LAKE TAHOE 5K

As I reported in my last post, we were in Tahoe for our 9 year wedding anniversary. Instead of running the Emerald Bay Half Marathon, I changed my entry to the Lake Tahoe 5K. My doctor told me that I should be fine to walk the 5K when I told her I was considering it at my post-surgery follow-up appointment. She had given me the “ok” to start running then. I knew it would be hard mentally for me to even attempt walking this race and not run it. I started running on the track near my house a little bit at first and running in the mornings before attending Breakout Fitness but I had the itch to run. Bad.

When Vans and I attended the expo to pick up our race packets, I could see that the 5K field was small, very small. That is when I knew I wanted this race. I didn’t say too much about it. I joked that I could probably ‘win’ the whole thing as it there were not a lot of people at packet pick up but inside I was really considering racing it. Still, I knew that might be foolish and that I had to just play it by ear. Let pain be my guide is what my doctor had told me. The problem is, I have a high tolerance for pain.

Vans had his bike race on Saturday and then Saturday evening we sort of did a hodge-podge dinner as we were tired of going out to eat. I wasn’t feeling 100% but I made sure I was hydrated. We had quite a few evenings of Happy Hour at the hotel leading up to our races that I was craving coconut water each day trying to replenish my electrolytes.

Sunday morning came and we loaded the car. Vans was going to drop me off at the 5K start and drive to the finish (it was a point to point race). The wind was flying and it was a little chilly at the start but not too bad.

Side note here, this will probably be the first of many posts where I talk about Athleta. I do not work for Athleta nor am I associated with them in anyway. I just happen to buy a lot of their clothes (usually on sale but not always). For this race, I was dressed head to toe in an Athleta outfit and I’ll be honest when I tell you what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to running. I am generally quite particular about my workout clothes.  My top was the Kenton Burnout Top and my running skirt was the printed Swagger Skort (the solid color is on sale right now). I love this skort for so many reasons but mostly because it is super cute, very flattering and does not ride up when running. I have not run in it for anything longer than 7 miles but when I have it has worked great. In Tahoe, the temperature was in the 40s during my race and I really appreciated having a shirt with thumbholes while waiting around at the starting line however, once the race started, I got hot. This top is warm! Granted I also had on a vest (Brooks) to cut the wind. I probably didn’t need both but once the race was over, again it was nice having the thumb holes.

IMG_1995-LBack to the race. Standing around at the starting line I noticed that the field looked small and that many peopled looked like they were out for a Sunday stroll instead of a race. There were a few women who looked serious though. I never think I look serious though and I just stood off to the side and tried to stretch and warm my muscles as much as I could. Everything felt stiff and foreign to me.

The start was very unassuming except for the guy that said “go” also had a huge rifle in his hand that blasted my ear drums when he fired it. As I took off running I noticed that four or five guys were sprinting pretty darn fast. I slowed my pace a little bit as I didn’t want to get caught up too fast. There was one girl who was in front of me and I silently made her my rabbit.

I passed my rabbit somewhere between miles 1 and 2. The course was on a paved bike trail and fairly flat. I noticed that my ankle felt great. My lungs on the other hand were burning like crazy. I was not wearing a watch at all because I had not planned on really running. It felt really nice to just let go and run not knowing my pace.

After I passed my rabbit I made a promise to myself that I would not turn around and look to see if she was close. I knew that if I turned around that I might see she was way far back and then would slow my own pace down OR I would see her right on my tail and try and push too hard to stay in front.

The course at one point got a little bit confusing. The arrows disappeared and there were no aid stations left. I saw a man walking along the road and I asked if I was going the right way. He said yes and that I would turn left shortly up the road. When I turned left down the drive to Pope Beach I realized my lungs hurt so bad that if I had to go another mile I might hurl.

I rounded a corner and I saw Vans and the girls walking towards the finish line. He turned and saw me and then tried to get the girls cheer for me.

