Friday, December 28, 2012

Rolling Through the Miles

I climbed a tree while Brian was in the potty. I was trying to hide from him, but he spotted me.

I got to use one of those wipes I mentioned in my "Safely Running Solo" post : )

What can I say? Family runs mean family fun and goofing around at the park 5 miles in to an 8 mile run.  We are back to getting in our weekend runs, which are generally 8 miles on a paved trail. There is dirt to be found on the side of the trail from time to time, it ends up being about 75% paved, 25% dirt.  Most importantly, there is always the knowledge that there is a park involved, and that keeps the kids rolling along, and Myles content in the jogger....but man, what a load that boy is! Brian gets a good workout pushing him for 8 miles!

One Day, Many Rainbows!

Last week we had a few rainy days. One of those days, every time I got in the car to drive, I saw a different rainbow! It may seem like I was documenting the power lines around town, but I managed to get a few photos -

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Safely Running Solo

I mentioned a safety related post some time ago.  It's not exactly an exciting post to do, so thus the delay, but I thought I'd get it done.

So first I'll tell you everything I carry with me, on every run that I'm out on a dirt trail, or when I am alone. Here's the list -
-phone (try to make sure it's fully charged)
-pepper spray
-ID and the like (license, medical directive, medical insurance card, 2 debit cards)
-food (one bar, 2 packs of GU chomps)
-water (one 20 oz hand held bottle)
-wipes (not much I care to say about that, but have 2 individual packets for whatever I may need them for)
-watch (a non gps Timex, it just tells time and has a timer)
-ID bracelet (has my name and inspirational quote of my choice on the front, " you'll pass out before you die, keep pushing!", from Jillian Micheals, and on the back says "if you find me lying on the side of the trail, call Brian at....and then has his 2 #'s)

From a runners perspective, safety aside, that's a lot to be carrying with you while running! I think back to our first 26.2 and I only carried a camera, and that was more than what most people had.

I made the best purchase of my running life last year in preparation for Diablo 50k. This -
It holds all that loot perfectly, and I usually stow my jacket in the back pocket about half way through every run. The little upper pocket on the front with the flap, that holds my whistle and mini flashlight. Bottom 2 bigger pockets hold most everything else. Food and wipes go in the back pocket.

Of course, non of that stuff has the capability of preventing something bad from happening.  It just doesn't. It's nice to have it all just in case, but the reality is, it's not preventative stuff, it's after the fact stuff.  If something happens and I'm lying off the trail in a bush somewhere, I can blow the whistle, eat my food, signal at night with a flash light, make a phone call, take pictures of my injuries...but I can't completely prevent it from happening.

So what other precautions do I take? I always tell Brian where I'm going. I usually also text the Beast a picture of where I am (more for accountability than safety, so she knows I'm getting a run in). I never run the same route twice. I actually never run the same route twice in one week, I get bored easily and like to keep things mixed up. I text Brian pictures as I am running so he knows where I am, or where I was last. I do not run with music (in the woods, no music, on paved trail such as the Iron Horse, one ear phone). While I am most relaxed while running alone on the Mt, I am very aware of noises and sounds. Birds, squirrels, deer, turkeys, water, all has it's own sound and when there's something besides one of those things, it stands out. I can hear a mt bike long before I see it, hear other runners feet long before I see may sound crazy, but if you are out there long enough and often enough, you know what I mean.  I have about 15 - 20 different routes I take, they are all mapped out and logged on my computer.  Brian knows which route I'm taking since I text him when I head out.   I also text him when I'm done. Should I ever go missing, it would be pretty easy to pull up the map and know where to look. While I have done 2 pretty dangerous, dicey descents out of Castle Rock alone, I do not make it a habit. I stay on well known, mapped trails that are not dangerous.
 As for animals, I am no expert here by any means. I have done a fair amount of research on prints - what's what, how fresh/old they are - knowing fresh scat from old, what to do when encountering which animal. This is a whole post on it's own - what to do if they are with babies, or alone, what to do depending on their stance and how close/far they are.

I'm boring myself think that's about it. I feel like I do take a reasonable amount of precautions, have educated myself, and carry with me as much as I possibly can without turning from a runner into a backpack carrying hiker. 

