Tuesday, September 30, 2008

My inner 11-year-old is alive and well, and here's proof!

Today's lunch: hummus with a girl carrot (and a nice spoonful of chocolate frosting, not pictured).

Today's run

Today I ran 11 miles, and they were tough, but sometimes it takes what it takes, right? First 8 miles were an average 8:45 pace. After that I got hungry and shaky -- not good when you have no money, no water, and 3 miles to go. But I was right by an AM/PM, so I went in and got some tap water and some sugar packets. Ate the sugar, drank the water, and hung onto the 8:45 pace for another mile, and then slowed down for the last 2 miles. Moral of the story? If you're running long-ish and fast-ish, carry some fuel!


My new addiction is Wordle. (Thank you to Sarah from Strugglepants, which is where I found this!)

Monday, September 29, 2008

Kindergarten knees and new kicks

Feeling good after yesterday's long run, except for my knees which are sore from the scrapes, cuts, and bruises from the mud pit.

Left knee.

Right knee.

New kicks!!!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Random Sunday thoughts

  • I am no longer out of my favorite perfume. Hesperides by Fresh is my favorite scent (citrus, primarily grapefruit!) and I am beyond happy to have it once again. (Why was I out? Because I didn't want to spend the money to rebuy it.)
  • At church the pastor was talking about spiritual vitality. One of his key points was to "Give it all you've got." And when talking about that, he said that you need to exhibit these qualities: the DEDICATION of a SOLDIER, the DISCIPLINE of an ATHLETE, and the RESISTANCE TO DISCOURAGEMENT of a FARMER. If only we had these qualities -- dedication, discipline, and resistance to discouragement -- in anything we commit to. How could we fail? Cool insight, huh?
  • I ran 17 miles this morning, which is the furthest I've ever run in my life. I started at 6:30 and ended nearly 3 hours later. The first few miles were fine, and since I originally set out to run 15, I considered resetting my Garmin after 5, since then I'd have only 10 miles to go. I didn't reset the Garmin, but I kept focusing on how few miles I had to go, like at mile 7 "I'm almost 1/2 way done" or at mile 10 "Just 5 more miles." I did 17 because a) I had the energy to do it, and b) I'm kind of behind on long run training for a marathon that takes place in a little over 8 weeks. And as with other times when I've covered new running territory, the new miles were tough. It's like your body's going "Hey, we should be done by now!" But I finished. Then quickly got ready for church, and met my family there. I was doing fine until this afternoon when kid transportation needs were making a nap an impossibility. I cam home from taking Tucker someplace, nearly burst into tears and snapped irritably (tough to do both at the same time!) when Tim asked why it had taken so long. Thankfully he offered to do the next leg of driving, which allowed me to sleep. Woke up feeling much MUCH better! And I'm very happy to have run 17 miles!
  • Question for fellow runners -- would I have gotten the long run benefit if I'd run part of it early today and part later? I started running at 6:30 this morning, because it's supposed to be 97 degrees today, and I just couldn't see doing a long run in the heat. I told Tim I was going to run 6 before church, then 9 after, and he said I'd lose the benefit of time on my feet. I tend to agree with him, but wanted to know if another runner can weigh in on this.
  • Back to church -- our worship leader is Lincoln Brewster and he's awesome! My favorite song we sing is called "Give Him Praise" and it rocks! If you want to know what singing sounds like at my church, go to iTunes and search on Lincoln Brewster.
  • There was an 83 year old man who did the 5 mile Mud Run yesterday. Impressive, huh? Tucker shook his hand and said, "Good job, sir!" after the race.
  • Ummmmmm, as Mark Reifkind would say, datsit friends! More comment appreciation in the next few days.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Mather Mud Run

We had a blast! Tucker and I had decided to do this 5 mile obstacle course run. Then Katie said she'd do it. Then Laudon and her son Justin! Hooray -- the more the merrier, right?

We had a fantastic time. If you live in the area, this is a super fun event that you might consider for next year.

Tucker, Justin, Laudon and me atop the hill overlooking the mud pit.

Me and Katie on the same hill. (Note to self -- do not pose with leg in unflattering position again!) Notice how clean we are. Obviously, this is a pre-race picture!

Katie and me after the 5 mile race.

Mission accomplished by all!!!