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As I was passing him he yelled to me “Um, first female! FIRST FEMALE! RUN! RUN FAST!” Of course I thought that someone was behind me so I tried hard to add some extra fuel to the fire but my lungs were having none of it. I passed through the finish line and luckily did not hurl on the teenage girl handing me my medal.

My girls ran up to me and congratulated me. They wanted to see my medal. The Peanut was quick to tell me that Vans’s medal was bigger. Love that girl.

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The race director came up to me to tell me that he had a special prize for me and to not go anywhere meanwhile a nice woman came by with two kids in a double jogger and asked if we wanted her to take our photo so it would look like we vacationed together.

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Eventually the race director gathered myself and the first male winner and presented us with a large “trophy” that was in the shape of Lake Tahoe.

2My “big” award (pst, way bigger than Vans’s)

The guy doing the announcing interviewed the first male and female briefly in front of the (very) small crowd. We had to then wait around for the age group awards. I give my girls credit, they played on the beach and hung around even though it was a little windy and chilly outside.

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The truth of the matter is, this 5K is not as big a deal as it sounds. The field was quite small. I was 7th overall, first in my age group and first female however my pace was an 8 minute mile. Typically an 8 minute mile does NOT win a 5K. Ever. But I am not diminishing my win or discrediting it at all because I do think running an 8 minute mile 3 weeks post ankle surgery is pretty impressive.

Two weeks ago I was wearing a boot that reached up to my knee. The body is an amazing thing and I am grateful for the way in which mine healed from surgery and for the way it continues to surprise me each day by getting stronger. To be truthful, I’ve had a few twinges of pain when walking and/or running this week but not until more than a week after the race so I don’t necessarily think it is related to running but perhaps something I am doing incorrectly at Breakout Fitness Folsom. I am going to pay more attention to our movements this week.

October is my favorite month so I hope you all can take the time to enjoy the leaves turning colors, the awesome smell in the air and just the beauty that surrounds us each day.

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Keep Running.

~ Trailmomma

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LAKE TAHOE RACING

Vans and I were married in September 2004 and this year we celebrated our 9 year wedding anniversary. Before I had planned my surgery, I had the perfect gift in mind for us. We love Lake Tahoe. We were engaged there, married there and found out we were to be parents there. It holds a special place in our heart.

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So I figured that the best way to celebrate 9 years was to return to Lake Tahoe and participate in their Lake Tahoe Marathon Week adventures! Vans has always wanted to ride around the lake. I cannot tell you how many times he has talked about it. As my anniversary present, I signed him up for the 72 Mile Ride around the Lake event that was being held our anniversary weekend. Little did I know that this was a full on race and not just a leisurely ride around the lake. Vans eventually figured this out and was honestly quite intimidated by the idea of racing in (or behind) a peloton 72 miles around Lake Tahoe at 6225 ft. elevation.

For my gift, I signed up for the Emerald Bay Half Marathon. I ran this event back in 2005 and it was one of the prettiest (and hardest) half marathons I have ever done. Unfortunately, due to opting for ankle surgery (something I do not regret) I was unable to run the half. Instead, I was able to get my money back for this event as long as I signed up for another one. I signed up for the 5K. I figured at the very least, 3 weeks post-surgery, I’d be able to walk the event.

So the week of our anniversary we left work early and hit the road with the girls for a weekend of fun. Vans had his race first on Saturday morning. Not only did he have to ride 72 miles around the lake, he had to ride to the starting line which was 4 miles from our hotel and in total darkness since the race started at 7 am.

When the girls finally woke up that morning I quickly took them to the breakfast buffet and then we hit the road looking for Vans.

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I was trying to hide my concern that his race was on an open course, meaning it was not closed to oncoming traffic. Lake Tahoe does not have wide shoulders and inside I was freaking out that Vans was riding around the lake with cars (usually tourists) that know nothing about the twists and turns in the road.  We finally found him on his way back towards the finish. I was that annoying car that kept stopping at various points in the road to get out of the car and take photos. Peanut was happy but Squeaker was not.

photo 3-4 (2) 4Vans stopped to get some water from me and told me that his chain had fallen off about 3 times during the course of the race. He had started with the peloton but the minute they started to climb up Emerald Bay his chain went “pop” and he had to get off to fix it. Until then he said he was keeping up with the peloton and I think it really motivated him.

