Miles of Life ~ My life as a donut Kylie Donia

Kylie's Posts

My baby dog

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

They handed her to me, and she looked up at me. She had a mohawk, and licked the end of my nose before snuggling into my elbow. I let Mike hold her, and held her sibling. But I already knew, and soon had her back in my arms. “Do we need to go get a checkbook?” Mike asked. I nodded. But we didn’t go… he did. I held her. She was my baby from that moment on.

Baby Annie

Baby Annie

Annie now

Annie now

This week, my fears of a couple weeks ago were confirmed: Annie, my baby, has cancer. There is a main mass on her shoulder, another smaller one connected to it, a spot in her lungs, and some affected lymph nodes. Not that it is ever an easy thing to hear, but it was not what we were ready to hear. She had been limping, and we were worried about a soft tissue injury since we couldn’t find a source or swelling, and she hadn’t be getting better with rest, so we took her to the doctors who had done such a wonderful job with her ACL replacement in February. With their finding of the mass, and their concern, we started the tests, and the waiting. It was 4 years exactly since the day we named her, 4 years and a day since she was first handed to me.

We did a biopsy of the shoulder mass, an aspirate of the smaller one — the biopsy wasn’t good news, and the aspirate was inconclusive. Then a CT scan of her shoulders and lungs, and an ultrasound of her abdomen. The CT found the spot on her lung, but her abdomen was clear. Then an aspirate of the lung spot, and while not conclusive, it was another indicator of cancer. And yes, we cried. And held her. And let her sleep in the bed.

Now, with all the tests back, we are deciding. We’ve met with her oncologist (yes, my dog now has a surgeon, internal medicine specialist, and an oncologist — she couldn’t have a better medical support team than those three!) and we are facing one of the hardest choices, if not the hardest, that I have made so far in my life. Do we make her as comfortable as we can, enjoy the weeks and maybe months she has? Do we do chemo, which is different in dogs and people, in that dogs are not made ill by it, but at the same time it doesn’t hold the hope of curing it permanently, and have another 6-12 months with her, with a vet visit in San Diego every 3 weeks? Or do we combine the chemo with radiation, the hardest hit on the family both financially and with time (with four weeks of weekly visits to San Diego to go along with the visit every 3 weeks), but giving her the longest chance at 12-18 months?

We can’t cure her, but if all goes well, the extra time with her (with treatment) has a good chance of temporarily curing her. But the outcome no matter what is the same: my baby dog will not grow to be the old dog I have always pictured, but cancer will take her from me sooner than I ever imagined I’d say goodbye. I thought I was at peace with loving her as long as I could, but just making her as comfortable as possible. But the more I learn about the treatment options, the more I don’t know if I’m ready to take the least medical approach. She is my baby. But I also don’t know the affect it would have on my family as we, in some sense, just prolong the inevitable: knowing what we face, could we truly enjoy and savor the time we have together, while not losing the other parts of our lives that make us who we are? Not focusing on Annie to the exclusion of Gracie, and Kenzie, and Mike, and the relationships and goals and dreams and plans we have with each other?

To Annie, all is the same. As her wonderful surgeon said “Her reality is that her shoulder is a little sore and she has the best family in the world… and that Dr. Ganz keeps finding ways to drag her down to San Diego and stick a needle in her once a week…” And with any of them, my heart is breaking.

She was meant to be part of our family. She almost shares my birthday, being born one day before it. Driving to the other pet store across town, the compressor in the ac in my car blew out (again). And I laughed. “I’m glad I’ve already got her! We might have been too busy dealing with the car and its expenses if we had waited.”

It all started on a bike ride a day before our one year wedding anniversary, having just got back from volunteering at Ironman Canada. We talked about how Gracie seemed to have fun staying with friends with other dogs while we were gone, and about a pack member for her. At home, I found a puppy online that I really liked from the info… named Beauty. But the one named L’il Bit had the picture that drew me in. At the adoption day at the pet story, those dogs weren’t there. But someone who knew their foster mom was, and she was called, and brought the girls down. They handed me L’il Bit first, and told me the info for L’il Bit had been posted with Beauty’s picture, and vice versa — the info and picture I loved were L’il Bit, and I hadn’t fallen for two dogs. And she came home with us. I think Gracie was more interested in the canaries in a cage near the dogs, but she sniffed the little black ball. And once home, Gracie was a bit more curious, although she seemed to look up at us saying “You know, those yellow birds were pretty cool… and you brought home this?”

