Ambassador · Race Day · Recap · Run!

Chasing It- Santa Rosa Half Marathon

Don’t flame out, don’t flame out, don’t flame out. On repeat in my head for 4.5 miles.

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Santa Rosa Half Marathon 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!

Race morning dawned all too early but then don’t they all. Plus I had now confirmed that the GI disaster that was Napa Valley was not a one off, ate at the same chain the night before Santa Rosa and same issues. However this time, I was prepared with both my meds and lots of Pepto. Fingers crossed.

The race started right at 7:30 with corral A going first and Corral B a few moments later. I was in B. I had very low expectations going into this race, both due to my lack of training and the weather circumstances. Smoke in the air and a very warm morning.

Mile 1, I went out too fast but no real shock there. Well, the 12:40 was kind of a surprise as I rarely see 12’s these days. I started interspersing walk breaks on my 30/50 schedule and just kept trucking. I was carrying electrolytes and knew I was taking water at every water stop. Mile 2 dropped me back into the 13’s which made sense as I already felt tired, ha!

Then things got wierd. I was moving along doing my thing, taking water, taking pictures of the course, listening to music but somehow gaining on the 2:50 pacer. What was going on?? Miles 3-5 saw a 12:59, 12:33, and 12:46.

Mile 5 also saw another feat. I caught up to the 2:50 pacers and then dropped them. Don’t get cocky, don’t get cocky, just keep going. We had hit a dirt, gravel part of the trail and I was loving it. It was warming up but there good tree cover. Mile 6- 12:39.

I was entering unknown territory in a few ways now. I was moving faster than I have in months, now farther than the distance I had run since May and now past the longest distance I had run in these running shoes.

I was also tiring but again, that made sense. I was slowing down but I’d also started to think I really could hold onto a sub 2:50. That would be almost 20 minutes faster than Idaho. I now feared hearing the 2:50 pace group. They were chatty enough that I knew I’d hear them first. I kept pushing… and repeating my new mantra.

Around mile 9, we looped around on the path and started making our way back to the start line. 4 miles to go and the wheels were starting to come off. We hit a section of direct sunlight and I started to melt. I took a wet towel at an aid station for the first time ever. (They’ve always kind of grossed me out.) I was walking more and more and then there was no more running.

I cramped. Hard. Both my calves seized up. Running was no longer an option. It just wouldn’t work. I was power walking as best I could. Which was also contributing to my issue as I was still maintaining a mid 13 pace. Which was also earning me comments from other runners as I passed a few- I was walking faster than they were running. Couldn’t tell if they were impressed or irritated.

But it was all for naught. I heard the voices I had been fearing. The 2:50 group caught up and dropped me. Wah. But that also took away my crazy push which may be why I suddenly felt a massive side cramp as well as the continuous leg cramps. At this point I was trying everything and even walking backwards at some points. Now I was just making people laugh. 12 and 13 were my slowest- 14:31 and 14:52.

This is the first finish line I have ever walked across. Even when I’ve had horrible GI races or rolled my ankle on the side of the mountain, I’ve found a way to at least jog across the finish line. This time? Nope! I just kind of struggle walked across the finish.

But I finished! 2:56:58– ten minutes faster than Idaho.

While this race was flat- and flat is not my fave- I would totally run it again. It reminded me of me, if that makes sense.

BibRave · Race Day · Recap · Run!

CDA Half Marathon- Recap

Holy crap, a real life race!

Disclaimer: I received an entry into CDA Half Marathon 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!

It’s been over a year since my last in person race. When the chance to run Coeur D’Alene came up, I jumped at it. Things would be open by Memorial Day, right? I wasn’t picked in the first run and I was bummed but then I was hit with the melanoma diagnosis and my brain ran away so maybe it was a good thing. A month or so later, something changed and a spot opened up. Once I made sure I could switch to the virtual if things didn’t change or if I had more things to deal with on the skin front. But… I headed out of town on my first race trip since March 2020 last week. Yay!

Holy crap, that is a long drive from the middle of California. Coeur D’Alene is gorgeous. The lake and the park with the trails is like runner heaven- could that just be plopped down where I am, please?

The race was utilizing a rolling start from 5:30AM to 11:00AM. You had to register for your start time before race day. I am an idiot and chose 8:30. What? I then stressed about it right up until race morning. I showed up early on race morning as I was concerned about parking. The parking lot was huge but throw in lots of runners combined with a busy public park and who know what could happen. This turned out to be a good thing as I heard the announcer say you could jump in and start if you were there early. Pick me! So instead of 8:30, I started a little after 7:45. Yay!

The first 3 miles headed out into city streets along the lakeside before looping back to the park. Man, there are some nice houses out there. The next 10 miles were on a paved path called the North Idaho Centennial Trail. This thing is 23 miles long! Again, can I have it please?

Going into the race, I had a feeling it was going to be a rough go. I figured if I walked it all and kept a 15 minute pace, I would finish around 3:15. Any running could bring me down but not far… I really am that out of shape. So there was a good chance this was going to my new personal worst.

And it was.

But I don’t care. This was about enjoying racing, taking in the sights and being around other runners again. I missed it more than I thought. It was so good. The course was awesome, lake views for most of it, dream houses for the other part. Plus, I decided I really like rolling starts. I never felt like I was back of the pack even though I definitely was. I was very warm though so I was questioning the sanity of everyone who started later in the day. I’ve never taken in so much water during a race before in my life. I drank 4 bottles on course.

So yeah, I was slow but it was fun. Other than some odd toe pain. That said, I would definitely run this race again. But maybe fly in?

Also, my finish time of 3:05:54 makes me laugh- it is exactly one hour more than my PR. To the second. That makes me giggle for some reason.

BibRave · Race Day · Recap · Run!

Napa Valley Marathon- Half Recap

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.

There’s a really tiny balloon in this pic

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.

This is the scenery I love

Miles 4-6 12:45, 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!

Finish- 2:58:15

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?

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?