Hiking-Trails, Race Day, Recap, Run!

Space Rock Trail Race Recap

I am not exaggerating when I say if I hadn’t dropped to the 10K, I would have DNF’ed the half and likely have needed help off the course.

I first heard of Space Rock last year and thought it looked awesome but likely too far away. A little Googling and I learned it was only 3 hours south! But I had an insane October already last year with 2 halves at opposite ends of the state and a 2+ week work trip. So I passed. Instagram adds got me this year and I signed up.

Then the last 3-4 weeks went to hell in a hand basket and I wasn’t sure I was going to even start the race. However I knew that if I did, I was not in the mental shape for a tough trail half nor was I feeling physically up to it so I messaged the race and dropped to the 10K.

If you watch anything sci-fi- you’ve seen this rock

I headed down towards Santa Clarita on Friday wondering if the race was even going to happen due to large fire about 20ish miles away. Somehow the air over Vasquez Rocks seemed clear. I picked up my race stuff and checked into a hotel.

The race swag was awesome- the coolest tye dyed shirt and cutest canvas bag.

Race morning dawned clear and early. Parking was fairly convenient in a dirt lot. Then I walked the mile in to the start. The race started about 30 minutes late due to one of the bus shuttles breaking down. Just gave me time to use the port a potty.

Did I mention I was running this race in new trail shoes and a new watch?? 😂
We lined up and we were off.

Mile 1- 11:58
I was wheezing 1/4 mile in. Wait, what? It wasn’t cold and it wasn’t humid. The only thing I can figure was that I breathed in a bunch of dirt. I’ve run numerous trail races but I’ve never seen as much dirt in the air as I did here. I now understood the people I saw with Buffs over their face at the start- they knew. Other than that, we had a decent downhill and then we on to the single track. And the first person to fall in front of me hit the dirt. He rolled well and was up and running before I could finish my question if he was ok.

Mile 2-15:17
There was some climb here and I still couldn’t breathe properly but the main slow down was the out and back. We were running super narrow single track and it was and out and up then down and back. Those going up slammed to a stop numerous times to let the runners coming down through. We were doing the best we could but we kept bottle necking. And the second person took a tumble.

Mile 3-4- 14:58, 15:12
I still couldn’t breathe. I loved the downhill and I loved the scenery of the canyons as we were running. We came out of the canyon and started the climb that would break me. Oh, did I mention we ran through the darkest tunnel ever??

This was actually in mile 2

Mile 5- 18:06
I have never stopped during a race before, and I have run some doozy trail races. I stopped a few times going up this climb because I could not breathe and I felt like my heart was going to pound out of my chest. My only consolation was that I was not the only one struggling. Everyone around me was hiking and I wasn’t the only one coughing.

Real feel

Mile 6- 17:20
Are we ever going to stop climbing?!! The woman next to let a few f-bombs fly when we reached a false summit. I agree. I ran all the downhills and struggle bus’ed the climbs and stopped a few more times. Passed an adorable orange haired boy doing the 5K and he cheered me on. So cute! Then we were down near the rocks again and I was walking to the finish. I maybe jogged 20 yards at the end?

Finish- 1:33:57

Slowest 10k ever! I crossed the line wheezing and tired.

See? Legs were good to climb a rock

But the medal made me smile and the hot coffee being served made me want to jump for joy.

I would do this race again for sure, just maybe a little healthier and with my face covered in the beginning. Plus for all the roadblocks this race organization hit, they did a remarkable job adapting on the fly. Like water- their original water provider couldn’t get to the race due to the fire but they had plenty of bottles on hand at the finish and the 2 aid stations on the course seemed well stocked. Also, other my lungs, my body handled all the ups and downs well, I was only a little sore in my calves the next day. Oh and somehow in my struggle up the hill in mile 4, I landed in the top 10 in Strava segments. Yeah right!

What was the last race you underestimated?

Hiking-Trails, Run!, Slacker, Training

Week 29- Return

Ok, reentry to work was a little rough.

Monday and Tuesday were the last of my vacation days. They were hot ones. Not gonna lie, I was pretty lazy these days. I did finish a book so maybe not too lazy. Then it was back to work.

