Wednesday, June 20, 2012

SkyLine to The Sea 2012

The Tattoo we were going to get
It's been a week and a day since the race. I can walk again! My C.A. Trip was quite an adventure. I will not be planning my next vacation around a 50k or Marathon - I know now that their is a reason people said that was crazy.... they were right.

Our Rental Car - I miss it
My sister and I got to the International San Francisco Airport at 3pm CA time- we got our rental car and ended up getting a nicer one because they double booked what we would have gotten - a Green Kia, instead we got a red Toyoda Camerae - 9 days for $170 from plus $80 for insurance - I think it was a good deal. My car at home is old - its a 98 and not in great shape, this was a 2012 with about 1200 miles on it. The breaks were REALLY touchy compared to my car - everything was different and somehow I had to start driving down what seemed like a 50 lane interstate. It was a little rough to start with, but after a little bit I started to really like the car.

We drove on Highway one through half Moon Bay and stopped for dinner -
Half Moon Bay - Saturday June 9th
after walking around for a while we stopped in a bar right along the main street. We decided to try the catch of the day - which happened to be salmon -
Wonder FRESH Catch of the day.

it was SOOO good. I have never had fresh salmon, this was grilled to perfection and came with rice and wonderful fresh veggies. It was also nice to have some California wine - we just choose a Cab, and it was really good, as was the wine everyplace we went on CA. After that we we headed to our "tent" 
The layout of the "tents" Ocean view to the left
Our View from across the street

Our "tent"
  at Costanoa - Costanoa is a huge area that has a lodge, cabins, RV parking, tenting area and also the "tents" that we stayed in. The beds were comfortable - the bathrooms were clean and heated - the people were friendly and the food at the restaurant was good but a little pricy - as were most things in that state... on one side of the tent we had a view of some hills, on the other side we could see the ocean from the edge of the campground - I loved waking up to the sound of waves - I slept very well in that tent. After we settled in we headed across the street (highway one) to some trails. The view was amazing - and we ended up walking a bit farther than we had planned to (this ended up being one of the accidental themes for the trip) no big deal though - we only had to run a 50k in the morning - no problem, right?

