Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

From the RunningSkirted sailor...

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Hiking to Muir

Trusty Gus the Garmin with Mt. Adams in the background
Every year, with the exception of last year, Travis and I along with some friends make the climb to Camp Muir on Mt. Rainier.  This year the weather was amazingly perfect yet again, and we lucked out on another great trip.  This is an extreme hike, mainly through snow, and it takes pretty much all day so we had my little sisters babysit the Goober Monster.

Our friends Andrew and Sonja met up with us at our house at the blazingly early time of 5:45am.  Coffee was immediately consumed.  The drive to Rainier didn't take too long and before we knew it we were at the visitor's center in Paradise getting our boots on.  What a minute....the ONE THING that I should've checked before leaving the house is to make sure my boots fit, right?  Or perhaps even had INSOLES?  Ah yes, they didn't have any.  Apparently when I took them out two years ago to use my custom orthotics I never put them back in....and I also haven't worn them since.  GAH!  I was nervous telling Travis about this because I knew he would be pissed.  Of course he was.  Unfortunately the visitor's center shop wasn't open until 10am (GRRRR) and I was S.O.L. with buying insoles. Quick thinking on my part I asked Trav to shred his sneaker's insoles to fit in my boots.  This helped, but my no means was as comfortable as I'd hoped, but like heck I wasn't going to complain about this to Trav.  OoPs.  Packing FAIL.

My new Osprey Aura 50 backpack felt incredible (much better than the good old school Jansport I used years ago!), and although it's a hideous poop brown color, it fit well and held everything I needed. ;)

Spot the marmot?
We started the ascent at 8:50am, according to trusty Gus.  Immediately from the start there was snow on the trail, so the pace was nice-and-easy.  There were 6 of us total: Travis, myself, Andrew, Sonja, Jeff and Adam.  Jeff has been taking spin classes like a madman, so he's in much better cardio shape than two years ago when he didn't make it to Muir.  This year he was going to make it!

There was a bunch of wildlife sightings including badgers, marmots, foxes, chipmunks, little itty bitty birds and crazy half-naked climbers on skiis going up the mountain.  Yeah, the last one was a stretch, but this dude was like Davy Crockett without the raccoon hat and probably more facial hair.

The sun was HOT and we weren't taking any chances on sunscreen, so we reapplied 50 SPF multiple times on the trip (and of course, I still manage to get splotchy burns).  The most common place to get burned while hiking in snow?  Under your nose.  OUCH.  Since I was wiping my nose the entire time the sunscreen was getting wiped off....and I got some nice little under-nose burnage.  It's peeling now and looks dumb.  Double GAH.

Once we got to the Muir snowfield it gets a little crazy.  It's like you're on a never-ending, snowy stair-stepper machine for hours.  It can wear you down mentally, and that's exactly what happened to Jeff a little.  Luckily lunch on some rocks was a welcome break.  Once you stop climbing, it's cold.  So out came the layers.

Trav, Sonja, Andrew and Adam all went ahead as I stayed with Jeff for the rest of the way.  I felt it necessary to not just ditch Jeff and go faster because it A) would be stupid for me to leave a comrade (though there were plenty of people on the mountain) and B) I didn't want to make him feel bad.  Of course it was wearing on me stopping every 5 minutes to take a break--I just wanted to get to Muir.  Once Muir was in sight, it still takes about 45 minutes to reach it.  It's the most frustrating part of the hike: you can SEE your destination, but getting there takes SO.MUCH.EFFORT.

I started ascending a little faster and left Jeff about 100 feet behind me when I finally reached Muir.  YES!  It took a little longer than we expected, but oh well!  More layers added, some celebratory Scotch sips and pictures were taken.

NOW the fun part: glissading/sliding down the snowfield and fall/running (funning?) down the mountain.  The trip back to Paradise takes a heckuva lot less time because you basically just "fall" down the mountain...or slide.

Some videos:

The day was long, but the pizza and beer at home were totally heavenly.  Until next year!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Random Daily Factoid #1

I just Googled the term "food names that contain the word butt."  You'll find out why soon enough.  Unfortunately Google didn't have any prior searches similar to those terms that I could laugh at.

