I can’t believe it is August already. To be honest, I am kind of happy that July is behind us. It has been one crazy summer.
June was full of swim meets, Squeaker’s birthday, Father’s Day and a wonderful visit from Poppy. July quickly arrived with a holiday weekend, more swim meets and a weekend spent in Tahoe for Pigeon and crewing her for the Tahoe Rim Trail 100 mile race.
July ended with the Peanut and Squeaker’s Swim Championships which consists of a three day affair out at Sierra College.
The girls swam great but it was one hot long weekend. The Peanut qualified to swim in the comp freestyle event at the end of the day which was super exciting for her.
Overall the team took second and went 6 and 1 for the season. On the last day of the swim meet, the Peanut was asked to swim in the comp freestyle relay which was one of the later events in the day.
We were just hanging around watching all the other swimmers and being the klutz that I am, I took things to a whole new level.
I was walking down some concrete steps to the pool, took a second to glance at the time on my phone and missed about four large steps. BAM! Down and out just like that.
I didn’t have time to think much about it since we had the rest of the meet to get through so I just powered through the rest of the day as best I could. Fast forward to the next day and …
I found myself in a boot and on crutches. Ugh. Not going to lie, it was pretty painful.
The first few days was hard. Mentally and physically I was just down because I couldn’t do ANYTHING and I hate crutches.
Since I don’t do “resting” or “sitting” very well, I sought out a second opinion. Sorry Kaiser, you just need to employ more doctors who are hard core athletes and not text book readers.
My second opinion told me to ditch the boot, the crutches and the ice. I did all three. I did a few other things and did my best to rest and elevate when I had the chance. I’ve been working hard at strengthening and stabilizing the ankle too.
Within a week, I was walking almost normal again. Yes!
Today, I went for my first long(er) trail run. I started back easy this week walking some of the more technical downs on my morning runs and gauging how my ankle feels when I am done but today, today, I enjoyed a lovely trail run … right outside my door.
Things are still not 100% but my heart is happy and light again. Funny how just a short time away from something you love so much, can really just bring you down if you let it.
With school starting soon, Fall (my favorite season) will soon be upon us. Fall is my favorite time to run and I am looking forward to just running for enjoyment, laughter and fun. Too often we take things for granted until we can no longer do them.
I plan to cherish every moment out on the trails and you should too!
When I signed up for the American River 50 Mile race (AR50) back in February, I had just had a string of really strong and powerful training runs. I was on a high. I felt the strongest I have ever felt. And then, a series of unfortunate events started happening one after the other. I was bit by a dogÂ on a training run that caused me to tweak my back. I ran a really super hard 50k that was primarily down hill, something my knees and back really did not like and basically, I just started losing quality sleep little by little. In my head, I was falling apart so how on earth did I think I could run 50 miles? What was I thinking!?
Yet, I kept plugging at it little by little. I pretty much took my taper more seriously than I ever have before. The week of AR50 I ran 3 miles on Monday afternoon (it sucked), I ran 4.5 miles on Tuesday morning (ugh, again it sucked) and I ran another 4 miles on Wednesday afternoon (oh boy, shoot me now). Then, I rested. Completely. No stairs at work. I tried for quality sleep each night. I ate really well. I even decided to work from home the Friday before the race.
When Friday arrived, I was still super nervous. I had to go and pick up my bib and race packet and I knew the minute that I did that, my energy would change. If you have ever been at a packet pick up for a big race like this, you can just FEEL the energy of everyone that is there. You look at people and think “Wow, they are going to crush it!” or “Wow, they are running too?!” You just get sucked into the awesomeness of an ultra’s race scene. It is infectious.
I brought the Peanut with me as I had to drop her off at a friend’s for a sleepover. She wasn’t as impressed with packet pick up as I was. 🙂 Still, it was neat showing her everything and introducing her to people.
