Tuesday, March 11, 2014

My Fav Running Month

February is my favorite running month.  Not only is my favorite marathon The Lost Dutchman Marathon this month, but also my favorite relay race Ragnar Del Sol with my second family Sole Sports Ultra team.   This also means its time for me to get out of the NW winter and to the sunny 80 degree sunshine in AZ!  

From this:

to this:

Jash and I were lucky enough to stay with our great friend Billy D Miller in AZ which was so very nice and he made us feel right at home.  He also doesn't have any pets so that is awesome for Jash and I because there are no breathing issues!  Oh yeah and here is his view and back yard:

Yeah I spent a lot of time by this pool!  We had so much fun staying with Bill and catching up on life.  It really made the trip perfect!  

Sunday we had the marathon it was forecasted to be very hot! We were both very excited either way as it was going to be fun and the first time Jash got to experience my all time fav marathon!  This was the 7th year in a row running this one for me, and still I get so excited for it.  The start was beautiful as always and we got together for a maniacs picture pre race with the awe inspiring superstition mountains in the back ground.  The camp fires are always such a unique and pretty way to start!

 (i am in the middle with hot pink socks)

The race started out wonderful with perfect temps and just enjoying the views as always.  I ran into maniac Mike from TX who was taking pictures of the beautiful views that I always wish that I have a camera to capture.  This year we ran into each other about 2 miles in and ran together for the next 20 or so.  The miles flew by as we talked and got to know each other, both vegetarian crazy marathon runners who are having fun out there.  His wife and my husband were both running the half so that was fun as we both knew we had our favorite people waiting for us at the finish line.    Here are some of the awesome pictures Mike got of our adventures. 

It was awesome to see Jash at the finish line because it got really really hot the last 5 or so miles.  He had a great race himself and we were able to get food and celebrate our accomplishments for the day. 

Post race we had a relaxing day at home with Bill and went out for a very tasty Mexican food dinner.  The rest of the week I had off and Jash went back to Portland to work and take care of our baby chickens.  Rhiannon took care of the girls and the house while we were away and it made all the difference as we were not worried for a second and she sent us updates of the fun in the NW.  For the rest of the week I enjoyed getting lots of great sleep, running daily in the sunshine, reading by the pool, and doing a bit of shopping.   Bill and I had fun getting some running in together and hanging out and we cannot wait for him to come back and visit and stay with us in the NW! I also really enjoyed spending time with my family and seeing the boxer pups, working on an assignment with Derek and spending the day with him, and meeting my sister’s boyfriend.  Kristy and I also met up for a hike (after she had to work all night!) and it was great to get out there together and catch up!  

Thursday we headed over to Kim’s house for our traditional Thursday night pre Ragnar dinner.  This year she also was kind enough to host practically the whole team for a sleep over party as we had to leave the house at 4am!  It was tons of fun getting back together with this great crew.  And we were able to leave right on time this year which was a huge plus and I was thrilled because I was also the lead off runner.  We made it to Wickenburg in just enough time to check in and they sent me out and running.  I was able to enjoy a beautiful sunrise on my first leg and really enjoyed the 13 or so miles. 

The day really warmed up as we went but the team was solid and everyone nailed their pace and had a wonderful fun time doing it.  I really loved hanging out with all of them and just soaking in all of the beautiful AZ sunshine!   Our night legs were a bit tricky as always but nothing that we could not handle and this year we did not lose any runners- a total plus.   We had some fun ok LOTS of fun along the way taking some pretty silly pictures, especially when EM had to run 20 miles straight.  Such a rock star!

My last leg was at 4 in the morning and if that was not bad enough, I started out by encountering a pack of coyote’s screaming at the top of their lungs and coming straight at me.  I didn’t plan on getting eaten this year so I turned back and decided I would have to get back up.  Another guy came running along and said he would scare them off so I ran behind him for just a second and then he was gone.  For the rest of the leg I was scared to death running in the dark by myself that I was going to get eaten.  It was a pretty scary night, but makes me appreciate all my non eventful runs that I do have.  I made it though and was really happy about meeting up with another runner I met on the previous leg that we had run together throughout the night.  We finished up the last couple miles together. 

