Miles of Life ~ My life as a donut Kylie Donia

Archive for April, 2011

hehe it’s Annie!!

Saturday, April 23rd, 2011

Well Gracie has Facebook and Mommy and Daddy are on computers a lot so I want to be, toooo! Mommy says I can write here but she or Daddy get to check what I put. Today I want to talk about Nutz. Nutz is a squirrel. He lives in my backyard and he yells at me. So I tell him to get out of the tree and we can play. But he doesn’t listen, he just yells at me. He is fat. Umm ok I have to go see if he is there now. Bye!

not for a lack of trying

Saturday, April 23rd, 2011

Having not felt great all week, I wasn’t sure about the Saturday run. But it had been too long since I ran with the group, and I missed the friendly faces! So I sucked it up, woke up, and got ready. It was a bit damp looking, so I layered a pink long-sleeved top under my lime green Croom Fools Run shirt. I promise I won’t wear it every run forever… and yes, it has some pink in the design so I did match. Although, as Mike asked when I was getting ready, “Why are there two lights on?” referring to both the bedroom light and my beautiful green/pink glow πŸ™‚ Two little girl dogs hadn’t had a run in a while, so I grabbed two leashes and put some excited puppies into the car with me, and we were off.

Oddly, the farther east I got during my just-under-2-mile drive, the wetter it got. There were actual raindrops by the time I reached Panera. But it was still good to be out, and it was a huge group today! Some who just returned from Boston, some prepping for the OC marathon next week, and some who didn’t realize it was wet and were ready for a cold run. Luckily the weather only got nicer! Unfortunately, my lungs were still not all there, so I was smart and called it a day at about 3 miles. The girls and I walked a bit under 2 miles back, and then I took them home. But I wasn’t about to skip on the fun part, so I grabbed my Croom mug and headed back to Panera for some chatter. I really do love Saturday mornings!

Post-Croom – the final segment – and PossAbilities Tri 2011

Sunday, April 17th, 2011


Having completed the Croom Fools Run 50 Miler, I hung out and cheered in some more racers, chatted, and ate more food. Then the drive back to Andrea/Armando’s, and then I was hungry! So we found a Thai food place, and put in a call… only to find they couldn’t take orders… because of a power outage due to fire! Fires just don’t want me to eat in Florida. But we found another place and ordered, and I jumped into an ice bath (so coooold, but so good). When I got out, there was delicious food ready and then it was bed time.

In the morning we went to a yummy champagne brunch at Oystercatchers with a crew of racers. Then Andrea, Armando, Mike, and I had a drink looking over the gulf as we had a bit of time before or flight. They dropped us off at the airport, and it was time to head home from our whirlwind tour of the trails of Florida.

I'll be back!

It was awesome to meet the runners I had heard so much about, and to see Andrea and Andy and Charles and all the others! Thanks Florida runners for the welcome and sharing your trails with me πŸ™‚

Since my gut issues had me walking more than my legs needed me to, recovery wasn’t too bad. Yes, I could tell I ran. But I wasn’t especially sore. I headed to Vegas for work for a couple days, and did some easy time on the elliptical machine in the mornings.

My first run could definitely feel that my legs were worn out, and then today was the PossAbilities Tri, and I raced. Mike and I met at that race way back in 2006, and have both raced it every year since. I could feel that my legs weren’t all there! But I still had a good day, getting 1st in my age group, although a couple minutes slower than last year.

Croom Fools Run 50 Miler

Sunday, April 17th, 2011

coming through the start/finish after the 5mi loop - with Jen (pink shirt), Micah (yellow and green), as well as Tracy and Larry (not really visible)

At the start, and ready to go, and then we were off! We’d begin with a short jaunt down the road to a fire road and then onto some single track trails for a 5 mile loop. Part way through this loop I found myself with a group running comfortably, and 4 of the 5 of us were first time 50 milers. So we chatted and just hung together. Starting in the dark, and often running single file, the game of running with and talking to people for hours, without having seen their faces, was on.

