BibRave, Race Day, Recap, Run!

2017 City to the Sea 13.1 Recap

What do you do when need to run a long run and need the motivation to get up early? Sign up for a race!

Let’s count the things that did not go like planned-

  • Had stomach issues on Saturday but hoped they would go away by race morning.
  • It didn’t, it was even worse.  To the point where I had a complete change in wardrobe plans.  If I could have run in a dress I would have.  I needed the least amount of pressure possible.
  • Ran in a skirt I haven’t worn in 2 years, probably qualified as something new on race day.  Ditto to the Camelbak I decided to use.
  • I was late leaving the house, then spent too much time at a Chevron station using the facilities due to above mentioned GI issue.
  • Lost one of the zip ties for the timing chip.  Found it again after tearing apart car.
  • Strolled up to the start with 3 minutes to spare.
  • Ran the race on Zero calories.
  • With my back issues, I was thinking this would be slower than long run pace.  My parents were meeting me at the finish line- I told them over a 2:30 finish.

And yet-

Miles 1-4 9:38, 9:39, 9:44, 9:58


The race starts off downhill so I figured the first few miles would be my fastest but I had been thinking high 10’s.  Mile 1 clocked in and I remember thinking “what the hell legs? We can’t maintain that”.  Then mile 2 took freakin’ forever.  I’ve run this course 5 times and I couldn’t figure why the hell it was taking so long so I finally looked at my watch.  Mile 2.86.  Oh I missed the mile marker, good to know I am not crazy.   I was trying to not look at my watch but I knew my legs were still running a pace they had no business running.  My friend Bix came up behind a little after mile 3.  We chatted a bit before she pulled ahead a little after mile 4.  I had to crash soon right?

Miles 5-8 10:20, 10:44, 11:13, 9:34

Mile 5 starts a long slow climb which I like as it loosens up any leg tightness I may have.  I also took my first walk break as my back gave a tiny twinge.   Mile 6 saw lots of walking as those stupid stomach issues came rearing back.  Are you kidding me?!?!  The last aid station at mile 4 and the next one wasn’t until past mile 7.     I also was suddenly surrounded by people.  What the hell?   It was the 2:15 pace group.  Wait, I was in front of the 2:15 pace group for 6 miles?  What year is this? 2015? ๐Ÿ˜›   They pulled ahead but I kept them in my sights until the bigger hill on mile 7- more walking thanks to a cranky back.  I wasn’t worried as I knew there was a downhill coming and I love downhills.  As you can see by that mile 8 up there.

The Garmin makes it look scary๐Ÿ˜‚

Miles 9-11 10:48, 12:34, 10:26

Catching up to the pace group was short lived.  I lost them on the Bob Jones Trail.  I was slowing down but what else do you expect when your longest run in 2 months has been 8 miles?  I ran on the dirt on the side of the trail hoping it would lessen some of the pavement pounding but by mile 10- the biggest hill- my back was very not happy.  I walked a lot and it shows in my mile time.   I tried to stretch it out as I walked.   Mile 11 was pretty good actually but I felt like I was crawling.


Miles 12-13.1 10:51, 11:40

Come on back, I’m so close!  2 miles to go! Run til I feel a twinge, walk it out, repeat.  Ran alongside a woman for a bit, we commiserated over pains.  She was having Plantar issues.  She pulled ahead.   Finally I hit mile 13 and all I had left was the longest .1 ever.  Seriously- I swear this .1 is longer than any other race I have other run.

Finish- 2:18:59


How, now?  Under trained, messed up back, hot mess of a morning and I finish my fastest race in 2 years?  In fact, my fastest race since City to the Sea 2015?   How does that even make sense?   I just decided to let my legs and back fight it out.  I took my head out of the equation.

Maybe I need to try that more often? ๐Ÿ˜›๐Ÿ™‚

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.  ๐Ÿ˜›  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.  ๐Ÿ˜›     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.๐Ÿ˜Š

 

 

 

 

 

BibRave, Run!

To Sur….with Hills

We interrupt regularly scheduled programming  for a little announcement.  ๐Ÿ˜›   My workout recap will be up on Wednesday.

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Big Sur International 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 thought it was fitting that I drop the news about marathon #2 on the anniversary of marathon #1.

One year ago today, I crossed the finish line of my very first marathon.  Unlike some, I hadn’t planned on running a marathon, in fact when asked, I usually said “oh hell no”.   It was never a goal of mine, it just kind of happened.   All of sudden I was registering for it, training for it, hurting over it, and then running it.   And I didn’t hate it.  ๐Ÿ˜›

I kind of always knew I was going to run another one but nothing ever seemed right.  Every time I looked at websites or checked dates, it all seemed too forced.  Nothing clicked for me.   Then a chance to run the Big Sur International Marathon came up.  Once again, it just seemed to happen.

