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A runner with an appetite for adventure!

Flashback: Catalina Island 4-Day Hike May 14, 2011

Filed under: California,Hiking — Kelocity @ 9:47 pm
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After a few weeks of packing and preparing for our Catalina Island camping trip, we knew we were ready to go! Saturday morning, we got up at 6am, filled up our water bottles, and headed out! We got maybe 200 yards down the street in LA, when Irving’s 10-year old hiking boots disintegrated. Literally. The soles of his shoes just completely fell apart! Not a great way to start a four-day long hiking trip, but was pretty funny. After a quick change of shoes, NOW we were ready to go. We had to walk a mile down the road to the Metro Station, and we took the subway all the way down to Long Beach. Then, we had to walk another couple of blocks to the Bus that brought us to San Pedro. Then, we had to walk another mile to the Pier where the Catalina Express Boat would take us to the island. We made it with ten minutes to spare! We were so excited, we put our bags down, and enjoyed the hour-long boat ride over there. About 40 minutes into the ride, the boat stopped, and we looked over the edge, and there was a Blue Whale breaching right next to us. I don’t know if I got a good picture, but it was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen. It was beautiful!! We also saw some Sea Lions and some other big fish. This was just the beginning of our wilderness expedition!

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We arrived in Avalon, the only real town on the island, around noon. We put our bags in lockers on the pier so we wouldn’t have to carry them all day long. As we were shoving them in there, one of the straps to Irving’s bag snapped off… of course it’s the one strap we actually NEEDED… but at this point, we weren’t letting anything get in the way of our trip. We headed into the town, and were pleasantly surprised at how developed it was. There was even a Von’s grocery store there! They have everything they need all in one place. We walked up and down the streets, noting how cute everything was. In Avalon, there are hardly any cars; everyone has golf carts! It was surreal! We saw golf carts with child seats in them, convertible golf carts, you name it, it was there.

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We had lunch at an Italian Restaurant called “Antonio’s”. We ordered a nice big greasy pizza and sat outside and watched the boats in the harbor. Halfway through lunch, a sea gull pooped on Irving’s head. Classic. After lunch, we got some ice cream and walked along the beach. Around 3pm or so, we went back, and got our backpacks. Thankfully, Irving’s strap was still hanging on, we were just hoping it would last the whole 4 days. We went to our campsite in Hermit Gulch. I picked up my rented Sleeping bag and Mattress pad, and we set up camp for the night. Irving has a small one person tent that we shared, but it actually worked out pretty well. We left all our stuff at the site, and went back into town to have dinner. We ordered huge burgers, because we knew that was the last good meal we’d have for the next three days. It was great.
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On Day 2, we woke up when the sun came out, and we packed up our tent, filled up our water bottles. We were just about ready to start our 30  mile hike across the island, when we realized our homemade gorp had been infested with ants. Ew. Well I guess we’d just have to hike without peanuts and M&Ms. I was pretty bummed. We decided we’d take the “Hermit Gulch Trail” instead of using the fire roads. It was so hard, it was a 10% grade uphill climb. It was close to 90 degrees, no shade, and just no break. It kept going up and up. As we climbed, the views were getting better and better though. It was really amazing. I was a little nervous because the island has hundreds of rattle snakes. Everyone says they keep off the trails, but I was watching every step I took.

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We made it to the crest of the mountain around noon, but we still had a good 7 miles left to go before we could stop for the day. I ran out of water, and was very thirsty by then. We stopped at a little rest area overlooking the ocean. I was laying on a bench in the shade, really freaking out that I didn’t have any water left. There was no way I could do 7 more miles in the heat without any shade, with a backpack on. But there was a car that pulled up all of a sudden, there were some locals who went out for a little ride. We told them we ran out of water, and they came back with a huge bottle of Ice cold water. It was like candy. I’ve never tasted better water. It was exactly what we needed. So then we kept on trekking.

