Shannon & Pam, after months of training, officially became ultrarunners with finishing Way Too Cool 2010 (3/13/10). They continue to run the long distances as they continue to challenge themselves physically & mentally. This is where they post those triumphs and also their tribulations.

December 19, 2010

Mud, mud, and more mud! Shannon

"If they can’t be outside they begin to feel run down and out of their element."
Chinese Astrology - Year of the Horse

I've been having fun in the mud!  First, last weekend, I went for a mountain bike ride on the Olmstead Loop with Linda, Ralph, and Justine.  All three of them are way more experienced than I am MTBing, but they took me under their wing and showed me the way.  OMG - I had so much fun.

Me, Justine, and Linda

Linda, Me, and Ralph

I was covered, head to toe in mud, by the time we were done.  My bike was even muddier.  We had perfect weather for the ride, but it had rained the few days prior and left the trails a muddy mess.  It was awesome.
I discovered that I'm a turtle on my bike as well as on my feet.  I was always the last one to get to the top or the bottom of the hill.  Last going up hill cause I usually had to get off and walk (just like my trail runnin) and last going downhill cause I'm a chicken - LOL.

At the bottom of a long downhill, my legs were so tired, I couldn't hold myself up - LOL

At the end of the creek crossing
I even got to ride through a major creek.  It was pretty deep and I watched as the other 3 did it.  Well Ralph got off and carried his bike across cause he didn't want to get it wet - just kidding, he wanted to get across quickly so he could take pics of Linda and I attempting our crossing - LOL.

Ralph carrying his bike across the creek
Toward the end of the ride, we had to go through a really muddy area and you had to try to stay to the far right, well, I missed that far right part and got stuck in the mud, so one foot came off the pedal and went deep into the mud past my ankle.  Well being stuck, I had to get off the bike completely, thereby putting my other foot in the mud.  My feet, when all said and done, looked like I had gone trail running not MTBing. I don't know where my muddy feet pic is, but here's one showing off - LOL

Look Ma, no hands
I can't go on any trail ride or run without enjoying nature and I even got to go on newt patrol.  We also saw a decorated tree out in the middle of nowhere - awesome.

Spiderwebs - beautiful

decorated tree

I love newts
All in all I had a blast and I can't wait to get out there again for some more muddy rides.
Skidmarks - LOL

I've been suffering from quite a few different things.  First off my foot.  I thought I had PF (plantar fasciitis) but it turns out its most likely just a sprain ligament in my heel.  Well with a foot problem, comes a gait change thereby causing my back and hips to be out of alignment, plus with the lack of movement (very limited running) my hips have gotten extremely tight.  So my back has been hurting A LOT!  Plus I've had a shoulder issue for quite some time and my doctor decided it's time I see an orthopedic doc, plus she had me take another x-ray.  My appointment isn't until next week with the ortho doc, but my x-ray has come back with arthritis of the AC joint - WHAT?  I'm too young for arthritis - this is crap!  This must be fixed because I love to workout my upper body, especially shoulders, and I've been limited on what I can do because of the pain in my left shoulder.  The ortho doc better be able to fix it!

So anyways, I digress, over a month ago, before my heel pain, I had scheduled a trail run out on the Quarry Road taking us up Goat Hill.  Now I know I probably shouldn't have gone out there yesterday for that run, but I had 30 people sign up and I needed to get out on the trails.
The group that was still there after the run - love it

We've had some rain for a couple of days and we expected heavy rains for Saturday.  The weather actually held up nicely.  There was only a couple of times where we got a downpour, but for the most part we had only sprinkles or NO rain at all.  The real element battles came on the trails themselves.

Me toward the end of the run, in pain.
When we hit single track we were running in little streams flowing down the single tracks.  Then we would hit the big STREAMS.  During the dry season, these are usually just little streams.  Not yesterday! We had major creek crossings at least 5 times with water up above our knees.  It was fabulous.

Human chains made crossing some of these rushing streams much safer

Pam on one of the crossings
The best way I can share yesterday's run is to share some of the comments by other runners:

First from my fellow Trail Turtle, Pam: “ Absolutely an EPIC run in EVERY WAY! Incredible weather and water crossings, not to mention the many gentlemen FTRs who helped us women across those treacherous waters! Hearing the hooting and hollering from everyone while running down water filled singletrack put the biggest smile on my face the entire day...and Kamran finding his camera, well, it just would've been a tragedy if all the great photos from today were lost. Truly one of the best runs I've ever had...thanks everyone!! ”

These are comments from other FTR members who were out there as well
Diane Cressey (FTR founder): "I think that was THE most fun I've had on a run! The water never was coming from above, below and sideways. We were either running through it, against it or with it on the trails. Some creek crossing were deep and swift...thanks to the guys for helping us through was pretty scary. Thank you Kamran and Shannon for hosting this epic run and for David B. for your help and leadership. An awesome run!! WTC watch out...we're ready for anything now!!"
Greg (FTR member): 'Um that was straight up nuts with a huge side of fun. I cannot believe I made so much of an effort to not get my feet wet. LOL It felt so good to pour the rocks out of my shoes and slip on some really dry clothes. Thanks for putting this together. You are all certifiable."
Gary (FTR member): "Cant wait to see the pics, I lost count of all the thigh high streams we had to cross. Some with waterfalls just inches away. Thanks to everyone who helped in getting us all across safely. This run was the best!"

