Monday, May 28, 2007

Happy Memorial Day!!

My nephew Tyler and I on Memorial Day. Thank you to all the Men and Women who have fought and died for this country. I am proud to be an American.

Training on the Western States Trail

On Friday, Suzanna,Bill, Karen, Chris, and I drove up to Foresthill and met at 7am for a long run. We were to run from Foresthill to Last Chance and back. Three canyons x2. After organizing ourselves,we were off! The weather was warm and muggy as we ran through Volcano Canyon on our way to Michigan Bluff. With clear skies and bright sunny conditions, we knew we needed to watch our fluid and electrolyte intake. At Michigan Bluff we refilled our hydration packs and headed down. Poison oak was everywhere! Lizards and snakes darted between our feet, just escaping being trampled. The river at the bottom is so low compared to how I've seen it before. It has been a dry year. The climb up to the Deadwood water pump was long but we all shared stores and laughs and made the time go more quickly. We refueled at the pump and prepared ourselves for the long downhill. We ran into Ann Trason and her husband Carl as they were running up Devils Thumb. After visiting with them for a few minutes, we were on our way. The climb up to Last Chance is always grueling for me. It always promises to be hot and sticky and the bugs are always awaiting our arrival. It is always a relief to see the Last Chance sign and to touch it! At the sign, we turn around and head back to Foresthill!! Lot's of climbing and pounding downhills. A great day.
On Saturday we all started at Robinson Flat and made our way to Foresthill. Naomi and I ran with Jim (my good friend from Orlando), and we always enjoy each others company. He is a great runner, very strong and has 100s of ultras under his belt. Today's run proved to be easier than yesterday. This was Naomi's first time running in the canyons and she enjoyed them very much. It was great to run with old and new friends. Saturday night was dinner at Awful Annies (same as Friday night), in Auburn where we enjoyed lots of good fun and great crazy conversations. Matt and I shared dinner with Leslie, Tom, Chris, Charles and Mark.
Sundays run from Foresthill to the river was great. We were all tired, but feeling good. It was an awesome weekend. It was also a great confidence booster as I felt really good and strong this weekend. I ran about 90 miles in 3 days and have no soreness or stiffness. The only reminder I had of the hard training was when I climbed up to my Brother's third story at his house and noticed how tired and out of breath I was. I am so happy that I had the opportunity to run this weekend. It is a rare privilege to travel through mountain meadows brimming with wildflowers, rugged canyons, and magnificent pine forests. Happy trails......

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Western States Training Camp!!! Always fun

Tomorrow morning (Friday), I am leaving for Foresthill to meet some friends to run in the canyons on the Western States course. I am leaving at 4:30AM and will meet everyone at 7AM in Foresthill and we will run to Last Chance and back. It is a tough run, but it is always so much fun to share stories and to catch up on all the latest things happening in our lives. The training camp starts on Saturday and goes until Monday where the last 70 miles of the race will be covered. It is a great way to familiarize yourself with the trail. I am really looking forward to getting up to the mountains. I wanted to share some photos that were taken a couple of years ago at the training camp. I hope to see many of you up there. Happy training!!

Friday, May 18, 2007

My First Western States 100

In 2004, I ran Western States 100 as my first 100miler. My family and friends filmed my every move. I watched that tape last night for the first time in two years. It was awesome and I enjoyed it so much. I had to laugh quite a few times when I saw the funny and dumb things I did prior to the race. First of all, I think I counted nine burritos, several peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, cut up fruit, gels, energy bars, and lots of other so called "tasty treats", that I had my Mom, Matt and the kids making the night before. Everything was fresh and wrapped in plastic. There was so much food, that we could have fed several people for a couple of days. The funny thing about that is that I have a problem taking in solid food in races!! I don't think I ate anything that my poor crew made me! I thought I was being so prepared.

Secondly, I watched with impatience, the time I spent at the aid stations with my crew. I enjoyed back rubs and everything else a loving crew that has no time limits can deliver. Sponge baths, application of sunscreen and bug spray, sock changes and tlc. Wow, how the time clock flies when you are out there standing still!!

There are so many things that you learn at your first 100. I hope not to repeat them again this year. One thing I do want to do the same and that is to enjoy the whole experience. I want to be present enough that I take time to enjoy the journey and remember how thankful I am to be able to be fit enough to attempt an incredible adventure like the Western States 100.