Big congratulations to Laudon, Justin, and Katie for finishing their first 5-mile mud run. And special hugs and kudos to Katie for feeling the fear and doing it anyway. You rock, Katie!!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Appreciating friends, part 1

From the heart, I appreciate everyone who takes the time to read what I write -- THANK YOU for stopping by. And to those who comment, please know that I read each one and smile, snicker, carefully consider advice, go "awwww" or whatever response comes to mind. And I appreciate every comment that you take the time to write. Now for some specific responses:

Regarding "Comments and my newest pig":
Anne -- You made me laugh out loud. (That pig looks mighty swine!)
Matt -- You made me laugh even more, but I can assure you my pig has plenty of pignity, with some to spare! :)
Jen -- My pig and me thank you!
Colette -- He is rather fabulous, isn't he?
Evelyne -- Thank you! He lives on a lower shelf on a table in the entry way where he can be admired by many. :)
Eileen and Julianne -- Ok, so here's what's up with pigs (trying to keep it short). Most of you probably know that I'm in recovery in Alcoholics Anonymous, right? And I've been sober now for 23 years, which is wonderful. When I got sober, things were pretty bad, as they are for most people who get sober I suppose. Right before getting sober, I was convinced I'd never live to see age 30. I also never thought I'd get married, or have a nice man in my life, or have children (I KNEW I'd screw that up) or ever have my life amount to much of anything.

(This is a depressing bedtime story, but it gets better.) So at age 24 I got sober. And one day at a time, through the grace of God, my life was rebuilt. I stopped drinking. I lost 50 pounds. I got a job. Got an apartment. Met a wonderful man. Got married. Had kids. And through it all I continue to be amazed that THIS is my life.

A few years ago, I saw a pig statue with wings. A really cool pig, not like an "I like farm animals" pig. And it spoke to the improbability of my life turning out the way it has. So I bought him. Then I got another. And another. I think my family and friends will tell you that my house is not overrun with pigs (yet!). But when I see them, I am reminded about how much I have to be grateful for. Plus they make me smile, and we all need things in our lives that make us smile, right?

Regarding "That which gets measured gets managed":
Brookem, Evelyne, Katie, Anne, Julianne, *aron*, Colette, and Stef -- Thank you! Your words felt like big hugs!
Colette -- Again, thanks!
Katie -- So proud of you for trying green smoothies!
Regarding "Tough as Granite":

Regarding "Random Thursday Thoughts":
Katie, Kara, SuperDave, Colette, and LizN -- Thanks so much for the words of encouragement and support!
Jennifer -- I really liked Vicky Cristina Barcelona. It was definitely off beat, so you'd have to like the quirky indy sort of movie to like it, so I couldn't recommend it to mainstream movie afficianados, you know?

Regarding "Line Segments":
Laurie, Julianne, Evelyne, and Anne -- I loved hearing your perspectives on running line segments. Just goes to show there are many ways to approach the same task, right?

Regarding "Perspective":
Julianne -- Let's both get fully healthy, and then keep enjoying the miles!
Matt -- As always, your words are wise and encouraging -- thank you!
*aron* -- Hooray for us both!
Colette -- You are right, and WAY TO GO on running 3 trail miles -- wow!!!
Anne -- What a sweet thing to say -- thank you!
Laurie -- We've both come a long way and that feels great!

Regarding "The Office":
So glad I'm not the only one who loves The Office. Me, Colette, Anne, Julianne and *aron* only have 24 hours till the new season starts -- hooray!

Tired, I am, and sleeping, I will be soon. More tomorrow. As always, I feel very blessed to have such wonderful people in my life!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Comments and my newest pig

I've told myself I can't write anything new until I express appreciation to everyone who's taken time to comment here. So in the next few days, I'll be answering/thanking everyone who's taken the time to write.

In the meantime, here's a picture of my newest pig. He's about 18" long and 10" high and isn't he fabulous?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

That which gets measured, gets managed.

I think the post title quote is attributed to Peter Drucker, management consultant extraordinaire. And it's true in all areas. Keeping an eating log helps make people aware and accountable. Keeping a written budget will help you get and stay on track financially. (Thanks Tim for starting us on budgeting when we were first married, and keeping us on track!)