Shannon & Nancy

Pam & Shannon
All I can say is that I'm SO glad I went out, I'm paying for it today with heel, hip, and back pain, but it was so worth it.  I'm trying to look at it as my farewell run for the season.  I didn't sign up for Way Too Cool 50k 2011 beacause I knew I couldn't start training for it. (and even though Pam got in the lotter for WTC, she didn't get in - she's bummed)  So I have no races on the board (until May - Wild Wild West Marathon) and I'm going to do my best to behave and let my foot rest.

Watch for my MTB adventures.

Stay muddy!

To see all of the pics from the Quarry/Goat Hill Mud run, click HERE

November 24, 2010

Giving Thanks! Shannon

If the only prayer you said in your whole life was,
"thank you,"
that would suffice.  ~Meister Eckhart

It's Thanksgiving tomorrow so I thought I would talk about it.  What is Thanksgiving?  What does it mean to you?

There is a lot of history regarding Thanksgiving.  We believe that the first thanksgiving was between the Pilgrims and the Indians, however, there is much controversary about that.  However, there is no contreversary as to what the purpose was for Thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving was/is about giving thanks for what we have.
In 1621 it was the Pilgrims and the Indians giving thanks for the bountiful Autumn harvest.   The Pilgrims then didn't have another Thanksgiving celebration until 1623, to which they celebrated the end of a long drought.  In 1789 George Washington issued the first Thanksgiving proclamation by the national government of the United States; in it, he called upon Americans to express their gratitude for the happy conclusion to the country’s war of independence and the successful ratification of the U.S. Constitution.  Then in 1863, Abraham Lincoln, at the height of the Civil War, in a proclamation entreating all Americans to ask God to “commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife” and to “heal the wounds of the nation.”
Today, in America, the Thanksgiving celebration has lost much of its original religious significance; instead, it now centers on cooking and sharing a bountiful meal with family and friends.
Thanksgiving for me is very much about spending time with family.  For most of the year we see each other here and there, but usually never all together.  But the holidays "force" us to come together on a special day each year to share time with each other.

This year I started thinking, after feeling sorry for myself because of this and that, that it's time to stop thinking about what I'm unhappy about and think about what I am happy about and thankful for.

So, what am I thankful for?

1.  My family - I have a very close-knit family that I am extremely thankful for.  No matter what crisis someone is facing, we stick together knowing that that crisis too shall pass and everything will be ok, as long as we stick together.
2.  My health - even though I'm dealing with some aches that are preventing me from doing what I want to do, I'm still extremely healthy.  I honestly believe that I am healthier in my 40s than I have ever been.
3.  My job - I may moan, groan, complain, whine, etc, etc. about what goes on at my job, but I am extremely thankful that I have a job, therefore, I have a home with food in the fridge.
4.  My freedom - I am thankful that I live in a country where I have the right to speak my mind, to work, to vote, to live a life of a queen (by the standards of many other countries), and to have people (soldiers) willing to sacrifice their lives for me.

5.  My life - It's not been an easy life, nor has it been an rough life, but it's been a life full of hard work and love, and I wouldn't change a thing about it.  I was brought up with much love and taught that nothing comes easy and with hard work and determination you will survive and even though you may never be rich, you will have EARNED everything you've gotten and you will be LOVED.

As I count my blessings, consider yourself counted!

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words,
but to live by them.  ~John Fitzgerald Kennedy

What are you thankful for??

Click HERE to see where I got my info on Thanksgiving, if you're interested.

November 21, 2010

Lessons learned! Shannon

Foot update:  I'm still being good and not running.  It's been 11 days since my last run!  I think I might go crazy!  My heel still hurts!  I'm icing, stretching, taping, etc.  I even went and had a reflexology session over a week ago and then I went had a regular massage on Friday with someone who specializes in runners and they did some shiatsu trigger therapy on my foot.  I must say it's feeling a bit better, but I'm still not feeling very optomistic about it healing in time for me to start my official training for WTC.  However, I'm not giving up hope!

Now on to lessons learned.  Lessons learned about what, you ask?  Lessons learned on my bike, yes my biking adventures have begun.  I have yet to do anything really exciting on my bike to tell you about, but I thought I'd share what I've learned so far.

