Saturday, December 19, 2009

St. Jude marathon

Anita, Andy, and I flew to Memphis to participate in the St. Jude marathon on December 5, 2009. We ran for Team Chase in memory of Anita and Andy's grandson, Chase.
I flew in to Memphis and my sister in law, Siti picked me up. She was competing in the half marathon also. I stayed with her and my father in law in Eads, TN.
We went to the expo on Friday and then had the privilage of touring the St. Jude facility. Wow, what a fabulous place!
On Saturday morning, Siti and I drove to Memphis and met up with Anita and Andy. We walked to the starting line where it was a very chilly 25 degrees. After we started running, we warmed up and the course was really nice. It had lots of rolling hills which are my favorite. I finished the marathon at 3:36, 3rd in my age group. Anita finished in 4:37, Andy finished 5:18 and Siti completed the half in 3:18. We had an awesome time. Below is a video we created to thank all those who donated to our team. As a team, we raised almost $10,000 for St. Jude. It was so emotional to run through the St. Jude campus and see little ones with masks and their IV poles cheering the runner's on. Truly inspirational!!
Run fun .....


I'm so behind in my blogging but I will try to catch up.
Thanksgiving first. Connor and I drove to Indio on Tuesday before Thanksgiving. We stayed at
our time share on a golf course with the mountains nestled behind us. It was beautiful. My mom and Ben were already there and the following day Matt and Sarah drove up. It was awesome.

We had a relaxing visit. On Thanksgiving morning I had signed Matt, Sarah and myself up for a local 5K turkey trot in La Quinta. It was a benefit for Martha's Village and Kitchen.

The weather had been gorgeous the previous days and Thanksgiving day followed suit. It was a little chilly at the start but by 10:00 a. the thermometer read 77 degrees.
Matt and Sarah planned on walking and my goal was to run 20 minutes or less. It was a bit crowded at the start with almost 1400 people participating. They started the "competitive" participants at 8 with "non competitive" participants at 8:10. The course was a big square with some hills in it. Nice. We finished up at a park and in the last .3 miles I passed a woman I'd been trying to catch and raced to the finish. My time was 20:36, 1st in my age group. At the finish I started talking with a woman who came in 2 seconds before me. It turns out she is an ultra runner and is in Western States this year. She invited me to run some trails in the Palm Springs area on Saturday. I was pretty excited about visiting some new trails. It turned out her husband became ill and spent the night in the hospital so she had to back out. I'm really excited to see her come through Highway 49 aid station at Western this year. This is her 4th attempt and has never completed it (I don't feel so bad now!) She is an awesome runner and has won Angeles Crest and Vermont 100 mile races a few years back.
We headed back to the condo and cooked up an awesome turkey feast. Of course, Connor had to do some swimming first!

On Saturday, we headed to Joshua Tree National Park. I had never been there before and was pretty excited. The weather had taken a turn and rain and dark clouds appeared. We drove into the park and took a scenic drive.

This is skull rock. As we got higher in elevation, it became very cold and there was even some snow on the ground.
Here is Connor and I in front of a Joshua Tree.

I would love to go back and spend some time camping and hiking at the park. It is spectacular with the contrasting desert cactus' and plants and the rocky mountains.

We returned home Sunday and back to the grind. I think we should plan this for next year!!

Run fun.....

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Sunday, November 15, 2009

St. Jude

Dear Family and Friends,

Almost 6 years ago, while at work one day Anita said, "I'd like to run a marathon". Big mistake! I said, "I'll see you at 4:30 am ". That's how it all started. We have been running friends, running enemies, co-workers, cohorts in crime, and lately, shoulders to cry on. As some of you know, Anita's grandson Chase is now in heaven. These last 10 months have been very difficult for the Schlenker and Hawkins families. We have decided to participate in the St. Jude Marathon on December 5th in order to raise money for St. Jude's. St. Jude is the most wonderful place that you never want to need. St. Jude provided Chase with outstanding care from the beginning to end. We would like to give back to St. Jude in Chase's honor. Here is the link to our page for the marathon; Please make a donation if you can, but more importantly, please forward the link to your friends and family and encourage them to do the same. We know it's nearing the Holiday Season and the economy is in recession, but any small amount would help the children and families at St. Jude who are battling their worst nightmares.

