Tag Archives: Folsom


This is the worst parade ever!” – That was by FAR my favorite sign on the course. 🙂

On Sunday I ran the 2016 California International Marathon (CIM). It was my 14th marathon to date, my 8th (full) CIM and the 10th year I have been part of the festivities.

Clearly there is something about this race that keeps me coming back year after year. Last year I “raced it” meaning I set out to try and get a specific time. Boy did THAT hurt (I PR’d but didn’t reach my race goal).

This year, I just set my sights on pacing my boss to the finish-line of his first ever marathon.

Boss at the race expo.
Boss at the race expo.

Last year when I came into work after having run CIM, my boss said, “I want to run CIM next year. I want to run a marathon before I turn 50. Do you think I could do it?” I told him he could absolutely do it so long as he trained.

So, he trained. Every so often, Boss, SS (another running coworker) and I would run mid-week on our lunch hour. SS and I would give him some pointers or tips. Tell him stories of our first marathon etc. Boss would listen, take our advice and continue training.

Boss, Me and another coworker
Boss, Me and SS

Finally race morning arrived and I could feel his excitement. Sometimes you forget your first marathon and just how excited, nervous, anxious, freaked-out you are.

Right before the gun went off.
Right before the gun went off.

We made our way to the start line. I vowed to stick with him the whole race as I had no goals or objectives. I was out there to see him finish.

SS left us to go find a spot higher up in a faster group. We situated ourselves with the 4:00 hour pace group. I knew deep down Boss would love a four hour (even a sub four hour) finish time. I was okay with that, albeit a bit nervous having not run much on pavement these last few months.

The gun went off and we took off at a respectable pace. We stayed right where we were supposed to be for a 4 hour finish. Then, we started speeding up.

Miles 3 through 8 were faster than I thought we should be doing but Boss kept saying he felt good. We were slightly ahead of the 4 hour pace group.

Miles 9 and 10 we were right back down where we should have been.

Mile 11 included a pit-stop at the porta-potties. We didn’t take too long but it was long enough to have the 4:00 hour and 4:08 hour pace groups pass.

I could sense a little disappointment from Boss. He even asked if I was going to try and “catch” them. I told him if he wanted to we could try or we could just run and see what happens. The latter is exactly what we did.

Miles 12 through 14 we were back to our usual pace.

Around mile 14.5 I asked him if he took that gel he grabbed a while back and he said that he had taken 2/3rds of it. Uh-oh. I could feel his energy depleting. He had stopped talking and joking with me too.

I handed him some jelly beans. At first he refused but then he ate them. He seemed to gain some energy after that, enough to be more talkative.

Miles 15 – 18 he slowed significantly. He would no longer run along side of me, he’d run behind me. We would often walk a bit. I gave him a gluten free peanut butter and jelly bar to have as well, hoping that he wasn’t too far in the hole to bounce back.

Prior to this he had been urging me to go on without him but I refused. To appease him, I told him that I’d get him to mile 20 and then we’d reassess and if he still wanted me to leave him, I would.

Mile 18.6 he pulled to the side and told me to go. He said he really wanted me to go on without him. He promised he wouldn’t quit. I handed him all the fuel I had left on me and I made him swear that he would eat all of it.

I left him. I felt badly doing so but sometimes I can understand wanting to be alone, in your own misery to get yourself out of it.

I surged on. I knew my family was at mile 20.

So happy to see my girls!
So happy to see my girls!

My pace quickened, Mile 20 was 8:19 (super excited to see my family!). I hugged my girls and Vans and kept moving.

You've gotta laugh and smile. Then you don't feel the pain.
You’ve gotta laugh and smile so you don’t feel the pain.

Mile 21- 8:45/mi

Mile 22 – 8:51/mi

Mile 23 – 8:41/mi

Mile 24 – 9:00/mi (the sharp turns from J Street to Alhambra then again to L Street)

Mile 25 – 8:56/mi

Mile 26 – 8:53/mi

I was doing my best to push and try to catch the 4 hour group but my body was not having it. It would give me a few good strides and then would feel as if I was running in quicksand. I had no fuel left and I ran out of water between miles 24 and 25 but refused to stop.

I was super happy to see the finish. I crossed the finish line in 4 hours and 6 minutes. I just could never quite catch that 4 hour pace group. 🙂

My favorite cheerleaders!
My favorite cheerleaders!

Once I finished I found my family and went in search of SS. We then heard from Boss that he was at mile 25 and walking in. Finally we saw him!

Running Boss into the finish!
Running Boss into the finish!

He seemed happy to see us because he started running so we joined him.

SS trying to take a running selfie.
SS trying to take a running selfie.

