Race Day, Recap, Run!

SLO Ultra 5 Mile Recap

I say my legs love hills but this tested that theory.

I didn’t look at the elevation chart until the Friday before the race.

Walking to the start line, I could see the half marathoners on the first climb– no one was running.

At one point during the race, I heard a woman huff out- “rolling hills, my ass”.

At the end, a woman wearing a Leadville jacket is talking to another 5 mile finisher asking how she’s feeling.  She then says she would never do these races because if you are under trained  they’ll wreck you.  Ummm, what??!

Ok, backing up.  SLO Ultra is a trail races that offers a 50 mile, marathon, half marathon and 5 mile.  I had originally planned on running the half but then conversion month and the stupid antibiotic non running episode derailed me.  I figured I would downshift to the 5 miler.    I’ve done multiple trail races, how could this be worse than the 25K? I could handle 5 miles.


Then I checked the website the Friday before and saw the elevation profile.  1500 feet and change over 5 miles, WTF?  Combine that with the abnormally busy Saturday I had ahead and I almost considered a DNS.    But I followed through.


The race was run on trails on private property out by Avila Beach but they all had staggered start times so my race didn’t start until 9:30.   I was able to still get parking on site about an hour before the start and slowly made my way the 1/2 mile or so further in.   As I said, I could see the half marathoners on the first real climb and it was not reassuring.    Hanging out near the start didn’t help.  I saw runners coming back through the start and they looked rough so I figured they were the marathoners finishing a loop (didn’t have enough gear to be 50 milers).  Nope.  Just the half marathoners finishing mile 3.     Oh crap.  Then it was time, so we all lined up.   Only to be warned the first 3 miles were Hard. Yay.

Mile 1- 16:37

We were off!  And we ran for all of .25 miles.  If that.  I take consolation that 95% of us slammed to a crawl.  There were still some speedy people out there (Pepe, Racheal I’m looking at you) but us mortals all were struggling just to power hike the damn mountain.   Like hands pushing down on knees trying to get leverage going up the hill.   We were all breathing so hard, it was a symphony of wheezing and gasping.  But the views halfway up?  Awesome.  But damn that thing was steep.


Mile 2-11:41

Does this climb ever end?!  Oh damn, I think something is in my shoe.   Oh look, downhill!  I shouldn’t run fast but, on your left!  Hey, this woodsy part is cool, let’s take a pic.  While running down a hillside.  Looks at watch- at a 9:20 pace- living dangerously.  😛  Oh- my first water crossing!  Ok, it was tiny but it still counts!  Then there was a portion of single track where some people didn’t have the best trail etiquette.  Stay on the trail!  This is why we can’t have nice things.


Mile 3-16.53

Another climb.  Not long but steep.   I made friends.    We were commiserating.  One woman asked her friend is she was doing the mountain bike races the next day, (same course) she was no longer sure.   Another asked if these hills were worse than those of the San Francisco Marathon, 3 of us shouted out Yes!  I cracked a joke that I don’t think this is what my doctor meant when he said to return to running slow and easy.   We had a downhill and I ran on to the flat and back to the start to the aid station but I was noticing a problem.  I couldn’t run the flats.  My legs were shot.  My Achilles’s were the tightest they have ever been and the flat surface felt like it stretched them out too much, kind of like they were going to tear.  So I backed it off and walked.


Mile 4- 17:02

Ok, maybe I backed off too much.   Yes, there was another big climb in this mile but I think I lost the most time on the flat section truthfully.  I chatted with a man I had been yo-yo’ing with most of the race.  My GPS had also been off since the tree covered section in mile 2 so I really had no idea how far I had left in the race.  Oops!


Mile 5- 8:40 pace

By mile 3.8ish I could see the turn around point at the aid station and I was done.  I jogged up to it, grabbed a cup of water, drank and then decided my legs had wings.   I almost ate trail in a section that was like running through a sandbox.  I hit the flat section and my legs suddenly felt ok so I kept going.    Slowed down so as not to face plant over the rickety bridge over the stream right before the finish line- almost did anyways- and ran through the finish.

1:09:43


So much slower than I would have liked but I survived!  And I was still in the top half of the pack so that’s how damn hard this freakin’ course was.   I am also having trouble walking 3 days later.  😛     Good thing about slower?  I never got misdirected like more than a few of the lead runners did.  Oops.

I will run this again, stronger and faster.  I think I can, I think I can.  Plus, that’s the only way I can get back on those trails.😊

 

 

 

 

 

BibRave, Race Day, Recap, Run!