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For lunch, we stopped at a little picnic area, that even had a swing set with a see-saw. Haha. We rested here for about an hour, and made lunch. We set up our little camp stove and cooked Chili with crackers. Our first camp meal. Then, we got back on the trail. We had about 4 miles left to go until we reached our campground. We finally made it to the trailhead, thinking we were there, only to be greeted with a 1.8 mile 12% grade hike into the woods. Oh my god, I really thought I was going to die. I was tired, hungry and sore, and this was the last thing I wanted to do. Its mentally hard because you cant see the top.  You just keep going up, and just when you think you cant possibly go up anymore, you do! Ugh! We were just about there, when we saw a huge buck prancing along the trail ahead of us. It was awesome. I couldn’t believe it, we were so close to it! That gave us the boost we needed to get to the camp.

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We stayed that night in Black Jack campground. It only has 10 campsites there, its very small and secluded. I think there were only 8 other people sleeping there that night. It was pretty shady there, so we laid out of camp mats and rested for a bit. Then we heated up our stove and made a pasta dish with cream of Chicken soup. It came out surprisingly good… but then again, anything we could have eaten would have tasted good at that point. It was so hot, so we put our bathing suits on and took showers outside. They have a little rinse shower, and it felt soooo good! When the sun went down, we tried to start a fire, but it wasn’t working so well. We were so tired, we didn’t even try to make s’mores. Our Hershey’s bar had completely melted at that point anyways. So we made a freeze dried Apple Cobbler for dessert instead. Then, we went to bed!

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Day 3 – We woke up, again when the sun came out, packed up our bags, and headed out! 12 miles down, 20 more to go! Since it was all uphill on the way to the campground, we enjoyed the 2 mile downhill hike back to the road. Along the trail, we saw Bison grazing in the fields. Apparantly, in the 1920s, a movie company shot a film on the island and brought Bison there for one of the scenes. Well when production was over, the Bison refused to get back on the boat, so they left them there! Now there are hundreds of them all over the place! Pretty crazy.

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We walked about four miles, to the Catalina Island Airport. Its called the “Airport in the Sky”. It was cool, they had a little store up there, and we bought fruit salad and water. It was a nice stop over. Here, we got directions to Two Harbors, the next campground we were going to. Its pretty desolate on that side of the island, so we wanted to make sure we were going the right way. We headed out, and were doing pretty good. It was hot, but it was pretty easy terrain. The mile markers started getting further and further apart, and we weren’t sure if we were going in the right direction. Finally, we hit a gate, and it was a dead end. We didn’t know what to do! Irving went to get his map out of his pocket, and realized we had dropped it somewhere on the trail. So now we’re in the middle of no where, without a map. Finally we saw some other people, who pointed us in the right direction…. Straight up the side of another mountain. We looked at it, and were like “no, that can’t be right”. But we didn’t really have another choice. So up we went… again. It was going pretty well, we were taking it easy… but around one particular corner, we saw the trail went almost straight up. My heart was already beating so fast, and I was exhausted. I couldn’t breathe, and I started wheezing and coughing and crying. Hahaha I’m the biggest loser ever. But it was all so overwhelming. Knowing we had about 5 more miles to go, I was hungry, there was no shade… it was almost too much. But I just cried my way up the hill, and then I was ok. Its hard when you’re all alone. There are no cars, no people, nothing. It really makes you feel stronger than you think you are. I knew if I could get through the last 5 miles (of the 30 mile hike), then I could do anything. I whined a little bit more, and I swore to Irving that if a car did drive by, I was hitchhiking the rest of the way. But finally, we crested the mountain, and we could see Two Harbors below us. Only about 2 more miles left!! At this point, my feet were all blistering, my muscles were fatigued beyond anything I could have imagined, and I just wanted food. Irving ate three granola bars, but I was too tired to eat anything at that point. We just kept going, and we finally got there.

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We had campsite number 8, which we were told was nicknamed the “Two Harbors Suite” because it’s a secluded site with trees on all sides. It was very nice. We dropped our stuff off, and headed to the restaurant. Irving ordered his double cheeseburger, and I just got a veggie platter. I don’t know how he could have eaten that. Haha. After that, we went swimming in the ocean for a little bit. After being sweaty and tired all day, it was so refreshing to cool off. I was so dirty, the dirt wouldn’t even come off in the water! I had to use sand to literally scrub it off. Haha. Lovely. Then we got some more food, had a few drinks, and headed back to the campsite. Someone there before us left a bag of Matchlite charcoals, so we poured them into the fire bit and lit a fire. We tried to roast marshmallows, but it wasn’t really working out. So we took our blanket up on a hill and watched the fireworks in the harbor instead. It was awesome. It was a nice end to a great weekend. But then we had such a hard time blowing our fire out. We kept pouring more and more water on it, but it kept flaming up again. That was annoying because we were so tired. We slept well that night, except around12:30am, I woke up, and there was a deer in our campsite! He was eating the bamboo chutes nearby. I could hear him chomping on the sticks all night! So incredible though.

