Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Countdown to Ventura Marathon T - 4 Days: It's purely mental

Ventura Marathon Countdown= 4 days left!

This is a vision board I made earlier this month once I saw this race was quickly creeping up on me.

 I'm a big believer of putting positive and inspiring messages in front of me everyday. It's really easy for me to get bog down with a lot I have going on. These quotes help with positive re-enforcement on a daily basis. They also help me see outside of myself and focus on what I'm capable of instead of focusing on my limitations.

Tonight's Quote is something really to think about and discussed a lot with endurance athletes.
The race always hurts
expect it to hurt
You don't train so it doesn't hurt
You train so you can tolerate it.

If you've ever ran a marathon you know the dreaded "wall". Sometimes it comes at mile 18, sometimes 20-22 (if you're lucky).  To those that are not as familiar with what I'm talking about, I'll explain. The wall is the moment where everything in your body is screaming at you to walk, stop, and just drop. You're low on nutrition , something is hurting (if not everything) or your mind is just exhausted of telling yourself "you've got this"'s now yelling  "stop!"  I can't think of a marathon where I didn't hit the wall. It just came sooner rather than later in some occurrences. It hurts and it's expected.

Through this process of training for a possible BQ a lot of people have asked if I'm ready or how I think I'll do. The marathon is a beast of a distance, 26.2 miles total. To train for it is a bit of a formula. The best I can explain it is to break it down into a math equation:

Basic Foundation of training (endurance training)
Speed work
Race Pace Training
Mid Week Runs                                                                 = 55-75% of marathon preparation
Cross Training (weight lifting for me)

 Mental awareness / Functionality/Capability/ Persistence/ Logical awareness 
                                                                                                  = 35-55%

 RACE DAY MAGIC / weather/ and adrenaline                  =  5-10% 

Part A + Part B+ Part C = a successful marathon preparedness . I know this doesn't quite equal 100% but each factor is different for every runner and the season they are currently in with this sport.

Part B is the area I struggle with the most, the mental side of the training.
Even when I toe the line on race day I find myself second guessing my capability. "Have I trained enough? Should I have done another 20 miler?" It's always there. A friend of mine gave me a great trick that will help my mind break down my marathon in 3 parts, 2- 10 mile runs and a 10K.  It really helps by the half marathon point (13.1). With this process I'm already 3 miles into the 2nd set of 10 miles, not "just half way through the race."  The worst park for me is the last 10K. Everything starts shutting down. I lose the ability to hold things (gu's, water.. etc) and all I want to do is walk. There have been times where my mind was telling me to quit.   However, I know it's coming and expect it. I've done the training runs before where they've hurt and were awful. All I wanted to do was to turn around and go home. You can't just get mad or defeated. I've learn to look at this as practice for "the wall" proving to myself I can deal with it and push through it. Not only are those training runs physical preparedness but strength training for mind. 

Many professional athletes find a manta or quote to focus on when having issues with their focus while racing. Have something positive to focus on gives you mind a distraction and an aid to enable the body to continue. 

I highly suggest finding a mantra, even something short as 3 works "beauty , power, and strength"...a visualization to inspire you to find and be the best version of yourself. Look at it every day or anytime you're struggling with something, some even use prayer. Find something that works for you, use it, and notice the change it has when dealing with difficult occasions.'s one of my favorite video's of marathon thoughts "second wind baby, here it is!" 

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Crossfit and How it Changed My Running Forever

 A little background:
By March of 2015 I had participated in 5-6 half marathons and 4 marathons. However, I couldn't keep up with anyone in my running clubs and I was consistently missing my sub 2 half marathon goal by minutes. I had ran a 2:05, a 2:03, and ran a 2:02 at a recent half marathon. I was beyond frustrated. Everyone kept telling me "you have the fitness to run it, just do it!" But the problem was my body wouldn't let me. Once I got under a 9:15 minute per mile pace, I couldn't breathe. How can I run when I can't breathe?! After starting CrossFit, 3 month later, I placed in my age group running a 1:51 at another local Half Marathon. It was a hotter and harder course but yet, I took off more than 9 minutes off of my overall time. I didn't add more track workouts or sign up for a trainer. CrossFit was the only thing that I had changed in my training. Since then my times keep going down and running faster has become easier and easier. Running Boston and New York were things I used to laugh about. Now I have ran a Boston Qualifying time and placed in 2 Half Marathons placing in my age group and receiving a 3rd Place Overall Female Title.