As I went through my awesome husband pit crew was ready with nuun and Okole Stuff! And Charles had showed up for support. Lubed and bottle filled, my new found friends and I were on our way, back in our train. Now it was the first of three trips around a 15 mile loop. Use to much more defined trails, the terrain was a bit more open, and I had to pay a bit more attention to make sure I was really on a trail, and the right trail. But the orange markings of the trail system, and the tons of pink ribbons near turns, made it pretty straight forward. During this loop I got to see the course and aid stations and layout for the first time, and definitely agreed with what Andrea had told be about the second part of the loop being hillier. But there were some nice cool sections I thought would feel great on the later loops. It was also awesome to find Andrea helping at aid station #2! It really made the course feel friendly knowing there would be friendly faces so often on the loop.

coming in at 20mi

About 15-18 miles into the race, our train broke apart a bit, and I met some new friends (like Sara) and just went with how I was feeling. And I was feeling pretty good. I came back through and my crew was still there. And then I saw it… pineapple… a snacksize little tube of juicy pineapple, sitting on the cooler. And I had to have it. Thank you Charles that was some of the best pineapple I have ever tasted! I thought about it for miles. And also while there, more nuun.

pineapple and more Okole Stuff @ 20 miles

Since it had definitely started getting warm, I also stripped off my vest and shirt, just going with a hand bottle. The aid stations were close enough together that I didn’t feel the need to carry more. And the couple gels in my handbottle would be fine. I also tied my buff to the handle so that I could still wipe my face. I had decided to lose the layers around when the train broke apart, and since I almost never run in a sports bra I was glad Willem had mentioned that might be a good approach (when I ran into him at Running Center before the trip). It had me mentally prepared to just go with it, and I was glad I had.

at about 27.5 miles

A couple miles down the trail I realized I had forgotten to do the sunscreen part of my pit crew plan. And figured I would see Andrea at AS#2 again and ask her. And I did see her, and luckily she asked me if I needed sunscreen because my brain, although it regularly reminded me on the trail, didn’t while I was there. She took the 27.5-ish mile picture… but I have no idea what I was saying or doing!

ice chest

The next section was tough. Not only was it getting really warm, but I was alone, and my guts were hurting. This might be a bit TMI, but what would a race report be without it? I started to get that horrible feeling of a bladder infection. Having only had one other (during Vineman’s run, of course) I wasn’t positive yet, but had a bad feeling about it. I am not sure if there is something I do with some of the hotter longer races that increases the pain or speeds those up (with both races I felt a bit off before hand, but not nearly as bad as I did during either race. I was relieved to come up that final rooty section that brought me to my crew, and finishing mile 35.

For this loop through the start/finish area, I mostly remember the grape gatorade. It was awesome. I took a bit more time getting in some extra fluid this time, and feeling the heat, I made good use of having packed baggies and made my own personal “ice chest.” And needing to walk for a minute, Mike joined me. And then was sent back for Okole Stuff since I needed a bit more. He is awesome – and I loved not having to worry about him catching up with it. I chatted with him a bit, loving the company but also knowing I needed to really get moving again as best as I could, so soon said goodbye and looked forward to Andrea at AS#2.

getting to AS#2 with Andrea

little red room

But before I got that far I had great support from Mark at AS#1 (and it turned out he is Sara’s husband). The Boston Red Sox shirt made me smile, and feeling fairly bad at this point he did a great job of just making sure I was ok and helping me just keep moving. And I knew soon I would see Andrea, and I just focused on that. Well, when I wasn’t being mad at myself. It was really tough to have my legs and lungs feel awesome, have the loop actually feel a bit cooler than the previous loop, and still just not be able to run due to the lower gut pain. I got passed by a couple people during this, and I just wanted to run, and my legs wanted to run. Soooo mentally tough — I was getting so frustrated. But soon I saw Andrea! She came toward me down the trail, and with that grape gatorade in hand! I didn’t need/want the liquid, but was so happy for the company, and the chatter to help keep me off my grumpiness was very welcome. Soon we made it to AS#2 and a little red room I was happy to visit while my bottles got filled. And as a bonus surprise, Mike and Charles and Armando were there! And soon (ok or not so soon, but eventually) they sent Andrea on for the final stretch. 7ish miles to go!

