Miles of Life ~ My life as a donut Kylie Donia

Archive for the ‘running’ Category

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

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.

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)

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.  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 🙂

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 🙂

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.

Tinman 2010

Friday, July 9th, 2010

Tinman is often a bit of a crazy race for us, as we have a business booth, both race, and drive some Exceeding Expectations kids, which makes for a number of trips to race site and plenty of things going on before and after the race. Saturday we got our gear together, including everything for both a tri club booth and an office booth, and dropping some of that off at the site.

Sunday Mike and I got up dark and early, needing to be out the door by 4:30 at the very latest, and pulled on our awesome Redlands Tri Club kits for their first race 🙂 Oh, and we were out of our normal breakfast food. So with an emergency batch of oatmeal on the stove, Mike packed the bikes into the car as I got the puppies ready for a long morning alone. “Mike, something is wrong with Gracie… she doesn’t want to eat!” Annie, on the other hand, ate her food, although less enthusiastically than usual. Chalking it up to G being a moody bitch, the time of day, and that she knew we were leaving her, we let it go and blew the puppies kisses as we were out the door at 4:25 — before our final cutoff for maybe the first time ever.

It was weird to actually be ahead of schedule, and I wasn’t sure what to do when I had Mike and all the booth items dropped off at the race site before 5am. I was picking up some Exceeding Expectations kids who were racing, but not until 5:30 and they were only about 10 minutes away. Finally I left to get them early, and it must have been something in the air: the kids were actually ready early, too. So we were all back at the race site by about 5:35, and had plenty of time to do the very little transition prep we needed.

This race is a reverse order sprint: 5k run, 9mi bike, 100yd pool swim. Fast, but not so flat (at least on the bike). Still, transition just needs a bike, a helmet, bike shoes (for Mike attached to his pedals) and a pair of goggles lying on a towel. I had an aerobottle of water on the bike, and that was about it. My run shoes and sunglasses were already on. The nice thing about being there before any one else was our choice of transition spots. And knowing this race doesn’t really have a dismount line, we got a rack spot that we ran straight to as the end of the run course, and that we could basically coast right up to after the bike leg. Although it did mean that some times random things happen… like a bike appearing between ours as the race was starting, and still being there as Mike finished the bike. And the random bike someone placed on top of Mike’s after the bike leg of the race. But I’m not at that part of the race yet! First we need to start…

So the run was soon off, and the course last year was missing the turn around marking on an out and back, so fast folks (aka Mike) ran about an extra half mile. This year it was marked, but oddly the out part was in the close lane of traffic, and the back in the far lane, which meant the lines of runners had to cross. Luckily for me there weren’t that many people still on the way out, and I didn’t have a problem getting through.

This run course always feels so long to me, I just seem to lose the motivation to run by about when we are going past the backside of the pool. But I kept going, although definitely not as strong as the first part. And then there is my tendency to slow down for the final straightaway. But this year, Gus came up beside me right then, so I had to keep running. Thanks Gus 🙂

Straight into transition and to my rack spot, and my “T1-reverse-order-tri” mantra was going through my head: helmet shoes bike helmet shoes bike helmet shoes bike. So I put on my helmet, swapped shoes, grabbed my bike and was off. The first part of the course is through the campus on the walkway, with cobblestone and narrow sections. I just like that part to be over as fast as I can get through it. But then comes the climbs.. one that is steep and short, and then one that is loooong and less steep. But there is a turnaround at the top of it, and it’s a chance to see where I stand. This time I saw Mike in 4th, and then thought I counted that I was 5th woman, or 4th. Right at the turn around another lady who kicked butt climbing that beast passed me, but on the descent I passed her right back and didn’t see her again til after the finish line. And soon I passed another girl as well. Counting myself now in 4th place, I WORKED. I was 4th at this race last year, and juuust off the podium sucks. Soon I made the turn back onto the campus and onto their sidewalks, and I don’t like that part, either. But fortunately I made it through safely. So I pedaled and pushed, through another out and back and soon made the turn for home. Undid my bike shoes, but forgot we were getting back into the campus, and had to slow as speed bumps without shoes on are trickier.

But I coasted right to my rack spot, with my “T2-reverse-order-tri” mantra going: rack bike helmet goggles rack bike helmet goggles. Goggles in hand, I ran off toward the pool. At this race, the run to the pool, and then the run from the pool to the finish, are each longer than the swim itself. At the pool I realized I forgot to take off my racebelt, so it was left on the deck and I jumped in. Right as I started swimming I saw the lady I thought of as 3rd heading to the 50yd turn. But she did a breaststroke kick, so I though I could get her. Swim swim swim and on the final turn at 75 yards I saw her beside me, and I went hard for a final 25yds. Then a run, although careful since slippery, down to the finish line, where my arrival surprised Mike and he informed me I was 2nd woman!