 The Beginning:

Yelp CrossFit and I almost guarantee there is at least 1 gym in your town. They're popping up everywhere. I believe between where I live, and the next city over, I have 5-6 available to me. Even though they're all individually own, upon inspection they all look the same. They're housed in an industrial area, have tons of equipment, and they're all extremely intimidating. A few years ago I went to try a class. I had such a bad experience, I swore them off and quickly formed a negative opinion. That was that.

A running friend of mine talked about how much they loved their gym.  I declined invites to the class over and over but went to a yoga class the gym also taught.  After about 3 weeks I finally mustered up the courage and went to my first class of CrossFit. My coaches were amazing. They were extremely patient, slow to instruct, and quick to correct form. After a week I signed up for the unlimited package and was a consistent 3-5 time a week participant.

What is a usual gym session like?

Most gyms have a prefabricated workout from either an instructor, website, or an outside CrossFit program. Most start with a gym/instructor specific warmup. It initiates some type of body warming effect (running/rowing/jump rope?) followed by light stretching or muscle mobility work.

Afterwards is the Weight/Strength Session. This usually is some type of lift or exercise that helps with form or strength in the workout.

Then last is the workout of the day (WOD). This is usually some type of endurance workout with multiple, multiple ranges and stages. What I LOVE about my gym is that there is a suggested workout for the heavy lifters, then 2 modified versions.There are modifications for every workout for every level

What makes a good gym?

The first thing that makes a gym one worth going to are the instructor’s knowledge of lift technique and form. Obviously you want those that are certified CrossFit instructors as well as experienced fitness professionals.  Most gyms I go to have their certificates on the wall, websites, and office. Most can also demonstrate (to a certain level) the workout as well as modifications. Mostly they understand what you're supposed to do and how to do it in an effective manner.

#2 they offer and introductory course/preview week/free day. The one thing that really scared me was the gym I went to first pretty much said "Ok, this is what we're is your weight...go" I couldn't bend over for 3 days. The gyms that seem the most inviting offer beginning classes or what my gym calls an "elements class" or even a boot camp. They teach the warmups that are standards, form for multiple lifts, and instruction on other elements performed in the class as well.

#3 The instructors are involved in the workout. This doesn't necessarily mean they do the work out their-selves but they are watching the members during the workout. They call out form cues, give motivation, and help with modifications and explanations to the workout.

Some others that are icing on the cake are:

Availability (multiple classes available for an nonpattern like work schedule)
Alternating workouts (legs On Monday, arms on Tuesday, cardio on Wednesday etc etc)
Good Equipment
Good Music
Extra classes (Yoga, lift technique classes, contest, Holiday get together etc )
Payment Plans
 Etc Etc

ALSO, not all gyms that are good have these and vice versa. To me, finding a good gym is like finding a shoe. You go in knowing what you think you like, you try it on, and if it fits, you stick with it. If not, try another. Most gyms offer their first class for free and are more than happy to assist with anything regarding scheduling, fitness levels, and/or payment methods.

And Now. For the Scare factor...." scary and is only for serious weight lifters"
At least I thought so......

"I pick things up and put them DOWN"

