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 22, 2011

Three for Three - Shannon

I did 3 races in 3 weekends and finished all 3.  I have no clue how I ended up doing 3 races in 3 weekends, but I did.  Yes I'm pooped!

April 30th - Apple Blossom Trail Run

This was a 9 mile run through private orchards in Placerville, CA.  I decided to do this run this year (2nd annual) because I wanted the chance to run in an area that you can never run on your own, plus it was for a good cause, Hope House of El Dorado County.

My favorite part of the whole course
This ended up being a much tougher race than I had anticipated.  It was a cross country event.  We ran on pavement, dirt, grass, and whatever else you came upon, which meant some "blind" running was involved.  The altitude was about 3000 feet and there was quite a bit of climbing out there.  I primarily ran by myself, but I really enjoyed it once we were done with the first loop.  That's when we got to run through some forested area (see pic above) and then the apple trees with beautiful blossoms.  Oh so pretty.

The worst part of the race was, I developed my very first blister ever on a run -  AAAAARRRRRGGGGGHHHHHH - with one week before my Wild Wild West Marathon.  Not happy.  Sadly, I didn't know that I was developing a blister (never having had one).  I thought it was a rock in my shoe.  So I stopped and took my shoe off, losing time, only to discover I had a blister. 

I finished in 1:51, 11th of 12 in my age group, 34th out of 39 overall (female).  Hey, at least I wasn't last :)
There are NO pictures of me during the race.  I guess the photographer got tired of waiting for me to come through or something.  There's only me at the start line - Boring.

May 7th - Wild Wild West Marathon

You can read about this fun experience in my previous post

May 14th - Dirty Secret Trail Run

This was the 1st race Pam and I have done together since last summer.  WOW! The ONLY reason I decided to do it!  Plus it was on a portion of trail that I had never been on, so...............  This was a 10 mile run in Cool, CA.  It too was a for a good cause - Project Fit  a program to bring running to young kids after school in the Sacramento area.

Shannon, Angie, Pam
We started the race with Angie, who is Mindy's sister (my running buddy at Wild Wild West).  She is coming off an awful injury and this was to be her first race.  She of course, did awesome.  Never saw her after we started until I crossed the finish line.

The turtles back together again!
I guess my legs were a lot more fatigued than I had thought and the climbs were really hard.  So I didn't do so hot and couldn't keep up with Pam after about 6 miles.  Oh well, it was pretty and I enjoyed it!

Ed and me
The best part was having Ed Walsh come down the hill to run me in for the last .1 miles.  Ed, too, has been out of running for a while, and he's coming back with a vengeance! 

In our age group, Pam finished in 2:07, 18th, and I finished in 2:11, 21st out of 27.  Angie is in the younger age group and she finished in 1:48, 13th out of 43.  Dang she's fast!

And my buddy Ed, who did the short course, finished first in his age group!! He rocks!

FTR girls rock the Dirty Secret!
I'm done with races and long distance running for a few weeks.  I will be doing a 10 miler in late July, but my next big race (and last for the season) is at the end of September and official training for that doesn't start for another month.  Yeah!  So I'm basically taking a month off (of course there will be some runs in there) and I'm going to focus on weight training, nutrition, and cycling - cause I got me a new road bike!  Oh yeah - I'm excited.  You can check it out on my other blog - As The Turtle Turns.

Stay dirty!

