I think my legs have finally recovered from Steep Camp. It felt good to get some speed going, but I had slept in and it was already in the 90’s when I left the house. I did a short progression run and then ran easy the rest of the way home.
It’s the week of July 4th so as usual we are headed to LA for Anime Expo. Not for me, but for my daughter. We finished packing up for the trip. Or I finished packing for the trip. Norm wanted to go wash and vacuum my car. I was slightly annoyed. I still had other errands to run and a clean car was not high on my list of priorities for driving 6 hours through the desert. I was able to get him to run my errands for me instead of wash the car and we headed out around11am.
We arrive, get some grocery shopping done, have dinner and go to bed. There is a Trader Joe’s a few blocks away. Dear Trader Joes, your gluten free options leave a lot to be desired. Now I know why I rarely shop there. With no gluten free soy sauce we tried coconut aminos for the first time. It was okay.
This year we are in Burbank, which is new for us. We usually stay in Highland Park which is my most favorite neighborhood. Walking distance to Trader Joes was awesome, but other than that I wasn’t in love with Burbank until I went running today. The neighborhoods were easy to run through and I made my way, accidentally, to Stough Canyon Nature Park. The park is in the Verdugo Mountains. Just smooth, flat road running. Since I learned that my hamstring doesn’t mind climbing at Steep Camp I decided to go head and do some uphill running. But maybe I should back up to Steep Camp?
I wanted to write about how amazing Steep Camp was but I never got the chance. I have been getting up at 3:45am to run before working from 7:30 until 3:30 at the botanical garden. After getting home, walking dogs, prepping for the next day, and making dinner I am usually in bed by 6:30pm.
I decided to run Steep Camp at the last minute. It’s hard to explain, but I just needed to do some really hard stuff with my body. And I needed an adventure. I convinced Norm that it would be fun to get up at 2:30am and drive to Greer for the race. Although in my defense, when I first concocted this idea I thought that the race was in Flagstaff.
We stopped in Payson to get a second round of coffee, but the Starbucks employees weren’t unlocking the door. We tried knocking a few times, but nothing. Ten minutes past opening time we went through drive through and asked them to unlock the door. I really need to go to the bathroom.
We got to the race about 10 minutes before the start. We registered and I went to the bathroom. I lost Norm not sure what he was doing. The race started and I was still trying to braid my hair. I had no idea where Norm was, but Norm doesn't mind starting a race after it actually starts. Since I have done zero climbing I decide that I need to just focus on having fun and not on being competitive but somehow I ended up in the lead for the women.
The course is steep, but not as bad as that climb at Snowbowl. The third time up I was passing people using the mantra “stop being so dramatic, it’s just walking!” It was the descent that I hated. It was steep, loose dirt with trees and roots and rocks and very twisty. I did a lot of sliding on my butt after having my legs come out from under me more times than I like the first time down.
On my third time up I decided that was my last time. I had time to get up and down again and I risked being bumped from first place, but I decided I was okay with it. My decision was confirmed when on my way down from the third loop a man standing on the trail told me he had seen a bear. “Was it a baby” I ask. He replies no. “was it big?” I ask, he replies no. “So a juvenile? “I ask. This conversation is going nowhere. Did you make noise I ask? He didn’t so I clap my hands a few times and let out some whooping noises and head down the trail telling him if I get attacked to save him self.
Norm got 2 laps done and called it a day, but since he doesn't do any running or hiking or training of any sort, that was pretty good. I am so glad that we went. I had a lot of fun. It was really great for me to be racing again, even if I wasn't focused on being competitive. I remember thinking during the race that it felt so good to be racing, that I don't really know who I am if I am not a competitive athlete. I know I am meant to feel that my self worth isn't dependent on my athletic performance, but that is not how I feel. I mean, if some of my worth isn't dependent on my performance and effort as an athlete then why have I been wasting so much time and money on racing and training? There has to be some meaning to it.
In the end, the lady in 2nddecided to go for another loop. I wished h luck and took some time to sun bath with Norm before heading home. I ended up 2ndfemale and I am totally fine with it.
Back to Burbank where I am on the trail in Stough Nature Park. I saw 4 people the entire time. I definitely felt very alone which I love (but also find a bit scary). I was convinced that I was going to be eaten by a mountain lion. Since I didn't have water with me I didn't go too far before heading back to the house.
