Bad asthmatic! Bad! 

Final week of classes! Hooray! However final week of classes means I’m stressed out. I’ve been super good this pollen season trying to not over do it. After almost getting my tush admitted last year this year I’m trying to be super well behaved. Ok, well behaved for me. 

Today I needed a run. Badly. The tree pollen has been off the charts for weeks now. I’ve been feeling like a caged animal. As much as I love my other forms of cross training I missed the dirt and woods. I was getting my allergy shot this morning anyway, so I figured if I was going to run I needed to do it before my shot and not after. 

I knew it was going to be bad when a mile in I felt my chest get tight. Crap. I was doing this run. Two miles in and I finally broke down and took my inhaler. By the time I hit the car I knew I was in trouble. Dammit. It was only 3 miles. Come on lungs get your shit together. 

When I showed up at my allergy appointment I’m always required to do a spirometer test.  That’s where you blow into a tube and it measures how much air your moving. My normal read is 550. That’s a great number. Today I blew a 490. For those that are statistically inclined that’s an 11% decrease in function in “just” 3 miles.  Totally worth it. Happy runner. Bad asthmatic. 

Shiny!

When I run my brain has similarities to a petulant four year old.  If it has new things to look at (roots, rocks, new scenery) it’s distracted and happy.  When it runs the same trails over and over not only does boredom set in begetting whining of “are we there yet, why are we doing this, this sucks, etc” but it also allows me to stay hyper-focused on all of the things that I am trying to escape from, which is counterproductive.

A couple of weeks ago I saw that a local mountain biking group had been working on expanding a trail system in a local park (completely sanctioned) that previously had no trails in it.  Oh shiny!  After beating STATA into submission and working on a paper with those statistics for nearly 12 hours straight on Easter and another 6-8 hours in the last two days my poor brain needed a break.  Charlotte and I headed to the new trails.

The great thing about running new trails is that your brain absolutely cannot focus on anything other than the next 4-6 feet in front of you.  It can’t focus on anything else (finals, papers, projects, internships, you know, life things) and there are some days that that is exactly what you need.   Even Charlotte seemed happy that we were running some place with new smells and new puddles to play in.  I guess baby dogs get bored too.

img_2808We wound up running several miles of trails both within the park bounds and some of the bootleg 4 wheeler trails that follow the high tension lines.  Honestly, I don’t know why they just don’t turn it into green space like they do out West, but that’s a fight for another day.  The best part was, though, there was not a single solitary thought that went through my head other than what was on the ground 4-6 feet in front of me.   Ok, ok, I’ll admit it this was also kind of a problem as by the time we got back to the car I had to take my inhaler (thanks pollen count), but mentally I felt so much better.   Both of our moods had improved remarkably.

I’m interested in exploring this new network of trails to see just how many miles I can now rack up. Shiny!

Weight Loss Update: Maintenance & Muscle

I, as with most women, live by a number on the scale.  My entire life I’ve been trained to focus on the number.  As I’ve made progress down the weight loss journey road Sainted Mary and I have also been monitoring my body fat percentage. Yet, I still focus on the number.  I’m trying to change. Really, I am.

This summer when I was inured and cut off from working out I immediately noticed a huge drop in the scale.  Sainted Mary reminded me that was from my muscles not retaining water from repairing themselves. She was right, the minute I was cleared to start working out again boom up the scale went again.  I know, I know, it’s just water, but I was SO focused on getting to a very specific number.  F&%*^&@

img_20160922_133305When I was out on the #ECSUT course I had a lot of time to think.  What was more important?  Was it the number on the scale?  Or was it the ability to go out and do all of the crazy things that I love to do?  It was out in the mountains of Park City that I realized that I wanted to be the strongest version of myself.  Because, dammit, I like being active with my friends! I like not being the weakest one.  I want to be able to push hard and not break!