Pictures of our first Annie-versary

And some more pictures from then:

Our first picture of Annie

Our first picture of Annie. I missed.

With her mommy

With her mommy

Checking out the little sis

Checking out the little sis

Baby sleeping by her daddy's foot

Sleeping by her daddy’s foot

Annie sleeping on Mike

Annie sleeping on Mike

Hey how did she get there?!

Hey how’d she get there?!

Gracie and Annie, Day 1

Gracie and Annie, Day 1

And now:

Gracie, Annie, and Kenzie watching their yard

Gracie, Annie, and Kenzie watching their yard

Kylie, Kenzie, and Annie on a hike

Kylie, Kenzie, & Annie hiking

Mike and his girls

Mike and his girls

Gracie and Annie on a hike last weekend

Gracie and Annie on a hike last weekend




intro to helmet baby

Saturday, October 20th, 2012

Every since they handed Mackenzie to me, she has been my perfect little girl. But there have been tough days. The most memorable of which was just recently, the first time she was anything other than perfect. We were planning to do a nanny, and that fell through the week I was going back to work. I put on a brave face, and tried to just move on. And the next day was Mackenzie’s four month doctor appointment. And all was going well. Then her doctor said it looked like she has a bit of a flatter head than she’d like to see, and that we should get it checked out. It was the first time anything was other than absolutely perfect with my little girl. It was like a weight slamming into me. It was too much to add. I cried.

I have listened, and I have learned more about plagiocephaly. I can now say, and my logical persona does truly believe, it was not something I (or we) did. It is actually something fairly common in these days with babies sleeping on their backs. Yes, car seats and swings contribute, and I use those things. I do use her car seat to drive her places, and her swing for naps — that is all appropriate, and valid use. She was never just in her swing all day, and she has done tummy time. It wasn’t something we failed to do, or caused by something we did. Mackenzie is a great sleeper. She loves to get 10-12 hours at night (with a quick feeding or two). She takes some great naps. And no matter what we did, the time asleep was enough back time that her head got a flat spot. And because we love her and will fix anything we can, we are addressing it as best we can.

My emotional persona, on the other hand, still has high and low spots. Yes, I still sometimes feel like I did this to my child. I look at a red mark on her head as we are figuring out the fit, and I feel I have done this to her. I see people staring, and feel like I did this to my child. I hear a child whisper “mommy what happened to that baby’s face?” and I want to hear the mom’s answer, and tell them it’s nothing that happened and that she is perfect and beautiful and wonderful. But I just hold in tears and keep walking, and tell my little girl I love her.

But there are times I feel like super-mom. I can take care of this child, and I love her, and really it is just not a big deal. And I can share what it really is. Like with the curious little boy at her school the other day, who was peeking at her as we got ready to leave. And who I told some basic info about her helmet. Something along the lines of “her head has a flat spot from sleeping really well, and this will help fix it.” And he told me about breaking his leg, and how he had a cast to help it grow correctly. And I smiled.

First time in the band

So a bit more about how she got her band. We are fortunate that our doctor noticed the flattening, and directed us to the wonderful folks at Cranial Technologies. All they do is help fix head shape of babies 3 to 18 months old. We are just starting, so she got her band before she was 5 months old. Her plagiocephaly is not severe. Our technician Pam (who I can’t say enough nice things about) estimates she’ll need a band around 8 weeks. 8 to 12 weeks in the band is average for children who get started at this age. This means wearing it a minimum of 23 hour a day once the adjusting time is done (it takes a few days of regular removing and checking to make sure it is fitting exactly right – we actually are stil in this process). Then it will come off when needed for a bath and band cleaning each day, as well as when needed for clothing changes. We go to Pasadena about once a week for them to check on the band and adjust it as needed.

One of my first reactions was to be sad, that I had to put this *thing* on my adorable little baby. That I don’t get to feel just her against me as I feed her. That she wouldn’t be cute. So I focused on decorating it, and planning what we’ll do to make it just hers. And once I actually got it, and saw it on my little baby, it really wasn’t so bad. She looks different, but in ways even more cute than ever. And when I feed her, suddenly I am super-aware of her little hands playing on my side, and I notice her smiles and eyes.

