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Colorado, Part 3

July 8: Wheeler Lakes Hike

The 6-mile hike to Wheeler Lakes was a steady climb through the woods of pine and aspen. The sun was hot and Little Boy was decidedly not motivated to take this hike. I kept talking up how we were going to see a meadow! and lakes! And eat sandwiches! But these enticements don’t work on anyone under 25.

The Second Wheeler Lake

We scoured the shoreline of the lakes a bit, looking for a spot to sit down, but there was no clear shore — only buggy, muddy grass that dropped off into buggy, mushy water. So we walked up a bit to sit on a nice cropping of rock to eat lunch. Mr. P planned to go on short run further down the trail, so Little Boy and I sat there, snacking and playing with ants.

Little Boy poses with Uneva Pass

Overall a very pretty hike!

July 10: Rafting!

On Thursday we went whitewater rafting. We drove about an hour from Breckinridge to the town of Buena Vista, which is a rafting mecca. We had some time to kill beforehand, so we walked the town’s lovely river trails.

The Arkansas River

We saw other rafters going down the river. I was glad Little Boy had this preview because up until that day I don’t think he knew the concept of rafting.

Strangers on a Raft

We choose our rafting company randomly, though we were forced into the mildest introductory rafting experience because of age restrictions on the more thrilling rides. Although we did buy a waterproof disposable camera, we’re still waiting on the development of the film — maybe I’ll post those pictures later, because I’m sure they’re awesome! Little Boy in a wetsuit and lifejacket! Mommy getting repeatedly doused in hypothermic waves (I seemed to be sitting in the worse spot of the raft)! Daddy pulling something in his hamstring! Little Boy had a blast. At the end, the raft’s captain invited us to swim to the short so all three of us jumped out of the raft and floated down to the shore, freezing and smiling.

Later, we stopped so Mr. P could pose with Mt. Quandary, a 14-thousand footer that he conquered by himself the previous morning while Little Boy and I frolicked at the aquatic center.

Mr. P with Mt Quandary

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Colorado, Part 2

July 6: Mohawk Lakes, Breckenridge, Co

The hike to the Mohawk Lakes is the hike to do in Breckenridge, so we set out early Sunday morning to do our 6.8 mile, strenuous duty!

Close to Mohawk Lakes

Honestly, it was not that hard for Little Boy. The terrain was technical and varied enough to stoke his interest and stamina. The wild flowers were amazing! It helped that it was a very popular hike, so he probably did not have that foreboding feeling of being dragged into the woods by his crazy parents.

Snow!

Mr. P can't resist a slide

When we reached the lower Mohawk Lake, we could sense Little Boy needed a rest and a snack, so I stayed with him on the lake’s shore while Mr. P continued to the upper lake.

Lower Mohawk Lake

Then, Mr. P returned, and I took my turn up the steep trail to the upper lake. It was worth the effort!

Near Upper Mohawk Lake

As I was venturing to the upper lake, Mr. P proceeded down the trail with Little Boy. I expected to catch up to them rather quickly; the trail was not rugged enough that I couldn’t jog, and I am, after all, an ultra runner… though no match for Little Boy on the descents, apparently! On the 3 1/2 mile descent, I didn’t catch up to them until about one mile from the car — and they had only a 20 minute head start. Little Boy is certainly a descender!

This was by far the best hike we did the whole trip. Amazing scenery plus a well-motivated Little Boy.

July 7: Mining Ruins

After the big hike the previous day, we played it cool with a small, 2 mile-ish tour of some gold mining ruins.

Everyone smile and say "dredge mining"

Sensing Little Boy’s tolerance for forest tramping was waning, in the afternoon Mr. P took him to the local aquatic center for some water slide action while I ran on the Colorado Trail. (The best part about where we were staying was how we were literally steps away from the Colorado Trail! I tried not to be too mad at Boston for not boasting such amenities).

Running the Colorado Trail

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Colorado, Part 1

Did you know that New England has mountains? Really, we do! The trails are often covered in so many rocks and roots that even skilled trail runners quiver at the thought of having both feet off the ground for a split second. The views (when the trees permit) are impressive if one’s typical views are from the fourth floor of a office building in a suburban corporate park. Mr. P and I have hiked scores of New England mountains, including all 48 New Hampshire 4000 Footers. And they’re quaint, but we had a hankering to see some real mountains this summer. The Rocky Mountains!

