Sunday, January 25, 2009

Fun on Tiger with Chris

My new BFF (best friend forever, for the clueless) Chris, whom I met through Alison (thank you thank you Alison!!) lives part time next to Tiger Mountain. The other time is spent in Winthrop. I'm so lucky cuz when she is on this side of the pass, and not working, I get to join her and the dogs for a hike on Tiger, starting from her place. She and Dave have built a trail that joins other "neighborhood" trails and leads up to Tiger Mtn's trails. We hiked a four or so mile loop on MLK Day and then again yesterday. The dogs got in some good exercise and we got in some good talk time, though the pace was not leisurely by any means (I don't want it to be!) And yesterday, we were joined by Leah, new buddy Ted, and Eddie the Wonderdog (yes, I am in love with him.)

Ted is testing some new shoes that have a one mm sole made of puncture proof fabric. They allow him to still run barefoot but avoid puncture wounds from sticks and rocks. He was having a blast testing them out on all sorts of surfaces. Leah was being a patient but slightly nervous mom - Eddie is brand new to the trails and Chris convinced her he would be okay off leash. Amber and Diva knew the route and he pretty much hung with them til we got around a loop. He took off, and didn't come when called, so Diva went up to get him but came back empty-pawed. Chris suspected he was following our scent around the loop and we should stay put. After a few minutes Leah and Ted decided to go look for him. Chris and the dogs and I waited, and sure enough, about 15 or so minutes, Eddie came trotting up the loop with a hiker, like he knew what he was doing! He was so funny! The hiker was a nice fellow who didn't seem to mind the company at all. He left and we held on to Eddie til they got back. We finished our hike (where Ted got to really test the shoes over some sharp rocks) and then enjoyed being catered to by Chris with toast and tea, in a warm cabin. On the way home Eddie crashed until Ted started taking his photo and he wanted to know what all that beeping was! Here are some of the photos from MLK day and yesterday....

Self portrait - C&L

WTA built stairs

Diva on a tree that blew down in the recent storms. Chris's friend Bill attacked it with his chainsaw.

Ted holds up a potential table top

Those shoes are great for balancing on a log

They also did well over sharp rocks

Chris and the girls wait for Eddie's return

Sir Eddie looking very handsome with his lovely mistress Leah

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Bridle Trails mudfest

In my quest to regain fitness, I did the Bridle Trails 10 miler Saturday afternoon. It's a 5 mile loop at Bridle Trails Park, an equestrian single track trail. There is usually mud and horse manure to deal with but the amount varies, depending on conditions. This year with all the snow and then rain, it was especially muddy. For me, I knew it was going to be a slow one. Along with lack of fitness, and my layoff while in Hawaii, my SI joint had been talking the last week or so, and a knot in my calf has taken up semi-permanent residence. Still, I couldn't bear to miss out on the fun! I picked up Danika and we arrived in time to sign up and visit with friends before the fun started.

We ten milers took off at 3:05. I was somewhere in the middle of the pack, with Danika, Ali, and Kathleen, and when I took off, at first I thought I was going too fast, then thought it was just race nerves and I'd settle in. I could have sworn I saw all of them ahead of me. The trail is mostly single track with a few wide spots here and there so it was hard to settle into a pace and not be worried about clogging the line up. About a mile or so in, Ali caught up to me and asked what I was doing there. She said I was going too fast and should slow down! I agreed - I was starting to pay for the speedy start. Danika was close behind and they both soon passed me. I guess I was stuck on a 5K pace from my New Year's Day run - not good for 10 miles! Other folks passed by and said hey, including my old podiatrist. I was surprised to see him out there.

The first loop was a bit of a struggle from the too fast start, and I also realized I hadn't eaten anything since a light lunch of almond butter and honey sandwich. The tortilla chips I had with that were starting to make themselves known. Ugh. Glad I brought some gels along! Soon the 50K folks started coming by and I got to say hi to a lot of friends I hadn't seen in a while. It's always fun to see them out there and catch up a little, though my pace was too slow to have a lasting conversation! The usual mud was there, and I started to slip a couple times but managed to stay upright. My back was talking to me, and I had to work extra hard to protect it and keep my SI joint from going into spasms. I considered dropping, but decided to take the second loop and walk when I needed to. On the hills, when the little knot in my calf flared up, I switched to a lateral stride to take the pressure off and that seemed to help. And last, but not least, I was developing yet another blister under the callous of my right bunion. Lots to think about and feel on the trail. This turned out to be a good opportunity to learn how to deal with extra pain on the run!

