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.

May 7, 2010

Wild Wild West! Shannon

This post is way overdue.  Here is why.  Before I left on my trip to Lone Pine I broke down and bought myself 2 new cameras.  Yes you read that correctly - 2 new cameras.  My goal was to get a small, compact camera that took really good pictures to take on my runs with me.  In the past I've borrowed my daughter's (Destiny), but she wasn't giving it up for this weekend, so I decided I better just go get one.  Well what a pain in the arss that was.  I won't go into all the details, but I had too much time to look at all the cameras and decided I needed a bigger one with a stronger telephoto lense for taking pics and video of my granddaughter, Justice, when she's in her school performances.

Ok, so what does all this have to do with my delay in posting?  Well, apparently these new cameras do take awesome pics and (this is just MHO) the resolution is really high.  So with this higher resolution, when trying to download the pics to my poor pathetically slow laptop, I ran into my laptop being even slower and then locking up.  Well I got the pics downloaded, but now everytime I try to work within the file where the pics are, the computer goes coo coo. So, because I wanted to post pics with this post, I've procrastinated.  But I'm here now to try to get my computer to behave long enough for me to post a few pics.  So here goes nothing.
Dad, mom, me, and daughter Skyla
(pic taken at Mt. Whitney Portal)

We (my mom, dad, and youngest daughter, Skyla) left Thursday morning and had to head south, because the weather was too bad to go through Reno.  There is no direct route to Lone Pine.  It's on 395 and you either have to go up then down or down then up to get to it.  The shorter/faster route is up then down.  On the drive I played with my new cameras and let me tell you I LOVE THEM BOTH.  I was able to take really good pics while we were driving.  Just for fun, here's one of a train.  We're going 70 mph mind you.

Anyways, it took us 8 hrs to get to Lone Pine.  It's been approx, 35+ years since I've been back, but the memories came floading back.   I spent a whole summer there and experienced a whole lot during that summer (chased by a nuerotic rooster, kicked in the chest by a pony, fell off a horse a couple times, etc, etc.  Ya fun times LOL).  A lot of places change, put Lone Pine hasn't.  It was great!

When we got there it was extremely windy, but the views were great.  This is the view from my aunt and uncle's home:

My Uncle Brad and Aunt Sandy have lived in the same house all these years and raised 5 kids.  My Cousin, Marjianne, now lives in the house next door to them with her 4 boys, Gregory, Brad, Nicholas, and Edward.  My cousin, Marie, drove up from Las Vegas with her boyfriend, Carlos.  And my other cousin, Aspen, drove up from San Diego.  It was great to see them all under happy circumstances.

(upper right pic - Marjianne, upper left pic - Carlos & Marie, lower right pic - Aunt Sandy, lower left pic - Uncle Brad)

On Friday, my dad and Uncle and I decided we were going to attempt a round of golf at the local golf course - Mt. Whitney GC.  Mind you it was still really windy on Friday.  The winds were blowing up to 15-20 mph at some times.  Well we did it.  We managed to play 18 holes and had a really good time.  However, I will admit, that after 9 holes, I could no longer pull/push my cart.  So I loaded my bag up into the cart my dad was in and I continued to walk while he drove my clubs around for me.  It worked beautifully!!

The closest point you see on the snowcapped mountain is Lone Pine Peak, Mt. Whitney is to the right, behind it.  Even though, the pic makes Lone Pine Peak look taller than Mt. Whitney, it's only because it's closer.
Saturday morning, the main reason I had decided to make the long trip to Lone Pine, the Wild Wild West Marathon (put on by the Lone Pine Chamber of Commerce), was happening.  The race offered 3 different distances - 10 miles, marathon, and 50k.  My original intentions were to do the 50k, but after discussing it with several experienced runners, it was advised that I not consider that distance because of the elevation (topping out at 6500 feet) and having never run in that elevation, it wouldn't be wise.  So I decided on the 10 miler to get a taste.

It started at 6a and this was my view --------->
Absolutely beautiful morning, however, very very cold.  I had on 3 layers, ear muffs, and gloves.  This race was very low key.  So low key that the start and finish line for the 10 miler was drawn in the dirt - not chalked, not tape, not ribboned - drawn like you were when you were a kid - "I dare you to cross over this line...".

We started promptly at 6a - all distances. I started in the middle of the pack.  I've decided that starting in the middle is better than starting in the back.  If you're the same pace as other runners, you'll never be able to pass them, and they'll never be able to pass you, therefore, you won't come in last - get it??  Using my noggin now!  Of course that only works on those runners who are paced the same as you :)

I had no idea what I was getting myself into.  The first glance at a map of the course that I got was the night before when I picked up my registration bag.  But even then, if you've never been anywhere on the course, a map doesn't really tell you anything, anyways!!

