Sunday, December 30, 2007

Catalina State Park Trail Run (or, what happens when you take your eye off the ball)

Laurie and I headed out to Catalina State Park, which is North of Tucson for a little trail run. The trail we had planned to run crossed a wash with a little water, so we changed plans and ran the:

1. Nature Trail (a little steep at first, but great views of the Catalina Mountains),
2. Bridle Trail (pretty flat, lots of deep sand - great for ankles and calves!), and
3. 50 Year Trail (up and over a ridge on fairly rocky terrain)
Around 11 or so miles?

On the way back on the 50 year Trail, I was engrossed in conversation as I can be when I am enjoying a great running partner, when wham! Down I went. Into cactus. My left hand is pretty torn up from the slide on the trail (see gross picture), my left knee is banged up again (how much can you bang up a knee before it revolts?) and I had quite a bit of cactus in my left leg, hands and right arm. I couldn't get out one cactus needle - it is too embedded (ouch!) and it will just have to work itself out, I guess. Laurie was so sweet and happened to have some tweezers back at the trailhead, so I was able to pluck some of the needles out on our trip home.

The lesson? The lesson will be presented until it is learned. I have to keep focus on the trail or else the trail will remind me to do that. Here I am showing off my wounds:

Hey, at least I didn't have to get medical attention! I'm not going to let a little fall stop me from heading back out to the trails!
Great run with Laurie today. Had a blast!

My foot pain has faded, and I'm thinking I might have a arch muscle strain. Doesn't seem to hurt much now that I have fallen!

I wore my new trail Dirty Girl Gaiters today - the pattern is "Iron Butterfly". They were very helpful to keep out all that sand!
When we made our alternate trail plan this morning, Laurie said,
"What's the worst that can happen?"
Seems funny now.

Some apropos running quotes for the day:

"If you want to play the game you have to train."- Unknown

"If you look up, you're going down!"- Unknown

"Adversity introduces a man to himself."- Unknown

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas to all my wonderful friends and family!

Hope everyone gave a lot of love to the people around them and received all the love they could handle this year!
Kenny, Renee (Pinkcorker) and Cracker
(Kenny and Renee's 10th Christmas together)
Here is Cracker modeling her new t-shirt:

She is my little mini 'Pinkcorker'! It was her first Christmas with us.

I haven't run since Saturday. My foot still hurts so I'm giving it a few days off of running. I'm praying it is not something more serious (stress fracture). I've been in a lot of fear about it and have seen my whole running season flash before my eyes! If it is not better by Thursday, I'll make an appointment with the doctor and get a bone scan to see what is up. In the meantime, I'll enjoy the friends and family that God has given me to enjoy. :)

'I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round, as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.' ~Charles Dickens

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Okay, Winter has arrived in Tucson

Cold run! I ran with Nancy, Sheryl, Laurie, and Sue this morning - about 15-16 miles. I used my hydration pack and it was so cold that the drink in the hose was slushy. Brrrrrr.........
It was below freezing when we started, but I warmed up quick because I was wearing a lot of clothes (two pairs of gloves, two earwarmer headbands)! It always amazes me how much my body will warm up when I run. I typically overdress, but I am slowly learning not to.

Renee, Laurie, Sue and Sheryl. Nancy is taking our picture.

We ran through the Ft. Lowell Park area, so we got in a little wash/trail running, in addition to a little road running. I felt pretty good and really felt like I could keep running forever (had the 'runners high'). I love those days. Total mileage for the week - about 40.

I'm worried though - my right foot is bothering me badly. The outside bone (not the arch). I'm praying I don't have anything serious....
I'm not running for two days, and then I'm going to try and do trails only the next few weeks and see how that goes.

We saw a Great Dane along the way, who weighed more than we did! I think it really liked me. :) Don't tell Dixie or Cracker.

We did our Christmas gift exchange after our run, and the gals were very generous. Lots of great running stuff from Nancy, Sheryl and Sue, Laurie framed some great pictures of us, and Sue made us some pretty ornaments. Thanks ladies! You all are the best. We all talked about our friend Lisa, whom we miss greatly. She moved to Bend, OR less than a month ago and so we are all adjusting. We love you Lisa!

"I believe in the runner's high, and I believe that those who are passionate about running are the ones who experience it to the fullest degree possible. To me, the runner's high is a sensational reaction to a great run! It's an exhilarating feeling of satisfaction and achievement. It's like being on top of the world, and truthfully... there's nothing else quite like it!" ~ Sasha Azevedo

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Every year, the Southern Arizona Roadrunners hosts a non-competitive 5k run through Winterhaven, which is a subdivision in Tucson. Residents who live there put up tons of lights and people from all over Tucson go there to enjoy them. This was my third year in a row doing this run. It is so much fun!