Views along Highway 1

Big Sur is an amazing race that runs point to point along Highway 1 in CA with some of the most amazing views.    It offers a marathon, 21 miler, 11 miler, 12K, 5K and 3K.  You name it and there is a distance that will work for you.  It is also is extremely popular and registration for the marathon runs by lottery system, the remaining distances are first come, first served.    A few years ago, I ran the Monterey Bay Half Marathon (then named the Big Sur Half) and the loved it.  We drove Highway one home and the scenery is just amazing.

Elevation

That said, I had my hesitations before throwing my name into the hat.    I know I say I prefer races with hills but this has HILLS.  It took me 5+ hours to run San Francisco, could I do this?   But it was calling my name, so I took a chance.   When I found I was in, I was torn between jumping up and down in excitement and wondering what I gotten myself into.๐Ÿ˜›

But self doubts aside- I am so looking forward to this race.  My hotel is already booked and I have a starting day for marathon training- Christmas Day. ๐Ÿ˜‚     Now I just need a training plan.    I got this.

Have you ever run Big Sur?

Training plan suggestions?

Race Day, Recap, Run!

2017 SLO Half Marathon Recap

Oh boy, I don’t know where to start with this.   I’ve sat on it for a bit so I don’t sound totally cranky, so here we go!

This was my 4th time running SLO and it used to be one of my favorites.    I adored it in 2014 and 2015.  2015 is still one of my proudest races even with a face plant at mile 5 and some major GI drama.   In 2016, there were some changes to the expo, shirts and pictures that I wasn’t so fond of but I still loved the course and the way the crowd support was at certain points.  Bring in 2017 and there was a course overhaul- big time.  I would say only 2-3 miles were the same but other than the finish line they were now all at different points in the course.  They advertised the course as being faster than years past.   Thing about SLO is that it is not flat- the new half course was just shy of 600 elevation gain and the full just over 1200.    But I liked the old course- freakishly long Johnson hills and all.  Fine, I’ll reserve judgement.  The other thing I was concerned about was the start time- it was starting at 7 AM.  Every other time I’ve run it, it started at 6:30 or 6:45.   The temps were predicted to hit the 80’s on race day and 70’s by 10.  I was concerned.


The expo–  Packet pickup as always was at the Madonna Inn.  It seemed smaller this year.  Then I’ve thought that of most the expo’s I’ve been to lately.  Bib and shirt pickup was simple.  There was a shirt I wanted to buy at one booth but the price was too steep.  What was not cool was the un-mown grass with tall roots sticking out.  I tripped in a gopher hole once and on the roots 3 times.   While I was there I saw 3 other people trip on the roots.   The blame for this likely lies on the Madonna Inn not the race but you’d think they would mow the expo lawn?   By the time I left I had multiple scratches and was bleeding in 3 spots.


Race morning-   Chaos.   The original course was a point to point, in years past my mom would drop me off at the start and drive to the finish, park and watch Netflix.  Easy.   This year parking was a nightmare.   Start and finish was the Madonna Inn but getting into the Inn was next to impossible.  After waiting on the freeway for 10 minutes and moving 10 feet, my mother and I switched places- jumped out and ran around the car so she was now driving and I finished getting ready in the passenger seat.  Then I jumped out of the car- still on the freeway– and found a place to hop the fence to the race.   Only to arrive and hear they were delaying the start 10 minutes.  Ok- port a potty time.  The damn port a potty almost blew over.  It wasn’t bolted down all the way.  Grrr!!!!  Ok, head to the corrals.  Or so I thought.   Marathon runners and half marathon runners were starting at the same time.


  We all lined up near the pacers and waited.   And waited.  Then announcements started and we were told we were going to walk to the starting line. Umm, what? Weren’t we there?  So en masse, we leave the Inn and round the corner and down the street to starting arch.  It was like a block but it was odd, from behind me I heard on guy yell out “the race hasn’t even started and I’m over 2500 steps, this is whack”.   Everyone within hearing distance laughed.   Then more announcements and the National Anthem.  I will never be irritated at the National Anthem and I get that traffic was backed up ridiculously, but all I could think was that it was getting warmer and warmer while we were waiting.  We finally started just before 7:30.

This race falls into 2 distinct sections- the good and the “oh hell”- so here we go.

Miles 1-3 10:04, 10:11, 10:29

Well, hey these miles are coming faster than I thought they would be.  My calves were a little tight but that’s typical in the beginning of runs, I figured they would loosen up.  The first mile and half were through the southern part of town and not the most scenic.   I just kept trucking.  It was warm and getting warmer though so I decided to get water at the first aid except it wasn’t at mile 2 like I thought it would be.    It was 1/2 a mile later, ok, walk through the station get water and run on.  Right hand turn and we were running up Foothill.