I stopped at the very clean bathrooms at the nature center and noticed a sign about a Hepatitis A outbreak. I am not a big hand washer but after wondering if I have been vaccinated for Hepatitis A I washed real good and tried not to touch anything. I mean I know I am not sharing drug needles, but I need my liver. Better safe than sorry.
Other than a trip to Whole Foods we spent the rest of the day being lazy.
I met up with my friend Nick at Westridge Trailhead. I was pretty excited to see a new trail. This place was amazing! You just have no idea that you are in the middle of the city.
We started off by going down this ridiculous single track. I mean, it was fine but if you don't know I have a serious aversion to step and loose dirt so again, I did a lot of butt sliding. I am sure Nick and his friend Rob thought I was insane, but my knees can't take a lot of steep pounding and I always end up on my ass anyways. But the rest was awesome smooth fire road. I marvel at how amazing it is to live in a big city like this and be able to go places where you feel like you are in the middle of no where. The guys tell me about a trail that goes down to the Nazi Camp. I ask if we can stay off that trail, yikes! It’s a place called Murphy’s Ranch. But after looking at pictures of it, we are considering a trip there. We top out at a spot with a water fountain bathrooms and believe it or not a pay phone. Some down, a small amount of climbing and before I know it we are bombing down to the start. I am so thankful to Nick and Rob for agreeing to meet up with me and share some miles. It was nice to just go and have some fun and chat with people who aren't caught up in my day to day depression. We went to breakfast at a small place called the OC café. After I left I was thinking about how I had so much fun and I was so happy. I decided to just make the choice and be happy and stop being so stressed and ruining my day and the day of everyone else. That lasts a few hours before I was screaming at Norm in the car on the way to Malibu with the kids. Then we all rode in awkward silence while I developed a massive stomach ache because I am a complete asshole who can't even be nice for a day. I know money isn't everything, but if I don't find a decent job soon and start making enough money to live I don't know how I am going to every decrease my stress.
My hamstring wasn’t feeling great. Not sure if it was because I over did it in yoga on Sunday or sitting for so long on the car ride here or all the sudden climbing and descending or maybe a combination if it all. This house doesn't have any butter knives so Norm used the handle of some other utensil to scrape it for me.
So we get to Malibu and head to the beach. I had picked Leo Carrillo because it would be low tide when we would get there at 4pm and the kids wanted to check out some tide pools. I also chose it because all the other beaches closed their parking at 4pm and we weren’t going to get there until a little after 4pm. But it was a great beach. The kids had a blast and I really enjoyed just laying on the beach. We stayed for 2 hours before heading back home for a late dinner.
I woke up just not feeling great. I stayed in bed for a bit with my coffee. We got the girls up to get ready for Anime Expo. Norm took them while I applied for jobs. When he got back we decided to go for hike. It was good for me to take a rest day probably and a chance to spend some time together instead of me being off running by myself. I took him to Stough Nature Center and we did an out and back 6 mile hike. More people were around today but still not a ton of people.
We come home from the hike and Norm is trying to park in a spot where the car is clearly not going to fit. I tell him that he is going to be blocking a driveway and then some guys walks over and I say “oh G-d” as Norm rolls down the window. He listens while the man lectures him about blocking the driveway and how there are plenty of other places to park. I just get pissed. I am mad at Norm for trying to park there. I am mad at the man for lecturing us. I am mad at Norm for not telling the guy, “oh yeah I realized that I am not going to fit and we are moving.” Norm starts to turn around and I say, “you have to let me out of this car now.” I get out and head into the house. This is me these days. Nerves frayed to the edge. Everything just gets to me. I go into the house and cry in the bathroom for 5 minutes and I don’t even know why I am crying.
We went to Yummy Cupcakes because I had read they have really good gluten free and vegan cupcakes. We bought a bunch of different cupcakes to have for dinner. The staff was so friendly! This might be a bad thing to know about.
More applying for jobs before heading to pick up the girls. I am trying to make Ava her favorite dinner, but the pilot light on the oven keeps going out and so it is making cooking dinner seriously difficult. Norm is spending most of his time on the floor of the kitchen to watch the flame of the oven.
After dinner we ate the yummy Yummy cupcakes and guess what? They were yummy!