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highlights of some of this month’s fun runs…

~march 2nd, harding truck trail~

a day of extremes: up harding’s unrelenting 9.3-mile climb i am enjoying the spectacular views of the snow-capped mountains, soaking in the faint warmth of the morning sun, and just plain appreciating life. 7 miles up the trail i begin to feel cold… really cold. a few steps ahead and i come across a frozen puddle, in a most psychedelic arrangement of ice, water, rocks and twigs. (no, i left the mushroom gel at home…) i run through a few sections of snow on the ground. i’m freezing. upon reaching the top of the trail i dramatically cut my break short, as i’m shaking violently at this point. i wash down two clif shot blocks with a few gulps of water and start running down, hoping my semi-frozen hands will not fall off. hey, i need to drive home! on my way down i start feeling lightheaded. it doesn’t get better; in fact, it gets worse with time. i feel dizzy; i feel like i’m going to pass out. it’s too hot. i’m overheating… man, it’s hot! i’m weak… at least i know that, at some point, my (faster) running fellows that went farther up the mountain will catch up with me; so being found dead days later is not a preoccupation. i see a picnic table ahead and ponder whether to stop, peel off a few layers, eat and drink… ‘naw, i’m two miles from the bottom… i just wanna be done. i’ll keep going’. in about two and a half minutes i turn around and run back up to crash at the table. i take my jacket off, eat a packet of sports beans and drink some water. i feel better instantly.

lesson learned: duh! i can’t expect to not eat breakfast, and then run 18 miles through extreme temperature changes on just two clif shot blocks! (a serving is three blocks, by the way). i wonder why i didn’t eat more, and sooner. my fanny pack was well-stocked with gels in assorted flavors, sports beans and a lara bar. well, i wanted to be done already, and didn’t want to “waste” time eating. ‘i’m almost there, anyway’… it turned out not only did i feel better as soon as the sugar hit my bloodstream, the “wasted” time sitting and eating paid itself off with stronger and faster running back to the car. if i want my body to perform at its best, i need to fuel it properly, frequently. wise up, nattie!

~march 10th, wtrs 21k~

beiyi, skip, and i at the mile-3 aid station

no such thing as too much fun: after reading charlie’s account of the 18k two weeks before, i just HAD TO run the last race of the winter trail run series. skip, beiyi and i faithfully maintained our back-of-the-pack status. i think only two people finished after us. whatever! we had so much fun running, talking, taking pictures, crawling up horsethief, and orchestrating octr‘s upcoming adventures for the entire year. and of course, that was the day in which skip coined the phrase “luv from the back”, in an attempt to put into words all the fun we, back-of-the-packers, have.

~march 11th, black star canyon~

robert, me and greg after our run (photo kindly “borrowed” from greg, who by the way took a decent shot just holding the camera at arm’s length)

it’s all good:never mind the fact that we partied all night at keira’s, AND that it was the first day of daylight saving time. loyal runners that we are, we gladly got up at 5 and met at black star canyon at 6 for a 10-mile run. ‘why?’ some ask. ‘why not?’ we reply.

lesson learned: feeling crappy is not fun, but it doesn’t last, either. after a grueling climb, and many frustrated attempts to convince my running partner beiyi that i just had to turn around before our agreed upon turn-around point, i had the best of times flying down the trail back to the start. indeed: it’s all good.

~march 17th, st. patty’s party: luge to old camp~

skip, me, wendy, mary and e-rod partying away at old camp (photo kindly “borrowed” from wendy; or should i say skip, since he carried the camera?)

right up there: what could possibly top a “party run” with awesome friends, beer and shamrock cookies, that could be posted on a blog without offending anyone? i can’t think of anything else.we took the “luge” trail — that by the way does its name complete justice — up to old glory and the santiago truck trail down to old camp, site of our party, then back up santiago, followed by a wild adventure down the “luge”.the day started with a “runners bonding moment”, when four of us chicks sneaked into the bushes for a “group pee”. on our way to old camp we had the endless opportunity to make fun of skip and his 25-pound backpack, even though we all contributed in some way to jack up its weight. (wendy’s camera, wendy’s grapes, wendy’s suntan lotion, probably a few other items from wendy i can’t remember right now… oh, yeah, and my pink gloves). e-rod was kind enough to haul that heavy gear up for quite a few miles, and we would all laugh every time the camelbak nozzle fell off and water leaked all over the place, immediately followed by skip’s comment: “we are having an equipment malfunction”.

lesson learned:always carry basic first-aid items with you on a long run. alcohol pads, band-aids, neosporin and some vicodin… i mean, ibuprofen. skip’s friend tracy, on her very first trail run, took a nasty spill on the way down. she had a few cuts and scrapes, and all we had was one alcohol padand two ibuprofen pills. we found some bikers that gave us some band-aids, but when wendy rolled her ankle about a mile later, we had no more pain pills. not good. oh, and please: bring enough water for the amount of hours you intend to be out, plus another 50% of that amount for an emergency!

man, i’m really blessed to have such wonderful friends that share the same passion for running.

{ 5 comments… add one }
  • Jessica Deline March 24, 2007, 4:07 am

    And we are all blessed you are part of this group! Glad you made the leap from solo runner to group running 🙂 Looking forward to SD tomorrow!

  • Sarah March 25, 2007, 11:23 pm

    Great post! Looks like some awesome fun times. And I agree, why not?! : )

    P.s. I carry vicodin in my first aid kit. You never know when it might come in handy…. : )

  • OCRunnerGirl March 26, 2007, 9:32 pm

    Great post Nattie. I was not on any of those runs with you guys. So sad. But I will see you at Lake Hodges this weekend! Yay! See you then…

  • Greg March 27, 2007, 6:06 pm

    Nattilicious: You make runnin’ fun. Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow. Watch out for landslides. Jesus, I’m on a Fleetwood Mac trip. Ahhhhhhhh!!!!

  • Chris March 28, 2007, 12:15 am

    This reminds me of when I used to surf all the time.

    When I was in high school, I’d surf through November wearing only a wetsuit vest. When I graduated, I used a spring suit w/ sleeves through the year. Halfway through college, I switched to a full suit. Then I added booties…then gloves. Finally I quit surfing after Halloween:)

    I hate exercising in the cold, when you get that dry burn in your lungs.


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