TALES FROM THE TRAIL (AND SOMETIMES THE ROAD TOO)

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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

It’s All Relative

I felt much stronger on day 43 of Streaking into the New Year than I did for day 42.  Perhaps it’s because today is the official end of Streaking into the New Year.  I doubted that I could run every day until January 31.  Now, I’m so close to a 50 day streak, that I’m going to try to go on a little longer.

Today I sang on the way to the trails.  The weather was cool.  And I was so thrilled to hit the dirt again.  I took off in Aliso Canyon with a dozen or so plump squirrels scampering across the trail.  A gopher poked his head out of a hole as I hopped over it. 

I focused on form while keeping my pace way up from yesterday.  After running into Wood Canyon Trail, I took a quick right onto Meadows Trail, lovely Meadows Trail:

I’ll tell you, the difficulty of hills is surely relative – pretty much like most everything (at least in physics anyway).  A bit off subject here, but there was a time when mankind thought that we would surely die travelling on a train.  It was simply too fast, we couldn’t take it.  Turned out, we when sit in a train or a car or a plane, though we’re travelling the same speed as the “vehicle”, it doesn’t feel like it.  It feels like our bodies aren’t even moving at all.  Similarly, there was a time when I thought I would surely die running up Meadows Trail.  LOL.  Even though I sweated running up it this morning, and the journey was hard, it was definitely easy, relative to some of the trails I’ve been putting myself through.  I force myself to “run” the toughest trails.  Now when I run up Meadows, I wear a wide smile like this:

The smile of course is also because of views like this:

And dried flowers like this:

When I hit the top, I kept on running.  I ran on through the neighborhoods until I reached Top of the World.  I stopped momentarily to fuel and took off so quickly that I forgot to snap a photo of Top of the World.  It’s my custom to take a photo of Top of the World.  The fact that I forgot shows how much I enjoyed the moment on this run, how I enjoyed feeling strength. 

I ran all the off-shoots on West Ridge Trail so that I could get more elevation.  Only one of those off-shots is named:  Park Avenue Nature Trail.  I came upon several cyclists, hikers and runners along the rolling ridge.  They were all mostly smiling.  And though it grew warm enough to take off my sleeves, the weather remained cool for the remainder of this spectacular trail run. 

Sometimes when I reach Cholla Trail (the trail at the end of West Ridge), I am exasperated.  Today I felt gleeful with views like this of Wood Canyon running down Cholla:

At the bottom of Cholla I decided to run the canyon all the way and not take the parallel trails like I usually do because I missed wide tranquil trails like this:

With creek views like this:

And I was nostalgic for Sycamore Grove now covered with the parasite Mistletoe.  Yes, those clumps of green in this deciduous tree are Mistletoe.  So be careful who you stand beneath these trees with:

I continued focusing on form, but more so on keeping the pace up.  I still needed to do some grocery shopping before returning home.  Though I kept an eye on these beautiful pastures, I kept the kick out the back quick and made it back to the truck exactly when I planned:

12.14 miles ran today (19.54 km):My Activities Big Loop up Meadows down Cholla 1-31-2012, Elevation - Distance

Monday, January 30, 2012

After 42 Consecutive Days . . .

After 42 consecutive days of running, I am not injured.  That is a hoot because I have often read that people over forty should not run every day, else risk injury.  It’s also a hoot  because prior to 2011 I was Ms. Injury.  Keep in mind that I have been working on my form, actually changed it back in early 2011.  And I’m still working on perfecting it.  I also stretch after every run.  I never stretch before I run.  I foam roll every day, and do some hip and glute exercises every day. 

After 42 consecutive days of running, my legs feel heavier, as in tighter and stronger, like they are harder with more muscle.  I occasionally have felt little aches along right IT band (always the right).  But have been able to “iron” them out over night (so far!).

After 42 consecutive days of running, I am tired.  I nap more often; sometimes twice a day.  I also consume way more calories than normal, and as such am fearful of the scale.

Today, I put in a nice and easy 5.09 miles running at the beach – very little running on the sand.  I ran mostly on asphalt and sidewalk all the way to where the sidewalk ends.  Then I turned around and ran home.

Surf & sand and a thousand birds

And this guy takes the lead . . .

“Where the sidewalk ends.”

Sunday, January 29, 2012

TAGGED -- 11 Random Things . . .

I am a bit behind here.  This Streaking into the New Year is taking up a little time, not only with the running, but with the sleeping that I do related to my runs.

