Tag Archives: Way Too Cool

THE FINAL COUNT DOWN

Why hello 1986
Why hello 1986

(Photo Credit)

Okay, not THAT final countdown but man, what a great song. The perfect pre-race song actually and quite fitting since this is the final week before the American River 50 Mile race.

Of course I have a lot of other things going on this week at work, with the family but AR50 has been in the back of my mind for the last two weeks of my taper. Never quite in the forefront but definitely there lingering, playing around in my head.

I haven’t felt much like blogging this past week (as you can tell) but a lot has happened throughout the week. Vans had his big Gold County Fondo (68 miles) riding with George Hincapie!

Prerace
Prerace

The ride was pretty ideal as it started and ended in Towne Center which is super close to our house. George was there too signing autographs and riding along with the other riders. The only problem was the weather. The above photo was taken before the monsoon started. Poor Vans, he spent 4 out of his 5 hours riding in a torrential down pour soaked straight through to the core.

The "ultra" couple
The “ultra” couple

He finished though! The girls and I joined forces with TiggerT and followed Vans around before we headed to the mile 45 aid-station to lend a hand. Vans surprised us by being way faster than he predicted (especially in that weather) and so we didn’t stay too long volunteering as we had to get to the finish.

After he finished the race, I had to race to get the Peanut to her friend’s birthday party. Not only was she attending the birthday party, she was going to sleep over their house! This friend (along with another) has been the Peanut’s best friend since she was 3 months old. To see them still the best of friends, is just amazing especially since all three attend different kindergartens.

The Three Amigos
The Three Amigos

So without the Peanut at home it was just Vans, Squeaker and myself. It has been quite a while since we’ve experience what it was like to have ONE KID … wow, seems “easier” in a sense but we all missed the Peanut. Squeaker got a nice night to herself complete with a cupcake, Frozen and some mommy cuddles.

I woke up on Sunday ready to meet Pigeon for our final run together before AR50. Normally we run on Saturdays but Van’s race had us bumped to Sunday. Pigeon agreed to meet me early enough that we could get our run in and I could still be home to get ready for work at Gold Country Run and Sport.

We met at the Auburn Dam Overlook and we ran down the hill for a ways and then turned around and ran back up. I wanted another glimpse of the final hill. I ran it last year with Pigeon when she did AR50 and I paced the last 8 miles with her.

I know this hill. I remember this hill. This hill is brutal. It is a 3 mile climb that could really play with your head on the last 3 miles of a 50 mile race.

So beautiful
So beautiful

It was gorgeous out though. Absolutely breath-taking at 7:30 am in the morning. The views will be quite different come Saturday but the hill is the same and the point of seeing this hill is to get it in our heads that we can conquer it and know where the runable parts are and where we should conserve some energy.

Going down and down
Going down and down

We ran, we talked, we discussed AR50 and Tahoe Rim Trail. I haven’t run with Pigeon in two weeks so it was nice to see her and sort of feel that familiarity of running together again. Last weekend I ran 16 by myself on the road portion of AR50 and not only was it lonely, it was sort of eye-opening as to where the course will take us and where aid-stations will be situated.

This run however, reset my mind. Just running again with Pigeon, eased my thoughts, my worries and even some of my aches and pains. The problem with taper weeks is that you are forced to run low mileage which your body so desperately needs before a big race. Yet this can play games with your mind. You start to feel aches and pains or the “hint” of a cold coming on because you are worried about the race ahead.

The turn around
The turn around

Pigeon tried coaching me along on the way back as we were making our way up dam hill. She pointed out where I should run and what sections were more for hiking. I appreciate her advice. It has been four years since I have had to think about “racing” up this hill but in my own head, I know that in making it to this point alone, I have succeeded.