Sometimes there are stares. Sometimes I have to smile when it is the last thing I feel like doing. Sometimes I hear wispers instead of questions. More often I see smiles, and feel love. Ane she is still my perfect little girl.

Some facts:
* 1 in 30 babies, or even 1 in 10 or 1 in 6 according to some studies, have plagiocephaly.
* Treated before 6 months of age is the most effective.
* Flattening has no ties to developmental, physical, or social growth. Brain development is not affected.
* Banding is not purely costmetic — the flattening can contribute to TMJ and sleep apnea, among other things.
* You can ask me questions. Really. I’d rather that than hearing wispers, or sympathetic smiles.

I like how my mom explained it after her reading: it is like braces, for your head. And we are still planning the decorations.

Pumpkin patch trip

and 13 months later…

Saturday, October 20th, 2012

I have some things to write about, and so I came back here. And saw it has (yet again) been neglected. It happens when things are going well, and I don’t need to think things out in typing. Although this is often a place I’ve shared excitement, too. And there has been excitement. About a week after the last post, my life began to change. About another week later, I knew it was going to change. And there was definitely excitement about becoming a mommy!

And now, more than a year later, I’m such a proud mommy. And Mike is such a wonderful dad. And Gracie and Annie are the best big puppy sisters. Pregnancy? Wonderful. Labor? Intense. Her birth? Amazing. Having her in my life each day, and seeing her learn and grown? Best thing ever. Seriously. There are of course tough and easy days, but Mackenzie Joy is truely a huge joy in our lives. No words can really explain how much I love her.

Here I am with my little girl as she was a day old:

I do hope to put down more preggo/birth stuff, so perhaps later.

A whole other endurance event

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

I recently was honored to be invited to the wedding of a lady I run with and am proud to call a friend, and the man who will be her partner for life that I hope to get to know better. It was a lovely ceremony, but a few things in particular stand out to me. The look on his face as he watched the wedding party entering. Seeing and loving but really looking beyond, wanting the glimpse of that beautiful lady that agreed to be with him forever. Unconditionally devoting herself to him.

Some great quotes during the ceremony as well. In particular, as Allie’s pastor introduced Dale’s pastor, and said “I won” since he got to do the vows. And lovingly mocked the long wait for the right person — but that it was completely right. Oh and reminded Allie to let him sometimes keep up on runs 🙂

Also memorable for me was the father-daughter dance. Not their faces, although they were pure love. But how their silhoutte danced across the projected pictures of Allie’s childhood projected on the side of the church.

I left feeling full of love, thankful I was invited to be part of such a wonderful beginning of their new life together, and committing to make the most of the partnership I happily celebrated almost 3 years ago this weekend. Allie and Dale, thanks for sharing your day, and wishing you all the best through all the good and challenging times to come!

wait I did what?? (Nanny Goat 12/24/100 race report)

Saturday, June 4th, 2011
Willem at our home base

Willem at our home base

I had heard good things about the Nanny Goat 12hr/24hr/100mi race that is in Riverside May 28th-29th. I thought it sounded a bit crazy — a one mile loop, and how many times?? And a running race that spans multiple days? But I love the race atmosphere, so I figured I’d go out and cheer. Willem mentioned an interested, and I said we should go out and cheer together. Then at Wednesday run group a couple days before he tells me he signed up. And for the 100. Well, he’s done some before, but it sounded like a fun time. So during the run he (or maybe it was me) convinced me that maybe I should just sign up instead of cheer/support. I debated for a night what to do… and by that, I mean which race to sign up for… 12hr, 24hr, or 100. Haha 100 mile, I said to myself, yeah probably not a great idea given I want to do my first in Oct/Nov this year… But maybe I could do it. Thursday (2 days before the race) I signed up for the 12 hour option. It is a cool race where you can just keep going if you feel good, so by signing up for this I left off the stress/pressure. My goal was to run for 12 hours, and just see what a loop course like that was all about, and see what I could do in 12 hours. It would be new territory: I’d never ran that long before. So I was hoping for a new distance PR.