I did run today, day 41 of my running streak.  I planned to take it easy the next three days with 5 miles today, Monday and Tuesday.  But when I set out today (up a hill – go figure!) my legs felt like lead and I decided to cut it short and run 2.04 miles this afternoon.  Then I came home and took a THREE HOUR nap . . . a THREE HOUR nap.

Now onto some more fun stuff.  I’ve been tagged by the lovely Giraffy from 365 Days of Awesome.  I’ve read this 11 Random Things post on many blogs.  Now it’s my turn.

Rules:
1. Post these rules.
2. You must post 11 random things about yourself.
3. Answer the questions set for you in their post.
4. Create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer.
5. Go to their blog and tell them you've tagged them.
6. No stuff in the tagging section about you are tagged if you are reading this. You legitimately have to tag 11 people.

11 Random Things About Me: (Warning I’m not very exciting : )

  1. I drink 2 cups of coffee every single day.
  2. I wear a woman’s size 12 shoe U.S. size (44 Euro, 9 1/2 U.K.)
  3. I love, love, love music. 
  4. I really like raw spinach, rice, fish, green beans, sourdough bread, eggs, chorizo, and especially cheese.
  5. If I could I would run in the mountains every single day, I WOULD.
  6. I wear very little make-up, and only when I go to work or some special event.  And even then I only wear lipstick and mascara (I’m sure you’re really all VERY interested in this fact : )
  7. I like wine, but I really hate liquor (ie. whiskey, scotch, gin).  Right now, I like Sauvignon Blanc (for a long while my favorite was Pinot Noir, but then that became too sweet for me, but I still really like saying “Pinot Noir.”).
  8. I write fiction and have pursued literary agents for my novels for quite some time, but have recently set that dream aside since our 3 young sons have their passions, and also since trail running has become my main passion.
  9. I really like people.  Scratch that, I love people, which is a big change from my youth when I didn’t much care for people.   In fact, I pretty much hated them back then. 
  10. I’m not afraid of snakes.  I’ve had at least 2 rattlers coil up on me (preparing to strike).  And I’m still not afraid (but I am cautious).
  11. I do not like rodents.  In fact, they REALLY freak me out.

Now, Giraffy’s questions...
1. Do you cross train? Yes.  I love to swim.  And I love the elliptical.  Plus I strength train often.
2. What's your FAVORITE thing about running? Remaining in the moment. 
3. And your LEAST favorite? That is a very difficult question to answer.  I LOVE running.  I guess this is an unfair answer, but I would have to say, it’s the cost of races.  I am poor.
4. If you could eat only one food for the rest of your life, what is it? CHEESE
5. What came first, chicken or the egg? The egg.
6. You're stuck on a deserted island - what three books do you wish you had with you? Brothers Karamozov, Black Boy, The Holy Bible.
7. How much time do you spend getting ready before leaving your house for a normal day of work/school/whatever you do? About 10 minutes. Sad smile
8. Do you love the treadmill as much as I do? I HATE the treadmill.
9. My birthday is coming up (in 6 months)... want to come have a party? Yes, indeedy. 
10. What should I get The H for his birthday (next week)?  A home baked birthday cake and a big smack on the lips (again, I’m poor LOL).
11. Have you joined Team Gab yet? No.  Sorry I haven’t.   Not sure how to.  But I will click on this link after posting. 

My new questions:

  1. Short shorts or long shorts?
  2. How do you recover from a tough long run?
  3. Favorite brand running shoe?
  4. Longest distance ever run?
  5. What would you do if a rattlesnake coiled up to strike a couple feet from you?
  6. For women – do you wear make-up?  For men – do you remove hair from anywhere other than your face?
  7. Do/did your parents, guardians, siblings, children run?
  8. How many days is your longest running streak?
  9. Would you rather run in extreme heat or extreme cold?
  10. If you had to watch the same movie ten times in a row, what would it be?
  11. Vanilla or Chocolate ice cream?

Okay, now my eleven tags (the hardest part):

  1. Life as a Convert
  2. Quadrathron
  3. The Trail Vagabond
  4. The Running Fat Guy
  5. The Running Green Girl
  6. Running Girl Hits the Trails
  7. Running is a Journey
  8. See Kate Run
  9. Tales From the Back of the Pack
  10. One Crazy Penguin
  11. Scott on the Trail

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Day 40: Maple Springs to Santiago Peak Out-and-Back

(Before I forget, day 39 of Streaking into the New Year I did run.  I ran a whopping 1.03 miles around my neighborhood in anticipation of my 40’th day running the “streak.”)

