Thursday, December 25, 2008


Ok, I had every intention of running Pacific Coast trail runs Muir Beach 50K and Rodeo Beach 50K in December but due to circumstances beyond my control, I didn't.  I have got to get to the trails and do some hills.  If not, I will seriously be in trouble come March for Coyote Two Moon!

So, tentatively, this is my race schedule until WS.
January:  Angel Island 50K
                    Pacifica 50K
February:  Surf City Marathon
                      Jed Smith 50 mile
                      Sequoia 50K
March:  CTM
                Pirates Cove 50K
                Lake Sonoma 50 mile
April:  AR50
              Diablo 50 mile
May:  Miwok (?)
            Quick Silver 50 mile
            Skyline 50K
June:  Diablo 50K

Western States!
Pretty ambitious huh?

Run Fun....

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Sunday, December 7th, was the California International Marathon in Sacramento, CA.   Connor and I drove up to Sac. to cheer on fellow ShadowChase members who were running there very first marathon.  We drove downtown looking for a good place to cheer.  We ended up right before the 25 mile marker. 
There were two women across from us who had a string of bra's hooked together and were yelling, "We support you".  It was great.
 I saw lots of familiar faces and pretty soon, Danielle came running up.  Shortly after, Mark and Dave came running by.  It was great to see them  with smiles on their faces so late in the game.  They finished up in 5 hours 20 something and are already back out there training.  Good job!

Run Fun..

North Face volunteer report

On December 6th, Connor, Roos and I volunteered at the North Face 50K/50 Mile Championship endurance run.  The race starts at Rodeo Beach and follows some of the Miwok course and some of the Dipsea course and then finishes up back at Rodeo Beach.  
We worked at the Old Inn aid station at Muir Woods.  The aid station is mile 19 for the 50K and mile 36 for the 50 mile.  
The weather was absolutely beautiful!  My job was to check the 50 mile runners as they entered the aid station.  Roos' job was accelerade/water server.  Connor of course, just played and entertained himself while eating lots of M&M's.  It was great to see so many foreign and elite competitors.  Matt Carpenter won the 50 mile with a time of 6:49.  That's a 8:12 pace on a course with 19,000+ elevation gain.  Amazing!
It was embarassing as they day went on, we ran out of chips, brownies, Gu's, jelly, coke, and sprite.  We didn't have any heating elements, so we had to serve up cold chicken broth.  I was glad I brought my bag because I had electrolytes and ginger with me for those runner's in need.
We did have plenty of accelerade, water, ice and fruit though and I am hoping next year, they will have better stocked aid stations.
This does look like a very challenging run, I might consider running the 50 mile next year.  

Run Fun.. 

Turkey Trot

The pre-registration table and the chilly volunteers!

On Thanksgiving Day, our local junior college puts on a mile and 5K.  This year I volunteered to help.  It is a big event for our running club because we do the timing, monitoring the course, and registration.  This year there were over 1400 participants.
It was very cold when we arrived and I set out to work the pre-registration table.  They offer early packet pick up at the junior college, so many take advantage of that but pre-reg is still a happening place.  Unfortunately, they didn't order enough L and XL shirts, so we ran out very quickly.  
Connor and his friend, Charlie did the mile and 5K while Roos walked the 5K.  It is a great family event and it was our 3rd year in a row.  
After the pre-registration table, I went to help at the finish line shoot.  It is amazing how many out-of-shape MEN get out there and give it there all only to come in to the finish line drooling or nearly up-chucking.  Not a pretty sight!  
We didn't stay for the awards because I had to go in to work. 
Of course, we'll  do this event next year - what's better than running and then stuffing your self later with turkey and all the trimmings... 

Run Fun... 

