Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sweetwater Preserve Trail Run with an old friend

I met my friend Shari out at Sweetwater Preserve for a short trail run today. I haven't run with Shari since September, so it was a treat. She e-mailed me to congratulate me on my race (thanks Shari!), I responded back and then we planned a run! Seems like we both have a lot going on, so we talked it up the whole time, while keeping the pace down. It was great to catch up with her after all of this time. I love it when two friends can say, 'Hey, sorry about what happened. Glad we are still friends." We're going running again together next week.
The good news is that my quad isn't bothering me today! Looks like I worked the kinks out.
We ran 7.5 miles, which was perfect. I'm on a bit of a 'reverse taper', and wanted to make sure I didn't overdo. It felt great! it is pretty mellow out on those trails - only 1,193 feet elevation gain. If you want to see a ton of saguaro cactus, check this place out. Beautiful! The trails are fairly new, and although rocky in spots, the trail is really pretty easy.

The temperature is warming up in Tucson, but we had a nice cloud cover for a lot of the run. Today the temperature is supposed to be 83, tomorrow 89!!!, and Tuesday 88. I love Winter in the Southwest!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Recovery is going well.

After taking a few days to rest after the race (holy cow I was sore!), I jumped the gun a little and did a weight workout on Tuesday. I was really craving some exercise. My quads were pretty wiped out from Pemberton, so I should have waited a few more days. I have a little tweaky feeling in a my left quad as a result.

On Wednesday, I ran for 4 miles, taking Dixie Dog out for a little run. She was all over the place and wasn't minding me well, so it was a little frustrating. My legs felt tired, but good! I'm definitely recovering quicker from races than I used to. How cool is that?
Me on the Rillito Wash with the Catalina Mountains in the background:
After my run, I did the quick change, braided my hair and headed over to Yoga Vida for a Bikram Yoga class (90 minutes). Bikram is a 26 pose yoga, done in a heated room (over 100 degrees, I think?) It is hot, but hey, I live in Tucson. I love it. It was just what I needed to really stretch out those post-race muscles. Only one pose bothered my wrist a little, but I think it just gave it a nice stretch.

I then ran 4.3 miles on Friday at lunch at a 9:15 pace, which is not super speedy, but I felt pretty peppy . Definitely have a tweaky left quad now. I ran 3 miles on Saturday morning, but tried to take it easy a little bit. Tomorrow, I'll do a shorter trail run, but keep the pace way down to give my body a break.
Parting thought (my favorite poem about life):
The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveller, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference...
Robert Frost

Saturday, February 14, 2009

2009 Pemberton 50k race report

OR, 'How to sort out your life in 31 miles'.

31 miles is a long time to ponder your life. No, I didn't figure it all out. :) Guess I'll have to go run some more. After I can walk right again (3 or 4 days?) I may attempt running, but not any time soon.

My lofty goal time: 5:15 (although I hesitantly thought it was 'okay' if I got 5:30).
Actual finish time: 5:15:30 WOO HOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Because I chose to actually race the distance, I didn't take many pictures.

You know, 31 miles is just a long way to run. The race is 2 loops of about 15.5 miles each of the Pemberton trail in McDowell Mountain Park in Fountain Hills, AZ. I arrived about 6am, after getting up at 4am (fitful sleep, of course) and leaving my sister's house in Phoenix a little after 5am. It was pretty cold at the start, and I overdressed a little (tank, pink Moeben arm warmers and long-sleeve top with skirt) but was able to ditch the long-sleeve after the first loop. The weather was perfect during the race, and even still a little cool right at the end.