The next morning we got up around 5:30 or so - we ended up taking
It was cold, we wanted to sleep more...
a bit longer to get ready than we thought, and I was REALLY hoping the GPS was right about how long it took to get to the finish, where the bus would pick us up and bring us to the start. I decided to wear my Saucony  Peregrine ProGrid Trail Running Shoes that I had gotten about a month prior to the race on ebay new for about $35 dollars - they had never given me a blister and had worked really well so far on trails. I also brought my watch of course, IPOD with lots of music, nike shorts, and a nike running short sleeved shirt. I also brought cliff bars, gues (the kind with caffeine)  Gummys, and a little over 1.5 liters of water (3 16 oz bottles) I had the cliff bar for breakfast - that's all, because we never could find anything to make my traditional PB&J
finding a regular store seemed to be impossible on the way from the air port - but at least we had water - and Peanut butter.... but no bread or knives...
Coastal trail runners to the rescue!
 or protein drinks. Oh well.... I put some supplement in my water that I used on my last 20 mile run - my camel back still tastes like it - YUCK.  We made it to a parking lot along the beach that the GPS said was correct - we saw other runners, so we thought it was the place only to have someone drive up the road saying it was still a mile away - we hoofed it over their and parked the car in the right place - got in the bus, and off we went. I was kinda tired, and we didn't really talk too much on the bus ride - it took around 45 minutes or so so we arrived at the start around 7:15 or so - got our bibs, strapped everything on and waited to use the outhouse - not THAT was a LONG line - we barley made it.
Clean legs before the race
At the Start! Nervous!
Lining up at the start
Then off to the start. I was nervous - i'm actually nervous just thinking about it still.  Finally we got to run - it was beautiful and  it was nice to get moving - after a few false starts we were off in the line of runners running through the very tall redwoods. For a while we just paced with the group - got use to our surroundings - then we started passing people to find a group that was going our speed. We found them around mile 2 and stuck with the same people for a while after that. Debi took her first of 5 falls at around mile 2 as well. I tried to keep drinking water to stay hydrated - I knew it was supposed to be hot. If was a fun trail - it seemed like most people planned on walking up the big hills, so that was nice that we were not the only ones with that plan. we got to the first aid station, and it was wonderful. all sorts of food - little PB&Js (finally I got some of my staple pre race meal) M&M's, trail mix, nuts, chips.... water, Gatorade/sports drink. Debi and I filled up our camel backs and were off again.
Aid Stations - awesome volunteers!
The next aid station was around mile 8 - I decided to try a salt pill.... she did as well. I didn't think much of it and it may not have been the problem, but something was. I started feeling really strained, couldn't breath right and my heart rate was WAY up. I had to stop and sit down - I felt ill and I felt my air ways getting smaller - Debi had an inhalier - so I used it after doing it wrong a few times because I had never used one - it seemed to help, not sure, but at least I could breath. after I felt good enough to continue we walked for a while till I felt like I could run. It was a little scary - I didn't know if it would come back.... But we continued a little slower this time - I never felt as good as I did before the unknown attache of what ever it was - but after a few miles I did feel quite a lot better. we got to the next aid station at mile 12 or so - that was where the Marathoners and Ultra Marathoners split.
Going UP - 3ish miles of UP
after filling up on some food and more water we headed back to the trail. The girl at the aid station was not kidding when she said "it's all up hill"
Very UP
the first 3 miles of it was - and it hurt just to walk it - we finally reached the top of the hill and the view was amazing - not worth it - but still amazing.
We made it to the top!!!
after that the trail was more down hill and was rather fun - winding around trees and valleys, it was also nice to be back in the shade. at mile 19 or so we were back at the same aid station
Aid station again after the Ultra 5m hill loop
YAY - only 10ish miles to go!
and got to go towards the finish. it was exiting to go by that sign, but knowing how far we still had to go was less than exiting. After that I didn't take too many pictures - not because it was not exiting and interesting - but because I was really tired. We ran, and ran and ran some more - up hills down hills around hills.... maybe even through hills i'm not even sure anymore. I was so tired and my heart just wouldn't settle down sometimes, I took some walk breaks Debi insisted on staying with me - probably a good thing she did because we were sore enough the next day -
High Teck Bridge
I couldn't imagina being more sore actually. The last 2 miles were really pretty - right along the edge - the views were awesome - I ran the last mile with out stopping - at that point it felt like an accomplishment. I had trouble going down the big hills - normally i'd just let my body sorta fall down - it's easer that way, but I couldn't do that because my legs were so tired they wouldn't support that speed and I REALLY would have fallen. Crossing the finish line was a good feeling - even though it was not in 5.5 hours or 6.5 hours like I had thought - it was in 8 hours and about a minute....
Post race legs
I stil finished. and I guess thats why I started running it - to finish. I finished in 100th place out of 110  - nothing to boast about, but I did it and i'm still alive. Finishing was not what I had though it would be - I didn't feel triumphant, or defeated, I didn't feel like celebrating, I didn't run into the ocean because that would mean I would have to go farther - I was just plain tired and everything hurt. I was happy to be done, but it really was not as amazing as I thought it would be. I visioned a finish line right next to the water - running past it and into the water, being happy and exited, then going to the car and toasting with my sister and maybe some other runners.... But it's ok, lots of things are not the way I vision them to be.  I haven't had any more problems
 with my heart since - don't know what that was all about - but glad I didn't have a stroke or something up in those mountains - that would have really ruined my day. After the race we hung around and talked to people for a bit - got to thank Wendell from Coastal Trail runners for putting on the race - I was so tired. We got a ride back to the car and I was so thankful that we had a automatic car and only 2 steps to climb up to the "tent" turns out that was too much still.
Post Race Pizza! YUM
After we cleaned up we drove to the lodge for some amazing pizza with fresh veggies - a order of garlic parmesan  fries (REAL GARLIC ON THEM TOO :)) and a order of sweet potato fries. It was delicious. We hobbled back to the car - getting more sore as the minutes passed. We could barley drink our warm champagne - I still enjoyed opening the bottle and accidentally shooting it
Soooo Good!
at Debi though. So that was that - it was over - 8 hours of running, walking, climbing, falling, eating, drinking, taking pictures and viewing the beautiful world on my first ever Ultra Marathon - Skyline to the Sea 2012. I do believe that if it weren't for
We were supposed to do this in the car
after the race - totally forgot. Toast
to Ultra Marathoners!
Wendell taking on the race we would have had a much harder time doing it - may have ended up in the hospital after or even worse not even even finished at all. I do think that if I run another one next year I most defiantly will not plan on doing a lot of hiking and active things after the race because the next morning was pretty rough. going down steps was so painful, sometimes we just stood their and looked at them for a while before we could make ourselves go down them - we even had debi's super ibprofin pills from the doctor and they didn't do a thing for us.

