Saturday, April 16, 2011
No not football, today's date and Hiking :). Today was our training hike. We have a race coming up in June in Idyllwild, which is up in our mountains. We are valley dwellers so we have to get ourselves up the mountain a few times at least to work on altitude training. Wish we could do it more often, it is just sooooo pretty up in our mountains. Oh, our town is nice enough, but I LOVE the mountains.
I've written about this hike and these mountains before, but a quick recap won't hurt. Short but sweet, Idyllwild has a special place in the collective heart of our family. We have been going to Idyllwild for as long as I can remember and my mom has many a tale from her family's trips up the mountain when she was a girl. Ernie Maxwell is the name of the trail we LOVE. My mom and I "discovered" it years ago after an article was run in a local newspaper. We went quite often for awhile and took my nephews with us a few times. Those trips were always fun. My mom, sister and I started going back to the trail about two years ago as a way to increase our fitness. We hadn't been for awhile as running took over, but now that the weather is nice and we have our mountain 10K looming again we were itching to get back to the trail.
This was a MASSIVELY fun trip "up the hill" (local colloquialism for the mountain). My nephew, one of the ones we took on the hike many years ago, came today, along with his wife and their dog. His sister's, naturally my nieces, also came along. Also our running/spark friend Angela. Of course the group also included my mom, sister and myself. We had quite the group :).
Part of the fun part was the time of year and the type of year we've had. We haven't been, that I can remember, in April. Also this year we have had a very wet year with lots of warm weather scattered in between so the mountains got lots of snow, but the majority of it has already melted off. One of the things that made this trip so different is how much water we encountered. On previous hikes we had identified several location we felt would carry water during spring run-off and had seen small amounts of water flowing in streams on previous occasions. On this occasion we found lots on little streams, what appeared to be a natural spring and several beautiful, if small, waterfalls. I already thought this area was gorgeous the water added even more charm to the scene :).
Another great surprise was a field of wild daffodils. I may be wrong in calling them daffodils, because they were a much smaller version than the ones I am familiar with, but so cute!! These were covering the ground in one section of the hike
Somewater pictures...Baby waterfall :)
It's hard to see the water in this pic, but it is a couple inches deep and fed but the stream in the pic above. This is where you crossed over the stream. Step on the log and then choose carefully your rocks and you will make it without getting wet :)
The biggest surprise was waiting at the top of the trail... a little bit of stubborn snow :).
Tahquitz peak...our local fave for rock climbers. We met a few climbers getting ready for the climb.
Niece, Nephew, Nephew's Wife and their adorable dog...
Heading back down...
5 miles round trip, HRM says more than 2000 calories burned...reward, a small bowl of blueberry pomegranate ice cream :). Now time for din-din. Have a great weekend all :).
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Try to do this quickly because I still need to finish working out :).
So, yesterday I did something I've been thinking about doing for a long, time, but have never done. Let me tell you the story (with some pics).
My son is currently in his 4th year of little league and we have played with the same league on the same fields all that time. Our fields are down at my sister's end of town and kind of tucked into this spot behind the High School and up against the highway that runs along the south end of our valley. The baseball fields take up most of this little corner, except for an open field. My best wild guess is that the field is about an acre, probably more though, which, supposedly, is privately owned. Anyways, sitting in this field is this hill, it's a pretty good sized hill and you can't go to baseball without seeing the hill.
This time of year you can often see people climbing the hill and walking around up there and I have ALWAYS wanted to climb the hill. For four years, twice a week for two months, I think about climbing this hill and NEVER do it. The timing is just wrong. Every time we are there it is for baseball and we never make time to climb the hill. It got even worse last year when we moved from t-ball to coach pitch and our field assignment changed and we were now on the fields looking at the hill-lol!! We are on those same fields again this year.