July 4th: Boston to Denver, Vail

Hurry up and wait! We left for the airport early on the Fourth of July, but due to an early-season hurricane an incoming flight from New York was delayed, which in turn delayed our flight to Denver two hours. Of course I’d rather have the hours of my life back, but Jet Blue somewhat atoned for it with free in-flight movies and free alcoholic drinks. Which frankly, I needed.

Eventually we arrived in Denver, and at the Hertz for our car rental. Hertz… hurts! Incredibly, there were no cars available. Dozens of people — angry, occasionally cursing — people stranded at Hertz, waiting for cars. We waited 90 minutes and I witnessed an utter breakdown of customer service, both on behalf of the customers and the service. A renegade customer galvanized us and organized this picture so he could spread it on social media:

See, you know how to take the reservation, you just don't know how to *hold* the reservation and that's really the most important part of the reservation, the holding. Anybody can just take them.

I think that this rebellion spurred Hertz to start giving out the premium cars, as we ended up in a speedy Fiat when we booked an economy car. Again, I’d rather have the hours of my life back, but the Fiat was pretty nice!

We hurried to Vail, Colorado, where we would be spending one night. Bummer that we were arriving four hours late, tired and frustrated. We checked into our ritzy hotel and promptly hit the town in search of dinner. “How’s your Fourth of July going?” asked the waiter at the Italian restaurant. Silence. “It can only get better,” I said. And it did.

Vail was impressive, although as we ate and watched the white, rich, cookie-cutter denizens of Vail stroll the streets, I whispered to Mr. P, “Everyone in this town looks like an asshole.” Half-joking.

July 5th: Vail Hill Climb, Biking around Lake Dillon

Mr. P signed me up for the Vail Hill Climb months ago. I kinda forgot about it until a week before we left, then I grilled him for the details — 7 miles, starting at 8200 feet above sea level, a 2400 foot climb up a fire road that traverses a fire road. Brilliant idea, my dear husband! I lined up Saturday morning amid the fittest crowd I have ever raced against in a non-ultra race. These Coloradans are buff!

I'm the Naive Flatlander, Waving

Man oh man, it was a hard race. My muscles were choking from lack of oxygen. My heart felt implosive. Around mile 5, I began cursing my dear Mr. P.

Nearing the Finish Line

I finished smack in the mid-pack, which was fine by me. I consider myself a strong hill climber but I could simply not breath. Still, a very well-organized and simply amazing race in the Rockies!

At the summit

Little Boy was in bliss to be on vacation.

Vail Fun

Though it was already an eventful day, we had some hours to kill before we picked up the keys to condo, which we would be staying in for a week. So we stopped in Frisco for a prolonged lunch at an overwhelmed locally-sourced restaurant. Then, we rented bikes and took a ride on the trail around Lake Dillon. Mr. P rode with Little Boy on a trailer-cycle while I trudged on my own at my preferred snail pace. I run faster than I will ever ride — this is why I do not attempt triathlons!

Climbing... again

Only one night, two days in Colorado and we were feeling like natives! To be continued…

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Lincoln Splash and Dash

The day before Little Boy’s 6th birthday, he participated in a local Kid’s Triathlon event. (Funny how adults can’t wait to age into the next age group, but in his case it’s the reverse… we were glad he was able to get a big “5″ marker-ed on the back of his calf so he wouldn’t be competing against kids six or even nine months older then him. And I’m not even two sentences into this blog post and I’m already sounding like Crazy Mom Who Directs All of Her Competitive Energy Into Her Kid. Which is not all true… in fact, I was so busy training that I didn’t even go to the event. Even worse!)

Triathlons have always been Mr. P’s thing, anyway. Luckily kids under seven did not have to do the bike portion, which is fortunate since Little Boy has newfound ambivalence over biking. He wants so badly to take the training wheels off, but he has fallen a few times and it was scary and we really need to get him a better bike anyway. So it was just Splash and Dash for him, which was fine.

Getting his gear ready in the transitional area

Getting ready to hit the pool -- note professional ankle chip

We were unsure how he would do in the swimming portion, as we haven’t been keeping up with his swimming lessons (that what summer camp is for), so his freestyle stroke is still a bit sloppy. But according to Mr. P, he made it across the pool so fast that he was the first one out of the pool!