heading out again with Andrea

And we were off again! 3 miles to the next aid station, thinking in little chunks. Some running here, but not a ton. And then Mark from AS#1 appeared at AS#3 and it kinda blew my mind. So I just kept on going, and Andrea chatted a second while filling bottles and then catching up to me. And we got into a good rhythm of running downhills and some parts of flats, and hiking up the uphills. And of course every now and then just stopping and groaning. Andrea was awesome to put up with me for the bad parts, and encouraging me and telling me stories. I’m lucky to have such awesome friends who were there to get me through this experience.

almost at the finish cones

And then… finally… it was the rooty section. And that meant close to the end. And the camera guy on the uphill that made me have to run some. Tasting the finish line, my brain started working a bit, and I remembered Mike’s favorite picture of me from the Calico race: downhill with a crazy face and “I love you” gang-sign hands. So I turned around, had him get a shot like that (which I don’t have yet, so can’t put here), and then continued on my way to run it the rest of the way in.

And then I was done! I had been thinking about a towel on the ground for a number of miles, and I got it! And no, I didn’t notice that there was poison ivy right next to my arm. And no, when I was told what it was I still didn’t care. And then I stole Mike’s run shorts and it was time for food. Shortly I found myself chatting and holding a hug bag of chips. They were awesome.


and done!

post-race toes










And here are some bonus pictures from the day:

running at some point

into AS#2 for the last time

Sasha-pup (Andy's) gave me kisses at the end. She reminded me of my Annie πŸ™‚

part of the trail -- the area had tons of scrawny but tall trees, and almost open space around the trail

Trifuelers and RD Andy post-race (Andrea, Andy, Mike, Kylie, Charles)

Getting to Croom Fools Run 50 Miler

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

Happy rainbow toes

After running all night with Andy at his Rocky Roads 100, I was inspired and thought I could do my first 50 miler. On the way home, I called and told Mike, and soon we had plane tickets and it was on. I was excited for not only the race, but also the chance to visit Florida, and meet my long-time Trifueler (online tri/ultra website) friend Andrea, along with her husband, as well as seeing Trifueler Charles and his wife Mindy, both of whom I met a few years ago but hadn’t seen since.

Fast forward about a month and it was time. Like I did for my first Ironman back in 2005, I painted my toenails rainbow. Heidi was going to stay with the pups, and Mike and I were ready to go. It would be a short but fun trip: arriving on Friday and heading home Sunday afternoon.

mmm Okole Stuff for the toes!

After a happily uneventful flight we met Armando at the airport. He and Andrea welcomed us to their home and were pretty much awesome and took great care of us. Including setting up a dinner with Charles and his wife. The adventure started as the restaurant we planned on had a fire and closed for the night right as we arrived. But no worries, we just picked a nearby place. And the chatter (yes, even about all the bugs and snakes and creatures you find on trails in Florida) was great.

And suddenly it was race day. I packed up my gear and food (and way more than I’d need) and Andrea drove us to the start. It felt a bit early since California time had me thinking it was about 1am. But my excitement kept me awake for the drive! Once there, I checked in and got my number – 1817 – and said hi to Andy (aka A1, who I feel I’ve known for so long… and there is little quiet when we are around).

Kylie, Andrea, and Andy pre-race

Then it was time to set up my area at the start/finish. It was a loop course: one 5 mile loop and then 3 loops of 15 miles each. So Mike was going to be my crew and see me each time I passed the start/finish. We found a great spot right along the route by the fence and got set up. Having had a bit of shin pain leading up to the race, Mike taped it for me, using green to match my Aroyo Trail Blazers shirt, and cow to make me smile. And I loved seeing the paws on my new gaiters as they made me think of my awesome training partner pups.

Shoes on, it was time to get to the start line! There I got to meet some of the other runners. A couple were speedypantz that I would not see for long, like “the other Andy”, aka A2. Others I would see on and off over the course of the day. Having shared my story of pacing Andy, many knew my name, which was fun. And moments later the cheers sent us down the road and onto the trails for the 5 mile loop.


