Category: Recap

Oakland Hills Trail Race

4 days after getting my stitches out, I was back at another race. No one said I was smart.

I had looked at Oakland Hills for years but never run it. Since this seems to be my year of doing the Inside Trail races, this was the year. My brother was going to run the 35K and I was going to slow roll the 10K again.

His race started at 8:30 and mine 9:00. I knew I was still not 100% and also was having tummy issues all morning. I think this race takes the all time high for the number of times I used a porta potty before the race. This course is the opposite of most of my trail races. Here, runners go mostly downhill for the first half and then climb back the last half. It’s a trap.

Everything started out pretty well. I may have enjoyed the downhills a little too much, ha! It took about 2 miles for me to decide I was an idiot who overdressed and was regretting my long sleeves. Even under the shade of the Redwoods, I was heating up.

The trails were my favorite kind, hard dirt, surrounded by tall redwoods with views for days. The was the sun cut through the trees sometimes was just awesome. I think I took a couple hundred pictures while I was out there. Mile 3 started to take us through a more user friendly section of the park but it was just as pretty. However I also knew we were in for some serious uphill to come as we were fairly flat at that point.

Reader- I didn’t know. I was not prepared.

No good pictures of the up because… up.

Holy hell, the last 2 miles killed me. I was taking back everything I had ever said about any other hill in a race. I stopped to take off my long sleeve because I was seriously overheating and go stuck in my shirt. It stressed me out. 1/2 mile later, I fell on my ass. One second I am trying to just keep putting one foot in front of the other without looking at how far I still have to go, the next I am on the ground. Apparently I made enough noise that the hikers I had passed about 50 yards back turned around and asked if I needed help.

People- miles 5 and 6 were 22 and 33 minutes. Strava shows my moving time was around 16 minutes for each mile, ha! Mile 5 averaged a 19% grade and mile 6 was 20%. I was freakin’ toast. I was so done. My stomach was starting make me question things as well. I was no longer enjoying the pretty trees.

I finally crossed the finish line in 2:07:11.

I’ve run a half marathon faster than I finished that 10K. I’ve never been so done in my life. Meanwhile my brother finished the 35k in 3:38:20 and took 3rd overall. Who is he?

Don’t get me wrong this was a great race, I was just so not prepared. Maybe next year?

Space Rock Trail Race Recap- 2022

I love Space Rock, so much that I registered for the race way back at the beginning of the year. I don’t usually register for races that early, you never know what life might throw your way. But as much as I love this race I also know it gets pricey so I took advantage of a discount code. Which means of course something came up and I probably shouldn’t have done the race.

I ended up having another melanoma removal a week and a half before the race. This left me with a row of stitches on my left upper back. Right where all my sports bras hit. I was also given instructions to take things easy and not do any strenuous workouts. Well shit.

I thought on it and decided I would just walk the 10K. Should I have? Maybe not but I figured going in with the intention of walking and making sure I kept it chill would get me through. Plus my brother was running the half so I had to kill time somehow.

Race morning dawned early and chilly. Which confused me because all my previous times at Space Rock were warm. Combine that with my plan to walk and I had no idea how to dress. I wore full pants with compression sleeves under, a t-shirt and a long sleeve. I also second guessed myself the whole time. I had covered my stitches with layers of gauze and KT tape.

Once to Vásquez Rocks, we were able to park in the park this year. Which I have to admit I did not like. I wish parking had stayed at the lot about a 1/2 mile north. I felt all the cars kind of detracted from the awesome-ness of the rocks. Although I did take advantage of the closeness when I realized in the porta potty that I had forgot to put on my watch. Who does that? I also used to time to ditch the long sleeve in the car.

My brother’s race started on time and we were about 20 minutes behind them. I seeded myself in the back and told myself to chill. And for the most part I did. I knew where the photographers would likely be so I decided to let myself jog past them when I knew they were coming up.

That turned into jogging the downhills and walking the flats and hills. I wasn’t breathing hard and my stitches didn’t hurt so I stuck with that. The only irritation was having to carry my handheld since I couldn’t wear a pack.