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He finished under 4 hours which was one of his goals and for doing so he received not only a finisher’s medal but also license plate frame! He was literally glowing at the end of the race.  The girls were a little tired and hungry but they enjoyed running around the finish area too.

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I am so proud of Vans and his accomplishment. He has been battling tough achilles issues these last few months that have progressed into his knee causing him lots of pain. Also, having two kids and a full-time job doesn’t leave a lot of time for proper training. He was able to squeeze in rides on the weekends and I can only imagine how he would have done if he had plenty of time to train.

He has the bug and definitely wants to try this again someday and he’s really excited to try another “race” vs a ride. Happy Anniversary Vans! So proud of you! I’ll write about my 5K in another post.

Happy Trails!

~  Trailmomma

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PIGEON IS GETTING MARRIED

If you’ve been following me for a while, then you know who Pigeon is. Pigeon and I have been running together (off and on) since 2010 when both of us ran our first 50 Miler with the same training group. Over the course of the years, Pigeon continued with running ultras and I had Squeaker. We’ll meet up every once in a while (usually when she’s on a taper or in between races) and it is like no time has really passed. I have crewed her a few times as well and look forward to crewing her to her first 1o0 mile finish.

At some point this year, Pigeon told me she was engaged. I won’t lie, I was a little surprised only because we had been through one of our longer periods of not having seen each other that I didn’t even know she had been seeing anyone. However all that changed when I did see her and I could see how happy she was. Eventually, I met her fiance and actually spent quite a bit of time with her during Pigeon’s Tahoe Rim Trail race last July. I could see the love and happiness and I couldn’t be more thrilled for the both of them.

Fast forward to September 21st when Pigeon and Missouri were married. A few weeks before the wedding, Pigeon asked me if I could come “crew her” before she walked down the aisle. Yes, she said “crew her” which basically meant fetch her a beer when she needed one, make sure she remained calm and do whatever else was needed. As it turns out, I came in quite handy!

photo 1 (2)That Saturday morning turned out to be a rainy day. They always say it is good luck if it is raining on your wedding day. Pigeon and Missouri must be the luckiest people alive because it was dumping buckets early in the morning. I received two phone calls from them asking me if I had a vase and if I could bring one to their home. When I arrived at their house, they seemed rather calm. Missouri had two friends visiting and I think they had been doing an awesome job of keeping both of them calm, relaxed and thinking straight.

At one point, the photographer they hired asked Pigeon if she had any black umbrellas. “How many do you need?” Pigeon asked her, “Oh, about five or six” she replied. Okay, who has five or six umbrellas in their house!? Pigeon turned to me and asked me if I could borrow her car and run to Target and buy five black umbrellas. I was on it. Granted I made a few wrong turns along the way (thank goodness for the iPhone) but the task was completed. I arrived back at her house just as things were getting busy with an assortment of umbrellas.

When all was said and done, the rain lifted and the ceremony was held outside where it was originally intended to be. It was beautiful.

photo 2 (2) 2I was balling during the ceremony so happy to see my friend entering into one of the best phases of life that anyone can experience. You could see the love between them and it truly was very touching. I felt honored to have been a part of it.

As it just so happens, my family from New Jersey was in town visiting for our family reunion and so Vans was able to join me for the wedding and reception.

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After Pigeon and Missouri were married, they left for Tahoe which just so happen to coincide with our trip to Tahoe later in the week. We met up and enjoyed a nice afternoon together.  The girls were a little out of control which made for an interesting afternoon.

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I feel very honored to have been a part of Pigeon and Missouri’s wedding day. I do not want to steal any thunder so I’ll let Pigeon post about her special day in more detail. It was however, an awesome day and the whole Trailmomma family wishes them nothing love and happiness for many years to come.

