Water and Gatorade, then go left

I said that a lot on Sunday!IMG_7103

First things though thanks for letting me know I’m not the only one!  The comments on my last post were awesome, thanks guys!  :)

I was still riding that runner’s high from Thursday when I went for a run on Saturday.  While it was nowhere near the epicness of Thursday, it was still pretty good.  My planned 3.8 turned into 4.5. Oops.  :)  The weather started out overcast and chilly but I quickly warmed up.   I’m still slower but I think I’ve finally, really accepted it.    I just took my time and enjoyed my run.   Going longer was only an oops because I had a meeting to go to with my mother.  I ended up just throwing a sweater over my running gear.  IMG_7113The only reason I felt ok doing this was because we were headed for a volunteer check in for the Harvest Marathon.   I have wanted to run the half at this race for the last two years but it’s proximity to City to the Sea usually has me feeling burnt out.  So instead I volunteer.  My mother and her tennis teams have to work 2 stations so I hang out with them.    The race has a 5K, half marathon and a full marathon.   The half and the full are run on back roads through vineyards and orchards as well as farms and homes.  Last year the teams were split between 2 water stations.  This year we had one of the water stations from last year and a course monitor point at the 12ish mile turn around point.  IMG_7098It was an early morning.  Being up that early and not racing seemed like a crime.  Have I mentioned that I love sleeping? However stopping for donuts along the way made everything better.  Didn’t you know that donuts have magical healing powers?  My boss said that the other day, I thought it was awesome.  :)  We arrived at our aid station- mile 8.7 of the marathon- a little before sunrise.  Fall has finally arrived, so it was damn cold, after setting up the station I jumped back in the car until it was almost time for the first runner.  IMG_7126This is a small race put on by the high school and the funds go back into the high school athletic program.  It is Boston certified but draws a smaller crowd.   There were 97 finishers for for the full and 283 for the half.   As for the Boston qualifying part- it has an elevation gain of 1600 feet.   The aid station was at the top of a long slow climb followed by an immediate left and more climbing.   I felt so bad every time a runner asked if this was the last hill.   :(IMG_7124All the runners were so nice.  Most of them thanked the team for the water and for being up early on a Sunday.   Our station had water and Gatorade which was an improvement over last year when we just had water.  The port-a-potty was a huge hit too.   Apparently one guy couldn’t handle the line of one and did his business behind the port-a-potty.  Really?!  There was no line!   One runner did yell at me for the lack of race food provided and a woman from the orchard asked me if we were cleaning up after “the parade”.  When I said yes, her response was that she wasn’t going to yell at me yet then.  Ummm, thank you?IMG_7125On the whole, it was a good morning.  It’s fun to cheer other runners on.  Especially for a race that has no crowd support for the majority of the miles.   The people who run this race rock.   Now I am torn for next year- do I finally run it or do I keep volunteering?  Getting teenagers to voluntarily get up at the crack of dawn is like pulling teeth so my mother will probably need help again.  :)

Ever volunteer at a water station?

Ever been yelled at by a runner?

How about the port-a-potty?  Would you have jumped the non-existent line?

This is how we do

My new boss recently told me how impressed she was by my dedication.  I didn’t know what to say.    Partially because I am socially awkward and partially because I don’t feel very dedicated these days.  I have been hitting my 3 days of running but cutting back on speed and mileage has often left me feeling a little low.   A little uninspired.   Running’s always hard but sometimes it’s so hard you wonder what the hell you keep doing it for.

Why do we put ourselves through it?  Why do we commit to the craziness?  Some get up at the crack of dawn to get in a run.  Others run at night in the dark.  Runner’s run tired and injured and cranky and mad and sad and hungry.  We run when it’s freezing cold outside, or when it feels like the side of the sun.  Running in the rain can be fun until you fall on your ass.  Running puts you at risk of crazies, inattentive drivers or animal attacks.  You could run on a treadmill but sometimes you wind up feeling like a hamster on a wheel.  Squeak, squeak.

