Sunday, May 22, 2011

A Running Bride

Today, I married Dallas, my best friend and ultimate trail partner.

It was a small, yet beautiful ceremony at San Pedro Vista trailhead, which is about 17 miles up Catalina Highway. I couldn't think of a better place to have it - up in the mountains we run in so much, surrounded by pine trees and amazing views.

Heading to the wedding-we are very happy today.

The plan was to have the wedding ceremony first and then run a 4 mile stretch of Green Mountain trail from San Pedro Vista downhill to General Hitchcock Campground.  We all congregated at GHC to get shuttled up to the top.

No dressing up fancy for this wedding...

I wore a dress that I could run in (like a tennis dress, from Athleta), Zoot running shoes, and a veil. Isn't that what every gal wears to her wedding? Of course, the dress and the shoes had pink on them. :)

The happy bride has arrived.

We were married by Susy Bacal, a local triathlete and ultrarunning phenomenon, who is also a Justice of the Peace. Seemed fitting, and I've known Susy for 10+ years. She runs with Pam Reed a lot. We were considering getting married in the middle of a long trail run, and thought Susy would be perfect. We wanted to invite a few non-runners to the wedding, so we changed our mind and decided to get married at the trailhead, a short walk off of Catalina Highway.

Don't panic!

After all of the guests that were going to run got shuttled up to San Pedro Vista, I determined that one vehicle didn't make it. Two of our guests were lost. Gene and Ross saved the day by driving down the mountain to find them. They returned with the guests and the wedding started about 15 minutes behind schedule. I was in a small panic, but Dallas calmed me down.

Having a little fun before the wedding starts

Me reading my words and vows to Dallas...

Dallas reading his words and vows to me...

Well, it's official now. It is in ink. :)

This is a very happy day for us.

Our wedding party - Shari is my witness, Gene is Dallas' witness

These are the people we spend the most time with and who we love so much.

13 of our wedding guests ran down the trail with us - Ross, Pam, Chris F., Mike, Joe, Tom, Billie, Denise, Steve, Gene, Wayne, Mark, and Chris A.

Green Mountain trail is gorgeous

A running bride!
Thimble Peak in the background

What great fun at a wedding.
Getting ourselves cleaned up from the run to go eat at Zona 78.

A friend of ours gave us a metal sculpture of two runners 'running towards each other'. That was his message - always be running towards each other.

Thank you to Pam, Ross and Patricia for taking pictures! Pam's pictures came out so professional - she has a lot of beautiful close up pictures of us. Unfortunately, they are too big to put on Blogger. We will probably enlarge some for our home.

What an incredible day - gorgeous weather, fantastic views, a difficult, yet beautifully diverse trail run, surrounded by friends, my favorite restaurant, and I married an infinitely gentle and kind man (who is also wild at heart) that cherishes me and treats me like a princess. I love you so deeply Dallas; your love is a symphony.

To us - to a lifetime of many laughs, intimate companionship, endless excitement and running together. I love us.

"Marriage is not only the beginning of a relationship but also the end of a life long search for the other half of your soul."
~ unknown

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Cracker Dog - hope there is a 5k wherever you went

I lost my beloved Cracker Dog on this day - May 7, 2011. She was my precious little girl and I miss her very much. Somehow, she got out of the yard, and was killed instantly in the road in front of our house.

This happened two weeks before my wedding, and has been so difficult to deal with. She was a rescue dog - I got her at 9 months old in November, 2007. She had such a wonderful personality. I am grateful for the 3 and a half years I had with her.

We ran together from time to time and we did 2 official 5k races together.

Canine Classic 5k- 2009
Finishing her 2nd 5k - Canine Classic 2010

Getting ready for the post-race doggie fashion show!

Showing off that pink camo jacket on-stage

I think about you every day. I miss how you would 'talk' to me and I miss holding you. I miss calling you all the names I used to call you: Cracker, Crackster, the Crackinator, Crackmeister...

Cracker, Dallas misses running with you and Dixie misses playing with you. I will miss watching you chew on Dixie's ears. Why these things happen in God's universe, I do not know. It will take a long time for all of us to heal. Crackster, I hope wherever your sweet soul went, that you are happy.

Dixie and Cracker. BFF.

"If you have a dog, you will most likely outlive it; to get a dog is to open yourself to profound joy and, prospectively, to equally profound sadness."

~ Marjorie Garber

Sunday, May 1, 2011

A month of running service

I decided that for the month of April, I would help out on long runs instead of running them. I was giving my body a break and I also believe that at some point, you have to give back to the running community.

TTR Mt. Bigelow - April 12, 2011

I helped Dallas with aid (he was the RD) at Palisades TH. A big storm rolled in the night before, so we had lots of snow in the Catalina Mountains. You needed chains or 4WD to get past MP 14 (Windy Point) because of ice and snow.

My Subaru Outback came through for me - AWD rocks.