I am not out to break records. I don’t want to beat anyone. If I get a personal record, that’s a bonus in my book. So if I don’t want any of that, what DO I want? I think about that often on our runs sometimes. Pigeon is goal orientated. Pigeon is competitive and so was I back in the day. I am not sure what happened. Maybe it is the fact that I have kids now and I am too afraid to push, too afraid to not be able to be there for my kids post race. That’s on me and that’s ok. For me, completing this is all that matters. Finishing and finishing with a smile on my face is an added bonus. I did that in 2010 which is what makes this time a little more scary. How can I have another almost perfect race? The odds are not in my favor. I am older, I am wiser and more importantly I know what to expect. This time around, I won’t have my “crew” popping in at various places along the course to surprise me. I won’t have a training group with coaches who show up at mile 26 to change my shoes and socks for me. I don’t even have a pacer this time around and I am okay with that. To me, that adds more to the experience. I’ve completed this race once before so now in lies the real challenge … can I do it with entirely different circumstances? Running with Pigeon for as long as I can hold on is one of my goals.

Where I stopped in 2010, she excelled. She has way more ultra experience under her belt and a ton more races too. To be completely honest, this will only be my third ultra. Yes I have run 30 or more miles a few times but not in a technical race. To many, I am still considered a newbie.

So, just running with Pigeon, will simulate in my head, our weekends and running together (hopefully). When we ran at Way Too Cool a few weeks ago, that didn’t necessarily play out as much as I had planned but I was content and happy most of Way Too Cool. If I can nip certain things in the bud that would be great and of course the terrain will be quite different.

No, I am ready. As nervous as I might be, I am equally excited for what Saturday will bring. The self-doubt in my head stems from a very busy schedule that limited my training and running time. I am a logical person and I can only anticipate and expect so much from training as I put into it. I am not doubting my ability or trying to self-talk my way out anything, I am just being honest. I know I am strong. I know what my strengths generally are and I just need to let it all play out. What happens happens … and in the words of Europe’s It’s the Final Countdown …

I guess there is no one to blame.

We’re leaving ground (leaving ground)

Will things ever be the same again?

It’s the final countdown!

If you want to see the video and hear the song click here.

PS: I am still jealous of their awesomely big 80s hair that I never had ….

Wish me luck!

Happy Trails!

~Trailmomma

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2014 WAY TOO COOL 50K RACE REPORT

I don’t really even know where to begin with this race report. The last time I ran Way Too Cool was in 2010. You can read that race report here. That race was four years and 1 Squeaker ago. It was my first ever ultra and I had been running with a training group to prepare. This year, this race, everything was different.

Six months ago I had ankle surgery. This race was barely a glimmer in my mind at the time but I knew I wanted to run it again but I wasn’t sure if I could. After running CIM, I decided I could give it a shot knowing that running on trails with a bum ankle is way different then running on pavement.

With Pigeon by my side as my training partner every (other) weekend, I really hoped that I would gain the fitness that I needed to finish. And finish I did! Let’s get this race report moving! Warning, LOTS of photos ahead (and it is pretty long).

Happy Birthday WTC!
Happy Birthday WTC!

The day started off really early. I woke up at 4:30, dressed and waited in the garage for Pigeon and Missouri to arrive. The parking situation at WTC is a little crazy and getting a spot IN the parking lot vs on the haul road is ideal for many reasons.

When we arrived at the race, Pigeon and I got out and walked over to pick up our race packets. I didn’t realize that this was the 25th anniversary for Way Too Cool so that was pretty sweet. We got a neat bag (above photo), a nice shirt and a towel included in our schwag bag.

Our parking spot was pretty ideal. We were situated between my old training coaches Coach Nikon and Captain Kirk! That was a good sign in my book.

After multiple trips to the bathroom, a weak effort at trying to nap and a lot of laughter with Pigeon and Missouri, it was time to get ready for the race. I was feeling anxious. The race started at 8 am but we had arrived at the parking lot about 2 hours prior. For me, this throws a minor loop into my usual pre-race routine but it wasn’t too bad. I was able to eat my usual pre-race fuel and had packed all I needed and more.

Our "aid-station" turned race vehicle!
Our “aid-station” turned race vehicle!