My body felt out of whack from sitting in my chair at work. I had a headache by the end of the day on Wednesday, Thursday and FRiday. Oh no, am I getting old?? I really do like my job, I just felt a little achy last week. 🙂

I got a little too flexible with the drag and drop feature of my training app. I had big visions of how the week was going to go. I really should just stick to the plan. I was also supposed to run a race on Saturday but that didn’t happen.

So instead of highlighting what I should have done, how about just what I did?

Monday- 2 miles
I was fried from Sunday’s trail run and anytime in the sun made me feel abnormally hot. I found a baggy race shirt, left the pack behind and made it out for a shuffled 2 mile run. T- shirts are hot! Who wears those?? Did I mention it was 100*?

Tuesday- 2 miles up/down, 6x 400 at 5K pace- 4ish miles
Still in the middle of a heat advisory, I took my sad self to the gym. I had originally hoped to run my long run on this day as it was the last day of my vacation but I knew that wasn’t happening on the treadmill. So I did Thursday’s intervals instead. The treadmill and my watch disagreed so even though the treadmill said I nailed my repeat paces, my watch had me a minute slower. Grrrr.

Wednesday- 2 miles
The temps dropped drastically so this was a breezy, cool 2 miles.

Thursday- Oops
Was planning on either my mile repeats or my long run but The Lion King called instead. And copious amounts of popcorn.

Friday- Nada
I have to start running in the morning. Even though I take my bag of gear inside every Friday, I don’t use it. By the time we close, I am just done. Especially this Friday.

Saturday- 10 miles
It was supposed to be cooler and I woke with a migraine so I pushed my run to the afternoon. It was 80 but there was a good breeze so it should have been fine. However I tried to throw my mile repeats into the workout instead of running a steady pace. Yeah, I flamed out. I finished the run but was off pace for both the 2 repeats I did and then the later “easy” miles. It was actually my second slowest 10 miles ever. ha! Thanks for that tidbit Smashrun.

Sunday- 4ish miles
I knew I was behind miles for the week and part of me planned on running twice this day. The other part won. I did run up and down a steep trail though. Ok, power hiked up and ran down but still. Again, I ran in the afternoon but it wasn’t too bad. The trail had its shady parts. Though I did kind of want to jump in the water at the end.

22.5/25 miles for the week. Still short but I am calling it good.

How was your week?

Eat!, Hiking-Trails, Training

Week 28- Of Birthdays and Dirt

This week was a little all over the place.

Also I didn’t mean to only post one blog post last week, the week flew by oddly fast.

I only worked 2 days before starting my first real vacation of the year. It was also my birthday so a few more indulgences may have occurred than normal. My stomach chose to remind me of it’s asshat ways on a few occasions and I also had a fun migraine try to join the birthday party.

I also may have gotten a little creative with my training plan. First by liberally rearranging things and then taking some creativity with certain runs. Then came the heat advisory. Hey, when life gives you lemons, right?

Monday- 2 miles up/down, 4x 800 at 5k pace/ Nailed it
Speedwork on a Monday is a little different. I headed to the lake so I didn’t have intersections to worry about. Why haven’t I done this before? For once it was nice to nail the pace for all of the 800’s. Could I have run faster? Yes, but maintaining it was not likely.

Tuesday- 1.5 miles/ 1.5 miles
Easy, not so breezy miles.

Wednesday- 1.5 miles/ 4ish mile trail run
First day of vacation and my rearranged week was already taking hits. Instead of my long run, I headed down to SLO for some shopping and ended the day by hitting a trail. Have absolutely no complaints about time spent in the dirt with ocean views.

Thursday -10 miles/ sick
I started to get sick on Wednesday evening and it was downhill from there. Unless a
2.5 hour naps counts as training, I did nothing.

Friday- .5 mile warmup, 6 mile tempo/ 5.5 ish meltdown
Birthday!! I admit I slept in a bit- it was my birthday, why not? It was still early my standards but it wasn’t enough. I managed 1 mile at tempo pace before I spectacularly blew up. It was 80* with 50% humidity and I was not handling it. At all. I all but crawled the next few miles and cut the run short by a mile.

