click on any picture in a post for a larger view

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Calico Ghost Town 30k Trail Run 2011

I really don’t know where to begin.   I lied during the race, because I said I didn’t care.  It mattered before, because I worked my ASS off.  And it matters now, because I have regrets.  I had dreams.  I had aspirations.  I trained hard (but for only a short while).  I wanted to CONQUER Calico.  Did I?  Well, depends on how you define it. (Before your are an athlete you think it’s defined, afterward you have no ideal, because you can’t really know what defines an athlete : ) {If you’ve been reading along – sorry, soooooo sorrry}

My husband said I could throw him underneath the bus in writing this blog.  In fact, he urged me to “throw him beneath the bus.”.  I didn’t want to do that.  But heck, maybe I should.  Because I suppose the “whole” story is the “best” story.  Isn’t it?

Truth is, the 2 1/2 hour trip up to Calico, my husband and I argued a great deal about stupid sh*t.  I suppose it started earlier.  But it really erupted about halfway up the mountain.  And I cried and cried and cried.  My eyelids were practically swollen shut.  I really thought that I tried to calm the situation, because I know how important my mind is in running a long distance trail run.  A calm mind makes all the difference!  (doesn’t it?  doesn’t it???)

I think only runners, or maybe athletes in general  (though I don’t really consider myself an athlete) understand this:  A clear mind makes all the difference.  Mind over matter.  Believe me.  I’m 45 years old.  If anyone can tell you.  I can. 

I had been sick for days (I believe four days) and by the time I reached the summit up to Calico Ghost Town, with all my crying and such, I just said F**** it.  I’m not running.  I can’t do it with this mindset.

And then we (all five of us) drove on in silence . . .  And my hubby said “YOU HAVE TO RUN. . . YOU JUST HAVE TO RUN.”  And being the evil wife, I said, “NO.  I CAN’T.”

So, there’s me throwing my husband beneath the bus.  I can’t really do more than that (though I despised him at the time, because I really, really wanted to spend my passenger driving time meditating), but despite arguments and all, even wanting to THROW HIM UNDERNEATH THE BUS!!!, I love him, and he is really supportive for my silly hobby.  Trail running that is, I can’t say he is to blame.

I continued to cough and blow my nose that evening.  And since I decided F****, THIS,  I even had two glasses of wine at Peggy Sue’s Fifty’s Diner.  My husband said, “Are you sure you should drink that?”  I said with draggy eyes, “I really don’t care.”  (Despite my feelings for him at that point, he was supportive enough to drive me to heck and back and wait for hours and hours for me to cross the finish line : )

Downtown Calico Ghost Town (Bib Pick Up)


ready or not

I bedded early, leaving hubby to deal with three misbehaving boys.  Why misbehaving?  Heck, I don’t know.  Maybe because they’re boys and I don’t know what the heck I’m doing in life as far as training youngun’s,  About 8:30 pm I remember sleeping and continually waking because mainly boy NUMBER THREE (pictured above) was up to mischief.

I believe I woke every hour.  And I reached for my cell phone, also my alarm clock, to see the time.  I coughed, I hacked.  In denial, I said to myself “allergies.”  I have them sometimes.  I dreamt  also OVER AND OVER that I was running.  But I really couldn’t run.  I kept falling.  And when I could stand, I could hardly lift a foot.  It was like my feet weighed a hundred pounds.  And so I went onward heavy laden, suffering, in agony.  In my dreams that is.  I also rode plenty of falling elevators. Over and over again, though somehow pleasantly.  (Riding falling elevators pleasantly is fairly rare.)

6:00 AM my husband took the 2 youngest of our sons, shoved them in the truck and drove me 3 miles to the start line.  Before leaving, I pleaded, “Wait, I’m freezing,” and he waited in the truck with our younguns, as I ran back to our room for some long sleeves. (Which I of course promptly dropped at the first aid station).

I arrived a good hour early to Calico Ghost Town (& I was happy for my husband for going thru that crap – really it is crap to run an early race alone).   And I don’t know if most of you know, but Calico is supposed to be haunted.  Funny.  I don’t really believe in “ghosts” as we traditionally describe them (though I believe in in them “untraditionally.”)  Before I sat down in the rocking chair on the saloon  slab before the race even started, the CHAIR ROCKED by itself.  I’m serious.  It rocked in unison as I sat down to film my  chat before the event.

So how many pages should I make this blog?

I could go on for ten, maybe twenty . . .

I started this run not caring.  I chucked all goals the night before in our arguments.  I just wanted to enjoy running in the desert.  Most people don’t realize that the high desert is gorgeous .  That’s what I love about trail running – the enjoyment, the beauty.

