Sunday, June 29, 2008

Running Again?

First off, I just have to say how sorry I am to all of you who were suppose to run Western States 100 this weekend. But from what I've been reading in blogs, it looks like people are accepting the things you can't change and moving forward, looking for that next challenge. Ultrarunners are an amazing group of people.

Some of you may have noticed from my daily workouts on the right side of this blog that I did some running over the weekend. While in San Francisco for Pat's Sharkfest swim from Alcatraz, I decided to test the leg. Did an easy 4 miler along the Embarcadero Thursday afternoon and it felt great. No pain. So naturally I got up early Friday morning to enjoy another run along the Embarcadero. This time I headed towards the Golden Gate Bridge and reached Crissy Field at the 4 mile mark. I wanted to run to the bridge but that would add another 1/2 mile and I still had the return trip to do. That would be close to 9 miles total and is way too much to do this soon. But it was so beautiful and I just didn't want to stop. I love running in SF in the morning. But common sense prevailed and I turned around. After hitting the 8 mile mark my leg was bothering me so I decided to walk the last mile to the hotel.

Saturday was Pat's swim and then we headed home. My leg was bothering me a bit so I was happy to rest it. This morning I headed out for an easy 3 miler along a water canal so the dog could get some exercise too and was disappointed that the leg pain was back. I guess I'm not surprised. I did over-do it a bit. So I iced it real good and I'll rest it. I see my orthopedic specialist on Tuesday to review the results of the tests taken the last couple weeks.

Sorry I can't post pictures but our computer died and I'm on my husband's computer at work. Hopefully we can salvage the computer. We'll know more tomorrow. We have been in the market for a new laptop tho..........

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Racing Scared

My re-introduction into road bike racing last night was trial by fire, literally. The skies were filled with smoke from the hundreds of fires burning in northern California but that didn't stop many crazy bike racers from suiting up and hitting the roads around Boca and Stampede Reservoirs just east of Truckee, Ca.

My last bike race was June 2003 at the Nevada City Classic, a brutal circuit race up and down the hills of Nevada City. Since then I've taken up running but since being side-lined with this shin injury, I've been back on the bike. So why not jump into a little race?

The Reno Wheelmen put on a fun series of bike races through the spring and summer in and around Reno. I raced with them in 2002 to get myself into shape for the Leadville 100 mountain bike race. I've been doing some good riding lately, however, nothing real high end. Like racing. And it showed.

Pat is doing the Alcatraz Sharkfest swim in San Francisco this Sat and he wanted to get a dip into Donner Lake just to get some cold water exposure. We found a public dock that was perfect for the kids to swim a bit and Pat could work on that "cold water face immersion/hyperventilation/mild anxiety" bit. Good practice for SF.

After the swimming and a bit of dinner we headed to Boca for registration. I signed up with the C's and started warming up. It was fun seeing and visiting with old friends that I hadn't seen in awhile. The race started and I found myself mid-pack of about 15 riders. The pace started really slow and my confidence grew. Then we hit the first hill. Actually, hill is an over-statement. It's more like a small bump in the road but I found myself being passed by riders. I glanced back to see who was behind me and was shocked at what I saw: nothing but open, empty road. I had been dropped off the back and we hadn't even got to the big climbs yet. Uh oh. This isn't good I thought. Well, at least I knew what the title of my next blog entry would be: DFL.

I was able to reintegrate the group after the small bump but I knew I'd be off the back again at the next hill. And I was. I worked really hard to stay close and was able to bridge back up to a girl who was being paced by a much stronger guy on the flats. It soon became apparent that I was stronger on the downhills and flats and she was stronger on the hills. At the first turn around the 3 of us were together. I was able to recover a bit but the pace was slower than I wanted. So I decided to drop the hammer and see what happened. I figured if I could get a gap on the girl then maybe I could hold her off on the last 2 big climbs and stay ahead for the finish.

At the second turn-around point I had about 10 seconds on her. On the second to last hill her friend passed me like I was standing still. I guess she had told him to go ahead and do his own race. So it was down to me and her (I still don't know her name, just #660).

I hit the last hill and focused my eyes 2 feet in front of my front wheel. I told myself to keep up the hardest effort I could until I either 1: got to the top of the hill, or 2: threw up. Finally I was on the last few miles of flats and I just hammered as hard as I could. It was my own time trial, my own suffer-fest. I kept glancing behind me and didn't see #660. I finally told myself to quit looking back. Even if I looked back and she was suddenly there, there was nothing I could do about it. I was red-lined. It was a little demoralizing to know I was pushing as hard as I could and the best I could hope for was second from last. I really thought I'd be able to hang with the group a little longer but I guess my lack of racing really showed itself.

I crested the last small hill to see the finish line guys packing up. Wait, wait for me. And there's one more behind me. So I guess my title for this blog entry had to change. It would no longer be DFL.

And the smokey skies actually weren't too bad. Maybe I was just suffering too much to even notice my lungs getting scorched. During the last mile I did finally lift my head a bit to take in the view. It was a beautiful sunset through the smoke as the sun sank into Boca Reservoir and I even noticed the puple lupine along the road. It was all a very beautiful, eerie scene.