As we were getting ready, I noticed that Pigeon was putting on her iShuffle. She usually runs with music, at least one ear bud in. For trails, I do not. In fact, I hardly ever run with music because I like to listen to the sounds of the race around me. It helps me enjoy the experience even more. However, I had packed my iShuffle because I thought I might listen to it in the car and that maybe I would want it for the race as a distraction. It was definitely a distraction as you’ll see later.

We knew the day was going to be really warm. It was predicted to reach the mid 70s and be sunny. I started the race wearing my usual Athleta running skirt and tank top and threw on some arm warmers which ended up being useless about 10 minutes into the race.

Pigeon & Missouri
Pigeon & Missouri
Pigeon and I ready to go!
Pigeon and I ready to go!

The race start was broken up into waves. The amount of people signed up for this race has grown tremendously the last few years and to accommodate the numbers, the race directors had to create wave starts. Pigeon and I were in wave 1 which is exactly where we wanted to be.

After a quick Happy Birthday Way Too Cool we were off and running up the paved road. The course compared to 2010 is different. The first 8 miles this year go up the road and we do a loop that takes us back through the parking lot.

And we're off!
And we’re off!

The road was pretty boring except that there were hundreds of cars along the side of the road. People were dropping stuff at their cars left and right (or using them as shields as they went to the bathroom).  At the very top of the hill we hit the single track trail that took us down …. to our first major obstacle and what would set the tone for the day…

Why hello stream crossing!
Why hello stream crossing!
Can you spot me?
Can you spot me?

These crossings wouldn’t be so bad except that it isn’t just dirt on the bottom. Underneath all that water are slippery jagged rocks of all sizes. You had to be very careful where you placed your foot IF you could see through the water.

Getting the first crossing over with was fun. Everyone was yelling and laughing. All the newbie runners were getting wet within the first mile and it was awesome.

Running with wet feet isn’t so bad. It actually feels quite nice on your joints and your feet typically don’t stay wet for long … unless there is mud, which there was a lot of in this race.

Single track conga line.
Single track conga line.

It was through these parts that I started experimenting with wearing my headphones and listening to my music. I put one bud in my ear, ran a couple of yards and almost killed myself. Nope! No way. I am not talented enough to listen to music, focus on the trail and my foot placement and not break a bone. So I took the bud out of my ear and then it was bothering me so as I was running I was trying to unfeed the headphone wires from under my shirt and just carry the darn thing. I was also carrying my arm warmers at this point. I knew we’d see Missouri at mile 8 or so. It was just annoying having all that in my hands.

These 8 miles were fun except for the long lines of people we’d be stuck behind and all the slippery mud we had to run through. It takes a lot of energy to prevent yourself from falling and I could instantly feel my calves and the muscles surrounding my ankle tensing up as I was running through these patches.

Once you are tired of being covered in mud, you come to another crossing!

Bring on the water!
Bring on the water!
Time to get wet again!
Time to get wet again!

As I was taking this photo I looked to my right and I see one of our fellow runners taking photos of all of us crossing. He laughed when he saw me taking photos so he took a photo of me taking a photo!

Maybe I'd run faster if I didn't take so many photos.
Maybe I’d run faster if I didn’t take so many photos.

As we were running towards the parking lot there were lots of people lining the sides of the trail cheering for us. Initially I did not think I would like running through the finish area (you know, that mental game) but it was so early on in the race, that I actually think it helped me.

Coming in! Notice the stuff I am carrying in my hands! So happy I can drop it here.
Coming in! Notice the stuff I am carrying in my hands! So happy I can drop it here.

To me, it was like a new race. Pigeon and I have parked in this lot many times and have started our run from here. So in a way, I just thought of it as one of our training runs. I was also finally able to hand off my stuff to Missouri here. Thanks!!!

Once we ran through the lot and crossed the road, ran under the finish arch and back onto the trail we noticed it was a mud fest right in the finish shoot. That would be fun later for sure!

Pigeon and I just cruised along this section. Up and down the hills of the fire road until we came to the trail. I was feeling okay. This rocky section combined with the mud really started playing around with my achilles and the muscles surrounding my bum ankle.