When I got home, all I had to do was make myself dinner. I had pre-packed my hydration pack, my cooler, and everything else that I had needed earlier in the day. I made some yukon gold potatoes for dinner. Simple. Easy. Nothing that would upset my tummy and I made sure to eat early enough so as to digest it all before laying down for sleep.
Slowly but surely, I started to get a migraine. It started slow and low on my head but by 7:30 pm, I was struggling to keep my eyes open due to the pain. I kissed Squeaker and Vans goodnight and crawled into bed close to 8 pm.
I woke up a few times during the night. I had that “late for the airport” feeling that you get when you feel like your alarm might not go off. But, eventually at 3;45 am it went off and I immediately hopped out of bed. I felt, rested. For once.
I changed, grabbed all my gear, filled my bottles and hydration pack and I waited in the garage for PigeonÂ and MissouriÂ to pick me up on their way to the starting area. Due to some unfortunate planning on my part, Vans would not be able to see me throughout the day. He promised that he would be at the finish. This meant that I had to build myself my own little personal aid-station again for Beal’s Point and make it easy enough that Missouri would be able to carry it from the car to somewhere close to the course.
At the starting area cars were lining up in the lot and the sky was dark. There was an eclipse of the moon so it was exceptionally dark at the start this year and I didn’t bring more than a dinky little light. Ooops
The minute we arrived, Pigeon and I hopped out of the car and headed to the porta potties. The line was short (at the moment). When we were done, we loaded back into the car and for some reason, I buckled myself in. Missouri turns to me and says, “Are you afraid we’ll get into an accident just sitting here?” I looked at her for a minute not quite comprehending what she was saying and then I realized what I had done. HA! My mind was obviously occupied and not thinking clearly. 🙂
We had a good laugh about that for Â while and that seemed to lighten the weight in my chest.
Soon however, it was time to head to the starting line. The race started at 6 am and it was still pretty dark outside.
Pigeon had a flashlight with her but I only had the little light on my visor. It would do but it wouldn’t be great. We only had to run about 3 or 4 miles in the dark, that was my guess anyway based on the sunrise. Luckily, a lot of other runners around me had lights.
Without much hype, the race started and wave 1 began running up the 1 mile marina drive towards the trail. Pigeon and I were able to chat with Miss P and Blisters for a bit which was nice. Everyone seemed to have a nice nervous energy.
Immediately I just felt like what I was doing was work and not fun. In the back of my head, I still had a lot of doubt. My knee was achy and I just dreaded any downhills that I would have to face.
Pigeon took the lead on this section which is funny since last year I took the lead. She also scolded me last year for going out too fast so maybe she thought if she took the lead, she could keep me settled down. I was content to follow her. My mind was still not in the game yet.
Finally we reached the levee and the sun was up (or mostly up) and our lights were no longer needed. We had to run to Folsom Point where the first aid-station would be (at mile 4.97). As we were running down and around Folsom Point, the door of the restroom opened up and I ran straight in. Pigeon followed as the door next to that one also opened. We were amazed that there were no lines! Last year they had really long lines. I was happy to get this out of the way now instead of later.
We said ‘hi’ to the Fleet Feet crew manning the aid-station and then dropped down onto the road making our way to the parkway bike path. Here, the sun was rising and you could tell it was going to be a beautiful day.
When we dumped onto the bike trail, I had forgotten how much downhill there was on this little section. Paved down hill doesn’t bother my knees as much as trail downhill for some reason. Pigeon and I just kept running. We weren’t chatting too much. We did occasionally comment on the gear of some of the other runners. We saw some crazy things out there and it is always interesting to see how people prepare for runs like this. The announcer had said there were 350 people running their first AR50. That is awesome.
Pigeon and I just made our way down the path. She was being rather quiet, as was I. Last year I had my headphones in at this point so I started digging them out of my pocket only to realize they were in a complete knot. Pigeon decided she needed to duck off the trail to take care of some business somewhere around mile 11. I told her I would walk. I needed to keep moving. I had a feeling that if I stopped, I wouldn’t start again. My head and my heart were just not in this yet.