Then it was time for a cold shower and off to birthday lunch.

Saturday- 10 miles redux/ migraine city
A migraine moved in Friday and took up residence. I tried my best to deal with it in my usual ways but ending up taking one of the heavy duty pain pills in the evening. My neurologist will be so proud. It did level my vision so yay!

Sunday- How many times can I type 10 miles?/ 8+ mile trail run
Still in the midst of a heat advisory, I figured heading south would be my best bet for the run. I had my mom and S along for the ride- I love this trail but it has given me some creepy vibes in the past. This way they could hike and I could run and at least they would only be few miles behind me. I underestimated the heat. By mile 4 I was feeling it. I don’t think I’ve ever been so sweaty in my life, it was gross and it was hard. So hard. I relished the break I got at the top while I waited for them to catch up. I was so looking forward to the run down but the heat had gotten to me, the return down was more of a jog/walk and a lament as to where all the shade had gone.

So 23.83 miles for the week. Plan called for 26.5, oops. Still, it could be worse and I can’t complain about any week where I get to run on the trails twice.

How was your week?

Hiking-Trails, Training

Week 14- Trail Therapy


How many times can I say the pendulum is swinging up before it hits me in the face?

  • 2019 Race Schedule (so far):
  • 4/28 SLO Half Marathon
  • 6/2 RnR San Diego (more to come)
  • 8-11 Oaktown Half (Thanks BibRave)

See that race schedule up there? Yeah last week included 2 races that weren’t listed- a trail race on Saturday and a local half on Sunday. Neither of those happened.

However, it wasn’t a wasted week entirely. I wasn’t entirely a sloth- I was able to get in a few miles. I continued to take my antibiotics- well mostly- seriously, I need a keeper.

Work has been a little on the crazy side, and it’s making me feel a little off. I really needed to run but I also wanted to make sure I had a couples days of antibiotics in me first. I also had an overdue dermatologist appointment. Once again I day why bother with the gowns? Make paper versions of shorts and bra tops or something. Show up in your bathing suit- either of those would be better than the gowns. And this years biopsy is going to be on my arm. Yay.

Monday/ Tuesday/ Wednesday
I thought about running but knew it was probably stupid. I was still stubbornly holding onto the possibility of running the 10K on Sunday instead of the half.

Thursday- 3.1 miles
I headed out for a run attempt after my doctor’s appointment. I set my watch for 1 minute run / 1 minute walk intervals and straight up walked the first 12 minutes. It wasn’t as rough as I had feared but it was not a walk in the park. How did I finish 13 just 10 days ago???? Note I did not say run. 😂

Saturday- 5 miles
Seriously is my voice ever going to come back and my ears unplug??? I waited until the warmest part of the afternoon and attempted my “long” run of the week. I kept tot the same intervals as Thursday. My pace wasn’t horrible considering but it was tough. What didn’t help was the heel pain I had on my right foot. I wore a stupid pair of flip flops earlier in the day since I left my main ones at work and they jacked up my foot.

Sunday- 3.25 miles
Trails! I missed you! Let’s never be apart for so long again.

My heel was still sore so I headed for 3 Bridges for some nice hiking miles. Except of course, I had to run chaotically downhill for at least part of it. Reckless abandonment-that’s my trail running motto. I did scream like a banshee when a wood mouse decided to try to run under my feet and then race me along the path. I was more concerned with stepping on it than I was scared but I react loudly. Ha! Now picture that and include the fact that my mother was out there with me except about 1/4 mile back. She heard the scream. Sorry mom!

11.4 ish miles for the week. Could be worse. Hopefully this week will continue to improve.

How was your week?

Hiking-Trails, Run!

Wednesday Wandering- The Pinnacles

The day before Thanksgiving, my dad and I headed out to the Pinnacles.  The Pinnacles is a state park located in Monterey County, about 90 minutes from home.     The weather was supposed to be in the high 40’s low 50’s and that is cold to this California girl so I dressed in a few layers which included 2 pairs of socks.   Once we arrived, we parked on got our gear ready.  I had my Nathan vest with 20oz of water and 2 Extend bars.   I didn’t think I would need the bars for what was likely going to be a 3 hour hike.   Insert theme song to Gilligan’s Island.