We made the sharp left turn towards the finish shoots and SS and I peeled off screaming Boss’s name the whole way! He had done it! He finished! His time was 4 hours and 50 minutes.

I am super proud of him. He followed through in his goal. He said he has a whole new appreciation for running and the distance. He doesn’t think he’ll sign up for another anytime soon but he’s super excited to have completed his very first marathon!

Three marathoners!
Three marathoners!

And I feel honored to have been there to witness it. Like I have been telling my coworkers all day, he put in all the work, I just tried to keep his mind off all the pain. 🙂

Happy Trails!


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This past Sunday I ran my 7th California International Marathon and my 11th marathon to date.

Last year when I ran this race (you can read that race report here), I decided that upon crossing the finish line that I wanted another shot at actually “running” this race and not just finishing (even though I ran the past few CIMs with TiggerT and had SO much fun while doing it). I had decided, that even though I am on the fence about ever running in Boston, I’d like to at least have the ability to say, “Why yes, I qualified!”

So when my trail season ended, I began running roads and started “lightly” following an old training plan that I had from years ago. I ran long on weekends all solo. I did speed work on Tuesday nights a few times a month with my old crew, the Buffalo Chips (man I missed that group and their workouts). I still ran with my morning crew but mostly on Thursdays.

In the beginning, I was hitting my pace marks and felt strong and then, things started to fizzle. Either I lost motivation to run or was dealing with a few issues that my aging body did not thoroughly embrace.

Either way, for the last two months, my running has slacked. I ran Clarksburg but even then I knew, that the outlook wasn’t as positive as it had been earlier in my training. For various reasons that I won’t list here, I found myself waking up between 3 and 4 times a night.

Bottom line, I wasn’t recovering and I wasn’t hitting my marks. Still, I had faith and was determined to give it my best shot.

Come race morning, Stonegate and Burning Girl arrived at my house at 5:30 ready to whisk me away to the start. Their jokes and laughter made me smile, I was ready.

I had some pre-race laughs at the starting line with the McBride crew who always make me laugh, no matter what. They are, to put it simply, real good people.

Soon it was time to find my pace group.  I needed to run the marathon in 3 hours and 40 minutes to qualify for Boston. My CIM personal best was 3 hours and 56 minutes ran in 2008 when the Peanut was 8 months old and I was about 15 pounds lighter and still full of prego hormones. That would have been a major hail mary of a PR to pull off. Yet, I am a way different runner now than I was in 2008.

I decided to run with the 3:40 pace group. When the race started it was a crowded madhouse. I haven’t run in such a tight knit elbow to elbow race in a very long time. It was a little unnerving and I got slightly pushed away from the pace group.

I didn’t panic as I knew it would eventually clear out. My pace group started off pretty darn quick though. Our first few miles were jockeying between our needed pace and a little bit faster –  8:16, 8;24, 8:10, 8:23, 8:11 went the first few miles. Our pace should have been 8:23 but I understand how it works and was hanging in there just fine.

Every so often it would dump massive buckets of rain on us and then stop. I completely over dressed for this race. I should have gone with my instinct but I didn’t.

Mile 7.5 we were passing an aid-station area with lots of spectators and they started blaring Bon Jovi’s Living on a Prayer and I just started smiling and rocking out. It was a sign for this Jersey girl and I let the music carry me.

Fast forward to mile 13, when my quads started cramping and I decided to let the pace group go. I always, ALWAYS carry a salt tab with me and I didn’t have a single one.

I hung in there running just behind the 3:40 group, closer to the 3:45 group until about mile 17 when I decided my quads were going to either seize or fall off. From that moment on, I let myself walk through the aid-stations. Just that small adjustment alone brought some life back into my legs.

I was still smiling mind you. I had decided not to beat myself up about it and to just keep running. What will be will be. I knew if I could get to mile 20, that I’d see Vans and my girls which would help a lot and if I could get to about mile 22 (I think) I would see my Oiselle Volee team and get another boost.

Hi girls!!!
Hi girls!!!

I pretty much walked here and gave them high-fives. It was Vans who said, “Ok, keep moving, get moving.” Thanks honey. 🙂

I saw and heard my Oiselle team cheering for me as I ran by in my singlet. That helped, a lot.

Running through downtown I tried my hardest not to look at the numbered street signs. I know how defeating that can be to not see them get smaller faster.

There were a few really SLOW moments in there between 23 and 26 where I just wanted to lay down and sleep. My quads were SCREAMING at me to stop. I just kept telling myself, “You can’t walk here. You can’t stop here! You have less than 2 miles to go!”