I held on tightly to my steering wheel this morning while driving through Santiago Canyon, as the wind wanted to blow my truck across the lanes.  It was still dark when I set out running up Maple Springs for day 40 of Streaking into the New Year.  No reason to fear running trails in the dark today though, as I had some great company: Kelly P., Kurt R., Ed H., and two new running friends, Judi and Matt W.  Our destination:  Santiago Peak

Rarely do I think of a run as a whole.  I break it down.  Otherwise, I’m not sure I could do it.  And at day 40, I must admit, I am fatiguing.

Today’s run consisted of 3 parts going up (and the same on the return).  Part one was the longest, 7.5 miles up Maple Springs Road to “4 Corners.”  Part two was the shortest, about 1.5 miles up the Main Divide to Modjeska Peak for exhilarating views.  Part three was a tough approximate 3 miles to Santiago Peak – the summit of Saddleback Mountains. 

Maple Springs Road:

The Ladies on Maples Springs Road:

The wind continued to blow strongly from the start of our run – even through the dark, protected canyon.  As we climbed higher, exposure increased and that wind did not let up.  It got stronger.  And it blew mostly front on.  Still I enjoyed the strong winds, even though they were cold.  The views were spectacular.  Plus, I came prepared to keep warm.  But I over packed on the water which I suppose is never a bad thing.  However, when you’re as fatigued as I was, running up a mountain with fluids that I would never drink, was not a good thing.  I should have stashed some water for a future run.  What was I thinking?

Nearing “4 Corners” with views of the San Gabriel Mountains:

Though the gate at Maple Springs road was closed, we saw some dirt bikers, even some cars, some cyclists, but no other runners.  We three ladies took up the rear, while the men ran up ahead.  Because I break my runs down I didn’t fret about making it to the top.  (In my heart I longed for the peak though).   Because I didn’t think of this run with as a whole, I felt pretty strong when we finished up Maple Springs, arriving at “Four Corners.”

The wind was FIERCE at “Four Corners.”  Kurt and Matt were waiting when we arrived.  Wearing short sleeves, they were so cold, I believe their teeth were probably chattering.  After some photo ops, they took off while we ladies quickly grabbed things from our pack, etc., and headed up behind them for the next leg, 1.5 miles to Modjeska Peak. 

From Modjeska Peak, Santiago Peak looked a “stone’s throw away.”  Well, not that close.  But a lot closer than it felt running it.  Leg three, the run to Santiago Peak was approximately 3 miles.  And I have to say I ran it nowhere near my best 5k time.  Most of it was uphill, but there was a little downhill in the beginning that I knew would stab at me on the return. 

The wind died down pretty much completely on the third leg.  That is until about 3 minutes in, when someone said (and I won’t say who – LOL), “At least the wind has died down.”  Probably no more than a minute passed before the wind picked up again.  And if I’m not mistaken, it blew even harder just to show us that it was in control – not us! Winking smile

We could see the towers on Santiago Peak for a while, yet we never seemed to get closer.  Finally, we crept up on the peak enough that we couldn’t see the towers anymore.  And then at last.  At. Last!  We turned a corner for a beautiful site:  the towers of Santiago Peak.  Kurt and Matt were wandering around.  Ed had ran onward to Holy Jim so that he could make his run a thirty-miler. 

Group Shot at Santiago Peak (minus Ed): Kelly, Me, Kurt, Matt, Judi:

A motorcyclist took the picture above.  Afterward, he told us an interesting Santiago Peak story.  Not too long ago, he rode up there and took a nap (took a nap!!  I used to do things like that in my youth, but I’m a scaredy-cat now, so that’s a NEVER to me).  Anyway, when he woke, he got on his motorcycle and drove a bit and there before him was a beautiful, golden reddish-brown mountain lion.  He revved his bike and the cat didn’t even change his gait, it just sort of meandered down the road.  Yikes! 

Needless to say, this gentleman (I didn’t catch his name) doesn’t take naps up there anymore. Smile

So, the views were awe-inspiring from Santiago Peak.  We could see the Pacific Ocean and Catalina Island, all of Orange County, Long Beach Beach, Los Angeles, and if I’m not mistaken some of the beaches in San Diego County.   But heck!  It was cold and windy up there.  Matt found us a wonderful little refuge – a small spot vacant of the wind.  Of course we all crammed in there after the peak group photo for a snack break.  It was just small spot, but it was cozy and warm.  As soon as I stepped out of it to set up my camera, my hat flew off my head and threatened to fly off the peak.  I walked down just a tad to stomp on it before it flew away further and surprisingly to everyone, saved my cap.