Renee and Sheryl with the very nice Marines.
They were at the entrance where kids can go see Santa Clause. No, I don't own anything red, so I picked the closest color, Pink!

Jim Irish, who is the run director, is a really neat guy. He is the one that does 'Jim's Mystery Run' here in Tucson. He is really cute, but don't tell my husband I said that. :)
No, my husband doesn't read my blog, he just looks at the pictures.

Thanks Jim for another great Christmas run!

Over 200 people showed up this year. Jim recognizes participant's birthdays near the end of the run.
Well, between the crazy rain earlier in the week, and the short run today, I only have 33 miles for the week. However, I did do a 14-15 miler yesterday with Laurie, Nancy, Sue and Sheryl, so I am coming along on my marathon training. The weather in Tucson is warming up (70 degrees tomorrow - yes!) so I'll be getting in the miles this week...

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Dixie Dog Run

36 miles run for the week. I did about 13 or so miles with the gals yesterday. We got poured on for two hours. I love running with my friends because they put up with my whining about the rain. :) 19 years of living in New Orleans made me a fan of a dry climate!
Today, I ran with Dixie along the Rillito Wash, which actually had water in it with all the rain we had yesterday! She loves the cooler weather that we are finally having. However, I bet we are still wearing shorts while we are grilling our shrimp outside on Christmas Day!

We went to visit our friends, 'The Goats', on our run today.
I think they told Dixie thanks for coming to visit.

On the Mend

WARNING! Some of the attached pictures might gross some folks out!
My body is healing up well since the trail running accident. My knee still hurts a little, but not when I run, only to the touch. I am applying all sorts of creams to keep the scarring on my arms down to a minimum.
Here is the before picture of the worst injury, which was to my arm, taken 3 weeks ago today, right after the accident (just 4 stitches):

Here is my arm today:

I don't think I heal as fast now as I did when I was younger. I am grateful that it wasn't any worse! Thanks to all my wonderful friends and family for the love and care over the past 3 weeks - I really needed it!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Blogging about Blogs.

"Just because it happened to you doesn't make it interesting!" ~ Unknown

I only ran about 25 miles this week. Getting back into it after being off because of 'THE FALL'. This coming week I begin my marathon training, so I'll be upping the mileage over the next 3.5 months. Bataan Memorial Death March Marathon - March 30, 2008 - I'm getting ready!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Back in the Saddle Again!

Laurie, Lisa, Sheryl and I headed out for a trail run today in Saguaro National Monument East. We ran a combo of different intersecting trails for about 6-7 miles. Feels great to be back on the trail.

Lisa, Sheryl, and Renee on 'Pink Hill'

We saw a desert jackrabbit. He was hiding from us. Can't miss those ears, though!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


I banged myself up pretty badly on my fall at Phoneline trail, so between my knee and my stitched up wound (and all of my other scrapes and bruises), I haven't felt much like running. I've been resting on the beaches in Mexico with Cracker (we named our crazy little new dog) and Kenny and his family. :)
Got my stitches out today. I'll be off in just a little bit for a short run, then back out to the trails tomorrow morning...

BTW, peroxide DOES get blood out of clothing. AND trail running shoes.

On Wednesday, I was tagged by Angie, a blogger who lives here in Tucson. The rules:

• Link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog.
• Share 5 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
• Tag 5 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.
• Let them know they are TAGGED by leaving a comment on their blog.

Well, here it is:
1. I read all sorts of survival/outdoors/true story books (Into the Wild, Into Thin Air, Angels in the Wilderness, The Climb, No Shortcuts to the Top, Shattered Air, Eiger Dreams, High Exposure, Death in Grand Canyon, Between a Rock and a Hard Place, Under the Banner of Heaven, and on and on and on). I can’t remember the last time I read fiction. I think I learn and grow a lot by reading what gets others through difficult experiences. Also, I learn about how to avoid and deal with the things that come with being in the wilderness.

2. I love documentaries. I do watch regular movies, too, but I just love a true story in any form (yeah, another form of #1). Last one I watched was ‘God Grew Tired of Us’, which was amazing. Put it in your Netflix queue if you get a chance. It made me think about the things I take for granted in life.