Long Live TTR! ♥ Love my Subaru Outback ♥

Our friend Mark came and helped with aid, bringing a stove. We had hot chicken soup and mac and cheese, which became important as runners showed up at the top frozen.

Mark and I did a little trail blazing south on Palisades, while Dallas blazed the trail up Bigelow. Runners were very appreciative of this as it can be difficult to navigate trails in fresh snow.

I am bundled up for a day of standing around. :)

Some did the RT (about 50k), but many chose to not return back down the mountain, because they were so frozen.

Looks like a bathrobe, but Chase is actually swaddled in a blanket.

Luckily, we had some friends from our group show up and they helped bring runners back down the mountain to Sabino. Big thanks to Jim and Jane (who brought up their very cute new baby Amelia) and to Tonja for helping out with rides down.

We waited a while until the last runners were in. Dallas went down Palisades to see if he could meet up with the last runners and came back with Ross and Debbie. We were so glad to see them!

Huge thanks to our friend Mark for bringing the stove, which saved the day. The flames that shot out of it at some point made the day a little exciting (and had our RD Dallas a little concerned!)

The freezing cold really made the stove act up, but we were grateful for soup and mac and cheese. :)

Zane Grey 50 mile race - April 16, 2011

This was Dallas' big race. He had been training for it for 5 months. We stayed outside of Payson in a cabin with our friends Tom, Mike, Kristy, and Sarah.

Dallas and Mike did a little pre-race relaxing the night before by strumming away.

Dallas on a banjo = sexy

Tom, Dallas, Sarah (with her oh-so-cute-smile) and Mike before the race start
I gave the whole crew a ride to the start. We got up before 3am I think.

Dallas is ready to take on his first official 50 miler. He looks ready.

I got to crew Dallas, being at every aid station to attend to what he needed as he came in. At the same time, I got to help our friends and many other runners as they came in. Lots of people dropped during the race; runners came in looking trashed and overheated. Dallas looked great the entire time! He was so kind to his crew! :)

Look at that beautiful smile, 33 miles into a grueling race.

Jane and Jim came up from Tucson, which was awesome. I was able to chat with them quite a bit at AS 17 and AS 33.

Jane, little Amelia and Jim

It was wonderful to see and help friends from TTR - Tom, Mike, Sarah and Chase.

Chase at AS44 looking like his usual tough self with his crew/wife Trish
Tom at AS33, crossing the road after making his amazing race comeback.
Mike dropping into AS33 running strong, but looking a little in need of shade.
Sarah, who nabbed a 1st place woman finish at OP50 and a 3rd place woman finish at ZG50. You rock, girl!

After watching all of the runners all day, I finally got to see Dallas and Tom come into the finish. I was so happy for them! They finished in 13:11.


Even though I had seen so much race 'carnage' today, it was when Tom and Dallas crossed the finish that I decided I would do Zane Grey 50 next year!

Dallas, it was a privilege and an honor to crew for you.

TTR Catalina Peaks - May 1, 2011

Dallas and I scouted this run out the week prior to get a good idea of the route. We had run many of these Catalina mountain trails before, but some were new. We never found Barnum Rock, but we did head up Incinerator Ridge until it topped out.  Dallas went out again the next day and made it to Barnum Rock, putting cairns along the way for the runners to follow.

At the top of Incinerator Peak or Leopold Point - not Barnum Rock

We also got to check out a cool trail going through a culvert under the highway, which lead down a really neat trail to Sunset TH. We initially missed the trail from the dirt road and cut down a steep embankment; I slid abruptly and did the 'splits' and most likely, strained a muscle or ligament at my hip thigh/hip area and a muscle behind my knee. I was able to finish the run, but it doesn't appear to be healing fast. Just when I recover from overtraining injuries, now it is a stupid injury to deal with. Arg.

Yeah, we crossed it with wild abandon.

We ran/hiked 21 miles, which was the longest I had done since OP50. We returned on the paved road instead of the trail/dirt road - we almost got run over twice. I can't believe people drive as fast as they do on Mt. Lemmon.

The next week, 10 runners showed up to try the route. It ended up being 22 miles. This route hits Barnum Rock, Mt. Bigelow, the FAA loop, and the top of Mt. Lemmon (Stewart Observatory).

Touching the tower at Mt. Bigelow

Dallas and I were providing aid at the top, but decided we had time, so we went and did Barnum Rock and Mt. Bigelow. Barnum Rock was a scary place to stand - 360 degree views all around.

That's our wedding spot - just below on the left

We'll probably try this whole route again in the near future.

I've kept my mileage low in April - most weeks I ran about 25 miles, and one week had 40 miles. I'm still recovering from the loss of my Mom, but each day gets better. I still miss her a lot.
What am I up to now? I've been planning my upcoming wedding to Dallas, which will be on May 22, 2011. I'm so excited about that. We'll get married up in the Catalina Mountains and we are going for a 4 mile trail run afterwards. Of course, I will be wearing a super cute running dress at the wedding.  :)