Hope your Memorial Day was memorable! This time of year I find myself going on runs and trying to access higher trails to see if the snow has cleared. I set out from our house and tried the bike path at the nearby ski lift. Despite 5 inches of snow this weekend, the path was clear. I ran to the creek to find that there was a beautiful bridge that crossed over the water. The bridge must have gone in last fall when I was pregnant and couldn’t run. I was so excited to see the bridge in place of the bouncing board that previously stretched across the rushing water. Years past I would stick my arms out for balance to get to the other side. I never fell in. Now I never will.
It was 31 degrees this morning and the bridge had a light covering of snow. I made my way to the sunny side of town and ran where it seemed warmer. I couldn’t wait to head back home over the bridge and up the hill.
With this never ending winter, we are excited for our first family trip to New York in a couple weeks. The NY Mini 10K will be my first race back after giving birth to Piper. At three months old it is also Piper’s first airplane trip. I am more anxious for the flight than the race itself. I couldn’t help but notice it was 90 degrees in NY this weekend. At least we can leave our down-jackets behind and pack a little lighter. Though packing “light” is relative when we now have to travel with a car seat and stroller! I can’t wait to share NY and the running community with Piper. Hope to see you in the Big Apple!
Andrew and I managed to get out on our first date! We forwent the dinner-date and opted to connect over a run outside before Mother Nature decided to open up her bowels and dump (my husband added this colored commentary) nine feet of snow. This storm made for the snowiest winter in Mammoth history, 600 inches and counting! Grandma Kastor held baby Piper and sang her nursery rhymes as we set out on the “Kastor 20 minute loop” around town. I was relieved that our 20 minute loop only took 19 minutes because, I was expecting 25 plus! We even got to add on in our neighborhood which seemed foreign to me.
The only two things I was denied during pregnancy was my passion for running and my love of wine. Running or walking gave me horrible side stitches and wine tasted like rancid grapes. Now, I feel smooth and lighter than ever on my feet, and I didn’t have to “re-train” my pallete for wine. As I type this, I seem to have gathered some resemblance of my old routine, drinking a nice glass of The Maven by Torrin Winery of Paso Robles after playing with an interval session of 1 minute “on” one minute “off” earlier today.
It is great to run again, but I really look forward to “training” which requires a whole new level of commitment. We are finding our routine with Piper so that this week ahead looks a little more structured. I plan on logging miles again for the first time in over 6 months! This last month I have merely logged feedings and dirty diapers, so mileage is a welcomed addition.
Since running has come back so easily, I look forward to racing in the late summer and early fall. The Carlsbad 5000 is next weekend and I secretly wish I was ready to race there. It is one of my favorite road races on the running circuit. This year marks the 11 year anniversary of my American Record and the 9 year anniversary of my World Record in Carlsbad. I hope to be fit and fast to join the starting line next year. All the best to those who will be running there.
I went for a great run in what was a picture-perfect fall morning. The route I chose climbed a considerable amount so I could see fog in the valley below. The creeks were rushing after a good rainfall earlier in the week. I looped around and dropped back into town on one of my favorite trails layered with bright yellow Aspen leaves. The change of seasons always energizes me. This fall morning marked 5 months of being pregnant.
My run was followed by an informative appointment in which my doctor compared labor to running a marathon. I told her I was more-than-excited to hear that delivery will only last 2 hours 20 minutes. And, since I’m not racing, I can get on the Baby Channel and have some product placement if I wear my favorite ASICS Hyperspeed racers, sip on Cytomax and only start hurting when my GARMIN says I’m halfway there! Shouldn’t be too difficult. Here I thought I was going into unchartered waters.
On a more serious note, I don’t think it will be this easy, and I’m sure appointments closer to our due date will show a little more of the reality I’ll be facing. Right now I’ll just enjoy the change of seasons and the confirmations I keep getting that the baby is growing and healthy. After all, my main focus right now is being a great mom even before the baby is born. This means getting out and nurturing the baby with a morning run, eating well, sleeping well and thinking joyful thoughts so she comes out running….I mean, smiling!
In the 26 years I have been running, the only time I get out of shape is when I take time off post-season. After each racing season or each marathon I have always taken a month off any type of training. I choose to step away, refresh and connect with the people in my life who I don’t get to spend as much time with as I’d like to while training at such a high level. When my four weeks are up and it’s time to begin running again, it hurts. That being said, I love the process of gaining fitness as the weeks go on and my races near. In fact, the only reason I have been able to train at such a high level is because I balanced it with serious rest post-season.
Earlier this summer I was getting into great fitness while training for this November’s ING New York City Marathon. When I found out we would be expecting our first child in March, I stopped training. Although I get out and run every day it has been a very strange feeling to “decondition”. As the weeks go by I can feel myself losing fitness although I’m still running. It is the first time in my life I am getting out of shape while running (albeit not very fast).
Come to think of it, I may run faster next March while pushing a Baby Jogger. The same run I did two weeks ago now feels a little bit harder. I am enjoying getting out on the trails and appreciating the scenery and views without the goal of finishing the loop in a given time, but at the same time I’m noticing hills I never realized existed. As I notice the hills more these days, I am also noticing my surroundings more and intimately choosing the places I want to explore each day. This is the first time in my career I am heading out the door without a goal, but simply to indulge in the joys of running. My GARMIN battery is lasting longer because I simply use it as a reference as opposed to a training tool of time, distance, elevation and pace.