When I returned and shared my insights, gained in the mountains, with Sainted Mary and she laughed.  She laughed because she had already been there and was just waiting for me to get there.  “With all of the crazy hiking, running, etc that you love to do you need all the muscle you can get.”  Ah yet another reason why I love Sainted Mary.  Ah the old adage of you can lead a horse to water……smart woman.

We made some changes to my nutritional plan and then we discussed how over the winter I was going to focus on gaining strength in order to make me a better runner.  Then we had to have “the talk”:

“You do realize that as you put muscle on the scale is going to go up, right??”

(sighing) “Yes…..” I begrudgingly acknowledged.

“You also realize that muscle takes up less space than fat does so you will actually be getting smaller, right????”

(sighing and with a twinge of eye rolling) “Yes….”

1411638441200Why was this concept so hard for me to embrace?  Why did she have to keep reminding me of this?  Because, well, numbers are what we women have been trained from birth to go off of.  This is why continuing to work with Sainted Mary is so important.  She reminds me of all of the things that I know, but then I stand on the scale and all hell breaks loose.  This is why we do body fat readings in addition to the number on the scale.  Now instead of focusing on the number on the scale, we are trying to get my body fat numbers down.  I started out in 2015 at 36.4%.  Now I’m at 28.3% and dropping that number a safe clip.  Ok, ok, I’ll admit I still look at the scale.  I do.  I’m trying to change.  I promise.  Change is hard, but change is good.

Trail Monster

It’s not secret I hate this time of year.   Every horrible, rotten, crappy, down right awful img_1428thing that has ever happened in my life has always happened this time of year.  So, yesterday, while everyone else was off having family dinners and putting up Christmas trees baby trail dog and I went out and ran, more like hiked, 10 miles.  Yes, classic avoidance.  Hey don’t knock it until you try it.

I’ve been working with this awesome trainer, “Uncle Lance” who has been amazing.  At our first session he asked me what I wanted out of our training sessions and I told him that I wanted to know that when we were out on the trail together that she would stay with me and not take off.  See, she’s an Afghan mutt and she’s a sight hound.  What does that mean? Means she’s a survivor and why wouldn’t she follow/chase an amazing meal, even though there’s a heated car seat and a seemingly endless supply of doggie treats with me.  Last weekend we worked with Uncle Lance at a local park with her off leash.  We were ready, Uncle Lance said so, and he isn’t the kind of guy to blow smoke up your a$$.

Yesterday, we started our run with her on leash.  She’s really grown to love the run.  Especially the longer runs when it’s just her and I.  Her ears are her tell.  Flipped over, sassy.  Bouncy, happy.  Pinned to her head, she’s picked up the scent of something.  As we proceeded down the trail we got to a really technical rocky section of trail that I knew I was going to have to let her scramble on her own.  For her safety and mine.  As I reached down to unclip her harness from the leash I had to have faith that all of the training we’ve done was going to be enough.

She was amazing!  She scrambled and played.  She was far enough ahead for her to be able to explore some on her own, yet close enough that I was comforted.  She stuck her face into every dirt pile and mud puddle she could find.  She bounced and played and was happy, genuinely happy.  She came when called and didn’t put a single toe out of line.  I was so impressed.  When we got back to the regular trail she was so good I didn’t want to put her back on leash.  She stayed at my side almost in a perfect heel next to my knee as we moved down the trail.  Had a couple of volunteer Rangers not busted us, I would have kept her that way all the way back to the car.  She ignored the other dogs, people, and yes, even the ducks she saw on the trail.  While she’s still not 100% locked on me like HRH is, for her first off leash outing I couldn’t be any more pleased.  I’m really looking forward to our upcoming time in the mountains.  She’s definitely going to be my little trail monster.