Our Refuge from the Wind:

Heading back to the Main Divide from The Peak:

Good-bye Sweet Towers of Santiago Peak.  Hope to see you again soon!

Well!  I seriously thought it would be easy-going for the return trip.  But we had that slight incline to climb back to Modjeska Peak.  And the rocky Main Divide back to Maple Springs lasted FOREVER.  I was so extremely fatigued that the downhill was a big effort – an effort to keep myself upright and not fall flat on my face.  Still, the run was fun.  I would do it again, any day, even as fatigued as I am/was.  And it’s always such a great pleasure meeting and running with trail runners I haven’t yet had the honor to meet.

When I rolled (it felt like rolled, but it was actually “ran”) on into the trail head, my feet hurt.  We were all fatigued.  But we were smiling.  Smiling wide.

What a glorious, glorious, windy day up a mountain.

Judi and Kelly running down The Main Divide, “4 Corners” bound:

24.56 miles run (39.53 km) – The profile:My Activities Maple springs to Santiago Peak & back 1-28-2012, Elevation - Distance

Thursday, January 26, 2012

All of the Above

Day 37 of Streaking into the New Year I had the notion of doing a scouting run.  I set out on the pavement headed toward a local bike trail to see if it would eventually lead to Aliso/Wood Canyons Park.  Oh, about 3 blocks into this run, I thought to myself, “That’s quite enough of that!”  I felt extremely fatigued, both mentally and physically.  I can usually handle physically because I often get over it.  But MENTALLY fatigued so early???  Nope.  I didn’t have the power to revive the mind, so I set out for the minimum required for this “streaking” game.  I ran the bluffs above the harbor, then down to the harbor (but not into the harbor), and back home, ending up running more than the minimum (3.08 miles/4.99 km) and feeling better for it

Day 38 of Streaking into the New Year I got myself a FULL TANK of gas.  I didn’t want to behave extremely wasteful, so I drove to the closest trails for some dirt.  Who am I kidding?  I would have chosen Aliso/Wood Canyons today regardless of my gas situation.   And keeping with my nature that I “don’t know when to stop,” and “like to torture myself” (though I don’t) and that I’m “a bit off, if not darn right crazy,” I was drawn again toward Mentally Sensitive.  Perhaps it was the day that one of the rangers chuckled and said, “No one’s running up that trail,” that set me off to run Mentally Sensitive as much as possible.  Maybe it’s that fact that this trail straightens out the brain in a jiffy.  Of course it could be the gorgeous views it supplies.  And it could be that the trail is EMPTY.  Maybe it’s because I like slipping backward occasionally.  Or perhaps it’s simply because I like to say that “I did it.” 

Actually I think . . . No, I know, it’s ALL OF THE ABOVE. 

Running trails.  LOVE IT.

My run today:

Back in one of my many favorite places – Entrance to Meadows Trail.  I had to think up a newish pose since I click so many pictures here (the more I look at this pose the more critical I am of it and think I won’t do it again – note to self, need to come up with better poses.)

Struggling up Mentally Sensitive (but loving it), though I was a little disappointed over the physical fatigue that hit very early on.  (I kinda look like an old lady here, limping along – just my initial thought.  Still I put the picture in.) ps.  I wasn’t actually limping.

Perhaps half way up Mentally Sensitive – See, I’m still smiling.  (Do you think maybe my favorite color is blue?  Blue shoes, blue shorts, blue shirt LOL).

Top of Mentally Sensitive, running toward top of Meadows and onward to Top of the World – of course, I must snap a picture of Saddleback Mountains (Modjeska Peak is the highest point on left, Santiago Peak is highest point on right):

Top of Meadows looking down onto Laguna Beach and Pacific Ocean (notice Catalina Island if you look closely):

Top of the World.  The PRIZE!

Running down Rockit with a view of Wood Canyon.  Three to four miles remain of this run:

Approaching “The Final Stretch.”  Running Coyote Run Trail, which hits Mathis for a creek crossing.  Then I was back onto Wood Canyon Trail for a little over 2 1/2 miles to the finish.  Smile  I was tired:

I ran a 12.01 mile loop today (19.33 km) with this elevation profile:  My Activities Long Run 1-26-2012, Elevation - Distance

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Things I See

Day 35 of Streaking into the New Year it poured rain most of the day.  Mid morning, the downpour let up some, and I ran out the door to run 2.35 miles (3.78 km) beneath dark, rainy skies.  I did not feel the joy.

