Friday, September 27, 2013

Sweet 16

To the best husband I ever had-
Thank you for happiest 16 years of my life!
I love you.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Today's Run w/The Beast

Was amazing!!!

Need I say more! It was so fun!! It was her fist time ever doing the climb up to Deer Flat. Once we got there I told her our options - keep going to the summit, come back down the way we came, or do a horse shoe (down and up) to Back Creek and run down it.  Again, all things that she had never experienced before. She picked Back Creek! I've climbed up it a few times, but never down, it's a fun, long stretch of downhill single track that was so much fun to come down!

She's game for doing the climb again next week up to Deer Flat and coming back down along Eagle Peak!!

As for time on this run- 1:49, total. 1:32 was our actual moving time. 7.47 miles, 2,251 feet of climbing.  All numbers I'm more than happy with!

I may or may not have taken a rest in a horse trough, and if I did, I may or may not post pictures later of that...which may or may not have happened!

Again, I have to thank my husband for my Poppy Pass which has opened up this side of the mountain to not just me, but The Beast, too.  We are like 2 kids in a candy  store (or 2 runners at Sports Basement??) with the whole back side of Diablo to explore!
It totally did happen, may explain the difference in our actual time and our moving time, lol.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Happy Anniversary to Me!

It's anniversary week!! 16 years.

While the big day isn't until Friday, I thought I'd share a few things that I've already been given and have been using.

The Beast beat everyone this year with this bag of goodness and first anniversary card of the year....she may or may not have been one month early : )  -

 My awesome, amazing, wonderful husband delivered two things I have needed/wanted for a while now: a new running vest! Our dog chewed through the straps on the gray one the first week I had it. I hand sewed them back together, and it lasted almost 2 years, but a strap broke during Trail Hog and it's been tied together since then.  I love my new one, and love, love, love the color.  It's already been out on lots of runs and I love it as much as I loved my first one!

 The amazing husband also got me my Golden Poppy California State Park Pass!!! So excited to have this!!  I no longer have to pay to get into Mitchell Canyon or to get onto Mt Diablo, or any other park that charges an entrance fee!!  I've been a little limited on mountain access up to now, going out of Castle Rock. I could really only explore a small chunk of the mountain before, but now I can get anywhere on the mountain and explore tons of trails I've never been on before.  I've already been up there exploring and running trails that are new to me. I'm so excited to have this! It's good at the majority of state parks, although there are a few, mostly southern Ca parks, that it doesn't work at.  You can get more info here on the pass.

(there was a Poppy Pass picture here, but I realized our address was in the background. Oops.)

My dad totally surprised and shocked me with my first Garmin!!  That's right, people. I've been running for 6 years now with no gps watch/garmin of any kind.  Proof that it can be done! That said, I've wanted one for the past year.  I'm not super number consumed, meaning that pace/distance does not determine if I've had a good vs bad run.  The reality of where I run and the kind of running I enjoy (mountainous) is that my pace is slow.  There's a lot of climbing, and then running down, then climbing, and running down, overall pace would be pretty dismal if it's all I looked at.  That said, it is nice to know how far I've gone, my moving pace, and my fastest pace.  It's nice to know that while my overall pace is usually in the 13 - 14 min mile range, my running miles are in the 8.5-10 range.  It's also fun to see the charts of the elevation profile overlapped with my pace. 

 And, I have to also say about the Garmin, it already has me pushing harder on certain runs.  Yesterday was day 3 of running in a row. I already had 2000 ft of elevation on my legs from the previous 2 days, but decided to head out of Castle Rock and see how fast a 10k I could lay down.  I ended up PR'ing my trail 10k time by 13 minutes!! I was super stoked! I consistently run a 1:26 trail 10k, no matter the course.  Yesterdays was 1:13.  It was entirely because I had one eye on that Garmin tracking my time/pace and distance.  It's going to be great to get me back to pushing myself to go harder.  Yesterday really showed me how much I've been sandbagging!
 Ok, so new trail shoes were also a gift, but not an anniversary gift.  These were a running gift, and I love them both!! The pink ones are Adidas, which I have never run in, and did not take seriously as trail shoes.  However.....they have some mean, mean tread, tread that looks like sharks teeth!  They get great traction.   While I don't do anything extreme, I do cover some very steep, loose climbs and descents, and good traction makes all the difference!  Here's a link to the ones I have.