1.  Hill repeats on a bike are WAY harder than hill repeats on you your feet!

I lead an early morning hill repeat run on Tuesday mornings and instead of canceling I've decided that I will continue to lead the group, however, I will be doing it on my bike.  Well last Tuesday was my first session with a hill repeat workout on my mountain bike.  We did a nice easy warm up then headed to Decatur Street in Old Folsom.  This is a short but steep hill, not too steep, but steep enough to get your heart rate up.  I thought, this will be a piece of cake on my bike.  NOT!  After my first attempt, I thought OMG this is much harder than I had anticipated.  My running buddies were passing me up - WHAT?!  As usual, I'm still a turtle even on my bike - LOL.  I managed to get in 4 hill repeats that day and thought to myself, if I keep this training up I'll have thighs of steel - HHHHMMMM.

2.  Reflectors are not cool!

What? What's wrong with reflectors?  I'm riding in the dark, shouldn't I have reflectors?  My friend Ralph, that same Tuesday morning during hill repeats, lovingly told me that the reflectors have to go.  Mountain bikes aren't cool with reflectors.  HHHHMMM.  After hill repeats, I headed to work and took my bike inside (cuz it's not safe outside) and my friend Tom, who is also a crazy MTBer proceeded to confirm Ralph's statement, and told me that reflectors aren't cool.   Whatever!  Until I can afford to have a Road Bike and a Mountain Bike, and as long as I'm riding my mountain bike on the streets in the dark, the reflectors stay on.

3.  Kickstands are not cool!

What?  What's with all this stuff not being cool!  Tom totally made fun of me for having a kickstand on my bike.  I said what's the big deal?  He then proceed to share his vast knowledge about MTBing.  Anything that adds weight to your bike, that is not necessary, needs to go.  He said my bike was pretty heavy to begin with and that I should try to lighten it up.  I aked, "what, my kickstand adds a whole ounce?" LOL.  Anyways, I told him he had carte blanche to make my bike "cool" or at least remotely cooler than it is now.  So he took off the kickstand and the chain guard.  Apparently, you need the teeth of your gears to help you get over logs when you're mountain biking.  HHHHMMM, not sure how many logs I'll be attempting to jump over, but ok, I want to be cool.  When he handed me the kickstand, I was shocked to feel just how heavy that sucker was.  It was at least a pound.  Now I know why it was so hard to get up that hill. Sheesh.

4.  Riding in the dusk requires a face shield!

Yuck - I'm not sure how many bugs I ate or ended up in my eyes on Wednesday night when I went for a ride around the lake.  I started out from Karen's heading toward Hazel on the dirt trail.  It was around 4:45 and the sun was slowly going down.  On the dirt trail, I battled bugs.  Not pleasant.

EEEWWW - this is what I felt like after my ride! Gross!
5.  Riding in the dark by yourself on the bike trail is scary!

By the time I ended up on the opposite side of the river heading back to my truck it was dark and it got creepy.  I didn't see too many other bikes out and on that portion of the bike trail you can't see the river, which meant you were more inland/shielded from view.  Creepy.  I won't be doing that anymore.

So that's what I've learned so far.  Stay tuned for more adventures in my biking world.

PS - I'm really missing the trails.  My feet can't wait to hit dirt again.

Stay dirty or actually right now, stay muddy.

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 13, 2010

Quilt Camp 2010. Shannon

So since I'm a month behind on my updates, except for Thursday's post about my foot issues - which by the way is feeling better after a reflexology session yesterday - HHMMMM - I might have to keep that up - I will try to catch you up by weeks.  The first week is the week of Oct 18th.

This is what it takes to go to camp - LOL
As I indicated on the 14th, I was heading out for a week of nothing but quilting - heaven.  Normally my quilt retreat consists of 5 nights with 4 full days of  quilting with a group I've been doing this with for 11 years at the Zephyr Point Presbyterian Center in South Lake Tahoe.  However, this year, I had the opportunity to save some money and stay at a timeshare my mom and dad have that is only 3 minutes away from Zephyr Point.  So my friend Mickey and I set up "shop" inside the condo for 6 nights & 5.5 days of quilting for free :).  We took over the condo.  We had fabric everywhere.

Because it was just the 2 of us, my socializing was limited, therefore, I got A LOT accomplished and it felt great.

Country Threads - took 1st place for Viewer's Choice at the Brownsville Quilt Show 2011

Samurai Bushido

Santa Wall Hanging
The scenery outside our room was great.  We didn't have a lake view as we normally would have at Zephyr, but we had woods, which I LOVE.

We did head down to Zephyr to visit with our group of friends on 2 nights.  The first night was just to say hi to our once a year (for the most part) friends and then we came back on Thursday night for a bridal shower for our friend Dawn who was getting married the Saturday we all got back from camp.  A lot of fun.