Saturday, December 13, 2008

San Antonio

San Antonio Rock n Roll marathon - the last run in the year of Rockin n Rollin'.  I have never been to San Antonio and was kind of excited to visit some of the sights.  We flew in on Thursday and went to the Riverwalk in the late afternoon.  Wow, that is great.  You could gain 10 pounds in one visit going from restraurant to bar, to bar, to bar, etc.  We took the boat ride that goes around the Riverwalk.  I love these kinds of tours.  The tour guide is usually some retired guy who is a native and can tell you stories from long ago.  It is a great way to learn the history.
We ate at Dick's Last Resort.  If you have never eaten at one of these restraurants, I would highly suggest it.  The staff are extremely rude!  It's their trade mark.  
On Friday, we went to the expo for the race.  We went to some of the lectures they provided.  John (the penquin) Bingham was there.  He is very funny!  His wife was also lecturing and she was great.  We spent about 5 hours there.  That's a pretty long time at an expo but we had lots of fun.  
As you can see from the photo above, we went to the Alamo.  You would expect the Alamo to be this great big, gigantic fortress out in the middle of now where.  Well, it is right in the middle of downtown and it's about two blocks in size.  In fact, right across the street, you can go to Ripley's Believe it or Not or to the Wax musuem, really - believe it or not!
On race day morning, we left early, thankfully, because the traffic was backed up on the freeway for MILES.  They bused you to the start and it was crowded.  I can't believe how many dorky people I saw wearing their stupid blue capes....
It was very cold and of course you have to stand around for what seems like hours and by the time the race starts, your feet are little chunks of ice that take about 5 miles to finally thaw out.  The course travels by the Alamo and of course Ripley's and the Wax musuem, the missions, and then out in nowwhere land.  It was hillier than I expected but I like the rolling hills.  I tried to stay on an even pace but I felt like I was slowing down.  On one of my walk breaks, the 3:50 pace group came charging up.  Crap, I wanted to run around 3:45 so I tried to stay ahead of them.  Eventually, I ran with them for a few miles but pulled ahead around mile 24.  I rounded the corner to mile 25 and ran parallel with Roos on the half marathon course.  He ran with me for awhile but then returned to a walk.  If I wasn't so stubborn about getting my goal time, I would have walked with him.  At mile 26.1 is this huge frigging hill.  It was short but steep - very cruel.  Once you get to the top and turn the corner you can see the finish line.  I finished about 15  minutes ahead of Roos.  I waited for him and we had our photo taken together, kind of cool.  I might actually buy that one!
 I finished 3:46 and Roos finished 3:11 ( a new PR for him).  Anita and Andy finished together in 4:48.  We waited in line for the shuttle bus for almost an hour, hit the hotel for a shower and then some much needed food.  We had a great time.  
The series of rock n rolls was fun because of all the traveling.  I enjoyed that part very much.  I got to go to Nashville, Virginia Beach and San Antonio.  
I won't ever do those series of runs again, or even another rock n roll event for that matter.  Those Elite racing people must be bathing in tubs of money!!!!

Run fun.....

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Super Six

This year, Anita, Andy and myself completed all six of the Rock n Roll events sponsered by Competition (formerly elite racing). They consisted of:  Arizona Rock n Roll marathon,  Nashville Rock n Roll marathon, San Diego Rock n Roll marathon, Virginia Beach Rock n Roll half marathon, San Jose Rock n Roll half marathon and San Antonio Rock n Roll marathon.  
Prior to the start of the San Antonio marathon, we received an email that stated their was a "special gift" for us at the Rock n Roll booth at the expo.  Well imagine my surprise when we received the blue cape with the Super Six logo.  What were these people thinking?  Why not give us a nice dry fit shirt with the logo that people actually might wear?
Of course, the participation survey only allows you 100 words to make your comments and I was only half way done complaining when I hit 100 words....

Up next, my San Antonio race report.

Run Fun......

Monday, November 3, 2008

What was I thinking?

On Saturday, October 25th and 26th, I planned to run the San Francisco One Day.  It is a run hosted by Pacific Coast Trail Runs.  I have done many of their events.  Wendell and Sarah are the owners and put together trail events from Malibu to Oregon.  They are very low key events and are lots of fun.  
This run consisted of running in loops.  A 1.067 mile loop around Crissy fields.  I know, a one mile loop, how borrring........  But as you can see, the day turned out beautifully.  The weather was nice, even a little on the warm side.  There were many people running and we set off at 9 am.  My goal was to run slow and consistant.  I had my watch set for 10 and 1.  During my 1 minute walk I would drink.  The start/finish was also the aid station.  For the first 20 loops, I was consistantly hitting the start/finish area on my walk break, which was very convenient.  I tried to eat lots of food. 