And your body?  Something usually aches.  It could be a hip or a knee.  Your ankle or crappy shins.   Tight calves or hamstrings.  Black toenails, no toenails, hide those feet!   In my case, a crappy stomach.  But we keep running.  What person voluntarily chooses a sport that has a side effect called “runner’s trots”?  I think we’re all slightly masochistic or just a little crazy.   What does Einstein say about insanity?

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Albert Einstein

Oh yeah, that.  Lets not even talk about the mind games we play with ourselves.  Even when I don’t want to run, I want to run.  How does that even make sense?duskWork ran late every day this week and on Thursday I had little to no desire to run.  I was looking for a reason not to.  I wasn’t injured and my stomach felt average for me these days.  I have been in a funk and just felt meh.  I just wanted to veg in a chair and catch up on my DVR.  I wasn’t even hungry and didn’t want to eat.  Which is very, very rare for me.   But I changed into my gear anyways.   Drove back to town and decided to run the river path.  Daylight was fading fast but I had zero desire to run on the treadmill.  That is coming soon enough.  I just wanted to get it over with, if darkness cut it shorter so be it.

Running has become a chore lately and it’s been awhile since I have had good run.  There have been decent miles here and there but all runs were less than stellar.  It’s a big reason why I am working on getting back out on the trails.  I set out for Thursday’s run not expecting or hoping for much.    My warm up was little shorter due to the twilight hour.   I started running waiting for the cough that would come or the stomach cramp that joins on all runs these days. My run went something like this-

1/4 mile in – oh jumping Rottweiler please don’t jump that fence and attack me.  Are you on a trampoline?!  1/2 mile in- may as well start running.  1 mile in- no huffing and puffing.  1.5 miles in-still no cramp.  2 miles in -breathing still easy, no wheezing and still no cramping.  Hmmm, this is nice.   The weather is the perfect temp right now, and the sky looks so pretty at dusk.   Oh the streetlights are on, that’s kind of cool.   Can I run all of mile 3?  Haven’t done that in a while, let’s try.  Yay, I’m still running and I feel good.  Damn this darkness, I want to run more.  I feel like I could keep going for miles.   Breathing is still easy, sweet.  5K mark, time to cool down, kind of dark now, oh and some interesting looking, umm, kids smoking on that bench.  Run is officially over.

And that is why I keep banging my head against a wall.  Sometimes the stars align and you experience a glorious run.    It wasn’t long and it wasn’t fast but that wasn’t the point.  The point was how I felt during and after.  It was kind of awesome.   Running is work, but the reward is worth it.

Thanks for listening to me ramble.

Who’s with me? 

Why do you keep running?

Any quirks you want to add to the list?

Have a great weekend!

Sunday Summit

As much I as would have liked to sleep in on Sunday morning, there were other plans in motion.   It was time to get off-road again.  This time my mom, 2 of her tennis players and I headed to the coast for Valencia Peak.   I have hiked/ run Valencia twice before.  Once last January with my mom and a friend and then last November as part of the Spooner’s Cove trail race with my mom.

Heading for the back peak

Heading for the back peak

I was excited but nervous, both previous times I felt better than I do now.   My mom stayed back with the girls letting me attempt to power on ahead.    It was the girls first hike so they were going to take it easier- spoiler, they did awesome.   Apparently my memories made it steeper too.  According to my Garmin, we only gained a little less than 1300 feet.  Granted that 1300 kicked my ass but I though it was higher than that.

partway up

partway up

With it being on the coast, the humidity was higher than normal.  Between that and the fact that I was trying to power walk/ push to the top, I was a little short of breath, but it wasn’t too bad.   I am contemplating doing something crazy ( a race) in January so I was wondering how Sunday would compare to last year.   Last year it took me 38 minutes to do just under 2 miles to the top.  This year- 43 minutes.  However, due to them moving the trail, it’s now 2.25 miles to the top.  That’s not too bad and more practice will help me get that time down.  :)

Halfway up- I think this guide could get people lost

Halfway up- I think this guide could get people lost

The new trail starts out winding around the bottom of the mountain before it starts to climb.  The first mile can be a little deceptive because it looks like a false peak.  You get to the top you can see and realize oh wait, the peaks behind that and up another mile.  The sun was shining so the view was pretty awesome.  I stopped for quite a few pics on the way up.  Around mile 1.5 the fog rolled in.  The temperature dropped and visibility shrunk.  I welcomed the change in temp but could have done without the fog.   About 1/4 mile from the summit, I passed 3 men coming down.  They commented on how visible I was with my neon shorts and socks.  That was kind of the point.  I figured I tend to run like a crazy person down, so at least this way I was a little more visible if I tumbled.  :)  Only half kidding.

