Tucson Camp #2

This past week PIC Michelle Ford and I headed back to Tucson to get pummeled by coach fantastico Chuckie V and his much more attractive sidekick Angela Mighty Mouse Naeth (who are in a bit of a Twitter war to get more followers than each other, I linked their accounts above). The first time PIC and I went to Tucson we were so excited. This time we knew better, we were excited, but it was mixed with a sort of fear. Last camp was hard, fun but hard. We knew better than to think we were headed to Disneyland.

Camp did not start with swimming! What? Wow! We got to sleep in (which we didn’t) and build up our bikes during the first morning. We were off to Mt Lemmon, but this time Chuckie said “no cookie”. It was a chilly day and we enjoyed the views together up to mile 15 and then hit it hard for several repeats up the lower miles.

A run off the bike with some “whew” efforts in there, a trip to Trader Joes and we were ready to sleep like logs. We bought way too many groceries at Trader Joe’s, we weren’t even sure how we were going to get it all home. It’s getting a bit frightening how well Michelle and I sleep together. So many years, so many trips, so many races, we sleep better together than we do with our hubbies.

We knew it wouldn’t last for long, the next morning we were up and at ’em and in the pool. We have the coolest pool to swim in, it doesn’t have any lane lines, just lines on the bottom. It’s great for drafting practice. Saturday morning we swam the hardest swim workout of my entire life. On paper it seemed pretty straight forward, but during it there were a few near drowning moments. I survived, but the next day I was quite sore from it.

Saturday we also headed to the track for some work there including a MAF test. We do these quite often, as do all my athletes. If you haven’t read Phil Maffetones new Book The Big Book of Endurance Training and Racing you need to. It will rock your world. Maffetone lives in the Tucson area. He’s made people fast for years.

We had the best easy spin that evening that turned into a 2.5 hour “tour de Tucson”. It was warm out, and sunny and we got to tour all around the university and downtown, and the bike paths. We had so much fun chatting about life, and sport, and being happy. Whatever it Takes!

Sunday we were back in the pool, duh. We made Chuckie a scrambled egg breakfast and he went easier on us. Then it was off to MIDDLE OF NOWHERE AWESOMENESS for the day. Oh my, this was one of my favorite training days ever. We rode and rode and rode, out past the town of Oracle and into lands of beautiful smooth road with fun whoop-dee-doos and twists and turns. There were Saguaros with 20 arms (really old) by the hundreds. We rode in the middle of the road, we didn’t see anyone. It was AWESOME.

We had a couple hill repeats to get in and these were so fun. We had 30 minutes of hill that was relentless and we got to go for it. It was a particularly cool day for PIC as she made a bit of a breakthrough that made me smile inside. Training with Chuckie is so interesting because we both know that he is giving us the work that is best for each of us. Sometimes I progress, sometimes she progresses, and overall we both have made lots of progress. The nice thing is that we can celebrate each others ahh-hah moments, and we support each other through the lulls. Seeing PIC fight tooth and nail to hurt herself out there was awesome. Angela was with us for one of the repeats and she didn’t break a sweat, but was always there to offer a smile, a nudge, or a wheel to pull you back to where you needed to be. It all just flowed.

After our killer repeats we headed out for a little run. It just so happens that our route intersected the Arizona trail. It’s 800 miles of trail across Arizona. We have to watch out around things like this. Chuckie has hiked the PCT not once, but TWICE and when he sees trails like this we have to chain him to the bumper for fear of loosing our coach back to the wilderness! He starts getting all excited and we have to bait him back with the promise of ice cream and that we will be good athletes.

 

This was a tough run to turn around on. I wanted to run for miles and miles and miles, and had I been alone, I would have. The scenery was insane, just beautiful with tons of cacti and perfect dirt single track trails. There was nobody out there and the stillness and peacefulness are something I will remember for a long time. It always amazes me just how quickly you can get away from it all, even when you live or are near major cities. These trails are barely used, yet quiet peace is so close to the city, just a short drive away.



I love the “pedestrian crossing” sign. Since the Arizona trail crosses the road, they put a pedestrian sign. Seems a little out of place, eh? Of course Michelle and I are maximizing our nerdliness in this photo. I can’t even tell you what we were doing, it’s top secret.