When Pigeon finally caught up to me, she was running with TiggerT!!!!!???? TiggerT just happened to be out running with the Java Joggers group when she just kind of ran into Pigeon emerging from some bushes! How funny?!Â TiggerT ran with us to the next aid-station at Willow Creek (mile 12.77).
I didn’t take any fuel here or get any water. This year I ran with one bottle on my pack and my hydration bladder filled with electrolyte water. I did eat some of my peanut butter banana cookies but they weren’t tasting so great so I stopped. Nothing seemed appealing to me which isn’t good 13 miles into a 50 mile race.
As we were making our way to the Hazel Bridge, we saw that quite a few runners had gone off course and were running around the aquatic center parking lot. They looked at us like we had cheated but we had clearly followed all the ribbons. They must have been kicking themselves for adding at least a half mile to their legs.
As we crossed Hazel Bridge, I had that familiar feeling of relief. You see, at this point in the race, you start running TOWARDS Auburn and the finish line, no longer away from it. There is something to be said about this. It just switches something in your head and you feel better as you start climbing those crazy beautiful bluffs.
I just took my time going down the rockier sections not wanting to aggravate my knee. I had forgotten about the next aid-station, one of my favorites in this race, until we came upon it (Main Bar Aid-Station, Mile 16.98).
At this aid-station, they blast the best 80s music around and as we approached, super happy super sweet volunteers rushed to see what we needed just as Bonnie Tyler’s I Need a Hero started blaring from a radio near by. Awe yea!!!! I was starting to warm up and get a little excited …. I even started dancing like a fool calling to Pigeon to come on, hurry … WE NEED A HERO!!!!
Granted, she looked at me like I was crazy and laughed. I told her it was the music. It set me on fire a bit. We started running. Soon we came a cross a stray (oddly clean) porta potty. Pigeon needed to stop so I decided to stop as well. I didn’t have to but I tried and it worked out timing wise.
Next up was the Negro Bar (mile 20.18) aid-station where Diane Hanes and her FTR crew volunteer every year. Diane gave me a big hug when she saw me and asked how I was. I told her that honestly, today felt like ‘work’ to me, that I just didn’t feel like I was having a lot of fun yet. All she could say was “uh-oh.”
Pigeon and I took off. I did get a surge of energy as I knew that our next aid-station would be Beal’sÂ Point which is mile 24.31 and where Missouri and hundreds of other people would be waiting to cheer on runners. Beal’sÂ is a HUGE point in the race. Two years ago, it marked the half way point (sort of). Now it was mile 24.31.
I always run up the hill to Beal’s. I love the surge of energy you feel as you crest that hill and run down across the arches as they call your name. I spotted where Missouri had set up our camp. I refilled my hydration pack and ate a gluten free peanut butter and honey sandwich. I had to really force it down but I managed to eat the whole thing.
I also emptied the rocks and pebbles that had been gathering at the bottom of my shoes. This year, I didn’t change socks. I probably should have but I didn’t.
Off we were again. Pigeon needed to stop at the bathrooms before we left the aid-station. Once again, I decided to go too. Might as well. When she emerged, we made our way back onto the course and headed towards Granite Bay aid-station (mile 29.45).
Last year at Granite Bay we were surprised by Missouri, TiggerT and Vans. This year, no one would be there. As were approaching the aid-station, Pigeon mentioned that her foot was hurting her. She hadn’t said a peep the entire day so it took me by surprise that she was having some discomfort.
She even said, “Missouri will kill me if I have to call her to pick me up here.” Wait. What? She went from “my foot hurts” Â to considering dropping in a nano second. I couldn’t process it all just yet. We then spotted Dasie and Pigeon ran to talk to her while I made my way to the aid-station. I needed some food in my tummy as I was planning to take the Advil I had stuffed in my pocket. My knee was just starting to tweak a little bit and I didn’t want it to flare just yet. Not now.
