BibRave, Race Day, Recap, Run!

Napa Valley Marathon- Half Recap

Disclaimer: I received a VIP entry into Napa Valley Half Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

I knew Napa Valley was going to be interesting, I just had no idea how much that was true.

In other words- a new personal worst! And a PR for port-a-potty stops.

Race morning dawned early and a little chilly. I dressed and headed off for the start line. My stomach literally spasmed the moment I got out of the car. Um, what?

I headed to the tasting room at Conn Creek Winery which was the VIP area. People- a warm room and real bathrooms are so worth it. However my stomach felt ok again. Hmmm.

I met up with Stephanie from Run Strong Run and we headed to the start. Actually a little late- most runners had already started- we crossed the start line with the 3:00 hour pacers. We soon separated but it was nice ststarting with someone.

There’s a really tiny balloon in this pic

Miles 1-2 11:35, 12:16
I was feeling ok, but I knew I was out of shape so after about half a mile, I turned on my run/ walk intervals. I was enjoying the perfect cloudy weather and watching hot air balloons rise with the sun over pretty vineyards. Exactly what I had hoped for.

Mile 3 12:49
We had reached the first aid station, water bathroom and electrolytes- but I was fine. Half a mile later I was not fine. Not at all.

This is the scenery I love

Miles 4-6 12:45, 12:27, 17:20
Oh dear lord- where is next aid station?!?? This is a problem. Oh look pretty views, oh, ow, stomach bad. Just before mile 6- oh, hallelujah- an aid station.

Miles 7-8 12:45, 16:45
Ok, that was rough and I’m still not feeling great but let’s keep moving. Nope. Stomach doesn’t agree and now I’m worried there’s not another station until mile 9. Oh lord. Except, wait! Another station just before 8!

Miles 9- 11 12:50, 13:09, 13:51
Again I tried to run on. Nope- mostly walking. Stomach cramped again, badly a little after mile 10. And yes there was a station, but I decided to try and walk it out. I think I walked for 10 minutes straight somewhere in there.

Miles 12-13 13:07, 13:37
I am so close! Oh, here come the first and second marathon runners- ok that was kind of cool. Wouldn’t have seen them if I wasn’t having issues, right??? Trying to find the bright side here. The weather was still good, and I still loved looking at the scenery around me even if we were in town now. Oh— there’s the high school!! The finish!

Finish- 2:58:15

So yeah, that was not my best showing. Oddly enough, as rough as it was, I never once thought about quitting. I knew I was going to finish- eventually- it was just taking more energy than I thought. More energy to move slower but I just kept putting one foot in front of the other and kept moving forward.

The course was so pretty, I really do love running by vineyards, I really do. Also this course is very PR-able- flat in a way that didn’t feel flat to me. I kind of feel like I need vindication- this is definitely a race I will run again. There were also VIP perks I missed out on post race- my stomach was not cooperating at all. Boo.

Napa Valley- I will run you again.

Ever had your body completely rebel during a race?

BibRave, Race Day

Onward to 40

No, not my age.

This weekend I am heading up to Napa Valley for the Napa Valley Marathon. It should be my 40th half. 40. From a person who said they were a 1 and done. 40.

Disclaimer: I received an entry into Napa Valley Half Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

I’m not gonna lie, I am a little anxious. Ok, a lot. If we’re keeping track, 40 should have happened last year. First in San Jose and then at Space Rock. The first became a DNS and the second became a 10k that tried to break me. So that means my last half was in August. That’s a long break.

Long.

And the last few weeks have been … a little rough. In so many ways.

My original plan was to just enjoy the scenery- I really do love running along vineyards- and just finish quicker than half marathon #1 all those years ago. Right now, that looks highly unlikely. Unless this leg pain is all my head??? I would be totally ok with that.

I want weather just like this too

Now, my hope is that I can just enjoy a weekend where I can shut my brain off. Run a few miles a few thousand new friends. Enjoy my first VIP experience (yay!), meet some new people. Bring it 40.

Oh, and a stop at Hobby Lobby.

Race Day, Run!

Spooner’s Cove Trail Race

Oh that kicked my trash.

Race dawned early, chilly and wet. I made my way out to Montana de Oro and arrived with plenty of time to pick up my bib, use the port a potty and chill in my car. My car was parked about 30 feet from the finish and 15 from the bathrooms, ha!