You just have to be a little careful out there not to step on these guys. They will get ya if you run a little wonky or don’t watch where you are going.

Monday we were back in the pool for another pummeling. This one was particularly fun because we did 5 bajillion sets of 12×25 and we got to draft PIC Michelle on every one of them. She had me on her right side and Angela on her left. We were scratching her, grabbing her, trying to hang on for dear life. But it upped our game. She swam for her life to get away from us an we swam for our lives to hang on.

Sometime during camp we were renamed from the “PIC chicks” to the “Housewives”. I don’t know quite how that happened but it was a title we both immediately embraced. Oh look, you just got passed by a pair of housewives. Hold one, let me take off my apron before I school you in the pool. It just stuck. Housewives…I still laugh just thinking about it.

My favorite line from PIC

“Would you like a martini with that unexpectedly hard swim??”

After the unexpectedly hard swim we were off for a trail run while Angela Mighty Mouse Naeth got her bike on. Madera Canyon was our destination. This place is truly a gem in the Tucson area. It’s a must see. I was totally ready to move in here.

We got in a great trail run where I made it up to 8,780 feet of elevation, so close to the summit of Mt.Wrightson. Sometimes you gotta save something for the next trip. Chuckie got a chuckle out of all the responces and comments from the hikers comming down the mountain.
“Did you see those two girls running?”
“They were German.”
“No, they were European.”
“The first one wasn’t very nice, she didn’t even say anything.”
What a hoot. Barreling down miles of technical single track fulfilled this deep love I have for trail running. I am most calm out there on the trails and hard charging technical downhill makes me feel so alive. Of course two days latter my quads don’t feel so “alive”.
The drive home Chuckie wore his helmet the entire time. Yes, this is my coach, he always keeps us laughing.
The following day it was time for PIC and I to depart. But FIRST…we were blessed with another sweet swim workout brought to us by Chuckie V! Onto the plane, we had to kiss Chuck and Ang goodbye. It was all bitter with no sweet. We wanted to stay, we had so much fun with them. I think what was so motivating was to see the care that Chuck and Ang take with each other. She is this hard core athlete with so much talent, and he has been there, has the war stories and the knowledge, and is trying to make her great. They are a great duo and I’ll never forget the many lessons I have learned from both of them. Thanks Chuckie and Angela for all you do for me, it’s such a gift to have you both in my life.
Really Coach, it’s Tomato Juice!!!!

The ‘rents

I wanted to post a separate post telling you a little about my parents. You all know about Troy and how supportive he is of my crazy lifestyle. I just must tell you a little more about my mom and dad.

I grew up active. I always say that my dad has had a midlife crisis about 10 times already. He is always reinventing himself. When I was little he was a hunter, and a unioned pipe fitter. He wore cowboy boots, and drove a Ford truck with a gun rack. We had dogs and we were always off on some crazy fishing adventure that involved cousins, boats tipping, fish frys and camping. He once shot the top off a huge tree because my mom said she wanted it for our Christmas tree.

My dad didn’t really want kids and my parents were content with dogs when I “came along”. My dad missed me being born because I was late and he had paid for a nonrefundable hunting trip before my mom got pregnant. He was in Montana. I met him when I was 5 days old and everyone says he was instantly in love. My parents just decided a kid wasn’t going to slow them down and they took me everywhere. My dad was skiing with me in a backpack before I was 1 (back when they let you do that sort of stupid behavior).

My dad went back to school when I was 8 or so to become an engineer. He never lost his adventurous spirit. He laid down his guns for awhile and picked up a camera. He was a student, often found in shorts, sweatshirts, and Teva sandals, studying at all hours of the day and night in his office (above the Welding shop at Cal Poly, or in the basement with a big Marlin in his office). We always skiied and backpacked, and did a lot of deep sea fishing while he was in school.