Willem and I headed out to the race site to register and get our area set up (in my head I call it a transition area, but that isn’t the right name for it… our aid area? Home base?). With the loop nature, we’d pass all our stuff ever mile. This would turn out to be good and bad: didn’t have to worry if we forgot something, we could grab it in a mile, and we knew that the positive support and warmth was also that close. But it also meant the temptation of a sleeping bag, a seat, and a break.

Custom hand-held bottle

3 safety pins and a couple strips of old t-shirt make for a pretty awesome bottle holder

We headed home, and it was packing time. I had no idea not only what I was trying to do in terms of time or distance, but also what it would all be about or like. I got a clear plastic bin that would hold most of my stuff (with a limey green top), I got out my favorite lucky green flowered race cooler bag (thanks for the xmas gift Court & Kirk!), and I got out a real cooler. I went shopping and bought all the foods that might sound good: fig newtons, uncrustables, gummy candies – worms & watermelon slices, chocolate & stawberry milk, sour cream and onion lays, BBQ chips, nuun tablets, and other random snacks. Then it was on to the clothes packing, and I decided to pack one or two or sometimes three of everything: long sleeves, short sleeves, capris, running skirts, tank tops, cycling jackets, visors, beanies, gloves, sports bras, socks (toed and just thin), even a pair of baggy run shorts just in case those sounded good. Oh, and since Shana (Willem’s wife) would be our crew of a while, and Mike would show up at some point, as well as other random friends, I packed each type of item in a gallon ziplock bag, labeled. So I could say “hey, I’d love a run shirt next lap” and the next lap, voila! They could hand me my couple choices. Which was dorky, and awesome, all at once. And then there was the gear to add… Garmin (of course), 4 or 5 shoe options, gaiters, buff/bandana, hand water bottles, water bottle belt(s), I even made my own hand holder for a small water bottle from one of the belts that I thought would be the right size (in the car on the way over)! I probably packed enough for days (ok maybe not probably. I did)… but it was a race I could drive to, and my tub(s) of goodies meant I’d never have an “if only I had remembered” moment.

chillin' before the start

chillin' before the start

I posted on Facebook about what I was up to, and that I wondered what the day would hold. Lisa encouraged me to just go for the 100, given the options. And Sachi commented how she didn’t think I’d stop. Part of me was right with them, but part of me was scared of the pressure, so I held to my 12 hours, but kept their voices in my head. I tried to sleep, and soon it was time to be up and waiting for Willem so that we could head back over. Bright and early, I was up and into race clothes. But first some kinesio tape! Beautiful green and cow, just like I had for Croom Fools 50mi. Then toe socks, my favorite target capris, my lucky green Arroyo Trail Blazers shirt, and one of the best sports bras I’ve got. He arrived, and we were off. Got to the site nice and early, and we were set up and ready to go with time to chill and relax. We met some new friends, and ran into some old ones. Fred showed up for the race, too. Thinking of cheering/supporting, he ended up joining in! I even got to reconnect with Kista, who designed the ATB logo on my shirt and who I hadn’t seen since my first 50k back in 2008! And then there was our neighbor — I had heard many times from Mike about his crazy UPS guy, and now I got to meet him (he’s in yellow in the picture to the right). “Hey, I think you might be my husband’s UPS guy.” “Where does he work?” “Redlands Spine and Sport.” “219 E Olive! Dr. Donia!” “You *are* the crazy UPS guy!” “And you must be the crazy wife.” Good times.

the start

the start

And soon, we were off. Shoulder to shouder with Willem. We’d ran together before, but I think our longest run had been about 4 miles, and it was in a group, not just us. So this might end up wonderful, and I might end up wishing for an escape route… it remained to be seen.

The course, as I mentioned, was actually a one mile lap. Over and over and over and… Soon it would become an old friend (or at times, foe). It was on a horse farm, and started right at the north door of a barn, heading out. Some people had set up camp in the stalls, but Willem and I had opted for the less dusty air, although it meant needing our own light source at night. So out the barn, north for about a quarter mile, east for a short stretch on a grassy stretch between horse pasture and a road, and then up a path next to another road to about a half mile, at which point you did a short out and back on a road, back into the horse farm, and through the barn to start the next lap. It gave a whole new meaning to “smelling the barn” (both in odor, and in the draw that barn had each lap). In the bar was a buffet of any snack you might want, and just beyond it, some more tables of BBQ food and drinks.