Thank you so much.

Leslie and Anita

Monday, November 9, 2009

Lake Chabot Marathon

Yesterday I had the privilege of running the Lake Chabot marathon. This event was sponsored by Coastal Trail Runs, which in a small way, is affiliated with Pacific Coast Trail Runs. This was a new event and offered distances of 5, 9, 17 and 26.2 miles. The event started at a sanely hour of 8:30 which meant I could sleep some before driving over to Castro Valley. At 8:30a. all participants lined up and Marissa sent us on our way. The marathoners were to run the 17.1 mile loop first followed by the 9.1 mile loop. I headed out running at a nice pace. The course followed the East side of the lake with 2 miles of pavement before hitting the dirt trails. The Skyline 50K, Dick Collins Fire Trails 50 mile, and the Lake Chabot half marathon all run on these Redwood Regional Park trails and I love to run here. We headed down the bridge

and up the Live Oak trail. I met up with a nice man named Ron from Hickman. He used to belong to the Turlock Running club so we had several mutual friends.

This was taken on the Grass Valley trail. Here is my new friend Ron and another runner.

I didn't wear a watch so I had no idea of my time or pace. I felt really good as I came into the start/finish area to head out for the 9.1 mile loop. I dropped off some clothes, grabbed some food and headed out. I haven't really done any trail running since Western and I found myself walking a lot on the uphills.
I was surprised to see how low the water level was. This is a picture of a marshy area, which used to be water.

The nine mile loop is gorgeous. It has a lot of single track trail with lush greenery. There are no bikes allowed on this narrow trail so it's in pretty good shape.
I hit the pavement on the East side of the Lake and knew there was only 1.75 miles left. I tried to run, even on the little uphills but my legs were tired.
I came into the finish at 4:01:58, good enough for 1st woman and 2nd overall (it was a really small marathon). Results can be found here.

Here is Marissa manning the finish line.
I couldn't have asked for a better day!!

Run fun......

Saturday, November 7, 2009


On Halloween our running club, Shadowchase hosted a fun run to benefit the Teens Run Modesto.
It was at East LaLoma park and they offered a 5k and 10K. It was a "no frills" event.
Roos and Dino

ran the 5K. Roos pretty much ran most of it and finished in 35 minutes. He's s l o w l y starting to run (although he says he doesn't "get it").
Anita and Kiwi

ran the 10k.
I ran the 10K also

It was a great event and raised $1700 for the Teens Run Modesto program.
Here is Connor at his school parade.

He is a combo of a mad scientist, zombie and old man????

Hope your Halloween was spooky...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Chase Ryan Schlenker

Anita's grandson, Chase has been battling Neuroblastoma since December 15, 2008. He has been at St. Jude's in Memphis Tennessee until last month when the cancer metasitized to his brain and they sent him home with hospice. Sadly, he passed away yesterday.
I have been praying for the Schlenker and Hawkins family since December 15th. I know there is nothing to be said that can take away the pain of losing a small child. It just doesn't seem fair.
You can visit Chases' caring bridge site here.

Monday, October 26, 2009


Sadly, on Friday last week, Doug Braash was found down at East LaLoma park. He was taken to the hospital where he remains in critical condition. We are all praying for him and Barbara.