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My pops has had some pretty gnarly injuries over the years so he kept telling me to go ahead.  The trail was pretty straight forward and well marked.  I would go ahead until I couldn’t see or hear him anymore then stop and wait until I could.  It gave me time to take plenty of photos.  The scenery was amazing.  That combined with the chill in the air made me feel like I wasn’t in California anymore.

The first 2.5 miles gained about 1500 ft in elevation but 98% of that was very user- friendly.  All trail, nothing technical.    Just great views.   The wind was picking up and my ears were getting cold.  I can’t stand when my ears or toes get cold.  I stopped to pull my headband out of my pack to put it around my ears and waited for pops to catch up.  I made a snarky comment about how silly it looked with my hair sticking out and he commented that it’s not like anyone was looking.   HA!   I hit the first summit around 1.5 miles up and who was there?  A crew of firefighters.  Working out.  Seriously?!

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After that fun run in, I just kept going up until I thought I was at the top.   I was wrong.  My parents had done this trail in the past and I remembered my mom mentioning a set of freaky stairs but I hadn’t seen anything so I figured we took a different path.   Nope.  There was more to come, I had just missed it.  I was looking for actually stairs.  Not holes in rocks.

 

So yeah, I was a little nervous.    At least this section had a railing.  The last section to the top was a lot of hand over foot.   But the view was worth it.

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After a little rest on the top, we headed back down the other side.   This series of “stairs” was even hinkier and interesting going down.   Once past that though, we hit a nice path and going down was fairly easy.   I was still super cold, my toes and ears were felt frozen.  We went down like we went up, I would go ahead until I couldn’t hear my dad then wait til he was in sight again.    As we were nearing the bottom of this particular trail, I admit I was tiring.  While the path was walker/hiker/runner friendly, the elevation gain then loss was tiring plus I was freakin’ cold.  Pops was fading too.   We were just past 5 miles when we hit the trail head.   And wanted to cry.  We were 3.5 miles from the parking lot.  😢😢😓

We could do this, we could.   This path was along the river bed and pretty in a different way.   We were paying close attention to the trail as well because there was a trail head and accidentally taking it would add another 7 miles to the route.   Umm, no thank you.

However we had one last decision to make.     The trail split in 2 one last time.   You could choose the Balcony path for 1.7 miles to the parking lot or the Cave trail for 1.3 miles to the lot.    The park guide said you needed a flashlight for the cave but that was it.   We figured it was more a tunnel and took that route.  I was tired and my dad’s feet were hurting pretty badly so half a mile less sounded great.

Coming up on the cave, I started to doubt our shortcut.   We were climbing rocks and boulders just to get into the cave.   I was getting nervous.   Things opened up and flattened out once in the cave.  And turned pitch black.  I busted out the flash on my iPhone in time to arrive a wall of stone.   Ummm, where were we supposed to go?    I kept moving the light around the cave wall and I found a tiny little reflective arrow pointing up.   Moving closer, there was a hole in the ceiling.  Seriously?   And it was raining water so the rocks were slippery.     We made it through that only to find more rocks to climb up and out.    So that half mile less must have been in elevation and the shortcut was that we were climbing it instead.   Once out of the main cave, there was a narrow corridor to traverse.   Which was fine as long you were cool with boulders being wedged above your head.   Granted they’ve been there for hundred and hundreds of years but this is California and the ground does like to move from time to time.  😄

From there it was a much easier hike back to the lot.    My Garmin clocked in at 9 miles and I know I lost signal a couple of times.   I was completely out of water and hadn’t actually eaten anything for the 5 hours we were out there.    My feet were freezing and my dad was hurting too.   As we were climbing out of the cave, I glanced at my watch and even though there was no signal it showed a lap pace of 58:something.    Haha!  I didn’t even think it was possible to do a mile that slow!

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I wish I had better pictures of the cave but it was so dark.  Kind cool after the fact but it was way harder than I thought it was going to be.  😄  Overall it was a great day just a few hours and miles longer than planned.

Ever gotten turned around on a hike?

How about climbing out of bat cave?