Sunday, March 13, 2011

Mesquite Canyon Race Report

We are all finally on spring break here.  The kids are leaving for NYC with their grandma tonight, I'm sure going to miss them.

It's been a stressful week.

Friday we went to the humane society to see about the dog we had had 7 years ago, Duke.  He does not look good, poor guy.  The HS wanted us to pay $314 to get him and they hadn't really done anything for him!  We were not prepared to spend that knowing we were going to spend 2-3 times that at our vet.  It about killed us but we walked away.  Now we wait for them to fix him up and then we will go adopt him which will be $65!  WTF?! Really?

Spent most of Friday crying, watched my daughter sing Louis Armstrong's Wonderful World, and then had to go be social with my wonderful mom-in-law and aunt.  They are awesome!  They took their RV out to the race start so the kids and I could spend the night, roll out of bed, and go do our thing.  We arrived later then planned to gorgeous steaks, huge potatoes, green beans, bread, and Irish butter.  Afterwards they surprised me and had birthday cake and presents for me!  It was a really nice end to a crappy day.

Saturday, the kids, mom-in-law, and I got up and walked the kids over so they could volunteer.  I picked up my bib, t-shirt, and loop timing thingy.  MIL and I went back to the RV and I finished getting prepped for my 1/2.

We could hear the announcements as they sent off the 50K and marathon runners.  Went back for my 8am start.  It was very touching, they had a moment of silence for Sally Meyerhoff and then we were off.

The weather was wonderful, a nice little chill in the air to start.  There were so many 1/2 marathon runners that there were a few clogs as we all started, but eventually we all spread out.

I had run this trail a few weeks ago in the reverse order that we were going to do.  I knew there was a really steep up hill and some really rocky, scree covered areas.  I went out conservative and made sure I walked the ups.  I soon discovered that doing the trail backwards was actually more difficult then the way we were doing it.

On the way down one of the two major downs, I ended up behind this guy with over the ear headphones.  I tried and tried to get his attention for about .25 miles.  I was trying to tap him on the shoulder, smack him in the backpack, something!  I guess I finally yelled loud enough and/or his song finished he finally heard me!  Grrrr... I past him and took off.  This was the fun part going down, down, down!

The aid stations were great and they cheered the runners as soon as they could see them.  That was a real boost!  I came to aid station 2/3 (there are at the start and finish of the loop) and was cheered, given water, and told only 4 more miles! Yeah!

Now began the really steep down hill.  It was good, I tried to remember all the things about not going too fast, keeping control, etc.  Last time I did this trail, by the time I got to this point my legs were so dead I could barely walk down.  However, this time it was awesome!  As I'm going down, the song "Jesus take the Wheel" came on.  I thought that was quite appropriate and sang as much as I could.  I'm sure all the other pedestrians heard was me gasping "Jesus" occasionally.

Speaking of pedestrians, the trails were still open to everyone who wanted a Saturday morning hike.  They were all great and would move over.  Lots of cheers and good jobs, and a couple of cute dogs to make me miss mine.

Reached the end of the major down, past the last aid station, and headed for the finish!  My quads clearly told me that they were pretty much done.  So I walked the little ups and then coaxed my quads back into cooperating and we were off and running again.

Nothing was so lovely as that orange tent and the finish line and my beaming family.  It was awesome to see my daughter come walking up to me and say "and you thought you'd be out there longer."  My hubby was there with our pups, and everyone was happy to see me.  My MIL and aunt arrive shortly after I did and we just enjoyed while I stretched.

It was a great day.  I couldn't do it without the support of my family.  As I ran, as I run, I always know they are there waiting for me.  They might think I'm crazy but they are proud of me and love me.  Thank you family!

On a side note, I also found out this weekend that I have a place on the Muscle Milk Machine Team for the  Mount Lemmon Marathon, dubbed "The Toughest Road Marathon in the World".  I'm excited and scared all at the same time!

