Tuesday, January 31, 2012

3M half marathon

On the heels of returning from Big Bend, I ran the 3M half marathon in Austin this Sunday.  (Note:  I normally put about 7,500 miles or less on my car per year - and drove almost 1,900 solo miles in the past two weeks!)  In the interest of full disclosure, I mainly ran this run for the swag bag of 3M products:

Also, the course is net downhill, so it should be "Fast. Easy. Fun."  No such hope.

Well, the night before, I attended my running buddy, Julia's, 80th birthday.  I actually have to create a new 80 and up age group now for the Women's Run this year.  She's truly a remarkable friend and an icon of the running community (every time she enters a new age group, most race directors add the new 'and up' 5-year age group).  I can merely hope to be running and rescuing animals like she does - at even approaching the age of 80.

Then, the race started at 0645 the next morning in North Austin, so it was an EARLY start for me.  And, after about 9 miles of downhill-ish-ness, I realized my calves still hated me after the Big Bend 25k and driving and driving, and they rebelled.  But I finished - not my best, not my worst, but still a painful drive home.

Here's the view from the finish line
And my shiny medal
While I was in Austin, I was called by compadres I served with in Bosnia - Mark and Laurie - who are now RET and passing through town.  We met up for dinners the past couple of nights, along with Jessica, another CJSOTF-Sarjevo compadre now stationed in San Antonio - and regaled each other with some old war stories.  Here's Laurie 'playing' with a monkey at Bass Pro Shop
It's hard to believe that it was over 10 years ago that we were 'playing' in the Balkan mountains over there.  Next thing you know, I WILL be 80 years old!  Until then, next up is 'just' a local 10k trail run which may hurt.

thanks to Brightroom and 3M for the pics

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Pimpin' my podcar

My wee coche has been through some things - like this

So, for her 5 1/3 y/o birthday, after driving 1,100 miles last weekend, my little podcar busted a flat.  Luckily, it was in my driveway

It was about time for new tires, anyway, and I HATE those cheap plastic hubcaps (I ripped them all off after that picture).  So, I went for a little podcar bling and now we have tires that can run into things and not get hurt (much - and OBVIOUSLY not fuzzy things) - which is really more important to me than the bling.  I really just want to be able to run into things and bounce down my street safely.

So, now we should be able to make it to the next up - 3M half marathon - if we wake up dayum early on Sunday.  (after working some OT for this pimpin')

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Delayed race report - Big Bend 25k trail run

I'm behind.  It started at Thanksgiving, which is usually the weekend I prepare/send all my holiday cards, send out holiday gifts, and transfer my calendar into the following year (old school, Filofax style).  This year, I have been late on all of that, and only finally transferred my calendar this weekend -- realizing that I'm nearing the end of January 2012 - ALREADY.

But, things and races got in my way -- and here is the race report from my 3d race of the year - the Big Bend Ultra trail run (I just ran the 25k).  For those of you who don't know (like I didn't last year) -- Big Bend is here - very, very far away from most things (other than Mexico).  Zoom as you need to, but that is a 6.5-7 hour drive from San Antonio. (Note: click on any pic below to make it larger)

So, I headed out along the more scenic, albeit very lonely I90 route along the Rio Grande.  And saw my favorite sign
(I did NOT pick up any new inmate boyfriends).  In fact, you don't see ANYONE out here.  No cars, no cellphone coverage, cue banjos....and then, you are really glad to hit a border patrol stop for a little 'company.'

below picture is Mexico - across the Rio

and no cars in sight

Pecos river

still no cars and about 3 hours to drive
But, eventually, I made it to Big Bend National Park - and my cozy lodge room (you guys camping are suckers!), where this was my view of The Window

and as sunset approached in the Chisos Basin

On Saturday, I drove around the park (all told - 1,100 miles on my car for the weekend, which is over 1/7th of my annual mileage).  Most of this was on my own and, while wading across the Rio Grande at one point, I realized that nobody in the whole world knew EXACTLY where I was (no cell phone coverage, either) -- I'm glad I didn't get eaten by a bear.

proof of illegal immigrant ponies

who altruistically brought these semi-legal goods across the river, I'm sure

Here's the view across the Rio to Boquillos, Mexico (border crossing opening this Spring!)

Then, it was off to the hot springs (and it was hot)
In the hot springs (I thought it was going to be cold in January - air temp around 72 degrees, water around 101-102 degrees)
near the area I allegedly may have crossed over and touched Mexico, although only the donkeys saw me, if it happened - and nobody can prove it...

and this was the road my poor little podcar had to drive to get over/back there (the drop off is MUCH bigger than my car)
So, then there was the little race to run

Here's the cool shirt
and getting ready, set...
(It takes about 45-60 minutes to get to the staging area in the morning, and I almost hit a deer heading down the basin/mountain)  But, I made it to the windy, but decent-weather start (mid 40s with a breeze)

1st aid station (around 4.5-5 miles)

Here's where I started to sneak down into the secret canyon Whitney told me about, but then I remembered there were bears, mountain lions, spiders, and such out there, and I jumped back onto the race route (yep, I was chicken to try to run it alone).
had I run it, I would have emerged here (unless a bear got me)
but I kept on -- the next pic of me is the 3d aid station
(somewhere near here, you can see the finish across the desert for about 2-3 miles)....but it finally arrived
(on the other side, thank goodness!)
Here is my bling

and after eating the BEST veggie burger EVER (really) - relaxing at the campground w/ buddy Kim (she won first F masters for the 25k last year, and goofed off this year, running my 50meter pace!).
and then there was that cruddy Packers loss, a long solo ride home with sore feet, and a flat tire after I got home.  Which is my excuse for posting all of this beauty late. THIS weekend was a nice medium-distance run with buddies, followed by brunch.  Next weekend is the 3M half marathon in Austin -- if I get the new tires on!!