On this stretch I overheard a conversation that had me laughing in my head (see, it pays to not wear ear buds). The guy and girl behind me had just met and were talking. The Way Too Cool race mascot is a huge frog and when you finish, you get an awesome froggie cupcake (that my girls love). I never once thought anything of it until I heard what this guy was saying ….

Guy: We’re coming up on the frog section!

Girl: Frog section?

Guy: Wait for it …

(ribbit ribbit ribbit times a million)

Girl: Oh yea!

Guy: The frogs say cupcake ….

(ribbit ribbit turns into cupcake cupcake cupcake)

Sure enough, the sound of all the millions of little frogs croaking together, sounded as if they are saying cupcake! I was totally smiling ear to ear and giggling in my head. Trail runs bring out the funniest of stories sometimes.

Soon we approached the downhill section that Pigeon loves. She turns to me and says “I need to make a pit-stop. I’ll catch up.” At first I was totally confused and I stopped. I realized here that I had not eaten a single thing so I grabbed some Picky Bar pieces out of my pack and started eating. Then I realized that I too had to make a pitstop or would need to in the near future. I also remembered that not far down the trail we’d cross Highway 49 where there would be a porta potty.

I know Pigeon. I know she could bomb that descent so I took off myself and made it to the porta potty after crossing highway 49. She passed me and we decided that I could catch up (there was an aid station in the middle too).

Sure enough I caught her on the rocky quarry road that parallels the river. We hiked a bit and laughed at our situation and then started running. Quarry road is rather boring. It is a fire road that is kind of annoying really. It has rocks and just goes up and down .. up and down. You either pass or get passed by a lot of people on this road.

But soon were back on the trails where the fun really begins!

More mud!
More mud!

Pigeon took the lead for pretty much the entire run sometimes leading a line of people. One thing I noticed this year was that many runners behind us never spoke up. Generally when you want to pass, I typically say “when you have a moment, I’d like to pass” or if you see a clearing you say “on your left” but no one did that. Either they truly didn’t want to pass or they would pass in a very dangerous spot and seem totally annoyed! It was starting to bug me a little bit.

Around mile 17 I was contemplating taking an Aleve. The pain in my achilles was starting to bug me and it was also migrating up my calf and starting to feel more like a cramp. I took a salt tab and on a climb, I dug an Aleve out of my pack and took that with some more Picky Bar pieces. I was willing to risk the tummy ache from the Aleve in an effort to calm the pain in my leg.

Boy am I glad that I took that! Within 20 minutes I started feeling like a million dollars. I had energy, I had strength and I really was hanging close to Pigeon’s tail finally happy to be cruising along easily. I was in such a good mood that I started laughing when I saw this sign …

HOBOKEN Creek!
HOBOKEN Creek!

If you are from New Jersey like myself, you will understand. Hoboken New Jersey has quite the reputation. Hoboken Creek however was another fairly large crossing.

Pigeon going for it.
Pigeon going for it.

It was pretty rocky and slippery underneath. That guy in the photo was icing his knee. We offered him some pain meds but he said he preferred the nice cold stream instead.

After that we hit a warm sunny patch that felt like we were running through a sauna. The temps were definitely warming up and I was taking more salt that I have in a long time in an effort to keep the cramping in my calves at bay.

Love the red sign that warns you a photographer is just ahead ... better look like you are having fun!
Love the red sign that warns you a photographer is just ahead … better look like you are having fun!

Miles 17 to 25 I felt like a million dollars. The whole body felt great. My fueling felt fine although I probably could have squeezed in a little more calories but overall I felt great. Then we reached the infamous Goat Hill. I had sort of forgotten about Goat Hill.

Prior to the hill we’d been running in a long line of runners and I was too busy listening to the women behind me talk non stop the last 5 miles, to really notice that the hill was coming. Granted I was in a zone and pretty quiet but their talking just seemed to bug me. Pigeon was really quiet and I could tell was hurting by the way she was running.