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Day 4 – We woke up, packed up, and boarded the boat back to LA. I cant believe I did it! 30 miles, uphill, with a backpack on.. in 90 degree heat. Truly amazing. An experience I will never forget.

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I look back on that trip now and realize it was probably one of the best trips I’ve ever taken. It was hard, but so rewarding. We’re so lucky to live in california. So many amazing places to see.

 

And today, I climbed a Mountain. April 3, 2011

Filed under: Food,Friends,Happy,Los Angeles,Workout — Kelocity @ 9:45 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

That’s right. Yesterday, I was in the valley of ‘woe is me’, and today, I climbed a mountain. IMG_5073

We slept in this morning, woke up feeling refreshed but in desperate need of some fresh air. We needed a sweaty hike to reconnect with ourselves and with nature. Something to pull us back in.
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We hiked a 6 mile trail in the Verdugo Mountains. But we made one wrong turn at the beginning and found this!
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We had to turn around and backtrack to find the trailhead.
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Once we got going, it was really nice, but the first 2.5 miles were straight uphill. It was HARD!
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The incline was killer and seemed to drag on and on. But the views definitely made up for it.
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I love seeing LA from up above. It feels so big (especially in traffic), but from up there, it looks so small and quiet.
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But this was just the halfway point…And then the climb continued. And continued. And continued.
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I was SO thankful for the overcast sky today (I’m not a happy camper in the heat). But we came prepared anyways.
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A few times, I really wanted to give up. I jokingly begged Irving to let us turn around before reaching the top. See that tower at the top of that hill? That was the goal. Look how far away (and high) it looks!) We’d already been hiking for an hour by this point too!
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Every time I would think we’re getting closer, it seemed impossible to reach. (I think I’m really out of shape). We got passed by a couple of people. HAHA).

But each time I wanted to quit, I kept thinking that I can’t call my blog post “I ALMOST climbed a mountain!” I had to REALLY climb it! All the way to the top!
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And then finally, we made it. My, how far we’ve come.
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That’s what a 2,689ft elevation climb will give you. Check out this elevation map from my Garmin! Straight up and straight down!
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At the top, someone built a chair. And whoever this person is deserves a hug. I LOVE YOU CHAIR!
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I sat in it for a good ten minutes and took in the view. Felt SO good to get out and do something for myself today.
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We did it babe! And it hurts so good! What a workout!
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I only went as far as that chair, but Irving wanted to actually touch the gate of the tower…. I told him to go for it…
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…But I’m staying riiiiiight here. haha
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Instead of coming back down the mountain the way we came, we kept going on the trail that eventually looped back around. Here’s the map from my Garmin. After lunch, we did walk back to where we started to completely finish the loop.
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At the bottom of the trail, we ate lunch at the Golf Club.
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As soon as we sat down, my Garmin chimed ‘6 miles’. I love nice round milage numbers.
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We were really hungry (it was 2:30p by the time we were done!) I got the BLTA and it was killer! Oh man, hit the spot.
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We relaxed, and watched the birds pick at the crumbs other people’s kids left behind.
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It was a half mile back to the car, so that brings our hike to 6.5 miles total.

On the way back home, we stopped to pick up some groceries for the week. The usual. But how funny is this sign for Ramen Noodles? People did double takes looking at the sign, too funny. The scary thing is, there actually was a point in my life where I may have thought that was an incredible deal. ha!

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Tonight, our friends Erika and Timmy came over to have dinner and play some games. (Erika Killed us in Yahtzee!)

Irving made some Chili Cheese Dogs on the grill. They were from Omaha Steak and we really liked them. No better way to kick off summer than with a cookout.

We were supposed to put the chili on the dog like this…
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But I preferred to have my chili on the side.
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I’m always looking for an excuse to eat Ketchup. yes!
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Served with a side of homemade Pasta Salad. Very excited to have leftovers for lunch this week!

