name) and the staff just motioned him back to where his dad was, without asking who he was. That's a violation of HIPAA rules. He saw his dad being worked on and the docs/nurses shooed him back to the waiting room. He would occasionally go ask about his dad, but always got dismissed. Finally, when he realized the last boat was about to leave Seattle, he asked again. They said they had already sent him home in an ambulance! What idiots!!! Donn lectured them about their snafu and about letting him go see his dad without asking who he was.

I went back to sleep for an hour or so (I think I got two hours sleep) and got up in time to bike up to the community center for the workshop. After giving Chris the short version of the night, I settled into teaching and really enjoyed helping the participants. It was like a refreshing break from a horrible nightmare.

At lunch, I called the hospital and asked to speak to Meg. I asked her if she remembered talking to me the night before, and after a moment she did. I asked if she knew Donn was in the waiting room the whole time, and she was really shocked and very apologetic. I also informed her about the violation of HIPAA rules, and suggested the hospital cover the ambulance ride back home. She agreed and said she would check into it with the staff supervisor. I felt a little vindicated for the grief I'd been put through, and went back to the class.

The nice thing was I was able to let it go and give my full attention to the class. It was, once again, a refreshing break from the trauma. I love teaching and helping people connect with their bodies, and watching them grow into the runner or walker they hoped to be. And watching Chris teach was, as always, really inspiring. We also had some new instructors helping and hearing their input was like a breath of fresh air. It was a great weekend despite a very rocky start! For this, I am grateful to ChiRunning coming into my life, and helping me to be in the present moment, whatever that moment is.

Monday, May 14, 2007

My first Ultra - a race report

Capitol Peak Race Report – a journey to my first ultra marathon

Last fall, after my friends Paul and Teresa took me on my first “official” trail run up at Cougar Mountain, I knew I wanted to try an ultra marathon. I'd done a few road marathons, and was getting tired of the pavement. The forest was so beautiful and it was a completely different challenge running on the trail. In addition, I'd had some sidelining injuries in the past, and the training required for a marathon alone was risky enough. But between learning ChiRunning, working on my deep core muscles, and getting off the pavement, I was ready to tackle an ultra marathon. I picked Capitol Peak 55K.

After consulting with Scott to lay out a training plan, and getting advice on nutrition and other things, I had a plan. The week I met with him was a tough one – I had gotten final notice that I would be laid off from my job, and the son of an old friend was killed in Iraq (I hadn't seen him since he was a baby). So when I looked at this schedule with back-to-back long runs (considering my history of injuries), it all came crashing in. After a good cry (well, really one that lasted off and on through out the week) I turned it around and saw being unemployed as a great time for training! I could go run a trail in the middle of a weekday and be fresh. I also had more flexible time to teach ChiRunning – which was great to practice what I taught as I trained! Race date was April 28, at Capitol Forest – a 55K run that went up to Capitol Peak and back down.

During my training, I did two 25K trail races (Tiger Mountain Fat Ass and Orcas Island Fat Ass) as well as a couple non-competitive trail races (NW Trail runs – Soaring Eagle 10 miler and Squak mountain half marathon, which I used as part of a 20 mile run). Those, along with the back-to-backs got me stronger, though I am still relatively slow. It's all good.

Tamara, my massage therapist and friend, wanted to crew for me when I told her I was planning to do this race. She crews for Urs Koenig and wanted to explore new venues. I was a little hesitant since it was “only” a 55K, but I agreed. We headed down to Olympia Friday afternoon in Joey, her jeep, and got to the packet pick up about 4. Our hotel was just down the street so we checked in, unloaded, and then headed for the race start site. I wanted to go there the day before the race since I wasn't familiar with the territory, and we would be looking for it in the dark. Plus, I had missed the Soaring Eagle race start by half an hour having gotten lost beforehand. Race director John Pearch, and his buddies, did an awesome job at directions and signage. I recognized the sandwich board signs from the Orcas Fat Ass race. Thanks y'all!!