A lot of people I know think CrossFit is scary or is for serious weight lifters only.  One of the things I've loved about my two gyms is there are all sorts of people working out beside me. I've been in a class where the majority of the participants were in the senior citizen category. One lady did the same pull up strength as me every class. She put me to shame and I admire her greatly.  CrossFit is for all types that are wanting a fitness change in their life.
How will CrossFit Impact my running?
3 major ways: Strength, Lung Capacity, and Endurance.
    So let’s say you’re running a half marathon (or marathon). You get about 4-5 miles from the finish and your legs just start giving out. They’re just sore and tired and you can’t make them take another step. What did you do to train? “Well I ran.” Exactly. When you train your muscles over and over in the same direction they’re not going to be challenged. They won’t break down and they won’t regrow. That soreness you feel after a hard workout is the breaking down of your muscle fibers. When you give them ample time to recover our body’s mend them together much stronger. You’ve challenged them in a new way to exceed the expectations you’re going to give them later on down the road in that long run (of course with the partnered running plan as well). You’ll work your back muscles and core that gives you a more upright form that enables you to have proper breathing, as well as stronger arms you pump to pull you up those hills.
            It changed my lung capacity all together. There have been many WOD’s where there was a 400-800 sprint then as soon as you entered the gym you had to go right to the next event whether it was weightlifting or a body strength. During a track workout I would remember those WODs and be thankful that I didn’t have to jump onto a weight, giving me that little push to a faster threshold. Having the strength in the legs, and the endurance to start pushing farther, I was able to start running faster easier. Before CrossFit, without even looking at my watch, I knew when I was running an 8:30 minute per mile pace because my breathing became more labored. After more than a year of CrossFit, an 8:30 pace is now my easy long distance pace. Your lungs are also like a muscle. When trained and worked, they too can become stronger.
    Some workouts are what we call an AMRAP. This means As Many Reps As Possible. It usually also coincides with a time given. Meaning, guess what? If you have a Workout that has AMARAP Pushups for 7 minutes, you’re doing Pushups for 7 minutes.  This may have you walking out of the gym before I even explained what it is. But guess what? What If I told you you can go as slow as you want AND use a band under your waist to help get you off the floor? BAM then anyone can do pushups for 7 minutes. You may only get 10 in but you can say I did it. This how CrossFit really opens up your endurance threshold. You work at a level you can safely achieve for that amount of time. By doing this by the last minute you’re exhausted, you’re tired, but you know you only have 1 more minute. You can do ANYTHING for a minute, especially with a coach clapping and cheering you on. This is CrossFit. It gets you out of your comfort zone and into a zone you rarely push yourself too. As runners we can relate to it as your Anabolic Threshold aka. Red zone. There area where you’re at your max and you are running on gas. Guess what? Just like a muscle, that too, with proper training and body awareness, can become stronger. When you’re running, when you have that last mile to go, you’re done, you’re spent, guess what, it’s just (*insert your minute per mile pace*) it’s just 10 more minutes for that last mile. You can run for 10 more minutes. If you can lift that bar off the ground and on to your shoulders, if you can do 5 pushups, you can run for 10 more minutes.

Ok, I’m interested, but, how do I add CrossFit to my running program to make it affective?
As mostly an endurance runner/triathlete you have to treat CrossFit as Cross training. It’s easy to get addicted into the hype but you must remember what is most important? Staying injury free is. When I’m training for a long distance race I always use the same training format with the running along with my CrossFit. You build, build, and then taper.
So let’s say I have a marathon 2 months out, my running training plan is as follows:
Sunday/Saturday (depending on my schedule) Long Runs
2-3 days a week alternating 5-6 miles (Treadmill or Outside Pace Runs)
1 semi long run (8-10 miles)
For CrossFit I follow a similar format:
1 day a week doing strictly weight lifting (3 , 3x5 70% max weight sets 2 lower body, 1 upper body, to retain muscle) This usually gets dropped the closer I get to higher mileage weeks.
2-3 days a week WOD (Workout of the Day) going for possible max weight prescribed with each weight
Thursday/Friday = Taper day, all-out effort/ less weight
Then 3 weeks out, you ideal taper time, I start tapering with CrossFit. This is either the weekend of your long run or you just finished your last long run. Your legs are going to be sore and you will need time to recover. I usually start dropping a class or go as frequently and start scaling back on weight.
2 weeks before the race I usually only go twice.
The week before a race, Tuesday is usually my last day. If I skipped Monday, I’ll go Tuesday, If I went Monday I’m done. The more rest, the better.
ALWAYS, ALWAYS take a day off if you’re sore, even if it means missing more than 2 days a week.
ALWAYS take the day off after your long run.
I also tell myself to listen to my body, Sore vs Pain are 2 different things. You are GOING to be sore. CrossFit works different muscle every workout. There will be muscles that will be challenged that you’ve never used before, it’s to be almost expected. However, pain is not. If something feels off, go lighter or modify. There is no shame in modifying. I’ve had problems off and on with my knees. If my knee feels off from a run earlier that week I’ll go lighter on a movement that involves that particular area.

Ok, I’m intrigued, how do I start?
Most gyms have a mandatory introductory class and some have an open gym invitation. You can find out through either a Facebook page, yelp, or website. Feel free to email any of the coaches. They will be more than happy to answer your questions. When it comes to that actual workout this you don’t have to worry about. Most coaches are great about assessing your limitations and strengths and will be able to give you one on one advice and attention. They are great about explaining the flow of the workout as well as showing you modifications to make the workout easier or a bit more challenging. The people are also amazingly friendly. I’ve dropped in on quite a few gyms while traveling. I’ve always be met with welcome arms and very kind people. Don’t’ worry, you’ll soon become attached.

