My mind has had waves of going a million miles a minute one second and then completely zoned out the next. We took a family trip to Disneyland a few weeks ago and up until that point, that trip consumed me. Planning, preparing and packing. It was a surprise for the kids so keeping it a secret required more energy than you realize.
But once that trip was over, and we had walked 8 miles every day for 3 days in a row, I felt … exhausted! Then, the head games started. “You can’t run anymore!” “You haven’t been running.” “Your last training run felt like hell.” You know those thoughts that tend to creep in when you least expect it? Yea, I had those.
Then I paced at AR and felt pretty amazing which is prompting me to keep my training going as is but I also want to change things up just a bit. I have a pretty odd week ahead of me in that I have a race on Sunday that I am treating 100% as a training run. It has a lot of elevation to it. I have been on these exact trails before, they are not easy, by any stretch which in theory is great preparation for my “A” race in May but I also don’t want to push too hard and end up having to rest longer than I truly want to.
I’ve also been experimenting with home-made plant-based fuel a bit and I plan to try it out at my race (you know, the one that is not a race), this weekend.
I purchased these cool reusable pouches to create my own fuel. They are larger than I anticipated but that’s good because I want to be able to consume more plant-based calories with each serving.
It may be dangerous to try these this coming weekend but I honestly don’t have any other chances. I spent a night creating a mixture of flours and other odds and ends, to fill 3 of the pouches with. This round was a bit more savory and not quite sweet. Not sure if I will bring all 3 with me this weekend but if they are a success, I will write about it my race report. If they are not a success, I will also write about it. 🙂
These can also be used to fill with smoothies or puddings for kids which I also plan to try and do since the box they came in included six pouches. They are freezer and dishwasher safe and BPA free. It has been kind of fun experimenting and calorie counting.
I also went for a nice solo workout run on Monday by myself just to get into my head and to also test my fitness a bit. Monday was gorgeous and the trail that leaves behind my house is one that I haven’t been on lately since I usually run so early in the morning. I couldn’t help but stop and take photos.
This trail leads you to a road that then leads you to another trail where I can do some solid hill repeats and also see some amazing views.
And one of my favorite trees lives here.
I ran/hiked up and down the hill and even did a heart rate test to gauge my fitness level. I was happy with the results. Even though my weekly mileage has been down this week, I ran long on Saturday and I will be running long again this weekend. I am not one of those runners who has to run every single day pushing myself beyond what my body really wants or needs. I have faith in my muscle memory and my body and I truly believe that if you treat your body well, it serves you well in return.
I saw a quote on social media recently that said, “Look after your body, or you’ll have nowhere to live.” That sentence could not ring more true and I think a lot of ultra runners (and road runners) should take this advice to heart more often.
California has been in a drought since last winter. We haven’t seen much rain in a very long time. Yesterday however, we had a “storm” according to the local news. A big “storm” was on its way. I didn’t see much action during the day in terms of rain but last night, the wind was howling outside our windows. I thought for sure a tree would be crashing down at any moment (no rain means thirsty and weak trees everywhere). I could hear the massive rain drops pelting or roof and windows. I woke up once because Squeaker was up. Poor kid had a run in with her face and the pavement while riding her bike Friday afternoon and the pavement won big time. 🙁
Luckily she did not knock out any teeth but she did crack her root and shredded her upper lip and the inside of her gum (yes, ouch). One emergency trip to the dentist on Friday night and then we were good to go.
After I got her comfortable in bed again, I just laid there listening to the rain.
I kept thinking how our Saturday run, if it was in this same monsoon, would be brutal. We have been spoiled running wise by some glorious weather during the winter months. Yes we need rain, but we also like staying dry when it comes to running super long distances. I haven’t had to run in serious rain since 2010! You can read how those runs go by reading this throw back post here.
When I woke up this morning however, I didn’t hear any rain drops. I had my gear packed so I just grabbed my usual clothes and headed to the kitchen to pack my hydration pack and wait for Pigeon to get to my house.