As we got on forest service roads, the surface changed to pavement covered some in mud and loose rocks. It had been raining so Joey got his first taste of real mud. Donn (my partner) had thought about riding his Moto Guzzi to the race, but I was a little concerned about the road conditions. I called him later to discourage his plans. We got to the site and saw a couple guys chatting, one who turned out to be someone I met at Squak Mountain, a veteran of many ultras including 100 milers, Max Welker. I had done part of my training run with him and another woman -Robin Blais- at Squak. When I tried to “pull the age card” about being slow, she said – can't do that. He turned out to be about 12 yrs older! Oh well! Max was camping in his van at the race start so he could take an early start for the 50 miler.

After chatting, we hopped back in Joey and went to Olympia to find some dinner. There was a big art walk and downtown was hopping with nary a place in sight to park, so we headed a little further out of town and ended up at a Red Robin where I had a 'shroom garden burger. Should have asked for lettuce/tomatoes but it seemed logical that they would put that on there. Not so! After dinner, we headed back to the hotel where I worked on laying out everything for the morning. I wanted to make sure I didn't have to think too hard since we were getting up at 4 am. I've been used to sleeping in for the last few months since I've been unemployed. After a little TV watching (I never do that at home so it's a novelty at the hotel!), we were off to bed.

That alarm sure went off early! I rolled out of bed and got dressed, brushed the teeth and headed out the door. T had already packed Joey - another plus for crew!! All I had to do was get my butt out of bed, dressed and out the door. I did almost forget my morning coffee (we roast our own so I always pack a little along with a press). When we got to the start, there were already a lot of people parked up and down the service road. I had warmups on over my race clothes and was glad – it was chilly! I saw some people I recognized and a few I knew, either racing or there to volunteer. It helped me to see some familiar faces, though two I didn't recognize would become my two “new best friends” later that day. I checked in and got my number, and got in the ever growing potty line. As the start time neared, I bucked up and shed the warmups. John gave some prerace directions, thanked the supporters, sponsors, and volunteers of the race, and then we were off. We headed down the trail like a bunch of jack rabbits only to hear a minute later “Wrong way!!” John and some others had to haul butt to the front of the line to catch the leaders! Good thing I was near the back taking it slow! :-) Apparently, someone had parked across the entry to the trail and the leaders missed it, while the rest of us followed like sheople! So we all turned the right direction and into the woods. It was getting lighter as a beautiful day was dawning, and we were all thankful for the lovely weather! We've had more than our share of rain this past year, plus last year there was snow at this race! No one took this nice weather for granted!

We climbed up a hillside through some clear cut. I stepped aside a couple times to let people pass – I was a little out of my league speed-wise and I knew the 34 miles lay ahead, so I'd better not let my heart rate go through the roof just yet! There were two people behind me after the second time I stepped aside and I asked if they wanted to pass but they said the pace was fine. A few minutes later, they did pass, but I kept them in my sight. I was prepared to run most of the day alone, as that's how most of my races had been so far. Not a big deal, and good for lots of exploration. We climbed up through more clearcut and I was close enough to make some conversation with them occasionally. We came to the first aid station where a couple volunteers awaited us. One was James Varner, race director of Orcas Island Fat Ass, and also a friend. I had run into him in Olympia after Orcas Is when my band, Orkestar Zirkonium, had gone down to play a Friday night gig at the Eagle's Hall. We chatted a bit and then headed on. Not too far, I managed to step on a big rock in the middle of the logging road and seriously roll my ankle. I heard a pop and thought this might be the end of the race. My new friends, Linda and Rich, waited for me. I hobbled a few steps and it seemed to settle down. I decided to run on it, really applying relaxed lower leg focuses from ChiRunning, and see how it went. I have run on a broken foot and know how painful that is, and this didn't seem to be that. I took a couple ibuprofen a few minutes later, and we headed on. They were dealing with some injuries themselves – Linda had a very tight IT band. She had done Boston (3:43), then a week later, her first 50 miler at Mt.Si Ultra, and was there today doing the 55K. She's a real stud and my new hero!! Rich was also a veteran of ultras and was planning his first 100 miler for this summer. But his hip flexor and hamstring were getting in the way of decent running. They asked me if I had any hip issues – I almost burst out laughing! Last year I could barely run thanks to a screwed up hip rotator. I sort of hobbled through the Boston marathon in 2006. But thanks to core strengthening and getting better at applying ChiRunning focuses, my hip has been a very happy camper! Still, I qualified for the team due to the past injury, and we became Team Hippie! They were the most awesome trail running partners and watched out for me! They were half my age (Rich is a year older than my son and his mom is a year younger than me – and did her first ultra last year), and I still feel really blessed to have come across them. I did manage to roll my ankle a couple more times, which I usually do anyway, but not as bad. I always use it as a sign that I need to reapply my focuses and level my pelvis. Works every time. Plus, another instructor, Laura Robinson, said she learned from Danny to think about the upward spiral of chi, and that has an effect of lightening up your footfall. It's especially helpful when running downhill on a rocky and rooty trail.

