Rattlesnake Encounter While Running – What to do?

This past weekend I headed out to some local trails, for an afternoon full of running adventures. The weather was starting to cool, but in some parts of the trail, the sun was very bright and warm. So after running past native shrubbery, horses, and rabbits, I turned the corner and heard a hiss like noise that sounded the way a bush would sound if it were really agitated. Now, while running on the trail, hearing bushes shake and sounds 3-5 feet off the trail is completely normal. There are plenty of animals that are camouflaged in their natural habitat that we never see, but that get startled as you run by. This was a different sound, probably because it wasn’t 3-5 off into the bushes jus off the trail, it was more like a foot away from where my foot just struck the ground. I looked down, and there is was sitting there in the sun… a rattlesnake.

The rattlesnake camouflaged in the landscape

My reaction to jump steps back happened before I could even gauge what was going on, which I was thankful for. Then I remembered, among all the types of animals you would see on a trail in Southern California, rattlers are one of them that you should never forget about. It’s easy to though. Once you get going in your own running adventure, without actually seeing a threat on the trail, you can tend to forget that these things are out there. So after announcing to my running partner what I had just discovered, we stood there and watched it watch us for a bit, until it decided that it was safe to slither away.

We stood amazed as how beautiful it was, and how scary it was at the same time. After it went on its way up the hillside is when we continued on the trail. This was the first time my partner had ever seen a rattlesnake out there on the trail, being that she just moved here from the other side of the country. I was glad that she got to see what kind of nature we have here, but then she asked, ” what would we do if it bit one of us?” Well, we would surely be in trouble is what I told her.

So this got me thinking. Considering the fact that I run on trails, and that these things live in trails, I really should know what to do if I (or anyone else) suffered a rattlesnake bite. So I did some research. I by no means am a doctor or any other type of certified rattlesnake expert, but here’s a bit of information that I discovered.

Rattlesnake Facts:

  • The majority of rattlesnake species live in the American Southwest and Mexico.
  • Rattlesnakes are the leading cause of snake bite injuries in North America.
  • Rattlesnakes are predators living off of birds and rodents.
  • They will generally avoid humans if they can sense their approach.
  • Rattlesnakes have a venomous bite that destroys tissue.

Symptoms Of A Rattlesnake Bite:

  • Swelling
  • Severe pain
  • Tingling
  • Weakness
  • Anxiety
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Hemorrhaging
  • perspiration
  • Heart Failure

If treated properly, rattlesnake bites are rarely fatal!

If A Bite Occurs:

Rattlesnakes rarely bite unless they feel threatened or provoked!

In Southern California, rattlesnakes are common in rural areas, but it is not uncommon to find them in residential areas that are located near hills and open land. Just because you may not be on a trail doesn’t mean you could never encounter one. Here’s what to do in a bite situation.

  • Remain calm, and retreat from the snake at least 10–15 feet. The victim needs to receive medical help as soon as possible. While on a trail the arrival of medical personal could be difficult to get depending on how far in the trail the victim is, so act quickly.
  • Remove restrictive clothing from the victim including watches and jewelry.
  • Stay calm. The victim’s heart rate does not need to go up which will only allow for faster circulation of the venom. Walking back to the trail head if the victim is not too far into the trail could be an option, if the pain is not too severe. Doing so might help get assistance faster. If it is too far or requires too much work, staying put is probably best while waiting for medical personnel.
  • Tourniquets, incisions or sucking the venom out of the wounds should not be used or performed. These are proven to be ineffective, and may actually cause more harm than good.

These snakes live out on the trails, so it’s not fair to harm them when we enter into their territory, but it’s important to know how to coexist with them. If you are running and run into one like I did, stop and step out of its way a good 10 feet. These animals don’t want to bite you because doing so will waste energy on something that they are not going to be able to eat, but they will if they feel threatened. Calmly walk away, but remember where you saw it as to warn others that are approaching in the area. Also check out this site for more information on the topic, Wildlife Encounters – Part I.

Be careful out there on the trail!

Happy Running!

The Hunt for Rapper Ridge : Part 1

The hunt for Rapper Ridge, well officially Raptor Ridge, began a little over a week ago when my friend Trisha and I planned on running on the course that our upcoming respected races would be held on.

Since becoming friends with Trisha, her and I have run in places together that I would never venture to, Raptor Ridge included. So while waiting for the date to come around of our planned attempt to do damage on said location, I looked up maps and trails to make sure we would not get lost, even though I knew of the general area. Trails can be tricky sometimes, and during an exploratory run I would be all over the place looking for the coolest trails, but we weren’t doing that. We were specifically going to annihilate Raptor Ridge. In my searching for anything related to the trail  I discovered that Raptor Ridge is simply the name of the hill, not the name of the trail.

