I have attempted 2 runs in the last two weeks. Two.
The smoke rolled in pretty heavy around Labor Day weekend and then just stayed.
I headed out for an attempt the Thursday after Labor Day. The skies looked horrible but the local news insisted the AQI was beloe 100 as the smoke was high up in the atmosphere. That being said, I told myself to take it super easy. So easy, I forgot to take off my earrings, ha! Anyways, I was wheezing after 30 minutes of walking. And then low-key wheezed for another 3 days. Boo.
The weekend was a smoky mess. Actually right now, I can’t remember what I did. Oops.
Last week started with smoke. I decided I wasn’t going to attempt running until I make it through the night with the window open without waking up wheezing. Yeah, that was Friday. And I don’t mean wide open, it was open less than 3 inches. I usually ended up closing the window 30 or say minutes after trying to go to sleep.
The smoke had cleared by Friday but the migraine I had been fighting since Wednesday was taking me out. Not gonna lie, I slept most of Saturday. Both by sleeping in and taking a nap. Also, I just bought black out curtains and oh they are amazing. Amazing.
Finally on Sunday, I headed out for a run. Haha! The smoke was gone but I was still on the struggle bus. Such a struggle, I ended up walking all of it. And not even power walking, more like leisurely walking. It felt damn hot which is sad as it was only 91. Two weeks of smoke filled skies and I lost any fitness gains I may have made on my vacation week. Boo.
Disclaimer: I received an entry into Giant Race- 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 was so pumped to run this race this year.
Then came COVID and with it a complete lack of motivation to run or work out on my part. Which hasn’t been helpful for me at all. But that’s not the point.
I had orginally registerd for the 5 mile but come race day, I knew I was not there. Which is sad but true. So I dropped to the 5k. I would like to think I would have done the same if the race had still taken placed as planned but we all know I don’t make the best choices.
On race day of June 6, I laced up, geared up and headed out. The advantage to a virtual race is that you can pick a good route- i.e one with a downhill finish. And if you count my warm up and cool down, I did do 5 miles.
Ok, back to the “race”. I decided to attempt to run it at a race effort. Yeah, downhill didn’t help.
11:49, 12:32, 12:12 for splits and 38:00 flat for the 5k.
Slower then my very first 5K back in 2010 and I felt like I worked much harder. However seeing it on the tiny watch screen was a little depressing.
I am looking forward to receiving my race swag in the mail soon though. Based on what I got with the Sacramento race, I know I will actually wear this race shirts again.
That said I was glad I made myself make the effort. And this marks race 2 of the Giant’s series for me- I “ran” Sacramento in April. We’ll see what happens in September with San Francisco.
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.
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.
Miles 4-612:45, 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!
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?
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.
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??
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.
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?
Slowest 10k ever! I crossed the line wheezing and tired.
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!
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.
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.
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.