After dad graduated with a masters in Metallurgical Engineering he got a fancy job as an Engineer. He picked up mountaineering somewhere in there and headed off for multiple trips to the Andes, and Nepal. After I graduated college he invited me along. We did lots of mountaineering together, it was our thing as father/daughter for awhile. He always had a camera with him and he took up cinematography. He even went to film school while working as a consultant on the side. Every summer he grows a garden, and his tomatoes are to die for. He’s like a total tomato green thumb.

Nowadays I think dad is in the midst of the next crisis. He’s still trying to figure out what exciting thing is next. He’s become a snow cat skiing junkie, and he is back to shooting guns and goes on all these “squirrel hunting” trips. Don’t ask…I don’t quite get that one…but they don’t eat the squirrels is all I know.

Through all of my dads mid life crisis, my mom is Ms.GoWithTheFlow. She is the Yin to his Yang. No matter what adventure my dad was thinking up, my mom was like “Sure”. She’s the van packer, the hotel reservation maker, the flight booker, the sandwich maker, the problem solver. My mom never makes life harder than it needs to be and she is the ultimate sidekick to my dad. She’s not afraid of elbow grease and she sleeps like 4 hours a night. She reads 1-2 books a week and can knit a mean scarf.

Mom went back to school when I was little and she cranked out her degree in 2.5 years, while working at the same time. She’s the opposite of my dad who would be a lifetime student if money grew on trees. My mom is consistent and happy. Her mood is always even and she’s a bit sarcastic…something I did not inherit. She’s the queen of telling me “If it’s so hard, then just quit”.

She is the ultimate mom. I am an only child and I like to say “I was spoiled with love”. We’ve been through our hard times as a family, but we have worked through them together, never loosing sight of the fact that we always had to find a way to make amends. The hard times have made us stronger.

As I have become an adult and started my own family, it’s been such a seamless transition. When I started doing the triathlons, my parents just hopped on board. They have been to all 4 Ironmans I have done, and they are raring to go for the 2 I am doing this year. When I need a little support, whether it’s physical, emotional, or sometimes $$, they never hesitate, the answer is always “How can we help?”

This adventure that I am on right now is really just an extention of the life I have been taught to live by my parents. It’s not much of a shocker that Troy is as supportive as he is. I’ve always been this way. I had just returned from Peru and climbing Mt.Rainier when I met Troy, he knew I was all sorts of crazy back then. He liked the crazy and he liked to get dragged along.

I want to thank my parents for what they have given me. They always taught me to get a degree so that I could marry whatever man I wanted and not be dependent on him for money (great advise for a daughter I think). They always taught me to do something you don’t like as long as it takes you to find something new. They taught me that you only go around once on this earth and you better make the best of it. Don’t buy things, buy experiences. Laugh loudly and often. They taught me to chase my happiness, and it’s the greatest gift they ever could have given me.

Thanks mom and dad, love you guys!

The Lost Coast

Yea, Yea, you’re just here for the video. It’s here, just skip all the words and scan to the bottom if you are impatient. Let me know in the comments if you liked it, or any feedback you have. I’m always interested.

I came to the Lost Coast to do something hard. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy and when people asked if I was going to run alone I said yes. There is really a short list of people that I have done endurance stuff with. Most of it was done when I was coached by Steve since he was into training that way. Since I started with Chuckie the training is not ultra in nature, it’s just relentless.

Chuckie never asks you to do anything too too hard, he just has you do a LOT of not too hard stuff OFTEN. It’s more of a training by raindrops method rather than by flash flood. And it works, if anyone witnessed what happened to me last year, you will know that the Chuckie way is the right way.

Mom and dad in Garberville. The last cell coverage for several days.

I know I can get through an Ironman and several years ago I didn’t know that I could. The ultra training that I did then taught me a lot about my resolve and I admit that I yearn for those types of experiences every once in awhile. This was one of those yearnings. I wanted to get out and do something HARD, gnarley, Grrr.

I wondered if it would break me.

I’m all about safety, I’m a very happy mom, and a very proud wife and I would never want to leave Troy and Annie without the constant entertainment that I seem to provide to them.

Having mom and dad along on this trip was great for that. They were my safety check. I knew my dad would call out the calvary if he even remotely thought I was stuck in a tight spot. Mom would keep Annie happy, and would keep dad from pacing too much while I was out there. My dad is where I get my adventurous spirit, he’s climbed a ton of super remote peaks in the Andes and Nepal, but I’m still his little girl. He’s been at every one of my Ironmans, but after this trip I think even he now realizes I’m made of “tough stuff”.