Well, in February or March (no time to check back posts) I decided to run 1000 miles this year, just like I did 10 years ago when I was 37. And today I hit 1000 miles. It kind of doesn't make sense to me when I write it. Like how did I run 1000 miles? How can ANYONE run 1000 miles? The answer to that question is that it's taken determination (Tim would call it pig-headedness!) and consistency. Oh, and not getting injured has helped, for sure!

Anyway, the mom taxi is off and running, fueled by the high of hitting this goal! Happy Sunday, friends!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Tough as Granite

  • Super fun race, but tough -- single track, lots of rocks and roots and up and down.
  • Course was well marked, and as one who is directionally challenged, I SO appreciated this!
  • Ran with no iPod and no Garmin, taking last week's DailyMile challenge to run without technology. Strange being without my running toys. Became aware of how negative my thinking can be. After about 4 miles, kept the thought, "I am half fast. Not slow. Not fast. But half fast." in my mind. Unfortunately, I did not originate the "half fast" idea, but you can check out the thoughts of the originator here -- it's great fun!
  • I finished in 2:05, with an average pace of 9:30 per mile. I'm very happy with that, considering the difficulty of the terrain, and I was 4th in my age group -- hooray!
  • The bigger hooray is that I won the top raffle prize -- I get to choose ANY PAIR OF MOUNTAIN RUNNING SHOES I WANT TO PICK from the La Sportiva line.
  • I just finished some fabulous post-race Frensh toast (thanks Tim!) and it's time now for the post-race nap. Happy Saturday, friends!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Random Thursday thoughts

  • I can NOT seem to stop eating today. :(
  • I'm making beef stew for Tim's aunt, because I value relationships above my own comfort. But I HATED cutting and cooking the meat. (I won't tell you what I think of it as -- but it ain't pretty!)
  • Oldest son is causing concern. I'll be running again in a few minutes just to clear my head.
  • It's finally fall and I'm so happy!
  • Saw Vicky Cristina Barcelona last night and loved it. My friend Linda is in town from Chicago and we both like off-beat movies. And Penelope Cruz is truly the most beautiful woman in the world.
  • Just 21 more running miles till I hit 1000 miles for the year!!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Line segments

Often when I run, and especially when I'm doing hill repeats, I break up my run into line segments. This morning, for example, I didn't want to get too far from home since it was dark when I went out. So I ran about a mile and a half out, and then started coming back. But since I wanted more miles, I came back by covering the same ground multiple times. So I ran back to a street light, then out to the end point, back to the street light, out to the end point, then back to the street light. So now I'd covered the segment from the end to the street light 3 times. Then I started working back from the street light to a stop sign, again covering it 3 times. And I kept this up until my Garmin said 4 miles, and I was about a mile from home. (Don't try to do the math -- all I know is that it worked out for 5 miles.)

So am I the only one who does this? Tim thinks this is crazy, but I think it makes running interesting. Thoughts? (But if you think I'm nuts, say it nicely, please!)


I got up at 5:20 this morning and ran 5 miles. And I feel like "I only ran 5 miles?" There was a time when that would have been thrilling, as it would have been my longest run ever. I guess the good news is that I can challenge that thinking, the "Wow, you really don't do much, do you?" that goes through my head. And it's true that 5 miles has become my short run distance, but that doesn't mean it's insignificant, right?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Office is back on iTunes!

With the release of iTunes 8, NBC shows are back on iTunes, including THE OFFICE!!! And the first episode of season 4, titled "Fun Run" is free. If you are a runner, or anyone who's into fitness, you owe it to yourself to download and watch.

Best quote from this episode: Michael "I'm not superstitious but I'm a little stitious."

Monday, September 15, 2008

Running America 08

All weekend I was excited about getting to run with Charlie and Marshall of Running America. On Sunday I baked cookies,

Snickerdoodles and chocolate chip cookies.

got myself ready,

Me, really tired from Austin's birthday party the night before.

and headed to Lodi to meet with running group 5 at the corner of Highway 12 and Highway 88. The website said they would be there between 1:30 and 6:00 -- big window! I got there at 1:15. It was strange just pulling off the road beside a field and waiting. Then the doubts began. What if I'm in the wrong place? What if I missed them? Tim checked the website from home, assuring me that they had not passed me by. But even then I was unsure. There were supposed to be 5 people in our group, but I never saw anyone else.