 

Bella’s 1st 5k: We found her incentive

img_1291“Aunt B, I can’t. I just can’t.”  Those words came out of Bella’s mouth for the entire first mile we were running.  My patience was growing thin.  I may not know many things in this world, but I’ve been around this child her entire life.  I was there when she began to walk.  I was there when she ran her first half mile, her first mile, and her first race (the 1k at Over the Bay Bridge Run two years ago).  Today was her first 5k as part of her elementary school’s Run Club.  I knew down to the depth of my toes that this was totally within the scope of her abilities and capabilities.  Listening to her tell herself that she couldn’t do it was more than I could take.  It was breaking my heart.

“Bella, stop saying you can’t.  I know you can.  You are strong.  Don’t let your mind tell you that you can’t.” I chided her.  Desperately trying to find something to get her to focus I said, “Do you see that boy up there, don’t let that boy beat you.”  I said it just loud enough so that the boys heard me and they started picking up their pace.  Ah, male pride and ego even at the age of 8.

“No way Aunt B.  Girls rule and boys drool! Let’s get them!”  she said picking up her feet and her pace.  I chuckled to myself and mentally sent out a plea to the universe that she would hold onto that thought until she was at least 18 or so.   We proceeded to play leap frog img_1294with the boys for the next half mile or so.  They would slow down, we would pass them, then they would speed up and sprint passed us again not wanting a yucky girl to beat them, until they slowed way down again.   Until ultimately we passed them around the two mile mark.  She burst out into a big grin as we blew passed them for what was the final time.

I looked at her and told her, “See, consistency pays off.  Well, that and the rocket boosters you have under your tutu.”  She giggled.

As we made our way down the course she kept trying to turn around to see where they were.  “Stop turning around to see where they are Bella.  Run forward.  If you turn around you could fall down.  If you are afraid that they are going to catch you, run faster.”  I wish I could tell her that was advice for life too.  Instead, I had her focus in on the next sign, the next tree, until finally we saw the finish sign.

img_1301When she saw the finish sign she started to sprint.  “I’m going to beat you,” she gleefully sang.  I sped up.  She sped up.  I sped up a little more.  She kept pace with me.  THAT’S the girl I know.  Competitive, strong, determined.  She crossed the finish with a grin on her face, gas in her tank, and having passed three of the older boys and a couple of the older girls in her run club.  Her final time was just over 41 minutes.

“HEY, you beat me.” she said looking at me as she found where she placed on the print out.

“I guess that means you’ll have to run faster next time.”

#ECSUT: Mother Nature is a bitch

Nearly a year I’ve trained for the North Face Endurance Challenge Series 50k.  Injuries couldn’t stop me.  My asthma couldn’t stop me.  I was GOING to run this race.  Right up until Mother Nature decided to into full bitch mode.  Every time we checked the weather on Friday it changed.  When we attended the pre-race discussion Friday night there was a discussion of the weather.  The race was going to happen.  Period.  All we knew was the there was going to be something falling out of the sky on Saturday morning we weren’t just sure WHAT.

Saturday morning dawned and it was raining with temperatures hovering around freezing.img_0774 If this were any other day I would have done anything else other than run outside.  This was the perfect cocktail for my lungs to be miserable.  Luckily I had packed all of my gear so I could cover my mouth and try to warm the air.  I suited up for battle and we all piled into the car to the start line.  As soon as we got dropped off we found out that there was an hour delay of the start.  Apparently there were blizzard conditions up the mountain.  Oh boy….so we waited.  Then came the second new bomb.

We were NOT running the 50k course. We would be running two loops of the half marathon course.  I was crushed.  Not only because the distance was not actually going to be an ultra, but it was loops.  I hate loops.  Loops crush me mentally.  The pull of the start line is always exceptionally strong for me.  My inner sloth just wants to stop.  “But it’s right there why can’t we stop?” I had to come up with a new game plan on the fly as my previous plan based on elevation profile and training just got toss out of the window.

Now, I completely understand safety first.  We heard of snow drifts up to the thighs of the scout runners.  We also heard news of aid crews being stranded at the top. Throwing runners out on a course where they could die would be bad for business.   However, I had a serious beef with Mother Nature.  Seriously, I mean WHY??? Last weekend it was sunny and 70.  Next week, sunny and 70. GAH!!!!