At one point, I said, forget this and starting pushing myself, hard … or at least it felt hard .. and then a wave of nausea hit me. I looked around and both sides of the street were lined 4 deep with people cheering us on. I thought, “Oh god, if I hurl here that would be really really bad!” 🙂

So, I slowed ever so slightly, enough to push the nausea away.

I crossed the finish line in 3 hours and 54 minutes. 2 minutes faster than my last “real” marathon and a sub 9 minute marathon. I know I have it in me to  run faster, I know it … I just need the motivation or the determination or perhaps maybe a coach to actually keep me more honest and more on track.


Overall, I am pleased with those stats. My quads had nothing left. I was a sweaty mess at the end because I dressed too warm and I haven’t quite figured out how to fuel in a road race yet compared to ultras where you have the time and the convenience of fully stocked aid-stations.

Depending on our plans in 2016, the chances of me running CIM 2016 are pretty darn high. I love this race. It is right in my back yard and I know it inside and out and yet the outcome is never quite the same. Road racing keeps you honest. It pushes you beyond limits you didn’t think were possible.

As much as I love and adore trails, the competitive part of me loves to challenge myself and try and exceed past attempts at things.

My whole family was there at the finish. My heart was full. My girls and Vans were in good spirits and the weather was great.

Post Race Family photo for once
Post Race Family photo for once

I was happy. No matter what my time was, I was happy. And that is all that matters.

Happy Trails!







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Another weekend another race. Yes, that makes the third weekend in a row that I have had race. I clearly didn’t plan my September recovery period out very well. 🙂

Saturday’s race was the Break Free | End Human Trafficking race in Folsom. They have a kid’s fun run, a 5k, a 10k and a 9.8 mile race. I have never done this race before but the story behind it intrigued me.

This is taken directly from the Break Free Run webpage:

Break Free Run was founded after a 17-year-old girl was taken from a sleepy suburb in Northern California and trafficked for eight days before she was found and rescued by the FBI. Together the mother of the teen, Vicki Zito, along with Ashlie Bryant, Stephanie Loos and Amy Johnson, founded Break Free Run.

As the mother of two very little girls, this scares me tremendously. This happened to a family in our own area! That sleepy little suburb is here. No bueno.

So, I signed the Peanut up for the kid’s run and myself up for the 9.8 mile race. Vans, Squeaker and our friend visiting from Canada were our cheering section.

Going into this race I admit, I was tired. My legs had not recovered completely from my Headlands Trail Marathon, followed by the Emerald Bay race and then some random hill repeats with Stonegate at a nearby hill in our hood the very next day. Needless to say, I was not running wisely but I was happy. 🙂

Peanut - new runner kid
Peanut – new runner kid

The Peanut rocked the kid’s run. She has come a long way in the running world. There was a time, not that long ago, where she was too shy to run any races and just wouldn’t do it. Now that she is a cross country runner for her school, she has a whole new mind set.

She raced to the starting line of the race leaving me in the dust. “Well, I guess she is all set to run solo,” I thought to myself. And run she did! It was not an easy course and it was truly a hot day.

Even little sister was stoked!
Even little sister was stoked!

Super proud of this kid. She is really beginning to think about things lately. She used to not have a care in the world about “effort” or even trying for that matter. Now, not only does she try, she cares.

While she was finishing, I was lining up for my race. The 9.8 mile race didn’t have nearly the same number of participants as the other distances. There was 114 signed up total.

Our start was delayed by a firetruck and an ambulance in our path. A patron had felt dizzy and so our start was pushed back. I took that moment to race to a porta potty which apparently, was mentioned over the loud speaker. 🙂 Vans said everyone was concerned when I raced through the start arch and off the course … the MC had to inform everyone that I was just using the restroom bwahahahaha! That is awesome.

Finally the raced started and I took off … and noticed that there were only two guys ahead of me. “Where IS everyone? Why is no one passing me?”

I figured at some point, the wave would come by and all the elite fast women would pass me … but that never happened.

At mile 1, the kids cheering yelled, “first female go!” Okay, so that’s no big deal, it is only the first mile surely the fast people are coming (that first mile was a 7:12 pace which IS fast for me).

Then, mile 2 happens and mile 3 – no one is passing me.  My brain starts churning … “Well, it is a small race, maybe there are no faster people? Could you? Really?”

Mile 4 and Mile 5 … still solo. Still pushing. Legs are feeling a little bit like jell-o at this point and my body is starting to revolt a little bit but I kept pushing.

Mile 6 I see up ahead that all three races converge on the trail. The 9.8 mile course had us running like lab rats all around the Folsom bike path … I was dizzy from doing the same loop a few times. But when we reached mile 6, I could see the 5k, 10k and the 9.8 mile races all converge onto one tiny little bike path portion.

