Wednesday, September 19, 2012

back in the desert - I learned a new word: glochids

Back in the desert...

 After working on weeding some of my "rock" yard, i.e., getting a rash on my arms and bleeding from being impaled by goat heads, cactus spines, and anything else that looks nice but is actually full of spikes, I decided to go for a run.
 On my run, I noticed that, aside from there being a fantastically beautiful carpeting of tiny wildflowers covering the desert floor, the prickly pear fruit look super vibrant. So when one of my water bottles ran out of water, I loaded it with some fruit. In the process, I discovered tiny hairlike spines that cover the fruit, ones that you can't see until you grab something and realize there are spikes in your hand. Now I know their name...

 I got home, looked it up on youtube to see how to peel & eat them and also, step two on wikiHow:

"....The pads not only have large spines, but there are also tiny, invisible and far more irritating spines called glochids that are extremely difficult to remove from the skin. The spines and glochids can also be removed from the prickly pear pads by burning them off with a small torch or by placing the pad on a gas burner and turning it with tongs. See Warnings."

 Duly Noted.

You'd think I'd have learned my lesson about sharp objects in the desert by now.  Anyway, they're tasty, but the seeds inside are like little rocks. And it's loaded with them, the whole damn fruit. And now I'm afraid to drink out of my water bottle cuz I'm afraid that somehow those tiny hairy spikes are going to be in there forever and they for sure will get stuck in my esophagus somehow.

 Does everything have to be evil in the desert?!!!!! :-P

Sunday, September 16, 2012

a few days in the life of an unemployed runner

A typical few days of what I do when I'm travelling around.
(I wrote these on my phone while out there - I started off caring about grammar, but that didn't last. )

Day 1:  visit Brandy in Mariposa. Got completely inspired by how strong she has become after being nearly killed by a man. Find kick ass campsites in Briceburg. 30 minute run on a single track trail along the Merced river. Listen to ultrarunning podcasts, fall asleep outside under the stars (on top of the picnic table, lately one of my favorite places to sleep). Kava root induced dreams ensue. 

Day 2: drive into Yosemite, get a campsite at porcupine flat. Day dream until after lunch, drive to sunrise trailhead, the view of tenaya lake never fails to put a smile on my face. Run to clouds rest (10,000') the run takes me about 4 hours for 15 miles. I'm ok with that. Meet more people from other countries than the US.  Afterwards, stop at tenaya lake to wash off my beloved yosemite dirt. Back to campsite. Dinner. Realize I left my tent poles in gilroy.  Gilroy #$@*&**!!  I have a tarp tent, sets us with a trekking pole. All is well in the world.  More ultra runner podcasts.  Think to myself, this is a perfect day. It is a perfect day!  Would be even better to get to share this tho. 

Day 3: here I sit in upper pines campground off rock creek road (9000', south of Mammoth) eating potato, onion, garlic, mushrooms sauteed with salmon and topped with avocado. Perfect pre long run meal. And wow, so good when you're camping.  Against my better judgement I am paying $20 for this site, but its the closest site to the trailhead I want to run on tomorrow that isn't overrun with rv's.  Last night was rough, so many loud rude people in yosemites campground. Hardly slept. But I made up for it by sleeping in a little, stopping in lee vining to get some fresh food for my dinner tonight, and what day would be complete without a visit to my favorite hot spring?!  Someone even shared their beer with me.  
It's gonna be cold tonight! I'm excited for dylans run sat - his first 100 miler. I won't have a chance to talk to him before his race.  Lots of good mojo, vibes, and prayers to him for the next couple days. 
Note to self... Todays podcasts I'm listening to is with Gordy. Potatoes and watermelon are the best glucose and fastest to get into your system when you're bonking. Figures! 

Hey, its been another perfectly sweet day, topped off with some nice pink clouds for sunset. And another night falling asleep staring at the stars. This time just on top of my tarp. (the picnic table was too full of food)

Day 4: woke up to a partially frozen waterbottle and my first thought is, wow, my sleeping bag and bivy are so cozy I was never cold even sleeping in a tank top! Made coffee, froze my fingers while cleaning out the pot (instant ice freezing onto anything I rinse). I'm not looking forward to putting on my skirt for my run.  

How does 12,000' sound for breakfast?!!! And then again for dinner?? Well yeah, that was my day.  It's a rich woman's life! 

Ok, so somehow I made it up my 2,000 ft climb in 1.5 hours. That's Mono pass at about 12k'. Felt great! Passed a mule train and he did not like that at all.  I had to ask to pass, and he said I better be able to keep up that pace cuz he didn't want to have to pass me. Haha I took that as a challenge and it just made me move faster. At the top of the pass I took off running and didn't see him again till on was on my way back after a side visit to Fourth Recess Lake, and he was still behind me, and never caught up again. That was on my 2nd crossing of Mono pass. I felt better than on my shorter run up to clouds rest. It's a good feeling and confidence boost for my upcoming race, MM100.  Then when I put it in perspective I gotta remember I'm still going slower than I want to be for the race. I just hope those trails are more runnable.  Still, 8 hours of being on the trail was good for my feet (ok, I sat around at a pretty lake in pioneer basin for about a half hour). 

For the record, 4th recess is divine. And pioneer basin is just incredible. Great backpacking spots. And the guy, Bob, who was shortcutting the trail to keep getting in front of me then make me wait to pass him.... Nice try asshole.  Or the dude at the hotspring whose reason for me being perfect for him includes that I'm young enough.... Where the hell do these old assholes get off thinking that someone 20 years younger than them would even be interested??  Gross. 
ok, short rant done.

After my run, drive to another favorite place in the world - Alabama Hills near lone pine - to sleep.  And another night under the stars, to boot. Coyotes howling off the in the not so distance.  A mouse (or maybe it was the wind) ran onto my tarp and scared the hell out of me.  I wonder if anyone heard me yelp. 

Day 5: drive back to kingman AZ.  The usual weeds need to be pulled, only a few roaches had a party in the garage, the electrical box outside has been destroyed, I have NO mail in my mailbox, and there are no leaks in the roof (yay!).  I decide to skip most of the unpacking, and sleep IN MY OWN BED like a rock all night.  

Day 6: wake up and start unpacking.  Football game at 10 that I want to watch.  (oh yeah.. .it's sunday!)  I start to think about NOT unpacking since I'll be heading to Pine AZ in a week to camp & run on the Mogollon Ridge, hoping to find the mogollon monster while out there.  There just happens to be this race out there.... I'm betting that after 106 miles and 20,000ft of elevation gain, I WILL see that Monster!