When we finally left at 8 it was STILL pouring and cold.  I kept my face covered in an attempt to warm the air.  The first 6 miles of the half marathon course were straight up hill.  Nothing like a good air and soul sucking climb right off the bat.  Even better we were sharing the course with the 50 milers so around 3 miles in the elite runners came blasting past us.

img_0800Grind, grind, grind up the hill.  The trail was definitely wet, sloppy, and slippery, but still  gorgeous.  The leaves on the trees were amazing colors.  Every once in a while we’d get an amazing view. I’d use the “on your left” from on of the fast 50 milers or 50k folks passing me as an excuse to look around.  I spent most of the race looking at the ground trying not to slip and fall on my face.

My first lap I did really well following the nutrition plan that Sainted Mary and I had laid out.  I used the aid stations to fill my water bladder.  As I finished my first lap and headed back around for another 6 miles of grind I zoned out.  Like REALLY zoned out.  I had to.  The pull of the finish line and being done was strong.  I had to block it out.

As Windchime blew past me all of a sudden there were flashing warning signs on my 8925342-standardproverbial dashboard.  We had been keeping pace with each other why was she blowing past me? I dug under the 3 layers of clothes that I had on to get to Coconut.  Holy f*%& stick I hadn’t eaten in over 2 hours.  It was at that moment I realized the wheels had not only come off the bus it was skidding down the road on its undercarriage on fire.  Sigh.  I knew that trying to recover from a deficit was going to be exceptionally hard.  Crap.  My feet were still moving forward this was good.  I reached in for a snack of banana chips and Justin’s honey peanut butter (on of my favorite go to snacks) and made the goal of hitting the next aid station.

At the aid station I sucked back some broth to help warm me up and scanned the table for something that I could eat.  In my calorie deficit those pb&j sandwiches looked amazing.  I was with it enough to know that was a bad idea.  Unless of course I wanted to be on the side of the trail puking my guts out.  I grabbed a handful of frozen skittles and kept marching setting up my new goal; next aid station.

This continued on until I hit the final aid station.  When I rolled in my fingers were so swollen I couldn’t slide my hydration bladder open. The volunteers were so sweet and did it for me.  I sucked back more broth, some potato chips and grabbed another handful of frozen skittles.  This was the last of it and it was all down hill.  I picked up from my march to a “run”, ok it was more of a quick shuffle, but it was faster than my march.  My lungs were on fire.  I was barely breathing.  The cold air and being out in it was starting to take its toll on me.  I just had to finish.  I WOULD finish.

The last .2 miles of the course is all switchbacks, but I could see the finish.  There was even a trail that went straight down the hill.  My inner monologue slapped my inner sloths face.  NO! Do the course as marked.  NO cheating.  My inner sloth was not pleased.

img_0804I honestly don’t remember the finish. My lungs were on fire so bad I was barely breathing. All I remember was crossing, being in tears and repeating to my friends, “my lungs hurt”.  That’s it.  That’s what I remember. Next thing I know I’m at the condo, stripped, and in the shower.   As you can see from the picture (that I don’t remember taking) I’m not exactly what you would call in good shape. The lack of oxygen I’m sure had nothing to do with that (sarcasm).

Results came out and the total distance run was 26.5 miles.  Technically an ultra.  I’ll take it. Granted it wasn’t the 50k I trained for, but perhaps the Universe threw me a bone.  Wet sub-40F temperatures at elevation.  Perhaps the Universe knew that if we had done the 50k course and pushed the extra 6 miles something bad would have happened.  Who knows.  All I know is that Mother Nature threw just about everything but the kitchen sink at me and I survived.  Take that Mother Nature.  Suck it.  (Ha, an asthma joke!)