There were 5 distances running that day and we all started at the same time. The RD gave a few directions- which color flag to follow and where not to go. He called out all the distances and we all raised our hands each time- I was suddenly thankful I had done the smart choice and dropped to the 13K. Valencia Peak is rough on a good day and this was not my day.

The race started and we were off- uphill. Ha! The first mile weaves along the bluff which gave us great stormy waves to watch. It also brought the first rain and crazy wind. My hood flew off and never stayed on again. I was run/walking the flats as I knew the proximity to the ocean and the rainy, cloudy day were just an invitation to my asthma. My plan was to run/ walk the flats, power hike the climbs and run the downhills. This plan did work in the respect that I did not have even the slightest of a wheeze but it also resulted in a time I would not have predicted. And I was aiming pretty low.


We’re going to the top of the peak on the right

The first real climbs started in mile 2 but also gave me some good downhills. I couldn’t run the downhills as fast as I would have liked as I learned real quick that black mud has similar properties as black ice- hit a patch and you will go for a ride. I managed to stay upright but a runner behind me on one of the uphills was not so lucky. I heard a thud and crumpling plastic and turned to see a woman down. She popped up and said she was fine and we continued up.

Totally easy, right?

I was slowing way down as the climb got steeper and wetter. The wind was picking up and it tore my hat completely off my head. It was also wasn’t to bright of me to try to catch it as there were drops on either side of me. My right foot was starting to hurt as I was realizing that my trail shoes and I do not get along.

The top! Right after I chased my hat down a second time

I was sliding and slipping but still climbing. I may have been taking a few breaks to catch my breath too. People, I legit turned in a 34 minute mile for mile 5. Yes that was the last mile to the summit but how in the hell? I mean that mile was by far the sketchiest mile and a mile I find hard even in peak shape and good weather but how on earth did it take me 34 minutes????

Once at the top, I grabbed my rubberbands- you know proof I was there, even if I did take a wrong turn at the end and go the hardest way to the summit- and headed back down. Time to run free!!!

Except not really. Every time I hit a rock with my right foot, pain radiated. I may have started cursing. Out loud. A Lot. So, if you were out in MDO on Saturday and heard someone dropping f-bombs along the trail for a couple of miles- yep, that was me.

I finally hobbled my way towards the finish, over 2 hours after I started. Seriously, at one point, my mother sent me a text asking if I had fallen off a cliff. Well, I came close, ha!

So yeah 13K in 2:22:36. Y’all I finished dead last.

Which honestly I am fine with but it does confuse me. There were at least 4 people behind me when I left the summit- and I swear their bibs were the same color as mine. Either they didn’t finish or they were running one of the longer distances. I am just confused.

Even last, I still had a blast. Even if I was cursing for 4ish miles of that. Now, I am going to go start a bonfire for those shoes and ice my foot. I have big plans for 2020.

Ambassador, BibRave, Race Day, Run!

Smart or Stupid?

Those are my choices… what do you think I will choose?

Disclaimer: I received Gatorade Endurance products to use as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

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Yep, my 25k is on Saturday.

While my fueling game is stronger than it ever was (Thanks Gatorade Endurance), my actual endurance is up for debate.

I had big plans for getting back on track post October chaos, but I swear the universe laughed and said hold my beer. November was more of the same plus some extra crazy which saw me changing my running MO. Actually still a work in progress, my week day running has been completely derailed. The farthest I’ve run in 2 months is 10k. And it wasn’t a walk in the park.

We finally said goodbye to lingering summer warmth and rain came for the first time since April. And hasn’t stopped. Don’t get me wrong, we need the rain as we are in a constant state of drought, but too much too fast brings along a new set of chaos.

Saturday is currently showing an 80% chance of rain.

25K is 15ish miles. 2ish giant climbs. The first one the hardest and the shale rock is tough on a good day… what will it be when wet?

That’s more than double the longest I’ve run in months. In less than optimal circumstances.

There is a 13K I could drop to but my pride stings at that. I set a half cocked goal for a 50K this year and if I dropped I wouldn’t even be completing half of that goal. But would pushing myself to finish the 25K just hurt my odds of training for a 50K in the first half of 2020? And training healthy at that??? The greatest fuel (did I mention I love it?) in the world won’t help me if I hurt myself.

So, decision time. Smart or stupid? How may Blackberry gels should I pack?

For more on Gatorade Endurance go HERE and learn on to Fuel Your Journey.

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?