I ran with David R. from Sierra Vista (he is doing OP 50 miler in 3 weeks) for the first mile or so (he then took off), and then I ran alone until mile 11 when I saw David R. again. Here is David R. trucking along in front of me for quite a few miles:We ran together until about mile 16 and he dropped behind. I came upon TTR members Wayne C. and Bob B. (that's what I'm talking 'bout! Git 'er done! Bob always says that, so I came up behind him roaring those statements) around mile 18 and passed them.
I really had a tough time between miles 20 - 26 (long wall that I hit) and found some acceptance of the situation and started passing a few people here and there. I passed one gal in the last 1/2 mile and finished in such a daze that the guy at the finish line said 'okay, now go get something to drink and eat' like I was 2 years old (hey, I needed practical advice!) David M. came over to congratulate me and announced surprise at my finish time. I think he was impressed with my time, as I was, too! Having trained with me, he saw that I really struggled on some of the long training runs, but I guess I had it in me on race day. I think I did a good job of fueling and hydration today and don't think that there was anything I could have done better, except more training (isn't that always the case?)

Garmin stats:

Average race pace: about 10:11 min/mile (well, if it is 31 miles - my Garmin calculated 30.79 miles - I'm going to call it 31 anyway so I can say I did a '50k', plus these things are not 100% accurate.)
Fastest mile: 9:04 (mile 12)
Slowest mile: 11:48 (mile 16)
Cumulative elevation gain: 3,061
Cumulative elevation loss: 3,026

The loop is about 8 or so miles uphill and then about 7 or so mostly downhill miles (all undulating - right David R.?). My per mile pace was all over the map, but it is safe to say that the second time around the loop, my pace slowed way down on the uphill. I tried like heck to run fast at the end of the race, but I had pretty much used all the gas in the tank. This was my fastest 50k out of the three I have done. After this, I feel fairly confident I can do well at the Bataan Memorial Death March marathon in White Sands, NM. on March 29th. I'll be signing up for that right away, seeing as how I can still walk and all (albeit not very well).

Some funny stuff:

Daryll (Missy's husband) said hello to me around mile 3 - 'Hey Renee!' and promptly proceeded to trip and launch his water bottle down the trail. Okay, not funny for him, but he did say he wasn't saying hello to me again. When I ran into him again on the second loop, he acknowledged me, but didn't take his eyes off the trail that time! He had quite a scrape on his shin - poor guy!
I finished 50th out of 147 finishers. I'm pretty proud of myself considering having to come back after the wrist fracture that happened on October 4th. I didn't start running again until October 31st, so I pulled together the training pretty quickly.

Congratulations to all of my trail running friends (some new), some from the TTR group, who finished! Here they are in order of finish time:

Paul V. 4:26
David M. 4:49
Adrian K. 5:00 (nice to finally meet you!)
Wayne C. 5:24
Bob B. 5:28
Darryl B. 5:30
David R. 5:49
Missy B. 6:05
Joyce V. 6:35 (her first ultra! Yay Joyce!)
Patricia W. 7:02

As is after each marathon/ultramarathon I have done, I had a pretty rough night sleeping with a lot of leg pain (it is like a serious case of restless legs). I'm pretty tired today, but I took it easy and didn't do too much (a little house cleaning, some grocery shopping, etc.) I'm still walking funny, and stepping up and down or bending down is pretty painful and a sight to watch. It was so worth it. Oh - I've also eaten quite a bit since - love that part.

I'm hoping to be back in commission by Wednesday, when I'll try a short run and if all goes well, I'll be resuming training for Bataan.

I never thought I could run 31 miles (especially for the 3rd time!) Thank you to all of my wonderful friends and family for continuing to believe in me and being proud of me.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

First solo run with Taos dog

Due to work this week, I've only run 5 miles, so I was feeling the need to get out this morning for a short run before my busy day. Taos and I did 4 miles, and she was very good on the leash (she only tripped me once). She is about a 5 minute miler, but she forces herself to slow down for me.

I got a massage today, which was super! Corrin, my massage therapist, is just the best for sports issues. I was having problems with tight shins/calves and my left achilles/ankle. With one week left before the Pemberton 50k, I was getting worried, but I think it really helped. I had not had a massage since before my wrist fracture. Love them! Wish I was rich so I could get them more often.