Here I am taking a break.  This photo was taken by Rick Gaston.  He lives in SF and came to help.  He stayed for the entire 24 hours!
After 20 loops, I walked a loop.  It was close to 2 p.m. and very warm.  
Around 3:30 - 4, Roos and Connor showed up and I ended up walking several loops with them.  Connor was having a great time, he even did a few laps with Aaron, Wendall and Sarah's son.

This photo, taken by Leanne was around 5p.  I was getting tired and my legs were like tree trunks.  Since WS was cancelled and I took a recovery break, I haven't done any really long events - pacing Scott was the longest I've run.  I don't know what made me think I could go from 33 miles to a 24 hour run.  I began to seriously consider my planning.  What was I thinking??

Leanne also took this photo.  I continued to go loop after loop but I really wasn't having any fun.  I had walked several loops.  I walked some with Connor, a few with Roos, one with Craig, one with Leanne, one with Heather and after 12 hours 14 minutes, I decided to call it a day.  I completed 56.7 miles, which I am very happy with.  A great training run.  Many Shadowchasers were out in force and had a wonderful day.  Vance did over 109 miles, Linda did 100.3, for second place female and Charles ran 100.3 - his very first 100 mile run.  

It was nice to go back to the hotel.  I took an ice bath and soaked my tired legs.  

The next morning, we decided to walk across the Golden Gate bridge.  Of course, the weather was cold and foggy!  We could hardly see the bridge.  It felt great to walk and loosen up the legs.  Surprisingly, I felt good enough to run on Tuesday.  Overall, I had a great time, even thought I was overly ambitious and undertrained!  

Run fun.... 

Sunday, November 2, 2008


My daughter in law, Sarah sent me a post from her friend Emily who also ran the Nike women's marathon.  This was Emily's first marathon and her post was her recap of the event.  The post started out talking about the marathon and her friend running the last 6 miles with her and then she starts talking about a book she read called the, Zen and Art of Motorcycle Maintanence.  She goes on to compare the book to running.  After I read the post I thought about it off and on for the day and realized, we all are unique and each person's perspective of running is so different.  We all run for different reasons and what we see, smell, hear, and feel when we run, is also unique.  This is Emily's comparison.  Read and enjoy:

"i would argue that actually runners are those who really take in the pace of life.  who run long; who experience the elements; who know the roads; and who really feel the terrain of the ground on which they run, and without any buffers making their experience more “comfortable”.   in fact, safety and comfort do not seem to be part of the language of running.  

i suppose i speak of this in contrast to the car, with all of its shock absorbers and air conditioning that mask any element that may seem to intrude on the comfort of the rider.  

and i suppose what i have learned is that there are those that value such a ride, and…that i am not one of them."

Run fun....

Monday, October 27, 2008

Nike Women's marathon

On Sunday, October 19th I ran the Nike Women's marathon.  This was the 5th year running and my 3rd.  Due to the popularity of this marathon, it went to a lottery process for entry.  A large group of us signed up and fortunately, we all got in.  Pictured below is Cathy, Michelle, Gena, Sarah and Anita (in front) at the expo.  This is a very "foffy" marathon.  It's not called a Expo, but an Expotique and they offer pedicures, manicures, an oxygen bar and all kinds of other girlie things.  So not me!   