The twins, Joyce and Janet, love my piggy tails.
My MIL, Joan, and my buddy, Mickey

The bride to be - Dawn

I didn't do any running that week, nor did we get very much exercise.  The only exercising we got was to walk to the store (Safeway) about every other day - round trip - less than a mile.  Oh well, it felt great to relax and the best news, I didn't gain any weight while I was gone - woo hoo.

Since coming back, I've been on a roll with my quilting and am wanting to spend more time in my sewing room, so finding time to run, bike, or golf has been tough.  Now with my foot problem, I may not feel so guilty about my lack of exercise.  Unfortunately, that means I have to be much stricter with myself about my food - YIKES.  I exercise, a lot, so I can EAT - I love food.

Anyways, quilt camp was relaxing and I'm really looking forward to next year's camp where it will just be 4-5 of us up in Downieville in a cabin.  I can't wait.

You can see all my pics on my Facebook Page by clicking HERE

Stayed tuned for week 2.

November 11, 2010

Oh the Agony! Shannon

Ok, it's been almost a month since my last posting - so sorry.  However, this posting will be short and maybe not so sweet.  I still plan on catching you all up with my awesome quilting retreat and other going ons for the last month, but the one thing that's on my mind right now is pain.

Yes, I said pain.  Just before I left on my quilting retreat I started feeling pain in my heel.  I played it off as nothing!  Ya, we runners do that well.  A little pain is normal with running, right?  Ignore it and it will go away, right? Well it did!  Ha, I knew it.  While I was gone for a week (with no running).  Only to have it come back after my first run.

Ok, so maybe it's something.  After talking with my fellow Trail Turtle, Pam (who is also a nurse), who offered to test my foot pain (of course, I declined cuz I knew what she was gonna do - push on my heel - ouch) she confirmed my worst fears - I can't even say it!  I just might be suffering from PF - yikes - no - say it's not so.  Ok for all you non-runner people - I know you're dieing to know what PF stands for - Plantar Fasciitis ("PLAN-ter fash-ee-EYE-tus") - ugh - a runner's worst nightmare (well one of them anyways).

In brief, the plantar fascia is the flat band of tissue (ligament) that connects your heel bone to your toes. It supports the arch of your foot. If you strain your plantar fascia, it gets weak, swollen, and irritated (inflamed). Then your heel or the bottom of your foot hurts when you stand or walk or RUN.

Ok, so I come back and start running and I just run through the pain.  In fact, once I get going, the pain goes away - but then it comes back after I'm done with my run.  At this point in time the pain really isn't that unbearable, well except when I get out of bed, or stand up after sitting for awhile, or...........  No really, it's not that bad.

So I start researching every thing I can about PF.  Best remedies to heal your heel is ice, tape (sports tape), stretching, and oh yeah REST.  What?  Don't they know I'm gearing up to start my training for WTC 2011.  There is NO time for rest - silly doctors - what do they know?  So, ok I start doing the whole ice, tape, and stretching thing.  So everything should be just fine since I'm doing 3 out 4 recommendations, right?

Last night I head out for a run with my friend, Linda, on the flatter trails in Folsom.  A nice and easy 4 miler.  Foot is feeling fine (after I get going).  After 2 miles we turn around, still feeling good.  We're having great conversation (we haven't seen each other in over a month), it's starting to get dark, so we turn on our headlights, and we continue our nice and easy stride.

All is going good until my "bad" foot slips ever so slightly on an embedded river rock.  Now under normal circumstances this is no big deal.  We trail runners deal with these kinds of obstacles on every run.  Many a times, I have slipped on rocks with not even noticing it.  Well last night that little slip caused my heel to scream some very unlady-like words (I'm going to have to have a talk with my heel - potty mouth).  I was actually able to continue my run for us to get back to our cars after stretching my calf a bit.  I was actually feeling ok until I tried to get out of my truck - OUCH!!!!

Today, still a lot of pain.  Although, wearing tennies with inserts does seem to eliviate some of the pain and I'm actually able to walk.  Ok with a slight limp.  However, I did make the really really really hard decision to not go to my track workout this morning, to cancel a trail run I had scheduled for tomorrow morning, and most likely won't be doing boot camp tomorrow morning either (unless Diane can modify for me).

Along with these immediate cancellations, I'm also going to make the extremely extremely extremely tougher decision to lay off from running all together for at least a month - OMG - did I really just make that public - oh the agony!  Instead, I will be on my bike.  I won't give up my training, I will only alter it!  Hopefully by behaving myself and not doing any weight bearing activities I'll be able to heal my heel in time for my official starting of my WTC training.

I guess I didn't make this too short, did I.  Oh well, by now you all know I'm pretty talkative.

I promise to give you another post about quilt camp, etc.  And stay tuned to hear about my biking advertures :).