Beach On Highway One
Entering the Park - $10 per car
 I really don't remember what we ate that morning, all I can remember is having a awful time getting around.... We decided to go to see the elephant seals at Ano Nuevo -  It was amazing despite the pain it took to get out of the car and walk the 4 mile trail.
The Beach at  Ano Nuevo

Wonderful Wine From beauregard vineyards
After that we went for some wine tasting in the mountains - then to Santa
Cruz to hang out and see a town and have some more wine of course
The seals 

The Closest Deb got to a shark 
We were feeling pretty sore still - we were walking like 90 year old women at best and trying to cross busy city streets. Normally my sister and I would be really annoyed
Beach along highway one
at a car full of guys whistling at us - but not at that particular moment. We were just talking about how awful we must be looking when precisely that happened. I told Deb "See? We still got it" it was pretty funny. We found a place to have some wine and bought a bottle. Ended up meeting some girls and going out with them for Mexican food after. I wanted to stay out - but I was WAY too tired. We headed back to the little "tent"

The next day we packed up and went to get some supplies. Back to Santa Cruz because thats the direction someone told us to go. Turns out that someone was wrong and after a very extended shopping excursion we headed back the way we had come and on to Yosemite National Park. We drove around 5+ hours to get their, I drove the whole way - going up the mountain was quite interesting with my height hating sister. Apparently she did not trust my driving too much and was terrified the whole way - I really did try to drive slow.... We finally got to the park entrance and then drove 45 minutes or so into the park to get to Curry Village
Bear proofing our stuff

"you are now entering the Wilderness" sign
where we checked into our "tent" and got settled in. This ended up being rather tedious because we had to empty EVERYTHING out of the car so that bears would not break in - bears that we never did get a gimps of sadly. We had to make 3 trips - not fun because we were still very sore. Then we put all the food we had purchased along with anything that had a smell in the bear proof container by our "tent" After that we pretty much hung out in the village and had some food.