Grape Stomp

Last weekend I ran into Barb Elia at the park and she said she was going to sign up for the Grape Stomp in Livermore so I decided to sign up also. It's in Robertson park along a bike path with a stream on one side and vineyards on the other. It's been awhile since I've run in that park but there are no longer any vineyards, they are houses! We started off at 8a. My goal was 1:44 or less which I thought it was doable. It was an out and back course with a small amount of trail but mostly paved bike path. I felt pretty good. I only used my 10 and 1 watch because my garmin's broke so I had no idea of my pace. I just put my music on and ran. At the turn around there were two women in front of me. I could see the second place girl and she was within reach. I passed her at about mile 6 1/2 then took a short walk break and she passed me. We did this one more time and at mile 11 I ran. I knew she was close behind but I didn't want to look. At the dirt path I knew there was only a half mile left. I came across the finish line in 1:38:16!!! I'm so excited with my time. That's a 5 minute PR for me. I got some nice sway for finishing second - a nice bottle of wine, a running bottle, a plaque and another string shoe bag. (I have quite a collection of these now....)
Barb ran a 2:21. She placed second in the 60-65 age group.

Run fun......

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Ride em' Cowboy

One of our Trauma PA's just had a baby. Him and his wife are big horse riders and have a cattle ranch. I saw this sweater in a book and decided I needed to knit it for their new baby boy. Can you believe they make wranglers for 1 year olds??

Saturday, October 17, 2009

National Geographic

If you didn't get a chance to see the October Issue of National Geographic, check it out. I'm quoted along with my friend Steve Holman about ultra running. Very cool.

Run fun...



The weekend following Tahoe was the Cowtown Marathon, Half marathon, 10k and 5K. I decided on Friday to run the marathon. I drove up to Sacramento and registered. Linda McFadden from our club was also planning to run it so we could carpool together on Sunday morning.
The weather was cooperating, it was perfect running weather. I didn't really know anything about the course but Linda informed me it was two 13 mile loops. Man, I dislike loops.
The run starts at the beautiful William Land Park next to the Sacramento Zoo. We run through some neighborhoods (with big, beautiful houses), then hit a parkway along side the Delta. The Delta was on our right and the freeway was on our left. It would have been very serene except for the whizzing car sounds!!
We then loop around back into William Land park and repeat the loop. Around mile 5 I caught up with the 3:40 pace group. My friend, Karen Hoffman was the pace group leader so I hung out with her. I haven't seen her since Western States and she filled me in on how her run went. It really made the time fly by. Soon, we were at the start/finish again and Karen handed her pacing duties to a guy named Dean.
Somewhere around mile 22, my left knee started hurting. I'm sure the 72 miles of concrete the weekend before had nothing to do with it??
A half mile from the finish line was a very cute sign that read, "1/2 mile to the barn!"
I crossed the finish line in 3:39:26. Good enough for first in my age group. The medals were cowbells - very original!! I waited for Linda who arrived in 4:25. We packed it up and headed home. Overall, a very nice day for running....

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Catching up

I have been busy lately and really need to catch up on some blogging. I'll start with Tahoe.
I ran the Tahoe triple in 2007 and in 2008 I signed up for the "Super" Triple. You run a marathon on Friday, a marathon on Saturday and then Saturday at midnight you run the whole 72 miles around the lake. Well, because of my Achilles issues in 2008, I was able to postpone my entry until 2009. When I emailed the race director he said I could sign up for any race - WOW just the out I was looking for. I haven't really been putting in many miles and didn't feel in shape so I opted for just the 72 mile Ultra around the lake.
Robert and I headed up to Tahoe on Thursday. We arrived late in the afternoon. The weather was warm. Unseasonable warm for Tahoe.
Friday we decided to hike to Eagle lake. It's about a 2 mile hike and it was beautiful!

Friday afternoon, we rode bikes to the casino so Robert could place some College football game bets and then we hit an outside bar for some Blue Moon carbo loading...

Matt, Sarah and Connor drove up later Friday evening and we had a nice pasta dinner (more carbo loading..).
On Saturday morning we decided to watch the bicyclists finish their 72 mile race around the lake.
They were flying. We got to Zephyr Cove just in time to watch the winner cross the line.