This is a picture of me running with Charlie and two of his support crew, and it gives you an idea of the area where we met up.

So I waited for 2 hours and finally a car drove up, and a woman asked "Are you here to run?" Hooray! Out came Kate, Ameera, and Liz, all part of the production crew. What a relief to be in the right place! They interviewed me (why are you here? what do you think about 2 men running across the country? why do you run? etc.) and then we waited for the runners. As we waited, more of the production and support staff showed up. I gave them the cookies and still we waited. Then Charlie (sans Marshall -- he was running alone, I was told) showed up and off we went.

Me, Charlie, and two of his friends who are part of the support crew (and whose names I can't remember -- I'm sorry!)

So running with a famous runner who's running 70 miles a day is different in many ways. First of all, I was worried about keeping up, but I was joining a runner who'd already covered 50 miles for the day (amazing!) and we ran at a nice easy pace, which I guess is part of how you manage to do 70 miles in a day.

Then there's the film crew. We ran behind a pickup truck with a camera man and a sound guy sitting on the tailgate, recording the entire time.

So I saw Charlie's Twitter updates, and he wrote that yesterday was one of the hardest days (well, there's only one day to compare it with). Temps were approaching 90 degrees. And running 70 miles a day takes its toll on your body. But he could not have been any nicer to run with. If yesterday what I was was Charlie having a tough day, I can't imagine how he must be when things are going well. We talked non-stop for the entire hour or so that we ran together. We have a lot in common -- both sober, both parents of teenage boys, both loving running. And the conversation meandered from the event to politics to patriotism to parenting, and on and on. Here are a few observations:

Charlie is very open about his sobriety, and feels that running supports his recovery. He has a core group of guys he's run with in North Carolina for years.

I asked him if our pace was ok, and he told me that it all felt awful, whether running or walking, at that point, so he just keeps running.

He misses his family and hates that he's missing his son's cross country meets. Both of his sons are runners and will be meeting him in Ohio and running with him into New York.

A crew member showed up with a plate of lasagne which was not accepted (at least at that time). Stomach difficulties were making food an issue.

He mixes his running with distance cycling, loving both, and feels that cross training helps improve his running.

He can't wait to meet more runners as he continues across the country.

I saw on Twitter this morning that he thanked me for the chocolate chip cookies, and said if anyone wants to bring some chocolate cake, he's up for it!

At times while running, Charlie pulled out his phone and answered text messages (he told me his replies are super brief!), as he has to multi-task during this event. There were 3 RVs and several cars and vans along the route as his support vehicles, and Charlie was gracious to everyone who was helping him. (When I'm in pain, I'm of the "don't talk to me" mindset, so I'm still pretty blown away at how friendly and kind he was!)

After 4-1/2 miles we parted ways. Charlie gave me a big hug and said he'd love to run together again. I was offered a ride back to my car, but it became a logistical challenge, so I opted to run back. Because I was so distracted by my new friend and the whole crew, the way back looked very unfamiliar at times, which was unnerving as I was running on the side of a highway in a pretty rural area. But it gave me a chance to think about the event and it also allowed me to put in 9 miles yesterday, bringing my weekly mileage to (drum roll, please)


That's the most miles I've run in a week in my entire life! (But it's still 20 miles short of what Charlie ran yesterday. And the day before that. And today. And tomorrow. And so on...!)

If you're a runner, I'd encourage you to check out the Running America website, and if you can, get out there and run. It's a once in a lifetime experience and not to be missed!

Saturday, September 13, 2008


So I ran 12 miles this morning, convinced that I wouldn't be able to contact Running America. They were 12 good miles, run at a 9:00 per mile pace. Fun. Done. When I got home, there was an email from the Running America race coordinator with instructions for where I can meet Charlie and Marshall tomorrow to run with them.


Will there be pictures and details? Oh yeah!

Lazy Saturday morning

Slept in. Enjoying waking up slowly. Gonna be running before too long. But for now I'm still sitting at the computer and enjoying a quiet house (Tim's golfing, kids are sleeping).