Splashing! (with own personal lifeguard)

We knew he’d be okay with the running. He sprinted the loop and finished first in his heat!

Dashing!

First in his heat, and fifth in his division (with a time of 2 minutes and 53 seconds). So proud to get a medal! And so happy to consume post-race gummy candy.

“Can we do it again tomorrow?”

Medal

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Brendan’s Home Run 5K

I first ran Brendan’s Home Run 5K three years ago, right after we moved to the town and I was pleased to discover a race within walking distance to our new home. The race raises funds for a foundation in memory of a Belmont high school boy who tragically died as a result of an injury during a baseball game. The boy’s father emcees the event; I am always touched to think about this on Father’s Day.

The past two years I couldn’t make the race due to the timing of other races; this year, I’m currently in a (planned) lull in my races, so I can go burn my legs up on a 5K sprint. I was hoping to beat my 5K PR (22:45) but I didn’t taper, didn’t do enough speed work, plus I ran 4 miles the morning of the race and then ate some turkey which sat in my stomach like a rock. And while I’m making excuses…. the weather was also a touch hot.

I finished in 23:28 — 18th girl out of 174. Considering the race attracts pretty stiff competition due to the cash awards, I was content. (Still, I’d love to set a new 5K PR this year).

Dying at the finish

While I was out on the course, there was a kid’s fun run event — 400 meters, once around the track. Little Boy raced in the 6-8 year division, though he’s still a week shy of 6. Mr. P was very, very impressed with Little Boy. Though winning was unlikely, Little Boy did beat out some bigger kids and he didn’t “fade” at the end. Most importantly, he wants to race again! Nothing could make Mr. P prouder on Father’s Day!

Fun Run!

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World Cup goes Local, Little

The end of Little Boy’s first soccer season just happens to coincide with the World Cup. And it’s fair to say that Little Boy’s team lived up to the color of their uniform by being the Brazil of the Kindergarten soccer league: high-scoring, energetic, and good-looking.

The spring season commenced at the beginning of May. During the fall season, Little Boy proved to possess the skills of a great soccer player (good foot agility, nice left-foot kick, defensive instincts, decent sprint speed) but didn’t really show much aggression and hustle during the games, and only scored goals during practice.

UNTIL Mr. P and I proposed a little incentive plan. One goal=one toy.

And, we created a monster. A ball-hogging, close-dribbling, elbow-jutting monster. He scored two goals the next game. The game after that (against the formidable Red team) he failed to score a goal, and cried… and cried… but he atoned for it during today’s game, when he scored two goals and had the coach’s jaw dropping in amazement: Was this the same kid who used to hang back and stare at the ball, waiting for it to come to him?

Action!

Assertive!

Good Sportsmanship!

Team photo!

After the game and the end-of-season party, I took Little Boy to the toy store for his reward, feeling like the worst parent ever. I’m bribing him to score goals. I’m teaching him that something is only worth the effort if he has something to gain. I’m setting myself up for endless expensive trips to the toy store.

But then he told me how much he loved playing soccer and scoring goals. He was on Cloud Nine. And I realized the prospect of getting new Chima Legos was just the incentive he needed. He realized he would only score goals if he ventured into the jumble of cleats, fought for the ball, kept it close to him, and kicked it to the goal. Now that he’s felt the elation of victory, hopefully that will be all the incentive he needs next season!

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Recovery Log, Post-Miwok

No more training logs for now, simply because there has been no training in the two weeks following the Miwok 100K. I should be enjoying this break, but I’m a typical runner, addicted to euphoric hormones released during exercise, so I admit to feeling fleeting moments of inexplicable grief… followed swiftly by moments of thinking, “I should go to the grocery store and buy a Sara Lee pound cake. And eat it! In the parking lot!”

But of course I don’t. In fact, I’ve been adhering to a pretty strict no-sugar, no-wheat low-carb regime in my recovery. Four eggs and a bit of spinach for breakfast. A salad, avocado and turkey for lunch. Veggies, meat, and generous cheese for dinner. Generous wine, too. (I didn’t marry a French man just for the accent.)