This dropped steeply down but I couldn't get a good angle.

This dropped steeply down but I couldn’t get a good angle.

IMG_6940

I don’t remember the upper mile being such a narrow track.   I remembered the steep drop to the side but thought it was wider.   Makes me wonder how exactly the race in January works.   Also with the lack of rain, the ground is drier and the shale likes to move.  By the time I hit the summit sign, I was tired, but there was more to climb.  Finally I made it to the top!  Couldn’t see through the fog but woo hoo!  I stretched a little and took some pics waiting for my mom and the girls.  There were a couple of people to talk to as well.  I also walked out to see the memorial that I remembered from last year.

I swear there's an ocean down there

I swear there’s an ocean down there

IMG_6948 IMG_6960

They were excited when they made it to the top.   One of them had come prepared  and carried food in her back pack.  She had cookies, crackers, meat and chips and plenty of water.  She’s got fueling down!  We hung out a bit at the top before heading back down.  IMG_6968 IMG_6991IMG_6998On the way down we noticed a box by the summit sign and decided to investigate.  It was full of notebooks so people could write their thoughts or experiences down.  We thought this one was hilarious- IMG_7014

Heading down was a little sketchy in places.  The biggest issues came when I would come up on other hikers/ runners.  On the way up, I always yielded to those coming down and said hello.    On my way down, there were a few people who refused to yield and wouldn’t even acknowledge me, so I ended up jumping up the side of the mountain if I could.  I rolled my ankle twice doing this.  Not cool.  :(

That being said, I love running down hills.  At one point I was pin wheeling my arms just for fun and I think I probably had the biggest idiotic grin on my face while running.    I actually caught up to one of the men I has spoken with on the peak. He left about 10 minutes before we did.   He did a double take when he saw me behind him.  I don’t think he had believed me when I said I like to run like a crazy downhill.   He laughed when he let me pass.IMG_6910

My stomach wasn’t too appreciative of my recklessness.  Every so often it would sound like a 5 gallon water dispenser, so I would take a walk break.   Ha!  Closer to the bottom I found the old trail where they had closed it off and pulled bushes over it.  I wanted to hit 5 miles so I thought I would head 1/4 mile out on Rattlesnake trail and then back.  Yeah, I forgot how freaky narrow that is.  IMG_7039I felt the urge to check myself for ticks, so I turned around quickly and headed for the bluff trail.  Got a little side tracked but I eventually hit 5 miles.IMG_7053

I enjoyed the view while waiting for my mom and the girls.  The sun had come back out right when we started descending.   There were tons of people enjoying the trails and the beach in perfect weather.

After cleaning up as best we could, we headed into SLO for Firestone.  A yummy treat to end the day.  Even though as we were eating one of the girls jokes that we were completely negating all the calories we had just burned.  :)

And one last picture.  This is sad but true and makes me laugh at the same time.  In my defense I was getting my music ready to go back downhill but still-1977406_540965412701649_4135114885837212378_n

So trail etiquette- who yields?

Ever run swinging your arms just for fun?

Thoughts on that last pic, ha!

Walk for a Purpose

Saturday started a little rougher planned.

I had set an early alarm because I was heading down to SLO to take part in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s.   I dragged myself out of my nice, comfy bed before heading out to work town to pick up T before continuing to SLO.     It was that drive that turned rough.  I saw something that I know happens but have never seen happen and never want to again.  Let’s just say it involved a deer and a car.  I learned that I must have a soft heart because I literally cried for the next 10 miles.