May 11, 2011

Wild Wild West Marathon 2011

 Can you say brutal?  This was an extremely tough, but gorgeous run.  It's nothing like the Sierra Nevadas where we have beautiful tree cover, soft pine needled dirt, lots of streams to keep us cool, etc.  This is the high desert, wide open, lots of sand and rocks, etc.
 The race started in Tuttle Creek Campground.  It is very unformal start, our start line was a line drawn in the dirt.  I love these kinds of races.  Our starting elevation was 5100 feet.
 I was so happy to have Mindy start the race with me.  Her mom lives in Independance, which is only 10 min away from Lone Pine.  Her mom was awesome.  She picked me up at 5:30a and took my battered body home that afternoon.
 When you start the race you basically climb for 8.5 miles, so there is a lot of walking.  The sand was really bad during this time too.
 Here we are after a climb.  We thought we were done (with the climbs), but apparently not.  We got a little tease of a downhill then wham we had to start climbing again.  Well apparently, there was some ribbon play on the course and a lot of us took a wrong turn (with ribbons showing us the way) up this hill (that's Mindy right up ahead on RHS).
 Luckily we didn't go ALL the way to the dead end, other runners determined that we weren't on the right path and started heading back down.  Some even crossed over the wild terrain to get to the correct trail.  This little detour took us out of way 1.5 miles GGGGRRRR.
 Here we are at the highest point of the race 6500 feet.  The road on the LHS is the Whitney Portal Road, the road on the RHS is Hogback Creek Rd and that's the way were going.
 After peaking at 6500 feet, you start a 6.7 mile decent.  I believe this is where I began to struggle.  The elevation was wreaking havoc on my lungs and I was having a hard to taking in a deep breath.  My legs were feeling like lead.  By mile 12 I could no longer keep up with studette Mindy.  I proceeded to struggle the rest of the way.  My feet really started to hurt and I just couldn't get the oxygen my lungs wanted.  Not to mention the heat was starting to pick up and we were totally exposed.
 Here I am at mile 20 of the race.  I felt like this skeleton (dead) by mile 20, especially when my watch said I only had 4.5 miles to go, but in reality I still had 6.2.  I logged my marathon (26.2 miles) as being finished at 7 hours 19 miles.  I really really struggled after that.  I couldn't run anymore, even though it was fairly flat.   I believe the last mile was the hardest of them all.
 When I got within a tenth of a mile from the finish I started running and Mindy got it.  My dad did too, but I don't have those pics yet.
It was awesome to have my mom and dad at the finish.  Mom made me a sign that says I'm a Trail Turtle Goddess.  I think that might be the name of another blog I'm considering starting, which would be about other things in my life besides running.  Not sure yet, I have a hard enough time writing this one. :)

Started at 5100 feet, peaked at 6500 feet, finished at 3700 feet, 7 hours 48 minutes, 10th out of 11 in my age group (didn't finish last - woo hoo).  Mindy finished 7 hours 7 minutes and 8th in our age group.

So as tough as this race was Mindy and I both said we'd do it again.  We had considered the 50k for next year, but after, we both said no way on the 50k, but yes on the marathon.  However, some sand training is definitely in order.  Plus, I need to wear shoes not so well ventilated.  I have some awesome trail shoes designed for quickly drying after going through water, well that wasn't a good thing when you're in a lot of sand.  I did have to stop several times to empty my shoes which cost me time.  Next year, different shoes.  Plus I need to deal with my foot issues before I do this one again.  But it's definitely on the calendar for next year.

Thanks again to Mindy and her mom (Mindy for running with me, her mom for driving us to the start line at 5:30a), my mom and dad (for driving me all the way to Lone Pine and back - they're awesome), my aunt and uncle (for letting me crash their pad) and for my training partners who did the distance with me when needed, Ralph and Lisa.  Hugs to you all.

For more pics, click HERE.

FYI - I did the Apple Blossom Trail run (9 miler) the weekend before the WWW marathon and developed my very first blister EVER.  But the blister was no longer an issue for the marathon, thank goodness.

This weekend I'm doing the Dirty Secret Trail Run (10 miler) with Pam.  I just realized that I'm doing 3 races in 3 weeks.  Ya, I'm done for a while after Saturday's race.  But I'll post about it and the Apple Blossom Run too later.

Stay dirty.

April 16, 2011

Pacing vs Racing - Shannon

It's been WAY too long since I've posted, but as usual, life has been crazy and I'd rather be outside or quilting rather than sitting at my computer blogging.  But I do miss this, so I promise, I will try to do better.

I have so much to talk about, however, time is of the essence so I'm only going to talk about my experience last weekend at the American River 50 Miler on 4/9/11.  No, I didn't run all 50 miles, in fact, I wasn't a racer!  I was a pacer! And let me tell you, pacing rocks!  So who did I pace?  My friend Ralph, who I have been running with now since SNERS.  He is faster than me, but he enjoys the scenery just like I do, so he has no problem slowing it down so that I can keep up with him.  So, how can I pace someone who is faster than me during a race?  Well, here's the secret - don't start pacing your racer until he's already done 26.5 miles, he'll be tired by then, and low and behold, you can keep up withi him.  In fact, you might even be a little faster than him!

First, the morning started off with me heading down to the FTR sponsored aid station at Negro Bar in Folsom.  Pam and I were super turtles there last year, but this year, I was more concerned about pacing Ralph.  Pam was up at Beal's Point being a super nurse.  Pam is a nurse by day, runner by weekend, but this weekend, she was volunteering as a nurse at the medical tent for the race.  She rocks!  Oh and then after her nursing duties what is she going to do?  Pace our friend Kym.  So we were both pacers for this race!