Kylie and Mike at the start area

A2 pointing out the course and Kylie ready to go

waiting for the start (or maybe doing a robot dance)

waiting to start in my magic running vest and puppy pawprint gaiters

AndyMan giving the race briefing

Mindy and Charles at dinner the night before the race, at the place not on fire






















Rocky Roads 100 – pacing & my future

Friday, April 8th, 2011

runners waiting to start

My friend Justin is a bit crazy. He was going to do a 100 mile run! So… well, I figured I’d go cheer for him. And at that distance, they have this thing called pacers. Pacers are people who can run with the racer after mile 45 (and while a runner can have multiple pacers, they have just one at a time) and their job is to keep the person moving forward, spirits up, reminded to eat and drink, and just to generally watch out for their runner.

Well, if I’m going to go cheer, I might as well see if anyone wants some company! Figuring it would be a great way to meet some new friends and really experience what it’s like out there in the dirt, I posted on the race website that if anyone needed a pacer to let me know. And I soon got a message from Jose. After chatting a few times, we had a plan. The only catch was how much I’d be able to run. I knew I’d be good for at least one of the 15 mile out/back sections. But I wasn’t sure how much more. And really he needed people from miles 45 – 90 (having the last 10 taken care of). So I showed up bright and early on Saturday (maybe a bit too early… beating most of the racers), ready for pretty much anything (and with a good selection of pretty much everything in my car/home for the weekend).

One of my favorite stories of the spirit of the trail: the lady in the bright shorts had knee pain, and thought her tights were contributing. Guy in the green gave her the pants off his... rear... and helped her back into camp.

I must say, the weather had been a bit wet (or a lot wet) the day before. Some crazy rain! But it had at least slowed a bit, although there was constant drizzle. And many runners opted to stay warm & dry in their cars until the start. Hoping I’d be able to meet my new friend Jose, I hung out at registration. And soon found that they were short tents to cover the drop bags! Having an EZUp in the car, I offered its services and helped it get set up. I felt a bit better, as it gave me a role. Oh, the girl with the EZUp… Thanks, I wanted dry shoes/clothes/food out of my dropbag after running 80 miles.

No longer feeling as out of place, I started chatting with various runners. And Justin soon arrived (having an RV that had to be parked no so close to the start due to the lot hitting RV capacity, he was on his own and his lovely wife didn’t get to be at the start). While hanging out with Justin, one friendly looking guy asked the time, and it was again something I could help with. The friendly face appeared to be alone, so I asked where he was from, expecting maybe the Bay Area, or some other close-enough California answer.


Ok, that wasn’t expected. What, I had to ask, brought him out here. Well, it turns out he is a race director, and as a friend of this director, they try to support each others races. And I got a feeling. And I had to ask him what race he directs. “Oh, it’s called Croom Fools Run.”

To which I replied “And it’s on April 9th this year.”

Doubleshot of Espresso, Andy, and Kylie -- before the pacing began

That got a surprised look. And I mentioned how I want to do my first 50 mile race this year, and a friend recommended that one and tried to talk me into it.Β  And he asked the name of this persuasive friend. “Andrea Risi,” I replied, knowing very well that there are a lot of people in Florida, and I know two (and really, I haven’t even met Andrea in person yet!).

And the gentleman laughed. “She’s my training partner.”

And a friendship was born, based on the common knowledge of a really awesome Florida runner chick, and Andy had entered my life.

Back to Jose for a minute, my other new friend. Turns out, since I wasn’t sure how many miles I’d be good for, he brought a couple other pacers as well. So miles 45-60 were all mine, and I had a rough idea when to expect him for those miles.

Justin and faithful pacer Willem

Soon the race was off, and I did my best to cheer for people. I try my best to learn names, because it helps feel like you matter, and is really just a matter of focusing. So I often used names. I of course got some, and maybe quite a few, just wrong. But I hope it helped someone! And it kept me a bit entertained watching and following along the race.

I met up with Candace, Justin’s wife, and we cheered from various vantage points. And I hung out at the start/finish area some more, and my friend Ted (from training for my first ultra back in 2008) arrived, and was hoping to do some pacing as well. Hearing who I’d be pacing, he said he knew Jose. Such a small world πŸ™‚

Soon Andy was back in, 45 miles done. 55 left. And it was not an easy day, as I was soon to experience. Seeing his face, I looked at Ted. Hey Ted, could you run with Jose? Sure. So I went over to Andy.