 And these are Brooks Cascadia 7's, which I also love. Brian has run in these for years and has always loved them.   These are my first pair, and I gotta say, I love them, too.  If you look at the picture of the Adidas above, and then at these, it's pretty obvious that the Brooks have a  lot more room.   The toe box is super roomy, my toes never touch anything, not the sides or the end of the shoe.  They are super comfy.  I gotta say, and I never thought I'd say this, but the Adidas have better traction.  Gasp.
So between the two pairs, I'm totally happy with my trail shoes! I did get some Velcro and Superglued it to the back of both pairs so I could wear my gaiters with them.

 No, these turkeys are not anniversary gifts, either. We recently had our Circuit Assembly and their Grandpa wanted to make sure they all had new outfits, which always makes it extra special, and isn't something we can always do.  They felt extra fancy in their outfits!

 Thanks to everyone who has already made this year extra special!!

We are super excited to be getting away this weekend as a family and celebrate 16 years of togetherness and having a wonderful family!!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Brazen Racing's Trail Hog 2013 - Emma's 13.1

Emma has been asking for the past year to do a 13.1. She's been running since she was 5, so for 6 years now.  She's done some tough Brazen 10ks over the past 2 years, so the natural progression is to go ahead and let her up her distance.  Just as we did with Sophie, we had Emma look at the elevation maps of both the 10k and 13.1 and let her pick what she wanted to do. She went with the 13.1!
While again I say, that elevation chart looks pretty tame, like it's nice, gentle, rolling person it feels much different.  A quick summary would be that you climb up one ridge and then back down and out a valley, nearly back to the finish, which you can see and hear, but you hang a right before you actually get to it. That is loop one. Then you cross the valley floor, and climb another ridge, then back down to the valley floor and out, that's loop two.

A good look at a custom Brazen Bib! And, from year to year, the race name stays the same, but the logo and style of the bib is custom every year, as are the medals and shirts.

She was a bit nervous at the beginning. I kept telling her to pace herself and hold back, not to push herself in the first half, she'd need to save something for the second half.  I'm sure I annoyed her because she likes to always go hard, but soon enough we came to the first climb and that slowed her down w/o any help from me.
Heading out in the first half mile of the course. We pretty quickly had lungs full of dirt!

Thanks to Allen for this one! This was right before the first climb started.

First hill, this is her "I just got geezered by Allen!" face. I explained he's a mountain goat and it happens to me all the time, not to worry about it!
 That's my "what the heck?" face....this hill didn't look hard on the elevation chart!

  Eventually we topped out and ran along the top for a bit, you can see from the wet spot on her shirt we were already pouring water on her to keep her cool. I was starting to realize it was going to be a long, hot day!
 Nice view of what a good chunk of this course looked like, sunny and no shade.

 This was the second aid station, we would hit it again later in the race. Much later.  So after this aid station we had around 4 miles, maybe a little longer, to the next aid station. The next aid station also had a cutoff that we needed to make to continue.  It shouldn't have been close at all, really, but she was slowing, and it was getting hotter, so I was getting a bit nervous, but just kept telling her if she keeps moving, she'll be fine.
There was lots of Spanish Moss, which was really pretty.

 We are now heading across the bottom of the valley towards the climb up the next ridge, and that cut off. She had been running the flat for a while and was feeling really confident on time, it wasn't even close at that point. I had a talk with her about trail running and how you never know whats around the next corner, you could hit half a mile of stairs, or a mile climb, or an entire hill of switch backs...and then your time cushion is gone.  The trick is pushing hard when you can and banking time when you can, but not pushing too hard.
 Yeah, I just realized we were about to start climbing a long climb up to the top of the ridge...not sure how to break it to her...