Miles 4-6 10:55, 11:23, 10:19

Running between 2 mountains, though smallish, this was my favorite section to run.   I slowed a little going uphill but I was fine with that.  I was trying to ignore how warm it was and just keep moving.  The 2:15 pacers passed me- had no idea they were behind me- but I paid very little attention and turned on my music. I walked if I needed a moment and just kept moving.  Another aid station and more water.  I was hydrating with my Beachbody Hydrate in between stations.    We also ran a street I’d never seen before in SLO- well parts of it.  It was pretty.

Mile 7-8 10:20, 11:20 

My legs were feeling good and my breathing was under control.  We had a little downhill before we started what would be the longest climb of the course- not steep just long.  We ran over a timing mat at 7.8 miles and my average pace was 10:37.  I was on track for possibly my strongest half in over a year.  Who knew? We were running through downtown and I always think that’s kind of fun.

Then it went to hell.

Miles 9-10 12:31, 12:57

Something was not right, I was not ok.  It was warm, too warm and I wasn’t handling it well.  My legs started to cramp, my stomach started to cramp, my hands were swelling and I felt like I was going to throw up. I started walking more and more.  I was pissed and just trying to keep the pace. We rounded a corner and I saw a steep, short hill and I let some colorful words fly. 


Then the aid station at mile 9 was out of cups.   Finally in mile 10, I told myself to get my head out of my ass, this wasn’t a PR race, I was using it as training rain; there was no point in killing myself for a finishing time.  I came to a complete stop and tried to stretch out some of the cramping.    Thankfully there was another aid station at mile 10, water!  There were also kids with spray bottles and Iphone be damned, I had them spray water my way.

Miles 11-13 10:43, 11:35, 11:49

A downhill and the water helped me have a slightly faster mile 11 but the there was no going back.  I cramped the rest of the way and felt nauseated the entire time.    I was also letting my anger get to me- why did we start so late?!  Grrr, just keep moving forward.  The men’s marathon winner cruised past me around mile 11.5.    I kept getting water at every station and sprayed down by any kids with bottles.   I was thankful that the aid stations figured out it freakin’ hot and all the later ones had spray bottles and squirt guns.

Under the freeway, up a little a bump and then it was down the path to the finish line.  I got hung up behind a guy and I kind of growled.  I thought I did it quietly- I did not.  I scared him.  I’m sorry!   Somehow in my irritation and readiness to be done, I ran that last .20 ( my watch read 13.2 miles) at a 7:40 pace.   I don’t remember doing that but I was so beyond ready to be done.

Finish- 2:26:09


I was so done.  There was water at the finish line but just little cups.   I didn’t feel dehydrated just hot.  I had water at every station and my entire 25 oz’s of Beachbody while running.     I know I am not acclimated to the heat yet but I just don’t get the later start this year.  Combine that with delayed start and it was recipe for a hot mess.  From what I’ve seen on social media I was not alone in my blow up that day.  The heat and hills got to a lot of people.  I liked the hills!  Well except for the one just after mile 9, that felt like a dirty trick.   I was just grrr about the whole thing.   Still am a bit.  Ok time to move on.  What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger right?

It wasn’t all bad- I chatted with nice guy prior to the start. I chatted with a nice older man around mile 6- his friends told him the race was flat.  ๐Ÿ˜ฌ. A nice guy helped me around mile 8 when I was struggling to get my water bottle back into my pack.  All the volunteers were amazing and I love the enthusiasm of the Grizzlies.  The running community is awesome.  

Half marathon #24 done.

Do you run well in heat?

How do you deal when races go south?

Race Day, Recap, Run!

Harvest Half Recap

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Harvest Marathon half to review 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!

This race has been a long time coming for me so I was excited that I was finally going to run it.   I’ve wanted to run it for the last 4 years but always ended up working an aid station during the marathon instead.    Which was great but it wasn’t the same as running it.   When the opportunity to run it with BibRave came up I was tempted but I had plans on race day.  But I made it work!  Woo hoo!

The race is a fundraiser for local schools and it has great potential.  This was the first year without the marathon as it was canceled due to a few issues.  ๐Ÿ˜ข Packet pick up was Saturday and went smoothly.   You can read all the little details in my BibRave review. I admit I was nervous wearing BibRave orange in Bearcat Country (high school arch rival is the Greyhounds- orange!) but I had nothing to be worried about.  My Bearcat coaching mother disagrees.  ๐Ÿ˜›

The race is a big loop through back country roads.  It takes you past numerous vineyards and farms and is very scenic.     I drove it the day before and loved the sights.  I was less enthusiastic about the hills.   But it’s Paso and Paso doesn’t do flat.    It is a quiet race- there is very little crowd support outside of aid stations and the finish line.   Also the roads are not fully closed so it is entirely likely that vehicles will drive past you a few times or sometimes fly by doing 50ish.   All of my early half marathons were similar so I am used to this but it can be alarming if you aren’t prepared.