Cute strong blue bird - not scared of us.
so amazing to see.
The next day we headed out to see about climbing Half Dome - The shuttle service was a little annoying - we had to wait a lot went in the wrong direction a lot, and I got really anxious to get on the trail.
Yosemite Falls
We ended up learning that you needed permits to climb half dome, permits we should have already gotten. the soonest we coudl go was Friday - the day we needed to leave for San Francisco - plus we might not even get them if we tried. We ended up not going - but it's a little complicated of course. I will be back to climb that dome. We thought we would take it easy and let our legs heal - that didn't happen.  we couldn't find the trail we were looking for so somehow we ended up climbing to the top of Yosemite Falls a
Yosemite Falls
3.2 mile pretty much steright up climb with 30+ switch backs each way. It was hard, my legs were not working properly, but we made it, and it was beautiful. I sat at the top and enjoyed the sun, water and view for a while. Debi did not join me on the ledge.... The decent was much worse,
Me By the falls
my legs were shaking like levees all the way down.
Laying at the top in the sun with my
shoes offit was amazing
The Amazing view from the top of Yosemite falls
We made it though, and went back to the camp site where we drank all our wine (rather a lot) met a couple form Australia to talk to and another from England - we ended up running into both couples a few times again before we left. We got a pizza at the camp pizza place -
Going down - NOT GOOD. my legs
were shaking and hurt SOOO bad
it was delicious. I've decided that C.A. just has really good pizza. We got in
Wonderful stream water
trouble for being too loud back at the "tent" and went to sleep. The next day we went on 2 hikes, they were fun - we saw bear claw marks and bear poop "Bear Scat" as my sister would say. One cool thing on one of those hikes was when we filled up on fresh stream water - it was SOOO good. We had cheese sandwiches for
Climbing to more falls

Bear Tram at Yosemite
dinner that night and a bag of chips - for our breakfasts we had bagels bananas and peanut butter... Our last day we hiked up Mist trail - got an early start and made it up to one of the falls - probably a 8ish mile hike. I was finally not sore - except my calves which were just sore from all the climbing the
days before at Yosemite. That means it took 4 full days before I could walk normal. Now thats just crazy. I really appreciate that I can walk and move normal again.
After the hike we headed back to the car, had lunch in the park and got locked out of the showers - we hadn't showered since Monday morning - yuck. oh well -
One of my favorites. 
off to Fransisco we went. I booked us a last minute deal on hotwire - a $350 four star hotel for $125. It was
Lots of little markets with fresh fruit

the Hilton in the financial district right next to China town. Getting to the hotel with the GPS was an ordeal - it lost signal because of all the buildings, then we were on our own. We did find it though and for $45  a  night were able to park at the Hilton garage. We got all our stuff in one trip and were quite a sad sight coming into that nice hotel. Turns out they were completely full - we must have gotten one of the last rooms - Our room was amazing - clean, fresh, a view of the city and the ocean. I took a wonderful shower and was clean at last. We headed to fisherman's Warf for dinner - all we had to do was
I'm Forest Gump 
walk about 6 block down Washington street to the street by the water - then a bus of sorts (it was on rail road type tracks - took us down the road to the warf. It was only $2 and you could get back on with a ticket that the driver gave us - they were pretty full busses though and the stops were pretty rough - but that's aright - it was nice to get a ride. We ate at Bubba Gump Shrimp for dinner - got a bottle of Cali Merlot and had Shrimp for an appetizer - Debi had never tried shrimp - sadly they were not the best shrimp I had ever had - and I really don't like having to take the shell off myself. After that we just went back to the hotel to bed - it was kind late and we were tired from out hike and travels. It was actually a rather cold night - we had jeans and jackets and I was still cold - San Francisco has a very icy breeze that feels great when the suns out, but not so great when its not.

The next day I woke up frantic to run - I felt gross - lazy - awful. Too many french fries, chips and pizza. I hurried Debi out the door and we headed out to the water - I over heard some runners talking about running the Chicago Marathon, so I jumped in to discuss - we ended up running with them for a while - my plan was to run across the Golden gate bridge, turns out that that would have been a ten mile run at LEAST - I didn't really feel like a 10 mile run - so we headed back - Debi's knee started hurting un fortiantly - it had been hurting since climbing down the falls the first day at Yosemite and a bruise had appeared on it - We figured she must have hit it on one of her five falls on the run.