I took off that morning in pouring rain. I was happy and excited. This run is a point to point run with zero access inbetween. There are no roads, no jeep roads, and the trails on the map are hardly more recognizable than a deer trail. There is a lot of pot grown in this region so poking around too much can likely get you into some dangerous situations.

My route was very clear. Stay on the beach, don’t climb up the super steep cliffs, don’t get dragged out to sea, and just keep running until you see civilization. The map said 24 miles, but I had heard it was more in the 26 range. My parents and I agreed that they would wait an hour before leaving in case I bailed and turned around. They had 4 hours of windy twisty driving to get to where I popped out in Shelter Cove…with a 5 year old.

I thought about turning around the entire first 30 minutes. From about 2 minutes in the wind was in my face really strong, like 40mph strong. I couldn’t beleive how bad it was. In the first 30 minutes I almost was blown over backwards twice. At that point you are thinking…how will I make 26 miles of this? I was thinking “turn, don’t turn, turn, don’t turn” and I looked down and saw 40 minutes had passed. Well…that’s solves that. I’m committed.

The conditions were very intense and about 3 miles in I was already feeling quite hailed. But rather than get frustrated I simply pulled out my headphones, popped them in and got some relief from the sound of the wind.

My heart rate was 170 in the first hour and I made it 3 miles. Painfully slow. The Punta Gorda lighthouse was a welcome site. My parents and I had agreed that if for some reason the SPOT didn’t work, then 8pm (11.5 hours) was when they should call out the search and rescue. I had no way of knowing if the SPOT was working but I was totally doing the math. I figured at that rate it would take 10 hours.

Things got a little better at the lighthouse. I found a little single track deer trail and ran on that for a ways a little bit off the ocean. If there was a plateau next to the ocean I could usually find a little trail on it. If the cliff went straight into the beach, I was stuck running in the sand and rocks. I would say there was about 25% “trail” running and 75% beach.

I encountered my first “stream crossing”. Um, wow. I was immediately thankful I was alone. I’m looking at this raging river that is dumping out of a narrow canyon and into the ocean. No bridge, no rock bridge, no log bridge. If I fell crossing the stream I was going to get dragged directly into the ocean. The ocean here is not a “nice ocean”. It’s 15 foot waves crashing onto rocks, rip tide, cold cold cold kind of ocean.

I hunted around for a big driftwood stick and I used that to help me with my balance across the river. Whew.

There were probably 5 rivers I had to cross throughout the day that were thigh deep. Another 10 I crossed were shin deep. The one thing I was very thankful for was that the tide was low (I planned the trip that way) and therefore the large rivers got a little more of a chance to “fan out” before hitting the ocean. If I had to cross at high tide I may not have made it.

Onwards I ran. Sometimes the rain would stop, sometimes the rain would dump buckets on me. I was soaked from about 1 mile into the run so the stream crossings didn’t really matter in that regard.

Sometimes the wind would even die down a little. It seemed to depend where I was in proximity to end of each of the little coves. Often I would get around a point only to be faced with nearly impassible wind. A few times I would be running and realize that I was only making it a few inches per step.

So what’s going on in my head during this? Well. For awhile it was worry. I was worried that my slower pace would put me in a dangerous tidal position. So I was constantly doing the math in my head.  By about 10 miles in the worry started to release. I realized I was keeping about 4 miles per hour which would get it done.

I never really got concerned personally. Like I never felt personally in danger, I just knew the most important thing I could do for myself was to keep moving forward. I did not stop once the entire day except to tie my shoe laces and to pee. I was on a mission. It wasn’t really until I got through the third section of tide restricted area that I felt the weight lift off my shoulders.

There were actually some “structures” out there in the middle of nowhere. I don’t know how the owners get to them, as there is zero access other than foot…maybe horse, helicopter, airplane. I ran across one really crazy house thing that is in my video. You’ll get a kick out of that section so I won’t ruin it.

