Sunday, August 30, 2009

Frog Creek Tail Run

After a week of not being able to motivate myself to run, I figured I just needed to get out and do something. So Saturday morning I drove myself up to Donner Lake to do the Frog Creek Trail Run that Gretchen blogged about last week. It was a benefit for the (and I'm copying directly from Gretchen's blog here, spelling and all) Oxalosis and Hyperoxaluria Foundation. One of the kids of a local family (owners of the Frog Creek Lodge?) suffers from hyperoxaluria, which from my limited understanding, basically turns the body into a kidney stone making machine. Yikes.

Found the place Surprisingly easily, up a steepish dirt road off of a side road off Donner Lake Road. From the moment I pulled in, it was obvious this was a low-key event. I loved the makeshift start/finish line, ingeniously set up using a few branches.

After a briefing by the course setter, we set off uphill. The first half of the race was primarily climbing, with the descent coming toward the end. I ran with Gratchen for quite a bit of the race, and it was wonderful to have someone to chat with - I'm usually such a solitary runner, and it was a welcome change. here she is leading the way:

After the climb brought everyone to a walking pace, there were some nice flatter spots as we passed some beautiful alpine lakes. (Sorry, I missed the names of these - they all seemed to start with "A".)

One of the runners had a dog along with them, and he tagged along near us most of the race. His collar said "DOG", so that's what I called him...

DOG even took the opportunity to cool off in some of the lakes:

Another lake - and a blurry shot of Gretchen that seemed perfect for the "watercolor" filter in my photo editor. Click to enlarge this one:

An example of one of the serious hills:

And the views that we were then rewarded with:

After descending through a ski area (Donner Ski Ranch?) We ran on the road for about a quarter mile, then hopped back on the trail (The PCT, actually) Had s great view looking over Donner Lake and the highway from here:

The rest was mostly downhill, and I kept my camera in it's case. Good thing, too - at one point, I took a nice head-over-heels spill on a bark-y area. Gave my upper back a little sore spot that I'm feeling today. But I made it to the finish in time to get a photo of Gretchen finishing:

The finish line was like a cool family barbecue, with kids running all over, live music playing, and dogs everywhere. Great food started showing up - burgers, salmon, homemade pasta salads and cookies, and watermelon. Couple of kegs under the porch. I could've hung out all afternoon, but needed to get back to town.

Here's a couple friends I made:

All in all, a really cool little race. By far the best vibe of any race I've been to this year, and for a really good cause. I hope they can draw a few more people if they do it next year.

(Oh, and all these photos are on my flickr page as well.)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Barefoot - the other side

A really good article here from a couple of sports scientists exploring the science behind the current trend in running shoes.

Found via

Saturday, August 22, 2009

I ran!

Feels like a big surprise after the last couple weeks, but I went out for three miles this morning to test out the body. My knee, which I was the most worried about, felt absolutely fine. Back and ribs were a little sore, but it was a nice loop. I think I'll try a little longer run tomorrow, then maybe come up with a plan for the fall race season...

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Back and battered

Hi everyone.

I've returned from my backpacking trip to Montana (pics here, if you're interested.) Had a great time, saw friends, it was beautiful but rained a little, etc. etc.

While I was out, though, I managed to take a couple of falls, both on rain-slick granite. On the first one I scraped an elbow and (probably) bruised a rib. On the second I managed to drop a rock I was carrying on my leg just above my left ankle, which I think may have served to tear something inside my left knee. It feels suspiciously like how it did with the meniscus tears I've had arthroscopically repaired in both knees.

So, I haven't run in the week and a half since I've been back. My rib is finally feeling better enough to get out and try, but the knee vacillates from maybe-ok-enough-to-try-to-run to too-weak-to-hold-me-up. Meanwhile I'm having trouble transitioning from vacation/backpacking eating habits back to the real world, and am gaining a few pounds. Need to find a way to a) make myself get out and try a few miles on this knee and b) stop eating and drinking everything I can see.

I'm a little discouraged here - This year seems to be following the same pattern as last year. Great Spring race season, taper off the speed and up miles for a July ultra, then get injured and lazy and feel unprepared for the fall races. I was really hoping to be able to train for a good time in a fall or winter marathon, too.

Anyway, that's where I am.