On race morning, we all gathered and headed out our hotel, walked 50 feet to our corral.  Man, staying at the Westin is handy!  Anita's nieces were going to undertake their first marathon.  Only one small problem, they didn't really train.  We decided to do a 3-1.  Run for 3 minutes and walk for 1 minute.  
Here is Sarah and I before the start.
We started out and Sarah was having problems keeping the pace, so we decided to walk the half marathon.  At that point, she was going to cut off and finish at 13.1 miles and I would catch up to Anita and the other girls.  At the split, I took off looking for the girls.  I saw Anita and Danielle at the 14 mile point.  The others decided to call it a day with a half marathon also.  Danielle was the only one who was going to gut it out and she was looking good.  I don't think her legs were feeling so hot though!  We dropped down to a 2-2 ratio.  Going around Lake Merced is the worst part of the marathon.  Once we got back on the Pacific Highway, it was all downhill (sort-of).  Danielle got emotional at mile 25, contemplating if she could finish.  
She came across the finish line in 5:58.  She completed her first marathon.  She is already talking about doing another, so that's a good sign.  Maybe she will train a little...
Here is the 3 of us at the finish.  It was a great day.  The weather was beautiful and the Tiffany necklaces are great`

Run Fun.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Riverbank Wine and cheese

This morning Roos, Connor and I went to the Riverbank Wine and Cheese 5k/10k run.  
Roos decided to do the 5k while Connor and I signed up for the 10k.  Connor is now officially in training for the Surf City half marathon in February.  Connor initially decided he wanted to do this without Roos or myself walking/running with him.  I agreed but the more I thought about it, the more uncomfortable I felt.  I decided to walk/run with him.  So I awoke at 5:30 a. to go out for a run.  I knew I wouldn't be doing a speed workout today so I opted for more mileage.  I ran 4.5 miles, arrived home, we packed up and drove to Riverbank.  It was rather chilly this morning but the Galaxy theatre opened it's doors for runners to use the restrooms and to stay warm!
At 8:00 sharp the horn started and we took off.  After about 50 feet, Connor was ready to walk - not a good sign.  Fortunately we met a young boy who decided to run with us.  Pictured below is Connor and our new friend Devon.
We were moving slow, so Connor and I pinky promised that the three of us would walk 50 steps and run 50 steps.  This was the key and we watched the mile markers fly by (sort-of).  We even found time to play at the playground!
Around mile 4.5, we ran into Devon's brother Gary.  The four of us stuck together.  Pretty soon, the sag van was right next to us.  I'm not sure, but we were pretty close to DFL.  Gary and Devon's mom and grandpa met us with about 1/2 mile to go.  Connor and I kept trudging on.  At this point Connor was very whiny.  He didn't want to run at all and just wanted to walk.  Of course being the loving and encouraging mother I am, I threatened him and we finished.  Our time was 1:30:20.  Not bad, Connor finished first in his age group, 12 and under.  He got a nice gold medal!  
Amazingly, he still had some energy and ran the Kids K-9 100 yard dash and received a sheriff's badge with another pretty pink ribbon.  (The run benefitted the Triumph group, a cancer survivor group)

Roos finished the 5K in 46 minutes and change.  Overall, we had a great day!

Run fun...

Friday, October 10, 2008

San Jose Rock N Roll half marathon

On Sunday, Roos, Andy, Anita and I drove over to San Jose to run the Rock n Roll half marathon.  This year the four of us decided to do ALL the Rock n Roll runs.  They were:  Arizona Rock n Roll, Nashville Rock n Roll, San Diego Rock n Roll, Virginia Beach half marathon, San Jose half marathon, and lastly, in November, is San Antonio Rock n Roll.  They have been fun and we got to travel alot!   
As you can see from the photo above, lots of other ShadowChasers were also running.  It was cool because it was Danielle (far left) and Linda's (between Anita and I) very first half marathon.  The weather couldn't have been better.  
I started out to fast (as usual) and at the 5K mark was: 23:03.  At mile 10, I was at 1:19:08.  I took a walk break and then the 1:45 pace group came up from behind.  Crap!  I wanted to do better than last year (1:44) so I tried to stay ahead of that pace group.  I hung in there, pushing it to the end and came across the finish line at 1:43:19.  My new half marathon PR.  My achilles felt pretty good.  It was a little stiff on Tuesday morning but is now feeling good.  I am so relieved to be healthy.  I only hope it stays that way.
Andy finished in 1:58, Anita finished 2:17, and Roos finished at 3:16 (his new PR).  Overall it was a great day.  What could be better than running and wolfing down In-n-Out on the way home!!

Run Fun....