~Trailmomma

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ANKLE UPDATE (FINAL)

I promise this will be the last post about my ankle. 🙂 I have other drafts in the pipeline and a small list of things I’d like to write about and express through Trailmomma.com.

On Monday I had my follow up post-op appointment with my surgeon. My surgery was through Kaiser and if you have Kaiser, you know how difficult they can be. If you are pregnant or the issue is your child, they are generally awesome but for regular every day people, getting any sort of information or attention is a struggle.

Case in point is the issue I had with my initial consultation with my surgeon. She canceled or rescheduled three times but apparently, she’s quite good at her job making her very much in demand. That is a nice thing I suppose. After my surgery I had no communication minus  a brief email (that I initiated) from her when I had some questions. In person, she’s very attentive and you can have all your questions answered. The problem lies, when you leave her office. She’s constantly “out of office” so emailing is usually pointless (more on this later).

Back to Monday. Monday I arrived at the hospital and hobbled through the halls in my big black boot. I was very optimistic so I carried my spare shoe in a bag in my purse.

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The nurse came in and cut my bandage off. I haven’t seen my ankle in ten days. I was walking around the house without the boot pretty easily a few days after surgery but I had to wear the boot any time I left the house. I also was very good about icing my ankle (or underneath my knee) a few times during the day.

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Don’t worry, you can’t see much. I had two incision points. On one side the camera was inserted and on the other, the saw/tools. My surgeon printed and gave to me all the photos of my surgery. Crazy!!!! It was apparently such a huge bone spur that it actually blocked the camera’s view in certain spots. There was also a bunch of random “strings” (for lack of a medical term) all over the place. She cleaned all that up and removed the spur and then burned my bone to prevent regrowth.

The bone spur was so huge that it apparently has permanently deformed my talus bone but my surgeon doesn’t think that will cause any issues (other than a constant click when I move it certain ways). My ankle looked pretty amazing considering I had surgery just 10 days ago. She had to remove two stitches but for the most part, I had no swelling, no bruising and no pain. The surgeon was pretty impressed and actually gave me the “ok” to start running on soft surfaces at small distances!

I couldn’t believe my ears. However, I have yet to run (surprising I know). My incision sites have not been closing as I would like and I seem to be leaking a little bit of fluid. I don’t think it is anything serious but I am opting to not work out and not run until next week although I am doing my lunges (as instructed) and wearing regular shoes. I would email my surgeon about this but her out of office says she is out until some time in October! So, for the meantime I will just see how it progresses for the rest of the week.

It definitely feels weird. Not weak or anything and no pain, just this very weird feeling that is hard to explain.

I was thrilled to not have the boot though. I could shower normal again and I could drive normally again! I took advantage of my first day without the boot by driving the Peanut to school and then heading to Peet’s for a coffee. 🙂

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That smiling face was the best start to my day. Not having the boot was just a bonus. ♥

The weather is changing around these parts. As much as I don’t want to see summer go, I am excited for fall. I absolutely love fall and all that goes with it like apples and pumpkins!! The apples right now are AMAZING!! My favorites are Pink Lady and Gala. Yum!!

I have a busy weekend ahead but I look forward to the excitement and energy that will begin in my house starting tomorrow night!!! More to come!

Peace & Pumpkins!

~Trailmomma

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SURGERY AND THE BOOT

So on Friday September 6th I had my long-awaited ankle surgery. Technically it was arthroscopic ankle surgery with the possibility for an arthrotomy but as far as I know, they only needed to “scope” it which is a good thing recovery wise. Since about 2009 (that’s my best guess as to when this all happened) I’ve had an anterior ankle impingement which has progressively become worse over the years. I can run but at a certain point (or mileage) my ankle would start to hurt (bad) and I would lose any flexibility. So if I was running trails, and I hit a rock, the whole foot, ankle, leg would jam instead of “giving” and it would completely lock up. Running hills was excruciating and I’ve had a swollen ankle since about 2009 as well. That’s a great look let me tell you.