The first 3 miles have a great downhill to start and then an out and back along the PCT with a mild climb. The tricky part is that the out and back is single track and boy were there some attitudes out there this year. Now maybe I noticed it more this year since I was farther back in the pack but dudes, chill! Sometimes it would be hard to stop or get out of the way as there wasn’t always somewhere to go and people would get huffy. I also had my first experience with a blocker. Not sure that’s the word but this lady was not happy that my hiking pace was her running pace. There were times I would try to pass her but she would not let me. Or if she did, she would huff about it angrily and then try to make a point to pass me a little down the path and then slow down in front me. Excuse me?

I was still feeling pretty good as we came back to the only aid station- miles 1/3 but I knew next 3 miles were the hardest and they usually killed me in previous years. Like in 2021 when I lost count of how many times I stopped for a break. Maybe it was due to my relaxed attitude and pace from the start but I made it up the first huge climb without any breaks. I felt pretty good too. My watch says my heart rate was up the whole race but I never felt it. I also felt good as I dropped the blocker completely here and never saw her again.

From there we went into the rollers. As long as I felt good I decided to keep jogging the downhills and slow rolling the ups. I was actually passing more people too- some 5K but quite a few 10k people too. I never took any intentional breaks but did chill for a few moments when we bottle necked behind an older lady who was stuck trying to make a tricky transition. Once she made it she let us all pass her and we were off.

I always forget how many rollers there are so each time I would come to the top of one and not see the last stretch to the finish, I get confused. Finally, I was in the last .5 mile stretch, I felt decent but also knew I was tired. I hadn’t done much physical activity in the last few weeks, haha.

Then the finish was there and I jogged across. Success!!

Finish- 1:41:02

I find it funny that I kept it super easy all race but still finished 7 minutes faster than 2021.

Once I finished, I got some food and waited for my brother to finish. He finished in 2:06:10.

Then we climbed some rocks.

Berkeley Trail Adventure- Recap

This may be my year of trail races.

Way back in September- Berkeley Trail Adventure took place up in Berkeley in Tilden Park. I actually registered super late for it- just a couple of days before the race. Turned it into a family affair- my mother, brother and I all headed up on race morning. That meant a 4AM leave time. It was rough not gonna lie. I was registered for the 10K and my brother was registered for the 35k.

The 35K started first with the 50K’ers and then I had some time to wait before the half and then the 10K started. The half ended up starting 15 minute early so I thought maybe the 10K would but nope. We started on time, which normally is great, I was just confused, ha!

The race started by running up a little hill and then through the parking lot to get to the trails. I am torn on how I feel about these trails; parts I loved and other parts felt like I was in someone’s backyard. Because we kind of were. Parts of the trail backed up to a neighborhood or overlooked a golf course. Other parts made you feel like you were in the woods far away from civilization.

I had had crap week and was planning on taking it easy for the race. A look at the course elevation showed that we climbed for 3 miles and then ran downhill for 3. The incline didn’t look too steep- my favorite kind of course. The first 2 miles lived up to the course profile. I was feeling decent about the hills and making decent power hike time.

Then the last part of the hill to mile 3 killed me. I felt like parts were vertical and was trying to figure out where the hell this had been on the elevation profile. I was dying. I felt a little better when what looked like a super fit half marathon runner passed me – they were moving slightly fast than me but also showed they were struggling. Solidarity.

Not the actual hill, an easier one from earlier in the race3

Once I finally made to the the top, I had to walk more than I would have liked just to bring my heart rate down. I was also struggling to get my water bottle back into my pack for some reason and it was making me cranky. So of course I look up and see the race photographer. I shouted out seriously?!? Then I just to run by him without any other issues.😂

I don’t look like an idiot!

The next mile or so was an awesome runnable downhill and I suddenly felt like I was in the zone. I felt I could have stayed there all day. But we couldn’t, the course looked back round to first mile or so and now we were running those rollers the opposite way.

And my body let me know it was toast. So I walked a lot. Which was fine but I was missing that zen feeling I had a mile back. We came back to the finish through the parking lot and then had a small uphill to the finish line. Boo.

Finish- 1:39:32

Once across, I got some snacks and waited for my brother to finish his race. I had an idea of what I thought he would finish in and just kept looking for his bib color. I was realizing that if I was right, he could very well place. And he did. 4th overall and third in his age group. Hell yeah!