~Happy Running~

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A life cut short

This morning I got up and never even made it to my email or checking in on my Facebook friends.  I was devastated by some very bad news, here's a link

I did not know Sally personally.  She lived in my neighborhood.  We ran in several of the same events.  Every time she passed me on the roads in our little community she always had a big smile on her face.  Her blog and everything I learned about her made me want to meet her.  I was following her promising career and thought that one day if we were at the park at the same time I was going to say hi.  My kids teased me about stalking her, and I laughed and said nope, I'm just a fan and I can't wait to watch her win at the Olympics.

So, I spent all day with one of our dogs, Kaylee, and we just hung out.  We went to a couple dog parks, a few pet stores, and a couple of coffee shops.  We just enjoyed.  I just enjoyed.   I was supposed to run today but instead I got in some good intervals running up and down the dog parks chasing dogs and tennis balls.

That was another thing that hit me, yes the devastation to Sally's family is immense, I cannot even imagine.  Besides her humans she also had fur-babies.  She has 3 dogs and had recently introduced a 4 into her little pack.  From her blogs you understood how much she loved her fur-babies.

Two days ago I received a phone call from an animal hospital about 60 miles from where we live now.  They had a dog that had been hit by a car and his microchip was registered to me.  It was a dog that we had had over 7 years ago.  He's hurt, has a bad heart, and is 13 years old.  He's a cattle dog and that's pretty old for them.  He's now at the humane society trying to locate the people how gave him a home after us.  If they do not claim him I will be down there  and we will fix him up and bring him home.   The vet said he looks like he's been well taken care of.  Of course I'd like his current owners to find him, but if not, we are going to figure out how to meld him into our little pack.

It's so amazing how someone can be out of our life for so long and then reappear due to an accident.  It's tragic when an accident cuts a bright life short.  So hug your loved ones a little tighter, tell them you love them, and cherish every moment.

God Bless...

Monday, March 7, 2011

Running Partners at Our Feet

They say you never forget your first, your first bike, car, crush, kiss, or running partner.  My first and only human running partner is a wonderful woman who I still count as my friend.  We were thrust into a living situation where our husbands were working and we found ourselves, with other wives, in a different state away from our homes and friends.  Out of this situation friendships formed and to this day we all still share those fond memories.

I often reflect on our running... the gorgeous Pacific Northwest, our fit as partners, and many of the laughs we had on those runs.  We talked about many things and nothing... well I talked or rather babbled and she, as she informed me on our first run, just needed to breathe.

When the job was finished we went back to our regular lives miles apart.   I tried another partner but I think I was ruined.  It just wasn't the same, she was faster, I was slow, she was seasoned, I was struggling, it just didn't work out.

While struggling with my running, my faithful dog Java has always been at my side.  Since I was struggling, my really slow and low mileage was just fine for him.

However, Java is much more at home climbing over rocks and boulders.  If the ground is flat then it's just perfect for sniffing and leaving his signature on the bushes.

Eventually I got a little faster, added speed work to my training, and Java began to show me that this was just not his thing.

Enter Cocoa.

We are not sure what kind of dog Cocoa is but she was born to run fast!   She is poetry in motion when she is free and running at her top speed, which unfortunately is not even close to my top speed at all.

I still ran, made some significant life changes, and discovered another running partner, Kaylee.  Again we are not sure what kind of dog Kaylee is but one thing is for sure she has boundless energy.  We are working on increasing her mileage but she will come back from a 7 mile run and then chase her brother and sister around the yard, up and down the stairs, leap on the bed and look at us like, "Okay, who wants some of this!?!"

I have read all about the benefits of running partners or friends who run and you can commiserate with.  I know a few runners but we are all at different places in our lives and just don't hang out.  I could go on about how far away I live, yada, yada, yada... I could have used it as an excuse to not run or not challenge myself, but I didn't!  I'm still working on my running goals and connecting with runners though Twitter and Facebook and other online forums.

The human factor is awesome and runners 'get' runners!  However, running with another human is not always possible.   I still take all three dogs out but for different workouts.  So, my advice on running partners, look around you, there may be a partner, or several, in the making right at your feet.

Happy Running,
~Theresa, Java, Cocoa, and Kaylee