Willem and Me

Willem and Me

Hearing about this, one of my concerns was how to keep track of the laps. Well, we had this cards (about credit card size, and about as thick and heavy as two cards held together), and we’d scan them at the end of each lap. Once scanned, the number of the lap you just completed was projected on the wall of the barn (along with about the last 9 other people to go through).

Don’t worry, I won’t have a play-by-play for each lap. Honestly, most of the laps are just a blur, and I only remember some particular pieces. Like…

  • Mike and Pete showing up, mid-bike ride, to cheer and then keep on pedaling.
  • Deciding to try Perpetuem (because why not try something new? The day was already an experiment) — It is a drink that is Willem’s energy source of choice, and the nice light strawberry flavor was actually better than I expected, and I did turn to it a number of times throughout the race (thanks for sharing Willem!).
  • Some random guy who kept cheering for me as if he knew me.
  • Being so ready for my Garmin battery to die, as I was ignoring it but it was on my wrist and just “present” but the data girl in me couldn’t just turn it off and let it go.
  • Later realizing the random guy *does* know me, and saying hi to Taylor’s husband, Dustin, out there cheering first and foremost for both her and her father who did the 12 hour race.
  • The wonder that is Fit ‘n Kewl, a spray that actually does make your legs feel, well, fit and cool. Even miles in, but with miles still to go (yup, still a good day to try new things).
  • Mike showing up again briefly to see how it was going, before heading off to Hilary’s 5th birthday party (sorry I missed it Hilary!!).
  • Meeting Jen and Andy because I saw her name, and then later he saw mine, on the projector list on the barn wall. Always nice to meet people you’ve chatted with face-to-face.
  • Bjorn taking a bike ride out through Riverside just to say hi, and have to leave to make it back before it got dark.
  • Allie stopping by with Dale just to see how I was doing, and not recognizing her in real clothes (as opposed to running gear).
  • Some pacer laps — one with each dog: Gracie, then Annie, and then Ginger (Willem’s dog).
  • Gracie being a whistlenose (aka whinning) pretty much non-stop. Not because of the loose dogs around, but because runners were going by, and they weren’t taking her.
Me, Willem, and Taylor going through the tree tunnel

Me, Willem, and Taylor going through the tree tunnel

And I remember this one section of trail, that was about a third of the way into the loop, where there was this awesome spongy ground. And changing my loop so that I’d hit it each time, and giggle most of the times I did find it (and later making everyone who joined me for a lap run over the exact spot to share the fun). Plus there was a beautiful section just past the squishy ground, where the orange trees formed a tunnel, and it was a bit cooler in there.

Then there was the burger lap. Ted (also an ATB friend) was on the grill, and boy did those burgers smell good! Willem and I were both tempted, and then went for it. We grabbed the first one off the grill (right as we passed, perfect timing!) and with some ketchup and a slice of tomato, we cut it in half, and ran the next lap with burger in hand. Alternating talking about how awesome it was, and taking bites. If you’ve seen the commercial about “pudding face” where the dad, or other family member, has a loopy grin that gives him away as the Jello pudding thief, you will understand how the term “burger face” came to be coined. And you might have some idea of how awesome that tasted.

Willem and Me

Willem and Me

There was a 10 year old kid who was doing his first marathon throughout the course of the 12 hour race. He was taking it easy, doing a lap or so, taking a break, and then getting back out there. For one of his breaks, he was heading to the swimming pool at the ranch for a dip! Oooh I was jealous. And commented how I wasn’t sure if I could do that, and then putting clothes back on and keep going (it sounded good to get in the water, but frustrating to have to get dressed when damp, and then back out there). To which some nearby racers let me know that it would be acceptable if I didn’t want to put clothes back on. Haha thanks! It made my lap 😉

Feet up! Ahh

Feet up! Ahh

Oh and the 50th lap! I remember that lap! That was the lap before a sit-down bit to eat, and a stretch! While we’d been running, Mike (along with my little girl dogs) had shown up. And he’d brought the massage table, and more kinesio tape in case it was needed. And I was looking forward to a great assisted stretch without having to sit down on the ground. That was a sub-9 mile, and then almost an hour for the next lap, as we let Mike stretch us, got some food ready, and then walked a lap while eating. Shana makes an awesome cheese sandwhich!