I was immobile after Miwok. Really can’t walk properly the morning after. At the hotel, Little Boy and I went to the pool while Mr. P got his training miles in. I stood in the spa, angling my right knee on the jet. Everything was intense soreness, as was to be expected after completing one of the hilliest 100K races in North America. But my right knee region was pure pain, especially behind the knee. When we walked through the San Francisco airport later that morning, my right knee would sometimes buckle from weakness. No mystery why…

Typical Miwok uphill

Our flight home was a nightmare: delayed 3 hours due to aircraft maintenance, then finally cancelled. We expected to fly home at noon, and wound up leaving San Francisco at 11pm. Little Boy had fun romping in the Kid’s Area with a 6-year old whose flight to New Orleans was delayed. Instead of flying direct to Boston, we took a red-eye to Chicago, then a 6am shuttle to Boston with a bunch of joyless business travelers, none of whom would switch with us so we could sit with Little Boy. We all had middle seats. “Oh, I don’t do middle, I’m so claustrophobic,” one woman lamented when we asked her. The other passengers echoed her sentiment. Screw you all. It was two hour flight, so I could somewhat cope with the fact my 5 year old son was sitting with strangers. But still, screw you all. I’ve given up my aisle seat so husbands and wives could sit together… and you won’t let me sit with my 5-year old son?

We eventually arrived home. I was sore for about three days. I wanted to swim, but my elbow was in pretty bad shape, still weeping pus. No swimming. I went for a couple walks. I had a bit of tendonitis-like pain behind my right knee that lingered all week.

Mother’s Day featured awesome weather and roses. I spent a total six hours at the playground with Little Boy. We made new friends and romped with dear friends. My highlight was this:

My job is working! I peck away happily on my Mac! Yeees.

It’s now been two weeks since Miwok and I’m starting to feel normal. The skin on my elbow healed enough that I could enter the pool. I ran 5 miles and felt no pain. I’ve renewed my commitment to engage in regular bursts of yoga and Pilates. I lost 4 pounds since the race. I’m not sure if it was abating muscle inflammation or my body using all of its energy to recover and repair all of the missing skin.

The linchpin in my recovery was a visit to my Chinese masseuse. He pulverised my back muscles; he grinded away at the scar tissue in my hips and knees. I really couldn’t do ultras without this man.

I have no races scheduled until August, though there’s a couple local 5Ks I’d like to support. I do plan to take it easy this summer and ramp up for the fall. Summer is actually my least favorite times of year to train on trails — I’ll take snow over the heat/humidity, ticks, mosquitoes, mountain bikers, and sunburn. In the summer I’d rather do 8-10 mile road runs and spend the rest of the day at the pool/beach.

And spend time with my Little Boy. What a prince! The dogwood tree in our yard is blooming, and so is he!

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Miwok 100K

I set my alarm for 3:45am, but I was awake at 3:15. East Coast jet lag helped me out (though the tenacious East Coast winter was a huge impediment, overall)! Waking up earlier allowed me to take a shower and generally dawdle over my coffee and chocolate-peanut butter nut bars as well as the application of Glide to any clothed body part. I was calm. I had read the book “Finding Ultra” by Rich Roll on the plane. Overall the book was just okay (he strongly lobbies for a plant-based vegan diet, which I just can’t get behind in general but especially because he promotes his supplements as essential), but I kept repeating it my head what his wife told him before his first Ironman: “The race is already done. You just have to show up.” In other words, I did the training, now I have to execute.

When time came to leave the hotel, Mr. P carried Little Boy to the car and we drove 30 minutes to the starting line. At the recreation center, I told them to go back to the hotel and sleep some more. I got my number bib, used the portapotty and then sat in the recreation center with the hundreds of other runners waiting for the 5 am start. I talked to a few other runners — one, a girl from Virginia, I would later end up running a few miles in the second half of the race while providing mutual moral support. But we didn’t know that at the time. We didn’t know what would happen.

At precisely 5 minutes to 5am, the race director called for everyone to go outside to the starting line. The first 2 miles are straight uphill on a narrow path of stairs, so when the race started, it was essentially a lot of standing around. “Looking good!” a spectator called out jokingly to the group of stationary runners waiting to funnel onto the uphill trail and everyone laughed. I was near the back of the pack, slithering up the conga line of headlamps behind an older woman who was talking to herself — about her advanced age (65), about how she prefers to wake up at 7am, about how she should’ve got a brighter flashlight. The constant stream of grievance coupled with the trail’s darkness and busy-ness was making me distressed. We finally made it to the top on the climb and starting running along a thin band of single-track. I passed the woman at the first opportunity. Honestly, I love most people in ultras, but she seemed a bit crazy… but I guess everyone in that race is crazy.

