Tag: mountain

2016 Firehouse 5K Recap

I love this race but I knew going in I was unprepared.   I don’t think I’ve ever been prepared for this race.  Even know what is coming doesn’t help.  I thought I was last year but it ended up being slower than the previous 2 years.  Oops.  The last few months I have been more focused on getting in the long runs than I have speed work.  I’ve done 1 speed workout this year, 1.   Guess it’s a good thing this is not a PR possible race for me.

Packet pick up was a breeze.  The town is on my way home so it was easy to stop by the day before and pick it up.  New this year- no bibs just a shirt.   Our county has odd rules about what makes a race versus a fun run and that can affect the permits.  I was fine with not having a bib as they never really mattered in this race.    The race is gun timed not chip timed and times are recorded via post card handed to you as you cross the finish line.   The race is almost free ($25!) and the money raised by the firehouse goes to local charities.   

post race

 Race morning dawned early and dreary.   Cloudy but no rain, I’ll take it!    Since the race is short and close, my dad usually comes too so we all headed out early.    My legs were still feeling the cramps from Thursday so I though about running a short warm up but I was afraid it would hurt.   The sun started to come out as we all lined up.  After getting stuck in the back last year, I had learned my lesson and moved up to the front.  After a few announcements from the race director, we were off!

Mile 1-

The race starts with 1/2 mile on neighborhood streets before we hit the trail.    My legs were feeling pretty good actually and my lungs were happy which surprised me as I ran an 8:30 pace for that portion.  Then we hit the trail, passed the one water station, and started climbing.   The trail is single track and switch backs up the hill for a 1/4 mile.  I ran 2, then walked 2 and repeated until we were out of that section.  I passed some people and some passed me.  My lungs were on fire.  I ran without music and all I could hear was my breathing.  It sounded more like panting.   I also realized I was overdressed and lost the top layer.  Then I just kept trucking.   11:22

Mile 2-

Just keep climbing, just keep moving.  I passed a few people but then got stuck behind some people walking.  I could have tried to pass but I honestly didn’t think I had enough in me to pass and then maintain.  I wasn’t going to be one of those people who surges around and then comes to a stop.     I stayed behind the pack until we hit the teardrop.   The tear drop is a tiny out and back we run at the top.  Except it’s not the top.  There’s one more climb and it’s steep and short.   From mile .6-1.5, we gained 500+ feet.   I happened to see my lap pace at the top of the mountain and it said 18:something.  What?!

Time for my favorite part- the downhill.   I seriously throw myself down the mountain.   Which is what trashes my quads but I don’t care.  I did keep it a little calmer as there is a marathon looming in a few months though.  ☺  I only skidded out twice.   However the damage was done,  I maybe should have passed earlier.  12:25


To the finish!

Mile 3-

More downhill- woo hoo!!   At this point I was hauling but I knew there was one last hill lurking.   I took a walk break on the hill but overall maintained until the last downhill where I tried to open it up.  Unfortunately I was hung up behind some people and it took a bit until the trail was wide enough for them to get over so the person in front of me and I could pass.    Then it was out of the park, back on the streets and trying to finish strong.  I won’t lie, I was tired.   The finish line seemed so far away.  9:45

Finish- 34:23

I felt like I was crawling to the finish but my watch claims I was running an 8:20.  I crossed the line and my legs were shaking.   I was smiling but I was whipped.   I noticed that my index card said 52- so I was about 15 people further up in the field than I was last year.  I put my name on the card and checked my watch as I left the chute.   Well crap, I was slower than last year by almost 30 seconds.  Yay for a course worst!!    I am not mad, a little bummed but I love this race and just running it was awesome.    I know a few places I could have shaved some time but it wouldn’t have changed how I felt about this race.   I will be back for more pain next year.   ☺

And major shout out to this woman-

Meet Peggy.  She ran the race in full turn out gear.   That would be bad ass at any race but this was a mountain!   She does it to raise money to fight cancer.   4 days later and I am still sore.  How does she feel?!