We started off at a slow jog and then I quickly realized that that wasn't going to last.  We started out on an uphill climb and continued on the uphill climb for 2.66 miles - we started at an elevation of 5124' and peaked at 6318'.  Yes, I walked 99% of it.  I had no choice.  I quickly discovered what running in higher elevations means, at least running uphill - your quads start to burn much quicker and your lungs are more constricted, not too mention the cold windy air doesn't help the lungs either.

We started on a fire trail for about 2 miles, then we hit single track, which had us weaving through brush and climbing rocks, ah just like back home.

I did also get a very small taste of extreme technical downhill and a water crossing, but that was it.  After we climbed back up out of this little gully, it was wide open fire trails pretty much the rest of the race :(

After we peaked it was all down hill for the next 6 miles.  I was in heaven.  I was able to run the entire time, except for the pit stop I had to make.  Now when we're out on our local trails, the worst thing you really have to worry about when you need to make a pit stop is not squatting into poison oak.  Out there in the Eastern Sierras, you don't have to worry about poison oak, but you do gotta worry about squatting into a cactus or a snake, however, it was too early and too cold to have to worry about the snakes.  The other problem you have to worry about is that the only privacy you'll find out there is a passing tumble weed.  Ya, finding privacy was a challenge. LOL

I was a little bummed that I had to make the pit stop, because I lost ground.  I had managed to "pick off" a lot of runners on the downhill (my specialty - downhill) and while I was busy behind the largest bush I could find several runners went on by.  But I'm happy to say that I managed to jump back out in front of all of them at the next aid station - phew!

After the downhill blast from 6318' to 4646' I again had to start climbing to get to the finish which was back where we started at 5124'.  However, this climb did offer some rolling ups and downs so I was able to run more on this climb then in the begining.  I'd say 75% walking.

A very small portion was on the road and since it was up hill, I decided I could take a pic and one of the runners came up behind me and offered to take my pic - cool
By this time I had shed one layer (that was it for the whole race)
(and no, I don't own any other running clothes - LOL)

I had to make sure I ran across the finish line, even though it was a steady uphill incline to get to the line drawn in the dirt.  So with about a tenth of mile to go, I pushed it.  Not too hard mind you, just enough so that I was actually running across the finish and shuffling.  Well my quads were on fire and my lungs were burning as well and the feeling of queeziness made it's appearance, but it didn't last long and I was so proud of myself, especially once I realized how many people were still behind me.  I had no idea how many people were doing the 10 miler, and I still don't because I have no idea when the Lone Pine Chamber of Commerce will post the results, but as I was driving out of the campgrounds, I was passing runners still coming in.  WOW.  Lil ole me didn't come in last - woo hoo!
Post finish pic :)
The group behind me is the where the finish line is :)
I finished in 2:25, which I'm very pleased with!  Next year (or the following year, not sure if I'll get to go next year) I plan on doing the marathon distance since you only have to climb another 200 feet to peak at 6509' I figure, I can handle that.  As long as you walk up hill and run all the downs, this race is very doable.

I will say, that even though the pre and post race information is extremely lacking, the race itself was very well organized.  They had 4 aid stations just for the 10 milers.  The first aid station was my favorite:

Love the skeleton wearing the Wild Wild West Marathon t-shirt
I will definitely be back!

Since I was done with the race by 8:30a, we were able to spend the rest of day site seeing, we went to the Whitney Portal and to the Eastern Sierra Museum in Independence.

The Portal was georgeous and Skyla and I fell in love with the waterfall

Sadly come Sunday it was time for us to pack up and head back home.  It was a great trip and I can't wait to do it again.

I have to thank my wonderful parents for driving me down and practically paying for everything - love you both tremendously.
And to my pretty baby girl, Skyla, for coming down with us and being my photo bug twin - she and I both love taking pics and we both got into the moment.  There are alot of nature shots and museum shots that got taken :)

Yes, she is old enough to drink!

Sorry this is so long, but a lot happened in 4 days!!

I will finish by saying that I would never give up our Western Sierra's with all the trees and poison oak for the desert rich Eastern Sierras!  I love our trails!!

Stay dirty!

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful photos and great reading, Shannon! I love the Eastern Sierras...I've stood on top of Mt Whitney and remember being in awe of the view. I'd love to try the marathon next year :)