I didn’t enjoy the single-track — the grass encroached on the trail and it was uneven, at times. The pack was still pretty tight. Soon we reached a woods with big trees and it was gorgeous. The trail turned into a fire road, so there was room to pass people, and be passed. I felt good at the first aid station but it was mile 6 and almost 2 hours gone. I knew the first climb took an inordinate amount of time but I was already fretting about the cutoffs. The 16-hour time limit was scary to me; it took me 15 hours to do the VT 100K and that course has less elevation gain. So I knew I would eventually have to make up the time, but I couldn’t figure out where, because another long descent/ascent happened around miles 10-12. The second climb and it was a doozy.

Meanwhile, at the hotel…

That smile!

We headed back on the single-track. I started talking to a somewhat crazy (but then again, we’re all crazy) guy who helped pass the time. We ran behind a girl who was going at a slightly-slow pace. It was a good pace, and one I should have stuck with. But I was still concerned about the cut-offs, so after the crazy guy took off I passed her too. It was flat and I flew. I flew, I flew, and then I turned my head to take in the view, and I literally flew. Over a rock.

Ouch. My toe caught a rock and I sailed onto the ground. My left elbow suffered the worse, with a large bloody abrasion. I also picked up some lovely cuts on my knees. My right knee seemed particularly wonky. Two guys stopped to help me up. I felt stupid, ridiculous. I continued running until I found a stream, where I washed my wounds, pressing my pack cloth into my elbow, which was gushed. Fortunately none of the cuts seemed that deep, but it was alarming. When I reached the next aid station, the volunteers were pretty freaked out. One woman did a great job covering the wound with a gauze pad. I headed on. The next aid station at Muir Beach
was the halfway point, and I expected to see Mr. P and Little Boy there.

And they were! What a relief. Little Boy documented the carnage while Mr. P pressed ice on my knees, and I changed my socks and shirt.

Muir Beach -- halfway point

"Mommy's Boo-boo" by Little Boy

After I filled my hydration pack, change my shirt and socks, and applied sunscreen, Little Boy ran into the aid station with me, to the delight of the spectators. “Good job, pacer!” one woman shouted. “Take care of your runner! Make sure she hydrates!” This cracked me up. We ran into the aid station so I could check in, then headed right back out. “In and out, job good pacer, keep her moving!” the woman called.

Too soon I had to keep going. I was still concerned about my pace and the cut-offs, as was Mr. P. If I hit a “bad spot,” I would be cutting it close. It didn’t help that there was a giant climb out of the aid station. The sun was hot. I put on my earbuds for the first time — just one, actually. The scenery was still gorgeous and I knew it was only going to get better. My body still felt good, although the downhills were starting to tweak my right quad. I actually looked forward to fast-hiking uphills. I passed a lot of runners on the uphills; they usually passed me on the downhills. I talked with a lot of great people. I marveled over the views of San Francisco, which made not having any skin on my elbow seem like not a big deal.

Around mile 41 I realized that I was in great shape for the cut-offs. In fact, I calculated it out with two women that we could walk the rest of the race and still make it in 16 hours. But we still ran. We were all having issues. One woman’s back was killing her on the uphills; the other woman was having stomach distress; my right quad made every downhill a dread.

Eating-wise, I craved and ate copious amounts of PB&J sandwiches from the start, with the occasional handful of peanut M&Ms. I only drank water (after the Vermont 100K, I realized soda and other energy drinks made me nauseous). When I reached Tennesse Valey for the second time (mile 48), Mr. P and Little Boy were there waiting. I was almost 2 hours ahead of the cutoff for that aid station, so we knew I was in good shape to finish. I iced down my quads and enjoyed some pizza –
the best piece of pizza in history.

Around mile 50, one has no shame

After saying goodbye, I continued onto the most beautiful section of the course, which overlooked Pirate’s Cove. Unfortunately my camera battery died so I could not take pictures (and after my previous fall, I was scared to lift my eyes from the trail). I was mostly alone for this stretch. I kept passing the woman having back issues on the uphills; she would flew past me on the downhills. It was a shame that we could not run together for company, but we were physically unable to.