See you gain next year, Firehouse.  Maybe I will be fully prepared.   😛



Sunday Summit- Reservoir Canyon

A few weeks back I came across a challenge on Instagram called #PixonPeaks.   Hike/run the specific peaks on the list, post it on Instagram and get a shirt.   Ok, it’s a little more than that but it peaked my interest.   And we runners like our shirts right?

Truthfully, I’ve been missing trails.  I love trail running/ hiking but it’s been a long time.   Summer heat kind of kills it and I like sleeping in.  Plus, you know, rattlesnakes.  Throw in a crazy schedule, training for a “goal” race and trails get ignored.    Stress has been getting to me in a major way and I just wanted to get lost.   I like to power hike up the mountains and then manage the fine line between running and falling down hill.  It’s impossible to over think and stress about life when you are throwing yourself down a hill.  😜  Lots of fun and a great way to de-stress.

IMG_2305IMG_2304Sane runners taper 7 days before a goal half marathon but I never claimed to be normal.   One of my mom’s tennis players is in a Geo class and they have to hike 10-15 miles a month outside of class so we picked her up along the way.   The plan was to hike up to the top and run down, nice and easy.  It should have been around 4 miles.   I had never hiked Reservoir Canyon before but always wanted to.   I am not sure why I thought it was going to be a walk in the park.  I had heard that there was a swing along with a teepee and nice stone seating are at the top.    How hard could that be?  Plus I kept seeing pictures of some pink metal thing on Instagram and I wanted to find it.

IMG_2294-0The trail started off through a wooded area and crossed a river bed.  Granted we’re in the middle of a crazy drought so there was no running water.   But the bridge was cool.  😄   The trees were probably as close as we are going to get to fall, so that was nice.  We only gained 200 ft in the first mile so how hard could it be?  I should have checked the trail sites.   The trail narrowed and started climbing.  There were 2 sections that were so eroded that there was no trail- you had to jump to the next section.   It was awesome.   And we gained 1100+ ft in the next mile and change.

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Luckily, the swing and the teepee were a nice distraction part way up.  How the hell did they get all that metal up there?  I was starting to wonder if I was even going to make it to the top.   Indulging in a little swing time was pretty awesome.


But we weren’t at the top yet!   I started power hiking to the top pausing for picture breaks along the way.   1/4 of a mile from the top I thought I heard my name being yelled.  I paused, heard nothing.  Started up again and there it was.  I texted my mom and S to see if they were ok.  No response.  Well crap.  So I turned around and jogged down to find them.   Turns out they just wanted to make sure I was ok.   They could have texted- grrr.  And back up I went.   The dirt was super loose and rocks and roots were all over the path.   I made it to the top!  Then made a wrong turn and headed down a utility path that appeared instead of the actual trail.  Oops.  Turn around.    I eventually met up with my mom and S at the seating area.  My Garmin only registered 2.25 miles up so I was feeling pretty good.


I still couldn’t find the pink thing.  S spotted it off in the distance so we decided to go for it.  It only looked about a 1/4 of a mile away and mostly flat.  All lies.    Little rollers all the way out, and I mean way.  It was closer to 3/4 of a mile away.  Oops- but we made it!.

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We hung out a bit before heading back down. I was looking forward to opening up my pace on the way down.  I love flying down a mountain.    Remember those rocks and roots I mentioned?   After I almost tumbled off the path for the fourth time in less than 1/2 a mile, I knew running wasn’t going to happen.  Plus my head hurt each time I landed hard and let’s face it, everything was a hard landing.  Guess I hit my head harder than I thought.    I made it back to the swing and hung out there waiting for my mom and S.  My legs were literally vibrating on their own.    If I stopped moving – they started shaking.    Truth- this trail kicked my ass and kept kicking.    It was awesome.  😝

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With the doubling back, making the wrong turn and adding the pink structure I was a little past the 4 mile mark.  By the time we got back to the car, my Garmin registered 7 miles.   Oops.   And I was hungry, I hadn’t eaten breakfast.   But it was awesome.  Have I said that already?  Supposedly there’s a waterfall somewhere but I never saw it.   Something to look for next time!