Me and Willem coming by our home base

Me and Willem coming by our home base

As it got dark, I grabbed a small handheld flashlight. I kept it off most of the time, as there was plenty of light for most of the course, and by that time I knew the lines I wanted to take.

And it was soon 12 hours. A moment of truth. To stop, or to scan my card and keep going? We were at about 55 miles, and I was feeling strong despite some more walking those last couple miles. So I scanned my card for a 56th mile and I was in the 24 hour race! It was that easy to get started into that race, and running by Willem made it that easy to keep going.

That running with Willem thing? It was pretty much awesome. The first 50 miles just flew by, as we chatted, and enjoyed the day and each other’s company. While I was feeling pretty good, Willem was starting to have some foot issues. So we had a couple longer breaks between laps as he tried to get them sorted, but soon it was getting to be just a bit too long for me to stop, and I was sad to have to part ways with him. It definitely changed the feeling of my race, and my main real meltdown was when it was just me, and no buddy at my side.

Mike and I sometime in the night

Mike and I sometime in the night

I was at 64 miles. That *is* far! That is an accomplishment, I could stop. But did I really need to, a little voice in my head was saying. I didn’t feel awful, except the bottoms of my feet felt bruised. But, said the little voice, they have felt about the same for miles and miles… since before 50k — it’s not getting worse, so it doesn’t have to stop you. A fresh sports bra on, I ended up climbing into the car for a nap. Feet up on the dash to get some of the blood out of them, and some puppies sleeping on the backseat to get kisses from. With strict orders to wake me in 30 minutes, Mike sat at my side, keeping an eye on the time. And waking me when it was time. I got up, I was freezing. I was wavering. I hadn’t really planned to go farther, so Mike just didn’t know what to say. Finally I knew. I heard the voices of friends as they guessed what I’d end up doing, and Dustin’s voice as he and Taylor headed home, “I”ll check on your 100 time in the morning.”

I turned to Mike. “I can do this. I have plenty of time. Your job is to make me get to 100.” I put on a jacket, and he told me to just get moving, and I’d warm up. So I did. And he joined me. Just talking, and being there for me. I won’t say I didn’t have other tough points, but I got better at convincing me to keep going. Mike joined me every now and then, and some laps he slept in a sleeping bag on the massage table, sometimes only hearing me pass and holding up an “I love you” sign so I’d see it as I went by. And sometimes appearing out, and I’d sneak by to let him get some sleep (only later to learn he could pretty identify the sound of my gait, and he’d often check my lap stats on his phone if he thought I’d pass, or to see how I was doing).

Slowly but surely, stopping every couple laps just to have my feet in the air, I got more and more miles behind me. I remember:

  • Hitting mile 75. Less than a marathon to go! I can do that!
  • Putting on a different pair of shoes, and how good they felt.
  • The sun coming up, with a bit of rain shower. We had the heat the day before, why not try some wet, too? I mean, it was a day to try new things, and they would just be experiences for my future running arsenal.
  • Seeing a rocky peak close to the course only when someone mentioned it in the morning. 80+ laps, and I’d never noticed it although we headed straight at it for a section.
Kylie and Robin

Awesome to have support! Robin (in pic) and Shari (taking pic) joined me for a lap.

And then seeing Eric! I had sent out an email to some running buddies, hearing that they’d be running in Riverside Sunday morning. But he didn’t see me — he had no idea I’d be there, as he’d missed the message! Coming by to see a friend who was helping with the race, he was in running gear and joined me for a couple laps.

And then it was a 10k to go! I can always run a 10k… I never stress about that. This one, though, might have been the toughest. Those 6 laps! They seemed to just keep going and going. As I write this, I realize that was really how I approached this race. Just looking at it as pieces I could handle, and not one big thing. Just sign up, do it. You can, stop thinking about it and run.

More running buddies showed up in the middle of their Sunday run. Eric and the other new faces were a breath of fresh air! Oh I had things to tell, and new people to share the course with. After a lap, they continued on their run, but it was some good new energy.

24 hours came, and many more runners disappeared from the course. But if you had 86 or more miles, you were allowed 4 more hours to hit 100. And I was at 97 miles when 8am rolled around. 5k to go!