Day 36 of Streaking into the New Year the skies cleared up.  But I had no gas, as in gasoline.  Well, I had just enough gas to drive the boys to school and get to work and back.  I didn’t have enough to drive to even close-by trails.  So, I ran out the door, onto the pavement once again.  And it wasn’t so bad.  I really needed this run – let’s call it a “Mental Health” run.  I got to thinking as I ran all over the place and into the next town and back, about all the great things I see when I run.  Sure, trails are awesome, majestic actually.  But I see lots of fine things running the roads too. 

I ran 10.81 miles (17.40 km) today, and these are just a smidgen of the interesting things I saw as I ran about the locale:   

San Juan Creek emptying into the Pacific Ocean at Doheny Beach:

I know, I didn’t actually see myself, but this is the where the bike path starts that travels along San Juan Creek, I ran it into San Juan Capistrano:

Thousands of seagulls basking in the creek (many of them are unseen, off-camera):

Trabuco Creek about to empty into San Juan Creek:

Bridge crossing:

El Camino Real Park (runs along the railroad tracks):

And wouldn’t you know – a train whizzes by:

Trabuco Creek:

Running back through El Camino Real Park:

A Catholic Church downtown San Juan Capistrano:

Los Rios District:

Hello Emu!

A cellphone smashed into the asphalt on the bike trail:

Monday, January 23, 2012

Calico Trail Run 2012

We arrived to Calico Ghost Town with cold, 50 mph winds.  They shut down the town because building pieces were blowing away.  When we opened the car doors, things began flying out into the desert.  That’s how we learned to only open one door at a time.  Though the town was closed, I was able check in.  After that we were quick to find the Bunk House keys and get the heck out of there to shelter.

Bib pick-up, downtown Calico:

Our lodgings:

A piece of the tin roof flapped in the wind all night.  And I think I woke every hour to check my phone for the time.  How much longer?  How much longer?  HOW MUCH LONGER?  I didn’t feel nervous, because I know this run.  And I felt ready.  I did however worry about being late.  I don’t like to be late to a race.  In fact, my “rule of thumb” is arrive one hour early.

By morning, the winds had died down.  With a 7AM start time, my husband, my middle son and my girlfriend’s son walked me the cold, cold, cold half mile to the start line.  Besides layering clothing,  I wore a leopard patterned scarf that I planned for my husband to take back to the cabin.  When I ran past my husband down the streets of Calico however, I grabbed the scarf out of his hands because I was so dang cold.  I really didn’t care if I was the only person running wearing a leopard patterned scarf. 

Less than two minutes to start:SAMSUNG

We’re off!SAMSUNG

And so we headed down a lonely asphalt road, away from the rising sun.  My friend Tom Bychowski popped up behind me.  We chatted for a bit, and he was off ahead of me on his way to to complete the 50k.

My goal was to make the first aid station in 1.5 hours.  I didn’t think about the race as a whole.  Instead, as usual, I  broke it down into segments.  Those first seven miles were on an incline, not terribly steep at all.  BUT, we ran in sand.  Dry, loose sand.  That’s tough.  Many runners passed me during those first seven miles.  Most disheartening were the white bibs going by.  30k runners wore white bibs.  50k runners wore yellow.  I usually aimed on passing the runner directly in front of me, no matter their bib color.  And I succeeded at passing at least three women and a couple of men.  Then I saw runners from the 2011 Saddleback Marathon.  It’s always great seeing people you spent some time with during a long, hard race – they seem like old friends. 

I ran on into that first aid station with an hour and a half time elapsed.  I  pocketed a handful of jelly beans, grabbed some potato chips and took off running toward the mountains without even realizing that two of the women I had passed were up a ways ahead of me already!

Taking off on asphalt:

“Old Friends” from Saddleback:

With the first segment complete, I aimed at making Station #2 within an hour.  The terrain gradually grew harder as we made our way up into the mountains.  Again it was a gradual climb, and I passed a few runners.  Overall, I didn’t feel I was gaining much advantage. 

And then the terrain changed even more, growing more technical, slanted and rocky.  At this point I was able to quickly pass three runners within eye-sight.  And then two more a bit after that.  My confidence grew.  I noticed tight shoulders on some of the runners (shoulders up near the ears) as they gingerly made their way across the rocky and at times steep terrain.  These runners I think just weren’t used to the “technical” trail.  But with my recent boulder hopping runs and mountain terrain, the race now was “right up my alley.”