As we were approaching Goat Hill I did something new. I am not a gel person but I had a Honey Stinger gel that I had picked up from work and decided to try it. Ugh, not a wise choice right before you climb the beast that is Goat Hill. Luckily, I kept it down.

The start of Goat Hill
The start of Goat Hill
Up and up we go!
Up and up we go!
AND ... I am about done with this climbing stuff.
AND … I am about done with this climbing stuff.

By the time we reached the top (9 minutes later) I was toast. I really needed a recovery break here to just catch my breath, stretch my calves and maybe take in a little food but Pigeon was off and running and so was I.

These next few miles though are so pretty with some amazing views. I really wanted to take my camera out quite a few times but I was in the middle of a long line, we were so close to being done and I was watching my steps to make sure I didn’t fall.

Sunny trails!
Sunny trails!

Pretty much the last 4 miles of the race are a blur. I just wanted to be done and in hind sight, I should have taken in some food along the way. I usually ate at whatever aid station we came upon. Pigeon was drinking coke which was more like crack because she came alive after having been in a very visible down session earlier.

Her enthusiasm is infectious though (to most – some runners didn’t appreciate it haha). When I started hearing the cars that were on highway 49 I was happy. I knew we only had to cross 49 and then run the long mile UP towards the finish.

We crossed 49 and reached the aid-station they have there and some how I was confused. I wanted to get food but the ladies were grabbing at my water bottles and one lady was telling the other lady to put Gu Brew in my other bottle. I was trying desperately to tell her no, I don’t want that in there, just water and the one lady just handed me a cup of Gu Brew (which I drank) and the other lady had my bottles but I had my lids … it was just confusing. Pigeon was downing more soda and looking at me like “let’s go” so I just started running. It was all a blur. But, I ran.

We hiked up the crazy rocky section and I have to say, I really dislike this section. For someone who has an ankle that doesn’t bend well at all combined with some cramping calves, this section realllllly sucked.

Pigeon was just yelling at me “come on!” and “you can do this!” and in my head I wanted to scream at her but I know what she was doing. She was trying to motivate me. She wanted me to get my PR (personal record) so she was pushing. Generally when I am pushed, I do the opposite and back off. I don’t like being pushed but internally I wanted to be done with this last mile so bad that I just kept moving and praying that my calf wouldn’t seize up on me.

Finally we hit the rolling hills and Pigeon was just pushing and pushing. Then we hit the straight away and I all I wanted to do was just run this and even said, “this is good enough” in terms of my pace but Pigeon pushed even harder, “no it’s not.” Finally we made the curve towards the finish shoot and I all I wanted to do was sprint and avoid the mud so I sprinted …. then Pigeon sprinted. We crossed the finish at the exact same time! I can’t wait to see the finishers photos when they post them as I am sure our faces were hilarious.

Our last little climb before the sprint!
Our last little climb before the sprint!

As I cross the finish I am handed a medal by this adorable little blonde girl … who I realize is the Peanut! I am totally spent and baffled at how my daughter is handing out medals to the runners … she then runs off and I am left standing there alone trying to find Vans and Squeaker.

Finished and loving my Squeaker!
Finished and loving my Squeaker!

After the race I cleaned up, changed and hung out with Vans, the girls, Pigeon and a lot of the Fleet Feet crew. It was nice to relax after the race and let the girls enjoy my hard earned cup cake.

Froggy Cupcakes
Froggy Cupcakes
Post Race
Post Race
My cheer section
My cheer section

TiggerT was also out there showing support. It was a great day. The weather was great (warm but great) and despite the mud and water, everyone had a lot of fun.

The Way Too Cool course is not an easy 50K in my opinion. Our finish time was 6 hours and 14 minutes which is about 16 minutes faster than I did it in 2010 (granted a different course too). There is a lot of climbing out there on this course and combined with the mud and water, it could make things interesting.

Almost 4,000 ft of elevation gain on this course.
Almost 4,000 ft of elevation gain on this course.