The last 6-7 miles were probably the worst wind and rain wise. I caught up to a few lonely backpackers in the section and stopped and talked to each on of them. They were soaked to the bone (so was I, but I was running so I was warm) and each of them looked totally miserable. I asked if they needed anything, and made some small talk (in the raging wind) and then ran along. Sometimes I wasn’t going much faster than they were walking.

I also ran into 4 surfers out there. One surprised me while I was taking some video. If you listen closely in the video he even says “Surprise”. It wasn’t in a creepy way or anything, he was clearly out there with the same love and appreciation as I was. He thought I was crazy for running all that way, I thought he was crazy for hiking 9 miles with his surfboard to surf some waves that were surely going to kill him.

As I pulled into Shelter Cove I was stoked, and relieved. It was a harrowing day, but also not that bad. It’s almost like I could have gotten through anything that day because I was prepared not just physically, but emotionally to go though an ordeal.

The “store” in Shelter Cove had Justin’s Nut Butter! Middle of nowhere!

As I talked about in my previous post I learned quite a bit. As I continue to process the adventure I learn even more. With Ironman, you have so much support out there. There is no real “danger”. Maybe most of us would perform better if there was a real threat. It reminded me that you need to prepare for the threat as if it’s there. Self sufficiency…not in gear…but in MIND. Especially in Kona. Yes, you can always sit down on the ground and wait for medical, but if you expect to rise to the occasion, you need to prepare to do it on your own. You need to be strong in the mind.

I was also reminded that you always have a choice in life. Always. Conditions can be miserable, but you have the choice to be miserable with them. The more you actively make the choice to be positive, the easier it is. It was crazy out there, and I was wet, and slow, and it was hard. None of you would have faulted me if this was a post about what a miserable horrible time I had out there. But this post is not about that, it’s about how  happy and appreciative I was.

I think I was able to be that way because I make that choice on a daily basis. When faced with adversity in life, even the little stuff like parking tickets, I try to utilize it as a trigger to respond in the complete opposite way as is expected. Smile and shrug at the parking ticket. Laugh and open your mouth to the rain. Sing in the wind. Anything to reverse the natural response to a situation, and before you know it, you will naturally respond with less stress and more appreciation to what life hands you.

The co-op in Garberville had Justin’s Nut Butter Peanut Butter Cups. So remote. We can’t even keep these in stock in Boulder. Mom and I bought 8 packages and I didn’t get a single one.

That’s what I was reminded of out there. I want to get out and test myself, test my resolve, but it’s all the little choices every day that really builds your foundation of resolve. Respond well daily, and when the big tests come, you’ll fly through them.

If anything the adverse elements added to my experience out there. When you get down to it, and you’re out in it, it’s really not that bad. It may be hard physically, but that’s a good thing. One step at a time applies to Ironman, to the Lost Coast, or to just getting through a hectic day. Always endeavor to just begin. Once you have begun, the hard part is out of the way. Enduring is easier than beginning.

My darling daughter, happy as a clam the entire trip. This girl has the adventure gene and I couldn’t be happier.

I put together a video of my day. There is no music in this one. As the blog gains more popularity I really shouldn’t be putting music that I don’t own the rights to in my movies. So you will have to be content to deal with the wind, as I dealt with it during my run. I hope you like the video.

 

Lost Coast Day 1 Quick Update

Whew! I’m alive! Check this out. This is the page with all my SPOT data. I put the SPOT on tracking mode today and it pinged every 10 minutes. It was super reliable and worked like a charm (Click on the photo below to go to my SPOT page where you can zoom in).

Wow, what a day I just went through. I lost my camera today somewhere along the way, but I didn’t loose my video camera so I do have all the video footage I took. Video coming sometime in the next few days hopefully. My dad took a few photos out on the beach so I included a few here. It’s all I’ve got for now!

I’ll just post a quick update here. A few days ago the forecast was for a clear day today, and rain tomorrow. Well, it rained all night, and 90% of today. I would say 20% of today was in the torrential downpour category.