Here's my photo as he whizzed by:

(I shouldn't give up my day job huh?)
We drove up to Spooner parking lot so I could stash some water. I figured I would be needing a refill about that time. If I figured right, I would hit there about 4-5 hours from Pope Beach. We also stopped at a vista and Connor did some rock hopping.

The Pre-race Briefing:
On Saturday, after watching the bikes, we headed to the expo. We ran into Les Wright, the RD and he informed me that the 72 mile ultra race was officially "cancelled". Due to some permit screw up on his part, Cal-trans and NDOT (Nevada department of transportation) denied his permit for the ultra. He said he would give us full details at 4 p.m.
At 4 p. Les informed us, "it was a free country and if you wanted to run a 46 mile warm-up before the marathon, it was your right". The other options offered, were:
1. Run the marathon
2. Refund your entry fee
3. Roll it over until next year
Since I had already rolled over the previous year and I didn't want to just run the marathon, I opted to do the free country bit and run the 46 mile warm up!

The Start:
Robert dropped me off at Pope Beach at 9:50 p. Surprisingly, there were between 10-15 people gathered for the 10 p. start. At exactly 10 p., we took off. I started out running with 3 guys from the bay area. At Round Hill, one of the guys, named Chris peeled off. He was the "crew" for a guy named Ben Balstar. Chris said he would look out for me since I was crewless!!
I arrived to Spooner lake and found my hidden water. It was very, very dark so Chris held a light so I could refill my hydration pack. I didn't see what time it was because I didn't really care. By now, we were pretty spread out along the road. I ended up running alone for the majority of the 46 miles.
My stomach started revolting shortly after that. I'm not even sure why. It wasn't hot, I had been drinking enough fluids, I took some salt although I wasn't really sweating because it was chilly outside so I'm clueless as to why it felt awful. When I got to the Vista where Connor had been rock hopping, I barfed. It was gross!! Immediately after, I started drinking and TRYING to eat but nothing sounded good.
When I arrived to the turn for Incline Village, Chris was waiting for me. He said he would see me at the finish since Ben was running fabulously. He wished me well and was off. It's amazing how many nice people there are out in the world!
When I arrived into Kings Beach, it was bright because of all the neon signs for the casinos. I was on a walk break and a young man came from one of the casinos. We exchanged hellos and then he asked me what I was doing. I told him I was running around the lake and then he said, "What the hell for?" It was very funny. He too, wished me well and told me there was a 7-11 about 2 miles up the road since I really needed a Sprite to calm my stomach.
I found the oasis in the desert and bought some sprite. It tasted very good!! I continued to drink but hadn't really eaten anything in sometime.
When I was about 7 miles from Tahoe City, I looked at my watch. I was making pretty good time. I new I would arrive earlier than we had planned so at 5 a. I called Robert and told him to meet me at 6:30a. not 8 a. like we'd planned.
It took forever to get to Tahoe City. Here I come down the street.

I was surprised to see Sarah and Connor had joined Matt in dropping Robert off. It was a very nice pick me up and mentally I needed it. They also brought some ginger snap cookies which tasted great. I was also happy to drop off all the gear I'd been carrying.
Robert and I started off. I was pretty much toast. I thought the walk 50 steps, run 50 steps thing would work and it did for awhile but eventually I just ended up walking. Robert tried to make me feel better by saying how nice it was to walk so you could really take in the views.
I made Robert carry my water bottle, I've never had anyone "mule" for me and it was nice.
Finally, I arrived at the turn into Pope Beach. Only 1/2 mile left. Robert left me at this point because he wanted to hit the $2.00 beer booth.
I saw Matt, Sarah and Connor and then the finish line. Yea!!!

I ran the 72 miles in 15:40:26, "unofficially" of course!!
I can now check this off my list of things to do before I die!!

Run fun...