So we headed out on planned date and time, ready to do work on this hill. It was a warm and sunny day, but that didn’t discourage us. It was decided that this particular trail would be great for heat acclimation training due to the complete lack of shade in the first 3 miles. The beginning of the trail was easy enough though, just a flat straight trail that headed toward some hills.

Usually running on trails includes some climbs to actually make you feel like you worked, and some interesting scenery. This trail had neither one of those elements. We only planned to run 5-10 miles, so actually destroying the hill seemed out of reach, but funny thing is, we never even saw it. Apparantly my complete lack of direction showed itself during this run, and we ran 4 flat miles before turning around. Beer was on our mind from the get-go. There will be other opportunities to find the hill, and all of that can be discussed over a nice cold beer.

The after run beer is the best!

Sourdough Cinnamon French Toast

This breakfast or anytime meal is super easy to make and kids love it too. Sometimes I like to add in pureed fruit or vegetables such as sweet potatoes, butternut squash or carrot into the egg mixture to add additional flavor and nutrients. This recipe is very adaptable, hope you have fun with it like me.

Sourdough Cinnamon French Toast

Ingredients:

  • 2 slices sourdough bread
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 C. milk
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • cooking spray
  • 1 tbsp. Udo’s oil 3-6-9 Blend (optional)
  • fresh fruit (optional)

Here We Go:

  1. Crack egg into a shallow bowl, add milk and whisk together. Add cinnamon and whisk again. Set aside.
  2. Turn pan onto medium, wait until it gets hot then spray with olive oil cooking spray just to coat.
  3. Place 1 slice bread in egg mixture, let it soak into one side of the bread. Don’t let it soak too long or it will soak through and you will have a soggy mess. Turn bread slice to allow the other side to soak, then add to the hot pan. Do the same with the remaining pieces.
  4. Cook both sides of the bread until they brown, usually 3-4 mins.
  5. Top with syrup and fruit if desired. If you also would like to add the Udo’s oil blend, keep in mind that heat destroys the properties in the oil, so refrain from using it right away on the hot food.

Happy Eating 🙂

I Guess It’s Time…

I love running shoes. They allow me to do what I love, run. They shield me from rocks, mud, horse shit. They serve their purpose. What I don’t love is buying new running shoes. Knowing what size you’re going to fit into in a certain style is hard and stressful. What if your running in the middle of a trail and they start to irritate you in a way that you could never have known while test running them in the store? I also don’t like to spend my money, and lets face it buying running shoes for a hundred bucks a pop gets pretty old. Then I look at my shoes again.

My well-loved Brooks Green Silence, now complete with holes and no tread.

I have spent the majority of my running time over the last 9 months in these shoes. While wearing these shoes I managed to change their color to a dusty gray, PR in a half marathon, splashed through the mud and run up some gnarly hills. And these babies helped me fly down from them. I love these shoes and I knew I would before I bought them. There is no saving them now. I had the idea of fixing them up with bright green duct tape and I was informed by my son that doing so is definitely not cool.

So off I went to Road Runner Sports in San Diego to go buy a new pair of shoes. I was going to go waste a huge chunk of my day off spending money and I was definitely not excited about it. I had a gift-card to the store so it would not be so painful, but still.

So at this store they have a clearance section of once worn and well-loved shoes. This is where I go most times because at this store you have the ability to return a pair of shoes you did not fall in love with after one use, and in my opinion these shoes are still new for the fraction of the price.

This is where my day went from great to awesome. Before heading out to the clearance section, I knew what I wanted. A minimalist trail running shoe. After browsing the 1000’s of pairs of shoes, I found them.

Merrell Pace Glove in Orange!

These shoes stuck out to me for good reason, and I can’t resist anything orange. It was meant to be and they had my size. Call me a happy camper! Then I found another pair that I thought I would try, and for $25.29 I’m not going to pass it up, especially since it took me thirty minutes to get to this store.

New Balance 110’s

The second pair I found are a men’s shoe, but when you have as big of feet as I do, you can do that.

What a great deal! Road Runner Sports rocks!
These new to me shoes are going to live a long happy life with me 🙂

For under $100 I get to add these two pairs of shoes to my collection and hope that I run as many miles and create as many memories in these shoes as I did with my Brooks Green Silence. For some reason I don’t think I’ll be lacking in either one of those areas.

