Friday, April 24, 2009

A Chlorine Bath

Sometimes nothing is better for me than a swim. I grew up swimming on a swim team and after taking 7 years off swimming COMPLETELY, I got back into it because I was hit by a car on my bike and the physical therapist recommended that I swim. ARG, I thought. When I stopped swimming competitively after college, I had hung my swim suit up literally and figuratively. There was NO WAY I would ever swim again, or so I told myself. When the PT told me swimming would help my injuries, I quickly scuffed it off. But as my neck and back continued to be sore, I thought, well, it's summer, I could just jump in the lake and swim and see how that feels. By then end of the summer, I was swimming in the lake about 3 days a week. I told myself that this would have to do until next summer because there was NO WAY I'd swim in a pool ever again. But as the weather cooled off and the lake was much too cold to swim in, I found myself thinking about swimming more and more. I searched for public pools and found some lap swimming times and headed to the pool. Soon I began swimming 3-4 days a week and wondering why I had ever been so opposed to such a luxury. From there I went to swimming 5 days a week and meeting lots of people. Through these people, I discovered other sports as well and now I spend most my athletic time running. But I still swim and I still find it the most therapeutic thing I can do for myself.
Swimming brings me back to a neutral level where I feel I can start over in regards to my physical and mental being. I can feel beat up by running sometimes and cross-training. But when I get in the pool and swim, there is just nothing better for my body, mind and soul. Although I don't swim nearly as much as I used to, I still swim because my body and mind crave it. And each time I go, I always say to myself, I really should swim more, but then I don't. I am sure that once the coolest pool ever, Colman Pool, opens in May, I will swim more.
One of my favorite things to do is swim underwater. It's an entirely different medium. It's the best way to isolate myself and really feel like I am getting away in the pursuit of rejuvenation.
Yesterday I went swimming, and I swam underwater. I felt so refreshed afterwards and I slept like a rock. As Miwok approaches, there is nothing more I can do to get prepared physically. But the mental terrain still needs to be worked on. I've been worn out lately but thanks to that chlorine bath I had yesterday, I am mentally and physically rejuvenated and ready to tackle that mental terrain.
See how happy these swimmers are?

Sunday, April 12, 2009


Another beautiful warm and sunny spring day in the Pacific Northwest, NOT.

Ok, I won't complain, after all, can I ask for much more than the opportunity to actually be out there running on the trails with dogs and good friends?

That being said, we caravan-ed out to Tiger; Alan, Adam, Owen, the dogs and me. It was chilly and wet and Owen had brand new shoes on. BRAND NEW SHOES! Not for long...

We headed up and around the TMT for quiet some time. We didn't hit much snow, thankfully, just lots of mud and slippery roots. I was pretty careful as to not fall and break another finger. Lots of fast running creeks for the dogs to drink from. It was a 2 bottle plus hydration pack day so good thing the dogs had their own water. There was also lots of biscuits for the babes..and some parts of sandwiches as well.

We got to the base of Tiger near the school in Issaquah and hit the gas station to fuel up. I was famished. I got cookies with vanilla creme filling. It just sounded so good. It's really weird the things I crave to eat while running or what I fantasize eating when I am done. Fried food, pickles, croque madam at Cafe Presse, etc. So we all got something weird and ate it outside the shell station.

We headed through Issaquah on our way to Squak. While running through town, some young punk yells out the window of his pick up "nice legs faggot!" We all started to crack up. We assumed this person's comment was directed towards Owen and his tattoo-ed legs. It provided us some entertainment and some knowledge into the town of Isaquah.
had some tough climbing with lots of slippery mud on the descents. I had my awesome Vasque Blur's on and so I felt pretty stable sliding down the hills. It was a little like skiing at times. It had been raining on and off and so the air was pretty wet as was everything around us. It wasn't cold really, unless we stopped for too long. But I will say that I am so ready for the rain to go away and for it get to get warmer, wearing gloves all day in mid April is a bit much.
We headed back to Tiger via Issaquah and this time, no comments from the town residents. We didn't stop at the gas station this time even though I wanted to b/c I was so hungry. However, I think I just wanted to be done more than I wanted cookies. We were coming in in 6-1/2 hours and I was ready to call it a (good) day of running so I kept quiet about my growling stomach.
Next thing I know, we are at High Point trail head parking lot and done! So just over 7 hours of trail time and that is good for me. We were muddy, wet, sweaty and I wanted a hot beverage with some sugar. As you can see, Owen's new shoes have been through the ringer...

I was feeling cranky, but I knew I was just hungry. I'm experimenting with what I need on a long run, how much food, what types of food etc. I can say that I need more food than I ate on this run. After a vanilla steamer and a piece of lemon loaf bread, I was restored and euphoric. It's funny, but when I am in a less than optimal mood when running during a long day, I think to myself, arg, I'm going to remember this, I'm going to remember that this sucked and that I feel crappy, blah blah blah. But after the run, after the many ups and down during a long day, all I seem to remember is that I had a blast.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Heavy Legs

Well, just less than a week of logging lots of miles to go before I start to shut it down as Miwok approaches. My legs are HEAVY...between running and cross training, I feel like my legs weigh as much as an elephant's but I only have my strength to pick them up and move then from step to step. At times, it really makes me laugh. But it's right where I should be at this point in training for Miwok, so it's all fine by me.
I'm really excited about Miwok. It's going to be beautiful, it's going to be warm, (I hope) and I will get to see a great friend from childhood while I am down there. I am excited about running this distance, it is the longest I will have ever gone. So I am venturing to where ALM has never been before....

On Monday, Owen and I attempted 12 summits at Tiger Mt. I was really looking forward to it. It was about 70*, 12 summits is an excellent training run, I was well stocked with food and water and dog biscuits. Gradually, we started to hit some snow. Well, after about an hour and a half, we were breaking trail and post-holing it in about 2-3 feet of snow. The trail was getting harder and harder to find and we were getting cut up on our ankles and shins from the crusty snow. I can only imagine how the dogs were coping. Even though they never complain, I am sure they couldn't have been too happy to sink down pretty low with every step they took. And I am sure eventually, their paws would have been bloody. We opted to turn around and head back.

With only a few hours on our feet, we decided to get in some miles at Cougar, which was snow-less, mud-less and beautiful. Although I felt terrible while running, my spirits were pretty high knowing that the warmer weather and the sun are coming..... finally!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

It's been a long time

I have not been posting because I still don't have a working home computer. But I think tomorrow I will have mine back with a new and healthy hard drive. Thank you Fabien!

I couldn't possibly catch up on all that's been going on in a post written on my work computer. I will have to start off fresh once I have my computer back home. I have so many photos to post!

On a quick note, Chuckanut 50K was last month and I was excited about going up there and running the race. Last year I trained entirely different for it. This year I had more experience and experimented with different training ideas. It seemed to have paid off; I was pretty happy with my results. I ran a lot more of the course this year and I struggled a bit more the last 6 miles, but it was worth it.
(photo by glenn tachiyama)

The after race was quite fun too....

It was great to hang out with friends in the SUN!

A little quote to leave you with.

The irony of commitment is that it’s deeply liberating -- in work, in play, in love. The act frees you from the tyranny of your internal critic, from the fear that likes to dress itself up and parade around as rational hesitation. To commit is to remove your head as the barrier to your life. -- Anne Morriss