We picked up Stonegate and headed to Salmon Falls. The sky looked gorgeous. No real rain in sight. We had high mileage planned for the day and had changed our plans last-minute as to where we would start which in hind sight was a great idea.
When we arrived at the parking lot it was as if a party was going on. Cars upon cars started to arrive after us. We wanted to beat the crowd so we jumped out of the car, threw on our packs and hit the trails.
You essentially start off running uphill on a very rocky switch back trail. It really gets the blood pumping and lungs pounding. For me, this section never seems to get any easier.
As usual, we had lots to talk about. I had a few things to share and rant about (that’s what running is all about right?) and I appreciate the sounding board and advice that Stonegate and Pigeon had to give. That’s what friends are for in the grand scheme of things.
We ran all the way to Cronin Ranch which is where the Salmon Falls 50k will start come race morning (psst! there is still time to register!).
We turned around and figured out where the race will probably have us go (knowing Coach Nikon) and followed those trails back to the movie set lot. Our mileage didn’t quite add up so we ran a couple of loops by the river past 5 million porta-pottys (man there are a lot out there).
The ground was incredibly muddy but there was no rain. We saw some crazy animal tracks out there. Most of which we were assuming were deer based on the marks.
After our loops we still did not have a enough miles but decided to head back anyway and maybe head across the road for the additional miles that we needed.
The way back was pretty interesting. We ran into the group that had been gathering in the parking lot. They were only going 17 miles so they were on their way back to their cars. They were running in various packs. The trails on some sections are single track and not quite wide enough to pass.
So the three of us collectively agreed to surge ahead at various points even it if it meant running up a big hill just to position ourselves ahead of the group. Then it became very much of a game to try to stay ahead of this group.
Overall I was feeling well again. I did not have my magic cookies that I have been carrying lately because I didn’t have time to make them the night before and I wanted to give myself a break. Instead, I packed some potatoes and salt and that really hit the spot a few times in addition to the other snacks I brought along.
My legs had energy. My lungs not as much at times but that was probably due to my excessive talking on our way out. I had a lot to say and it really was quite draining to get it all out not to mention the internal toll it took on me.
On the way back though, I just felt good. At one point, Pigeon offered me one of her skittles and I didn’t really hear her as we were approaching a hill and I just felt like motoring up it. Then I heard “Fine! No skittles for you.” 🙂
Stonegate grabbed onto my surge and followed me up the hill. We were motoring our way back to the car.
When we got to the car, we decided that was good enough. None of us felt like continuing on. I felt that I could have run more but I was also content to stop right there. As soon as we put on our flip-flops and changed out of our wet clothes, the other runners were starting to trickle in. The lead guy (I guess their coach?) had them running laps in the parking lot to make up the mileage. We kind of chuckled at this. We would have had to run a lot of laps!
We were kind of smiling about this when all of a sudden the skies opened up and the rain came pelting down in giant drops! It was almost instant! We all hopped into the car and laughed that we had ended the run at the most perfect time. Whew!
We drove home in a complete monsoon. It was so that bad I could barely see the road at times. Wow, we really lucked out on our run!
Next week the group is breaking up a bit due the holiday weekend Stonegate is off on her own and Pigeon and I will be running together. I am looking forward to it actually.
I rounded the weekend out by taking the Peanut to a roller skating party on Sunday. I roller-skated with TiggerT for 3 hours straight! My legs felt great! I have been very impressed with my recovery of late. Sure other runners go out for a shake out run after a long mileage day. Me? Nah, I go roller skating! The Peanut has improved tremendously and was skating solo which meant that I had more time to skate with TiggerT and have some good old fashion flashback to the 80s fun! 🙂
That was truly the best ending to what previously was a pretty horrible week for me. Squeaker is healing well. The swelling is down considerably and she is able to eat without too much pain. She’s a trooper too and was back on her bike the very next day! Gotta love that kid!
I hope all of you had a wonderful weekend too. The rain is here to stay for a few more days.
ALL trail photos are compliments of Stonegate! Thanks Girl!
PS: This has not been proof read or edited so sorry for all the typos.