This year we had an amazing treat which was the ability to stop at Bill’s house and shower.  We headed there right after I finished my last leg and I enjoyed a hot shower and a couple hour nap.  It was AMAZING and made all the difference in traveling home that same night.  The finish at Ragnar was awesome and we again finished another Ragnar.  6 years and running and I have the stickers on my car to prove it!!! I LOVE running with these guys- Bill, Em, Kim, Julie, Magi it has been so much fun and you are all my family for life!!!  xoxooxox

Monday, January 20, 2014

January 2014 Capital Forest 34 Mega fun Race and the UK!

Every month at Intel some teams go through and write monthly status reports and I was just thinking about how my goal of running a marathon a month and writing about it is pretty similar.  It is my own personal monthly status report where I am able to reflect on where I am and how I got here.  This month I started out the year with a 34 mile race on trails to shake things up.  It was held on Saturday Jan 18th at Capital Forest in Olympia WA.  I have never run this one so I was very excited to run it, but also a bit worried as I knew it was all trails with climbing and there was no elevation profile to be found online.  Nonetheless I signed up for it and then a last minute work trip came up that had me traveling out of country for the week before the event.  I figured it would be fine as long as I was home in time and I would manage the jet lag.  I am so glad I did.  I went to the UK with a great work biz partner and friend to work on a project.  It was a very short trip and we had to get a lot done, but it was also my first time visiting the UK which made it very exciting!   

We ended up working so hard the first 2 days we were there that we were able to make it out to Stonehenge from Swindon before sun set on the last day.  I am so glad we made time for this trip.  Our local biz partner drove us out which was awesome because I also was able to experience driving on the other side of the road!!!  

I also enjoyed checking out the building and the beautiful setting while we made our way.  

Once we made it to Stonehenge it started pouring rain which meant there was not a lot of people there.  It also made picture taking fun, but we did get a slight sun break so we took as many pictures as we could!  It was a lot of fun and very neat to learn the history and see this historic site! 

After seeing the sites at Stonehenge we headed over to the Red Lion to have dinner and see more historic sites including more Stonehenge like rocks and a well inside the pub where someone hundreds of years ago fell into, and now it is a table top! 

So after all the fun was a 26 hour journey back home which had many obstacles including a cab driver that would only take cash when we only had credit, almost missing our flight out of London due to traffic, and of course getting rerouted to land in Bend due to fog in Portland and delaying us even further from getting home.   But I will not complain too much because on the 11 hour flight from Heathrow to LAX I had a window row of 3 seats completely to myself!  It was like stretching out and flying first class for the economy price!  Great time.  It was awesome to be home to my Jash and my beautiful welcome home flowers!  I won the husband lottery it is true!

So on to the race!  I decided to sleep in my bed the night before the race after all the travel which meant I had a 4am wake up for a 7am start, this was not bad at all and I will do this for any races in that area from now on!  Saves so much time and money and I sleep better in my own bed anyways! 

The start of the race was pretty dark and I only opted to bring my light weight light because I thought I would only need it for a wee bit before the sun came out and then I would just have to carry it.  The trail was a bit more technical than I anticipated, or I have just no been running trails at all!  But I met up with Joe and Jackie who made a Mel sandwich out of me and lite the way for the entire first hour which was lifesaving and I didn’t even fall!

The day was just perfect for a run with morning fog, bright sun in the day, and no rain in sight.  It made for beautiful amazing views of the sun rise and on top of the climbs, I only wish that I would have brought my camera on this adventure.  I would have been taking pictures the whole way.  It was just so pretty.  

I on the other hand was not as pretty.  I did fall later on and got all muddy and tweaked my back but not too bad.  The climbing was crazy, or felt crazy to me, so I would love to actually see an elevation profile on this event.  I probably should figure out how to download it from my watch!  It was overall a great day though.  I met some very nice people and it just reminds me why ultra trail races really are such wonderful fun events.   I was happy to meet back up with Jackie and Joe for the finish which was another great time and they really pulled me through the last miles when my quads were yelling at me for the downhill antics I pulled!

I was able to finish in time to drive home and play cards against humanity with friends at our house!  That was a great successful day in my books!  Looking forward to my next adventure LDM and Ragnar del Sol in Feb!