So, earlier this week, I casually mention on FB that I want more hill training in my schedule and that I can't think of a good way to fit it in, but maybe the least I can do is climb that hill. I forgot to mention this plan to my husband, which is funny because I am ALWAYS yelling at him that he needs to communicate things because I am NOT a mind reader. Luckily he is on FB and saw my post-lol!! Who knew FB could improve the communication between spouses?! lol! Tuesday he asks, "So, did you want to climb that hill tomorrow? Do we need to leave for the game early?" Me: (laughing) "Oh yeah, forgot to mention that didn't I! Yes, let's leave early and do that". And thus a plan was born :). The sirens were calling and I didn't plug my ears with wax and tie myself to the mast of my ship-lol!! Luckily it turned out to be a good thing, not at all like Odysseus' experience with the Sirens :).
Because we would be leaving so early and baseball was immediately following the hike, we made a picnic dinner. Everybody placed their order for a sandwich, which went into the picnic basket and a jug of Tang, some plastic cups and we were set. We got there and my son, who has climbed the hill with his cousins leads us out on our hike. It is actually really easy to access this supposedly private hill, there is a gate in the fence surrounding the ball park-lol! Plus the gate itself is 4-foot chain link, but the gate was hanging open so no prob there.
There is a short path leading to the hill and then a really easy to follow trail leading up. The first part is a little steep and a good workout, but short, maybe a hundred yards, max. We had to stop once so my son could show us where he and his cousins saw a lizard run into a hole and then one of the cousins poked a stick in the hole and the lizard ran back out and almost ran up the arm of the cousin. This is one of the things I LOVE about having a boy, lizard stories, they ROCK!! (Totally serious, I'm not joking at all, it is just SUCH a boy thing I find it adorable!!)
Here is a pic of the going up part...
Once you are up the steep climb the hill is actually really flat on top, more like a mesa than a traditional hill. A pic of my kids at the top...
As soon as we got to the top the trail cut to the left and headed back down the hill. Well, that just would not do as far as I was concerned-lol!! Straight ahead was a relatively flat table of rock. It looked like after a short scramble it would be really easy to just walk across the rock to another section of the hill. I told my kids to stay put while I climb up a rock a small rock and scope out the situation and sure enough there are two easy ways off our rock and then we are right on top of the big flat rock and it is easy going. So off we go. Another pic of my kids being silly Here we are standing on the big flat rock and you can see right behind my kids the rock we had to climb over...on the other side it is more sloped and there are little holes all over the rock that make perfect footholds. It almost looks like the sloped side was used as a Maize Stone, but our town has done a really good job of identifying and preserving those, so the holes are probably erosion, but it is really cool having all those little natural foot holds. Not that it is a hard rock to get over but I am a MAJOR clutz and had already tripped on one teeny-tiny rock. Sliding down a sloped rock is always a risk with me so I appreciated the helping hand from Mother Nature.
The path picked right back up on the other side of the rock and it was pretty easy to follow it back around to the front side of the hill and back down, we took a couple "false" paths, that are probably real paths when everything is dried up. There was quite a bit of wild mustard growing up there though and it had choked off some of the less traveled paths. We got back in plenty of time for son to participate in his team's warm up. We had our picnic dinner and watched the game and it was an awesome evening. The kids CAN'T wait to climb the hill again. We have a date for after the baseball game on Saturday :).