I got going this morning on time and quickly realized today was going to entail some of the toughest weather conditions I’ve ever experienced. Most of the day was 30-60 mph winds. I picked the North to South route because I heard the wind would be to your back. Today was not that day, today the wind was in my face all day. There were several times that I could not physically take a step forward. There were times when the wind was pelting me with small grains of sand.

The real dangerous part of the day, and the reason that the plans I had for Day #2 are now thwarted is because of the rain combined with the spring runoff. There were about 5 sections today where a river was merging into the ocean. I think usually these are small affairs, but spring and all the rain made them dicey and unsafe today. About 5 times today I waded through thigh deep water, where one misstep would have taken me into the ocean (and not a nice ocean). Another 10 or so times today I crossed sections that were knee deep.

Tomorrows route would take me over similar rivers but instead of crossing them on a beach where they have a chance to spread out as they enter the ocean, I have to cross them in the nooks of narrow mountainous regions. The danger factor is high. Combine that with being remote, on my own, and trying to complete a point to point run, and I’m sad to say, the Day 2 that I planned is a bit too dangerous this time of year.

I am totally stoked with what I was able to do today. It was EPIC. It was 26 miles in 30+ mph rain and wind in a secluded remote area. It was EPIC! You guys will love the video. Today I felt like I was literally running through Jurassic Park (minus the Dinosaurs).

So what did I learn today? Well, I’ll try to get all of it in a more elaborate post later, but I will share my overriding thoughts at this moment.

One: I’m so glad I did this alone. I would have felt “responsible” if someone else was with me, and I would have felt bad. The conditions were such that it could have broken many a strong athlete. I ran into a few backpackers out there today and while I stopped and asked if they were ok and if they needed anything, I think each and every one of them was completely annoyed that this peppy girl ran up to them and then ran away from them. They were miserable, and cold, and wet, and pretty frustrated. The phrases they used to describe me when I told them where and when I started were pretty hilarious. Let’s just say I’ve heard the term BAMF a few too many times today.

Two: I really had all the excuses I needed to have a horrible day today. As I ran along I knew that this was a mess, it was brutal. But, I got out my headphones, I popped them in, and I continued to have a pretty great day. It was brutal, don’t get me wrong, but I really learned that when things get tough, and I’m all by myself, my default response is one of positivity, and “let’s do this”. I knew the conditions could turn dangerous for me if I got cold, or fell in a river. So I focused on what I could control and I minimized my risk where possible. I’m proud of how I handled myself today, and only I know how I did. It’s true that I am my own biggest critic, but my own biggest cheerleader too.

Three: I’m in good shape. Physically the effort today was demanding, but after a change of clothes and some good food I feel like a new girl. Dad and I went out to take a few running photos (the ones you’ve seen here) and I was barely stiff. Despite running through deep deep sand most of the day, I’m in a pretty good spot and I wouldn’t be worried about a day two if it was happening.

Four: I have a fantastic family. They have helped me so much and when I pulled into the beach at Shelter Cove, an hour ahead of schedule, I walked up to the bathroom in the parking lot and my dad came driving around the corner with a blanket and a mug of hot cocoa. My mom had Annie set up with a movie and she looked at me like “Oh, your back”. Clearly, she was having so much fun with my parents she hardly noticed I was missing all day. My parents had to put up with the rain and wind today as well, and they just smile, and are totally there for me. I am lucky!

I’m bummed I won’t have more photos (because I lost my camera) but the video turned out well, so I’ll get to work on that. Thanks to all of you who followed along. I hope that you guys have found my new blog, I don’t seem to be getting many comments recently so I don’t know if I just boring, or you all are lost!

 

Lost Coast Trauma Drama

My dad always uses that phrase “Trauma Drama”. It usually means that someone is making more out of something than needs to be made out of it. Today we had some Trauma Drama. Annie and I arrived safe and sound in San Jose, my dad picked us up at the airport. I put Annie in the car with dad and waited for our luggage. Our GoalZero solar panels were packed into a box, that’s one bag. Annies bag came out, that’s two bags. My street clothes bag arrived, that’s three bags. Waiting Waiting….