Happy Running

It’s Taco Tuesday!

I love tacos and in honor or Taco Tuesday I decided to have breakfast tacos!! These are super easy and quick to make and also very low-fat. Yummy!!

Two yummy breakfast tacos with a large handful of berries

Wanna make your own breakfast tacos? If you don’t have the same veggies or fruit on hand just use what you have, which makes this recipe a good one to clean out the fridge 🙂 Here’s how I made mine:

1/4 cup diced bell peppers

1/4 cup diced onion

1 whole egg

1 egg white

Trader Joe’s Olive Oil cooking spray

2 corn tortillas

Trader Joes Serrano Salsa fresca

1 cup strawberries

  1. When your pan is good and hot spray it with the cooking spray. You will be sauteing the veggies in this, so if you go too light they may stick to the pan.
  2. Add the bell peppers and onions, or whatever you have on hand. Saute until they soften.
  3. Whisk the eggs together and add to the pan and cook until they are no longer slimy. Generally about 3-5 minutes. I generally eat egg whites because I don’t want all of the added fat and cholestrol, but egg yolks have choline in them, a B-complex vitamin thats beneficial for brain function.
  4. Warm tortillas in a pan then add the egg mixture. Top with salsa.
  5. Grab a handful of berries and enjoy!

Trader Joe’s Serrano Salsa fresca

                  YUM!!

How Your Dog can be Your Best Running Partner

Dogs are great companions and can also be some of the best running partners. A dog’s natural instinct is to run, and if you have a dog chances are they are full of energy that is just waiting to be released.

Here are some tips and suggestions to turn your dog into an amazing running buddy.

Practice

Depending on your dog’s level of energy, some practicing may be in order. Just because the dog is high energy, it doesn’t mean he has a high level of endurance. If you have access to a large area that the dog can run in, take advantage. Go out and get him running whether it be after a ball or with you. Once you see signs of the dog slowing down, or getting tired, take a break and play later. Activities like this will make the dog stronger and get him used to running for longer periods of time.

Teach Leash Manners

If you have taught your dog how to walk on a leash this part will be much easier than if not. If your dog runs every which way while going for an afternoon walk, it becomes dangerous for both of you if you start running together without fixing this issue. Teaching your dog to walk on one side of you only helps to eliminate them tripping you up while running, and take it from me, it’s not fun to skid down the sidewalk on your shoulder because your dog jolted in front of you. If you have a dog who pulls ridiculously I recommend getting a leader. When he pulls you during the run, the leader will force his head to turn to the side. Dogs don’t like this and they learn very quickly that the pulling action is what is goofing them up. After using this for a few runs the dog usually gets the picture.

Image
Rosco wearing the leader

Teaching your dog key words will also help them understand what it is that you want from them. Telling them to “Stop” or “Wait” means the obvious and can be used when approaching a stop sign or street.

Running Off Leash

If your dog follows commands and is not animal or people aggressive running off leash can be an option. I definitely would not recommend doing so in area of high traffic whether it be cars or humans with other animals. Just because your dog listens to you, doesn’t mean that other dogs listen to their owners. I don’t run with my dog off leash simply for the fact that I know he won’t listen to me if approached by another person or animal. I have encountered numerous dogs that are just running around and harassing my dog and I while trying to get our run in and their owners think it’s funny. If your dog does the same thing, keep the leash on.

Hydration

Having adequate amounts of water for both you and your dog is important. If you plan on going on a long run take a hydration pack with you with water for the dog also. The time of day will also play a factor in how much water you should bring. Dogs are unable to sweat so they cool themselves off by panting. Take breaks if your dog is panting excessively and remember to get fluid into them when they need it. Dogs can’t tell us if they are feeling bad, but with practice you will be able to assess their condition.

Have Fun

Most importantly, have fun! This should be a great bonding experience for you and your dog. Go on adventures with you dog, and I guarantee you he won’t complain. Dog’s love to be with you and this will certainly make them feel special and like they are doing their “job.”

Rosco and I

Running with your dog provides you with a level of protection, a great way for both of you to get exercise, and an opportunity to have fun together.

Happy Running!!

I’m not really crazy…

Earlier this year I made a goal for myself that I was going to run my first ultramarathon by the time I turned thirty. You’re probably thinking two things.

  1. Who in their right mind would make a goal to run 31 or more miles willingly?
  2. You’re almost thirty..

To answer these questions.

  1. Maybe I’m not in my right mind, but who really is?
  2. No I’m not almost thirty. 🙂

For you to understand where this crazy idea came from I think its important to know the background information.