As fall marathon season is upon us, I look forward to going to the races and watching finely tuned athletes hit the streets to conquer the 26.2-mile distance. It is an exciting time of year when the weather cools for our longer runs and our goals get closer to reality. There are Rock ‘n’ Roll events coming up in San Jose, Denver, Los Angeles, San Antonio and Las Vegas. There are also the Chicago and New York Marathons. So many great races to choose from. Although I’ll be a spectator this season, I look forward to seeing you at the races. If you see me out there plodding along in one of those great cities, slow down and share a mile or two with me.
Andrew and I are ecstatic to announce we are expecting our first child. Although we are announcing the pregnancy early, it seems fair to let my “team” in this sport know. I felt it important to share the news with my friends at ASICS, the New York Road Runners, Competitor, GARMIN, and my Mammoth Track Club teammates. The running community is small and with mass communication, it isn’t easy to keep such a big secret. So, we are putting it out there. No rumors, just straight to the facts. Andrew and I are expecting our first child in March. In the past we have always chosen to postpone being parents, but this has been more rewarding than I ever imagined. We don’t know if it is a boy or girl, but after seeing such a strong heartbeat, we are hoping the baby has my VO2max and Andrew’s speed. (continue reading…)
Our week is off to a tragic start as California Baptist University of Riverside was traveling to Mammoth Lakes for running camp yesterday and was struck by an SUV traveling in the opposite direction. Three people died in the drawn-out accident and many are in critical and stable condition in surrounding hospitals. Ryan Hall, Andrew and I went to the hospital today to give t-shirts, stuffed animals and flowers to the girls here in Mammoth Lakes. We were able to talk to Alyssa, who after surgery and morphine was the best of the injured list. Her parents are here and grateful that their daughter survived this awful ordeal. (continue reading…)
Last Wednesday, Andrew and I drove down to Los Angeles and adopted a 4 year-old Mastiff. Petfinder.com led us to Smash Face Rescue where we read about Sage’s story. Although she is not a runner, she can nap better than I, which is saying a lot. And, since I sleep more than I run, it is better to have a dog that sleeps well. When I come into the house after my morning workouts she is there ready to nap the rest of the afternoon with me. My teammate Sara Hall asked if Sage could run with me and I let her know that a walk around the house had her sleeping and snoring loudly for the next three hours. Her story is a sad one as she was shot by police in LA, spent 10 days in the local shelter with 4 bullets in her legs and was finally rescued by the Smash Face crew who helped her immediately. She is truly a gentle giant, loves to cuddle and thinks she is a lap dog regardless of the 95 pounds she weighs. It’s been awesome having a dog in the house again. (continue reading…)
The 4th of July weekend in Mammoth Lakes was simply amazing. We had such a fun and active few days. I started the weekend by running McGee Creek because I heard the wildflowers were incredible this year. And they certainly were. Mule ears, phlox and desert paintbrush lined the single-track trail. I saw a field of white lupin I never knew existed. My favorite part was going through a canopy of Aspen trees. The green leaves were quaking in the breeze and I can’t help but think of how beautiful they will be in the fall when the colors turn yellow, orange and red. At one point the spring run-off was so intense I had to take my shoes and socks off to cross the rushing stream. Halfway across I began to regret it since the water was so cold. I put myself together on the other side of the washed-out trail and got on my way. There was an enormous beaver damn a couple more miles up the rushing creek.
I remembered living in Alamosa, Colorado and having our dog Aspen swim after beavers in the Rio Grande River. It used to make me laugh. These are the type of runs that have me wanting to continue for hours. I kept negotiating with myself to run five more minutes until finally I turned around with the following day’s workout in mind. Runs like that are why I love running so much.
After Saturday’s workout, I spent the day on the lake with some friends enjoying the great weather and vacation atmosphere that fills Mammoth on holiday weekends Sunday was the Footloose Freedom Mile, which my husband organizes, and it was another great success. Meb Keflizighi was the official race starter and people were totally thrilled to have him there. After the race we watched the Main Street Parade, posted results at Footloose Sporting Goods and headed home to “crash”. Andrew and I were pretty beat after organizing the race so we chose to forego fireworks this year. It is 7:45 in the evening and I just asked Andrew if it was too early to go to bed. Never.
This is by far the most difficult blog to write, but it is the only thing to write about since this is what has consumed my most recent days. Andrew and I lost our 14 year old Chocolate Lab this weekend. I had Aspen since my senior year at the University of Arkansas and Andrew met us four years later. He only knew Aspen and me together. She always looked young for her age, as she had some Brittany Spaniel in her, which made her more petite, and she had absolutely no gray hair (a trait Andrew envied). Aspen was with us for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon, but started having difficulties there. (continue reading…)
This Saturday was my first run back after the London Marathon three weeks ago. I can’t imagine having more fun than beginning my summer season running through Trefethen winery in Napa, California. ASICS and Oakley hosted magazine editors for a wine country weekend. We received the latest Oakley shades and ASICS shoes as well as older vintages of Trefethen Wine. (continue reading…)