No 4th bag. And of all things, no bag containing every single thing I packed for the running portion of the trip. My Garmin, my Flip Video Camera, my digital camera, my SPOT satellite messenger tracker thingee, two pairs of running shoes, two Nathan packs and a hand bottle, two headlamps, warm hats, visors, gloves, tops, shorts, capris, tights, vests, socks, sorts bras. Not to mention my GoLite sleeping bag that fits in my running pack AND my Justins Nut butter, my Love Grown Granola (two bags of Cocoa Goodness mind you), an entire tub of grape EFS, 4 bottles of liquid shot, my MultiV, and all my emergency gear like water purification tables, space blankets, blister repair, bandaids. Whew, yea, it was all in there.

I called 4 times today to see what the situation was, and all four people have ideas where my bag MIGHT be, but nobody knows where it is at all. So, I waited.

There may or may have not been some trauma drama. I got a headache. My tummy was a bit upset too.

Then I called Troy and asked, “What am I going to do?” He said “Go buy what you need for your trip from REI, if your bag arrives you can take back the stuff to REI and if it doesn’t you’ve got what you need”. BTW my husband never spends money, he asks permission to buy razors…he actually puts money in the budget for razors (which explains why my legs are always a bit too hairy for a chick…I forget to put razors in the budget). My mom and dad agreed, just go get what you need, and they offered to help out.

I hopped in my moms mini cooper and headed to REI. My mom hopped in my dads Xterra and headed to Best Buy. She procured a new Flip video camera and a new SPOT satellite messenger. I procured a jacket, some capris, some Brooks Cascadia shoes, 2 pairs of socks, 1 sportsbra, a headlamp, a Nathan pack , a Nathan hand bottle and some second rate nutrition products that will just have to work because I have no other choice. I spent $545. Ouch!

But you know, on a day where Ali’i drive is under several feet of water from the tsunami, Japan has lost so many lives, and my dear friend Ben’s mother passed away, I feel so incredibly lucky. I have the best support system in Troy and my parents who literally jump to solve problems, even if it costs money.

This day has been a major wake up call in so many ways. Not only am I extreemly thankful for the things I get to do, and for the people in my life, but today I was also reminded that you can do with less. I’m now taking 20% of what I intended to bring.

I wanted this adventure to be a time where I could reflect, and gain perspective. I wasn’t quite prepared for that to happen the minute I stepped off the plane, but that’s how it goes when you put intentions out in the world, sometimes they come whipping back at you.

Tomorrow we are headed out. I run Sunday from Mattole to Shelter Cove. Then on Monday I run from Shelter Cove to Usal. The new Spot is up and running and my bleeps should start Sunday morning. Here is where you go to see the bleeps from my Spot.

UPDATE: 10PM and I have my bag! Southwest called about 30 minutes ago and said that my bag “arrived”. They had no clue where it had been. Maybe off on a hiatus to teach me a lesson. Who knows. They gave me a $50 travel voucher for coming to pick it up, to which I said…HECK Yea! Woot! Game on!

PreRace Should be called KickAss

I learned so much attending a recent First Endurance talk by Robert. It was nutrition focused and also FE product focused. The one product I have been a little nervous about trying is the FE PreRace. First off it comes in this tiny little container. You open it up and it smells really bad and is this yellowish powder.

In 1 teaspoon of this stuff you get about 2.5 Redbulls worth of caffeine, taurine, and qurcetin. It’s BAM. Which, totally made me nervous. Especially on race day, I try not to do anything crazy new. I don’t consume caffeine pretty much..EVER, maybe once a month via an occasional chai.

During the talk with Robert he was talking about PreRace and he said, we really didn’t name it properly, it’s not just for racing. It can be used once a week for that key workout that you really want to do your best on.

When using the PreRace you perform at a higher level, which then requires a bit more recovery, but in the process your body should hopefully adapt physiologically to going just a little faster.

I wanted to try it. It’s early season and the right time to try new things.

Chuckie assigns me a weekly “rhythm swim”. Rhythm my ass, this swim kickes my butt, and I picked the darn thing. When coach says “pick a 3K set that you will do weekly”, there is really nothing you can pick that won’t hurt…PIC went with 30X100) My weekly “rhythm set” looks like this:

15×200 in the Meter pool. (<–Meters here folks)

  • 1-5 on 3:20
  • 6-9 on 3:40
  • 10-12 on 3:55
  • 13-14 on 4:05
  • 15 bust it

Your times are supposed to get faster with each successive set. Mine never seem to. I tend to max out around the 12-13th one. Even with more rest I’m working really hard those last ones.

