Friday, May 8, 2009

Blog on Hiatus for awhile

Hey readers,
So as you may have noticed, the blog has been on hiatus for awhile and it will probably stay that way until further notice. I don't think I ever created the space I intended to here. I wanted the posts to be informative and entertaining, and a good place for people on the West Coast to go and brainstorm fun, unique adventures. I think it became too self-absorbed and the writing wasn't what I wanted it to be. I hope to try again later this summer when things calm down a bit.
So thanks everyone for reading! Please friend me on facebook so we can stay in touch- I will continue to post snippets of adventures there, and would be happy to give anyone the details via email.
Happy trails!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Trip Planning: Solidifying Summer 2009

First, training.
Well, I my body seems to have recovered from last weekend's AR50. This morning I did my longest run since the race, ~8 miles at a slow Sunday morning pace (~9min). My legs are actually a little sore! I'm not sure if it's remnants from last weekend's 50 miles, or that my strength actually dropped off during this recovery week. Any other AR50 folks still hurting?
I am trying to figure out my summer ultrarunning plans in the midst of a lot of life changes. These include losing my job and trying to find a new one, moving across the country, getting married, going on my honeymoon, attending 2 other weddings, and being utterly distracted by the prospect of backpacking.
But if you get too hung up on life logistics, you never do anything cool. Just sign up. Just buy the ticket. Just commit, and make the plans afterwards. So while I wont be doing many long distance races until October, I think I have the next few months pretty well blocked out.
Bay to Breakers: May 17th: Psyched to do this one! I have missed the last 2 years, but I used to do it every year with my little brother. I am thinking of dressing up like a female cop to protest the new ING corporate crackdown. I figure I will arrest people and confiscate their alcohol.
Diablo 25k, June 6th: I would rather do the 50k, but it's the weekend before I get married and I can't commit to the kind of training I would need to while planning the wedding. So I chose the fun, mellow, "off-the-couch" distance. I used to work at a health food store when I was 15 and the produce guy told me that Diablo was a sacred peak. And I've never seen the top.
Finger Lakes 50k, July 4th: Yeah, I should run the 50 miler. Maybe I will. But I will be just off my honeymoon, where I doubt I will be doing many 30 mile training runs. Actually, "doubt" makes it sound a little too likely. I think the 50k will be challenging enough. My fiance grew up ~5 miles from the course, so it should be a fun weekend of visiting.
Spirit of the Prairie 50 m, Oct. 11th : In order to embrace my temporary home of Kansas City, I want to run their 50 miler (or maybe 100 if I can find the time to train). It sounds psychotically flat, but when in rome!

Okay, so it's a mellower summer, running-wise, than I would prefer. But your hobbies need to fit into your life, they can't make you stop your life, otherwise you will stop doing them. That's why I drink a glass of wine the night before a race. That's why I visit my grandparents instead of doing a long training run. If I can't be an ultrarunner and prioritize the other things that are important to me, I know what will prevail. And I am sure that the summer will let me body relax but still keep it strong, good and ready for October!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Race Report: AR50 2009

This is just a partial race report- more later...
On 4/4/2009, the AR50 went off without a hitch. What a fabulous race! The course is stunning, the challenge manageable, great aid stations, and cute little bells and whistles that made the day a huge success. 650 runners started the event, and 510 finished. 200 entrants were first time 50-milers, myself included.
I was a middle-of-the-pack runner, so I can't offer a great report on the front runners, but Scott Dunlap always does a good job of that at I managed to finish in 10:44:50, 15 minutes ahead of my "goal" of 11 hours! But more importantly, the trails were gorgeous, the race was well-flagged with great aid stations, the wildflowers were blooming, good conversations were had, and everyone seemed to have a good time. What more can you ask for?

Friday, April 3, 2009

Pre-race Report: AR50

I'm off to the AR50 in a few minutes!
I looked at the maps yesterday and I am psyched to see that the race ends up near Auburn Dam where I used to guide the white water. I love that area- it will feel like going home.
My body feels good, outside of a little pain on the outside of my left knee. The pain in my right IT band from this winter is totally gone. My twisted ankle feels sore when I circle it, but feels fine when I run. I am a little nervous about my treadmill winter and my extreme taper over the last few weeks, but nothing much I can do about that now! What I got is what I got.
I am a little nervous about the embarrassing digestive problem that sometimes plagues me when I run. I can eat alright, but then...well, I will spare you the gory details! So my fingers are crossed! I got potatoes, lots of Heed energy drink, and I will wear my camelbak. The first time doing a certain distance is so funny! You just don't know how your body will react.
Mentally I feel strong. I can visualize finishing, and I really want to finish. I know that the only person that can make me not finish this thing is me. And I hope to have fun doing it!
Anyhow, I would appreciate good thoughts tomorrow! I would love to finish btwn 11 and 12 hours, but who knows. The race starts at 6am PST. I can't wait to get going!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Trip Report: Nosara, Costa Rica III