In a 100K, the halfway point is 50 miles. This is so true. Every mile after that feels like 10 miles, and every one is a victory. I counted down each mile. The last climb out of Muir Beach to Cardiac Hill I took with surprising vigor, and passed more than a few people. When I reached the last aid station on Cardiac Hill, they told me “2.8 miles, mostly downhill” and I told them I loved them. They told me they loved me too, and I looked great. Ha. Liars!

I wasn’t thrilled about the downhill, but I was running at least. Two men (with sturdier quads than me) past me. Then a man and a woman passed me, the woman telling me in a lightly patronizing voice “You look great!” Ha. Then I passed a girl who had obviously blown out her quads, as she was inching down the steps on the Quad Dipsea sideways. Well, I wasn’t that bad. I began to get the hang of the steps and accelerated. One miles to go. I got excited and ran. I began to pass volunteers, who directed me to the finish. “Just around the corner,” one told me. I passed spectators — not a lot, but enough to almost make me cry. There was the end.

Miwok Finish

Mr. P and Little Boy were waiting for me. I was so happy. It was over.

Yes

After getting a real bandage for my elbow from the medical staff, I ate two sausages from the BBQ, collected my goody bag, and Mr. P drove us back to the hotel. He got us a half-bottle of Cava, which was the best. Cava. Ever. And I ate half a chocolate bar. And I showered. And I crawled into bed. My Miwok was over. Time for a month of rest, yoga, swimming, and walking.

Miwok was truly the most beautiful race I’ve ever run. La 6000D in the Alps is a close second, but the cityscape of San Francisco coupled with the wild flowers, redwoods, and dramatic views of the Pacific Ocean made Miwok the experience that I dreamed it would be.

I’d like to thank Mr. P and Little Boy for supporting me both at the race and during my training. I’d also like to thank the aid station volunteer who bandaged my elbow up with temporary gauze skin; the two guy hikers who clapped and danced for me during a long climb; the woman runner who stopped me from blindly following another runner down the wrong trail (and then helped me yell and scream for the other runner to come back, which he did); and Rob Zombie for getting me through miles 54-58.

437 starters, 358 finishers under 16:30 hours — a 82% finish rate
204th place (39 out of 90 women)

From goody bag -- Miwok 100K Beer!

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San Francisco!

We went to San Francisco for 4 days so that I could prove my continued insanity by running the venerable Miwok 100K (one of my dream races) and so we could enjoy a nice family getaway in one of best cities in America — nay, Earth.

I’ll cover the actual race in a separate blog post shortly, but here’s how the Miwok 100K (which I did finish!) and the whole trip to San Francisco happened: Little Boy had a 4-day weekend due to an orientation for the incoming Kindergarten class. This gave us a golden opportunity to take a long weekend that happened to coincide with a weekend of great races in other parts of the country: Bear Mountain in NY, Broad Street in Philly, and the Miwok 100K in the Marin Headlands just north of San Francisco.

So last December, I entered the Miwok lottery. I won. “Won.”

We left for San Francisco on Thursday morning. It was an archetypal Boston day (cold, rainy) so it was lovely to land in California (warm sunny, almost unbearably so for our winter-thinned blood). We acquired our rental car and headed north into downtown SF. Since it was 4pm EST and we hadn’t eaten lunch, a stop at Fisherman’s Wharf seemed dire.

View of Alcatrez

We continued across Golden Gate bridge and into Marin, stopping to stretch out legs and do some light hiking/view gazing. It struck me how much more courteous Californian drivers are. I’ve been driving amongst Massholes too long.

Golden Gate Bridge

Our first hotel was pretty nice. Mr. P and Little Boy romped in the pool while I looked for a store to stock up on bottled water. Then we went out for sushi. Another San Francisco perk: there is yummy sushi everywhere.

Hotel Pool

The next morning we headed north towards the giant redwoods around Russian River. We stopped at a state park and toured a grove of giants redwoods.

Redwood bridge

Let's give Mommy a heart attack

Redwood forest jaunt

At Parson Jones, a 1300 year old tree

Then we headed back south on Route 1, stopping at a beach to marvel in the coastal beauty and taunt the waves.

Wow. Just... wow.

Walking to the beach

Running from the waves

Hurry!

We stopped for lunch near Bondega Bay, the backdrop for Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds.

