Monday, December 30, 2013

Even Veteran Ultra Endurance athletes make mistakes!

Hey Its ON! An easy hike to Mount Baldy the phone text.... Woo Hoo I thought great! I do love going up to the top of Mount Baldy I have done the race up there twice and a few times ran up there in training. But would be so fun to hike it with 6 more friends and I could take Hammer!
all smiles....half a mile in...
Now it was an easy hike.....maybe I should have been a bit more diligent ....maybe I should have prepared for a race....

there are a few things you should know about me..
1. I am afraid of heights, I deal with the fear but if there is a small ledge I will almost puke to go along it and will usually ask for help...I do not look over the side of cliffs or mountains with out getting dizzy..
2. I love running and hiking uphill, downhill is always challenging....

Hammer has no problem as we head toward the green ski hut.
It is a beautiful day in the low 60s but sun feels warm.
Inside the ski hut hammer made us all hot tea!
At the Ski Hut I drank a little from my water and was feeling great every one was laughing and having fun I forgot to take a Hammer gel but did feed Hammer a dog biscuit! The HUT is only 2.5 miles from the car park and I was excited to go to the summit today.
with my friend Ray on leaving the Hut..still smiling....
After leaving the HUT it was not but a half mile when the single track became covered in snow, YIPPEE I thought! I love snow! ...and this is were the fun stopped and fear took over...

As my friends continued up to the ridge I had to battle my fear of falling...add the ice on the shaded part of the mountain path and now my progress was painfully slow, My little dog was ice skating he was I think having fun..his human was not.

I was very grateful that Kristen had realized I was having a break down and stayed with me. I dared not to look down only uphill...I could see other hikers having a somewhat difficult time..going up and going down my only thought was how I would get down this slope!

Fear is real.... when someone has fear ...Fear takes over, rationality lacks...poor judgement and adrenaline take over

I crawled on all fours to get to the top of that hill....we sat at 8,900 feet and I was really worried! I have never been so grateful to Kristen for staying with me ..and felt bad I had brought Hammer my little dog this far up when I knew I was going to have a problem descending!

lessons learnt...
1. was not prepared for snow and ice.....Easy hike turned into a dangerous situation.
2. not prepared for mountain conditions... I had no ice spikes for my shoes and I was dressed like an ultra runner...I had no boots on no hiking poles no extra clothing for the slight drop in temperature. No satellite phone or ham radio !
3. If you are going to have a melt down and all your friends leave you it is best to have the one friend that does stay with you have every thing one might need for an overnight stay on the mountain , a sense of humor and a competent hiker. (she also had a flask of hard liquor!)
4. I had no problem my friends leaving me to see the summit ...but it would have been nice if they had returned the same way in case something had happened...

We decided not to go to the summit of 10,000 feet we both had done that before it was more important to start descending and confront my fears otherwise we would be stuck on the mountain... not good.

All smiles at the top of the crest before the descent....
 The next few hours my ultrawoman cape disappeared at the altitude, fear of heights and ice became my Kryptonite I had gone but 30 feet and I was already asking to hold onto Kristen and another friend we met on the trail Dave Tan took my little dog...I was no longer laughing or taking photographs I was deathly afraid of slipping.

I slipped, ....I froze...I cried real tears.....

Two complete strangers stopped ascending to offer help! Yikes was I that bad!!!
I felt like a cat with nine lives on count down.....

I used many lives in the next few hours...time stood was show time time to face the fear and deal with it!
I was surrounded by amazing people....even though they must have thought what on earth is this woman doing on this mountain side!!!

 I felt awful...the more progress we made the less ice and slippery conditions.. My little dog sensed my fear  but I kept on following Dave and using Kristen for support. The HUT finally appeared, I wanted to lie down and sleep....

During all this melt down and adrenaline rush I had not eaten or drank.....BONK and EASY HIKE should not be in the same sentence! 4 lives left...

I was dehydrated ..... I felt sleepy........ I had an awful headache ..I was sitting in a strangers chair outside the Hut...

I know better ....but it was an easy hike?..I was surrounded by strangers all talking....they loved Hammer

After eating slices of apples, little pieces of banana and drinking water, I still felt shakey but I knew I needed to start moving... it was time to head back to the car park....the strangers who were now the top of my friendship list offered to walk with me Dave and Kristen for half a mile. one of them gave me his poles, I had gone but 30 yards when my feet went up and I came down to earth with a thud! I lay on the trail in disbelief! I had hurt my elbow but crikey are you kidding me!! 3 lives left!

I stood up slightly wobbly and was escorted for the next couple of miles...I thought 10 laps of the high school track....

I stopped a few times I wanted to throw up so badly! one of the longest two miles ever!!

The car park was a great sight to behold and my friends had descended back bone instead of returning the same way they had gone up....

Good Samaritans ...New Friends on the trails.

Accidents happen all the time on these Mountains.....I was extremely lucky and had no business being on Baldy in ice and hard snow...I was not prepared and should have turned at the ski hut while the going was second mistake was forgetting to drink and eat due to extreme third mistake was treating the activity as an easy hike....there is no such thing as easy hike in the mountains when going to 10,000 feet, you can be sure next time I am invited to do something like this I will call ahead to find out weather conditions, I will carry extra clothes and small first aid kit. I will have a plan A and a plan B. I will treat this type of activity like I would an Ultra event or marathon. and will eat and drink every 20 minutes or so. I will definitely not continue up hill in conditions I know I cannot descend and in doing so put myself into a position were I need help from good Samaritans on the trails..

My fortune cookie wisdom that evening at dinner made me chuckle!! Even the Greatest Whale is helpless in the middle of the desert!


Sunday, December 29, 2013

Today Hammer and I were invited to run with a few friends, Ray, Alicia and Maria. It was a little cold and light drizzle but we were game to happily show them our beautiful trails..
Hammer came across a baby rattlesnake....he was not much for drama
Hammer liked chasing down the girls! He is a ladies dog after all!!

we made the cross which was covered in graffiti

view as always breathe taking
Hammer on full alert

It is always a great day on the trails when I get to run with Hammer and my friends. Even though it was a little cool the weather once we started running we soon warmed up. 10 miles round trip just enough climbing and descending.