When I found Pigeon, Dasie was rubbing her foot. I started to stretch Â my legs and squat to keep myself limber and from totally stiffening up. Pigeon I could tell didn’t know what to do at first. Her goal race is in four weeks. This race, AR, was just a training run for her. She was torn.
We were at that aid-station about 8 to 10 minutes when Pigeon laced up and thought she would start running but instead, she told me that she had wasted too much of my time already and that I should just go on and if she could, she’d join me but she wasn’t sure just yet what she’d do.
I told her, “Okay, I’ll start out walking just in case. Just don’t fly by me like last year!” 🙂 But, she never did. I did walk for a bit and then the trail started to develop into a nice rolling course. Something that was runnable. So, I just ran.
This is a critical point in the race as the next aid-station at Horseshoe Bar (mile 38.14) is 8.69 miles from the last aid-station. That is the farthest stretch between aid-stations in the entire race and it was getting WARM, on second thought, it was getting HOT and fast. I had started dunking my bandana in any ice buckets that I could find and would wash my face and neck. It just cooled me down and kept me present.
Alone, and full of fuel, I just ran. I started passing people. I am not normally one to pass people. I usually just settle in behind and ride the conga line but something took over. I just started saying, “on your left” whenever I could and would, bit by bit, pass runner after runner.
This section of the course is full of mountain bikers and I ran into a couple. I felt bad as they had no idea a race was going on. I also ran into quite a few horses out on the trail, causing me to stop and move to the side. It was busy out there!
Steady and strong. I just kept running. My Garmin was slowly starting to lose its battery strength. I kept watching the charge get lower and lower and wondered if it would make the whole race.
My legs felt light as air. I had no aches or pains. I honestly felt like I was out for a nice easy jog. I couldn’t believe it. I tried not thinking about it as I didn’t want to jinx myself or trip and fall as I am apt to do while trail running.
I knew I was getting close to Rattlesnake aid-station (mile 40.94). I knew that once I reached that, I was in the single digits to the finish line. Last year at Rattlesnake, I could barely make it down the hill the pain in my knee was so excruciating. Now, I just ran down it, passing another runner (what the heck is going on?!).
I as entered the aid-station I got a huge “HI PAM!” from Legs which made me smile and then I saw Pigeon. She had dropped after all. She wanted to know what I needed. I kind of laughed, because I went from having no crew to having Missouri, Dasie and Pigeon all attending to my needs. I didn’t know what the heck to do! I told Pigeon I wanted ice in my pack. I dropped my water bottle since I had never even touched it and I wanted to lighten my load.
I was off running again. Dasie had made me a nice neck scarf of ice out of my bandana which felt amazing. Back up that steep hill I went and when I got to the top, I passed four more runners. Watch out, I was on my way to the finish line.
So it continued happening, I just passed runner after runner. When I got to Dowdin’s Post aid-station (mile 43,92) I just flew in, grabbed a few things and flew out.
Around mile 45, I came across Hassan who was pacing another runner in front of me. This runner let me pass and I said ‘hi’ to Hassan who immediately ran ahead and hid behind a corner and then started taking photos of me as I ran by! What a hoot!
Hassan’s happy demeanor brought a new wave of energy for me and I just never stopped smiling. Well, I did stop smiling when I realized that I was running up behind Miss P. If I run into Miss P in a race, I know it isn’t good. She must be struggling. Sure enough, I didn’t get my usual smile and “Hey!” from her. She said it just wasn’t her day. She just wanted to be done and she let me pass. My heart broke for her. Miss P is an incredibly strong runner. It saddened me to see her not feeling well.
I motored on and almost yelled with joy when I was dumped off the trail and onto the final road that leads you to the finish line. I power hiked as much as I could up this gravel rocky road. Some parts I ran, just eager to get off the gravel. My power hiking has improved and it didn’t fail me now. One step in front of the other.
The Last Gasp aid-station ( mile 47.56) is hilarious. It is run by a bunch of young guys who wear spandex. It always brings a smile to my face.