3. I’m definitely an accountant through and through. I like all of my clothes facing the same way in my closet. I usually make plans for the coming weekend before Wednesday (no calling me at the last minute – I’m usually booked!) My husband knows what time he needs to get up by my routine in the morning. A structured schedule suits me best. I’ve even considered planning my 2009 races! That’s why my husband is so good for me – he is fairly unstructured and teaches me to lighten up and be spontaneous! I continue to mellow along all of these lines as I get older.

4. I have chocolate (preferably dark) in some form everyday. Lately, I’m addicted to dark chocolate covered edamame from Trader Joe’s. The edamame is crunchy (dried). I justify this because the edamame has both fiber and protein, and with the antioxidants from the chocolate, it is a perfect snack!

5. I love buying clothes (especially for running!), and that hasn’t always been that way. My husband talked me into throwing out my junior high clothes about 5 years ago. When I was a child, my mother sometimes made my clothes or we wore hand-me-downs from other friends and relatives. I continued to buy used clothing (which I still do on occasion – nothing wrong with a bargain!) and deny myself new clothes on a regular basis into my adulthood. When I started running, clothes started fitting better and I really enjoy outfitting myself in things that make me feel good. I always felt geeky and awkward as a child and enjoy being a woman today, of which clothes are only one thing, I realize.

Unfortunately, I don't know many other bloggers, and the ones I read regularly have already been tagged by others!

I can't wait to get back to running.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Trail Runner Takes a Fall at Phoneline Trail!

It was me. I have fallen before when trail running, but never like this. I was on the Phoneline trail in Sabino Canyon when down I went. Along with other numerous lacerations and bruises, I punctured my right arm on a rock, which caused it to start spurting blood! I was so frightened. I called to my friend Martinho (Mar-teen-yo), who was ahead on the trail, but he couldn't hear me. I had to get up, bleeding everywhere, and get myself around a corner before he heard me. He came running over and took off his tank top and got it wrapped around my arm to stop the heavy bleeding. I almost passed out from seeing all the blood and I had a hard time breathing (I think I was panicking?) You can't really see it in the picture, by I have blood all over my legs, my left hand is covered in blood and my right arm is wrapped up with the tank top.
We were having such a good time before that happened! It is so beautiful there in Sabino Canyon. I kept a good attitude and we were even telling jokes on the way back to get help. No crying for me. We thought my bleed-out on the rock that I whammed into looked like a hieroglyphic animal!

So, we walked back to where the trail meets the road (we actually walked 4 more miles) and the paramedics were waiting for me. :)
Thanks Martinho for being a true friend and making sure I got back safely!

I was whisked away to St. Joe's hospital, where my wounds were cleaned out (holy cow, that was about the most painful thing ever!) They didn't get all of the rocks out - they said they would come out with time. Oh, the wound that keeps giving; how nice! The puncture wound (we got a bleeder here!) required 4 stitches. I have blood on my trail shoes, skirt, and new running top! I was told that peroxide gets blood out. Who knew?

My sister came and got me from the ER (here I am with my niece Amanda) and I'm back at home resting with all my new bandages.

Crazy thing is, I kept worrying about what the other runners would think - this was the first time I had gone running with this trail running group. They said I was officially initiated into trail running. :)

Saturday, November 17, 2007

New addition to our family!

Say hello to ______, our new dog (fill in the blank - help me out!). Haven't named her yet, but she is a super sweet, 10 mth. old Chinese Crested Powderpuff/Terrier mix. I got her from a rescue shelter here in Tucson today. It has been over a year and a half since I lost one of my Pekingese (Buster) and two years since I lost the other (Taylor). They were brother and sister - it took a while to want another, but I found that one must keep on loving, even though there is always loss.
She even came with a pink collar - I think it was a sign that I picked the right dog. :)

Rails to Trails 11 mile race - DONE!

3rd place in my age group! I finished the 11 mile race in 1:34:15. It was a beautiful course in Prescott, AZ (about 3.5 hours north of Tucson) with mountain views, rock outcroppings and open meadow areas. Some downhill, lots of hills and mostly trail - an old converted rail line (thus the 'Rails to Trails'). I was holding a pace of under 8 min/mile for the first 6 miles (no wonder I was so tired!), but then it just got pretty hilly towards the end and the elevation was bothering me a little (I think it is around 5,300 ft. or so - yeah, I know, I'm a flatlander), so I slowed it down some. Even so, I ended up doing a 8:35 min/mile average! The weather cooperated and it was lovely.