It was then, that a bright pink shirt Fleet Feet girl passed me. Sigh. It was bound to happen. For a moment, I was holding onto the hope that she was a 10k runner but then she made the same right turn us longer distance runners had to make and I crumbled.

We hit a tiny incline and my legs just said, “let her go” … which I did but I kept her in my sights for as long as I could. She was running effortlessly … I felt like I was carrying a sack of potatoes.

Still, I kept 2nd female over all for another 2 miles … until I hear the pitter patter of female feet behind me. Sure enough, this cute gal goes bouncing by me and said, “only 1.8  miles to go! You got this.”

Ugh, how could I get mad at that! She was too sweet and well, I was quickly losing steam and fast. My pace had dropped from 7:30 to a few 8 … and there were some inclines to deal with as well as the scorching hot sun and no shade.

Third. I’d settle for third but deep down, I was elated that I had held onto that #1 spot for a long as I had. Never in my life, for a race longer than a 5k, has this happened. Very cool.

The sweet heart that passed me and encouraged me. Gotta love that.
The sweet heart that passed me and encouraged me. Gotta love that.

So the final outcome was 3rd female overall and 2nd place age group (the girl above was also in my age group).

Both girls that had passed me told me they had been chasing me the whole race. They clearly had more steam and a better pacing system then I had (which in translation means I have no pacing system).

Lots of photos
Lots of photos

It was a fun tough course. It was cool to have the Peanut there and Vans there as well. JD, our Canadian friend was super helpful in entertaining the kids and being photographer.

The flowers were from Vans since Saturday was also our 11th wedding anniversary. 🙂 Gotta race on our anniversary right?

The best part of the day was a nice little date night with Vans that included free babysitting from JD. Overall, it was  pretty awesome day.

Happy 11 year wedding anniversary Vans!
Happy 11 year wedding anniversary Vans!

Now, I need to recover. No more races in my future until mid October which is good. I need to get back into the swing of speed work and tempo runs again. My mileage on the road also needs to get bumped up. Hopefully that will happen this upcoming weekend.

Lots to think about … CIM is just around the corner!

Happy Trails!




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This past Sunday I ran my 6th CIM (California International Marathon) and my 8th marathon total. I didn’t blog much about CIM mainly because I had that OTHER big race I was thinking about and preparing for. Yet, CIM is one of those races that is near and dear to my heart.

It was my first ever marathon. It was the first marathon that I ever truly bonked and completely injured myself during the course of running it. When I was pregnant with the Peanut and couldn’t run the marathon, I ran the relay. It was also my first major run after my ankle surgery last year. It holds my marathon PR to this day and I just love that it is in my own back yard. Since my first year in 2004, I have only missed running it a handful of times.

With that said, last year somewhere between miles 40 and 50 on the American River 50 course, TiggerT said to me, “You need to run CIM with me again this year if I am pacing you during an ultra!” That seemed fair right? She paced me 10 miles and I was to pace her 26.2, ya, math is truly not my strongest asset.

Still, I adore TiggerT and I ran with her last year during CIM just 3 months after my surgery. Not the smartest move at the time, but it worked out for both of us. I got to see how I would hold up running that far and she had someone by her side.

Fast forward to just a few months ago when TiggerT tells me she hasn’t been running very much. She has this bum hip that has been screaming at her for quite a while and it seemed the closer that CIM came, the more it barked. She had not run longer than 8 miles in the months leading up to the race.

Lucky (or unlucky?) for her, she has quite a few friends that said, “Nah! You can do it! Heck, we’ll do it with you and we haven’t trained either!” Ya have to love runners.

I told her I was keeping my promise. I would be by her side helping her get to that finish line and LAUGHING most of the way too. She tried to push me away and tell me that I could go run it with all my heart and see what I could do time-wise. Besides the fact that I had no intention of dropping her, I have not run on pavement in over a YEAR. My tender little tootsies have been running on dirt trails for the better part of a year. Switching to pavement is a whole separate beast. Sure miles are miles to some, but for me (and my back and my feet and my knees) there is a significant difference between the two.

When CIM expo week arrived I started to get excited. CIM traverses through Folsom, Orangevale, Citrus Heights, Fair Oaks, Carmichael and Sacramento. It was founded in 1983 and was celebrating its 31st race this year. I was excited!

I missed the expo last year but made a point to go and get my bib this year and for fun, I brought Vans along with me. He loves a good expo (aka free snacks and goodies). We saw TiggerT while we were there and I saw quite a few ultra-buddies too. It is such an electric environment! I love it.