Funny thing, I saw familiar faces.   I saw Larry from OCTR. I recognized someone from Bulldog 50k, and also a very nice lady from another race that took Bulldog in the opposite direction when I ran it last spring. 

I chatted and learned a lot about Suzanne those first eleven miles (she was such a delight!!).  And I really have to say, it was pleasurable. I didn’t care about pace.  I cared about people and their stories; I cared about the beautiful scenery.  I learned a lot about Suzanne, and other tales from other runners on  those first eleven miles.  I saw Badwater Ben, who has run Bad Water’s 135 miles more than once.    He took pics at the beginning of our delightful, yet  gloriously colorful  morning run, and then again at the end when I wanted to collapse.  (about 4 miles left, I had a knee injury – nothing drastic, just that dang old knee slid out to the left without that youngun’ thing there to help.)  

I never tired drastically.  I should have on this 30k which was “relatively short”.  Actually it was a long 30k, not 18.66 miles, but 19.23 miles.  Heck.  I want to write something more profound about this race.  Well, here it is:   what I love about trails.  We’re all accepted.  It doesn't matter.  That’s all I ever wanted.  To do something fun, that didn’t matter.  19 miles.  I can do that.  And I should be able to do it much faster.  Really.  I DIDN’T  CARE at the race start (but I cared toward the end).  All that training, and I couldn’t come in faster!

Though I cried after crossing the finish line because I crossed with the worst time ever with me ( & my oldest son held me tight whispering that most people couldn’t even make that run).  He  held me for some time because he knows the pressure of first chair and honor orchestra, something  I could never understand.  I doubt that he “ really understands” though I hope that he does.  It’s also the camaraderie, not the competition that makes these races, these competitions the lesson.  FRIENDS.  Though we may pass them by in life . . .  there’s those we meet that makes a smile upon your face, like I did, a lady named Suzanne . You did a great job Suzanne!


Suzanne & me at the 30/50k split


The Home  Stretch / 30K Beautiful Run


All I can think about here is ICE for the knee


Photo Compliments of “Bad Water Ben.”


Old School House




Okay.  I’m tired.  Mainly my quads.  19.23 miles for this race logged.  Afterwards 2 park employees asked my race time, and I responded gloomy, “about five hours.”

“That’s six hours less than it would have taken me,” one of them said.  The other guy chuckled and added “That’s six days less than it would have taken me.

Calico Ghost Town 30k Elevation Profile

Calico Ghost Town 30k 2011

The movie, because if you visited before, I’m silly : )

Calico Ghost Town 30k Trail Run


  1. Hey you know yours was the first blog post I went to this morning for a reason!

    Remember "There is no comparison between that which is lost by not succeeding and that which is lost by not trying".

    You tried and you nailed it!

    Look to your son for the truth he said, kids are the most honest people on the planet...don't dismiss it, accept it!

  2. Ahhh, thanks Stuart. And you read it before my edits. Hopefully, the blog made sense. And you are right. I did try and I nailed it. I am over the disappointment now and realize my errors and my triumphs.

  3. You did great, well done! There is nothing to be disappointed about, you did it. A run like this is all about the experience of being out there and doing it...you did! I love the ghost feel around this. Makes it an even more special run to do. Congratulations on a very good run!

  4. When you stop and catch your breath, look over your shoulder to the distance you've covered. It is not about how far you've traveled. It is about far you've come.

  5. I'm sorry about the rough emotional start going into this but congratulations on pushing through and doing this. ::big big hugs::

  6. Congratulations on completing your ghosty run!! :)

    You son is so right!! Running that run takes serious dedication and a fair amount of mental strength as well. You rock for going out there even with the both physically and emotionally challenging beginning. You and Suzanne look like you are having a blast!! Gorgeous pictures!!

  7. Crazy amazing!!! Lauren, does anything ever come easy to you? I have no idea where to go with this one so I'll stick to a simple WELL DONE!!!

  8. I think you captured the essence of trail racing in this post Lauren. It's about doing. And you did. Congratulations!

  9. Thanks Johann. You are right. It is all about the experience. I should never forget that.

  10. Thanks for reading Windnsnow. You are right too -- it really is also about how far I've come. When I was "young" I couldn't run a block.

  11. Thanks Green Girl. Big, big hugs accepted : ))

  12. Thanks for reading Kate. It really is a beauty out there. But tough, so tough (for me anyway). Maybe I'll see you out there next year : )

  13. Hi Hank! LOL. I think that too many things have come easy to me in my life. But not running. I think that's partly why I like running so much. It has always been hard for me. Then again, remember, I can see drama in a guy crossing the street : )

  14. Thanks for reading Glenn. I hope I never forget your words -- it is about the doing!