Random thoughts:
  • I LOVE Mad Men! This show was recommended by one of Tim's friends, and we've watched half of the first season. Set in Manhattan in 1960, it's about an advertising agency and the people who work there. It's been a while since I've been this intrigued by a show. Highly recommended!
  • For months I've been thinking I'd be running with Charlie Engle and Marshall Ulrich as they run across the country for Running America. I signed up months ago and have waited for information. And waited. And waited. They started running at 5:00 this morning in San Francisco, and will be coming through Sacramento over the weekend. And I can't find their route. The map posted on the site only has the hotels they'll be staying at, and not the actual route. One of my Dailymile friends has signed up to run and gave me the email address she has for the project. So I've emailed, plus I've been directly in touch with Charlie via Twitter, but it doesn't look like it's going to happen. Darn.
  • Austin's birthday party is tonight. We'll be hosting 10 14 and 15 year old boys at our house, then taking them to a gymnastics gym for an all-night party. I think they're gonna have fun, but I think I'm gonna be TIRED tomorrow!
Ok, time to get some miles in. Happy Saturday, friends!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Lovely autumn day!

Today has been lovely! Here's how it went:

Woke up at 6:00. Tim agreed to get kids off for school so I could run early. (Thanks baby!) Ran 9 miles with cool morning air in my face!

Did some paperwork and planned some workouts. Fixed dinner (Honey Curry Chicken for Tim & kids, brown rice, salad) and it's ready for the oven.

Went to Home Goods to look for house stuff. Found a marvelous new pig (pictures soon -- I'm sure everyone's anxious to see him!).

Got pedicure. Magical woman at pedicure place managed to transform my runner feet back into girl feet!

Met Colette here at the house. We shared green smoothies and kettlebell training -- FUN!

Now I'm sitting eating a sunflower seed butter and honey sandwich (one of the benefits of distance running is some ease in your food intake). Tucker arrives home from school soon. Then we head to Austin's water polo game (he's the first string goalie now and he loves it!). Then home to pop dinner in the oven, train a client, take Austin to guitar, and then it's time to relax!

I have a lovely life!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Just because we can!

So Terri and I decided to get our upper ears (cartilage) pierced last week. Why? I dunno. Maybe because parenting feels stressful. Maybe because I kinda want a tattoo but am unsure I'm ready to commit to one. (When I turned 40 I got my belly button pierced. I kept it for 3 years, and then I was done. Now it looks like I have a freckle. Talk about low commitment!) I really like how it looks, but because my hair is thick, you can't see it at all unless I'm wearing a pony or I'm wearing sunglasses atop my head, a la 80's prep. So I'm considering getting two more earrings (maybe then they'll be more visible?), but am still thinking on that one.

Yeah, this is what 47-year-olds do for fun!


First time running planned intervals. Here's how it went:

1 mile warm up = 9:00
Then I did 1/4 mile fast, 1/4 mile recovery for 3 1/4 miles. Here are the fast 1/4 miles:
1:54, 1:57, 1:52, 1:55, 1:49, 1:57, 1:48
Then a slower 3/4 mile jog home.

I found the flattest part of Rocklin I could find (which still isn't flat, which accounts for some of the time variations). My recovery intervals got slower as I went, but overall to run an 8:35 pace for 5 miles is a LOT faster than I usually run. And I found that the variations in the intervals made the miles go by really fast. I'll do this again for sure.

Experienced runner friends -- any feedback on my choice of workouts? My goal is to learn to run faster.

Can't have it both ways!

Most of the time, older son reeks of "you guys are idiots and I can't believe I have to live in this awful place." It oozes out of his pores. It permeates his being. (And this summer, he told us he hated every single minute he spent here at home, so I'm not making this up.) So if there's ANY possibility of being NOT AT HOME, he jumps at the chance.

When we told him we'd like him to go to church with us tonight, as our church is kicking off small groups at the same time it's starting a new program for high school group (which he loved this summer) and junior high (which Tucker is eager to start), what was his response? "Well, I'd only be home for an hour between water polo and leaving for church. That's hardly any time at home."

Ummmm, yeah. You can't have it both ways!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Websites I need

Here are the websites I need to find:

What the eff should I cook for dinner?
Remedial pleasant dinnertime conversation for teens
Non-sugar cures for angst

At this rate, I'll be up to 100 running miles per week in no time!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Laughter in a tough day is good medicine

Found this on the Manic Mommies website and it made me laugh for the first time today. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Notes from Team Rif seminar

Tracy swings with intensity.