With my bib in hand, I felt ready. I knew I could cover the distance, I just wanted TiggerT to be able to do it too and I could see and sense the fear in her every time we’d talk. That uncertainty can really play with your head. Yet, she’s strong and she said that NOT starting, was NOT an option (yet she had no qualms about bowing out mid-race).

Sunday morning couldn’t come quick enough. The weather was predicted to be absolutely gorgeous albeit even a little warm for this time of year. Last year’s CIM was a massive ice festival with a max of like 30 degrees for the day! That’s cold for around here.

5:40 right on the button, TiggerT arrived in my driveway ready to take me to the start. She has run this race so many times (way more than I) that she has the starting ritual down to a science. We get dropped off at a gas station, we use their inside (warm) bathroom and then we hop on a bus that takes us to the start and drops us off in the thick of things. This year, the bus took a different route which did cause a mild case of “What the?!” from TiggerT and myself. Glad to see that we were both paying attention!

Another quick jump into the super long porta-potty lines and then TiggerT dropped her bag of warm clothes off in the truck. This year I didn’t bring anything. I wore a long sleeve t-shirt that I was willing to toss and it was warm enough for shorts (or a running skirt). I didn’t need gloves or anything like years past, it was great! I had one water bottle with me and I threw some fuel in the pocket of my skirt. Inside the bottle pouch I had some salt tabs. Something just nagged at me that morning to grab a couple salt tabs just in case it got too warm too fast.

We found TiggerT’s crew and we made our way up towards the start line. It was just a sea of runners. The excitement was overflowing. We listened to the most beautiful rendition of the National Anthem and then they started the wheelchair division first.

When they blew the horn we made our way shuffling with thousands of others past the starting arches. We were on our way. TiggerT started off at such a good pace I wasn’t sure what to do. She seemed okay. Maybe she was trying to warm up? I just went with it. She ran ahead of her friends and we soon lost them in the crowd behind us.

We had goals in mind. We knew that TiggerT’s wife would be a mile 5.5 and we knew quite a few of the people running that aid-station as well. Our goal, was get to mile 5.5! TiggerT seemed okay. Me, on the other hand, was starting to think about a pit stop. When we reached the 5.5 aid-station I told TiggerT that I needed to jump into the port-potty line. She joined me. I hate having to stop during a race like this. On the trails, I don’t seem to mind, in a road race, I get annoyed but it is what it is. In line I got to talk to Stonegate who was helping at the aid-station. She laughed when she saw me in line for the bathroom, “Shocker!” she said. It was here that I shed the long sleeve shirt I had in my hands.

With business out of the way we were off again. Prior to our stop we were running right next to the 4:35 pace group which was a bit surprising to me. Yet, TiggerT seemed okay at that pace. Of course when you stop you tend to stiffen up a bit. When we started on our way again, I noticed that TiggerT was a bit slower than before. Maybe she had noticed our pace finally! 🙂


At some point she reconnected with her friends but it was pretty brief. We lost them again as our pace just naturally seemed to be a bit faster. Our next goal was mile 8 ish where we’d see Pigeon, Missouri and the rest of the Fleet Feet crew.

We talked as we ran. We passed a man holding onto a leash. Of course I just thought it was a dog but then TiggerT turned to me and said, “That was a goat!!” I looked at her and I looked back but I couldn’t see anything, “Are you hallucinating?” I asked her. “No! I swear that was a goat!” We had a good laugh about that one for a few miles which was a nice distraction.

One of my favorite things during a marathon is to read the signs people hold up. Yes, I DO read them so all you spectators out there, KEEP THEM COMING! I love it. One of my mental goals during the marathon is to try and remember the funniest signs that I have seen along the way.

This year, my favorite sign appeared very early in the race yet this woman was a superhero and somehow magically positioned herself all.over.the.course! She was EVERYWHERE! I wish I had a photo of her sign, it wasn’t artistic at all, but the message had me cracking up every time I saw it. The sign read: Chuck Norris has never run a marathon! How funny is that!? There were countless others that made me smile like, Smile if you are not wearing underwear! and Run Now. Wine Later. I love it and appreciate it.

We were trucking along still moving when all of a sudden I see a boy holding a goat. I look at TiggerT, “That’s a goat!” I turn to the kid and said, “Hey man, nice goat.” He smiled and the woman next to him said “Goat-get em!” Which caused the cheesy side of TiggerT and I to crack up with laughter.

When we ran through Old Fair Oaks I saw chickens! I said, “Look chickens!” but TiggerT assured me they were behind the fence (thank goodness).


Somewhere past the half-way point I think, I started to feel the pavement in my feet and the tingling in my calves. They felt like they were on the verge of cramping. I took a salt tab hoping that would help.