It has been a while since I last blogged. As many of you can relate, tis the season for many things! With my Rouxbe Cooking School nearing completion, the holidays, runningÂ CIM and just well working full-time and having two wonderful kids, my life is a little crazed at the moment.
That is not to say that I have not been running. I have had some great runs the last few weeks with some pretty awesome people.
Two weeks ago, I ran with Pigeon for the first time in what has probably been months. Truly. We met and drove to Auburn and ran 14 miles on some familiar trails. It was a glorious run and then we did something new. We stopped and had a cup of tea together before each going our separate ways. It was the perfect way to recap on our lives and get back into the swing of running together. Pigeon will be running the Salmon Falls 50K come February as well as embarking on her own personal ultra called parenthood. 🙂
This past weekend, I had the privilege of running with Stonegate. Burning Girl was called into work unfortunately so Stonegate and I decided to head over to Salmon Falls and run our 16 miles in our own hood. The last time I ran this same trail, I rolled my ankle and ended up at the hospital. I am pleased to say that no crazy things happened on this run other than some laughing, good conversation and the fact that we were in awe of the beauty surrounding us. This is going to be one amazing race. The views are outstanding!
Running on those trails today really got me excited for February’s race. There is a lot of training to be had before then but this little jaunt brought back some of my missing mojo. I’ve been sucked into the holiday vortex complete with cold temps and large quantities of food and wine which makes for very low mojo when it comes time to hit the trails.
These last few runs have definitely helped combat that and are hopefully getting me back into the swing of things.
Overall, the holidays were a hit at the Trailmomma house. The girls both were “good” this year and Santa was kind. They are at that wonderful age still where everything is so magical and you can’t help but believe in it yourself.
Happy holidays and Happy New Year to all my “faithful” readers – even those that don’t comment 😉 Comments are like presents to me. 🙂
We agreed (me, begrudgingly) to meet at 6:45 somewhere in the middle and carpool ourselves to ADO (Auburn Damn Overlook). It was the day after the Fourth of July! Granted, we (meaning me), did most of our celebrating early in the day and on the evening of the 3rd of July, but I wanted a few more minutes of sleep. Luckily, Pigeon let me sleep a few extra minutes and pushed our run back (she originally wanted to be IN Auburn and running right at 6:45 am).
When we got to Auburn, we hopped out of the car and pretty much just took off. I wore my Ultimate Direction Jenny Vesta because the past few weekends I have been testing out how I want to use it when I am pacing Pigeon in two weeks. I think I have decided on a plan of attack. I’ll use the hydration bladder and one bottle (jug) to allow myself some extra storage room.
Almost immediately into our run we hear something off to the side and not 5 feet from us are a couple of beautiful deer having some breakfast. I just knew it was going to be one of those days on the trail. The kind of day where it is just gorgeous out and I find myself smiling from ear to ear no matter what.
The first couple of miles Pigeon and I talked, a lot. We talked about the recent happenings in our lives and also about TRT and what lies ahead for her.
The trail was dry and very dusty. When we approached the first “stream” crossing waterfall or watering hole, (however you want to describe it), Pigeon immediately got down and doused her bandana to wear around her neck. Even at 7 am, the temps were getting pretty warm. This SHOULD have been an indication or warning to us that the day would be a hot one, but we both sort of just shook it off and kept running.
We ran down towards No Hands Bridge, across and up towards K2. I knew where we were going without even having to say it. I didn’t mind. There is a porta potty at the end of No Hands so I decided that was the perfect time for a quick break.
The climb up K2 felt pretty effortless for both of us. We’d climb, talk and stop on occasion but for the most part we hiked pretty solidly all the way up.
I was pretty excited that I was feeling really well. I had some tummy troubles in the beginning but I always have tummy troubles. Once that subsides, I am generally a happy camper.
Pigeon always tests me out on the trails. She’ll ask me ‘which way’ at every turn or corner. She knows that I am generally looking down (trying not to fall) instead of watching where we are running. I think I can safely say, that I can park at ADO and run to No Hands, across and up K2 and possibly even the full loop without getting lost.