Gracie helping me through Mile 98

Gracie helping me through Mile 98

Annie was my Mile 99 pacer

Annie was my Mile 99 pacer

I was looking forward to the final 5k. Those laps were going to be my celebration. Mile 98 would be with Gracie, my first runner dog and most reliable running partner ever. Nothing makes a run seem awesome the same way that Gracie’s grin does. Mile 99 was with Annie, my good little girl, who was not sure what to make of horses and ground squirrels during our walk breaks, but who knew she had to behave because Mommy needed her to not cause extra energy to be spent. And Mile 100 was with my family: Mike by my side, and Gracie and Annie’s leashes in my left hand.

And I did it. 100 miles: 24 hours, 42 minutes, 11 seconds. There is something about a run like that which creates a bond between the runners. I won’t forget the faces, and the miles we shared. I’m not sure when the next time will be, but there will be another. And the experience, if anything like my first one, will be just amazing.

Mile 100 with my girls

Mile 100 with my girls

Last stretch, finishing with the family!

Last stretch, finishing with the family!

I have to give another thank you to Willem. I was so disappointed his day wasn’t going as he had hoped. The toughest decision I made was to break from his side at mile 60. If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t have even started. So thanks Willem, and I can’t wait to help you reach your own success another time.

After is also a bit of a blur:

  • Almost forgot to swipe my card for the end of that last lap!
  • Got a buckle. Guess I need a belt.
  • Fred had returned just in time for my finish after seeing I was still going when he got up in the morning, and how much that meant to me.
  • Hugs and congrats.
  • Annie (wife of the race director) telling me she knew I’d do it (we’d chatted the day before the race)
  • Greg had this amazing looking sandwhich, and shared a bite, and then offered me my OWN SECTION as he was about to head out as well. And it was good.
  • Packing up (or watching others do it).
  • I had sunscreen on, but I still got tan-dots from the Garmin wristband.
Me, a goat, a buckle

Me, a goat, a buckle

Best. Sandwhich. Ever.

Best. Sandwhich. Ever.

Sitting after I was done


Dirty rainbow toes and some cow tape

Dirty rainbow toes and some cow tape

We went home, and I learned that there is a step into the garage! And it is tall. I was chatting with Mike with my feet up on the couch as I was lying on the floor. And the next thing I knew, the house was quiet, he was gone, and there was a blanket on me. I’d slept for some 2 or 3 hours just where I’d happened to first stop. When I woke up, I just stayed there for a bit. I had a new understanding of the distance to “not on the floor” and had to work up to it.

Red Lobster

Mmmm fooooood! @ Red Lobster

Soon it was time to get food faced, and we headed to Red Lobster. And it was soooo gooooood. Of course, our car broke down on the way home (not at all expected). We were about 3 miles from home. I turned to Mike: “I’m sorry, but I’m not walking home.” But Bjorn to the rescue — he picked us up and let us use his car to get that one taken care of. And thanks Mike for dealing with the stress of a bad AAA experience after you’d also had a night of pretty much no sleep. And thanks for the special treat of puppies in bed since it was a special occasion!!



Breakfast the next morning was awesome! Leftover chicken divan (one of my main comfort foods), leftover sour cream and onion chips, and left over sour watermellon slices. MMM I was hungry!

Having felt pretty good physically, I tried to go for a run a couple days later. But suddenly I was just walking — it was “legs choice,” and I laughed. I guess it was hard, even if it never felt crazy-unbearably hard while in the moment, or in the recovery. So I walked, and enjoyed my memories.

[oh, and some numbergeek links]
Garmin for as long as it lasted
Time splits from the race system

[and yes, I didn’t really post this until 8/4/11 — I wrote part, and wanted pictures, and then got busy. But if you managed to read this far, it must have been worth the wait!]

Thanks Willem!! I wouldn't have started without you.

Thanks Willem!! I wouldn't have started without you.

Mike and the girls in bed

Hey I thought I was the one that earned puppies in bed!

PJs belt

OK, I guess I need a real belt. But it worked on the PJs!