Yeah, I had to put an epic filter on it- it deserved it

Yeah, I had to put an epic filter on it- it deserved it

Once picking up T, I had to laugh.  She hadn’t wanted to get up anymore than I had and was wearing a nice comfy maxi skirt and flip-flops.  And she rocked them both for the whole 5K.  Thanks for the smiles T!  We met up with R and L and headed over to the park.4 selfie IMG_6897There was a good size group of people walking at the event.  Some in regular clothes, others in exercise gear.  Checking in and getting our shirts was a breeze.  Then we headed to a table to pick up a promise flower.  The flowers were different colors representing different things.  I was torn between yellow- you know someone who has dementia or Alzheimer’s- and orange- you support the cause to end Alzheimer’s.  Both applied, but in the end I went for orange.    We could write names on the flowers to honor those we knew.  As we crossed the starting line, we handed them to volunteer.   They were going to make a promise garden for when we returned.  IMG_6892

I ran a race in this park years ago so I should have knownn better.  2/3 of it was trail.   I was thankful I had worn running gear.   However I think they should have put this on the website, people might have dressed a little differently.  One older gentleman fell.    It was also freakishly warm with little shade.  However they did have the Grizzly Academy handing out water bottles along the course.    There was also a 3K option if you didn’t want to do the 5K.   Along the course, they had signs of people with Alzheimer’s as a way to honor them.   It was great to see so many families out there.   I also know that a good amount of money was raised as well.  IMG_6864 IMG_6866After completing the walk, we could view the promise garden.  There was also a breakfast booth and various vendors and live music.    Over all it was well put together event.  Just next year, they should warn about the lack of paved course.IMG_6871Following the walk, we headed to the Madonna Inn.  The original intention was for Bloody Mary’s but it turned into breakfast.     A little truth- I drink so rarely you could say I don’t drink.  All I wanted was a Diet Coke.    They ordered the Bloody’s and food and I ordered the french toast.   I did try T’s drink, apparently my face was hilarious.  I should have asked what was in it first.  :)  But the Diet Coke was awesome.    The food was good too.  IMG_6898 IMG_6895

From there I headed home for the usual errands.  Later in the afternoon I decided that it had been too long since I had taken the puppy for a walk.   So once I wrangled her into her harness, we headed out for an easy 3 miles.   She kept a good pace and never once laid down.  IMG_6909

How was your weekend?

Bloody Mary’s- yay or nay?

Ever participated in a walk for charity?

Mark Your Calendars

Happy Friday!!  I hope everyone had a good day and if not, well tomorrow is Saturday!   Go for a run!  I survived my day trip yesterday but man it was tiring.  If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen that I was in notary class.  It was for my renewal so realistically it should have been easy but sitting in a room for 8 hours sandwiched between 2 2+hour car trips and I was done.   The class was only 6 hours and the rest of the time was spent on registering, picture taking, finger printing and listening to the exam proctors drone on.  I actually made it through the day on one 20 oz Diet Coke, which was probably not good as I dozed off 4 times.   Oops!  Now just to wait for the results.    Odd note- my seminar was at the Santa Barbara Mission- who knew they had conference halls?

It’s time to start thinking of what races to run in the beginning of 2015.  What are you doing in April?   Come run with me!! Well and a couple thousand other people.   Last year I was lucky enough to an open call for Ambassador for the SLO Marathon pop up on Facebook.  I jumped at it and was lucky enough to be chosen.

Mile 4 ish?

Mile 4 ish?

Sweet! I met a great group of people and had an amazing weekend.    The scenery for the half marathon was awesome and I heard the full was even better.     Plus I love SLO which is why I spend many weekends there.  :)IMG_4010

For 2015, I get to be an Ambassador again, woo hoo!   I am so excited.   I am also determined.  There’s a hill or 2 that I have some unfinished business with.    :)  I know it’s early but if you’re looking for a great race, come visit!!    Plenty of planning time!! :)

And now it’s off to bed for me, I heading down to SLO in the morning.  :)

How was your week?

Ever doze off more than once in the same seminar/ class?

Anyone racing this weekend?