Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Western States 100

Saturday was the Western States 100.  The WS100 is an annual event where the most seasoned and adventurous ultrarunners brave a brutal course of snow, heat, streams, trails and climbs from Squaw Valley to Auburn, CA.  Those finishing sub 24 hours earn a coveted belt buckle and those who finish in the less than 30 hour course time limit are glad to finish!

Being located in the Sacramento area, I was fortunate enough to be able to attend this year's event.  Although this was the event's 35th year, I had no concept of what such an event entailed.  After reading various accounts of those brave enough to complete this venture, I knew I had to see what it was all about!  I was able convince Lara to attend (wasn't too difficult).  One of my other friends was also supposed to attend but had a change of plans and couldn't make it.  Boy, did she miss out!

After completing a 9 mile training walk earlier that morning in pretty hot weather, I really just wanted a nap!  Race officials predicted the first runner would come in around 9PM, which was the 16 hour mark.  We made sure we were there by 9 and got a good seat on the bleachers which were in front of the finish line located on the Placer high school track in Auburn.  The first place runner arrived about 24 minutes later.  I can't explain the chills I felt when the audience saw him entering the other side of the track and stood up with applause.  I couldn't believe how good he looked after completing 100 challenging miles in a little more than 16 hours.  He was definitely still running faster than I could on my best day.  Watching him make his victory lap gave me a sense of inspiration and motivation I maybe have never felt.  It truly was one of those "you had to be there" moments.

I originally wanted to attend the race to watch a well known ultrarunner cross the line.  Unfortunately, due to medical issues he did not complete the race.  Although initially disappointed, it was such a blast to watch the first 20 or so racers finish, which included three amazing female athletes.  At about 2AM, as a runner from Tanzania with amazing form crossed the line, we called it a night.  Next year, we know to bring snacks (although they sold food at the snack bar to support local boys/girls activities) and to prepare for an all night event because I definitely want to attend again.  Hopefully, the runner I originally went to follow will be there and achieve his own dream of completing his 12th WS100.

I know I will never run the WS100 but I also know I can achieve my own goals and dreams by continuing to walk and train for more half marathons and some day a marathon.  It is being in the presence of great athletes that you want to make yourself the best you can be!

Training for the SF half marathon is going well, and I set a PR in a 10k a few weeks ago.  Life is good!

Monday, June 15, 2009


As Lisa already blogged, this adventure all started when she asked me to be her training buddy for a half marathon last year. At the time, I had no idea what a half marathon was, but if she was game - I was too. When I found out that it was 13.1 miles, I wasn't sure we could do it - but we did. This year, in an effort to accelerate my weight loss efforts, I decided to "kick it up a notch" and began to mix short bursts of running with walking. Before I knew it, the girl who always claimed she would never be a runner had caught the bug.

Recently, a co-worker, who is also a runner, suggested I listen to the 4 Feet Running podcast. He thought I might like it. After one episode, I was hooked. I couldn't get enough. I started listening to any running podcast I could get my hands on. The more episodes I listened to, the more I thought it would be fun to give our own podcast a try. Fortunately, Lisa agreed to take the plunge with me and Square Peg Running was born. We hope to have our first episode out very soon.

I hope you enjoy following our trials and tribulations as we train for each event. Next up... the San Francisco Half Marathon in July. It will be our first big event. I can't wait.

Until next time . . . remember, don't be afraid to run your race.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Our first Podcast!

Greetings from Square Peg Running (and walking)!  Today, we recorded our first Podcast.  I can't wait to hear how it turns out!  We're hoping to share all of the crazy experiences and great information we've picked up on our walking and running journeys as well as learn from others as we move forward with our training.

People often ask me how I got started walking for exercise.  I hope I've inspired some people and secretly I think others think if I can do this anyone can! I've never been an athlete.  I've always been the girlie girl into shopping and considered a nice trip to the mall for a new pair of shoes or handbag as exercise.  I would watch Oprah and be absolutely convinced I would never be one of those people who found exercise and loved it.  Initially, my friends and family were shocked when I started preferring REI or Fleet Feet gift cards over a trip to my local mall. So, if I can do this it truly is proof anyone can!

It really all started with a co-worker mentioning she was going to walk a half marathon.  It suddenly hit me I could too.  I needed to lose weight and this was a good opportunity to train for a specific event outside my comfort zone and maybe lose a little weight along the way. It also occurred to me I could find somebody to train with and share the misery along the way, so I looked to my college roommate and dedicated friend, Lara, to share the pain!  Originally, I looked at walking as a destination... I would train for one half marathon and be done with it! But, along the way I fell in love with walking.  After completing the first half marathon, we couldn't get enough.  We signed up with a local running/walking group and learned about proper walking format, nutrition, and clothing.  You name it, we were learning about it, reading about it, or buying it!  Once I decide to do something, I definitely give it my all!

Over the course of the last year and a half, I've lost weight, developed a hobby, and improved my health significantly.  I have visual proof that this is the right thing for me to be doing!  I continue to improve my walking pace, about a 14:38 per mile race pace, and look forward to all the rest of my adventures.  I've walked to places in my own backyard that I didn't realize were even there. After walking two half marathons, Lara has "crossed over to the dark side" and started running but we're both having a great time at our own pace.  We still meet up on Saturday mornings to train to keep each other motivated and to share all of the information we've learned or products we've tried!  

We walked five miles today and will be doing a 10K tomorrow.  Lara will run it and I will walk but, hey, I have the advantage of somebody being at the finish line cheering me on!  Thanks for reading and stay tuned....