Yup, it was official

Yup, it was official

Recovering little girl dogs

My awesome little girl dogs needed some recovery time after all their support work

Nanny Goat split times

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

This will mostly be for me, but  below are my split times from the Nanny Goat 100 Mile race. I put them here since I’m not sure how long the online list of them will remain.

time of day/mile time (lap pace)

  1. 8:14:36
  2. 8:24:06/9:30
  3. 8:34:03/9:57
  4. 8:43:46/9:43
  5. 8:54:06/10:20
  6. 9:04:10/10:04
  7. 9:14:11/10:01
  8. 9:24:26/10:15
  9. 9:35:20/10:54
  10. 9:45:02/9:42
  11. 9:54:45/9:43
  12. 10:04:27/9:42
  13. 10:14:08/9:41
  14. 10:24:33/10:25
  15. 10:34:36/10:03
  16. 10:45:12/10:36
  17. 10:57:47/12:35
  18. 11:09:58/12:11
  19. 11:20:11/10:13
  20. 11:31:44/11:33
  21. 11:42:37/10:53
  22. 11:53:11/10:34
  23. 12:05:17/12:06
  24. 12:16:20/11:03
  25. 12:30:48/14:28
  26. 12:43:04/12:16
  27. 12:57:17/14:13
  28. 13:11:02/13:45
  29. 13:22:12/11:10
  30. 13:36:19/14:07
  31. 13:55:02/18:43
  32. 14:05:42/10:40
  33. 14:19:17/13:35
  34. 14:32:44/13:27
  35. 14:45:30/12:46
  36. 15:03:38/18:08
  37. 15:20:07/16:29
  38. 15:31:42/11:35
  39. 15:47:14/15:32
  40. 16:02:03/14:49
  41. 16:14:30/12:27
  42. 16:27:04/12:34
  43. 16:39:32/12:28
  44. 16:54:15/14:43
  45. 17:09:03/14:48
  46. 17:22:36/13:33
  47. 17:36:39/14:03
  48. 17:52:40/16:01
  49. 18:03:22/10:42
  50. 18:12:04/8:42
  51. 19:05:52/53:48
  52. 19:17:26/11:34
  53. 19:30:01/12:35
  54. 19:41:04/11:03
  55. 19:53:53/12:49
  56. 20:22:00/28:07
  57. 20:51:10/29:10
  58. 21:04:33/13:23
  59. 21:15:41/11:08
  60. 21:25:38/9:57
  61. 21:46:22/20:44
  62. 22:00:17/13:55
  63. 22:11:24/11:07
  64. 22:27:56/16:32
  65. 23:33:49/1:05:53
  66. 23:47:05/13:16
  67. 23:58:21/11:16
  68. 0:11:34/13:13
  69. 0:22:32/10:58
  70. 0:35:19/12:47
  71. 0:50:01/14:42
  72. 1:04:45/14:44
  73. 1:17:09/12:24
  74. 1:34:22/17:13
  75. 1:47:23/13:01
  76. 2:00:21/12:58
  77. 2:14:45/14:24
  78. 2:42:01/27:16
  79. 3:02:31/20:30
  80. 3:40:48/38:17
  81. 3:55:31/14:43
  82. 4:07:55/12:24
  83. 4:20:52/12:57
  84. 4:36:39/15:47
  85. 4:50:35/13:56
  86. 5:11:21/20:46
  87. 5:33:58/22:37
  88. 5:47:12/13:14
  89. 6:00:40/13:28
  90. 6:14:10/13:30
  91. 6:28:23/14:13
  92. 6:52:37/24:14
  93. 7:07:00/14:23
  94. 7:21:14/14:14
  95. 7:33:10/11:56
  96. 7:48:17/15:07
  97. 8:02:45/14:28
  98. 8:16:31/13:46
  99. 8:31:04/14:33
  100. 8:46:20/15:16

Friday Love

Friday, May 6th, 2011

You know how there are some days when the run just clicks? You feel like you are floating, no PR is safe…

Well, today wasn’t one of those days. At least, I don’t think it was. I really don’t know. I had an awesome run, but it was thanks to those around me, and not just my personal run stats. I joined a new group this morning for a run around our town, and met some wonderful ladies. There were 12 of us on the nice 6 mile run together (and I think some others walked… that was my mid-run count). Oh yeah and there was Ron, lucky person number 13. But I already knew him 😉

I might start looking forward to Fridays more for their own qualities, and less for the weekend they bring me to. That was simply an awesome run, great company, and yummy oatmeal to make for a positive start to the day.

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 🙂 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 🙂

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 🙂

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)