The middle miles of this race are usually quite boring. They go through a section of the course that is more business than residential and usually that means a lot fewer spectators out there. Not this year! I have to say I didn’t have the middle mile dread! There were bands and people cheering and it was exciting! Such a difference and I hope it is one that sticks!

At some point in the race, we got to the point where TiggerT needed to walk every so often. At one point, she stopped to use the porta-potty and while she did I tried my hardest to stretch my calves out (they were still screaming at me).


I also ran into an ultra-friend who was running alongside a man dressed as Flash. Head to toe Flash complete with spray painted shoes, water bottle and fanny pack. It was awesome. Everyone would cheer him on as he passed. We ran with them for a bit while I was chatting with my friend who was running the marathon only to head into surgery on Wednesday. Amazing.


Closer and closer to the finish we ran. I was amazed at how quickly the miles were just flying by. It helps when you are running to SEE something, whether it is a friend or an aid-station where you know friends might be, having something there, really makes those miles fly by.

Oddly enough, running against the sea of runners was this guy in a speedo. It was pretty funny and he was quite boisterous cheering us on. He had sneakers and a speedo. The cop at the intersection cracked me up because he had this smirk on his face as if he was trying to decide if he should laugh at this guy or arrest him.

Down Fair Oaks Blvd., we ran and when we looked to our left we saw a man, holding two llamas. Yup. Llamas. TiggerT and I just looked at each other to make sure we were both seeing this. We were like, “Look! Llamas!” and the runner behind us said, “Oh thank god you see them too.”

We were quickly approaching Loehmans Plaza. This is roughly just past mile 20 in the race also my old neighborhood. Vans and the girls are generally here cheering us on (as well as hundreds of others). We jogged through the intersection and I couldn’t find Vans. I saw a line of cars and I thought to myself that they must have changed the way they routed traffic and he couldn’t get in (or was running late, or both). It was harder for him to gauge my time this year since we were unsure as to how TiggerT would feel during the race.

We did find TiggerT’s wife and we stopped to say hello. I think TiggerT even sat down for a minute! This would be the last we’d see of her as she was heading home and I was praying Vans would make it to the finish to pick us up.

Miles 20 to 26.2 are always interesting. They are heavily populated with spectators so it isn’t boring but it can be quite deceiving. It is here that you enter the number streets that lead you to the state Capitol. So if you are focusing on the numbers, you are mentally counting down in your head as you run however, the closer you get to downtown, the longer the blocks become so it really starts to mess with your head. I don’t think I looked at one street sign the entire time. I have learned my lesson.

It was on this section that TiggerT ran into quite a few friends and I finally met Jody who commented on my last blog post having run Mt. Tam too. Such a small world! The music on this section is always good too. They have DJs every few blocks. My only complaint is the instrumental band in front of the convention center… I get it, it is artistic but it is NOT motivating to listen to classical music at mile 25 of a marathon.

We were getting closer and closer. I could smell it. I kept wanting to pick up the pace but I was trying to be conscious of TigerT. I am a finish line girl. I know you are supposed to leave it all on the course when you race, but for some reason, I always find a reserve when I get near the finish line. It is in my nature to try and run fast the last mile no matter what.

I kept myself in check and instead focused on seeing my favorite guy at mile 25. Every single year I have run this race, there is this guy dressed like Jesus (wearing a robe and a wig and of course bright blue running shoes) standing ON the course holding a sign that says: THE END IS NEAR! I know he is there but it still to this day, makes me crack up. I love it!

We rounded the corner heading toward the finish line. I saw the number on the clock. It was my slowest marathon to date but I had smiled the whole day so I didn’t care. My goal was to get TiggerT to finish and I did. We crossed in under 5 hours and best of all, she felt (and feels) great! I was worried that this would push her hip over the edge pausing her running career for too long but she tells me days later, that she truly feels great. That makes me so happy.

TiggerT and I
TiggerT and I

I feel great as well. My calves were really starting to burn around mile 21. I recall taking another salt and I took an Aleve. I don’t like to take meds during a race but I was seriously on the verge or cramping up something terrible and I figured, why not, we’ll see what happens. As it turns out, the calf pain went away! Days later I feel great, no pain. I do need to foam roll my calves and quads still (I know I know).

As it turns out, a lot of people suffered from cramping on Sunday. We saw people lining the sides of the course trying to stretch their calves or hamstrings. I think the warm temperature really threw everyone for a loop. Vans and the girls made it to the finish area too which was really nice.