Bodega Bay

Then we continued on to our second hotel. I could not believe that Miwok was the next day. I took Little Boy to romp in the pool while Mr. P went for a run. For dinner we went to a fancy Italian restaurant next to our hotel. It was surprisingly fancy — we were wayyy underdressed, as were the ten or so other obvious ultrarunners in the restaurant who were carbing up. They were all so skinny and tan and I already felt intimidated — not by them, but by the race.

I ate pizza for the first time in about six months. It was pretty freaking good and my body sorta buzzed with carbs and gluten. And wine, of course. For the 12000 foot, 62 mile race that I would commence running in the morning, at 5am, I would require moderate amount of wine…

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Training Log: Week Ending 4/26/14

Weekly Total: 33 miles. Tapering for Miwok. The hay is in the barn!

Sunday AM: 7+ miles, easy, Pancake Loop.

Monday AM: 5 miles, the 100th running of the Lexington Lion’s Club Patriot’s Day 5 Miler (and my 4th running). Fast! (for me!) Finish time of 35:56, which is a 7:12 min/mile pace and almost a minute faster than last year. A great way to celebrate Patriot’s Day, Marathon Monday, running in general, and the bliss that is a perfect New England spring day. I finished 3rd in my age group (out of 47) and 9th girl (out of 205).


Monday AM: 6+ miles easy. Immediately after the race, I saw on the results that were posted that I finished third in my age group. This left me out of the running for a trophy (which is for the top two in each age group), BUT the first girl in my division also finished as the first Lexingtonian. So, I thought maybe the second place trophy would bump down to me, since most races don’t double-dip on the awards. I stayed for the awards while Mr. P left with Little Boy and it turned out that they don’t double-dip. I jogged home with no trophy but still mighty proud of myself for earning a 5-mile PR.

Tuesday AM: 60 minutes swimming. Certainly sore from the speedy race.

Wednesday AM: 60 minutes swimming. Not sore anymore but I am tapering. And besides, I’ve started doing flip turns in the pool and I love it.

Thursday AM: 8 miles running. First weekday morning trails of the year! It’s finally light enough at 6 am that I can make it up to the local Audubon property and do loops on the .8 mile gentle trail that I adore. Surprisingly my hamstring was still a bit tweaked from running fast on Monday.

Friday AM: 60 minutes swimming.

Friday PM: 4 mile walk, 1.5 with Little Boy. Since it’s Spring Break, Little Boy has been going to vacation camp at another elementary school in our town. Friday was such a nice day that I walked to pick him up, taking a mommy-only diversion en route. Last year, walking 1.5 miles with Little Boy would have been very daunting — he could do it physically, but mentally would be very distraught. This year dare I say he even enjoyed the walk, looking at the flowers and tree blooms, talking about the cars passing up, and stopping at playgrounds to play with friends who we serendipitously spy from the sidewalk.

Saturday AM: Volunteer, TARC Spring Classic. Mr. P signed up to run the half-marathon at the TARC Spring Classic. I decided to volunteer for the good karma that comes from being around the TARC folks. They were short on help setting up so I arrived at 6am to get the main aid station situated; Mr. P showed up with Little Boy at 7:30 for the 8am race start. So Little Boy became an aid station volunteer.

I was tasked with setting up the grills, boiling water for hot drinks, cooking potatoes (which trail runners love), and sorting/clearing the donated food items. TARC events always ask participants to bring food donations for the aid station (probably 80% of it winds up getting donated to a local shelter). So the first job I gave Little Boy (after taste-testing the brownies) was putting the non-perishable food in plastic bags. Since there were about 300 runners, there was a lot of food we had to clear off the table to make room for the actually aid!

We had the aid station in pretty good shape one hour into the race. W saw Mr. P finish is first loop and start on his second. We started making soup for the runners, which was much needed because it was raining pretty hard and the runners were chilled. Pretty soon more volunteers came to help out, which was a good thing because it was time to start grilling foods and I didn’t want to be responsible for charred grilled cheese!

Mr. P finished in one hour and 47 minutes (or something like that). By then the aid station had more than enough awesome volunteers to take over so I said good-bye (“You can’t leave, you’re in charge!” “I’m not in charge, I was just the first person here!”), allowed Little Boy to taste test one last brownie, and we departed.

Saturday AM: 4 miles running, treadmill.

Saturday PM: 3 miles running, road, hills.

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