Soon I reached the infamous 3 mile sign. I’ve taken a photo next to this sign every year.
This year, I was all alone. No pacer. No one to take my photo. So, I took a photo of the sign anyway.
I decided now was the time to find my easter candy. A handful of starburst jelly beans is what got me up the Damn Hill and those last 3 miles. I’d walk a few steps and run 10 times more. I ran into Annabella on the this section too. I said hi and just kept motoring on. I was determined. I knew that I could beat my old time. Part of me wondered if there was any way that I could get sub 10 hours (my dream) but my Garmin decided to die at mile 48.9!!!!! It almost made it!
My pace up this big hill was hovering around the 11 minute mile range. If you have been on this hill, that’s pretty good (in my book at least). Walk two steps then run 10 times more. Repeat repeat repeat.
I saw the hill that crests up to the top near the parking lot. I couldn’t muster the energy to run up this whole hill but darn it I tried! I ran down onto the street and then up onto the curb and then I just started running as hard as I possibly could. People were clapping and cheering and I just ran as hard and as fast as my tired legs could manage.
I had scored a 22 minute PR!!!! I finished in 10 hours and 11 minutes. Not too far from a sub 10 hour finish!!! There is hope ….
I felt pretty awesome. My body felt awesome. I mean, what the heck? I made it down to the canal and I rinsed off the poison oak and iced my tired legs and then changed into warm clothes and took advantage of the recovery boots at the finish line.
I was just on a complete and total high. I can’t believe what had started out to be such a hard and grueling task had ended up being so much fun.
My body had responded and came through when I asked it to. You see, I had had a nice talk with my body the night before the race. I promised that if it would get me through those 50 miles that I would honor it and rest completely for two weeks. Nothing but stretching, walking and sleeping. I plan to keep my word and not run a step, which will be hard but also somewhat enjoyable.
The day after the race was Easter Sunday. We went on a family hike around where we live. Nothing too grueling. Just some easy walking with Vans and our six year old and three year old and TiggerT.
Now, two days later, I feel amazing. I am not sore at all. Nothing! My knee doesn’t feel “right” but my muscles feel great. I really focused on nutrition this time around too. I didn’t drink any alcohol for the month leading up to AR50. I watched my sugar intake and I ate really well race week too. During the race I tried to take a salt tab about every hour and monitored my water intake too.
Now, with this race behind me, I am looking forward to running for fun. Vans asked that I not run AR again for a bit as it always falls during the Easter holiday making it hard on our family and I can understand that. Some day though, I will return.
But for now, I am content to get back on the trails when the time is right and to run with Pigeon, Stonegate and Burning Girl all of whom are training for the Tahoe Rim Trail races (Pigeon is doing the 100 miler and the other two are doing the 55K). Their training plans and runs will be vastly different so I will get a mix of everything.
I have a few “paid for” training runs on the calendar and only one race in late June (a marathon while on vacation). All of these are low pressure runs. Even the marathon is purely an effort to keep my mileage up while on vacation so that I can pace Pigeon in Tahoe in July.
I look forward to just running for me. Running for fun. Running to help someone else. Having lost that love and spark in the early part of AR really unnerved me. I generally love the first half of that race. However, I am glad that I finally found it and that it carried me to the finish line with a smile.
Happy New Year everyone! It is hard to believe that 2015 is already upon us and that 2014 is over. I, for one, am looking forward to a new year. Not that 2014 was terrible, I just felt like it wasn’t really a memorable year. Running wise I guess it was. I ran Way Too Cool 50k, The American River 50 Miler, Miners Revenge Marathon,Â Mt. Tam 50K and CIM and quite a handful of other neat races. I survived the year with no injuries which for any runner, pretty much means it was a successful year.
Still, I want different things for 2015. While I don’t typically list out new year resolutions, I do have some internal goals and aspirations in my mind and heart. This year, they are not running focused. I have a few races on the calendar but running wise, I am looking forward to just sitting back and enjoying the trails while maintaining a solid base so that I can pace Pigeon later this summer on her next 100 mile race.