Thursday, September 24, 2009


I'm off for Lake Tahoe to run the 72 mile Ultra. I'm pretty excited and nervous. I don't feel in good enough shape so I might have to gut this one out! We'll see......

Run fun...

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A Bike

If only I were 8 years younger or 5 minutes and 50 seconds faster I could have won that!
Last weekend my family and I ran the Inaurgural Santa Rosa Marathon and Half Marathon.
Roos, Connor, Matt and Sarah did the half and I ran the full marathon. We arrived on Friday evening and stayed at Windsor. What a cute little town. We walked around the main street and had dinner at a cute little diner. It was hot and sticky in the evening. We were all hoping for some cooler weather for the weekend.
Saturday, we went to the expo, got our stuff, and walked around downtown Santa Rosa. I wanted to hit a knitting store in the downtown area. I love to explore new knitting stores and check for "local" spinners and yarns.

We woke up Sunday morning and the weather was cool. Perfect for running. The course consisted of two 13.1 mile loops. Mentally tough to run past the finish line....I know!
536 people towed the line for the inaurgural event, with the majority of those doing the half.
Roos, Connor, Matt and Sarah started in the back because they were walking but I lined up around the 9 minute mile group. We started at 7a. sharp. The course ran along a bike path that paralled the river.
I felt pretty good. The weather was really cooperating. It was overcast and cool. I finished the first loop and headed out for the second loop. As I hit the second aid station, the nice volunteers informed me I was the second female. I was quite surprised.
At mile 23 the wheels fell off - my legs turned to concrete and I slowed down. I came upon Matt and Sarah around this point and Sarah said, "There's only one girl in front of you and she looks young." Wow! I got excited, maybe I could win the women's master catagory. I have really been wishing I had a road bike so I could do some miles with Anita, who is training for a triathalon. I figured it would be a great way to cross train.
This was a pick me up and I tried to put the pedal to the medal (haha). As I rounded the corner to the finish I saw my dad who was cheering for me, which was exciting. I crossed the finish line in 3:34, second female overall.
As I looked at the posted final results, the "young girl" was 42 and won the women's master catagory (and the slick new bike) and the girl who finished 5 minutes behind me won the women's open catagory (and a slick new bike).
This is what I won:


Connor was disappointed he didn't get to meet Guy Fieri.

He is a native Santa Rosan and he was promised to be there and Connor was promised an autographed shirt and picture with him. So he was just as disappointed as I was.

My dad and Connor after the race.
Overall, we did have a great time. It was a perfect family weekend!!

Run fun...........

Sunday, August 23, 2009


I have just returned from a 10 day visit to the awesome state of Minnesota. My oldest son, his wife, Connor and I flew to Minneapolis on the 12th and returned on the 22nd. I just wanted to give a brief summary of the trip. We arrived and I promptly caught a head cold. I think it was from the stuffy plane trip. Connor and I spent the entire time at my parent's in Garfield while Matt and Sarah spent 4 days discovering the many things to do in Minneapolis. Here are some photos:
This is Ollie in Alexandria.

Connor had a run in with a bear at the Runestone Museum in Alexandria.

Here is the picture of lightening, taken with my highly quick shuttered ipod camera phone during an awesome thunder and lightening storm.

Here I am before my lightening fast 10K women's win. I ran the Run for the Melon. I was hoping to win a new pair of melons but instead received free watermelon after. The run took place in Vining Minnesota on Watermelon day!

AND, I knitted Sarah an awesome pair of socks.

It was a fabulous vacation!!

Run fun.......

Monday, August 17, 2009

Mod Moms Club

Roos and I were featured here in the Modesto Bee Moms Club blog. Pretty cool.

Run fun.....