What's the funniest Google search suggestion you've encountered?

i.e. *How to cook wolf* - Ummm, that sounds...delicious?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Soggy Cupcake Bandit

After such a wonderful "I'm back" run on Friday morning, of course my next run would be a little bit wonky, right?  It's only the usual luck with running.  I got the chance to meet up with Alma, Kerrie (Mom vs. Marathon), Karla and Carla on the Cedar River Trail for a 3.7 mile run in honor of Run with Jess' birthday: The Cupcake Classic.  My name wasn't on the official race roster, so I technically was a cupcake bandit...I even ate one of Kerrie's cupcakes after the run.  I'm sorry!  If it's a virtual race, it's ok I'm thinking.  (Note: I would never bandit a real race, peeps.  I'm not low like that)

Getting up super bright and early was easy with the Goober sleep ninja (who's a sick little puppy, poor baby), looking out the window was a bit more difficult.  I didn't want to look.  I could HEAR the rain pounding on the roof and window.  When the rain pounds on your window, you know it's not good.  This was the Pacific NW's "Hey! Welcome back, Zoe!" greeting.  Alright PNW, I hear ya...and I'm game.

The rain didn't let up at all when I met up with the ladies on the trail.  They brought jackets and headlamps because the sun (ha!) wasn't up yet.  I, on the other hand, didn't have a light but chose to wear my day-glo/road cone orange top and super fun YMX Maori Stripe Bolero (which is pretty freaking awesome, I might add).  To be honest, I was super nervous running with Kerrie and Alma, the speedy ladies.  My speed is laughable at the moment, and Kerrie's in the prime of her running career--I'm wicked proud of her!

We set off in the downpour and the miles just melted away and then we were done.  Wow.  I guess I'm ok!  3.8 miles while getting over a cold, in the rain, and not training for 6 weeks.  The cupcake was delish, as was the company. ;)  They were going to go run for a little longer, but I needed to get home to get the house ready for Trav's 30th birthday surprise party (which was a HIT, I'm happy to report!).

Despite my lips being blue, my hands "frozen" into claws, and my butt completely numb, I was happy to be out with my favorite running friends and, well, OUT RUNNING.  And who cares if my stupid cold came back with a vengeance?  Not this runner. ;)

Friday, October 21, 2011


Goob & I on a daily walk in Shanghai
After being kept up by a screaming/crying/tantrum-throwing 11 month old Goober sleep ninja at 4am, I just couldn't go back to sleep.  What did I do?  I went downstairs and dusted.  Yeah, dusted.  Then I laced up my good 'ol Brooks Adrenalines, pulled on my wickedly awesome black running tights, grabbed the GUS and headed out for a shock-of-a run.  You know what?  It kinda rocked.  The run did, not me (at.all).

I fell off the running bandwagon while battling my injury known as "Living in Shanghai, China..." for 6 full weeks.  I tried my hardest to hold on to that bandwagon's taillight and after being dragged for a couple miles, I let go.  Ego bruised and Running Skirt torn, I decided walking around the city was a safer, easier bet while taking care of the Goober monster 24/7.  Alas, it was defeat for the moment. *le sigh*

What does 6 weeks of non-running do to a runner?  Nothing.  It seriously turns you into nothing.  A big pile-o-nothing.  My endurance is completely gone, and speed is lacking.  My lungs burned after a mile.  HA!  And I'm a "Marathoner," folks.  Embarrassing, yes.  But you know what?
Running felt GOOD.  

I have a HALF marathon to train for--and it's in a month.  Another HA!  Not looking for any PR's, that's for certain.  But it's a goal for training.

So with that I say, BOOYAH.  I'm BACK!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011




I will be back to my "normal" life in the States in 10 days.  China has been fun, but there is no way that I could run and blogging by e-mail is no fun at all.  At least I'm walking everyday, with Goober, for a minimum of 3 miles. It's not enough, but it's keeping me sane.


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