Race morning-

I slept surprisingly well considering my recent insomnia struggles and usual race nerves but woke an hour before my alarm feeling freaky nauseous.   I laid there and hoped it would pass.  It did but I felt like I had been run over by a truck. Uh oh.   I was suddenly thankful of the late start of 8:30.  Once at the start I debated arm sleeves or a windbreaker.  The skies looked ominous but the weather app said that rain was hours away if at all.  The high school cross country coach said no rain was coming and it wasn’t cold so I decided to just go with my tank.   We all lined up and it was go time!


Miles 1-3 9:43, 9:50, 10:17

The plan with Coach Jenny called for an easy first 8 before bringing the last 5 miles in at goal half marathon pace.  Sounded good to me.   I was trying not to look at my watch and run by feel but I was winded 1/2 mile in.  I felt like I was working too hard so I checked my watching expecting to see something in the 8:30 range.  Nope.  9:45.  Crap, that shouldn’t feel this hard!  My calves were also doing their lovely tight thing and the first 3 miles are flatter than I would have liked.   Boo.    I was running in the dirt on the side of the road any chance I got.  Then, 2.5 miles in the skies opened up.  Seriously?!  It didn’t take long before I was soaked.  It wasn’t pouring by any means but you got wet fast.   And I was getting slower.  I pretty much slammed into the wall at mile 3.5.  Well crap.


Miles 4-7 10:50, 9:59, 11:16, 10:49

And the walk breaks started.  Mile 4 was one of my toughest miles and I don’t know why.   I ran past the second aid station and tried to pick it up but I failed.  Why faster for this station?  It was manned by my mother and her tennis team.  ๐Ÿ˜›   Mile 5 was a long slow downhill and my legs were finally starting to loosen up.  Second wind maybe?  Nope.  Mile 6 starts an out and back to add a little distance.  I hate out and backs.  And this one was all rollers as far as the eye could see.  Plus whatever downhill you had on the way out was a climb on the way back.   But I’m weird and even though my lungs hate hills, my legs don’t and mile 7 was almost 30 seconds faster than mile 6.   Third wind???


Miles 8-9 11:05, 10:30

Haha, just kidding.  My lungs were not happy with the constant cloud cover and rain.    I knew the road to mile 8 was really pretty and I had been looking forward to it.   For some reason, I remembered exactly where every mile marker was and it gave me something to look forward to.  Mile 8 was in front of Graveyard Vineyards where I had just learned that there is a literal graveyard in the front of the vineyard.  Mile 9 gave us a decent downhill and I tried to pick up the pace as I knew what was coming.

Mile 10 12:26

It’s the climb!!!! I knew from the drive yesterday that there was a long climb.  Yeah, mile 9 to mile 10.2 was all up.  It started slowly and then just kept increasing in slope as well.   I was toast.  It was still raining and I was starting to realize that I was having a giant chafing problem with my sports bra.  I could feel it with every step.   Stupid rain!  I rounded a corner only to find more climb.  Oh come on!

Miles 11-13 10:48, 11:39, 10:43

Yay!  The crawl was over, I knew there was only a 5K left and the rain stopped!  Let’s do this!  Except that enthusiasm lasted about .25 of a mile.   I didn’t feel overly tired but I had nothing.  I don’t even know how many times I walked in those last 3 miles.  A lot.  I was actually passing people but I was still irritated with myself.  I had just picked up the pace a little past mile 12 when I passed my mom and her team again, apparently they had moved stations and were now traffic control.   With a mile left I told myself to run it in and I would at least be faster than City to the Sea.  Haha.  I am glad for small races because my proclivity for cursing like a sailor was in full force as I berated myself…out loud.   Finally the finish line was in sight and I could be done.

Finish- 2:21:06


That did not go like I had hoped.  At all.  The course was awesome.  It really had a great amount of up and down for me but it wasn’t my day.  I don’t know how much of it was the rain (very rare here) and my lungs.   If it was the weird nausea in the morning ( I did actually get sick and miss some work) or if I am just burnt out from a crazy year.    I also don’t want to make excuses though, for whatever reasons I was not all there on race day and my race effort shows it.

The rain screwed with a lot of us.  I have never chafed this bad in my life, clothing hurts.   I wasn’t the only one either.  I saw more than few blood stains on shirts.   We’re in a drought, what is this water stuff??   I can count on one hand how many times I’ve run in the rain and that includes this race.

I initially delayed writing this recap because I needed some time to think about the race.  Then I actually did get sick and missed some work which delayed this post even more but I think the extra time helped me accept the race for what it was.    I think I can finally admit that speed is not my biggest adversary, my head is.   Half the battle is knowing who you’re fighting right?

This was my kind of race though and I will be back.  Redemption in 2017?