Which is kind of funny because if I park at the Cool fire station and you ask me to run to No Hands, I’d probably get us lost. 🙂
As we were coming to the point in our run where we could go back down towards No Hands or go straight and head to the Cool fire station we decided to hit the fire station. In my head I was thinking porta potty.
When we reached the parking lot though we both took some fuel and just stood there. We emptied our trash in the bin and pretty much just turned around and headed back out on the trail. We knew there was fresh water at the fire house but neither one of us thought to stop and fill up our packs. We thought we’d be fine with what we had (aaaah, hind sight IS 20/20).
When we reached No Hands Bridge again, Pigeon turned to me in the dead sun and said, “So I completely underestimated how hot it would be today. I have very little water left. This is going to be a long hike back.” I also felt like I didn’t have much water in my pack, but I also hardly use my hydration bladder, normally relying on my water bottles up front.
It was warming up pretty intensely on our way back and the trail was getting pretty crowded with hikers, runners and horseback riders.
Our pace was slowing considerably as we hiked more than we ran. At times, it felt like we were running from shaded section to shaded section. Finally, Pigeon tells me that her pack is completely empty. So I take off mine and I pull out my hydration bladder and realize that it was still pretty fully and I happily poured half of my water into her pack. Another runner was passing us as we were doing this and asked if we were good on water.
Off we went. This time, I knew that when we approached that waterfall, that I too was going to dunk my bandana in and rinse myself off a bit. I was sweating a lot. As we ran down the hill approaching the waterfall, we noticed that it was pretty crowded. It was full of hikers who clearly looked like they had taken on an adventure without realizing how hot it was outside. Many of them were sitting IN the waterfall.
Pigeon and I ran up, not really noticing too much and just squatted down in the water and took off our bandanas. We rinsed our faces, necks and arms. I looked up and I realized that everyone in the waterfall was glaring at us like we were some wild animals in a zoo who had approached them and were going about our natural course of wild life business.
I wanted to pull out my camera SO bad and take a photo but I didn’t. As we climbed out of the water and back onto the trail, quite a few more hikers were splattered around the trail. I turned to Pigeon and said, “Did you feel like you were an animal in the zoo back there with everyone sort of just staring at us as we cooled off?” She looked at me and busted up laughing, “Yes!” she said.
For the life of us, we couldn’t stop laughing about what had just transpired which for me, made the remaining sweltering miles, fly by a little faster.
When we finally reached the horse staging area, we decided to head straight for the canal. We were pretty overheated at this point and our nice little 15 mile run that should have taken us 3 hours or less, had taken us over 3.5 hours.
I have talked about the canal before but I am not sure I have ever posted a photo of it. To many non runners, this probably seems pretty gross …
For trail runners however, the canal is the perfect place to cool off during the hot summer months and in the cold winter months, it provides an amazing full body ice bath for recovery.
I am incredibly excited for TRT in two weeks. For starters, Be-Well-Run is flying all the way from Whistler Canada to help myself, Missouri and a few others crew for Pigeon. I love when she comes to visit. Second, just being in Tahoe for TRT is probably one of the most exciting times for a runner. I have crewed for Pigeon a few times (you can read about them by clicking here (2010) and here (2012)Â and here (2013)Â ). Â In 2011 I skipped but I had an excuse (Squeaker was only about a month old), but Pigeon ran the TRT 50K in 2011 as well, read about that here.
I truly believe Pigeon is ready. Not only is her training spot on, but her mind is in the game. Not that her mind wasn’t in the game before, but I think having experienced this race at the 100 mile distance once before, has put her in a whole new realm of readiness.
The support she has behind her as well, no matter the outcome, is beyond amazing. There is no denying the Pigeon that I met in 2010 is not the Pigeon I run and train with now just four years later. Some of that change comes from life experiences and some of it comes from her amazing and supportive wife Missouri. Most of it though, I think comes from Pigeon’s desire, drive, confidence and diligence in making sure she is 100% ready to conquer her goal. She is a goal driven runner. Someone I’d admire and feel lucky enough to call my running partner and friend.