I am happy with the race overall. I am pleased with my gear. My Jenny Vesta was fantastic and so far I am in love with it. The muddy ground made everything soft so the usual pain that I have in the ball of my foot was nonexistent during the race. I continue to love fueling with Picky Bars broken up into little pieces in my bag. Towards the end of the race I was running low so at one of the aid-stations I grabbed a potato and some M&Ms (not sure why, my hand just went there). I also use ginger chews from Trader Joes on the run in-between when my mouth is dry or my tummy is starting to feel off. Those work great although they can be hard to chew so be careful not to use them on a tough up hill. 🙂

Things that didn’t work or that I didn’t like so much was clearly running with my iShuffle and headphones. That was a big fail for me. No big deal, I much prefer the sounds and sights around me. Taking the Honey Stinger gel was not a hit for me. I thought it would give me a faster rush of energy and additional electrolytes but I just don’t love that gel consistency. The twinges in my achilles and ankle are a new(er) sensation for me. I tried going for a post race recovery run and only made it about a block before I decided to turn around and head home. I didn’t want my gait to change compensating for the ankle so I just called it a day and will try again tomorrow after some rest, icing and rolling.

Mostly I am happy. Everything else feels great today (the day after the race). However, I need to wrap my head around running the American River 50 miler in 4 weeks. Luckily my Cornell class is over. The stress that filled my week is also gone (knock on wood) so from here on out, I need to just focus what I can do to help my body be better for AR50.

These guys definitely help.

My crew
My crew

Happy Trails!

~Tailmomma

 

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TAPER WEEK HAPPENINGS

It is the final week before the Way Too Cool 50k and typically the time when most runners start getting antsy and germ-aphobic as they prepare for the race they have spent the last few months training for. I can’t say that I am entirely anxious about the race which I guess is a good thing. Honestly I just have a lot going on this week to be bothered worrying about it.

Last weekend the training schedule called for only 10 miles which was a welcomed relief after all the 20 milers Pigeon and I have been putting in lately.  We had decided to meet at Cavitt School and run 5 miles out and back towards Twin Rocks. This is part of the American River 50 Mile course and consists of some nice easy rolling hills and some nice flat sections.

To change things up we had TiggerT and Diane from Folsom Breakout Fitness join us on our run.  It was as if all my exercise words collided at once! It was fun. We ran, we laughed and we enjoyed a run without any rain.

Diane & TiggerT
Diane & TiggerT

The skies looked quite daunting but they never really opened up on us yet the trails were definitely muddy and slippery.

Mud!
Mud!

We ran all the way to what Pigeon and I call “The Overlook” which is really a nice spot that gives you a great view of Folsom Lake which is very slowly filling with water.

The Overlook
The Overlook

Yes, that is Folsom Lake in the background, not a river. The 5 miles back were pretty uneventful. I almost slipped a few times but was able to catch myself and not do any damage.

Water on the trails!
Water on the trails!

In the above photo you can just catch TiggerT trying to leap over the puddle!! She made it too!! When we finished we all stretched as quick as we could as the skies were starting to drizzle and we knew the rain was coming.

Grey skies
Grey skies

I felt really good after the run and immediately raced home to get the Peanut to a birthday party. Actually Vans took her and I stayed home while Squeaker napped and tried to get some homework done.

I have been taking some online classes from Cornell trying to get a Plant Based Nutrition Certificate. I am on my last course and the work is definitely ramping up. My next two classes involve quizzes and papers. I worked all Saturday afternoon on studying for my quiz.

Sunday I worked at Gold Country Run and Sport and then came home and tried to work on my paper while Vans took the Peanut to swim clinic in a rain storm.

Swimming laps
Swimming laps

It has definitely been the kind of week where I have had so much going on that I just haven’t had time to think about running a 50k this weekend. At my full-time job I have been spending the last three days in a classroom type training class which is just agony on my legs and back. I am not meant to be sitting for 8 hours straight.

On top of that, I’ve been consumed by the sudden end of friendship that began almost 20 years ago. Honestly, it has left me more dazed, confused and a little broken hearted and I am trying to move past it. We weren’t super close, but I did cherish it.

