11/29/11

Shooting Range Trails Before Dawn

What an unbelievably lovely and challenging run early this morning before the sun rose with Ryan A.. It was so windy and cold when we first arrived, I had a hard time keeping my teeth from chattering. To pass the time while we waited to see if more of our friends would show up to run with us, I asked Ryan to let me prove to him that I could have helped him up from his fall yesterday. He’d said, I wouldn’t have been able to help since I weigh less than him. I didn’t agree. So, being the good sport that he is, he laid back on the ground in the dirt and we re-enacted him needing help up. Guess what? I did it! I knew I could! I’m not as wimpy as I look! 😀

When the others didn’t show, we headed off into the pitch black darkness, the only light coming from each of our headlamps as we jogged along. Ryan has a thing for hills, so he chose a route today that would embrace them. I do NOT have a thing for hills, unless it’s a smoldering hatred. Just kidding! My calves cramp up and just burn when the climbing is steep from the start and today’s path had them on fire almost from the first few steps (Thanks, Ryan….) Luckily, he didn’t chide me too bad about it today. I’ll get better at this! Having lived a half an hour from the trails up until a month ago, I was lucky to get to run in the mountains 4 times a month, so my abilities are still somewhat weak – but – are being given a great chance to improve now that the Boise Foothills are practically out my front door! It’ll be fun to see how much stronger I get over the coming months from all the trail time I’m getting – Yay!

The hills are practically deserted at 5:30 am on a weekday morning in the dark. I followed the glow of Ryan’s headlamp ahead of me as we made our way up the first few miles of climbing. When we neared the top and came around a bend, I could see the billions of lights spread out like a fan below us, just twinkling and glowing. The coolest thing was that Ryan was this black, running silhouette against that city light backdrop! It would have made a pretty cool photo, if I’d had my camera. Instead, I just took a mental photograph and thought, “Wow, this is pretty amazing!”

The stars above were dotting the early morning, black sky as we continued to run – finally on paths that were much flatter. That’s when I hit autopilot and just felt my legs and lungs finally say, “Ahhhhhhh.” It was very pleasant and easy through this section. A mountain biker passed us as he was heading up the mountain and we wished him a good morning. There were some knarly rocky sections through here that required very focused attention on the little orb of light that my headlamp gives off. I nearly wiped out twice, both times catching myself by the hands and thanking my lucky stars that I didn’t splat onto the trail. I could tell I was a little out of steam today. I ran out of English Muffins (my breakfast of choice) so I had no breakfast or cappuccino before coming today and I could feel the effects of an empty tank. I took a Mint Chocolate Gu, drank some water and that helped a bit.

I could hear the bubbling brook below as we ran along in the dark and found the brisk chill in the air invigorating and the sounds of the trickling water very soothing as I raced along, just letting the miles fly by, seemingly effortlessly. I was having a lot of fun! I did get lost a couple of times, but not for long. I’d pop out onto the trail and twice realized there was a fork but Ryan was so far ahead I didn’t know which direction he’d gone, so I yelled out, hopefully, ‘Uh…Ryan????” No Ryan. So, I made a guess each time and carefully ran along, stopping to look back over my shoulder, doubting myself, but thinking I was probably on the right path. Turns out, I was fine and I found Ryan shortly after both times. Whew!

About 9 miles in, the dawn of the new day was awakening. The sky went from black, to gray, pink, orange, gray and blue and we were able to turn our headlamps off and run by the soft light of the new morning. It made me smile to watch the sky changing before our eyes and bringing about the new day.

We finally hit a nice decline and Ryan asked if I’d like to “blow it out” until the end. I said, “Oh yeah!” and he let me lead. I was having a ball, running free, leaping over the little dirt mounds and bounding along on the trail feeling like a gazelle. That is, until I came to a dirt road and didn’t know which way to go again. I guessed right and kept up the momentum I’d built and took off, only to hear Ryan yelling, “LEFT!!!!” Uuuurchhhhh!!!! My breaks kicked in and I spun around. It was super cold and windy at that point and I’d taken my gloves off, so my fingers started to go numb. I settled back down into a slow jog, following Ryan and his red shoes, up what turned out to be more HILLS. Ugh!