Although 2015 did start off on a sour note running wise for me. New Years Day I met Pigeon for what was supposed to be an easy 10 mile run. What could happen? Apparently, a lot. 🙂
Within 5 minutes of starting our run my toe caught a rock and I went flying. I thought I was going to be able to correct myself and avoid a very rocky tumble, but my hand got cut on a rock and it pretty much weakened my support and down I went. I tumbled pretty hard and almost fell off a little cliff on the trail. The ground was frozen solid since it was still early so the impact was pretty harsh on my legs and right side. Pigeon and I started cracking up instantly. She did ask if I was okay. But overall, we laughed for probably the next 20 minutes replaying the fall in our heads.
The rest of the run was pretty humorous too. At one point I heard something falling from the trees above. I thought for sure it was a tree coming down on my head (we just had a big storm that had weakened a lot of trees). I stopped and started screaming with my hands on my head. Pigeon started screaming “what?! what?!” as she turned around to see what the heck was going on with me.
When I looked up to see if the tree was still coming down, I saw a squirrel jumping from branch to branch. That little bugger! “Oh, it’s just a squirrel.” I said. Cue laughter.
Needles to say, with my legs gushing blood, an uneasy tummy and very muddy conditions this was a tough run for me. Happy New Years Day!
For days after that run, I was quite sore. More sore than I have been after any race. The cuts on my knees are deep and require being covered by bandages constantly as they keep, oozing and leaking (sorry – too much sharing?). Still, I agreed to meet Pigeon for a 14 mile run two days later.
Hobbling out of my car, I was thinking I was ready to run. In reality, it probably took me about two miles before I even felt nearly comfortable. It took the first 7 miles (aka our turn around) before I didn’t feel pain every time I took a step. Mind you, not the type of pain that is serious, more the dried up stretched out skin kind of pain (again, too much sharing?).
We saw a family of deer on our run. We ran through mud and puddles. It was so awesome and it was NOT technical at all which is exactly what my body needed.
We ran, we talked and we took a lot of photos. I don’t have much to write about other than what you see in the photo. It was a beautifully chilly day. We ran into a duathlon happening along the trails but it didn’t inhibit our run much at all. We even cheered for some of the runners along the way.
Back in the day, Pigeon and I used to joke around with all my photo taking during a run. We used to pretend that we were posing for the JC Penny catalog. If you have no idea what the JC Penny catalog is, than you are WAY younger than me. 🙂 Just know that the photos in it were hilarious and painfully forced.
We only had to run 7 miles out before we turned around but in that last mile, I have to say, a lot happened. As we were running, Pigeon yelled out “There’s a hoe” … and clearly she meant it.
That was kind of odd to find sitting along side a trail, but later we realized why it was there. Someone is building some off shoot trails that lead down to the lake and this “hoe” which I think they feel is hidden, is helping them.
At our turn around spot, Pigeon and I had a little fun with the camera trying to get some decent shots. These are the kinds of runs I enjoy where we can laugh, have a little fun and still run pretty hard.
I think our action shots look pretty nice no? 🙂 We are just plain silly sometimes out there. If you can’t have fun, what can you do?
Our mileage back was at a pretty good pace. We did have some photos stops along the way which kind of make me laugh.
Pigeon kept asking me if I had seen the stripper pole on our way out. I had to ask her what she said, because I thought for a minute she said stripper pole. Oh wait, she did. So on our way back she made sure to point out this “pole” to me.
Clearly I was not nor have I ever been, nor will I ever BE a stripper as that photo above is about as stripper as I can get. Seriously, why is that pole even out on the trail!?
Soon we came to the overlook spot again and we paused, as we always do to enjoy the view, have some fuel and just well, take in an unexpected selfie.
Our mileage back was pretty fast. We had some good clips of just running hard with very little walking. We both agreed these types of runs are great confidence boosters. Both of us has had some hard runs the last two times we ran together, so we needed this good boost of running strong (even if it was flat) to reinforce that we are in shape.