In an effort to clear my head I decided to go for an easy run tonight. I had good intentions of running before work but Squeaker is back to her usual sleepless antics again and I know how important sleep is during taper week.

When I got home from work I changed into running clothes and grabbed my flashlights and reflective vest. I knew just what I needed … I ran 1.5 miles to the Ridge Hill and I ran one long slow ascent up the hill running the entire way. It was a physical and mental purge and it felt amazing. That is of course, until I fell on the way down.

Yup. I fell. Only Trailmomma would do a complete somersault FOUR DAYS before a major race. There I was under the glistening stars with just the last bit of the sun glimmering as it set thinking how beautiful it really was outside when my toe caught a rock and I flew.

Left Hand
Left Hand

I can’t even describe the way in which I fell. I scrapped my left hand, my right forearm and elbow and both knees. I know I rolled in a very dramatic Hollywood action film way.

Goose egg on the forearm
Goose egg on right forearm

However, while my scrapes and cuts are minor (they didn’t even burn in the shower) I do seem to have a couple of goose-egg bumps that are growing. The one on my forearm in the photo above is interesting but seems minor.

I do have one on my left knee and that is the one that has me the most concerned. You see when I fell, my left knee hit the ground hard but it wasn’t the dirt that it hit, it was another rock.

That is not my knee cap you see.
Those bumps are NOT my knee cap.

I was able to make it home where I showered and iced my knee and finished up my homework and put the girls to bed.

I guess it is a good thing  that I am not stressing about this race otherwise tonight might have me in a tailspin huh? No time for stress when I have two smiling faces ready to give me a hug goodnight.

Good lord help if there was four of them! :)
Good lord help me if there was four of them! :)

Happy Trails! (Don’t Trip)

~Trailmomma

 

 

 

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I AM HURT!

We are two weeks away from the Way Too Cool 50K. This weekend’s run was slotted to be 26 miles. After last weekend’s run, I was ready.

I hadn’t seen or run with Pigeon in about 3 weeks so I was ready to reconnect with her and enjoy our day out on the trails. Our email exchanges this week had been brief but we had decided on a route that involved loops again using the car as our own personal aid-station.

We had run a similar loop a few weeks ago but this week we decided to start at the top of Stagecoach trail as there was a race going on in the area and we wanted to avoid some of the runners. After parking, figuring out what we were going to wear and assembling our gear we took off down the Stagecoach hill.

About a quarter mile into the run I hear (very loudly) GOBBLE GOBBLE GOBBLE! As pretty much everyone knows, I have an intense dislike of all birds so I slowed, squealed and tried to find out where they were. I looked up and on the cliffs was the largest turkey I have ever seen with his wings stretched out. I said, “Did you see that!?”

Just as I said that, I hear Pigeon start to gobble herself (mocking the turkeys mind you) and when I turned around to find her she was gone! I heard a yell, a laugh and when I turned again Pigeon was entangled in my feet! With my crazy ninja like reflexes I was able to avoid going down with her but Pigeon was down and then she was back up! She popped up so fast I didn’t realize what was going on. Then we stopped.

I am hurt!
I am hurt!

Pigeon’s whole left side was one giant slice of trail rash. From her elbow to her knees, she was a mess.

Trail Rash
Trail Rash

Her hydration pack on her back had saved her backside from also being scrapped up but it was the way she was holding her arm that had me concerned. We were laughing and running still before she started yelling, “I am hurt! I am hurt!” I felt like I was with my kids, “What hurts? The cuts? Your elbow? Use your words!” 🙂 I was pretty concerned about her arm as she was holding it awkwardly but she seemed to be worrying more about the cuts on her quad and knee (which were swelling before our eyes).

Trying to clean it up with a wipe.
Trying to clean it up with a wipe.

We stopped finally to assess the damage and clean up as best we could … and also for me to take some photos of the situation. 🙂

Not laughing at her, just at the situation.
Not laughing at her, just at the situation.