Pam helping a runner with a bum knee.
Pam being her cute self.
 Watching the front runners come through the FTR aid station was fun.  Had a good time with all my FTR buddies waiting for Ralph to come in.  When he did, he wasn't feeling too good.  His hydration was down (it was hotter than we had expected) and his stomach was upset.  He knew he had to pull it together, and focused on the mental part of it from Negro Bar to Beals Point (4 miles and where I'd join him on this run)

Ralph coming into Negro Bar
He was definitely looking better once he came into Beals.
Ralph at Beals Point
Now it was time for Denise and I to join him and help him get through the last 23.5 miles, and this is also where you move from paved bike trails to awesome dirt!

I had so much fun being a pacer.  I discovered that when you take the focus off of yourself and focus on the main goal of getting your racer to the finish you don't think about what is hurting you.
So having said that, while we were out there climbing hills and rocks and trying to keep Ralph's spirits up, I would jump in puddles, slosh through mud, all the while pretending to be an aiplane as we'd go down hills (this was to get him to run the downhills, didn't always work, but I had fun trying).

Apparently we were having so much fun out there that we could be heard throughout the canyon area!  I always say if you're not laughing out there, you're crying!  Since I prefer to laugh than to cry, I will do whatever I can to keep the mood fun!

Along the way, there are motivational signs, and at one point, Ralph got tired of them.  Here he is letting us know what he thinks about this one - LOL
This might have been around 40+ miles into this race!  Can you blame a guy?

When you come off the single track, you come upon Last Gasp, which is 3.5 miles UP to the finish.  This is the hardest part.  By this point, there is no running, it's all walking.  But also at this point you know you've only got 3.5 miles more to go.  WOW.
The signs start to show up.  3 miles to go, 2 miles to go, then 1 mile to go.

Denise, Ralph, and me

 I still don't how he got up off the ground after going 49 miles, but he did.  What a stud!

Denise and I wanted to let him cross the finish line by himself, but he wouldn't hear of it.  He wanted us to go through it with him.  You don't argue with someone who has gone 50 miles.  You just do what he asks.  So we did!

His official finish time was 11:59.  We were hoping for sub 12 and we did it.

After, we enjoyed a beer and a dip in the canal to sooth the legs (the water was ice - bbbrrr)

Where did we get the beer?  Well along the way Lisa was there as well, although, she traveled the distance by car and had an ice chest full of beer for us.

Lisa you ROCK

This is the only pic I have with Lisa, it was on a training run we all did for AR50 and her first 17 miler - we're gonna make her ultrarunner soon! (She's actually agreed to do the SNERS marathon this year! Next we'll have her signing up for WTC 2012!)

Would I pace again?  TOTALLY!  I actually think I prefer pacing to racing!

Thanks Ralph for letting me experience this side to running!  Thanks Lisa for being out there supporting us and of course for the beer.

Next on my agenda?  Wild Wild West Marathon in Lone Pine, CA on May 7th.  I'm excited and nervous as I will be dealing with much higher altitudes, but it's ok because my friend Mindy will be there with me - WOO HOO.

Stayed turned for my posting about WWW!

Stay dirty

March 13, 2011

Way Tool Cool....One year later...'s been way too long since I've posted on our blog. Life has been busy, complicated, and has gotten in the way these past several months. But yesterday was a day to remember and I promised Shannon I would share it here.

Shannon and I started this blog a year ago, when we decided to run our first 50K, Way Too Cool. We were so lucky to both get in. Our training was nothing short of adventurous and fun and the training paid off as we both finished strong, and in one piece!

Fast forward a year. I put my name in the WTC lottery hoping for another chance to run this epic trail race. Sadly, I was 184 on the wait list and realized I would not be running.....or would I?   I had ditched my training for anything after that. I had planned to run AR 50 but shin splints kept me from that race. So, I sporadically did a few long runs here and there, and a few miles a week; nothing that would constitute for good 50K training.  A few weeks prior to the run, I got a call from the RD asking if I'd volunteer as the medical provider at the AR 50 midway point, in exchange I'd get a free ride into WTC. I think it took me one second to scream, "YES"! So WTC training was back on! (early birthday present to me) I was a tiny bit concerned that I might really struggle on the run given the lack of long miles. It was also bittersweet cuz Shannon was not able to even enter the lottery due to a nagging heel problem.  But I was fortunate enough to have Kym train with me.   We were able to get in a few mid long runs on the course just before the race. For my birthday, Kym got me a pair of Dirty Girl Gators that I'm convinced made me run faster.