In case you are wondering, she made it across the above puddle. We both did. Neither one of us felt like getting wet on this run so we skilled ourselves at getting clever at jumping and dancing around these types of puddles. It was pretty funny too.
Overall, we accomplished 14 miles. It felt good to bust out a decent 14 mile run despite the aches I’ve had lately. I still can’t move much let alone bend a knee and kneel on something, but run? That I can do. These cuts that I have are pretty deep and with the cold weather, it is hard to wear anything but long pants which requires a band-aid so as not to ruin any more of my favorite jeans. 🙂
However, I can’t complain. It has been a pretty good start to 2015. I am almost done with my Rouxbe Plant Based Cooking course which I am quite excited about.
It has taken a lot of hard work and a lot of my time to manage this course. I am excited by what I have learned. It has also made me realize a few things about cooking and cooking for people, that I would like to improve upon.
The girls are having a blast during their break from school. Too much in fact. A lot of bike riding has happened lately.
Not to mention, quite a few trips to the park where the Peanut is excelling at doing the monkey bars.
It really has been a great end of 2014 and a wonderful start to 2015. I am really hoping to manage a lot this coming year but in an entirely different way. 2014 had a lot of saying ‘yes’ in it despite what that meant or what affect it would have on my family. 2015, I am hoping will be a bit different. Let’s see where this crazy year will take me.
What New Year resolutions do you have? Â Please feel free to share in the comments. I am curious. 🙂
Vans was in Whistler, Canada for six days last week leaving me with the girls for our own little week of adventure.
Not to worry though as we didn’t waste any time getting our own little party started …
The girls understood that Daddy was away doing a bike race at our friends house in another country and that we had to continue on our usual routine as best we could without him. For me, that meant no more morning or weekend runs with the usual girls or using soccer practice as a time to do some of my Rouxbe cooking assignments.
The running part was an adjustment, but luckily I work for a company that provides showers and a locker room so I took my running outside a few days week during my lunch hour. The distance is only four miles and there is only about 9 feet of elevation (picture a completely flat bike trail and business park) so instead, I motivated myself to start running faster.
I was able to maintain an average pace ofÂ about 7:37/mile each day thatÂ I ran on my lunch break. The temps were in the 90s too so it was pretty hot when all was said and done but it was a nice stress reliever which I have needed since work is growing more and more insane lately. Â I have also been using my standup desk more and taking the six flights of stairs at the office. I keep reading articles about how sitting is slowly killing us by raising ourÂ triglycerides and insulin levels and that a mere 30 minutes of activity doesn’t do squat to combat the damage. I commute at least two hours each day to work, I sit at a desk all day long most days and when I come home, I am sitting with the Peanut doing homework. I know it may seem like I am on the go all the time but the reality of it is, I do spend a lot of time in a chair. Think about yourself. How much time do you sit in a car, a chair, at a desk or on a couch? Really think about it. The number may surprise you.
I also recently have been diving more and more into my favorite type of cooking. The online cooking course I am taking through Rouxbe is great but it is your basic plant-based cooking style using things like coconut oils and cashews to create rich and fulfilling meals. My family history of severe heart disease and heart attacks really makes it hard for me to eat that way all the time. I truly believe in the work behind Dr. Esselstyn and when I finally received his wife and daughter’s cookbook, Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, I have been on an plant-power cooking adventure!
Rouxbe does have a unit on oil-free cooking and I am eagerly waiting to get there so I can learn even more tips and tricks to cooking fantastic plant-based meals without oils or nuts.
It is really important for me to try and maintain a healthy heart (as it should be for everyone). I don’t need to share the statistics that prove Americans are getting more and more unhealthy and are more and more reliant on pharmaceuticals to try and “fix” their ailments. Drugs do not reverse anything. They are only a band-aid which is why I love Dr. Esselstyn’s message. He’s a doctor, a cardiologist and is first line of defense for any of his patients is to avoid medication and put them on a plant-based oil and nut free way of living. Not a diet, a way of life.