Roll the Credits:

So, I say all this prefacing that you may not get the same results, you may not like CrossFit as much. It just may not be your thing. I was once skeptical but after being persuaded I fell in love with it and my running has changed completely. If you're ready for something different, and you need more than just a regular gym membership, I urge you to give something a try. Maybe Zumba, aqua aerobics, yoga, or maybe even CrossFit.

I did. Everyone has been asking "where did you come from?!" I always smile and say CrossFit. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Mineral King / Sequioa National Park Backpacking Trip- Mineral King Loop Trail

 I've read a backpacking quote that went something like " It's very humbling to have your life on your back." I can't find it, or figure out who said it (I assume someone like John Muir or maybe even Henry David Thoreau ).  I think that's why I love backpacking SO MUCH. It gets you to break things down to the most simplistic forms : Food, water, shelter, first aid, and a minimal amount of comfort. When I come out of the woods, I come out a changed person. I'm in so detached from everything and become more aware of my surroundings. I hear water, birds, see vivid colors, and smell fragrance that usually get ignored in day to day tasks.

Where are we going?!
This trip wasn't all what we planned. Originally, the plan was to do Rae Lakes Loop out of Kings Canyon National Park. However even though our permit was submitted more than 2 weeks out of our entry date, a ranger called and informed us there was only 1 permit left for that trail head. We requested a departure date of a day later and still had no luck. He gave us an hour to find another hike and get back to him. I was frantic. I googled "backpacking in Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Park" I was so unprepared and had little knowledge of the area. After a little bit of research Mineral King Timber Gap, Big 5 Lakes, kept coming up. We submitted our request for that loop and then waited for 2 weeks to receive our permit/conformation email.

Mineral King is an area, only accessible by a very curvy twenty one mile long road, South East of the main entrance of Sequoia National Park. The road is narrow and usually takes an hour and a half to reach the ranger station.

Having two weeks to do some research (and last minute gear prep) we planned out our trip according to millage allowance for 4 days, campsite availability, and a map we found on a really helpful blog.
Mineral King Loop.

I found this map while doing a general google search for Mineral King Loop Trail . EVERYWHERE I read recommended doing this loop clockwise. The Trek up Sawtooth pass is pretty awful (1,300 feet in less than a mile), it's all lose gravel, and flying down it is much more fun (and terrifying).

SO here is a quick break down for you.
 TIME: allow for a MINIMUM of at least 4 days. If you're in GREAT shape (aka CLIMBING shape and are able to climb at least 1,000 feet per mile and just want to get this hike off your bucket list) then yeah you could do it in less, I wouldn't recommend it.

LENGTH: 28 miles. Again, It doesn't seem like much but every day has a pass (mountain range ) you have to climb over. My husband and I are athletic. I'm a Crossfitter and we both are marathon runners and triathletes. Living at sea level did us no favor for the 3,000 ft elevation changes.
We also wanted somewhat of a vacation so we took our time, took lots of pictures, and just relaxed if we got to campsites early.

DIFFICULTY: I would rate it strenuous. Some of the valleys were gentle and pleasant, however, if you're not use to altitude the climbs are going to make it rough.  Twice we hiked back to a valley and were surrounded by cliffs. I looked straight up and moaned "we have to climb this?". But up we went. On the climbs, we would average about 1 mile every 50 minutes. The rest of the hike, average hiking speed would be 1 mile every 29-33 minutes, depending on slope. (Referencing from Garmin Foreunner 220.)

SEASON / WEATHER: With our jobs, we are very fortunate to not have our lives revolve around a school calendar.  We were able to sneak in before the busy labor day weekend (August 19th-22th) and basically have every lake/campsite to ourselves. At night I wore merino wool and had a 20 degree sleeping bag and was a little on the warm side. During the day hiking pants and a tanktop/tshirt was perfect, maybe even a little too warm still. We didn't deal with mosquito but still bought bug spray just in case.

Alright, here we go, "The wilderness must be explored"!

Day 1- Trail head to Pinto Lake, well, Almost. 

