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?

BibRave, Race Day, Recap

Week 41/ Rock N Roll San Jose Recap

Because let’s be real, that’s the only thing that kind of happened last week.

Disclaimer: I received an entry into Rock n Roll San Jose 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 packed up on Friday and was ready to road trip on Saturday morning. Let’s do this!

I forgot how easy the drive is up to San Jose. Soon enough, I was parking at the convention center for the expo.

The expo is more a mid size expo for Rock n Roll expos but with plenty of good things. I spent money! But first, the important stuff. I checked in and picked up my bib. Then I looked for the solutions table- oh right behind me! I walked over and asked what I needed to do to drop to the 10k. They wrote my bib number down and that was it! Easy peasy.

Expo haul

Then I was off to wander around the expo. I love the first big section is the Brooks / Rock n Roll section. I always drool over all the things but never buy. Except this day. I fell for a hat and a magnet. So cute! Then I wandered and checked out the rest. I kept my wallet in my purse this time.

I was aiming to get a good race pic here

Then it was off to the hotel and dinner at the Spaghetti Factory. Yum, but maybe a little too much. I laid out my #flatrunner to make sure I wasn’t forgetting anything. I was looking forward to running the 10K and knew that dropping down was the right choice after the past few weeks. My only goal for the race was to have fun and try to get an actual good race picture. I knew where one photographer was going to be so I figured I would try for a good one. We were being warned that it was going to be a warm morning but I was prepared.

Off to bed early, where I suddenly realized I had no safety pins for my bib! Oops! Then I tried to sleep. Key word- tried. I was just dozing off around 3 when it all changed.

The phone screamed into the night just after 3 in the morning. My dad was in the hospital and I was on the way back home in less than 30 minutes.

And that was how I DNS’ed Rock N Roll San Jose.

At the time I was writing this , I had more of hospitals than I would like but my dad is recovering. And that is what is important.

Sometimes life happens. There will be more races.

Race Day, Recap, Run!

Surf City 10-Recap

What’s a runner to do when she needs motivation to actually run her long runs? She signs up for a race! I saw that Surf City 10 fit in my schedule and there was a 10 miler. Even better was when I looked online and found a sweet hotel for cheap. Yes! So I registered. Then last week happened and I was doubting my ability for a 10 mile race in the dark. Could I finish it even after being sick all week? Yes but that didn’t mean it was the right choice. So I dropped to the 10K.

Oh 10K’s. We have a love/ hate relationship. Well, mostly hate.

My 10K times are either great (for me) or a total crap show. Good- 55 to 58 minutes. The rest all range around 1:10-1:15 because I blow up. There has never been an in between. I rarely run 10K’s for this reason.

I headed down to Huntington Beach on Saturday. Checked into the hotel and then headed back to find race parking. Yes, I used the distance from my car to the start judicisouly – warm up and cooldown and added 2+ miles to my total for the day.

The race was a lot bigger than I thought it would be but I did my best to line up in the proper pace area but it was damn crowded. The race started on time but it took me a few minutes to hit the starting line.

Who wants to take bets?

Mile 1 was decent- 10:22. Not too bad, not too bad.

Mile 2– Well, crap, I know what I forgot. My inhaler. Mother ….. 11:16 Know what Huntington Beach has? High humidity. What triggers my asthma? High humidity.

Positive split like a Boss

Mile 3- 4 Yeah no, straight running wasn’t gonna work. How about 2 run, 1 walk? Could my asthmatic lungs handle that?? 11:20, 11:49

This is a runner on asthma

Mile 5-6 Ok, can’t breathe, how about 1 run, 1 walk. Oh and I had decided to wear a new skirt, nope. I was less running and more waddling due the chafe I could feel, how I crossed the finish line not bleeding, I have no idea. It still hurts 4 days later.

Finish- 1:11:44

So maybe we should place bets on how long it takes me to run another 10K? Haha.

I did enjoy the race though. Running at night is kind of fun when you’re surrounded by people. A little more light might have been nice but guess who left her Knuckle Lights in the car?? Yep. Winner over here.

What race distance is your nemesis?

BibRave, Race Day, Recap, Run!

Oaktown Half Recap

Disclaimer: I received an entry into Oaktown Half 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.

Oh, Oakland, for being a flat city (that I’ve seen) you sure give me my ups and downs.

After a rough night’s sleep or lack there of, I was up early and out the door to make my way to race start. The perk of my hotel was that the start was only 2 blocks up. I thought there would be more runners there or out and about but there weren’t. It was kind of odd.

Start and finish

Picking up my bib and shirt were fairly easy. I got the feeling I wasn’t the only person whose expo in a box hadn’t arrived. I folded my shirt as small as I could then shoved it in my pack instead of gear checking. I then stood in the longest bathroom line ever only to discover the port-a-potties had no TP. What?!?

I met up with a couple other BibRavePros before heading to the start line.