Here is an image (not my real ankle) of what an ankle impingement or “bone spur” looks like….

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According to my Doctors, my bone spur was not only huge, it also went down into the talus/joint area which ultimately prevented me from flexing my foot towards my face. That makes driving a car pretty awesome too.

I finally decided, after years of pain and really inhibited running, that I was done. I want to have a long running career and there are races that I want to run and races that I want to pace for others and this ankle problem, was seriously taxing my abilities. So I decided to finally go for the surgery.

I checked in late morning and the whole surgery took 3 hours. All I can say is that being under anesthesia is like having the best most restful sleep you could ever have but you pay the price later. I had a terrible headache and nausea from the anesthesia later that evening but it was worth it for how rested my body felt.

1Vans was sure to capture a post-op photo for me. That boot that you see on my foot as become my biggest enemy. What was nice is that I got out of surgery early enough that Vans was able to bring me home and get me settled while he ran out to pick up the Peanut from kindergarten and then Squeaker from daycare.

I just relaxed at home on the couch with a few pillows, some ice and the tv. It was quite nice.

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What was even better was the fact that The Great Outdoors was on tv! I absolutely love that movie so I was content to just sit there. I was not given crutches, just the boot and some drugs (which I didn’t need). Vans picked up the girls and sent me this photo that made me laugh out loud.

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They are just too silly when they are together. They also picked up some Thai food for me from my favorite Thai place down by our old neighborhood and brought it home.6

Yum!! Not only did he leave me with my favorite Thai food, he then took the girls out to the skate park for some event they were having.

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They were having a blast eating ice cream and watching all the skate boarders and BMX bikers.

That first night was pretty easy going. Like I said earlier, I have had no pain at all with this surgery which has actually been a little surprising. I went to work the following Monday wearing that stinking boot and all was fine. I’ve developed a little bit of bruising near my heel but I think that may be some of the blood settling post surgery because so far so good.

The only pain in the butt is the boot which makes my whole body lopsided and has been causing some hip and back pain. I don’t wear it anymore while I am at home but going out of the house, I have to wear it (which means taking it off and on to drive, awesome).

Life has been the usual since the surgery, not much has changed except the fact that I can’t work out and I have to shower every other day at night wearing a garbage bag on my leg.

Yesterday, I decided to go to Athleta located in the Roseville Galleria because they host free yoga classes on Saturday mornings and I could use a stretch in my back/hip.

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Athleta is my all time favorite store. You’ll see once I start posting more about running and training because I’ll be bragging and reviewing all their clothes/gear that I own because it is my long time dream to be one of their “featured athletes.” I also wear a lot of their clothes to work too. Athleta’s clothes are just so well made and they have the most awesome return policy ever. Yes, a lot of their stuff is overpriced but compared to places like Lululemon, they are way more reasonable and really, I try really hard to only buy sale items when I can. So Vans, if you read my blog (hint hint). 🙂

Back to my ankle. Tomorrow I have my first follow-up post surgery. They did not give me much instruction when I left the hospital after surgery which I found kind of annoying. Basically I am to let pain and swelling be my guide. If I can get rid of the swelling, then I can start doing more things like squats and lunges and ultimately return to Breakout Fitness in the mornings with running soon to follow. Trail running cannot happen until I have complete and total strength and flexibility in my ankle.

So that’s about it … our weekend has been low-key which is kind of nice. Next weekend my family from New Jersey will be out visiting for a family reunion and I am attending Pigeon’s wedding which is going to be great. Squeaker has had a big girl bed for about a week as well. This morning she woke up and came to visit us and then disappeared … this is where I found her ….

photo 5 (2)I can’t help but smile either. 🙂

I hope everyone has a great week. Make sure to make some time to get outside no matter the weather and remember to give thanks to Mother Nature for all she gives to us each day.

~Trailmomma

 

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Trail Running + Mommyhood = the best adventures