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Peak 1- Done!  ✅

I was looking to get lost metaphorically not literally but it’s all good.    Even if I foam rolled and cried on Monday.   😅

Do you get lost on trails?  On purpose or not?

Do you like running down mountains?  I love it and always think of that horse scene from Snowy River. 

Ever done something you shouldn’t do close to race day?

2015 Firehouse 5K -Recap

After 3 years of running this race, I can say with absolute certainty that moving my long run to Thursday was the best decision ever.   Not just because it turned out to be a great run but because per usual, I feel a little broken after this race.   Yesterday’s easy, hoped for 6 turned into a slow, limping crawl for 4 miles.  But I still love this race!  🙂IMG_0049The race touts itself as the toughest 5K in the county.   Not sure if that’s true but it’s the toughest 5K I have run.   So of course that means I have had to run it 3 years in a row.  The course starts at the firehouse then runs .5 mile on the street before hitting the trails and heading up for 2 miles before heading back to the street and returning to the firehouse.

My mom and I were planning on spending the day in SLO afterwards so we headed out in the morning.  I had picked up my packet the day before and parking was a breeze.  We’ve parked in the same spot the last 3 years.   🙂   She stayed in the car where it was warm and I headed to the start line.  The morning was kind of chilly so I wore a long sleeved layer over my tank.   I would later regret that.  A lot.  I ran into an old coworker so we chatted for a bit.  The starting line is under a large flag hanging from the ladder truck and the mayor blows the truck horn to start the race.    I was super relaxed going into this race and that may have given me some problems.    IMG_0056I started way too far back in the pack and had trouble getting out of a cluster in the beginning.  The mountain starts with a series of switchbacks on the trail that usually slows to a single file walk.  I was prepared for this but not for how crowded it was farther back.  I passed people when I could but was hung up a few times.    Once out of the switchbacks we had more single file climbing to do.    The top is kind of a false summit so after reaching the top, there was still a little more up.   I finally got past a few people and was looking forward to cranking it on the way down.  I love running down a mountain.  🙂

But I got hung up again!   I had to bob and weave to get around people and it just took longer.   😦   I ran past a teenage boy who I thought was going to fall off the side of the trail, he was wobbling so much.  I started to wonder if I was gonna have to help him.   Once past him, I ran on down to the bottom and back up another hill.   Once again, I was stuck.   I was behind another teenage boy who had no concept of pacing himself.   He would haul ass for 30 feet and then just stop.   Every time I got past him, he would sprint to pass me and then just stop.   Finally I just sprinted past him and kept going.   We had one last trail downhill and I was able to pass a few more people.    I was sucking air, seriously thirsty and so hot.     I pushed for the last .5 mile and crossed back under the big flag.  First 5K of the year done!IMG_0065Apparently  I should have pushed a little harder, I finished in 33:56.  My slowest time on this course.  Waah.  I said I was relaxed but that still stung a bit.  Oh well, I still love this course and careening downhill so it was an awesome morning!   Starting so far back and getting hung up a few times probably contributed to the extra time but in reality it was only a minute off my best outing on that course.  IMG_0070The race is always well staffed and has volunteers at every point making sure no one makes a wrong turn.  Other than some interesting trail etiquette I observed, I only had one issue with the race this year.   Water.  Or lack thereof.  In the past 2 years, there was a water station at the junction where the road meets the trail.  You would pass it on the way in and on the way back out.  It wasn’t there this year and it hadn’t been mentioned anywhere.  I ran without water since I thought it would be there.    Boo.

All in all, I still love this race.   Even though, it still hurts to move today.  My calves are pissed.   There was no way I was able to do my long run yesterday.   Knowing that I had already done it was kind of awesome.   🙂

Ever run a trail race?  Or a race without aid stations? 

How do you get past people who just don’t want to move?