Friday, July 16, 2010

Best Birthday Cake...EVER!

My 2-tiered snow cake was the best birthday cake ever! A Mt Rainier backdrop.....a very thoughtful Owen and miles and miles of running around and up Mt Rainier made for an amazing birthday. More to come.....

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Another Birthday and other ramblings

Well, it's that time again. No, I am not turning 4 but I am in my 4th decade. 4 is my lucky number so I am optimistic about this decade. I really wanted to do something EPIC for my birthday. When Owen asked me what I wanted to do I said, "I want to run the Wonderland Trail! In 2 days! Unsupported! We can do it!" He was not as optimistic about it at first but then he changed his tune and got on board with lots of enthusiasm. The Wonderland Trail is the 95 mile trail that circumnavigates Mt. Rainer. It has lots of elevations gain with from what I've seen, amazing scenery. We would run from Mowich Lake to Longmire, 60 miles, the first day, stay at Longmire that night and then finish the remaining 35 miles the next day. Of course we would do it supported, but I don't know anyone who would be a support crew for us, so unsupported it had to be. We got maps, did research, bought fast packs and trekking poles, talked to Brock who has done this before and got very excited. However, as we did more research and given the cool weather that we had, and with the 2 of us not having much experience with mountain navigation in the snow, it slowly and sadly became apparent that it is unrealistic that we could do this in 2 days and do this without serious risk. There is just too much snow. Ice axes are recommended in some areas, etc. So, the Wonderland Trail is going to have to wait. It's disappointing, but I know that I will do it someday and someday soon. We are instead going to do a recognisance mission and continue the research to do the Wonderland Trail and do it wisely. It'll still be fun and we will find epic things to do on the mountain, how can you not?

Other than the fact that the snow conditions are preventing us from running the Wonderland, I was wondering if it was the smartest thing I've ever thought about doing as I also have 2 100-milers coming up and I have had what I am calling a bum leg since January. I could not figure out what was going on with this leg issue and why it was not getting any better despite rest, PT, ART, strength training, etc. Most times I can run only 3 minutes and then have to walk for a while. Sometimes after I walk for a while I still cannot run without severe pain and burning in my quad, wrapping around my leg to the bottom of my foot. This is a problem that won't go away. YET....I still run, I still am doing races and I still just run in this pain. It's weird. Sometimes I am reduced to limping, sometimes the pain goes away after some time and I can run for several hours. If I take too long of a break, then the pain resurfaces and I have to go through all of that again. However, I have had some success at some of the runs I have done. Watershed 12 hour went just fine. For the 2 weeks leading up to Watershed, I could not run more that 3 minutes at a time. I thought I would not even go b/c I was continuing to get more and more discouraged with not being able to run yet really wanting to, and badly. But thanks to Gwen and Natasha, they told me to go and run for as long as I could and have fun with it. So I went and amazingly, was able to run the whole time with minimal pain and ran 66.6 miles. What's up with that? Van yelled out "SANDBAGGER" as I accepted my 1st place women's award. I am sure it must have seemed like that, how cold I possibly have done that? I was wondering myself. I was in some pain the following week, no doubt. I continue to struggle running, especially uphill fast walking/running, yet when I can run mostly pain free, being out there is worth it. I've been though quite a bit of emotion through this whole process. I've felt disappointed, exhausted, mad at the pain, frustrated I couldn't keep up with people I used to be able to, thought about quitting, etc. As it turns out, I have a pinched nerve and now it makes sense. No wonder it hurts, no wonder that the continual pain makes me frustrated and cranky. No wonder I can't go up hills well, my nerve is not firing to my muscle to tell it to move. I sometimes feel my body cannot be supported by my leg stepping up. So, oddly, I feel a bit better. At least mentally. It is getting better, the pain stops now at the calf, meaning that it is indeed on the mend. It won't be better in time for White River 50, Cascade Crest 100 or Pine to Palm 100, but I have more confidence that I can now at least finish those events with this leg thing going on, it'll just have to be at a slower pace. I don' t feel I can really "race" anything b/c once my leg gets moving beyond a slow pace, the pain creeps in. This process had taught me a lot of lessons. I won't go into the all, but I will say that it's almost like I have come full circle with regards to running and have gotten back to my roots meaning that I run because I love it, because I have a passion for it, because I like to stay fit and run with my dog in the woods. All the other things that swirled in my head with regards to running took up space and energy in my mind that really bogged me down. It's almost like I've renewed my vows with running and the adjustment, although slow going and full of hard lessons, has been healthy and worth it. Someday this nerve will heal and when it does I am going to celebrate. My first run with no nerve pain and no stopping because of it will be something to remember!