Although this race uses chips, they don’t do splits, and I didn’t wear a watch. So I know I was 28 or 29 minutes on the bike, and 55:45 total time. I went 55:04 last year, so I was slower this time, but still moved up in places. I felt like I raced strong, but I could also tell that I’m just busy right now and my mind wasn’t all in the race. The Tri Club and office boothes went well, and then I rode home (about 16 miles) since I just needed bike time. And those 16 miles were painful. I guess I did work hard in the race, and in the 50 miler the day before 😉

Got home, and then more fun: Gracie was sick… yay for carpet cleaning! And Annie soon added a couple pukes of her own to the fun. Ahh well, still a successful day.

back in the saddle

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

After a bit of a break after Barb’s, it is GAME ON for The Next Big Thing. Obviously my biggest focus is my swim, and then the bike. But don’t worry, I’m running, too 🙂 I love this stuff. I’ve had some awesome rides. Like hanging on through more of the speedy Saturday ride than almost ever before! And completely exploding and crawling my way home the last 20 or 25 miles — with my sweet husband tootling along next to me just because he likes me that much! And now I have a new goal on Saturday rides: Blow up. Last as long as you can, but don’t just get dropped, blow up or hang on. All or nothing, none of this “making sure you have enough left for the rest of the ride”. That isn’t the goal on Saturday. The goal is pain, and going harder than I thought possible. And trusting that I can do it.

The bike has also had some new toys: like an upgraded hub for my PowerTap so that it is ANT+, and a fun new Garmin GPS (for the bike and run, actually) that is just damn sexy! Thanks Wheelbuilder for your help!

Garmin 310xt

Garmin 310xt

The pool hasn’t been such a happy story. Two swims back and I’m begging the pool’s forgiveness for my lack of attention. Nothing drastically wrong with the swims, except the reminder that to feel good swimming I have to swim regularly! Got it, will do. I’m prepared to make my world have a faint smell of chlorine again.

And running, well, that is always awesome. But lately my legs just feel good, and I’ll take it.

Of course, there are little issues. My achielles is still a bit sore sometimes, and I think it is the bike. I have lowered my seat on the road bike a bit, and I think that has helped. I will need to check the setting on the tri bike once I get back on it.


Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

I got a great new toy — a juicer! I’m really enjoying it so far. I’ve made lots of juices with carrot in them. Pineapple makes a great addition! This morning was pineapple-carrot juice. It was yummy! Carrot-tomato-spinach-apple is also pretty good. However, the pineapple-beet-cabbage-celery-carrot-raddishes-apple-spinach-cherry-blueberry juice was a bit much. But wow it was really really pretty colors!

In other news, my legs were pretty beat after Barb’s (yeah, I’ll write about it at some point…). So I did a few bike rides and a couple runs (the pool is closed right now) and my knee decided as I was sitting one day that it wanted a break. So I took one. Just getting running again, and that feels pretty good! Going for frequency right now, and aiming for 10 runs this week. Some are really short, but they all feel great great great! And Donutdogg is happy to be out there again, too.


Sunday, August 9th, 2009

Mostly I remember doing a decent warm up for this race. Some jogging, some pickups, it’s always nice with a friend and Bjorn and I did this part together.For some reason as nice as the San Diego weather is, it always feels really humid as this race is about to start.

Then it was race time, and Karen and I ended up running together for the first half. Pushing each other, and realizing we should run together more often! And then I pulled away a bit, and could see the one girl I’d seen pass us, and so I just kept pushing. But knowing she was older than me, I wasn’t too concerned. So I got pretty close, and finished strong. And then cooled down, again with Bjorn.

Oh and Wednesday night run group (at Redlands Spine and Sport), along with great running frequency, has been awesome for Bjorn! He had a smokin’ race! Makes me even more excited to get back to the group and get all speedy 🙂

And my results:

22:16  (better than last year’s 22:42!)

And good enough for 1st in W25/29 (of 18), and 2nd overall woman(of 101)! 7 seconds from 1st women… guess I should stop thinking in terms of age group at some races 😉 I could have hurt a bit more on this one. Still my  best placing overall! So it was a success, and then it was off to the conference.