While I didn’t like this course as much as Santa Cruz, I would definitely run it again. Just wish it was closer.

Santa Cruz Trail Run- Recap

Oh, do I have a weekend to tell you about.

I’ve already said I planned to run Santa Rosa Half marathon on Sunday but what I didn’t mention was that my brother had decided to make Santa Rosa his first road race. As long as I also ran his first trail race with him. The day before Santa Rosa. Hmmm. But, ok- hello Santa Cruz!

He signed up for the trail half but I knew there was no way I could do that the day before Santa Rosa. I signed up for the 10k instead. Smarter, right? So my brother started running a month ago. But he’s been a crazy mountain hiker for years. So, in other words, 13 miles is a warm up for him.

Race morning dawned all too early after a drive up to Santa Cruz post work on Friday. I was suddenly grateful for the late start of 8:45 for the half and 9:00 for the 10K. We got to the race with plenty of time to get ready, get our bibs and overhear some very interesting conversations, ha!

The races started a little late but honestly I’ve never run a trail race that has started on time. Brother’s race started first and mine a little later. I had no goals for this race other than to enjoy the scenery and have fun. Knew I couldn’t push before the next day.

This course was amazing! The Redwoods and the trails, I could have stayed in there for days and days. I stopped at one point to just take pictures, the views were so good. The climbs were easy other than a lot of them had soft sand and I hate soft sand. I may have posted some cranky stories to Instagram, haha. The course took you through shaded trail, up hills, on some asphalt fire roads/ trails- it was awesome.

Being slower meant that sometimes I was out on the course all by myself. Which, while awesome sometimes I was concerned I missed a trail marker. I’d be running down a hill, lost in my own world and suddenly realize I hadn’t seen a yellow flag in while. Oops. Luckily, I never got lost, I just need to pay more attention. I don’t even wear headphones on trail races but this course was just so cool.

Around 3.5 miles in I felt a sharp sting on my left hip. So sharp, I actually came to a complete stop and may have yelled “what the f**k” out loud. It hurt so bad I also pulled my pants down on the trail. Ha! There was a large welt on my hip but I never saw a bug. What the hell? Now, over the years bugs seem to like me but I have never had a bite hurt this much. It hurt for the next few miles. I actually stopped and looked at it again around mile 5.

There was a hill around mile 5 that I could have done without but that’s my fault for being out of shape. I crossed the finish line around 1:41 and was fine with that. Strava has my moving time around 1:35ish, like I said I stopped a few times.

Once cross the finish line, I got my medal and shirt and started waiting for my brother. He had been training around 2:30-2:45 so I figured I had some time to go back to the car, maybe lose my pack and change my shirt. The top 3 male half finishers had just finished. I was walking near the finish line towards the parking lot not paying much attention when I looked up and saw my brother. Wait, what? I may have hollered out “what the f**k?!” again. Runners who had finished were sitting nearby at picnic tables busted up laughing.

My brother pulled a 2:01 on a 13.5 mile course with over 2000 ft elevation gain. He was 6th overall. What the hell? So, yeah he had a good race.

Overall, I loved this race- low key, with good medals, swag and good finish line area. I will definitely run this race again.

Manic May

Whereas April felt like it was 3 years long, May was 3 seconds long. How does that even happen?

Training wise, I had my best month of the year. Granted that’s not saying much but it’s still a positive, right? I ran 2 races- Yosemite Half and Silver Moon. Granted, I dropped from the 6 hour times race to the 10k at Silver Moon but no regrets there.

I ran some roads and some trails. In fact, I finally made it out to a trail I’ve had on my list for a few years. Stuck in the middle of writing that blog post though. Oops. I also settled on a training strategy for Santa Rosa Marathon (half) in August. I say strategy because training plans and I do not get along.

Work wise, the month was a little rough. The busy months are coming and I feel ill prepared. My boss also turned in their notice in May so things are interesting. Thankfully, I really do have a great crew.

Oh, I picked up 2 new pairs of running shoes too! Granted, I ran the others into the ground and they needed to be replaced but new shoes are exciting for any reason, right? However my bank account would prefer that I don’t need to replace both pairs at the same time again, ha.

I also added a few more books to Total for the year. Somehow I’ve read over 40 books at this point in 2022. Huh??

So, yeah May was interesting.