Tomorrow we head to San Francisco and hopefully get out of this terrible smoke. We have 2 fires totaling about 1700 acres burning about 15 miles from my house. Then I come to work in Reno and all the smoke from California is now over here. Maybe if we head as far West as we can, we can escape it.

On the running front, I had all my tests done (MRI, CT scan, bone scan) and am now just waiting to get in to see the doctor which won't be until July 1st. I ran about 100 feet today and there was no pain. Don't laugh, that's actually a really good sign. Normally the pain started with the first running step. So this weekend I'm taking my running gear to the City and do a bit of running. That has to be one of my favorite things to do: an early morning run along the Embarcadero. There's nothing more peaceful. And if all goes well, my leg won't hurt.

I'll try to post a few pictures after we get back. And for those who don't know, DFL stands for, you guessed it, Dead F'ing Last.

Monday, June 16, 2008


Sorry for the delay, busy camping this weekend. I got in to talk to my doctor and the verdict is this: the MRI is inconclusive. Surprise, surprise. It does show inflammation in the bone marrow which we don't know the cause of. Perhaps over-use, perhaps something else. I just had a CT scan done last Friday and am scheduled to get a bone scan this Friday. Hopefully these new tests will be more forthcoming with some answers.

Overall, it does feel better except when I run. So I don't run. It doesn't hurt when I ride my bike so I've been doing a lot of that and having a lot of fun. Yesterday we watched the Nevada City Bike Classic, a 1.1 mile circuit race through downtown and it got my competitive juices flowing. I raced this race in 2003 and it was the second hardest thing I've done (behind Leadville 100 the year before). I'm even contemplating trying to get back into bike racing shape. We'll see.

Hope everyone is getting out and enjoying this wonderful weather (at least on the West coast). Hope the taper is going well for those going to the Big Show on the 28th (Western States 100). Hope to be at the finish line to cheer you on.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Enjoying Lake Tahoe

I've spent almost my entire life exploring the Sierra Nevada mountains. Hiking, backpacking, and camping. Since having kids I've wanted to share those experiences with them and I figure it's never too early to start.

Ahhhh, relaxing at Lake Tahoe (this lasted about 10 seconds)
I never camp over Memorial Day weekend because of the crowds and besides, the weather was terrible this year. So we decided to head to Lake Tahoe last Sunday-Tuesday. We stayed at DL Bliss State Park at a perfect site. Growing up we were hard core, we didn't stay in campgrounds, we didn't even have a tent (that made for some soggy nights). I must say I've become a little wimpy because the conveniences of running water and bathrooms are sure nice while the kids are this young. However, after this trip, I'm not partial to state parks, too many rules.
"Where are my feet?"
The weather was perfect and we loved exploring the beach and trails. Pat did a run on the Rubicon trail towards Emerald Bay while the girls and I explored the wonderful rocks along the trail. He was only going to do 2-3 miles but ended up doing 5, he just didn't want to turn back. He got into that running mode where it almost feels effortless and you can't wait to see what's around that next corner. He insists that we come back to run this trail when I'm running again. I can't wait.
Caitlyn enjoying her new Camelback after climbing a big rock
Getting the next generation running
We had a blast roasting hot dogs and marshmallows over the fire. Caitlyn kept saying how much she loves camping which made me feel so good. Sunday night was pretty cold, high 30's and the next morning was only mid 40's so it took awhile to get warmed up. Around 10:00 we loaded up in the truck to find an area more conducive to dogs and Sara instantly fell asleep so we decided to drive around and explore. We headed over Luther Pass to Hope Valley then up to Blue Lake. The campground was still pretty snowed in as well as around the lake. Sara woke up by then so we were able to get out and throw some snowballs for the dog. He also loved playing in the lake, I know it had to be cold though.
Pat and Sara enjoying a moment at Blue lake
Blue Lake
PCT at Tamarack Trailhead
We headed back down to Hope Valley and played along a creek and in a beautiful meadow filled with granite boulders and wildflowers. It was so nice to just relax and enjoy the afternoon without any crowds.
Sara taking Yuba for a walk
Getting tired
Monday night was a bit warmer and we woke to a few clouds as we made our last camp breakfast. That has to be my favorite meal, especially while camping. Nothing like the smell of bacon in the morning. We packed up and were on the road by 10:00. Home with enough time to unpack, clean up, and do laundry. Next camping trip is scheduled for the 13th but this time it will be closer to home at Scott's Flat Lake. It will be the 4th Annual Kiddie Kamp, a camping trip I started with my Mom's Group after we all had our first kids.
On the way to Mt Tallac trailhead
So this weekend was the best camping trip we've had with the girls so far. I know it will only get better as they get older but like I said, it's never too early to start. As my mom likes to say, I learned to walk in a campground.
PS. My doctor has my MRI results locked safely at his office. He doesn't believe in giving patients their results over the phone, he likes to see them in his office to discuss things. Unfortunately, he can't see me until next Tuesday, another whole friggin' week to wait. Needless to say, I'm not happy.