I'm reading this book called 'Deep Survival' which is really awesome (I'm just fascinated by any book about people who live/die doing the things they love and why they do). It is basically a book about what it takes for people to survive anything. This one paragraph just sums it up (and it is also how I feel about my own life):

"He saw that to lose everything at the edge of such a glorious eternity is far sweeter than to win by plodding through a cautious, painless, and featureless life. And that, of course, is why people undertake adventures such as solo voyages of the Atlantic to begin with. The true survivor isn't someone with nothing to lose. He has something precious to lose. But at the same time, he's willing to bet it all on himself. And it makes what he has that much richer. Days stolen are always sweeter than days given."

Everyone has a wilderness inside. You just have to find it.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The news post

A while back, I mentioned I had news, and well, none of it is earth shattering, but it just seems that I have had a lot going on the last 3-4 months. So, here goes:


Totally rehabbed, doesn't stop me from doing much. Occasionally, I bump the screw heads on something, and it really gets my attention. Ouch! Otherwise, I'm working my way up on my weights/push ups and the numbness/swelling I was experiencing have gone by the wayside. Yay!


They restructured our Accounting dept, and everyone had to reapply for the 'new' jobs. My current job (Lead Accountant), that I just got promoted to in March, was eliminated and I didn't quite qualify for the 'new and improved' job (Accounting Manager), so I applied for a job similar to my old one. I did get the Senior Accountant position (there are 3 other Senior Accountants, also), although I'll be getting a drop in pay (since I won't be supervising anymore) starting February 2nd (tomorrow). 7% decrease. I also lost my office and now have to share an office with another Senior Accountant they hired (she is super nice, though, so that hasn't been bad at all). 6 people in my department got laid off, but 3 of those have found positions elsewhere in the company. It was devastating to watch people go that have worked there so long. I had 2 interviews for another job, but they chose a different candidate. They said they were very impressed by me, although I didn't quite have enough supervisory experience, so they are keeping me in mind for future positions. Although I have applied for other jobs, it seems God wants me here for now. I'm currently making peace with the new Accounting Manager (you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours), so I'm hoping that things get better. I'm also hoping that the new job will be less stress - I was really overwhelmed this past summer at work.


We had to put our blue heeler, Yentyl, down before Christmas (on December 13th). She was 14 years old and could barely walk or breath well. This was the 5th pet we have lost in 3 years. We lost my beloved Taylor, a Pekingese, at 14 years old on December 23, 2005 (she had cancer). We lost her 'twin' brother Buster 6 months later at 14.5 years old (put to sleep - he was full of cancer and frail). On December 19th, 2007, we lost our Cockapoo Buddie at 14 years old. Finally, we lost our bunny rabbit, Blackjack, on Labor Day. My husband said he was tired of digging holes in our backyard. We are both terribly sad at the loss of the last of the 4 'old' dogs. I just continue to love; I can't stop because of heartache, but it sure is hard sometimes. We'll miss you Yentyl. You were more like a person than a lot of people I meet.


I'm in pretty good health, but back after my wrist fracture, I had some regular bloodwork done, and it came out pretty bad. So, my doctor retested my liver tests, tested me for Hepatitis, and also for Thyroid problems. Everything came out fine on retesting, so we think it was the massive amount of Morphine and other drugs I got for my wrist that skewed the results. So, the only thing that came out not good in the end is my cholesterol. I am 207 total (over 200, not good) and my LDL (the bad cholesterol) was 121 and should be less than 100. My HDL (good cholesterol) was high, which is good. So, since it was high 2 years in a row, I am watching my butter and chocolate intake. I could eat whipped butter right out of the container. I put it on everything. Not anymore. Anyone who knows me knows 2 things for sure: I love to eat healthy, with the exception of chocolate/sugar/butter. So, I'm trying to be good. Wish me luck.
So, there you go. I'm getting the feeling that 2009 is going to be a much better year. To all my friends and family, on the trail and off - thank you for all of your love and support. I couldn't have made it through 2008 without you.
Oh, last piece of news: I'm planning on doing the Sageburner 50k in Gunnison, CO over Memorial Day weekend. Doesn't seem like you can register yet, but it looks like a fun race. As soon as I register, I'll put it on my race list (which needs some attention anyway). At 8,000 feet elevation, it ought to be a lung burner. Anyone want to join me?