Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Death of Lisa Conover

I am so saddened by the news of Lisa's death. She and I battled it out in 2001 at the San Diego One Day track event. It was my first attempt at a distance longer than a marathon. Before that event, I was accustomed to competitive street races where runners' attitudes bordered on being somewhat fierce. I'll never forget how shocked I was when Lisa struck up a pleasant conversation with me somewhere around mile 80! What, a friendly runner? I don't remember if I was leading at the time, or she was, but I recall the standings were quite close so it was odd that a close competitor would waste her valuable breath on saying nice things to me, an ultra rookie - whereas she was an experienced veteran. Lisa really showed me the friendlier side of running, a custom I have tried to continue especially whenever I encounter a newbie. I'm sorry I never got to thank Lisa for instilling in me the notion that competitors can be your friends too.

A memorial service to celebrate Lisa’s life will be held at the Wichmann Funeral Home at 537 North Superior Street in Appleton, Wisconsin on Tuesday, May 29, 2007 at 11:00 a.m. In lieu of flowers her husband requests that donations be made in her name to the Living Desert at:
The Living Desert
Attn: Shirley
47-900 Portola Avenue
Palm Desert, California 92260-9817

Saturday, May 19, 2007

05/19/07 Bishop 20 Mile Trail Race

There's a reason I don't repeat races. Ignorance is bliss. 364 days isn't always enough time to forget the (insert any/all of the following) heat, steep up hills, kamikaze down hills, soft sand, high altitude, head winds... As I trudged up the sandy start of the race, I specifically remembered how much better I felt last year when I had actually trained for Bishop. Apparently my aging process has not affected my long term memory one bit. It's the short term memory, (as in trying to remember whether or not I had even trained at all for this) that is becoming increasingly - uh, what was I saying? I do remember receiving a terrific "ultra" compliment from Robert Andrulis just before the race, "Angela, I'm Robert, and you are the reason I started running ultras. I heard you on NPR." My immediate reply was, "I'm terribly sorry." I would've started begging for forgiveness, but the race was about to begin. In addition to making new friends, it was good to see familiar faces like Kari Marchant, Dale Reicheneder, Michelle Barton, Greg Minter, Peggy Geibel, and Xy Weiss. Also, the Mountain Goats made a good showing: Jack Murray and Scott Sullivan both completed the 50 mile course while Elena and myself stuck with the 20 mile "Fun" Run. Keep in mind that Race Director Marie Boyd signs her e-mails as "The Race Director from Hell" so when she calls the 20 mile distance "Fun" her perception is somewhat skewed. Having done the race four previous times, I should know better, but I had two legitimate excuses this year: 1) free entry from winning last year, and 2) having gotten into rock climbing, the race goes right through the famous Buttermilks Bouldering Area and I badly wanted to climb them, even if I did it badly. I told myself to run a smart race and conserve energy at the beginning, oblivious to the fact that "conserving" and "running" are diametrically opposed. Soon I began to wonder why "conserving" was sapping every last drop of energy. Around mile 6, an observant aid station volunteer commented, "Honey, you've got goosebumps, I think you're dehydrated." I proudly responded something about how "conservative" I'd been running thus far so I was fine. Then I proceeded to almost tip over when she put the weight of my now full water bottle back into my hand. At mile 9.7, I told myself that I was almost half way done, but my body was more like 7/8 done. Fortunately, my favorite part of the course was coming up soon, a two mile rocky and technical descent where I would not have time to think about anything other than foot placement, or the unpleasant consequences of careless foot placement. It was during that descent that I finally began to feel good and actually looked forward to rock climbing after the finish. But then came the sand at the bottom of the hill and soon I was desperately clinging to the possibility that I would simply sink - feet to head - completely below the soft quagmire that had whammmied my legs throughout the race. Somehow, I swam through the sand - breast stroke proved to be the most effective method - and finished in 3:19, 2nd place female, but my slowest time ever by two minutes. All in all, having a less than stellar day reminded me of just how good it felt to run a race after properly preparing for it and I've already begun the countdown of how many training days are left until next year's Bishop High Sierra Race. Now if I can just remember what I'm supposed to do until then...
Fun Run. It says it right there in the fine print!

Mountain Goats: Jack Murray, Elena, Scott Sullivan,

and Short Term Memory Loss Lady.

Warning: Running Bishop High Sierra makes you shorter.

The scenery is unforgettable!

In a moment of weakness, the Race Director from Hell gives me a finisher medal.

Running in the sand made my feet thirsty.

1 min, 2 secs behind Laila from San Francisco.
tuned for the rematch at Quad Dipsea!!!

Perspective: Detroit Marathon time (26.2 miles) = 3:19:16.
Bishop High Sierra 20 miles = 3:19:13.

Scenic reminder of the race.

Then a shower and some grub and it's time to climb!

As Lorenzo and I went bouldering in the Buttermilks...the 50K/50mile runners were coming into a nearby aid station.

Way to go Jack!

The next day, we went to the Owens Gorge for some great big wall climbing!

Great weather, restroom with helicopter rescue basket, lots of climbing - everything an adrenaline junkie could possibly need!

Lorenzo & Jack get ready for the first ascent of "China Doll" at an area called The Great Wall of China.

Top rope warm up.

Angela belays Chris on his first ever climb!

Lead climbing.

Placing gear while lead climbing.

Getting down and back up the Gorge while carrying gear was almost as much work as running 20 miles - but I'm looking forward to more climbing at Bishop again hopefully very soon - and I've already registered for next year's Bishop High Sierra 20 mile race!