Monday, October 6, 2008

Rio Del Lago Part 2

Darkness set in early. We were worried that they didn't pack any flashlights in their last drop bag before arriving at Cavitt School. It would be very difficult to run on the trails in the darkness. We figured since Clare packed the drop bags, they must have packed flashlights!
We could see headlamps bobbing up and down on the trail. We would start whooping and hollering for the runner in hopes it was Clare or Scott. Finally Clare arrived, again looking fresh and happy. She had one small blister on her left baby toe which I took care of for her. Her and Jon set out on the out and back section. Clare was in 3rd place, but not a lot of time separated the 2nd place woman and her. Jon was determined to make up the difference and push Clare.
Scott arrived around 9:30 p.m. He looked awesome. His weight was good, he ate some soup and we posed for a picture before we headed out for the last 33 miles.
When I follow a pacer, I like to flash my light on their feet and just follow their steps. No thinking, just running. I told Scott to do just this. I told him not to worry about course markings and glow sticks, I would keep us on the path. We started running and we were moving fairly well. We walked all the ups but ran everything else. Well, following the trail proved a daunting task. The course was not well marked. Many times Scott and I were stopped dead on the trail looking for the right direction. Once we made a small loop that brought us right back where we started. I'm sure he was re-thinking my plan.
Scott was feeling pretty good. He said he stomach was "jiggly", not really upset, but not right either, just jiggly!
We arrived to the first and second aid station and Scott ate some soup. He didn't really feel like eating but the soup was going down good. After leaving Negro bar aid station, we would come to Hazel Bluff aid station where Kristen and Johanna would be waiting. We finally arrived and Scott was happy to see his crew. Kristen informed us that Clare and Jon had taken a wrong turn and had lost 45 minutes.
We headed out down the trail. This section runs on the trails that parallel the bike path on the American River. It was very beautiful. Scott must have been energized by his crew because as soon as we left Hazel Bluff we were moving. Scott and I ran every step of the way until the turn around point. We were now passing those who were already on the return and we ran into Clare and Jon not far from the turn around point. I think this motivated Scott to pick up the pace. We quickly ate and headed back to Hazel Bluff. We picked up another runner who was without a pacer and he joined us for some time. We were really running. I was in the lead, followed by Scott and then our new friend John. Suddenly I came to a complete stop on the trail with Scott running right into me. Directly in front of me, not 3 feet away, was a skunk with his rear end facing me. All I could think was, no one would like us if we came back stinking to high heaven of skunk! Slowly, he moved off the path and we began running again. John, our new friend, could not keep up with Scott's pace and he fell behind.
We arrived back to Hazel Bluff much earlier than was expected. Kristen and Johanna were so excited. Scott was at mile 90. 10 miles to go!
We headed back towards Cavitt School the way we came. Scott was starting to slow some. He wanted to skip the aid stations but I forced him to stop and have some soup and Mountain dew. He would need the energy. Much to Scott's amazement he passed 3 runners and their pacers. I think this was a boost and we picked up the pace again. We arrived to Folsom dam aid station, 3.1 miles to go. We blew right through the aid station, not even bothering to stop. Shortly after passing through that aid station, we passed another runner.
We came to the levee right before the left hand turn to Cavitt School. Scott could "smell the barn". We ran our last mile at a 10 1/2 minute mile. We could hear Kristen and Johanna yelling.
Scott came across the finish line at 23:32. An amazing time for his first 100 miler. He finished so strong. According to my garmin, we ran a 13:30 min. pace for the last 33 miles, with mile 99 being the fastest.

Clare finished at an amazing time of 22:59. Good for 3rd woman.
She finished only 1 minute and 16 seconds behind the 2nd place female.

Here is Scott's amazing time!

Here we are in the gym, shortly after Scott's finish.

I had a blast pacing and crewing. I am so proud of Clare and Scott. They remained strong and ran well, despite the heat. 96 people started the race and only 50 finished. A job well done.