Miles 1-3 10:09, 10:24, 10:50
I had loosely planned on taking it easy and just trying to run consistently, pace be damned. I felt pretty consistent the first few miles as we headed towards the Jack London part of town before turning back. This is also where I took most of the mural photos.

Miles 4-6 11:16, 11:00, 11:28
I was feeling ok and only walking through aid stations but it was getting warm. It felt very muggy. We were looping around Lake Merritt and as much as I was looking forward to running around Lake Merritt I knew I was about to hate it.

Miles 7-9 11:22, 11:36, 11:53
Oh my god, get me away from this lake. The lake was the mother of all out and backs- run almost all the way around it on the street then move to lake path and run all the way back the other direction. As pretty as the lake was, I felt like I was losing my mind. I did wave at another Pro when we passed each other on parts of the out and back. These were also the miles that I realized I was going to be beat by a 7 year old. Not that we were really racing but I was torn between being impressed and slightly chagrined.

She was running with her dad- I’m guessing

Miles 10-11 12:00, 11:19
Finally off the lake, I never thought I would be so happy in my life. We were headed back towards downtown and I was lagging. My legs felt good, I just felt really hot. I also died a little inside when I saw the finish line but we turned right.

Miles 12-13 12:12, 11:47
Ok, no I really died inside when I realized there was another out and back…no make that 2 out and backs. I think this realization also slowed me down. I was so over the out and backs. I tried to just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Fittingly enough, Skillet’s “Finish Line” came on with around 1/3 of a mile left to go. And I picked up the pace.

Finish 2:29:03

Fastest half in a year-not sure how I feel about that. Actually my body felt pretty good during the race despite the very flat terrain. I don’t know if I was mentally there. Also I felt really hot- I never checked the humidity but it probably wasn’t my friend. Especially now that I don’t work and run in a beach town. Ha!

While this route was more scenic than my last race in Oakland, the repeated out and backs messed with my head. Boo.

Do you like out and back courses?

Ambassador, BibRave, Race Day, Recap, Run!

2019 Rock n Roll San Diego Recap

This was my third time running Rock n Roll San Diego and I still find it to be an awesome race.

Disclaimer: I received an entry to 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 had a horrible night of sleep so I was moving a little slowly as I got myself ready for the race. I headed out of my hotel to the shuttle stop around 5:30. Part of the reason I book this hotel is the proximity to the shuttles and the finish line. The lines seem so much longer this year but I was on a bus fairly quickly. Once dropped off I made my way to the BibRave Pro meetup.

📸 Nicole or Mai

Then I did a bad thing. I hadn’t noticed until I was preparing my flat runner the night before but my bib had my corral as 21. Wait, what? I know I’m moving slower than I used to but that didn’t make sense. Which was reinforced when I saw the 2:30 pacers in corral 14. Rock n Roll was enforcing corral assignments this time but I managed to sneak into corral 14.

Miles 1-3: 10:15, 11:07, 11:39
I love that .2 miles into the start there is a guy shouting on a bull horn. Every year. I was feeling rough from the get go. I was running but I knew it wasn’t going to last. I’ve never faded this fast before.

Miles 4-5: 11:34, 11:54
I was slowing, my pace does not show how much walking I was doing. I had nothing in the tank. The Mile 4.5 bar barely drew a smile from me. Then we entered the “Wear Blue” mile. All the signs of fallen military members and American Flags make me realize I should not be complaining. I went to pause my music so I could run the mile in silence when I noticed what was playing. The acoustic version of Papa Roach’s F.E.A.R- Face Everything And Rise. The timing of lyrics was eerie so I let it play.

Miles 6-10: 11:54, 12:41, 11:34, 11:46, 12:03
I knew I was done back in mile 3 and I stopped fighting it. My legs and body felt good, I just had zero energy. None. It was humid but not hot and while the humidity wasn’t as high as last year, my lungs were not having it. Asthma sucks. So I ran when I could and walked the rest. Miles 7 and 10? Lots of walking. A lot. I just tried to enjoy the neighborhoods I was running through, all the people who came out to cheer, and the literal cheerleaders every few miles.

Blurry tunnel selfie 😂

Miles 11-13: 12:39, 11:06, 11:57
There was a new blowup at mile 10 instead of the guitar guy. I love the last 3 miles- there’s a good uphill, amazing downhill and a party tunnel as we head back downtown to the finish. I felt like I picked up the pace but the stats tell a different story. Ha! I had to take a walk break at the bottom of the downhill- say what? I never have to walk after downhills. So in other words- the hundred or so people I just passed now all passed me. 🙂

Finish -2:34:12

My slowest San Diego to date! I am not sure what happened out there- I went in worried about a hurt foot and instead slammed into a wall of exhaustion. I texted a friend after the race and said I had zero get up and go. None. I still love this race though and would recommend it to anyone who asks.

And that brings half #38 to a close.