“Need some company?” I tentatively asked, not wanting to force myself in where not wanted. And he said it would be wonderful, and I changed as quick as I could, grabbed some water, and was ready to head out and see what it was like.

a quick picture on the trail

Muddy, and a bit of rolly hills, but great company, was the answer. I had an experienced guide, and I don’t remember all we chatted about but it was a great run. 15 miles later, and we were back in camp. I felt great. Do you want me to join you again, Andy? And again he agreed to let me join him, and we were soon off again.

We talked ultras, and soon mile 27 rolled around, and I let Andy know it was now officially my second longest run ever, having only done one 50k (31 miles) and a handful of marathons. I also let him know that I thought I might still be feeling pretty good… and that if he could give me a break I might even be up for joining him for his final shorter 10 mile out and back. So back in camp, I gave him a hug and sent him on his way.

At which point I realized I had eaten almost nothing, and had been running for around 7 hours. So food focus it was!! And then it was cold, so it was into the car, heat on, and read a bit. I also had about a 15 minute nap before I got up and tested out my legs.

Andy is done! 22:21

Pleasantly surprised, I put on another run outfit and got ready for my hero of the day to return. Soon I saw Andy coming up the trail, and I let him know I was ready… if he wanted company. And he did! And I was thrilled, and went out with him again.

At some point in here, Andy told me he thought I could do a 50 miler. And that April 9th wouldn’t be too soon. And the seed was planted. I could meet Andrea, and see Charles & Mindy, my other Florida Trifueler friends. And the seed took root, and it grew. I started getting what stories and info about Croom Fools Run from Andy. And I asked if I could be an honorary FL Ultra Runner. And I got to run in with him as he hit 100 miles, and under 24 hours! Not just under, but a good strong 22:21! Awesome πŸ™‚

And we were exhausted, so I hoped back in the car for a nap, and to cheer Justin in later. And he headed off. Soon it was morning, and I got up and Justin finished, and then I got packed up and headed out. Well, started to head out. Because the girl with the EZUp might be in trouble if she really left without her husband’s EZUp…

Kylie and Andy: Done

On the road for real, I told Mike we might have to head out to Florida. And that is the story of why I’m flying to Florida in the morning, and how it came to be that on Saturday I’ll be running in my first 50 mile race. I love these crazy adventures!


* all material presented here is fact and in no way distorted… at least to me. It’s fun to see the different views, so if you want to see Andy’s story of the event, check out his blog race report.

A year at the races

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

Ok so I have been slacking, and even race reports aren’t all here! Since I can’t just let it go and move on, here are probably the shortest race reports I ever have or ever will again write…

8/1/09 Barbs
The fun part of this race was that Mike was doing the Full Vineman, which starts just before and does two loops on the course. So I got to help Mike on his way, leaving me no time to stress about me. I was of course a bit stressed for him, being that this is the same course where he got hit by a car back in 2007. But thankfully there was no repeat!

Mike was out of the water before I even had to get ready (letting me fold up his wetsuit for him since it is a pack-it-yourself race). Knowing it is a popular half for beginners, I moved to the front of the swim, dealt with the contact, and just went for it. Out and onto the bike through the course near my hometown, and soon onto the run. I felt pretty good, and had a goal of not getting passed by Mike on the run (he’d start running while I was already out there). And I made it, crossed the line and was wiped! A PR of just over 20 minutes! 5:33:43.

9/2/09 Run with the Cops 5k (Gracie’s first race)
I was scheduled to drive some kids to this race, and decided I could get in a decently long run while they all ran and chatted and got awards, so I loaded Gracie and Mike into the car and headed out. Little did I know the kids’ group had signed me up! So I apologized to the race director, said my dog was with me, and learned Gracie was welcome there! So the bib was pinned onto her collar and my little girl dog got to do her first race. Since we weren’t sure how it would all go, Mike joined us for much of the run. And she was a strong little girl dog, winning the female dog division overall! And was 2nd dog overall.

12/13/09 Tinsel Tri
Another local, reverse order sprint. It is a favorite of the kids, but while it is always fun, and some of the costumes people wear are awesome, there was nothing too special for us this year.

