Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A year in review

Wow, what an amazing year. The highlights:
  • 5 marathons including my first triple marathon (plus 1 DNF)
  • 5 50K trail races
  • 1 50 mi race (plus 1 DNF at 40 miles)
  • Double crossing of the Grand Canyon, AZ
  • 2282 miles - now that's a lot of shoes!

Thanks to my husband, boys, family and friends, 2008 was an amazing year for me. I am blessed to have their support which has helped me grow both as a runner and person. Now I'm ready for bigger and better challenges in 2009, starting with The Coastal Challenge in just 4 short weeks!

Monday, December 29, 2008

1st 50-miler!

The Big Cat 12-Hr Challenge 2008.... 25 times around a 2-mile loop in Huntington Beach Central Park with several of my Trail Headz friends. 50 miles somewhat leisurely finished in 9:36 but still, I finished! Not the most exciting of courses with a mix of grass, dirt and asphalt. Excitement at this race comes in the form of dodging the frisbee golfers and ducks that wander across the path. But well supported and well organized. RD Bob English and members of The Big Cat Race Team put on a fun race and their smiling faces and words of encouragement made the loops seem to fly by (well, kinda....). Maya, Shelli, Beiyi and I all ran our first 50-miler, Kristen ran 50K. Good day for The Coastal Cuties.

Shelli leads the pack.

Alexa, Rachael, Troy, Shelli, LT

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Fun in the snow!

Beiyi and I just had to check out the snow from this week's storms so we headed to Holy Jim. Our plan was to run up Holy Jim to Main Divide, up to Santiago Peak and back. The streams were flowing fast and furious so crossing them was challenging and wet. Even more challenging were the numerous fallen trees along the trail, much different than last week at Twin Peaks but great training for The Coastal Challenge. Under, over, around - we found a way to navigate every obstacle.

As we climbed higher, the snow got deeper and the obstacles more challenging but it was so much FUN! Along the way we met hikers and crazy, crazy mountain bikers (just imagine having to carry your bike under, over and around the obstacles), all having fun too - snow at 1500ft is not something we see every winter in So. Cal.!

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Sad to report that I DNF'd my first attempt at 50 miles. Not beaten by the distance, instead by Mother Nature.

The Coastal Cuties had planned this race to be our last long one before The Coastal Challenge. Maya signed up for the 50K; Kristen, Beiyi, Shelli and I signed up for the 50 miler. Kristen decided to drop due to a recurring heel injury and volunteered to be my finish line support. Shelli and I were assigned a start time one hour later than Beiyi so we were hoping to catch her at some point. However, Shelli started the race not feeling good and decided to drop to 50K. I decided to catch Beiyi as I didn't want to run alone in the dark on the way back down to the finish line.

The course: Up Indian Truck Trail. Main Divide, down West Horsethief. Up Holy Jim to Main Divide and up to Santiago Peak. Down Upper Holy Jim to Holy Jim, up West Horsethief to Main Divide and climb to Santiago Peak. Down Upper Holy Jim to Indian Truck Trail to the finish.

Right from the get go we were wet; low clouds and fog made it cold and slippery in places. I felt great despite being so wet and had pretty much dried out by the time I reached Holy Jim the first time. The climb to Santiago Peak was tough but bearable, spooky in the fog. I caught up with a small group and followed them back to Holy Jim for the second time. My buddy Troy was crewing for me at Holy Jim and made sure I downed an Ensure and had something to eat before setting out again. I still felt great. I caught Beiyi on the way up to Trabuco Peak but it was clear she was feeling the cold too. I was determined to get to the top of Santiago Peak. Then the storm hit. Gusts of wind that almost knocked me to the ground, driving icy rain, poor visibility. I just put one foot in front of the other and kept moving.

By the time I got to Santiago Peak, I was soaked to the skin. Shorts, shirt, half-zip, windbreaker and emergency poncho just weren't doing it. It was dark, foggy, sleeting and windy. 30 deg plus wind chill. Corrinne and hubby Bob were waiting at the top and I made the decision to drop. Not because I was tired or in pain (I had lots of energy, was moving quickly and was pain free), just personal safety. I had allowed myself to get too cold. Disappointing but the smart thing to do.

Corrinne and Bob drove me to the finish line where Kristen fired up her camping stove and made hot chocolate to thaw me out and Shelli showed up with gluten-free risotto so I had something warm to eat. Bless them! And bless everyone who volunteered in those atrocious conditions. Without them, the race would have been a disaster for more runners.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Make Room for Santa

My sons (ages 7 and 5) are signed up for the Make Room for Santa Kids 1K Run on Sunday. It's only their 2nd kids' race. I was explaining to my little one what is going to happen. He told me he is worried about the race because he hasn't trained. Bless him! And note to self - write training plan because this kid has an interest in running!

Friday, December 5, 2008

1 week to go.....

Just one week to go until my first 50-miler. Now I'm getting nervous. Looking at the course profile I'm thinking "why on earth did I sign up for a race with 12500 ft of climb as my first 50-mile race?". Crazy.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


So, I'm parked at a trail head, standing at the back of my car putting on my gaiters. A few spaces down, I notice two Moms getting little ones into their jogging strollers, getting ready for a walk. They're ready before me and as they pass my car I hear one Mom say "That's the Crazy Lady!". "What Crazy Lady?" asks the other Mom. "You know, the one that thinks it's fun to run across the Grand Canyon and back in one day" is the answer. Makes me smile....

After my run, I stop at the Post Office to mail packages to my family in England. A voice behind me asks "What are those things over your shoes?". I explain they're gaiters and why I wear them. She says "I recognize them from the newspaper article. I thought they were just so that people could see you on the trails".

My gaiters are recognizable, I am not. Hmmm.....