Warning: Long Long Post
I know it’s been awhile since my last post. I’ve been so busy getting my miles in that I forgot to take time to update my journey. So here’s a little recap of my long training runs before getting to Way Too Cool.
January 23rd: Water & Mud Everywhere.
We got lots of rain in Northern CA this week, which is wonderful and much needed. It filled up all of the creeks which made for some fun creek crossings, beautiful waterfalls and wet and muddy trails. I think we crossed about twelve creeks in all. I found that the farther I got into my run, the better the cold water felt on my feet. Often, I would stand in the water enjoying the ice bath on my tired feet. One of the creeks we crossed was so deep that the water went halfway up my thigh. However, I’m short, so it’s all relative. There was so much mud out on the trails that there really was no way to avoid it. I thought for sure I was going to get my shoe stuck a couple of times in the muck. I was happy I remembered to bring a plastic bag to put my shoes in afterwards since they were so caked in the brown pasty goo. My absolute favorite part of the day was when we came across a large ROTC group that cheered us on and gave us high fives as we passed them. They were on their last hike before leaving for boot camp. We ran a little over 20 miles that day and had a lot of fun doing it. In hindsight, this was a good training run for the challenges at Way Too Cool. And I did not fall, not once. Score: Trail 3.5 Runner 3
January 30th: Oh Goody, Hills!!
I have a love/hate relationship with hills. I hate going up them, but I sure love going down them. I also curse a lot when I go up the hills. I always wished I could speak another language so I could curse in it. That way I would most likely offend less people on my runs. This run was all about hill training. Starting at the American River Confluence, we ran up the Stagecoach Trail and back down. That is two miles straight up, but coming down is definitely a lot of fun. Then we ran up to the Auburn
Dam Overlook and back down to the confluence. We took a wrong turn on the way back and ended up on the Rail Bed Trail, which was a little treacherous, but we eventually made it back to the correct trail and back to the confluence. Then we ran up roller coaster and up Goat Hill and made our way to the Cool Fire station and came back down again. I cursed a lot on Goat Hill. I have a different more colorful name for it too. Did you notice that I said “up” a lot? We did a little over 20 miles with lots and lots of climbing. I think we climbed about 3700 feet that day. My quads were very angry with me the next morning. And the bonus was that I was able to keep upright for another week. Yay me! Score: Trail 3.5 Runner 4
February 7th: Sterling Point and a bad ass Bjorg.
Since we tortured our legs last weekend, we ran a nice and easy out and back of 18 miles from Sterling Point to give them a little break. We were blessed with great weather along the rolling hills. It was nice to get acquainted with this part of the trail since I will have to tackle it at AR50. Spring was definitely in the air and the flowers were blooming all around us. It did get warm when we were in exposed areas, but the beauty of the surroundings trumped any minor discomfort from the heat. As my friend Stephanie and I were heading back to the trailhead we noticed an older woman running towards us on the trail. As shegot closer, she called over to us and asked us whatwe were training for. We told her AR50 and she exclaimed that she trains ultra runners and had set the women’s course record for Western States in the 1980’s. She talked our ear off for about 15 minutes giving us all kinds of advice about running ultra’s. I finally stopped her and asked her what her name was. She said Bjorg Austrheim-Smith. I asked her if she was running Western States this year and she said that she was pacing someone. So of course I googled her when we got back and found out that she was a bad ass ultra runner in the 80’s and 90’s. She is 73 years old and I really want her to train me. I don’t think I could keep up with her though and she would definitely yell at me when she sees me going up hills. But I really need that. By the way, I did not fall on this run either. Score: Trail 3.5 Runner 5
February 13th: My date with Lance Armstrong
I decided to do the training run for Western States this week. It was an organized run that took you on the last 22 miles of Western States. We had to get on buses that took us up somewhere far from the end and dropped us off. I really wasn’t paying attention as to where they dropped us off. I am usually oblivious as to where I am most of the time and tend to
get lost easily. I was on bus 1 and seated towards the back on the aisle when Lance comes strolling my way. He drops his sunglasses on the floor right in front of me and bends over saying “excuse me” and “sorry”. I said it was all good as I watched him bend over in front of me to retrieve them. He eventually sat two rows behind me with his buddy Eric Byrnes. When we got off the bus I walked over to him and said hi and asked if I could take a picture. He was very obliging so I grabbed a few friends and we got a picture with him. Of course, that started the picture taking frenzy with Lance. I just walked away at that point. I didn’t see Lance again that day since I’m sure he was already showered and on his wy home by the time I finished. This started out to be a fun run, but I ended up rolling my ankle at mile two which was very painful and I had to walk it out since I knew I still had 20 more miles to go. This was a very challenging course and the last 4 miles were extremely difficult. It was my hardest run before Way Too Cool. I cetainly have a new appreciation for those who have completed Western States. That last 4 miles is completely uphill. We eventually finished and were definitely back of the packers with this group. I didn’t realize how many elite runners ran this training run. I was in ultra awe of them. I did not fall on this run as well, but I count a half point for the ankle roll. So take that, trails! Score: Trail 4 Runner 5
February 21st: Practice for Way Too Cool
We ran the Way Too Cool course minus the Olmsted Loop. We tacked on extra mileage by accident when we took a wrong turn to make it a cool 25 miles. We had lots of climbing including tackling Goat Hill again. Everything had pretty much dried up, so there was no mud or water to deal with on the actual trail, but we had the usual water crossings. There were still a lot of waterfalls flowing as well. We made it back to the Cool Fire Station with our 25 miles and our last long run before Way Too Cool. The fueling and hydration were good and I was happy with the run. Plus, no falls again. Score: Trails 4 Runner 6
February 28th: Easy Cavitt Training Run
We met at Cavitt for an easy out and back for 15 miles. The weather was great and we were getting excited for Way Too Cool. I know these trails well and felt good running on them. We did have to go through the meat grinder, but that was good practice for AR50. At about mile 6, I tripped over a root and hit the ground hard. I scraped my left knee raw and it was bleeding quite a bit. I wiped it off and took off running again. at about mile 7, I fell again on my left knee. It was pretty raw
now and was throbbing. We got to mile 8 and turned around to head back. The worst part was that the brush and branches form the trail kept rubbing and poking my wound as I would run by them. I finished and cleaned up my wound when I got back to the vehicle I came in. Besides the falls, it was a nice taper run to prepare for Way Too Cool. The trail wanted its pound of flesh and it took it from me this weekend. Score: Trails 6 Runner 6 Next up, Way Too Cool!