We arrived at the second aid station, about 9.7 miles into the race, where T was waiting to dote on me. I introduced Rich and Linda, and later in the day, T would tease me about “whoring” her out to them! Turns out, she was whoring herself out to folks who showed up with various injuries or pains and applying her awesome massage skills to them! Anyway, one of the aid station volunteers asked me what happened to my legs. I thought they meant my ankle, so I told them I rolled it. They said 'no, that blood'. I looked down and both legs had blood smeared on them near the insides of my knees. I must have gotten a scratch or bug bite that hit a bleeder. I shrugged it off (yeah, I'm a blood stud) and by the end of the day, I had sweat the blood away. We fueled up and headed back out; next aid station 6 miles away. The run was beautiful and we talked about what we had been reading. Linda is getting a masters in information technology and will be a librarian. She's even developing her own catalog system for her extensive book collection! Rich is a firefighter and I guess has some time to read between fires.

As we got within a mile of the next aid station, talk turned to food. We would notice this throughout the day. I keep hearing to successfully run an ultra, you have to learn to eat during it. So true!! Rich was making noises about going to his car for a brief nap, since that
id station (mile 15.7) also served as the start/finish area. We got in and fueled up and made pit stops at the outhouse. I chatted a little with John (RD) about ChiRunning (beware – I'll talk it up to even the most remotely interested party, though John was keenly interested in it). We hung out there till all felt comfortable and Rich's alarm went off (joke) and then head off to Capitol Peak.
<--Rich showing off his bum hip
What a beautiful climb! I am not as strong on hills as I would like to be, so I was grateful for L
inda and Rich “pulling” me up the hill. I even told them about this product I'd seen where you basically put the weaker person on a short rope and haul 'em along – it's called a wego team link. About half way up, another runner came up who was having trouble with his knee locking up. He traced the pain, and it was definitely his IT band. I told him to hold on to my shoulder, and had Linda demonstrate the stretch. He stayed with us a little way, but unfortunately had to drop out at the next station. I felt bad for him, though I did love it when he (almost apologetically) mentioned he was 46. Linda said she was 29, Rich was 26, and I said 52. There goes that age card again – old farts be warned!! Talk turned again to food as we drew closer to the aid station.