I came in through the aid station slower than last year (not surprising) but can't remember if it was 51 or 57 minutes. Anyway, I grabbed some chips for salt and asked where the trail was - I really get disoriented at that one spot! The rain was really coming down now, but the canopy helped keep most of it off. One thing I've been dealing with since I had surgery is my core temp - it runs way higher than it used to. I can be a waterfall of sweat while everyone around me is fresh as a daisy. It's hard to predict how much I'll sweat if the temperature is cold, so I tend to overdress (which is really underdressed by everyone else's standards) and by a few miles, I'm carrying most of my layers. It's frustrating but something to keep working on...

The second loop was much slower and I tended to walk a lot. Jenny, Rob, and Steve caught up to me and I got to hear Rob narrate to Jenny what to expect in later loops. They were all doing the 50K. I managed to keep them in my sights for a while til they finally diappeared around a bend. Meanwhile, I played leap frog with a guy named Jeff. He was doing the ten miler and it was to be his longest run ever! I think I would have picked better conditions (like a dry road?) for that. He was working up to a half marathon in March - no doubt he'll do fine. At some point Uli went flying by and I watched him dance through the mud. It was a pretty sight and inspired me to lift my feet a little higher, if not for a while. The light was fading fast and I was glad I packed along my headlamp, which came in handy the last mile, which I think is the muddiest.

I finally came in a little under two hours and was so glad to be done. My back spasms held off, but I was drained from having to work hard to protect it and I was wet and cold. My fingers went numb pretty fast (thanks to Reynauds) and fortunately Danika was waiting in the car for me so she could let me in. She came in about 20 minutes ahead of me. Untying shoes was not an option, so I pulled my feet out of them, which caused calf cramps. I got into some dry clothes, and after saying goodbye to Danika (her husband had shown up) I got the heater blasting and headed home to a hot shower. A big bowl of Gypsy stew and a beer capped off the day, followed by a good movie!

I am inpressed the 50Kers stayed the course (or some of it) through the pouring rain and cold, and some even PR'd! I am also grateful to the volunteers (Glenn, Linda, Allison, Marty, to name a few) - you guys make the race happen! And I am also thankful to all the running friends out there - it really feels good to hear my name yelled out as I come through, and to see you on the trail! What a great community!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Waikiki to Cougar - a study in contrast

I found a couple more Waikiki photos from my last day there, Christmas morning, when I took an early morning run along the Ala Wai canal and past the deserted beaches. Today, Chris and I went up for a "short" run, more of a hike, at Cougar. While some of my friends were being moronic fat asses (really!) on Tiger, we were sticking to the lowland stuff. Still enough snow to make it a challenge, especially for someone as out of shape as myself! Enjoy the photos!

ala wai canal and Honolulu

early morning beach in Waikiki

snowy trail

blow down

Chris charging up the trail

yet another winter wonderland shot. You sick of 'em yet?

watch out where the huskies go. look out for the yellow snow. (Zappa)

the snow finally made it snap...

frozen fern

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year All!

I started January 1 off in my usual way - a 5K with Club Northwet (not a typo) Resolution Run and Trip and Drip. It was a sloppy day with lots of mud and puddles - great trail conditions. I started out with my friends Paul and Jim and had fun stomping in puddles to try and soak Paul. Of course he had to do the same....There was no use trying to go around the wet stuff - just like on the trail. It was lots of fun!

I wore my new bikini I scored in Waikiki under 3/4 tights and a jacket. No photos but I'll post if the race site has them. As I neared the water I took the jacket off, and also removed my shoes; I just felt like finishing off with a barefoot run! Tom C. was there announcing people passing by and he made sure everyone knew I was going in - hah! The poor volunteer standing in the water (in hip high waders) looked pretty cold and all around I could hear people gasping as they entered the cold. It wasn't so bad and I managed a few Alohas and a Mahalo to him. He returned a stare that said "are you nuts?" It was only when I made the final dip, covering my head, that it got overly bracing. Guess all those hot flashes I have count for something!

After gathering my discarded items (and returning to retrieve a tossed ear warmer - I wasn't in this for time), I had a wonderful sock shod run to the finish, laid my shoe on the mats to get the time, and finished up. Forgot to stop my watch for a minute or so - doh - another reminder time didn't count for me! It was a nice way to start the new year, though I think this has to be the coldest on of all the runs I've done.

I hope you all had a great time celebrating in whatever way you chose! Happy new year - may the new year bring you peace, happiness, and personal fulfillment!