It all started in the beginning of 2011. I was a member of active.com advantage due to the registration of my son’s baseball season. I had been on the active.com website a handful of times before, perusing the different races as well as articles they had to offer for runners. I received an email one day that in 15 minutes they were going to give away a free race entry to the Carlsbad 5000 taking place on April 2nd. So I thought, what the heck, I’ll try it and I probably won’t get it. Nothing to lose, right? Fifteen minutes were up and I clicked that mouse as fast as I could. To my surprise I had won a free race entry to the race!

Let’s go back. In 2006 I started running. I began with the blocks around where I lived to lose extra baby weight and enjoy time to myself. I had a pair of running shoes and an iPod downloaded with a podcast running program narrated by Bas Rutten. After building confidence and ability to run 1 mile straight through, I moved on to 2, and then 3. After 3 miles I was pretty proud of myself. People that I knew didn’t do stuff like that and I stuck with it. After almost 3 1/2  years of running 2 or 3 miles at a time, and nothing more, I figured that was as far as I could go. My feet would hurt, and blister everyday at about this point, and I knew I couldn’t run further with daily problems like that. I made myself think that I was content with that distance and called it a day. The problem was that I needed new shoes. My shoes did not fit me the right way and I was just beating up my feet every time I ran. Once I finally found a pair of shoes that worked for me, my world of possibilities opened up.

Fast forward to 2011. When I got that free race entry to the Carlsbad 5000, I was still running but the consistency as well as the distances were not all the same. Some weeks I might have run 1 time, and others maybe 4 times. It wasn’t consistent and honestly I wasn’t quite sure how to prepare for a race. I ran when I had extra time. I figured I just had to keep working hard and do my best on race day.

The day of the race was hot and I was amazed at the amount of people there. My race strategy was to do my best and actually try to run faster than I did at home. I knew I could do well. I ran the entire course and finished strong in the end.  I certainly did not come anywhere close to winning the race, but got a nice shiny medal that was handed out to the first two hundred and fifty finishers. YEA ! And then I got two free beers at the beer garten 🙂 DOUBLE YEA!!

So whats so important about this story? Well that day something happened to me.  I was emotionally tied to this race without knowing it, and it makes sense. This was my very first race with other people. It was a huge event. And here I was just this girl wearing a green shirt and new balance shoes. I came in faster than I had than ever during my best runs at home. Was it the race jitters that did it to me? Was it the fact that I knew their was beer at the end? Was it because my family was watching? I don’t know what it was, but the feeling of accomplishment was so overwhelming I almost started crying as I crossed the line. I was proud of myself. I did something that doesn’t seem so big, but the fact that I did it all by myself was amazing.

Days following this race I couldn’t wait to do another and signed up to run America’s Finest City 2011. Not only did I feel proud of myself for running and finishing a race, but I also developed (or maybe it was there all along) a competitive side. In my training runs I pushed myself to beat my times, and I made time to run instead of relying on extra time. And next I was going to rock a half marathon!!

So how does this relate to my goal of running an ultra before I turn thirty? So after completing my first half marathon in August of that year, (2011) I had dreams of going big. Years previous I had no idea I was capable of running a half marathon. That was 10 miles longer than I ever thought I could do, but I finished 3 half marathons after than. This only proved to me that I am going to be what I push myself to be. Running an ultra is a huge far-fetched goal and I made it mine. I have never run a marathon and I’m making a jump from a half to a 50k. Who knows how I’m going to feel after I run a marathon. I may absolutely hate it and never do it again. But how am I going to get to my ultra without running that distance over again. I’m not. So I decided to skip the marathon and go straight for the ultra!! I would much rather spend my time and experience running that distance on trails than on roads anyway 🙂

On October 28th, 2012 I will be running in my first 50k at Lake Hodges Trail Fest. http://lakehodgestrailfest.com/. It is going to be phenomenal. And what’s great about it is that I am going to be completing my goal a whole year before its due date!! I’m not really crazy, and their are a ton of people out there in the running community who do stuff like this, and now I’m going to be one of them. 🙂

Happy Running!!

Something New

Running is a huge part of my life. I am not great at it, and do not have the most experience, but the memories and feelings I get out of it are all mine. This blog will serve as a platform where I can document my experiences through running. People run for many different reasons, whether it be to lose weight, cure boredom, running from something or someone, and because they simply love it. I run for the pleasure of knowing that I can. I run for health benefits as well as feeling connected to a better me.

Here I will include all things that interest, inspire, and encourage me and I hope you will join me on my travels.