We pulled into aid station 4, near the final climb up to Capitol Peak, at mile 20. Tamara was there waiting for us and again doted on me. So awesome! She did notice that I'm not used to that though, so I was trying hard to appreciate it fully! We noshed at the aid station and Rich and Linda worked on inventing a new snack, something to do with pretzels and peanut butter, while I ate sliced bananas and made “banana rings” out of the peels. The volunteers warned us that several people had gotten confused about the sign up to the peak and gone off course. They were pretty specific about which way we should go, though most of it sounded Greek to me. We took off up the road and soon enough came to a sort of fork, but with three roads. Two looked like the same road of a loop, and the third went sharply right and up. There was a sign pointing that way, but not quite “up” that way. The 50 mile sweeper was pretty upset that it was so confusing and sort of freaking out. Linda went a little further to investigate and discovered a trail just to the left of that road, with ribbons hanging from tree branches. That was the correct way, and we were off to the summit! We climbed up, smiling and goofing off for the camera and Rich noticed the view. I turned around and was in awe, even though it was overcast and we couldn't see the mountains. We saw Puget Sound far off and tree tops for as far as the eye could see. It was really pretty! It was also pretty chilly compared to lower elevations. My gloves kept going on and coming off. We headed back down the road and looped around to the aid station again, where I retrieved my jacket from T. We ate some more and then took off for the woods and onto the next aid station. That was about 5 miles away.

We stopped at a road crossing at one point so Rich could stretch his hamstring. That climb must have taken its toll. There was another fork in the road, and I knew we were going to aid station 6, so we followed the sign to that. It was pretty much downhill and I occasionally found myself ahead of the gang. Running downhill with the types of injuries they were dealing with is really tough. I had fun thinking about leveling my pelvis and the upward spiral of chi, which caused me to pick it up a bit. They were so good to me on the uphills, that I felt a loyalty to them on the downhills, so I would hang back a little. Soon we were all together again, and they must have loosened up because once again I was not leading! About a mile from the station (as we were discussing our favorite foods) the 50 mile sweeper came barreling down the trail towards us. He wanted to know if we had gotten to Wedekind (aid station 6) and we told him we were headed there. He said he was on the 50 mile route and wanted to know if we had seen any 50 milers go by. No. I had a map so I pulled it out and was able to show him where we were. He grilled me again about whether we had reached Wedekind (really, I felt like I was on the witness stand!) and finally he turned around and ran back to Wedekind.
We eventually pulled in to aid station 6, where the 50 milers go one way the first time through and make a big loop, while we head for the finish.
<-- Linda and me sharin' the trail luv at Wedekind
The poor guy had taken a wrong turn and was backtracking. He got back on track, and after some yummy Ramen soup (mostly noodles) and other food (coke is good!), I got a water bottle full of gatorade and we took off for home.
The run to the finish was a gentle downhill and we occasionally had to step aside for a speedy 50 miler to pass. We also occasionally took walk breaks and enjoyed the scenery – it was such a gorgeous day! About two miles or so before the end we came out into a clear cut area. In parts of the trail, it was like being a giant walking through a canyon or walking in a ditch. It was hard to get a level footing which was hard especially for Rich's hamstring. My ankle didn't like it too well, and I think that's where a blister on the heel started developing. It was also getting really warm; we'd really gotten used to the shade! When it really got tough, we were back in the shade. At some point, Linda commented how great it was to run together (we'd been saying that throughout the day) but more importantly, how positive we all were. Rich responded with a “shaddup!' which caused her to giggle over the next mile. Finally, we came up to a sign pointing right that said To Finish. We followed the trail and Rich said “I think that sign said we had three miles to go.” Ha ha. We agreed that since we hung together all day, we should cross the finish line together. So we came barreling in and linked up arms and ran across to top off a really great and fun day! Time was 8:46.
Team Hippie arrives at the finish

After crossing the finish line, I heard a deep voice call my name and looked over to see Donn! He had arrived earlier on his motorcycle with out a lick of mud on it! What a nice surprise!

Someone asked me later if I didn't have anything better to spend 9 hours doing and I immediately responded that I couldn't think of anything! After my ankle heals (it's a mild sprain), I'll be looking for another one to run, and for next year, ramp up to a 50 miler (yikes!). I'll be looking for Rich and Linda who plan to run a 100 miler together later this year!

Post note – I headed over to Spokane the next weekend to work at the ChiRunning booth. I ended up signing up for the Bloomsday Run and did it, enjoying myself the whole way!