Monday, February 23, 2009

My Ultrarunning "Article"!

Well, the article turned into a quote, but it was still published! Laura, from the WMAC Valentines Day Snowshoe Race, was kind enough to tear the pages out of the January/February issue of Ultrarunning and bring it to the race. My lack of competitiveness is now visible to the world!
I used the steam room after this morning's workout, and it felt great. I think I may start trying to stretch in there more often...

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Keeping the Faith

I heard from my weight lifting teacher today that mid-February is when people start to loose strength keeping up their New Year's resolutions. I didn't make any this year, but I started training for my 50-miler on Jan 1st (okay, Dec 28th). Since then, it's been at least 2 hours of working out a day, sometimes outside, but more often in the gym due to weather. The gym doesn't inspire me much, I must say. I like watching "Keeping up with the Kardashians", but not for 18 miles! Last week I definitely felt tired, physically and mentally, trying to cram workouts around a full time job and general life maintenance.
Anyhow, if you're feeling the same way, keep the faith! I did a 6 mile fast run today that felt pretty good, and an hour of weights flew by. I feel like I have broken through. We are getting stronger and getting closer to meeting our goals. The discomfort and lack of focus is all part of the process- that's what keeps it real. And in the midst of it all, we just keep training!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Adirondaks: Climbing Giant and Baxter

This is just a partial post, but I am pretty psyched to share pictures of the awesome cabin we stayed at and awesome mountains that we climbed in the Adirondaks this weekend.
We stayed in a Canadian climbers hut, met great people every night, told stories, cooked delicious carb-laden meals, spent our days climbing mountains without the prescribed equipment, saw incredible views, drank good beer in mountain bars, and overall just had an awesome weekend. Sometimes life gets in this groove where every thing you encounter feels special and good and wholesome, and we had a taste of that.

Valentines Day WMAC Snowshoe Race, Saratoga NY

As I drove north from JFK to Newburgh, I listened to some Christian radio. The discussion was about the serenity prayer, which holds the oft-repeated line "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change". That was a great precursor to my Valentines Day weekend! If I can't make the snow melt, I might as well run in it!
This was my first snowshoe race, and I registered II and myself in it for Valentines Day morning. I told him about it the night before, and he was psyched! I had been emailing Laura in the weeks before, and she was so sweet, so I was expecting a good vibe for the day.
We drove up Saturday morning and found the parking lot, after which we crowded in a log-cabin type structure and pulled on our borrowed snowshoes. When the race organizer (Laura's husband) said go, we headed off. Running in snowshoes wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be, though it certainly slowed my pace down a bit. II ran with me, so we had a nice time hanging out together. The course we well-groomed and little hilly, the morning was sunny and beautiful, and before long, we had finished and huddled with the rest of the crew in the log cabin. It was just the kind of scene I love- not many people, crock pots full of home made warm soups and chilis, and friendly chatter all around. Laura even arranged for a barbershop quarter to sing a few post-race love songs. II threw his arm around me, and we swayed to the music. Our first snowshoe race, and our valentines day, was a success!

Friday, February 13, 2009

PCTR Woodside 35k

Well, you know that it's bad when you are packing up for another adventure before writing about the previous one! So I'm getting in just under the wire, as we leave in the morning for the Valentines Day Adirondaks Snowcamping Weekend (I swear, II didn't know what he was getting into when he agreed to get married).
Last Saturday I ran the PCTR Woodside 35k. We had rain the two previous days in the Bay Area, and so I was delighted to wake up to clear skies. My "brother" Ryan came down with me, and I was psyched to show him the trail running/ ultramarathon scene, as he is a anti-corporate, anti-competition, nature-for-its-own-sake kinda guy (I will always be proud that I introduced him to Ed Abbey!). I didn't know much about Woodside- it seems like a wealthy South Bay community tucked between some beautiful parks.
PCTR puts on a great race, and this one didn't disappoint. The run was mostly single-track and through the redwood trees, which were all misty and damp from the previous few days. The course was textured (read hilly) but consistent- no huge uphills or downhills. That's starting to be my favorite kind of trail running- consistent gentile inclines and declines that make you feel like you're flying. The aid stations were awesomely stocked (I discovered the joy of the salty potato) except no pop tarts! The Angel Island race spoiled me.
Anyhow, I ran super easy since i am increasing my mileage faster than I probably should right now. I walked all the uphills and kept a nice easy pace and it was so enjoyable! I really felt that there was nothing else I would rather do on a Saturday morning than run through the redwood forest, quiet and damp, at my own pace.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Well, it wasn't crowded!

Did my last run of the week in the rain out at my old stomping grounds, Spinnaker Point. It's a funny little paved bike path near the Hispanic part of San Rafael near the Richmond/Bay Bridge. You always see people fishing, couple cuddling, kids lurching around on bikes with training wheels. There are always hawks looking for their prey in the marsh, tons of ducks scattered around on the bay, and deerbrush blooming along the trail. Okay, not always. I saw only a few other brave souls this morning, as California is finally getting some much-needed rain.
The 3 mile run felt great, real fast and light. My various aches and pains seem to have quieted down a bit (maybe I have beat them into submission?) and even though it was cold and blowy, I felt charged up for the PCTR 35k this Saturday. The weather seems to have cleared, so hopefully we will just get nice and muddy. Much longer run than I have done in awhile, so I'm crossing my fingers that it goes well!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Back to California

As much as I love being with my sweetie in New York, and as aesthetically pleasing as the snow outside my window is, I love California weather. Unfortunately my last day in New York, II and I were walking aroung Brooklyn and I tripped and twisted my ankle and skinned my knee. I think that it's a short term injury, but my fingers are crossed. This could throw a wrench in my plans.
But this morning, I went on my first outdoor run in weeks! Not a trail run, just a 7 mile run up through the neighborhoods in Oakland. It was a warm glowy morning, and it was wonderful to be outside. Of course I want more. I wish every day could start with a surf session, followed by a few hours to write, some time tending to my garden, and then a 4 hour run in the Sierras. But until then, a morning like this one is pretty nice.
This weekend should be a good time. I have a 21 mile trail race in Santa Cruz, then Ryan and I are going backpacking for the night. If my ankle is still bothering me, I will blow off the run. Can't wait to get into nature.
I promise I will take my camera on the next few runs! Too many posts without pictures. My apologies.