Salinas Valley Half Marathon Recap

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Salinas 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!

The morning dawned dark and early.  With the race starting at the Soledad Mission, I was up early and heading north.  After getting a little turned around (all my fault- it was literally straight up the freeway) I arrived early enough to pick up my bib, debate what pack to use and use the port a potties.    I had woken to a very angry stomach and had to use the facilities a few times before the race.  Lovely.     I headed to the start line to the beat of an ipod and an upbeat announcer.   The weather had been predicted to start in the 70’s and be in the high 80’s by race end so I was very excited to see a heavy cloud cover that kept the temps about 10* cooler.


Miles 1-3- 10:01, 10:07, 11:04

The course started off nice and flat.  Which I appreciated for about 1/2 a mile.  My legs were already fussy so by mile 2, I was running in the dirt on the side of the road.   If there’s dirt, I will find it. 🙂    My shoelaces on my right shoe came untied in mile 2 as well.   I was moving surprisingly faster than I thought I was going to be though.    Mile 3 saw my first walk break as well as my shoelaces coming untied again.  What gives?!  I was enjoying the scenery.  We ran past crop fields of Cauliflower and Peas.   I was taking pictures while running.


Miles 4-6- 10:44, 11:01, 10:45

Here’s my main gripe- the first water station wasn’t until mile 3.3.    For a race in CA in August, I thought that was too far in.  I carried a larger bottle of BeachBody with me but I still like water at each station.   We started into a little rolling section of the course which was giving me slight downhills which was slightly helping my pace.  This was cool because the walk breaks were becoming more regular.   My legs were starting to get super stiff though.   My brain may have seen the road as slightly rolling but legs were telling me it was flat.  I needed a hill!


Miles 7-9-  12:47, 11:59, 10:48

A hill!  My legs were thankful, the rest of me not so much.  I walked all of it.  No shame, I knew this was going to be a slower race so there was no point in making my heart rate go crazy.  🙂   That climb started in 7 into 8 and partly into 9.  Honestly it wasn’t even a big one, I just took it easy.   The sun had also come out and temp instantly jumped 10*.  Yikes!  Water!   I was still taking in the sights of the course and enjoying the music stations along the course.  Then in mile 9, I got a little downhill to enjoy.


Miles 10-12- 11:58, 11:49, 11:36

The sun was shining in full force which made the scenery awesome but did no favors for my pace.   I started rocking out.   Literally.  We came upon a hill the race calls the “Beast of Eden” and I ran up it playing an air guitar the whole way.  It was also the only hill I ran up.  😛   I then sang and played an air guitar or drums for the next 3 miles.  I gave thumbs up to race photographers (which actually turned out to be a terrible picture).   There was a strawberry station at mile 10.2 and while they looked amazing, my stomach was starting to cramp up and I passed on them in fear of a repeat of the morning.

Mile 13- 11:42

Ok, I was done.  I felt like this mile took 20 minutes.  The finish line was never getting closer.   I was hot, thirsty and tired.   We ran past the buses to take us back to the start and man they looked tempting.  I was walking so much.  We turned left but still no finish line.   Just an uphill.  Waah.   I was walking towards the last little turn to the finish and the announcer called me out!  Seriously!    Just make it obvious when I start running.    Thanks dude.

Finish 2:28:44


Considering how I thought this race was going to go, hell yeah!  If the sun had stayed away, I think I may have been about 5 minutes speedier.    It warmed up really fast once the sun came out and I wish there had been another water station or 2.    I drank water at every station and had my bottle.  Once across the finish line, I downed a chocolate milk and a bottle of water.  Normally drinking that much that fast would have me feeling very ill but I felt fine.   Like I said, it was kind of warm those last miles.

Overall, I really enjoyed the race.   It was kind of nice to go into a race mostly relaxed and barely even glance at my watch.   I enjoyed the backroads, and the crop signs and Steinbeck were an added touch,  The only thing I would change is more water stations.

Half marathon #27 done.  😀

BibRave, Race Day, Run!

Running for Salinas

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Salinas 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!

It’s race weekend!

Man, that one came up fast!  Well, actually, how is it August?  😛

It’s time to head on up to Salinas and meander my way through back roads enjoying the sites of crops, check another Mission off the list, and enjoy half marathon #27 in Steinbeck country.

My training has been ummm, a little absent this month.  With work going through a conversion, I tried but my running took a hit.   As did my sleeping.