My friends Christina and Joe let me spend the night with them last night. Christina is a serious trail runner who has done the Imogene Pass run 7 years in a row, I think. Tough gal - just look at her killer legs! She keeps trying to talk me into that race. Check it out - you'll see why I've been too afraid to do it yet.

We had a lot of fun at the race today. The picture is of Christina and I after the race and I am proudly wearing my 3rd place medal!

Here I am before the race in my new outfit from Atalanta Athleticwear. Love it, love it, love it. I'm wearing the new 'courage' top and their 'commitment' skirt that has the shorts underneath (yes, I already have a black skirt). They have these huge pockets in the back, so I stuffed all my race essentials in them. I love the names of the clothing. Do you think being color coordinated makes you run faster? Well, it sure makes it fun, anyway.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

What makes a runner a REAL runner?

I was giving this some thought (after comparing myself to other runners) and this is what I came up with for myself:

1. I run between 25 - 42 miles a week, depending on whether I'm tapering for a race.

2. I own 10 running skirts, over 25 running shirts (short/long), 2 pairs of trail gaiters, 9 pairs of running shorts, 8 pairs of running shoes (trail and road), 3 earwarmer headbands, 3 pairs of gloves, 15 pairs of running socks, 10 running bras, 6 different hydration systems (fuel belt, waist packs, handhelds, vest/bladder pack), 5 running pants/tights, 1 running watch, 1 race number belt, and 1 pair sunglasses. I'm sure I'm forgetting something!

3. I have run a lot of different races, from a 5k to 2 half marathons and 1 marathon.

4. When I'm not running, I like talking about running, reading about running, blogging about running, or going on the Runner's World forums and writing/watching others write about running. :)

5. I love to run and I do run. A lot. This running part is, I think, the only REAL thing that makes me a REAL runner.
I'm currently tapering for my 11 mile race (Rails to Trails) on Saturday in Prescott, AZ. No running today or tomorrow. I have already run 20 miles this week, and with the 11 mile race on Saturday and my planned 9 mile trail run on Sunday (Phoneline), I'm calling it good!
I am thankful today for strong legs, sweet friends, a loving husband, a wonderful family, and a full and grateful heart - all gifts from a loving God that seems to watch over me no matter what I'm up to.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Yetman Trail to Starr Pass Trail

Dixie and I did 6-7 miles on the Yetman Trail this morning and explored part of the trails that head to Starr Pass resort (there are 3 or 4 of them!).
We passed by Stone House again, of course, so we break there and get in a photo opportunity. I'm wearing my plain grey gaiters. I'll have to go back to Dirty Girl Gaiters and get another fun pair (one for every outfit?)

Yesterday, I went into the Running Shop to buy a new hand held water bottle and I just felt like I wasn't a REAL runner. They are really nice there, but everyone who works there is young and superfast! So, I am giving that some thought, and will do a blog post on what makes me a real runner. If I'm not mistaken, it involves running, which, of course, I do plenty of!
I felt like a real trail runner today. I was a strong woman out there in the desert. I ran a lot of technical parts and uphills. I'm starting to figure out the Tucson Mountain Park trail system!

We saw a snake. Looks like a common gartersnake, which is pretty harmless.

I love running with Dixie. She is a good trail finder. I actually insisted on one turn off that she tried to take that she was wrong. Just a few minutes down the wrong trail, I realized she was right! No wonder she gave me that look when I said "No, that's not the way back, Dixie." She is a great running companion. Never even complains, even when she is hot.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Chiclet Concrete/Shopping/Show Run!

Early this morning (6:15am, it was cool still!), Nancy, Sue, Sheryl, Lisa and I went on a 11 mile run around town. Yes, lots of concrete, but we got to do some interesting things, too.

We walked through a bike swap on 4th Ave.
I saw a bunch of bicycles that I wanted.

We ran through a classic car show at Reid Park.
Steve, Sheryl, Lisa, Nancy and Renee
Sue is doing her best 'Olga Korbet' up front
(who says runners aren't flexible?)

That is Steve and Sheryl's mustang in the back. Steve, Sheryl's husband, was showing one of their mustangs there. So, we visited for a minute, and off we went.