Once we’d wound our way up the washboard, dirt road and I could finally see the shooting range up ahead, I finally picked up the pace and gave it a nice final kick (hitting a pace of 5:08) before touching my car and calling it a day! It was a great workout, with some incredible scenery and good company.

Elevation Gain today: 1,590 feet. I’m VERY proud of my pace, today! On these same trails in the past, when running with a group, I often came home with numbers like 15 – 18 min miles. Seeing a sub 12 really made my day! And, I kept myself reined in today, focusing more on endurance than bursts of speed most of the time. I think I’m getting better at this already! YES!!!!

Stats: 10.1 miles. 1:54 total time. Average pace: 11:19 Felt: Great!

11/28/11

Zapped the Zero with Ryan

Enjoyed getting in some early morning trail time near the house this morning. The city lights (and a few Christmas lights in the distance) made things really pretty and the most exciting moment came when Ryan A. and I came running along the path and realized it ended abruptly with a steep cliff of at least a couple hundred feet to the road below! That would have been an unwelcome “good morning and how do you do.” 🙂

One final note and life lesson (that other trail gals can learn from) – if your male running buddy trips on the crazy volcanic rocks sticking up, do not, I repeat, do NOT show concern unless a bone is sticking out or offer a hand for them to get back up. Dudes do not like being treated like chicks (or one of your children) and you should just act aloof like they do when YOU fall. hehe. I’ll keep learning these little tricks and eventually, I’ll be as calloused and unemotional as a man, I’m pretty certain! I will now go practice saying, “Shake it off, man! No big deal.” for the next incident. Maybe I’ll practice belching the alphabet, too. I WILL learn the social dos and don’ts of running with boys! 🙂

Stats: 6.27 miles. 11:44 average pace. 1:13 total time. Elevation Gain: 468 feet of climb today.

11/27/11

Yoga for the Kid in All of Us DVD

Chaz, the yoga dude never lets me down. I wish I could find a grown-up version of this on DVD. I’m feeling a bit tired and sore in the quads from yesterday’s run. I knew some yoga would help loosen things up and make me feel better. Now, this particular DVD is set up for a parent and a child to do together (or in my case, for siblings to pair up while Mom pairs up with one child normally.) It’s a lot of fun and a great way to introduce your children to yoga in a fun way! I will admit, that Chaz takes several “breaks” in the workout to do silly skits and such to make the kids laugh. My kids adore that part though I prefer to skip through it when doing it solo, since seeing him dressed as Elvis or having his toes talk to one another CAN get old (hehe.)

I did 3/4 of today’s yoga solo. The stretching felt like what my body was seeking. Towards the end, my 6 year old joined me. I love how in child’s pose, they have the grownup do the regular pose, while the child lays across the back of Mom or Dad cuddling. It’s sweet and my children all adore taking turns doing this one. During tree pose, you hold hands and “sway in the breeze” – things like that to create poses that require two instead of one.

Of course, my 4 year old saw the fun-fest we were having, and she joined in too and they took turns being my little yoga buddies. During pigeon pose, I had my eyes closed and was enjoying the stretch along the back of my legs and hips. My wide-eyed, blond baby girl, laid next to me on her tummy and whispered loudly, “Mom, why are you being QUIET?!” (I’m a bit animated normally.) I giggled and whispered back, “It’s yoga. We’re supposed to be quiet.” She decided to take that to a new level and started pretending to snore really loudly. It was definitely hard to keep my focus, but the smile on my face said having her and her silliness be part of my workout was just what my soul must have needed.

The final pose is Corpse, but thank heavens that Chaz renamed it Resting Pose. So much nicer sounding! He pulls out his guitar and sings this peaceful tune called “Sleepy Town” while the girls laid their little heads on my tummy and we rested together, me holding their hands and all of us enjoying the moment… Ahhh.. Namaste!

11/24/11

Gobbled up Some Miles

What a fun morning! Joined Chilan M. and about thirty other early-risers at Lake Lowell for a little unofficial Turkey Trot to start off our holiday right! The sun was coming up as I drove out with my friend Rachel C.. We shivered in the chilly morning air, then took off at an easy pace. Everyone was in good spirits and the truly fast in the group chose to keep things easy and light as they ran next to spouses, children and friends. It was a fun atmosphere and my favorite runner today sported a hat that looked just like a big turkey (gobbler included) right on top of his head! It’s hard not to smile when running with folks like that! It was also hard not so smile when I saw Sam C.making fun of the weather dressed in shorts and smiling like crazy, since he’s now fully recovered from a recent surgery and back to running again! Sam adores running more than almost anyone I know, so his joy was super contagious!