So with that in mind, I have zero goals for this weekend other than to have a good time.  I plan to just go out there and enjoy the views and the course.   I know I will be slower than normal and that’s fine.  More time to enjoy the course, right?   I here there’s a great BBQ at the finish- I think I’ll finish just around the time a BBQ craving hits.  😛

I am hoping this odd heat wave with mugginess breaks though.   The weather stalking has commenced and right now it’s looking like a warm morning.   I will be drinking lots of water.

What are you do this weekend?

 

 

BibRave, Race Day, Recap, Run!

Rock n Roll San Diego 13.1 Recap

Disclaimer: I received an entry into Rock n Roll San Diego 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 love Rock n Roll.

This race made a liar out of me in so many ways.  Ok, maybe just changed my mind about some things.  😛

Going into this race, I wasn’t a fan of large crowded races, preferred rural views and hated humidity and flat made me cry.  But I had heard great things about the Rock n Roll races, San Diego in particular, and always wanted to run one but never made it work.   Until now.  And now?  Well I still hate humidity.


The odd thing was that going into this race I wasn’t stressed at all.  I wasn’t worried about the miles or how long it would take me.   I was mildly concerned about the humidity I knew I was coming but even at the Bibrave meet up I was just joking that I should probably run with my inhaler in my hand.    I still wasn’t sure what shoes I was going to wear and I was mostly irritated that I had to run with a portable charger because I didn’t think my phone was going to last the race.   I was also taking a race shuttle for the first time ever but I managed to sleep better than I did for my previous 2 races.

Race morning-

I woke up and knew that my food choices the day before were not going to sit well.   Well yay.  I dressed, decided on wearing the UltraBoostX, bibbed up and headed for the shuttle bus.    They were charter buses not school buses- sweet!  I checked the weather, saw 86% humidity and then tried not to think about it again.

Once at the starting line outside of Balboa Park I just followed the crowd.  We came upon about 6 port-a-potties and I was confused.  Ummm, 6?  For 30,000 runners?  As I got further in I found more scattered around in lines.  There were probably between 50-100 around.   I ended up parking myself near the solutions tent and just runner watching.  People were everywhere!  They even had a fitness warm up going on- I thought only small town races did that!  I met up with Mai and after hitting the baggage trucks we ended up sprinting across the grass to the We Run Social picture meet up by corral 3.    We just barely made it!


After meeting some more IG people in real life, listening to the National Anthem and ditching my top layer, I headed for my corral.   I was in corral 19.  Of 37.   They were releasing the corrals at a steady pace so once I found an opening in the fence I stopped and just waited for the corral to get to me.   I hopped in and pulled my phone out to take a pic only to realize it was almost dead.   Grrrr.    I plugged in my portable charger and turned off anything in the phone that was non essential.   The race announcers were doing a great job of keeping everyone pumped up and things were very organized.  I suddenly found myself at the very front of my corral on the start line and it was go time.

Miles 1-3 9:41, 10:22, 10:48

Haha, ok starting at the front apparently put wings on my feet.   Slow your roll, Slacker.  There was a guy on a megaphone shouting inspiration at us as we ran by.      It was crowded but I was ok with it, I had to dodge people sometimes but I knew I wasn’t breaking any records so it wasn’t a big deal.


The first music distraction was a DJ on a bridge or was it a band? I should have written notes!    The first aid station was well stocked with plenty of water and Gatorade and awesome volunteers.  The gloomy clouds and some of the buildings I was running by made me feel like I was more in San Francisco than San Diego but I was enjoying the sights.  And sounds- to save battery life- I hadn’t turned on my headphones.   There were college kids handing out beer around mile 2 as well.  There was a selfie/ picture station too but it may been in the next set of miles.


Miles 4-6 10:28, 10:31, 10:44

Oddly, I hadn’t really slowed down yet, I was walking the water stations but that was it.  The streets were still crowded, water stops were every 2 miles, live music was every few miles.  Around mile 4 we headed into more residential area but I notices that the cheering increased.  Yeah, we were near an aid station but this was too loud.   Turns out I was coming up on Harriet!  I passed her and told her she was awesome.    I mean, 94!   Geicko had a full on bar on mile 4.5.  You name it, they had it.  😛

My legs were feeling good and surprisingly so were my lungs.  I was beginning to feel optimistic.  Then at mile 5.3, my stomach cramped in a rather unpleasant way.  Oh come on!  I took a walk break and deep breaths to try and calm it down but I was a little ticked.   And I would be nauseous for the remainder of the race.