I made Station #2 in a little longer than planned – 1 hour ten minutes total.  So, at a little over 12 miles into this race I was at about 3 hours 10 minutes.  And the best thing was when I came into that second station, about 8 runners were re-fueling.  I grabbed another handful of jellybeans and guzzled a big swig of Dr. Pepper and took off before any of them.  

Soon after Station #2, the terrain became even more difficult and I passed more runners.  I jumped from rock to rock.  I did not have to sit and slide, as had been my method in the past, and as I witnessed others this year.  A natural high overcame me, and it seemed I grew stronger.  But I was careful not to get “cocky”.  That’s exactly when I’d do a face-plant.  Instead, I fine-tuned my focus and hit those rocks like I owned them.

As I approached “Ernies 50/30k split” I had to stop and get a picture of us together.  For three years I ran past him with a smile, but not as much of a word.  This year I introduced myself and said, “Ernie, I presume?” 

Making our way to the most difficult terrain.  It took me a LONG time to pass this runner:

Aid Station #2 entertainment:

The fun stuff!!

Me and Ernie:

Knowing exactly where I was at all times gave me a great advantage in the mental battle.  As I ran one of the steepest climbs in the race, I knew that I would get a nice long easy down hill stretch to Station #3 which was hidden by rocks.  Runners their first time in this race wouldn’t know about this hidden station.  And let me tell you, FOR ME, knowing it was there made me run even faster!

Climbing up a winding incline:

For a colorful view of the desert:

When I made Station #3, I took another swig of Dr. Pepper, thanked the workers and was off for the most technical terrain of the race.  I had to “watch it” here.  I had already tripped twice (but had not fallen), and I didn’t want to mess up my time now.  It looked like I was going to make it to the finish well before 5 hours (my usual finish time), but I didn’t have time to spare for any kind of slowdown.  There was not a runner in sight behind or ahead of me.  I was happy that I had passed quite a few runners.  And I wanted to keep it that way.  So, I used my best focusing skills and really “hauled ***” through the most difficult 4 miles of this race.  I’m surprised these pictures came out focused, as I didn’t even stop running when I snapped them: 

Then out there in these beautiful canyons, I saw another runner.  She was obviously a much faster runner than me.  I hadn’t seen her the entire race.  Thing was, she slowly and carefully made her way across the boulders and rocks.  That’s when I knew it was time for another pass.  I said “Good Morning,” but she looked and sounded like I have so many times through these canyons – like, “When will this end???” 

I loved it though.  With practice, I have learned to love it.  Most runners have a great advantage over me on fire roads or asphalt.  But put me in this stuff, and I pass a few.  Smile  I was really having fun jumping from boulder to boulder, planning my steps out ten or so in advance. 

And then I made it to the lovely pink canyons, where the terrain grows friendly, and locals say you can hear God whisper.  At this point, I knew I was almost out of the canyons, which meant I was nearly Finish Line bound!  I felt confident.  I felt happy.  I felt strong.  I have never felt like this during this point in The Calico Trail Run.

Finish Line Bound:

Two sons wait for me to cross Finish Line:SAMSUNG

My oldest & middle son and nephew were waiting at the top of the town and ran along side me through town.  As I made my way across the finish line, my mother, father, sister, youngest brother, my girlfriend, her children and my husband and youngest son were cheering me on.  I felt glorious!  Dirty, stinky, salty glorious. 

And as in every year that I’ve run this race, when the finish line worker went to tear off my bib tag, I shook her hand.  Then I cracked up.  I always think they’re trying to shake my hand when they go for the tag.  She laughed too and thanked me for shaking her hand.  LOL. 

9 seconds after crossing Finish Line:SAMSUNG

Tom Bychowski crossing finish line after running 50k:

Me and running friend Tom:

To my utter amazement, I actually placed 3rd in my division:  Females age 40-49.  And yes there were more than 3 in my division.  I wasn’t even thinking about placing in my division when I started off.  I just wanted to beat my previous times.  And that I did (stats below). 

My Award:

Elevation Profile:My Activities Calico Trail Run 2012 1-22-2012, Elevation - Distance

2112, I placed 43 overall, out of 74 finishers (I believe 80 starters?) and as mentioned  above (and probably for the rest of my life) 3rd in my division.

My 30k Calico Trail Run times:

2112: 4:30:08

2111: 5:03:52

2010: 5:01:00

2009: 4:54:41

Thanks for reading!  What a happy way to begin the 2012 racing year.