Saturday, May 30, 2009

Krav Maga

Krav Maga. The name in Hebrew means "hand-to-hand combat". It is not a martial art by traditional standards but has taken many techniques from martial arts.

Techniques generally focus on training combatants in conditions approximating real-life scenarios, situations where losing would be potentially fatal. Its attack and defense techniques aim to neutralize the threat and facilitate rapid and safe escape. These include a variety of fast and fluid crippling attacks to vulnerable body parts through various efficient and often brutal strikes.

Krav Maga is the official self defense system of the Israeli Defense Forces, and has been taught to US Special Ops, British Special Forces, hundreds of law enforcement agencies and thousands of civilians in the US.

Why am I blogging about Krav Maga? Because I take classes. I am a runner, I run a lot alone, often in the dark. I need to know how to deal with an attacker. Unfortunately there are bad guys out there. I'm a realist. I have a family. I want to survive an attack.

Plus it's a killer aerobic and anearobic workout. In a few short weeks my upper body and core strength has improved drastically. I'm fit, I run insanely long distances but I'm bad about cross-training and this is really helping me. It's fun. Where else do I get to beat the crap out of a guy twice my size? (Dr Laura would love that comment!).

So, check it out at Zen Dojos Martial Arts Studios in San Juan Capistrano. Sensei Paul is an amazing instructor. Zen Dojos is a great studio. Krav Maga and martial arts are a great way to get in shape. Don't worry you won't get hurt - we use pads and protective gear but the idea is to practice techniques at full strength and experience the impact you would feel when getting hit.

I work there too.... stop by, say "hi" and try out a class.

Monday, May 25, 2009


The Nanny Goat Mascot - a yodelling plush toy, an indication that this race was unlike any other 12/24 hour trail race in the country. My partner in crime, Shelli Sexton, a veteran Tevis Cup Rider, and her parents hosted the race over the Memorial Day weekend. The race took place on their twenty plus acre horse ranch in Riverside, CA.

The 1-mile dirt and grass course started and ended in one of the barns. Runners arriving early got their pick of the horse stalls and set up their chairs and tables. Breakfast of coffee, pancakes, donuts, fruit was provided before the 9:00 a.m. start.

The race followed the dirt road along the paddocks, then turned onto a grass path lined with pastures on one side and a rose bush hedge and palm trees on the other. The grass ended where the orange grove began and then onto an asphalt road for less than a quarter mile, and finally back to the dirt bridle path and through the barn where the Nanny Goat Café awaited customers.

Barista Kris served coffee-to-order. Ted and Jean cooked burgers and tri tip. Bottles were refilled. Annie, Shelli and Jeanette baked pizza and made numerous trips to the grocery store to restock supplies. EKP, Lori and RD Steve counted laps. All day and night.

Round and round and round I ran. Actually, I ran 42 laps as part of a 3-person relay team with Shelli and Beiyi (94 laps total - 1st place team). Chris Martinez won the men's 12-hour with 67 laps, "Croc Lady" Lorraine won the women's with 57 laps. Christian Burke won the men's 24-hour with 111 laps, Mary Ntefidou won the women's with 78 laps. My friend Kristen did awesome, completing 43 laps - her first time over 50K! LT ran 101 miles despite taking a "nap" for a few hours (then ran the LA Marathon the following day!) And lsdchris ran 68 miles - his first time over 36 miles! Way to go everyone!

Fun race, great venue. Many thanks to RDs Steve and Annie and the Sexton family for making it a fun weekend.

Now if my eldest son had only managed to not rip off his toenail in the Sexton's swimming pool and require a trip to Urgent Care during the race - I may have ran more laps (or eaten more tri tip, or drank more soy lattes). Oh well, next year....

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Where's Sue?

Having blown off PCT50, I decided to join fellow Trail Headz Lorraine, Marisa, Kristen and Sue on a run to the top of Mt Baldy. What an adventure it turned into!

L to R: Lorraine, Marisa, Rachael, Kristen, Sue

Rachael at peak

Lorraine & Marisa w/ Mt Baldy sign

Chapman Trail

The day started out uneventfully enough. We carpooled to Mt. Baldy Visitor Center, picked up a wilderness permit and trail maps and headed up Bear Canyon Trail to the top of Mt. Baldy. Wow, what a tough trail! Probably one of the toughest around. Sue and Kristen both suffered with altitude sickness so it took longer than expected to get to the peak. There was still snow on the trail too so we had to slip-slide across some sections. Fun, fun, fun!
I was greeted at the peak by someone shouting my name - there were two gals I haven't seen in years. Laura and Kat from my Moms' Club days, out on a hiking weekend. Pretty amazing really.
We took Devil's Backbone to Mt. Baldy Notch and the Ski Lodge. Lunch gave us time to regroup and plan the descent. Kristen, still not feeling too good, would take the chairlift and then run down the road back to the Visitor Center. Lorraine, Marisa and I would take 3 Ts trail (Thunder Mtn., Telegraph Peak, Timber Mtn.) to Ice House Saddle, Chapman Trail from Icehouse Saddle to Ice House Canyon Trailhead where Kristen would meet us with the car. Sue wanted to run up Thunder Mountain, back down to the Ski Lodge and then down the fire service road to the Visitor Center.
Good plan, bad execution. Kristen made it no problem. Lorraine, Marisa and I had fun with the climbs and downhills, losing the trail at times because of snow and rock falls but laughing all the way. We made it back to the car 45 minutes later than anticipated. But where was Sue? We drove up and down the mountain looking for her before heading back to the Vistor Center. Still no Sue. Lorraine called it in to SAR. The dispatcher called back to say we were all reported missing. Lorraine convinced the dispatcher only Sue was missing. The dispatcher found Sue waiting for us at a McDonald's on the I-15. Yes, she had made a wrong turn coming down from Thunder Mtn. and ran down the back side of the mountain. Luckily someone found her and took her to safety.
So, what went wrong? We broke one of the most important rules of trail running. We allowed one of the group to run alone. Luckily, this run had a happy ending.
Who called us in as missing? Bruce, Lorraine's husband. He didn't even know I was with the group as I hadn't signed up in advance but I had called my husband collect from the Ski Lodge to let him know we were running late. Didn't think to ask him to let Bruce know how we were doing.
Lessons learned. Never run alone. Always file a flight plan. Always carry SPOT.