I know I know, so many of you are probably thinking “What?! You already do not eat gluten and meat, what on earth are you going to eat now if you leave out oil and nuts?!” It isn’t that difficult to cook oil free. Oil has no nutritional value to it what so ever. It is pure fat and can do massive damage to the endothelium, the innermost lining of the artery. Nuts will be a little harder as I do love almond butter. What Dr. EsselstynÂ and his crew (including his son Rip who is the founder and drive behind Engine 2) say, is that if you do not have a history of heart disease that 100% avoiding nuts and fats like avocado isn’t AS crucial.
I should preface this by saying I am TRYING to be better about living this way. In the years before Vans and the girls, my diet was very much low fat and nut freeÂ and I truly felt my healthiest (minus that gluten thing). However running and training for ultra races also presents various problems when you are maxing out high mileage on a weekly basis. In fact, my usual pre-race breakfast is a bar that contains a lot of nuts! What to do?
When asked about “moderation” Dr. Esselstyn’s response is generally, “if you eat unhealthy foodsÂ in moderation, you will have a moderate heart attack.” It makes sense. I am just trying to get the hang of it all. Eating this way and being active is doable. Rip EsselstynÂ is a former professional triathlete and firefighter who ate this way during his training days. It can be done. We shall see where this road takes me.
In other healthy news, the Peanut had another soccer game this weekend wherein she played goalie during the first half. One goal made it past her but her team soon rose to the challenge and returned the goal and many more.
It was a pretty grueling weekend. The temperature was in the 100s both Saturday and Sunday. Saturday started early with soccer photos for every single team in the league!
We had the soccer photos at 9 am (and it was scorching already) followed by a game at 11:00 am. Come noontime, everyone was fried and exhausted. Since I wasn’t able to run on Saturday due to all the soccer activities, I planned a run with Stonegate, Burning Girl and PigeonÂ for early Sunday morning. I haven’t seen Pigeon in quite some time so I was totally stoked when she said she could run with us!
Pigeon arrived at my house promptly at 6 am and we ran ourselves down to the trail head to meet Stonegate and Burning Girl. The sun had just come up and Pigeon and I were catching up on some lost time and laughs. I love how we can always pick up wherever we left off.
We headed out on New York Creek looking to do about 16 miles for the day. My house is about a half mile from the trail head so that added an additional mile for us. Right off the bat my legs felt a little tired but they soon came back to life for a short while. The run out is always nice. It is somewhat downhill and we’re usually super excited and chat the whole way. By the time we passed Spanish House over by Folsom Lake the conversations were starting to slow. I felt like I had a bowling ball in my tummy for a while but it luckily subsided after I ate some food and took a salt tab.
The trails are a bit technical on this side of the lake compared to the route I normally go but it was a nice change of pace and it had some real nice rolling hills that we’d run and occasionally walk. Poor Pigeon had run 26 miles on Friday, 15 on Saturday and was sticking with us on our 16 mile run today. Her legs were beat but she was able to hang with us.
We chattedÂ and shared stories. The girls laughed endlessly at my fear of birds and Stonegate is longing for the day when a turkey crosses my path on the trails. I am sure she will have her day one of these days especially as we approach Thanksgiving.
Even though we started running at 6:30 am you could feel the heatÂ coming. The air was thickÂ on our route back and we were reduced to walking a bit more. We also encountered a million mountain bikers on the trail having a few close calls with some head on collisions.
Overall it felt good to be back out running some distance on the trails. I definitely feel the absence and I hope that I can rebuild the stamina I once had when it comes to running longer. I am also looking forward to the next two weekends coming up. Lots of adventures are ahead quite a few of them will be in Tahoe!
Meanwhile, I will be back in the kitchen cooking for Rouxbe as well as trying to incorporate some of my own plant-based meals ala Esselstyn style.