 

VHRTC: Catherine’s Fat Ass 50k

**CAUTION: Very long wordy blog post.**

What is a Fat Ass and why am I talking about some chick named Catherine?  A Fat Ass is a term utilized in the ultra-running community.  Basically, it translates into “No Fees, No Awards, No Aid, No Wimps.”  If you want more information on how they came about go here. Now technically, this particular race wasn’t a “true” FA as a true FA doesn’t have aid, but as the former RD of this race said, “this race is too hot and too hard to not have some kind of aid.” All of the runners received a list of an item that they needed to bring and it was divvied up among the aid stations.  Now what/who is Catherine?  Catherine’s Furnace made pig iron.  If you want to know more about it go here. It still stands and it’s HUGE.  

I was supposed to have a dry run 50k before #ECSUT, but my back decided on a different course of action.  Therefore, I decided that the next best thing was to volunteer at a 50k as we all know I can’t run in the middle of July in the mid-Atlantic.  Combine that with the cortisone shot in my back this week; I was definitely not running.  So at 0300, I dragged my ass out of bed and drove 125 miles to the start line.  As my alarm said, “At least you aren’t running it.” 

I always enjoy giving back to the community that has given me so much.  Plus it was grand fun.  Not only did I get to see all of the runners come through, but I got to check out how they handled everything.  I was placed with the former RD of the race and he told stories all day long. I just listened and didn’t say much (shocking for those that know me, I know) but I was soaking it all in.  Overall the observations I made were incredibly reassuring; 

Observation 1: Everyone was having a great time. Even those that were decidedly hurting, cutting the course, or were quitting were all polite and smiling.   

Observation 2: Most of the gear and supplements I’ve picked (without knowing any ultra runners at the time) is all the same stuff that they use and these are folks that have run Western States 100 and multiple 200+ mile races.  I did good!  I got to answer some of my burning questions as to how they cope/carry some of their own aid. 

Observation 3: Everyone was so nice! There was a girl who accidentally forgot her running shoes (she drove to the race in flip flops as we all have done) and the RD asked everyone if anyone had an extra pair of size 9 shoes she could borrow.  That’s true community right there. 

Observation 4: LOTS of power hiking even by the big kids. As a Mountain Pony, this made me happy.  I may not be fast, but oh can and do LOVE the climb.  

Overall I had a grand time, met some amazing people, was introduced to an awesome secret swimming hole, and learned a crap load. I’m really looking forward to this journey to see where it takes me. 

Weight Loss the long and winding road

“Many times I’ve been alone. And many times I’ve cried. Anyway, you’ll never know the many ways I’ve tried But still they lead me back to the long and winding road.”-Paul McCartney & Wings

No offense to Sir Paul who was talking about a lover I find this song to be a battle cry for my weight loss journey.  I realized this morning that it has been nearly two years since I said img_0962enough was enough and I started (on my own) to get my sh!t together.  Sainted Mary has been in my life for 18 months.  When you are in the day to day fight to not put something yummy into the hole under your nose or trying to motivate yourself to go workout when it’s 100+ degrees with 80%+ humidity it’s hard to see the bigger picture.  Until, that is you actually sit back and look at pictures.  The picture on the right was taken in Fall 2013 at my brothers wedding.  That dress has long ago made its way to someone else’s closet.

I wish I could say that after two years everything was easy.  Ha! Um, no.  There is no magic pill.  There are days that I’m literally dragging my inner monologue kicking and screaming into my workout much like a petulant elementary school child who doesn’t want to go to school. BUT I DON’T WANNA GO…..  Then there are days where I’m actually excited and looking forward to my workouts. Ok, if I were to be 100% honest those are my running or cycling days I still haven’t gotten to the point where I say “YAY! CrossFit!!!” (I’m working on it. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know it’s good for me and good for my running.  It’s like vegetables, gotta eat ’em.)