Sunset from Pelada

Snorkeling at Carillo. They call this guy "The School Bus"

Third world traffic jam

II at Guiones

Yesterday we began the day doing the norm- waking up early, eating yogurt and granola like good hippies, and walking south to Guiones beach to surf. I didn't surf due to my achy ankle, but I was photog chick on the beach and took some cool pics of II surfing the small clean swell (my favorite! sigh...). Afterwards we drove south towards Samara. Samara is a nice beach town, slightly more developed and definitely more centralized than our beach town in Pelada, and we stopped for a few errands and street cart lunch. II got lobster on a stick with salad and tortillas for US $6, and I got fresh OJ, chicken, and pineapple for US $2.50. We were happy.
We continued on to get lost. After a ridiculous journey trying to connect with Caminando, we backtracked to Carillio, a beautiful bay just south of Samara. We tried out our new snorkel gear and were blown away. While cloudy, the bay kicked ass! We saw tons of technicolor fish, corals, and god-knows-what-else under the water.
We drove back in time to catch sunset at the beach, made tacos for dinner, and collapsed.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Trip Report: Nosara, Costa Rica II

Location: I'm not telling!
Details: Today II and I decided to live the spirit of the 3-day hike we had planned to take (until I twisted my ankle) and explore some new beaches. Just when we had started to complain that Costa Rica was becoming too crowded, we drove south towards Samara took a right on a dirt road, and found ourselves at a nearly empty spectacular beach. We wandered around for hours, speculated on potential surf breaks, and collected trash. We found 7 shoes!
As I elevate my ankle, praying that I can finish my 50-miler, I have been reading Ed Abbey. What an awesome crochety old bastard. Anyhow, here is a quote of the day:
"A weird, lovely, fantastic object out of nature like Delicate Arch has the curious ability to remind us- like rock and sunlight and wind and wilderness- that out there is a different world, older and greater and deeper than ours, a world which surrounds and sustains the little world of men as sea and sky surround and sustain a ship. The shock of the real. For a little while we are again able to see, like a child sees, a world of marvels. For a few moments we discover that nothing can be taken for granted, for if this ring of stone is marvelous than all which shaped it is marvelous, and our journey here on earth, to be able to see and tough and hear in the midst of tangible things-in-themselves, is the most strange and daring of all adventures."
And on that note, I am going to watch the sun set into the ocean.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Trip Report: Nosara, Costa Rica

Okay, so this may not fit the traditional description of a trip report, since II and I have been down here numerous times before. But heck, let's go.
Trip: Playa Pelada, Nosara area, Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Method: Surfing, primarily. Some diving, fishing, and running on the beach
Route: There are 2 good ways to get here from the states- flying into Liberia, and flying into San Jose. From both of those places you can rent a car, and from San Jose you can take a shuttle flight to Nosara (the quickest, easiest way if you don't have a lot of baggage).
Date: March 2009, as well as many other times in the past. We usually go once in March, and sometimes around Christmas, and II typically manages to weasel another trip down here in the summer. The wet season is May-October, which is hit or miss. Sometimes you get decent weather and can surf (albeit a bigger swell) other times you get dumped on (II and his buddies last May. Whenever I heard from them they were playing cards inside or riding the bikes around in the mud.
Difficulty rating: The surf is great for beginners (very consistent white water) and the waves are good for intermediate to advanced surfers. Guiones is a big beach break with lots of little peaks, but it's generally pretty soft. Pelada has some funny reef breaks during big swells.
Plusses: Not commercialized (yet), monkeys and iguanas in the trees, relatively easy to get to, surfing in a bikini, cheap mangos and avocados, amazing sunsets, consistent surf, II's mom makes us yummy baked goods, great medical care
Minuses: Involves international travel, getting more expensive/crowded as time goes on, stingy things (ants, scorpions, stingrays, etc.)

Details: Well, we really like it down here, to say the least. II was smart enough to buy a piece of property down here a few years ago that borders the biological reserve, and his mama managed the building of a couple houses on the property. We rent them both out when we aren't around.
So a couple times a year we come down, pull out our boards, and enjoy hanging out in the tropics. We have hosted lots of our friends and family members here over the years, and love sharing this place with people. Nosara/Playa Guiones/Playa Pelada is a great area, still full of family-run businesses, small hotels, and no chain stores. There isn't even a gas station. We spend our days away from electronics, talk to the people around us, enjoy the nature, and generally get back to life the way it should be.
On the bummer side, I twisted my ankle walking to surf the first day we got there. I skinned my knees and now my right ankle is puffy and bruised. 2.5 wks before the AR50! So we have decided not to go on our planned 3-day beach walk (sad!) and I'm just laying low, doing lots of icing, and crossing my fingers. It doesn't feel that bad, but at mile 40, who knows what might come up. Please send healing vibes in my direction!