So, yesterday I put the PreRace (aka KickAss) to test. I mixed a HALF dose (1/2 teaspoon) into a water bottle with 100 calories FE Liquid Shot and filled it about 1/4 with water and some ice. Then I downed it.

It was not good, I’ll tell you that right off the bad. It’s one of those “get it down” sort of things. I got it down on the way to the pool.

I warmed up and got right into the set. I didn’t feel jittery, just ready to go go go.

Holy moly. So, the funny thing about this whole experiment was that while I was swimming the workout I didn’t “feel” any different. My perceived exertion was the same, I tried to chill the first ones, and then start to step things up as things went along. But the times were a huge shocker every time I got to the wall.

I didn’t really “want” to post my times for all of you to see. Swimming is that sport that I try to be strong, but sometimes I feel a little guarded in. But, you know what, the times paint a crazy story for PreRace so, I’m gonna post them here.

Last week (no PreRace):
3:14, 3:13, 3:14, 3:16, 3:15
3:14, 3:13, 3:07, 3:15
3:14, 3:07, 3:08
3:05, 3:07
3:09 

YESTERDAY (1 tsp not rounded of PreRace 15 min prior to swim with 100 cal liquid shot):
3:08, 3:08, 3:08, 3:08, 3:08
3:04, 3:07, 3:07, 3:07
3:04, 3:02, 3:02
3:03, 3:03
3:01

Crazy huh? They did a double blind clinical study with PreRace and cyclists were 3 min 17 seconds faster (15 watts) over 40K after using PreRace, all without any increase in heart rate. You can read about it here.

So yes, the main thing I learned is that PreRace amps you up (even 1/2 a scoop) and that it can be used about once a week with added recovery after a key workout, not just “PreRace” (I wonder if the name KickAss is taken?)

I was also VERY productive when I got home after swimming. You can ask PIC about that one. I called her and she was like “Wowah, you are crazy trying to do 5 things at once right now”. Don’t tell the college kids about it!

I’m off to the Lost Coast this weekend, the next post will be on how to follow along while I run. First Endurance products, Nathan gear, and my FLIP video camera are packed.

What A Mess

Some of you might notice some changes! What a total mess. My blog has been hosted by a certain provider who shall remain nameless since 2007. It’s been up and down and more recently as the blog has gained popularity I started exceeding all these “limits”…bandwidth, space, blah blah blah. Pretty much what would happen is my blog would go down, and I would contact the hosting with a “Help me” email. They always got me back going, but often times there was a “fee” for increased bandwidth, or the “next bigger plan”. I shelled it out because I didn’t really have the knowledge to do anything different. The woman who originally designed my blog set everything up, and I’ve been in maintenance mode ever since.

I just want to write…and post pictures…and video…!

So about 39 hours ago I got an email saying that my “host” had encountered a double hard drive failure on the server where my blog resided. It would be back up in about 24 hours.

24 hours, still no blog.

30 hours and it would come up, and then be down, then up, then down.

Also, all my posts from February and March were missing.

Long story short everyone needs a kick in the pants sometimes and this was mine. I didn’t know how to do it, and it took 5 calls to customer service, many hours, and an ordeal that could be a 3-part blog, but I now have a newly designed blog that is hosted with a top notch and much more affordable company who is willing to sit through 5 customer service calls with me.

AND, I designed it all by myself, and migrated my posts, and updated all my logos, and, and, and, and…

Aren’t you proud?

So, it looks like February and March posts are gone, but I was just able to find the content in my RSS reader, so I will work on manually reposting those, but all your wonderful comments in Feb are gone. That makes me so sad, but it was a lesson learned. When in doubt take the bull by the horns, do it yourself, learn, don’t be afraid to ask, and know that anything is possible with some good old fashion elbow grease.

I don’t know if your subscriber feeds still work? I’m hoping they do!