Miles 7-9 10:57, 10:35, 10:28

6 and 7 slowed me down while I tried to get myself under control.  We passed the relay exchange a little past 6 and once again I thought I really need to do a relay.   There was a man handing out tequila shots at one point saying that while we may think it was too early for tequila, he thought it was too early to be running so why not meet in the middle?   😛  We had entered Normal Heights and I thought it was an awesome name so I had to take a pic.    At mile 8.4 the marathoner’s split off from the pack and the crowd thinned up a bit.   I was still feeling nauseous but I was trying to ignore it, I wasn’t going to let my stomach win.  I was listening to the on course entertainment and truthfully some interesting conversations from the runners around me.    My legs were feeling ok but by my standards this course was flat and I knew I would eventually be sore if I didn’t get a hill somewhere.


Miles 10-11 10:58, 11:06

We were coming into Balboa Park and I could hear drums and see the big inflatable guitar guy and I knew I was almost to mile 10.    Yay!  Except, around mile 9.5 the battle my lungs had been fighting the humidity got harder.  And my lungs started to lose.  I had to walk again and use my inhaler.  Grrr,  Of course, just past mile 10 was the first real hill of the course and my lungs were being whiny.  I walked it.  I also had a moment where I thought I was going to lose my cookies and may have mentally swore off pizza.   😛  I turned on my music just to drown out my breathing.

Miles 12-13- 9:45, 11:14

So, yeah coming out of the park lead to a decent downhill and I flew.   I was still taking walk breaks due to the humidity and my lungs.  The last mile was a struggle.  I thought I had kissed a sub 2:20 goodbye and I was pissed.   I haven’t seen that in 2 years and that I had gotten so close, I almost cried.  But I sucked it up and kept going.   The crowds were cheering, runners were walking away with medals and I was still taking walk breaks.  Grrr.   The finish line was in sight and I decided enough was enough and just ran for it.

Finish- 2:19:56

I crossed the line and bent over wheezing.  Medical was on me in seconds.  Damn, you’re fast!   I felt embarrassed but said I was ok, I just needed a moment.    It wasn’t until I got a hold of myself and received my medal that I looked at my watch.  I did it!   It’s been so long since I’ve seen I’ve been below 2:20 even if it is by the skin of my teeth.


I made my way through the picture station and then the food goodies before attempting to find my mother.  It was crowded!   We met up and hung out for a bit before I realized I needed to return to the hotel.  So much for the finish line festival.  That nausea and cramping I had been fighting reared it’s head I was very glad that my hotel was 2 blocks from the finish.  I could hear Micheal Franti though and he sounded great.

Overall, this was an awesome race.  I would recommend it to anyone.    The course and the crowd support was great.  The aid stations were on point.  As was medical.  😛    Now I want to run another one.  😁

BibRave, Race Day, Run!

San Diego Bound

Disclaimer: I received an entry into Rock n Roll San Diego 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!

It’s race weekend!!!

Dang that one snuck up on me fast!   Well, truthfully, June snuck up on me.  Where did it come from?  😛


My first Rock n Roll race is this weekend!!!!  I’m not counting last year’s DNS.  😕 Dude, is this thing as big as I think it’s going to be?  I mean I’ve run Surf City and San Francisco but I have a feeling this is about to make those seem like small potatoes.  For example- I know there are at least 32 corrals.  32?!  Holy crap!   I’m somewhere in the middle there but that’s a lot of people in front of me and a lot of people behind me.

I am looking forward to this weekend.   This should be my biggest expo (Rock n Roll – you  better live up to this!!) and I am looking forward to meeting some blogging and IG friends in real life.   Yay!!!

Then there’s the city itself.  I have family there but I haven’t been since I was like 7 or something so I remember nothing.  I’ve heard great things so I can’t wait to see it with adult eyes.  Expensive parking aside, grrr.    My hotel is pretty close to the finish line for the finish line festival ( and the bay!).  I think.  I’ve been known to mess up hotels before.  Funny, stressful moment-  I actually changed hotels a few weeks ago and realized on Thursday that I had never canceled the original booking.  Oh crap!

I am torn on what shoes to run in.  I’ve been running in Adidas UltraBoost X but the farthest I’ve run in them is 8 miles.  They are also slightly too big.  But then my Brooks aggravate my calves for the first 3-4 miles and I just hope they loosen up.   Hmmm, there’s a lot of questions there.

I may also be taking a trolley to the start.  Holy crap, first time in pubic transportation.  Well, unless Uber counts.   But I’m still on the fence about that, mostly because I haven’t figured out how it works, haha.

Do you think I can figure it out? 

What are you doing this weekend?