There are days that I forget just how far I’ve come.  Especially when I’m playing with the IMG_9134“big kids”.  See, the “big kids” run faster/further, lift more, etc. I want to be a big kid.  I want to run faster, run further, lift more.  Then, every once in a while, a friend says something poignant that makes me realize that I am playing with the big kids. Recently that came in the form of GardnerGirl saying, “You are a beast.” I certainly don’t feel like a beast, especially when I have friends that are out running 50+ mile races or are competing (and winning) CrossFit competitions.  That’s when I realize that I have these friends.  Three years ago those people did not exist in my life.  Heck, two years ago those people didn’t exist in my life (well, except TheSaraD and that’s because we rode horses together).  These people have become my new role models.   I’m thankful and grateful that these people have allowed me into their inner circle, encourage me, and don’t let me beat myself up when I’m barely keeping up, if I’m keeping up at all.  My inner sloth whimpers.

Most days I don’t realize just how much my body has changed.  I am still me.  I’m still the goofy, snarky, girl that I’ve always been.  Then I do something like turn down a food that I love because I don’t have any of the exchanges for it; put on a size that never in my wildest dreams I’d ever fit into and my head hurts; or I’ll see a picture of myself and I’m stunned.  Who is this person???  I’m still a work in progress, but this long and winding road has led me here.   I still have a few more pounds I want to loose.  I still have a lot of muscle that I’d like to put on.  I still have goals. This long and winding road will be the rest of my life, but I’m very curious to see what’s around the next corner.   Just please don’t be a bear……

 

 

 

 

 

ISO: An asthmatic mentor

“You are quite literally doing everything you can do INDUCE an attack.”–Doc

Ah, summer in the mid-Atlantic.  Nothing says glorious days like 81 degree temperatures at 0430 with a humidity percentage hovering some where between wet sponge and steam room.  It is days like these that make training for #ECSUT, hell, walking to the mailbox next to impossible.  I’ve had to switch to a 0500 CrossFit class just to hope that I can maybe breathe at that hour.  Running?  Unless I drive two hours out to the mountains and start at 0600, or worse run on the dreadmill, running is off the table.  

Bear with me for a moment to describe to you what it’s like to be me (without the science speak).  I want you to stick a straw in your mouth.  Now breathe through it.  Now I want you to go running with the straw in your mouth and attempt to breathe.  Welcome to being an asthmatic on any given day. Oh wait, but there’s more.  Now, find some peas and stick them in the straw and try to run.  That is what an asthma attack feels like.  Now for the science-y stuff.  (See diagram on the left) airway

This is the reason why many asthmatics just say they can’t.  I, however, do not have the word ‘can’t’ in my vocabulary.  Yes, on occasion this has gotten me into a bit of trouble.  I am not about to let this control my life.  I want to live my life. 

After nearly two years of this journey I am now at a place where I am starting to run into (no pun intended) issues that are beyond the scope and capacity of my asthma doc.  Why?  Well, my asthma doc doesn’t have any patients like me. If you aren’t new to this blog you are probably nodding your head right now in agreement.  If you are new to this blog I highly encourage you to go back and read some of my stupid learning moments.  

I recently had a discussion with my pulmonary doc and my osteopath asking this basic question; “How long is my fast acting inhaler good for?”  What prompted this question was that as my runs have started to surpass the four hour mark (because yes, I’m slow) I’m finding that my chest and lungs are NOT happy.  My pulmonary doc answered very wryly with, “Why are you doing that to yourself?”  Where as my osteopath answered frankly, “You are quite literally doing everything you can to INDUCE an attack.” Both then proceeded to answer my question.

IMG_9125What I really need is to find a long distance, ultra runner who is asthmatic.  Not a little asthmatic, but someone who is a HUGE asthmatic like myself.  Someone who has already been down this road and learned the lessons so that I don’t have to learn them on my own.    In this great big world of ours there has to be another crazy pants like myself.  Right???

Back in the Saddle Again

After last weekends fubar’ed back I knew that this weekend I was going to have to take it extremely easy. However, I also knew that I needed to log some miles to keep on track for #ECSUT so I came up with an ingenious idea.  I have a number of friends who love to hike, but aren’t runners.  I’ll just see if one of them wants to come out and hike the miles.  Not only will that let me get the miles in, but even if I get the urge to misbehave I can’t.  Yes, occasionally I have moments of genius.