 The day we left, we drove in from Ventura, CA. It was about a 3.5 hour long drive. My husband had to work the night shift prior to us leaving so we didn't actually get to the ranger station until 1:50. We checked in, got our permit,and heard about Leave No Trace.We also asked about the marmot problem. If you google this hike you're likely see cars wrapped in tarps. During the summer marmots are very problematic and like to eat through engine hoses in cars.  I came prepared with a car tarp but lucky for us, coming in late August, it wasn't an issue and didn't need to dress my car in a tarp.
Our Packs.
 Getting on to the trail:  When we got to the trail head the bottom of Josh's bag was soaked and my water bladder was empty. Already dealing with severe stomach pain, this was not a way to start a trip. Luckily I had purchased a 3.0L platypus bladder, along with the 2 of our 2L bladders. I was able to exchange Josh's 3.0 L for the empty 2L. However with 2 32oz water bottles and now the new bladder, I would easily say my pack weighed somewhere in the 45-47lb area. 
 I wasn't prepared for the steep climb we encountered the first mile. I began questioning if I could do 4 days of this. We also felt rain drops. Having only a 20% chance of rain on Sunday, I forgo-ed the purchase of pack covers, a lesson learned. The rain didn't last long, little did we know it would be chasing us this weekend. 

 We knew in order to reach Pinto Lake before dark it would be a big haul, having started at 2:20pm. We still took moments to enjoy ourselves.
By 7pm we were both pretty tired. I had yet to eat anything since 8am, still dealing with my stomach, Josh was only running on 3 hours of sleep. According to a blog I read, we only had 1 more mile, 30ish minutes, left. We crossed a creek, and saw a sign "PINTO LAKE 2.9 MILES". We both just stood there, looking at the climb up. I sighed and said, "alright, we got this, almost there." We were hiking back into a valley, and what I was hoping to be Pinto lake. We were surrounded by cliff walls,
 eventually it became evident our last .50 of a mile was going to be straight up a cliff side and over.

However halfway up, we stopped and got a glimpse of a beautiful sunset. 

We were exhausted. After the climb I imagined this beautiful lake would be in front of us. However we were met with a marsh meadow. We spent about 25 minutes looking for a lake . After a while, we found a flat area, not far from a bear box, and called it a night. Our motor skills were quickly dwindling. The bear container lid was almost unlatchable due to our freezing hands and the lid to our Jetboil had became swollen shut due to elevation. Even setting up our tent took longer than usual. We got everything under control, All in the dark, but it is something we definitely laugh about now.

Elevation chart from the 1st day hike from my Garmin Forunner 220 Elevation : 8,800


Got our water filtration going on. The water tasted amazing and was extremely cold. Even though it looked clean we still filtered

We didn't hang around the campsite to long, according to my map's elevation I knew today was going to be a big climb.
We climbed...

 And climbed....
We celebrated with a goldfish and Twizzlers break

  I did some research and read the jaunt down to Upper 5 lakes (instead of going on to Columbine) was worth the mileage, so we made it our 2nd day campsite destination. We were so glad we did. It ended up being one of my favorite campsites ever and we were the only ones even near the lake. I'm guessing the two guys we saw on the trail decided to head on.

Upper 5 Lakes Elevation 10,192

DAY 3 BIG FIVE LAKES TO COLUMBINE LAKE - "Oh what a beautiful morning"

We woke up to a beautiful morning. We took our time here, taking pictures, drinking coffee, eating oatmeal. How could you not love this? 

Today was a pretty interesting day. We had an "easier " day, some rolling hills but nothing like the day before. We took our time and I FINALLY had hunger, for the first time in 2 days I ate lunch! So we stopped at a scenic over look. I kept hearing something. At first I thought it was a bird. Then maybe someone's bear bells. I mentioned something to Josh but he was like "it's a bird". I kept looking in the direction of the sound and finally saw it...I got up and said come here!

Someone had placed wind chimes on this tree. It was beautiful, so peaceful. I kept looking around for maybe a notebook or a geocache or something, but no luck. Just there for serenity.

Little did we know we played a little too long and the weather would catch up to us.

By the time we got to Lost Canyon, it looked again to be a climb up and over . However, I was taking a video of where we were at and Josh points over to the left side of the cliff and said "I don't like the look of those clouds". It started raining and we weren't prepared. Luckily we found 2 boulders big enough for us and our stuff to sit under . It looked like someone had once used it as a campsite. We once tried to continue on and the rain began again, we retreated to our spot. We waited this time for an hour, both dozing. A little sun peaked through and decided it was a good window to get up and over, so a climbing we went.

We made it to Columbine Lake! Elevation 10,970, Yes that's snow by his feet!

We had a great camping experience. Again, we were the only ones here the entire time. Unfortunately, the rain followed us and we had to put up our tent and gear pretty quick. It moved through fast and we had the rest of the evening to explore and take pictures.