I finally climbed that hill and it was a blast. The interesting side effect was it also helped me with running. Here is the side story :)...I recently got new running shoes and I love them, they are GREAT. But, they aren't the same as the pair I usually wear and my shin problem has been trying to come back up and I wasn't sure if it was just my shins or if the shoes were a part of the problem. I felt it could be the shoes because my shins seemed to bother me more when I wore the new shoes and not as much when I wore the old shoes. The old shoes aren't really old, they still have plenty of miles left on them, these ones were just a REALLY great price and with two pairs they will last longer and I like having choices :). Anyways, I wore the new shoes for the hike yesterday with the though that maybe if I wore them a little when I wasn't running I would "get used" to them and it wouldn't be a problem. While we were hiking I only thought about the shoes when I tripped on that rock, thinking that if I was wearing my hiking boots (which I thought was kind of overkill for this "hike") I wouldn't have tripped on the rock. I didn't think about which shoes I was wearing again until much later. After the game I put our chairs and picnic stuff in the car and talked to my sister-in-law for awhile (our kids played against each other last night-it was fun until we had yet another flare up from a parent (different one this time) ). So by the time I was done with all that the team and my husband were all up at the snack bar and it was really cold, so I told the girls, "Let's run". We did we ran all the way to the snack bar. It wasn't until we were getting in the car that I realized I hadn't had any problems with my shins or shoes during the entire hike, the several times I ran back and forth to the car, and the time I ran to the snack bar. I wore the shoes again on this morning's run...not one problem. I figure the shoes just needed to feel important :). I still can't say if it was the shoes or the shins, but I don't care, for now problem solved and that is fine with me. Had a great run this a.m., fastest in a long time. Still really slow, but back to my normal "fast" pace so I am good with it, because I am no longer playing catch up-YAY!!
We have a hike on Saturday instead of a long run and I am looking forward to that, it's been awhile since we've done a hike. The plan is to hit my favorite, Ernie Maxwell trail. It is up in the mountains, it will be chilly, but should be absolutely gorgeous and the stream should be running well. When we go later in summer the stream is usually completely dried up, but it is really fun to see the stream in the spring, which is in full swing here in So. Cal. It's been a good week so far and have more to look forward to still. Oh, not to mention, nephew and his wife will probably be joining us and maybe a niece or two, so it'll be a really fun hike too :). Hoping now that the scale will agree with me on Saturday that it's been a good week :). Hope everyone else is having a good week too :).
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Sometimes blog ideas come from the strangest places...this one comes from Facebook.
A page I follow asked this question this morning...To me, endurance means_____ (fill in the blank).
Well, immediately I started thinking about the word endure. That word sometimes has sort of a negative connotation. When we "endure" something we are "getting through" a tough time the best we can. When we endure we are not having fun. Some people go through life with the attitude that this life is something to be "endured". Which I find to be really sad by the way.
The question of what endurance means was asked in a sporting context, where endurance can mean going distances that are inhuman. I mean really...who runs 70+ miles!!?? Endurance athletes that's who, and more. Let's take runner Dean Karnazes for example. Dean is an Ultramarathoner who is running across America in 40-50 mile bits...EVERY DAY. I haven't been following his trek very closely so I don't know if he's had to take a day off here and there, but 40-50 miles in ONE day is amazing, to get up and do it over and over and over again until you've run all the way across the country is simply AMAZING. Dean Karnazes is an ENDURANCE ATHLETE. He has reached a level of fitness that I am in awe of. And NO it will not matter what I do or how I train I will NEVER be like Dean, and that is okay because, as the question indicates, endurance is different for every person.
For some endurance is getting up in the morning. For some it is running 50 miles for the 60th time. For each of us it is something different.
I ENDURED a half-marathon and will probably do it again. But, a half is probably my limit. At this point I don't know if I have the ability to do a marathon or ever will. And really, I'm okay with that. 10 miles seems to be my max and I can push and endure another 3, beyond that and I just might die. ;) So, I had this idea in my head of what endurance means to me, but I could not express it in words, but as I read some of the responses, I saw my thoughts expressed and decided to share some of them with you. I'll include the link to the thread at the end. Here is what endurance means to some people and I happen to agree.
Not giving up on yourself.
Achieving what you thought could not be done!!
“Endurance is not just the ability to bear a hard thing, but to turn it into glory.”
believing you can do more that you ever thought possible.
knowing i can finish
discovering the unknown.
I LOVE each and every one of these statements. Together I think that not only do they define Endurance in a sporting sense, but give new meaning to Endure in the everyday sense. This is one of those things I am going to be able to think on for a long, long time and find new depth every time I do.