Overall, it was a good race. I look forward to a little recovery this week (not much) and then back at it for another trail race in late February and possibly another in April. After that, I may be taking a break from doing any races. There is a summer one on my radar if things work out but if not, no biggie.

Next year however, I want to train and run CIM for time. I think I finally have that PR bug again.

My CIM History to date:

CIM 2004 : First Marathon!

CIM 2005 : First major bonk & race injury

CIM 2006 : Ran the Relay (still injured from previous CIM)

CIM 2007 : Relay Team (ran two legs pregnant with Peanut)

CIM 2008 : PR race, Peanut was 8 months old

CIM 2009 : Missed a new PR by 3 seconds

CIM 2010 : Pregnant with Squeaker so I volunteered

CIM 2011 : DNS (Bronchitis & Squeaker was 6 months)

CIM 2012 : Brother’s Wedding

CIM 2013 : Ran with TiggerT, 3 months post ankle surgery

CIM 2014 : Ran with TiggerT

CIM 2015 : Yes, I already signed up and I may try and actually try to BQ (eeeek)


Happy Trails



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I must apologize. It used to be that I would go for  a run on a Saturday and then be super excited to come home and blog about it. Lately, either I have been running from one event to the next or I just haven’t had the time (or energy/motivation) to blog.

This past Saturday was the Coloma River Run (5k, 10k or 10 mile option). I signed up for the 10 mile option and was super excited as this was a big deal for Gold Country Run and Sport.

GCRS Booth
GCRS Booth

GCRS Girl and I arrived at the race at 7 am to set up the tent, booth and to pick up our race packets. This was a pretty small race in terms of set up. They didn’t have a specific place for us to put our tent so it was up to GCRS girl to pick a spot.

Once we were up and running, we picked up our race packets and started talking to those who came to the booth or were friends doing the race.

TiggerT was doing the race too and I knew she would be arriving soon. Sure enough she showed up with her smile although she did admit that something about this race was making her nervous. She couldn’t put her finger on it but she had not been running much trail (at least with these types of hills) in a few weeks.

I tried to assure her that she would be fine and I figured that the three of us (GCRS Girl, TiggerT and myself) would be running together most of the race. Everyone else that was associated with the store was doing the 10K option or had their heart set on a PR.

TiggerT, Me, GCRS Girl
TiggerT, Me, GCRS Girl

The race is really low-key and all 3 events started at the same time. There wasn’t much fanfare about it all, it was more or less “ready set go!” I’ve run this loop before with TiggerT quite a few years ago so this was the first time in a while that I had been out on these hills. The elevation is nothing compared to where I have been running lately but the hills go up forever and ever.

I have never run with GCRS Girl before so it was kind of fun to run with someone new. She’s a very strong runner and she was tackling the hills right off the bat. Me? I was content to stay with her but I wondered how long we’d continue at that pace with these hills.

At one point, the course divides and the 10k runners go in one direction and the 10 mile runners in another. When this happened, it definitely felt like we were the only 3 doing the 10 mile option as there were not many people around us.

Right on cue, we came to another long hill. GCRS Girl and I just powered up and we lost TiggerT. I knew she wouldn’t be far behind us.

Pigeon and TiggerT would probably say that I am a “talkative” runner. I can run in silence if that’s needed but I always just find something to chat about … as long as I know the person. I don’t go chatting it up with random people. 🙂 However, Pigeon and TiggerT are not overly chatty. GCRS Girl is just about as talkative on a run as I am! I’ve met my match. We pretty much talked nonstop for 10 miles straight!

So pretty!
So pretty!

At one point we were hiking up a climb and we hear the pitter patter of running feet behind us … TigerT!!! The first words out her mouth were, “Please don’t start running!” We all laughed and continued hiking up the hill … except when I said it was time to take a photo.

You run with me, you have to take photos.
You run with me, you have to take photos.

TiggerT would stay behind us and GCRS Girl and I would just run and hike and talk the remainder of the race. I learned a lot about her on this run! TiggerT told us that our chatting was keeping her going and she was content to just listen since GCRS Girl and I were huffing and puffing from trying to talk and run at the same time. Sneaky TiggerT! 🙂

I wore my Garmin but it was a deceptive course. I kept thinking we were much farther along mileage wise but when I would glance down at my watch, I would see that we were only at mile 5 or something!

We had to cross the same stream twice on this run and I had completely forgotten about that before the race. I christened my new trail shoes by running through a shin high stream and red clay mud. Awesome.

At least on the last mile we had to go through that same stream again so our shoes were washed clean. The three of us finished and for some odd reason, it felt like we were in last place! hahaha There was no one else behind us and it just felt like everyone else was already at the finish enjoying the raffle!