At 0500 I met C at the work parking lot where we transferred all of her stuff into my car and we were off! We were going to go out to the Roller Coast as it was nickIMG_9593named.  Except, we didn’t wind up doing the Roller Coast.  We wound up going south versus north.  Snicker. Oh well.  0600 and we took a quick “proof of life” selfie for her hubby; you know, in case we were eaten by bears along the trail and we were off.

Heading down the trail it was so beautifully quite.  I love the woods first thing in the morning before everything wakes up.  We saw tons of bunnies looking around for their breakfast. Perry was exceptionally disappointed that he was on leash and wasn’t allowed to chase them.  There were scents in the woods that could only be described as delicious.

This was C’s first long hike in a number of years and I was a bit worried for her.  16 miles is nothing to sneeze at and I kept asking her if she was ok.  I know she’s an incredibly strong woman, but again, it’s 16 MILES!!  Every time I asked she said she was fine.  I told her I was a worry wart and to get over it.

As my watch flipped over to 8 miles I stopped dead in the trail.  She stopped about 15 feet behind me.  I pointed to the spot on the ground.  “What?” “That’s it, right there.”  She laughed, stepped up to the spot and we turned around and started walking back towards the car.  I jokingly told her that none of the previous miles would have counted if she didn’t make it to that spot.

As we headed back our first surprise was the little tiny 8IMG_1393” gartersnake.  I almost stepped on the poor guy.  Of course I still squeaked because I wasn’t expecting him, but ok, no harm no foul.  Then a few miles down the trail we came across this less than lovely fellow.  That, my friends, is a copperhead. I saw him first.  I immediately stopped Perry.  He stopped on a dime.  I think he could tell by my body posture that if he didn’t stop we were going to be in BIG do do. We waited and waited and waited for the guy to cross the trail.  He stayed right there for what seemed like an eternity.  Finally he slithered off into the grass.  I’ve had a dog bit by a rattlesnake before, and not only is it not good, but it’s definitely NOT cheap. I picked Perry up, just to be on the safe side and carried him about 50 meters down the trail before putting him down. Another few miles down the trail we saw a Northernblack racer snake.  He was HUGE, but harmless.  Ok, I thought, I had enough herpetology for one day, thankyouverymuch.  At least it wasn’t bears.

We were within 2.5 miles of getting back to the car and Perry was panting quite a bit.  We were crossing open field, and by this time it was nearly noon.  Even though he’d been IMG_1397sucking back my Tailwind and had some Justin’s peanut butter (because they come in single serve packets) he just hit his point of being too hot.  I picked him up and tossed him on my shoulders and when he didn’t fight it I knew he was done.  I wound up carrying him for nearly a mile before he decided that he was ok with walking again.  Poor guy.

C had run out of water around mile 12.  I ran out at mile 14.  We were both ready to hit the car just so we could get a drink.  As we crossed Route 50 I called to C, “0.4 of a mile.” I don’t think she believed me.  As we headed up the last hill I could see the glint of the car windshields, “I can see the car.” “I don’t believe you,” she retorted.  Snicker.

We got back to the car and all three of us sucked back some water.  Turned oIMG_9634n the AC and drove back to C’s car.  Perry immediately fell asleep. So hard, as a matter of fact, I asked C to make sure he was still breathing.  (He was.) After I dropped her off I ran into the grocery store with the underground parking (so it was shaded for baby boy) to grab a couple of things, one of which was the most important item ever.  Yes, that is gelato and yes that’s HIS container. He earned every single lick of it.

All in all today was a great day to get back on the trail.  I managed to get 3200″ of elevation change in.  Covered 16 miles.  Was on my feet for 6 hours and I didn’t break C.  Ok, let me rephrase I don’t  think I broke C.  It’s great being back in the saddle again.