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In other news, The 200-Mile Ragnar Relay is in 12 days! I’m slated to do 12.3 miles total, but I’m really hoping to squeak in another mile in there somewhere to count it as a half marathon! After this hike, I feel ready. Let’s do this!

 

Half-Marathon Training Begins (again)! July 26, 2010

Filed under: Running,Training,Workout — Kelocity @ 10:51 pm
Tags: ,

I’ve now been training for endurance events for over six years! I still consider myself “new” to the sport of marathon (and half-marathon) running, even though I have 8 half-marathons and 3 full marathons under my belt!

But I’m still a rookie and I need a training plan to prepare for my events in the fall. Here is my long run schedule I will be following more or less until the winter.

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It follows similar plans to those I’ve had in the past. As much as I love marathons… it’s so nice to not see any 15-mile or 18-mile days on there. 🙂

I got off on the right foot today (literally)! Irving and I walked 2 miles before work this morning and then I did a 3 mile hike after work.
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LA has been having some unseasonably cool weather lately and it’s perfect for hiking!
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So I did a total of 5 miles, and it felt great!

 

Anniversary Trip – Part 6 Burlington (And Stowe) July 24, 2010

Filed under: Food,Vermont — Kelocity @ 2:14 pm
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We headed into Burlington for the day to explore.

Lake Champlain:
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We loved the walking trails along the lake.
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But we were walking with purpose…. to the Lake Champlain Chocolate Factory!
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We watched a video and learned how to make chocolate! (Sampling all along the way, of course)
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The Factory
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And on the way out, they gave us Truffles. MMmmm! (We really did eat our way through Vermont. Mmmm)

Vermont = Cows
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And lots and lots of this:
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Next Stop: The Trapp Family Lodge! The real family from “The Sound of Music” moved to America and this is where they lived. It’s now a fancy hotel.

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The view from the lodge: (they thought it looked like Austria. I bet it’s beautiful in the winter)
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Pretty!
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We decided this was the PERFECT location for a Smart Car Photoshoot!
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It’s so teeny!

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Then we visited the base of Stowe Mountain. Look at the ski trails!
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The Alpine Slides
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Once back in Stowe, the next day, we did some more walking. There are two trails, one is a paved road for walking and biking. The other one is a “Quiet Path”:
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It’s really just a mowed grass path for walking only. It’ was so fun! (I love fresh cut grass)!

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If you want to eat at one of the restaurants, they all have little shortcut paths you can take to get there. This is one for “Subway” lol (a little blurry)
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We ended up at the Dutch Pancake Cafe for breakfast. We got these amazing pancakes with potatoes and other savory items in them. Mmmm Served with applesauce and sour cream. They were almost like latkes.
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Served with Dutch Syrup. I was very excited about this “stroop” because we had it when I lived in Amsterdam! It was in Dutch!
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Then we headed over to “Emily’s Bridge”.
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We heard it was haunted because “Emily” died here on her way to her wedding centuries ago.
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And then we ventured to Moss Glen Falls.

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It was a little hike to get there.

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But worth the wait. They were very pretty.
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Irving hiked up way further than me, I was happy to just stay put and watch the water. lol
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It was steep!

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Then we tried to go back into Montpelier again…but it was raining like nobody’s business!
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We enjoyed the rain though. I ❤ rain!

What an amazing 3 days in Vermont!

 

Recovery Hike with Friends! March 15, 2010

Filed under: Los Angeles — Kelocity @ 5:25 pm
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After my 20 miles on Saturday, I wanted to stretch my legs out, and get some fresh air. The Los Angeles Racers had a hike planned, and it was perfect timing!


Look at those mountains! We hiked along the ridge and back for an hour. I had so much fun catching up with my friend Ashley!

We had our trusty trail leader too….That’s Abby!


What a perfect way to spend a beautiful Sunday morning.
(Sorry East Coasters… I know you’re being hammered with rain! But out here… the sky is clear and blue! Come visit!)

And just for fun… here’s a picture my friend “Bucket” took of me and Peter on Saturday’s run.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering… after a midnight bedtime last night…. the 5:30am challenge is officially dead. I’m glad it lasted all of 5 days. But now I need my sleep. 🙂

 

 
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