 I think it was something like, "hey Emma, time to dig deep and climb this mountain so you can make that cut off." I was still pretty sure that if we maintained any kind of forward motion, we'd make it.

 Favorite picture of the day. Most of the course looked nothing like this, but for this 30 seconds I was in trail heaven!
 A few things here, I was really hoping we were not climbing that ridge to the left, and the aid station was just ahead, down in that dip.  We did make the cut off, with a whopping 20 minutes to spare.  She was really really fading, and had said she didn't know if she wanted to keep going or drop. I told her if we make the cutoff, we are going to keep going.  I did not get pictures at that aid station, but they got food in her, drinks, refilled my bottles, iced her down and sponged her off multiple times.  The aid was around mile 8, so we had 5.4 miles after that (it's an ultra half).
 Immediately out of the aid station we were climbing again. I think you can see how she was feeling.
 Those 2 miles went by w/o much happening. We talked about digging deep and really finding out how tough she is.  We had a long talk about how if people knew how ward some things are before, they would never try. That if she had known how hard/hot/miserable she was going to be, she probably would have taken the 10k. But, she didnt' know, and now she's in it, feeling it, working through it, making herself push through it and keep moving, and she's going to finish something what a lot of other people don't even try because it's "too hard".
 When the day started, I stayed behind her to let her find her "easy pace", but now we were at the point where I needed to stay a ways ahead to keep her moving.
 Eventually we made it back to this aid station, aid #2 and #4, repeated everything we did at the last aid, and kept moving on.
 She was vacillating between being ecstatic that she was going to finish, and waves of needing to throw up, and saying she couldnt' pick her feet up any more.  She had me nervous a few times. We were getting close to the 4 hour mark. That is a long time to be out there in 90+ degrees moving. Too long for me, and the first time for her.  I know I go into silent mode when I know I'm on the verge of entering what feels like the danger zone, and she was still pretty chatty, so I figured if I just kept her moving and talking, drinking, and eating Chomps, we'd get through it.
 She had 1.4 to go.
 One tough, delirious kid!
 We were right at the end of the end of the end of the pack (I think there were 2 people who finished after us?)  That means these volunteers at the turn had been standing out here for over 4 hours in the heat. I apologized and thanked them. It was good to see Marie's smiling face though.
 We could see and hear the finish now, she tried to run a bit, but there was just no gas left. I told her to save it for the finish shoot and try again.

 Here she comes!!
 And there she goes, finishing her first 13.4 in right around 4 hours, 20 minutes.  Sam gave her a great welcome home as she was coming down the finishing shoot over the loud speakers.  Sam and Jasmin have been there for all her firsts - first trail run, first 5k, 10k, and 13.1. I can't thank them enough for making our kids so welcome at their events and making us part of their Brazen family, whether we are running of volunteering!
 Once she sat to eat, she was done!  A tray of brownies was placed in front of her, and Jasmin hand delivered her first place medal for her division.

 Yes, I am in the outhouse, and yes, I really needed it. Let me tell ya, this was one hard earned medal!  My hat goes off to all the pacers out there who work hard to bring their runners in and get them through the end of their 50 and 100 milers.  4:20 is way too long for me to be out in that heat. I could not complain at all though, i just wanted to keep Em moving and get her a finish.  It was a balancing act of pushing her and letting her go easy when needed, letting her complain about everything she was feeling, and telling her to buck up and get it done.  This was possibly the most emotionally and physically exhausting race I have done to date!  My legs felt fine afterwards, due to the slow pace, but my heart (rhythm), headache, and stomach took a good week to recover, and actually my heart is still a bit more wonky than I would like.  But, we got it done!!
 Got sodium??  Em's legs were sore for a few days, but other than that, she was fine after this.  She wrote a summary and turned it in for extra credit in PE.  Her overall thoughts afterward were that she would train more if she ever does a 13.1 again. She also agreed that winter races and coastal races would be better for her for her next 13.1 due to heat.  But for now, she wants to stick to 10ks. : )