Rio Del Lago Part 1

The Players:

Clare Abrams

Scott LaBerge

The Crew
John Fors:  Crew/Clare's pacer
Kristen LaBerge:  Crew/Scott's loving wife
Johanna Dennehy:  Crew/Kristen's sister
Me:  Crew/Scott's pacer

The Story:
Saturday and Sunday, September 27-28, I headed up to Auburn to crew and pace for my friends Clare and Scott who were attempting their first 100 mile ultrarunning event.  
The runners start at Cavitt School in Granite Bay, then head towards Auburn Dam Overlook before heading out to Cool, CA.  In Cool, they loop around twice and head back to Auburn Dam Overlook (ADO) which is mile 44.  They then head back to Cavitt School (mile 67) before starting an out and back section totaling 33 miles.  The finish line is Cavitt School, mile 100.2.
I got to ADO at noon.  This is a good place to hang out because the runners pass through here twice.  The day was brutally hot!  Many runners were experiencing nausea and vomiting due to the heat and dehydration.
Clare arrived first and looked fabulous.  She didn't have any issues (blisters, nausea, upset stomach, etc.)  She ate some and headed on towards Cavitt School.
Scott arrived around 3 pm ish and also looked fabulous.  He too, had no issues.  Earlier on in the day he was having some calf cramps but those had resolved and he felt good!
The fearless crew and I watched more runners come through ADO then we headed to Cavitt School.  This was were I was to meet up with Scott.  I was running the last 33 miles with him.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


This weekend I will be pacing at Rio Del Lago.  I am pacing my friend Scott. (pictured on the left).  These photos were taken last year at Headlands 50/100.  Clare and Scott (pictured below) are running Rio Del Lago and it will be there very first 100 miler.  I am really looking forward to running the last 33 miles with Scott.  
Several of the ShadowChase club members and many of the Runner's World forumites will be running also.  I plan on going to Auburn Dam Overlook to cheer the runner's on as they pass through then head to Cavitt school where I'll meet Scott.   
I will post later about our adventure and will include lots of photos.
Happy Trails!!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

My Year Running

The focus of my running this year was Western States.  After my disasterous year in 2007, 2008 was to be my year of redemption.  Not to be...
I didn't run as many races this year as I did in 2007.  I didn't feel in as good as shape as last year plus I had this nagging left heel/achilles pain.  After two weekends of back to back 100k"s, my achilles was letting me know it was done.  From May 12th on, my mileage dropped, averaging only 50 mpw (much lower compared to the 70 mpw in 2007).  I was worried about completing WS.  Would my achilles hold up?  I had an MRI 2 weeks before WS.  The diagnosis was: Mild achilles Tendonitis.  Geez, only mild.  I couldn't even imagine what moderate or severe must have felt like.  I took 9 days off before WS, hoping this would be enough time to let the inflammation subside.  When the shock of the news came:  WESTERN STATES CANCELLED, I had mixed feelings of relief and sadness.
We went up to Squaw Valley anyway.  We already had reservations so Roos and I used it as a mini vacation.  It was very relaxing compared to the year before!

Here is the top of the tram at Squaw Valley in 2007!

Here is the tram at the top of Squaw Valley in 2008.  Very smoky!!

My orthopedist prescribed rest, Physical therapy and anti-inflammatories.  I took 33 days off then started back running very slowly.  I wasn't exactly painfree but it was MUCH IMPROVED.
I have been averaging about 40-45 mpw with good results.  Last weekend, I completed Redwood Park 50K and my achilles felt great.
My goal is to stay healthy.  I will slowly continue to build up my mileage for the rest of the year then put the training hammer down in December.  
I need to work on endurance and speed (they seem to still be on the rest my orthopedist prescribed)!
I do have some up coming running plans:
  • Pacing at Rio Del Lago
  • San Jose rock n roll half marathon
  • Nike Women's Marathon
  • San Antonio rock n roll marathon
I am contemplating the SF one day and Dick Collins Fire trails 50 but I am afraid to overdo it and get re-injured.  We'll see how the other events go.
Run Fun......

Monday, September 8, 2008

New Blog

My son keeps encouraging me to start a blog so I took the big step and created one.  I am not very good at writing but will give it a try.  I enjoy reading others blogs so this may be fun!!  Welcome to my world......