Your turn to fill in the blank.
To me endurance means______________.
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Yep, I must confess. I can't hide my secret any longer. I'm an addict. I'm addicted to races. Not running mind you, I like running just fine, I even actually enjoy it from time to time. I'm addicted to races even though I don't stand a chance of winning one, I'm still addicted.
I'm addicted to the energy of a race. If you've never been to a running race I dare you to just go sometime. Find a race near you and just go. Nobody will care that you aren't running it. Everyone will assume you are "support". Lots of races have health expos attached and you can get some great freebies if you show up at the right race. Stand and watch the runners come in and cheer them on. Trust me, not one single runner will question why you are cheering for them. It's just kind of how it is in running, everybody cheers for everybody else. Just hang out at a race and you will FEEL the energy. It is just different. It is hard to explain, but it is kind of like a giant ball of positivity (is that a word?). I would call it excitement, but you get excitement a lot of different ways and race energy is just different, in a really awesome way.
I'm addicted to the expos. Especially if it is a really good one!! Disney is the best I've ever been to, but I've heard through the racing grapevine that there are others out there to rival Disney. You just kind of gotta get lucky, but a good expo is like, well, see here's where I have a problem... I don't drink so I can't compare it to anything alcoholic. I don't do any drug that my doctor doesn't give me so I can't compare it to that....oooh!! A really good race expo is BETTER than really good chocolate!! Yep, I'll stand by that comment-lol!! I'll never forget that first expo...fitness gear I never knew existed. I tried my very first Clif Shot Block at the Disney expo. Expos are, in and of themselves, a drug :).
I'm addicted to the race bibs. Outside of a lobster restaurant there is no other place where it is appropriate to wear a bib-lol!! Race bibs are all unique. Each one different and each one special. Since I have children I can't really compare them to children, but once you have more than one, you love each one for how special it is and you appreciate each one for it's unique characteristics. I would NEVER throw away a bib-lol!! Plus, it is a way to stock up on safety pins-lol!! It seems like every time it gets to the point where I have to hunt for a safety pin I have a race and poof! 4 more safety pins-lol!!
I am addicted to the swag!! Some races come with nothing but the bib and they can be nice and fun. But, sad as it is, I have a habit of judging a race by its swag. A shirt is almost a must. A medal is excellent. After race snacks are a definite plus. Don't know what is so special about an orange wedge and a stale bagel (only because it has been sitting on a tray all morning), but oranges cut into wedges are the best tasting and juiciest oranges in the world-lol!! Looking at taking up a new race I always want to know what I get...sad, but true...I'm addicted to swag.
I'm addicted to race web-sites!! I'm a race web-site lurker. I love to check out what races are coming up. I love to think about "what if's". What if I run this one? Can I fit it into a schedule? Can I afford it? Would it be as fun as it looks? Today my sister showed me a new race. Yes, she is an enabler, I'm gonna have to talk to her about not enabling my addiction-lol! Anyways, she showed me this new website for a race not too far away. Saturday is a 5K and kids race, Sunday a half. We are looking at the half. It looks like an AWESOME half. The 5K and kids race look like a blast too. The kids races are FREE!! So what do I do? Sign my kids up right away, because it is free and limited to 1000 kids! I figure even if I don't do the half I can do the 5K on the same day as the kids-lol!! I'm addicted...I saw a chance to grab a fix and went for it-lol!! Plus, the kids get medals-for FREE!! Yep, wasn't going to pass that one up.
I'm addicted, now I just have to get GOOD and do my addiction justice :)
P.S. Just to be clear, I am teasing myself and joking about an "addiction". I know that addiction is a serious subject but this is meant to be a lighthearted jab at myself. I am NOT making fun of anyone with a real addiction. Just so we are clear-K? Thanks for reading, hope you all have a great day :).
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