We woke up to a BEAUTIFUL morning, again, spent a lot of time taking pictures, drinking coffee, and just enjoying the beauty of it all.

As we slowly packed up, we could see a rain curtain on the other side of the pass, as well as some darkening clouds. We continued taking pictures but had to get a move on if we wanted to stay safe. We still had one more big climb to make, 700 feet up in less than a mile up to Sawtooth Pass 11,600 feet elevation.

 We made it to the top just in time to put rain jackets on when the thunder began. Josh says he saw lightening but decided not to tell me. The hail came soon after. We had no place to hide under, so down the mountain we flew. The other side is nothing but sand and gravel. At the beginning we were literally skiing down the 1,300 foot drop.

We both were saying little prayers as we were flying down that mountain. The thunder was getting louder and louder every step we took. Things finally lightened up, we caught our breaths, and just laughed at what we just did. " We FLEW down that thing". We took a quick break at Monarch Lake to take in the view but headed on as the storm continued over the pass.

 The terrain change drastically from white cliffs to beautiful forest.

 But as all good things must do, this trip had to come to an end. I was kind of ready to pitch my tent at Monarch lake and stay for another day. I'm sure I could have talked Josh into it.

After we left I had heard about this AMAZING Pie shop or something in Silver City. We passed to what looked like a little cabin market on the way up but decided to take a peak on our way back down the crazy 21 mile road. ....IT.....WAS...AMAZING... There is a little cabin getaway that has a kitchen attached.

Root beer float, Hamburger, chips, melon, and homemade pecan pie, OH MY

It was a life changing trip. So many times instead of thinking of what's next, I sat, and just let myself BE. I rarely looked at the time (mostly millage), and persevered through some challenging climbs.Some of moments I experienced took my breath away just by how beautiful this area really is. I love that places like this are a challenge to get to.

As I've previously stated, preparing for a backpacking trip makes you lay out the most minimal survival tools: food, shelter, water, and minimal comfort if room. When you enter the forest, it breaks you down to your most minimal version of yourself. It's you, your mind, body, heart, and soul. All complicated barriers but broken down into the most simplistic form, all coming together to experience the tranquility of the forest, as one.

. ...What's NEXT?...Maybe part of the John Muir Trail :)

 I've very thankful to work at REI and am able to get some pretty high tech equipment goods. As far as gear 3 things I HIGHLY recommend for this trip, or any high elevation backpacking adventure:
  1. High wasted hiking pants (not jeans) or ones that even have a inner drawstring. My pack was rubbing on my hips by the 2nd day after I wore lower cut hiking pants. The higher cut adds more padding and comfort. 
  2. Merino Wool Sleeping top (layered if can). I wore my amazing Smart wool 1/4 zip as well as a long sleeve Crew underneath

    I slept in it every night and was even a little too warm on 2 of the 3 nights ( as well as my down hooded Jacket)

    3. Trekking poles. This was the first trip I EVER used poles on. I always thought there were for the more slightly senior hikes. However with the elevation change, as well as important marathon in 2 weeks, I decided to check them out to help preserve my knees. These guys were my life line! They helped with distributing the weight of my pack in every direction. Mostly, they helped with my balance. My pack would pull me back as I would try to go up, they helped pull me and keep my pack moving with me. It saved me too when I would mistep, my pack going left, body going right. I'm a muppet after all. 


    I honestly think we brought more water than we needed. In the middle of a drought, we're used to desert types of hikes . The multiple streams, lakes, and waterfalls we could have used as water sources. If you're too worried about weight I wouldn't bring more than 2 bladders (1 2L and 1 3L , or even 2 , 2L) not much more is needed after the first day. 
    -Check YOUR WEATHER. 
    This is a pretty standard tip but again, living by the beach in CA, you could be used to "it's sunny, it never rains" type of mindset. I ALMOST...ALMOST bought rain covers for our packs and now wish I would. Nothing got ruined but it could have. We REALLY lucked out when it came to the weather, it could have been a lot worse. Also temperatures are important. 2 weeks out it was forecasting in the 30's, the day before we left it moved to 40's. We were both warmer at night than we thought, again, we got lucky.
    If you're like me, you like data. Each day had a millage and elevation estimation. Both day 1 and 2 , according to my map and a blog, we were almost done, then a sign would pop up "2.9 miles!'...believe it or not that exact millage, twice, so..check and recheck. I just need to get better my map reading skills. 

    Anyway, I hope you enjoyed and this trip report helps you plan for your next trip into Mineral King. Please feel free to contact me !