I cannot stress enough how much I love my time alone out on the trails. It's well documented here on the blog that I love running and hiking with my family, but my mid week runs alone on the MT are my favorite. I love everything about it, the challenge, sights, smells, sounds, feel of the air.....
While I take precautions, as I mentioned last week, we are never really safe in anything we are doing.  I refuse to be scared in any of my daily activities, but especially when it comes to my precious miles alone on the MT and trails. Those miles are mine, my time to relax, recharge, and challenge myself.


Does anybody out there have any recommendations??
What am I not carrying that I should be??
What additional precautions should I take??
What do you carry when running solo??

Friday, December 21, 2012

Running From Pancakes

Today was pancake day!! I had a blast hanging out with Sophie's class! I managed to run 2 griddles at once, and made 3 boxes worth of pancake mix! It smelled so good in the room, and all the kids ate a ton!
We were both in our pj's.Again, I say it's a shame that we don't look more alike : )

Em and Myles were doing their best to fit the 60's Day that the rest of the school was having.

Beautiful sky, we left early to get Brian to BART, then to school.

Then we made pancakes!, She's a great flipper.

They ate 2cds and 3rds, and then I got hugs from everyone and headed home.

Now's a good time to mention I did not eat ANY pancakes : ) It is a gray, windy, stormy day today and I really just wanted to come home and relax w/a good book for a few hours before Myles got out of class....but instead I geared up and headed out for my last solo run for the next 2 weeks as the kids will be on winter break.  For some reason my hand sometimes glows.

It was raining, although hard to tell here. There were a few other people out there, but mostly it was empty.

Again, you can't tell how windy and rainy it was,the rain was sideways and it looked to be snowing leaves.

I may or may not have stood in this tunnel for a few minutes : )

I got done with about 45 minutes before Myles got out, so I headed back to Sophie's room to see what they were up to. Minute to Win It, of course! Don't they all look so comfy in their pj's?

This was a game of building as many 2 story snow men as you could in 1 minute, I was told to play, suggested the kids put one in each nostril and then stick them together, it works better that way. I did not win the game, but did succeed in getting one kid to try the nostril trick.

Sophie is in a split 3rd/4th grade class. Truly a special group of kids! They really are all great, well behaved, hard working kids. You must make this picture bigger to really get an idea as to how "special" they are : )

Of course, such a special class is the result of such a special teacher, lol. Ms. Cattalini was also Emma's 2cd grade teacher and is wonderful.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Gems From the Week

Saturday service.

Service break!

Saturday The Beast had a 'boys party'. She made those eggs behind Myles, they were filled w/party favors. Myles does a mean robot dance!

The cake had dry ice in the top.

It was raging.

Tuesday there were multiple x-mas recitals to dodge since they were staggered by grade, so first Sophie and I climbed the hill by the school and visited with some horses.

Showing off her trail heels. Her teacher made her take her shoes off when she got back to class : )

Then it was Em's turn to dodge. We got coffee and hot cocoa and walked around the gardens at the park.

Totally normal school outfit....if you're a trail runner in your spare time : )

At school right now they have the Country Store. The school collects gently used stuff, then opens a store for the kids. The idea is that it's a way for the kids to buy and wrap gifts for their family. Everything is very cheap, like between a quarter and $3. The kids took their change, and came home with arm fulls of wonderful little goodies.

Myles class had a ginger bread (Graham cracker) house decorating party.

This is from today - Sophie's class had their winter party. They made snow globes, marshmallow snow men, picture frames...all sorts of winter goodies.

Also from today. After helping in Sophie's class I headed to Ems class to help with Native American day. My job was gluing the parts of a Pueblo village together as the kids made it and all the accessories - fire pit, ladders, water well, pots, garden.  They could only use things from outside to make everything, so rocks, sticks, grass, leaves, mud. The teacher built the buildings before hand and the kids decided where they placed them and then made everything else.
The week before winter break always leaves my head spinning a little bit. There's just so much going on, and 3 different classes this year to remember what's happening on what day and who needs what sent in to class for what project, and what I've signed up to do in each class, and not forgetting to pick up Myles at 11:30, and that the girls get out at 1:15 all week because of conference schedules. Tomorrow I have Myles home due to some class activities he's dodging,(which means I'll be pushing a 6 yr old beast of a boy in the jogger for my run with the Beast ) and then Friday I'm wearing pj's to Sophie's class and making pancakes for them, which I am really looking forward to! I'm so glad I get to be so involved in their school life and activities. It's a 'good' busy!!