Two years ago as I stood before the start line of that race, I knew that I would finish. I have lupus and I think many people didn't believe that I could. Living with Lupus has put a lot of obstacles on my trail. As an ultra runner, running races with the Montrail/Nathan logo on my shirt is a reminder that I am strong and capable of doing anything I put my mind to. I choose to be happy, healthy and fit. Ultra runners continually motivate me to be everything I want to be. I encourage you to go out and be ALL you can be. BELIEVE in yourself!!

You can count off the days.......or you can make them count. Like all things in life it is ones attitude that matters.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Forever Free

This photo was taken last month by Anthony Brantley at Pirates Cove 50k. I have always loved coyotes and I love to see them while I am running. They are mysterious and bashful,wild and proud. We used to have many coyotes at the ranch I lived at years ago. They would come down and try and leer our dogs away. Sometimes I would watch them play with each other. They seemed to share a special bond. I always felt a bit afraid for our dogs, but they were big enough not to ever be threatened. I miss hearing their howls and chatter late at night. While running Wasatch last year, I heard a group of them howling into the night. It was an awesome sound to hear in the dark with only a flashlight to light my way. This picture takes me back to a time in my life when life was a little less crazy and a tad bit more wild, with no kids and very few responsibilities. Sometimes I think that I am like this coyote, running with a wild streak in me, forever young and forever free.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

A Long Exciting Adventure

I found this short video of 2006 Western States 100.  It is really exciting for
me to watch. I hope that you will enjoy it too. Western States 100 is on June
23rd. It will be filmed by NBC and it is scheduled to air on August 11th on
Jeep World of Adventure Sports. Enjoy!!

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Satisfied at Miwok 100k

Yesterday I ran Miwok 100k. I was really nervous about running the race this year due to my lack of training. I do have to say that by Thursday, I was really excited about it despite everything. I ran a slower race this year, but actually ran a smarter race. My hydration and fuel worked perfectly for me. I drank Ensure and used my gels and took in very little solid food. In many races, I struggle with nausea and vomiting, but this time my fuel plan worked!!Yeah!! I am thinking that maybe solid food isn't the best thing for me to eat while racing. Despite using all the precautions that I could, I did manage to get a large blood blister on my heel where my other blister was still healing. I don't know what I am going to do. I guess I will talk to my Doctor tomorrow about what to do now. It's always something. I had a great time out there yacking with everyone and meeting new friends. I just love the social aspect of ultrarunning because there is so many cool people out there to meet. It was also a beautiful 70 degree day out in the Marin Headlands. I was really thankful to be able to run Miwok yesterday. Matt crewed for me and for a few of my friends as well. He is so good at that. I am so lucky that he is so supportive of me. (thanks, Matt). I am looking forward to running and preparing for Western States. Now, if I can just get this blister to heal.......

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Why We Compete

"Curiosity, to me, is about pushing the envelope. How much can we do? What limits can we break? You ever hear about that guy Jim Dreyer? Well, he had a lifelong fear of the water from a near drowning when he was a kid. So he finally grows up and decides: 'You know what? I'm signing up for beginner swimming lessons. I'm getting over this.' Well, now Dreyer has swam across Lake Michigan.
He holds all kinds of crazy swimming records. Why do people do these nutty things? I think we see boundaries, limitations, and we naturally want to see how hard we can challenge them. That's just part of everybody's makeup. Most people act on it in minor ways. Ultra-athletes just take it to extremes. Sports psychologist Alan Goldberg Amherst, Mass.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

My Brother Wally

Today I ran a short run with my brother, Wally. He and I did a run last week for the first time in many years. It feels really special running with him. We have had our ups and downs, but I have never stopped loving him. It's nice to be able to kick his butt, as he has always kicked my butt in everything else. He is a hard worker, very successful, has a beautiful house and two beautiful children, and a very nice wife to boot! What I love about Wally is his fantastic sense of humor. He can wake the dead with his witty personality. He is also a very kind hearted person. It's hard to hold a candle to him, so I enjoy the fact that I can run faster and farther than he can. I am so happy that we are enjoying each other's company again. We know so much about each other and being siblings, bonds us together in a unique and special way. We have hurt together and we have laughed together. I am so thankful to have him back in my life.

"Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it."-Goethe