I had the pleasure of running next to a local pal, Patrick, who is a facebook running friend, but whom I’d never actually met in person. He and I ended up leading the gang for about four miles, as we chatted about ultra marathoning and racing. It was a good time! I held on as long as I could until a steep dirt hill around mile 4.5 or so where he just soared up and over like he had wings and I huffed and puffed my way up in 2nd place. I want to learn to run up hills like that! I do feel really proud of one thing, though. I didn’t walk a SINGLE STEP today – not even on the hardest parts of the hills in this course. Ryan A. – I was making you proud and hearing you prodding me along in my mind “Run, Christie! Don’t walk!” So, there ya, go, big brother! I did it! Hope you’re happy and yes, I plan on doing more of the same – no matter how snail-like that “running” looks on the uphills – I will improve! I am determined!

Lake Lowell was so gorgeous today. It just took my breath away and made me say, “Hmm.. someone should put on a marathon out here! Oh, wait!! I already DO!” www.runlakelowell.com – I really was blown away by the beauty, the scenery and it was a perfect way to start my Thanksgiving Day. The highlight of today? When Pat and I ran under the watchful gaze of a bald Eagle perched high above us as we ran on the trail below. Amazing…

Splits:
Mile 1: 8:34
Mile 2: 9:16 (hello HILL)
Mile 3: 8:55
Mile 4: 8:44
Mile 5: 9:46 (hello BIG hill)
last .61 of a mile – 8:59 pace
Best pace: 6:28 (final kick, baby!)

Elevation Gain: 238 feet

11/10/11

Full Moon Morning Run

When I moved to my new neighborhood a couple weeks ago, I didn’t realize I was moving in very near to two of my ultra running pals. Both are men I admire a great deal and who bust out the 100 mile distance with grace and speed! It thrilled me (and scared me) a great deal when they invited me to join them on their “easy” morning runs. I was so nervous I could not even sleep last night, fearing that their easy pace would in fact be my hold on for dear life pace! hehe

I shouldn’t have fretted so much! My friends, Tony and Frank were very nice today and politely didn’t leave me in the dust (or out with the coyotes we kept hearing howling when we were on the trails under the moonlight!) It was a beautiful early morning. The moon was covered in a haze but gave enough light at 6 am that we didn’t even use our headlamps for the first mile or so until it got more technical. There was lots of laughter and and lots of fun! I can’t wait to join them again!

P.S. I wore the Hokas. They are starting to grow on me and no longer cause a blister when I wear them! Yay!

Oh, and did I mention I have another running date later this afternoon with another pal? Living in Boise is SO MUCH FUN!!!!!

11/9/11

Sorry!!!!!

I just wanted to share a little update! I haven’t forgotten about my blog, but since the move to Boise, I’ve been struggling to juggle it all and get back to my normal routines.  I’m still running! Since my last post, I paced a friend in her first 50k, ran in the Owyhee Mountains with 30 of my dearest friends just for fun, ran the Zeitgeist Half Marathon coming close to 2 hours and have been accepting all kinds of fun running playdates in my new town!

I didn’t have the internet back until yesterday and the furnace in our new place died in the last week causing some chaos in our home.  I’m buried under a thousand (at least) boxes that need sorted and put away. We moved from a home of about 2,000 sq feet to one that is nearly half that size, so I have MUCH sorting and throwing out or giving away to do, still! I am behind on homeschooling, my running schedule (for the 100 miler I’ve decided I’m going to run in March) and my hair has not been properly styled for public viewing in at least a month!!! Sadly, many people have have had to see me anyways, including my lovely friend, Casey who showed up today while I was still in the shower. She got the full shock of me without even a wisp of makeup or a moment with a hairbrush, bless her heart!

I am eager to get back to writing about my life, my kids and most of all — my running!!!! I promise to share all my adventures with you again just as soon as I dig my way out of the craziness of just having moved into a new home.   Soon! I promise! We will share laughs and photos and adventures again…   Until then….. think positive thoughts that I can find my hair brush! It really is getting out of control and it must be in a box around here somewhere.. hehe.