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Modesto Midnight Half Marathon

On Saturday evening, Modesto had it's very first half marathon. It was pretty exciting. The run was hosted by Fleet Feet in Stockton. Surprisingly, there were between 600-700 participants. They also offered a 2 mile fun run but the majority of the entrants participated in the half marathon.
The run started at 9 p.m and consisted of two 6 mile loops. The course left a little to be desired because of the park we enter into. I run down there all the time and know that it is a home to many of Modesto's homeless population. Plus, there are VERY few lights at the park but despite that, it was fabulous. I like to run at night, lots of new sounds - lots of wildlife emerging.
I had set a goal of 1:45 but thought that might be impossible due to the limited visibility and the narrow bike path that was shared by all. I brought a handheld light and was really thankful that I did.
I started out pretty fast (as usual). I wasn't going to look at my watch except to see if it was time for a walk break. I did my usual run 10 minutes, walk 1.
Despite the darkness, I saw many familiar faces and shouted out to lots of runners. I saw Roos and Connor walking at a nice pace.
When you do walk breaks in your runs, you play leap frog with many people. I sometimes like to use this as a motivator to run faster, to catch and pass them. I'm sure that it's pretty annoying to some people but I really like the break. Walking for that short period allows my legs to recover some and I find I drink more fluids. I have read many a heated discussion about walk breaks and it's not "running" an event if you walk but all I can say is it works for me.
I played leap frog with two girls last night. One is a member of our running club and the other I didn't know. I did this until mile 12 and then passed them both to finish up at 1:43. I felt pretty good. I was happy that I achieved my goal. It's not a PR for me but very close - 5 seconds! I can't seem to get below the 1:43 mark. I suppose if I did more speed work, I could achieve that. Priorities for the past few years have been L O N G runs and not speed.
I stood at the finish line for sometime and cheered lots of runners in. Anita finished up great with a 2:10. Afterwards, we hit the beer garden for a beer then returned to the finish line to see Roos and Connor run across in 3:18.
It was a pretty late night. I didn't hit the pillow until after 2 am. I really enjoyed this event and would do it again next year. It's kind of nice that ShadowChase didn't have to do participate in any part of the organization so LOTS of members were out running instead of helping. It was awesome....

Run Fun.....

Monday, June 29, 2009

Not to be..again

Well I'm 0-2 at Western States. I was really excited and nervous about this year. I so desperately wanted to finish. I wanted to get to Highway 49 to see all my running friends at the ShadowChase aid station. I wanted to cross that finish line in Auburn and get a buckle.

I felt great prior to the start. No injuries and a new regime of hydration and electrolytes that I hoped would work for my wimpy stomach, but that too didn't work.

I volunteered for the cardiac and hyponatremic medical study which was really cool. I got to have a DEXA scan and an echo. I had lots of labs drawn and yes, it is awesome to stand and pee!

I started the race with Melissa and Jeffrey, going out slow. That was the plan. I wanted to hit Robinson before noon and I got into Robinson feeling good. I hit the canyons and it was warm. I felt like I was hydrating and taking enough electrolytes. I guess in hindsight, it wasn't enough electrolytes. When I got out of Devil's thumb aid station, I vomited but continued to rehydrate with salty broth. At Michigan Bluff (thank god for my Anita) she forced me to eat a sandwich and more broth which came up down the trail. Again, more broth at Bath road which came up. I have left more barf on the last 50 miles of that course than you can imagine (not sure if that's something to be proud of though!!!).
When I hit Foresthill I was done - physically and mentally. I had my labs done which showed I was very hyponatremic.
I decided to call it quits, not to go through what I did in 2007. The death march...... 16 miles is a long way to walk and then wait for a ride out of Driver's flat!!
I am deflated, I wanted to finish so bad but it wasn't meant to be. There won't be another 100 miler in my future. I'm done. It takes to much time to train, time away from my family, money and it is emotionally draining to go through these feelings.

You know what best friends are for? They are for telling you "not completing this race is not what defines you".

I have had a blast and will look forward to pacing and crewing others in their endeavors to complete that 100 mile distance.

Again, I want to thank my wonderful family for all that they've done for me. For all the support and emotional uplifting. I am truly blessed.

Run fun.......