Fast forward to yesterday. The weather was perfect.  I picked up Dave and Kym and headed up to get a parking spot (about a mile away from the start, ugh). I was alittle nervous about the run, actually more excited about it. I was just so excited to be a part of it with all my other FTR buddies that got in. We saw lots of FTRs that either were injured, didn't get into the lottery or were just not ready to run a 50k. They were out in force volunteering and cheering for us. They are truly the best group of people you'll ever meet :) 

First stop was the porta potties.  So many potties, so little time to pee...the lines were LONG.

We met over by the infamous Frog for a bunch of pictures with our FTR running buddies.
Dave B, Misha, Kellie, Mndy, Cathleen, Kem, Me

Kym, Gail and I striking a model pose

We headed up to the start and of course took more pictures....
Keira, Misha, Kellie, Kym, Me

Our very clean gators....they sure didn't stay that way!

From right to left: Nancy, Greg, me, Kym, Dave, Mindy, Katy

We missed getting into the FTR group shot :( 

And then were were off. Our first creek crossing came very early, I believe this is Knickerbocker creek

 The first 8 miles were on the Olmstead loop and besides a moderate amount of mud, it was really beautiful. I found myself running the first 10 miles much faster than I usually do. I felt fantastic and wanted to push it alittle so I wasn't stuck behind slower people (did that come out of my mouth? Aren't I one of the 'slower people'?)  I did the first 10 miles in about 2:02 hrs which is fast for me. At the first aid station I found Kym again and we headed out and down the trail towards Quarry Road. Took no time and passed through the aid station quickly, but just a few steps into running on Quarry, my right calf completed cramped up and nearly knocked me to the ground. Stretched and rubbed it out and headed out very slowly. This is the first time I've ever cramped and it was likely cuz I pushed it on the first 10 miles. Caught up with Kym again and we made our way up Dead Truck. The trail heads to the right and runs along the American Canyon trail. I didn't take pics while running, but here's a picture of this section from a previous run.....

This part of the trail climbs up for maybe alittle less than a mile and then heads to the right towards ALT, the next aid station.  We were in need of a little motivation on this portion and a runner, Michelle ran with us encouraging us to keep running. So glad she was there! There are lots of signs along the way to provide motivation....

We got into ALT (21 mile mark) and loaded up quickly on food, soup and fluids. We had made the cutoff way ahead of time. The cutoff was 1:30 and I think we got in at 12:50.  Kym found new energy from her soup and after this point she was on fire.  I started to get occasional calf seizures which would stop me dead in my tracks. I think it was about this time we encountered a very unfriendly runner who would not let us pass and actually pushed Kym. Very disturbing. We played leapfrog with him for a few miles, and then we didn't see him again until the finish (Kym actually passed him right before the finish, Yeah!).

Next stop was the top of Goat Hill. I'm so glad I've trained on this hill alot in the past. It isn't very pleasant but if you know it well it isn't that bad. We moved steadily up the hill and were SO happy to get to that aid station. More soup, oreos, chips and water and we were on our way. My calf began to seize again a few steps out and I fell far behind Kym. I had to walk/run for about a mile until it settled down, then I ran slow and steady. Before I knew it I was to highway 49 and crossing to the final portion. I looked at my watch and couldn't believe I was going to finish almost ONE HOUR faster than my last year's time! I got up the final hill, onto the straight away and my calf went out AGAIN! I stopped and stretched it, tried to use a stick to roll it, but broke the stick and then started running again. I was determined to run to the finish so I pushed on and was cheered in by the FTRs and friends at a time of 7:38, WOO HOO! 50 minutes faster than last year!

Coming up to the finish

And achieving a PR!

Shannon was there with a beer and a smile....:)

The beer was sooooo good...:)

and I got a cupcake this time....yummmmm!

 It was great to see my other buddies that finished earlier and they were all still there!  Usually I get in so late that everyone has already left.

from right to left: Kem, me, Gail, Diane

I was pooped and Kym's husband, Dave offered to drive my car home, thank you Dave!

I am so proud of us and all the FTRs who finished this incredible race! Thank you Kym for your companionship, friendship, and for pulling me through the last half of this race! This was such a wonderful experience. So looking forward to Tahoe Rim Trail 50K in July!

Finished this birthday weekend off right with a day at Geri's Garden in Fair Oaks on Sunday.

My friend, Kathy organized a spa day for the girls.  We started off with Mimosas for all (check out the napkin).....

Kathy brought other appropriate napkins for the occasion....

We started with amazing foot soaks and foot massages (I needed that, still having dirt embedded in my feet after the run even after scrubbing in the shower). This was followed by facials and massages.

We were a happy, relaxed group after 5 hours of pampering, food and mimosas!

It was a fabulous weekend of fantastic running, bonding with friends and an overall epic way to celebrate a birthday! I am truly a blessed girl!