We did sneak in a little trail through a neighborhood towards the end, which was nice (it is part of 'Viola's loop' near Reid Park).
This was the last long 'Chiclet' run (where all of us will be together) before Lisa moves to OR. Lisa and I wore our Chiclet shirts from last year's Tucson Marathon relay we all did together (we called it the 'Chiclets All Girl's Marathon Relay' on the shirt and we had our names on them as well). Lisa, you will be very much missed.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Ran a little over 8 miles today at the Rillito River path today. I was a happy runner gal - it was a great run! I was tired from work, but averaged an 8:45/per minute pace. I did fartleks during my run, since I missed my Workout Group yesterday. It was 90 degrees when I started, but it cooled off a tad by the end. I finished right after it was getting dark. That wasn't quite enough exercise for one day, so I finished the day with a one hour weight workout! Wednesday is my calorie burning day. :)
Helps relieve the stress that builds up over the workweek.
Currently reading: Angels in the Wilderness by Amy Racina.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

David Yetman Trail

I absolutely love trail running!!!!! I wish I lived closer to more trails. Dixie and I did a little trail run on the David Yetman trail today. It is in the Tucson Mountain Park (West Tucson). We ran around 7 miles. The Yetman trail is a combo of flat, rocky, and hilly single-track, and sandy/rocky wash running. Beautiful! There are large saguaro cactuses everywhere.

A little over a mile in on the trail is the 'Stone House'. It has no roof, but it has the remains of two old fireplaces.

I'm still not used to Tucson Mountain Park - there are so many trails in - I tend to get lost a lot! I even have a map, but there are so many offshoots that mountain bikers have created that aren't on the map. I just go with the flow, run around a lot, and eventually find my trail back to the trail head. Looking around doesn't help, because everything looks the same! I don't worry about getting too lost - I always remember the general direction back.

I would have run longer, but I had Dixie with me and it was really heating up. Also, I ran 12+ miles yesterday up in the Foothills (hilly) area near Swan/Sunrise with Nancy, Sue, and Sheryl. We saw a pack of javelina (with babies - so cute) but my camera was dead, so no pictures. These gals aren't trail runners, so we just run road. I really enjoy running with them, so it is a good trade-off. I was craving a trail run, though, so that's why I headed out today!

The Sonoran desert is so beautiful. I can't wait for it to cool off a little - it should be soon. Doesn't seem to slow me down too much, though!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Dixie Dog and I ran 7 miles today along the Rillito Wash path. For the most part, I can run on dirt the whole way. I felt like I could run forever.

I wore my 'Scream' socks because of Halloween. Edvard Munch is the famous artist of the work, 'The Scream'.

Dixie and I had a great time, of course, just running until the sun went down. She chased some rabbits and I chased her!
It feels good to not have a race coming up this weekend. I'm just getting back into my normal mileage, and enjoying my running. I also did a weight workout tonight, of which I have skipped the leg portion of the last two weeks because of my races. I feel strong and stu
rdy! I ran 5.5 miles on Monday, 6+ miles yesterday (speed workout at the Workout Group) and 7 miles today. I'll probably get about 40 miles this week. I'll be doing a 12 mile run on Saturday. I miss my long run - it has been almost 3 weeks since I have run long because of the races. I also miss running with my Chiclets!

What a great day! Life is excellent! I'm thankful that I have so much goodness in my life!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Oracle 10k Run - DONE!

I ran and finished the Oracle 10k run (6.2 miles for all you non-runners out there) today - what a hard race! The town of Oracle is a little north of Tucson, and is really pretty. The course is VERY hilly with RELENTLESS uphill sections throughout the whole course. After mile 3, the race is downhill for about a mile. Psychologically that tricked me, because after that, the crazy uphill sections started again and stayed that way until the end of the race and I didn't expect it! I finished the race pretty spent. Also, I think I was still recovering from last week's Bisbee 1000. Two races two weekends in a row is tough - especially with all the steps (last week) and hills (last week and this week). However, I placed 2nd in my age group! The winner of my age group was actually the Women's Master's winner, so I got moved up and received the 1st place prize! My race time was 57:22. It was a very small race, with only 95 finishers. I finished 38th overall. Actually, there were only 8 people in my age group, but I still feel great about my victory. Turning 40 is excellent!
This race has great schwag! It is so close to Halloween, so everything is a 'skeleton' motif. The t-shirts are super awesome, they give lots of really great general prizes away and the age group winner prizes are fantastic. I think I'll hang mine on the wall (it is a handmade tile) - here it is:

The start line of the race is made up all the t-shirts from the past races. This was their 25th annual race. I think I'll do this one again. I'm stuggling lately with a little nausea, cramps and dehydration during races, so I'll have to figure out what is going on with that. Otherwise, what a great time I had! I love running!