GCRS Girl and I crossed the finish line, posed for a photo …

Gold Country Run and Sport
Gold Country Run and Sport

… then we took off in the car as we both had to race back home to catch our kids mock swim meet.

Bye bye Coloma

The Peanut has been swimming since she was 2, almost 3 years old. When we moved into our home that has a pool, I was quite adamant that she learn to swim. We enrolled her in Steve Wallen Swim school where she took lessons for twice a week for over a year before moving her down to once a week.

This past winter, instead of lessons we did Steve’s Swim Clinic which is a 45 minute session where essentially all she did was swim lap after lap after lap. She handled that pretty well and Steve asked us if we were going to put her on a swim team. Vans and I had thought about it but didn’t know how the Peanut would fare. She’s very shy and she does not like being the center of attention ESPECIALLY when there is physical activity involved. However, she KNOWS how great a swimmer she is and she has confidence in herself when it comes to swimming so we decided to go for it.

swim clinic
swim clinic

We first signed her up for a swim team summer clinic so she could get to know the coaches and the pool (outside vs inside). It was hit or miss every practice with crying or not crying, participating or not participating.

Fast forward now to swim team, she’s familiar enough with the pool, the coaches and even some of the kids. Practices have been going well (minus a few days here and there).

Mock meet
Mock meet

When it was time for the mock swim meet, Vans and I thought for sure this would be the test of all tests for the Peanut. She had a team suit compliments of GCRS Girl (thank you!) so she looked the part compared to some other kids wearing just their every day suit. I think that made her feel more “on the team” if you know what I mean.

Her first heat was a 25 yard freestyle. When I told her it was only 25 yards, 1 lap of the pool she looked at me like I was bonkers! “That’s it?!” she said!

When her group was called she got on the starting block (I didn’t think 6 year olds started on the blocks). Swim meet starts are a bit different compared to anything else the Peanut is used to … first they blow a whistle, then someone counts down from 3 and then there is a buzzer and then the swimmers dive in.

Um, yea….neither Vans nor myself knew any of that and none of the coaches explained the starting process, let alone practiced it at any of the practices leading up the mock meet.

So when the whistle blew the Peanut jumped into the pool and with all her might started swimming down the lane. Someone had to jump in after her and of course it is terrifying having your leg grabbed when you think you are alone in the pool! It totally scared the Peanut and she started to cry. Vans was video taping. When the whole crowd saw that she had started sobbing there was a collective “awe!” throughout the crowd which caused the Peanut to cry even HARDER. She was mortified and could not be talked into swimming her lap. Needless to say, she was disqualified for that heat. 🙁

Watching and learning (now)
Watching and learning (now)

Vans and I both apologized to her and explained that we had no idea. I even told her that I would have jumped too! That seemed to make her happy. Vans practiced the starting sequence with her over and over as we had some time before she was supposed to swim again (a 25 yard backstroke). She was quiet most of the afternoon so I was worried.

Finding her courage
Finding her courage

When they called her group over to the ready bench to line up and head to their lanes, she followed. When she got to her lane I saw her standing and staring at the pool. Luckily in this heat, there were others who went first. I saw her watching. For backstroke, you start in the pool holding onto this board. She’d never done that before either.

waiting at the ready bench
waiting at the ready bench

The smart girl that she is, she watched every heat before her closely. When it was her turn, she got into the pool and grabbed the board. Whistle, 3, 2, 1 buzzer! She was off! The Peanut’s favorite stroke is the back stroke and she was swimming straight down the middle of the pool! She was moving at a pretty good pace and she looked beautiful doing it.

lane 6 backstroke
lane 6 backstroke

Towards the end, she veered off course just a bit and then saw the flags above and over estimated the distance between the flags and the wall. She stopped using her arms and just started kicking as fast as she could. She turned and touched the timing mat just as we had told her to do. She had done it! She swam her first swim meet lap! She hopped out of the pool with a huge smile on her face. High fives were given and I could see the energy racing through her veins. The Peanut may not be athletic but she can swim and is only getting better. I am so proud of my girl.

Our swimmer
Our swimmer

With the confidence of her swim meet still coursing through her veins, Vans decided to throw a bike race into the mix! Sunday he took the girls to Folsom where they raced their little bikes. Some struggles were had (a broken chain for the Peanut and a wipe out by Squeaker) but they both finished and received their ribbons.

Biking in tutus
Biking in tutus



I am beyond proud of my girls. In my last post, I talked about fear and both of my girls conquered their fears this past weekend. They both tried something new (to them) for the first time and they succeeded.

As my good friend, Sally Edwards says:

When was the last time you tried something for the first time?


Happy Trails!



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