1/31/10 Highland DU
Take one of the toughest 5k/10k/half marathon courses in the area, and turn it into a duathlon! Two tough runs with a deceptive (false flat uphill on the way out) bike course. And then add some fun by having the duathletes go by the runners of the other races… letting us cheer them on!

2/14/10 Redlands Tri
Back in 2004 the Redlands Tri was my first tri ever! It was at a different site that year, but the same basic reverse order distance. That year, I was scared because the bike was borrowed, and I dropped my water bottle. This year, I was second overall female. Yeah, consistency and training do pay off πŸ™‚

3/7/10 Desert Tri
It is always a tough day… I’m not sure why. It’s just a hard one for me. This year was no real exception, and I didn’t feel I had the training in me that I would like to have. But got ‘er done.

4/25/10 PossAbilities
The theme of not feeling the race mojo continued at PossAbilities (another local reverse order sprint). And to top it off, I was sick leading up to it, and Mike was sick on the day. It being the 5th year we both did the race, and it being the race we met at, we still got out there and gave it a go. Mike was feeling so badly that about 200 yards into the run he knew it was a day to stick with me, and make it special by racing together. It was fun to have him by my side… and fun to have him blocking people trying to draft on the technical hill bike course (yes, hill… up and down it 3 times… with a uturn at the bottom… ugg!) Heidi, a good friend and awesome runner new to tris finally beat me, which of course was a bit bitter sweet. As proud as I am of my mentee, and as much fun as I have helping her and watching her grow in the new disciplines, it is always a bit tough to really accept that some people have crazy talent. But at the end of the day, she is such a great friend that of course the pride in her accomplishment is the main feeling.

5/21-23/10 Triple T

Ok for this one I actually have bullet points on paper from the day after the race… I’ll post them shortly (for real this time!) — OK I did it, but I cheated and dated it earlier, so find it back in May 2010 πŸ˜‰

10/10/10 Trek Women’s Tri
Having a free entry, there was no reason not to do this race. At registration the day before (yes, it sucked to have to go out to register), I ended up switching into the elite wave. It’s another very beginner friendly race, which is awesome, but I still wanted to race my best, and I didn’t want to be the mean one who swam too aggressively for some of the newer swimmers. Since I was supposed to be in the forth wave, but had placed in the top 5ish the year before, they just moved my start. It was cool because there was only one other elite, and it was an excuse to chat with another strong tri woman and make a friend. My swim felt solid, the bike fine (well… once I got on the bike… I was in totally the wrong gear, and then completely missed the seat and bounced off the front of it, and then weaved onto the wrong side of the road… you’d think after the number of races I’ve done on that same course I’d remember to go in an easy gear! The smile in the bike pic is because I was finally on it!), and the run was tough. But I held on for 2nd elite! πŸ˜‰ And I was also 4th overall.

10/14/10 Race for Rescues 10k (with Mike, Gracie, and Annie)
A race that supports animal rescue? And that encourages four-legged participation? What could be better? Oh one that is near Halloween and has a costume contest? I’m in! So Mike, Gracie, Annie and I headed out to Pasadena for a fun couple laps of the Rose Bowl. And yes, we had the most awesome costumes.

Ok, so it turns out we were misinformed and there was no costume contest. But we still looked awesome, and hey, then our Halloween costumes were ready to go! Oh and Gracie was first dog overall, and Annie second dog overall (even though Annie crossed the line first… it was a technicality). And there were medals! Or at least they got to share Mike’s and my medals. And it was a really fun family day. There were definitely plenty of doggy distractions and Gracie and Annie were such focused, good little racer girls.

12/4/10 Gladiator Rock ‘n Run 5k

Hey Karen, what are you doing this weekend?

She didn’t have a good answer, so a plot was born… I had a free entry to a pretty crazy sounding race: 5k of mud and obstacles. So we split the cost of a second entry since I wasn’t sure the trip was worth it alone (and Mike was out of town).

It was a chilly morning, and the mud wasn’t much warmer. But it was a blast to race it together! And we were in the first of many waves, and the first women in that wave, so in the eyes of the crowds we were the first women! Which made for some fun cheering and good support. Oh, and always pick the first wave because the shower line by the end was crazy, and all the obstacles got more backed up. But our experience was a great one!