Down the hill we continued on. I am not sure if the trail shoe had been on the other foot, if I would have continued on the way she did. She is one tough runner. When we made it to the bottom of Stagecoach we used the bathrooms and continued on.

I kept checking in with her but she said she was fine so we just kept running. When we made it back to our car/aid-station, we connected with another trail group that we sometimes run with. They were doing the same thing, using their cars as an aid-station and running almost the same loops we were … except they were running fast.

She's tough.
She’s tough.

The temps were predicted to be pretty warm and we both were kind of excited by this. Despite our need for rain, we’ve been very spoiled with our amazingly warm temps in the middle of February. It made for some amazing views too.

We ran over towards the Overlook and down the hill towards No Hands. I was noticing that Pigeon was slowing down a little and I was worried she might be changing her gait a little too much. She mentioned that climbing and descending were tough on her quad which was swelling to the size of a small grapefruit.

When we reached No Hands Bridge we stopped as there was an aid-station set up for the Fourmidabl Races. I recognized the two people manning the aid-station and mentioned to them that Pigeon had fallen. They were quick to whip out their first-aid kit and I tossed Pigeon some Neosporin. It was probably a little late but I was worried that she had not cleaned out her cuts yet.

It was about here that Pigeon decided that she should call it a day instead of trying to squeeze out another 10 miles to make our 26 for the day. I know it killed her inside to call it quits. If we didn’t have Way Too Cool just two weeks away, I might have encouraged her to push it but at this rate, she needs for these wounds to heal and she needs to not alter her gait compensating for the injury.

So we crossed the highway ready to run back up Stagecoach again when we ran into the other trail group again. They saw Pigeon’s distress and asked her how she was doing. She told them she was calling it quits and they seemed to agree that was a good call. In awesome trail runner fashion, one of the girls brought her a baggie of ice to ice down her swelling quad.

We walked over to some rocks and sat down to just give her a moment to ice the wound and take her off her feet for a little bit.

Icing the wound
Icing the wound

It was here that I know different scenarios and thoughts were flying through Pigeon’s head. She is not a quitter, not by any stretch. She was battling here with the decision she was making but I know she knows she made the right call.

Sad but smart.
Sad but smart.

Soon it was time to gather ourselves and start the climb up Stagecoach one more time. We hiked, we shuffled. Finally at some point, Pigeon turned to me and said “You can run. In fact, you should run!” I hate leaving my friend but in all honesty, hiking up hill hurts my lower back whereas running doesn’t (odd, I know). So I told her I’d meet her at the top and I took off.

I ran a lot and I walked some. The terrain on this road is just plain annoying. It is just rough, rocky and really hard to get your footing if you have feet issues (like me). It was also super hot and sunny (I love that though).

Pretty Views
Pretty Views

I made it to the top, tapped her car and ran back down to find Pigeon and hike back up with her. When all was said and down, I had 20 miles on my Garmin and was feeling pretty good. Whenever we’d stop I would stiffen up but that is normal.

I do feel that I could have made the additional 10 miles today if things had gone our way and that is all I need to know. My concerns about running Way Too Cool subsided a little bit. I have no doubt that the run will be hard but I know that I have definitely gained some endurance. 13 miles flew by easily today and I haven’t felt like that in a long time.

Next week is our taper week which is always a mind game for most runners. That’s the time we start noticing aches and pains or try to avoid anyone who might be sick (like my kids).

I just am hoping for some nice weather for Way Too Cool. My plan of attack is to have fun. Running with Pigeon I think that can happen. She is using it as a training run for Tahoe Rim Trail 100 and I don’t really care to blow myself up if I still have to run the American River 50 Miler 4 weeks later.

To me, the best part about running trails is the friends you run with, the friends you meet along the way and the adventures you have together. Today was a little bit of all of that.

Happy Trails!

~Trailmomma

While I was out running, the girls had an adventure with Vans. 🙂

A little skate park action for the Peanut.
A little skate park action for the Peanut.
Squeaker was just not in the mood so she watched from the side.
Squeaker was just not in the mood so she watched from the side.

 

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