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Brazen Racing's Trail Hog, 2013 -Sophie's Race

 I know I'm way late in getting these recaps up, but better late than never. I need to do some serious catch up here on the blog, so lets get started. I'm going to do separate posts for Sophie's 10k and Em's 13.1.  It'll cut down the size a bit. So, this was the first time our family had done Trail Hog. Sophie was going to be running her first solo 10k. And it's an ultra 10k at that, with 6.4 miles. We had reviewed the elevation profiles of both the 5k and the 10k and let her have her pick of distance based on how the courses looked.  The 10k seemed pretty mellow, so she went with it.  6 miles is a long way for a 9 year old to be on her own, but I'm confident enough in her, and in Brazen and their volunteers. If she got into a tough spot, I knew others would lend a hand and keep her either moving, or safely at an aid station.  But, really, I knew she could get it done.
 Above, us girls before the start.

Below, Sophie starting her 10k.   Emma and I were already out on the course because the 13.1 started first, and covered the 10k course.

 Below, these pictures make me so happy!  I panicked a bit when I saw the course in person. The climbs were significantly bigger than I had anticipated based on the elevation chart.  There was a big, long climb that was a bit rough, and it was really hot already. Em had me keeping her moving....but I knew Sophie would be on her own, and I was a bit worried.
Then I saw these pictures of her running up a section that Em and I walked, and I realized she was totally fine out there!

 Above, her cheeks are rosy, though, so I know she was challenging herself and pushing hard.

Below, look at her flying into the finish!!  Such a cool kid. It was in the mid 90's people.  This course had very little shade.  And she's still flying at the end. She finished while Em and I were still out doing the 13.1, so I didn't actually see her, but Brian said she had a huge smile!

 I'm super proud of this kid.  At the end of the day I think she was super proud of herself for getting through this one alone. She said it was a lot harder than she thought it was going to be, way hillier than she thought it was going to be, and hotter than she thought it would be.  And she got it done! She even placed in her age division and got an extra medal!

After this run, I told her she's officially earned her gaiters, which she now has and can't wait to wear in her next race! 

As always, this Brazen Race had all the usual greatness- names on bibs, great shirts, huge medals, smiling faces, great volunteers, plenty of potties, food, drink, water/ice buckets with w/ sponges....and lots more. Great location, and pretty course. The only reason I would not do this one again would be the lack of shade and the heat, purely because I do not do well in the heat. Obviously, race day temps change from year to year, so it's very possible we'll be back next year.  But absolutely everything that Brazen has control over was perfect, as always.

Up next, Em's first 13.1 recap.

Friday, September 20, 2013

I Got a Call From School Yesterday-

 Any guesses as to who was in the office in trouble for finding a mud hole on the playground and coming in from recess covered in mud??  I felt a little hypocritical being upset with him....since he's been brought up to appreciate mud so much. I mean he's been raised in a family that rates their outdoor experiences based on how much mud they can find and get coated in.We are truly a mud=happiness family.  So after I got over being mortified that the office had to call me at home because he was in trouble, driving down and apologizing to everyone in the office and thanking them for disciplining him, offering his teacher a page of "I will not play in the mud" sentences.....I realized the problem is not that he played in the mud.  The problem is I need to review with him the whole "there's a time and a place" thing.  Boys....I tell ya.  Strange creatures.  It never occurred to me that I needed to have that conversation. I never had to tell the girls not to get muddy at just went without saying.  Not to mention he must have had to search really hard to find any mud....we haven't had rain in weeks.  His teacher was almost more proud than upset that he was a boy through and through and said Myles must have thought he found treasure because mud is hard to find right now.  Myles, Myles, Myles.....let's hope this was the big excitement for the year and I do not get anymore phone calls from the office.....pretty sure that's just wishful thinking though!