What a great way to spend a weekend! Here are some quick notes from the Team Rif seminar and today's Master Class with Tracy:
  • Mark Reifkind (aka Rif) knows everything about the human body and knows how to explain it. He's also an amazing instructor and knows how to break down complex movements, having you focus on just one part at a time as you learn how to perfect the skill. Watching Mark teach is an education in itself -- all teachers should be this good.
  • I loved the stretching routine Mark showed us and intend to incorporate it into my own training, and use it with my clients.
  • When Tracy used me on the first day as her guinea pig for a 15s work/15s rest routine, I was flattered and nervous. What if I can't do it? What if I mess up? Going through just 4 minutes of swings with intensity was eye opening to say the least. Certainly, kettlebell swings are a wonderful thing. But swings with intensity are like a whole new exercise. If you're one of my clients and you're reading this, get ready for some fun changes in your workouts!
  • I'd gotten away from doing SMR (aka foam rolling) and am once again convinced that it's one of the keys to staying active and healthy for the long haul.
  • Don't want to post specifics of Tracy's class today (it's not my place to do that), but I can tell you that she continues to find ways to make swings interesting, challenging, and fun. And no matter what size kettlebell you're using, there's a HUGE difference between just cruising along doing swings at an easy pace, vs. doing swings where you're reaching back with the bell and really focusing on your hip snap.
  • My hand DID rip today with about 10 minutes to go in the workout. I decided to just keep going, which was painful but oh well. The biggest problem? Now I want to play with kettlebells and I can't, because I have one full-fledged rip, and several other candidates that are ready to break open.
  • Gayle Hunter, who's an RKC level 2 (it's a big deal to be an RKC at all, much less progress up the ladder. Incidentally, Rif is an RKC Master instructor -- one of only 5 in the world!) and who hosted the Team Rif event told me today that I had a hip snap that would make Pavel proud. I was rediculously delighted by this comment!

How's Fortysomething and Fabulous for the title of this picture? :)

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Learning from Tracy and Rif

If you EVER get a chance to attend a seminar with Mark and Tracy Reifkind, DO IT! I spent 5 hours today in Healdsburg at their Team Rif seminar and I'm going back tomorrow, driving 6 hours in all, to do a 1 hour master class with Tracy. (I know that sounds crazy, but it's how my schedule worked out, and trust me -- it's worth the drive!) These people know their kettlebells, and they're also some of the nicest people to hang out with. Now if I can just get my hands to recover quickly for tomorrow's workout. I've been so focused on running that kettlebells have taken a back seat, and my hands are definitely feeling the effects of lots of swings and snatches.

I'll post pictures and more early in the week.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Just for the girls

(All boys please leave the room, ok?)
So maybe it's just me, but I'm convinced I'd be 10 pounds lighter if there was a way to get rid of period cravings and the lack of willpower that seems to go along with them! I'm just glad I didn't have to deal with period nonsense for the race on Monday!
(Everyone is welcome back in the room now.)


  • The Nike running skirt I got for last year's Nike Women's half marathon is too big. I can still wear it, but I remember when I bought it debating about going a size smaller, and choosing against it. That my skirt is big is what I think of as a quality problem!
  • I want to run trails again! I'm absolutely fascinated with this new way of running and can't wait to do it again. Guess I'll get my chance on the 20th when I do the Tough as Granite trail half marathon.
  • I SIGNED UP FOR MY FIRST MARATHON! Yep, on December 7th I'll be running in the California International Marathon. I've helped two friends to run their first marathons in this race in previous years. Looks like this time it's my turn!

Monday, September 01, 2008

49'r 10 mile trail race, 1:35!!!

This was my first trail race and it was a blast! Since I wanted to finish in under 3 hours (keep your expectations low, and you'll never be disappointed, right?) I'm thrilled with my time. And the altitude (2000 feet, which I hadn't even considered before today) was not an issue, thankfully! The downhill single-track part was hard for me, since I'm cautious by nature. But the last 4 miles were a 1000 foot climb, and that's where my hill training paid off. And a nice surprise at the end -- I took second place in my age group! (The key is just get old and keep running, in case anyone's wondering how to place!) Now let the eating begin!