After 6 mile city run, we thought we would take it easy and just sigh see.
Wonderful Fruit
We headed down Washington street and ended up finding a really cool market place - we shopped around and got some cool stuff - it was fun - Then across the street was the most amazing Farmers Market I had ever been at or seen. Everything was so fresh, and I heard that the city regulates it pretty tightly to make sure the quality and standards are up to par. We sampled fresh peaches, Blood Oranges, regular oranges, Peas, Peanut Brittle & more. We bought a apricot and it was the best thing I think I have ever tasted - if we had those here in Illinois I don't think I would ever eat candy. And that was all I had to eat al day till about 7pm....  We had every intention to do
Farmers Market
something leaser - maybe start drinking wine by noon - "How about rent bikes?" we thought. drive over the golden gate bridge, see San Francisco from a bike... Great Idea.
I had been wanting to see this for a long time
5 or 6 hours later we finally made it back to the other side of the bridge for our ferry ride back across. I'm not sure how it happened - possibly because the lady explaining the trails made them seem really easy and not too far, i'm not sure. but somehow we ended up on some crazy mountain bike trail lost. More hills - just want we wanted (NOT) some of them were so steep that if we braked too hard our bikes would easily skid out and send us tumbling down. We actually did run across a guy who had fallen and was quite scraped up - his shower later that day must have really hurt.
Sooo Pretty - but so hot and tired.
 All we wanted to do was see the red woods....  We did see a squeaking snake though - it was very mysterious till we discovered that it had a mouse and it was really the mouse that was squeaking....  We also came across some nice people to help us - and we finally made it to the city across the bridge. Once we got on the ferry I thought we deserved some wine - after one glass I felt like I had drank a bottle and both of us started feeling a little ill - oh yeah... all we ate was fruit all day...
Really long one lane tunnel we biked through.
We made it back - returned the bikes and
went to a pizza place - it was SOOOO good. I think it was my favorite one - it was next to Bubba Gumps on the second level of the warf.
The crust was really garlicky and I was SOOO hungry.
More wonderful pizza in San Fran
We polished off the whole pizza no problem and got pop corn at some hawiian pop corn place too. We saw the sunset and headed back to the hotel with every intention of going out again - but
San Francisco From the boat
we didn't. We fell asleep. The next day we thought we would get more sight seeing in - it didn't go well. We ended up looking for Freemont street - the really steep street everyone goes to in San Francisco - we stopped looking because the hill we had to go up just LOOKING for freemont street was so steep we didn't want to
Cable Car?
drive on a steeper one. Then I got a ticket and the police officer was so mean he made me cry because I was already shooken up from the
Hillie Streets
crazy traffic (some festival was in town - yay) then I had to use the bathroom BAD - so we finally made it to Golden gate bridge state park - it was pretty miserable but I made it.  Then we had to throw away our cooler and our other left over stuff and high tail it to the air port - somehow we found it with out too much more disaster and after that it all went smoothly. We were very happy to see our boys coming to pick
Alcatraz from the boat
us up - it was hot and humid and I missed that icy fresh air but I was glad to

be home.

So to recap - here is what went good - the car and hotel with price line. The "tents" and other stuff of course...
Here is what went wrong: 1)Planning a vacation with Day one "Run a 50k through 5000ft of elevation change when you live in Illinois and dont' have hills like that"
2) Not drinking enough wine
3)Taking the Yosemite shuttle too much - it's slow and annoying. New phrase if someone is taking a long time is "Your slower than a Yosemite bus"
4)not booking Half done
5)not camping in Little Yosemite Valley and then going up to Half done the next day (requires more permits)
But number one would have taken care of number 4 and 5 kinda - because honestly - if I had had the permits, i'm not completely sure I could have made it on my faulty legs.
6)should have Booked a whale trip in San Fransisco
7)Drink more wine in San Fransisco
8)Relax MORE
It was a great trip though - live and learn - that's what life is all about. Sometimes you can't learn to do things the right way till you do it wrong first - sadly that is the way I usually learn. I thought I would be more tired when I came home, but I actually was not. I feel pretty good. - I do still itch from all the bug bites and it's been about a week.... guess they grow them strong in Yosemite National Park.