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.  πŸ˜›  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.  πŸ˜›     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.😊

 

 

 

 

 

BibRave, Race Day, Recap, Run!

Salinas Valley Half Marathon Recap

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Salinas 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!

The morning dawned dark and early.  With the race starting at the Soledad Mission, I was up early and heading north.  After getting a little turned around (all my fault- it was literally straight up the freeway) I arrived early enough to pick up my bib, debate what pack to use and use the port a potties.    I had woken to a very angry stomach and had to use the facilities a few times before the race.  Lovely.     I headed to the start line to the beat of an ipod and an upbeat announcer.   The weather had been predicted to start in the 70’s and be in the high 80’s by race end so I was very excited to see a heavy cloud cover that kept the temps about 10* cooler.


Miles 1-3- 10:01, 10:07, 11:04

The course started off nice and flat.  Which I appreciated for about 1/2 a mile.  My legs were already fussy so by mile 2, I was running in the dirt on the side of the road.   If there’s dirt, I will find it. πŸ™‚    My shoelaces on my right shoe came untied in mile 2 as well.   I was moving surprisingly faster than I thought I was going to be though.    Mile 3 saw my first walk break as well as my shoelaces coming untied again.  What gives?!  I was enjoying the scenery.  We ran past crop fields of Cauliflower and Peas.   I was taking pictures while running.


Miles 4-6- 10:44, 11:01, 10:45

Here’s my main gripe- the first water station wasn’t until mile 3.3.    For a race in CA in August, I thought that was too far in.  I carried a larger bottle of BeachBody with me but I still like water at each station.   We started into a little rolling section of the course which was giving me slight downhills which was slightly helping my pace.  This was cool because the walk breaks were becoming more regular.   My legs were starting to get super stiff though.   My brain may have seen the road as slightly rolling but legs were telling me it was flat.  I needed a hill!


Miles 7-9-  12:47, 11:59, 10:48

A hill!  My legs were thankful, the rest of me not so much.  I walked all of it.  No shame, I knew this was going to be a slower race so there was no point in making my heart rate go crazy.  πŸ™‚   That climb started in 7 into 8 and partly into 9.  Honestly it wasn’t even a big one, I just took it easy.   The sun had also come out and temp instantly jumped 10*.  Yikes!  Water!   I was still taking in the sights of the course and enjoying the music stations along the course.  Then in mile 9, I got a little downhill to enjoy.


Miles 10-12- 11:58, 11:49, 11:36

The sun was shining in full force which made the scenery awesome but did no favors for my pace.   I started rocking out.   Literally.  We came upon a hill the race calls the “Beast of Eden” and I ran up it playing an air guitar the whole way.  It was also the only hill I ran up.  πŸ˜›   I then sang and played an air guitar or drums for the next 3 miles.  I gave thumbs up to race photographers (which actually turned out to be a terrible picture).   There was a strawberry station at mile 10.2 and while they looked amazing, my stomach was starting to cramp up and I passed on them in fear of a repeat of the morning.

Mile 13- 11:42

Ok, I was done.  I felt like this mile took 20 minutes.  The finish line was never getting closer.   I was hot, thirsty and tired.   We ran past the buses to take us back to the start and man they looked tempting.  I was walking so much.  We turned left but still no finish line.   Just an uphill.  Waah.   I was walking towards the last little turn to the finish and the announcer called me out!  Seriously!    Just make it obvious when I start running.    Thanks dude.

Finish 2:28:44


Considering how I thought this race was going to go, hell yeah!  If the sun had stayed away, I think I may have been about 5 minutes speedier.    It warmed up really fast once the sun came out and I wish there had been another water station or 2.    I drank water at every station and had my bottle.  Once across the finish line, I downed a chocolate milk and a bottle of water.  Normally drinking that much that fast would have me feeling very ill but I felt fine.   Like I said, it was kind of warm those last miles.

Overall, I really enjoyed the race.   It was kind of nice to go into a race mostly relaxed and barely even glance at my watch.   I enjoyed the backroads, and the crop signs and Steinbeck were an added touch,  The only thing I would change is more water stations.

Half marathon #27 done.  πŸ˜€

BibRave, Race Day, Recap, Run!

Wine Country Half Marathon Santa Barbara Recap

Disclaimer: I received an entry into Wine Country Half Santa Barbara 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 clear and sunny.  The night before had shown projected temps to be in the low 40’s at the start and only reaching 60 around 10.    I planned for a tank with long sleeves.    It was a little warmer than predicted in the morning but I stuck to my plan.  As I mentioned in my last post, I woke to an unpleasant surprise on race morning, oh the joys of being female, so I knew I was going to be a little more sluggish than I had planned.    With 2 weeks of next to no sleep and an extremely achy left leg, I was already planning on taking it easy.  I told my mother 2:20-2:25 but I also knew Ashley was pacing the 2:30 so I figured whatever worked.

The start was in Santa Ynez and we were running to Solvang.  My mother was able to get me within a block of the start line and damn it was windy and cold!


  I found Ashley at the 2:30 sign and we chatted before the start.  It’s been so long!!!  I met another BibRave Pro too, Carolyn but I didn’t think to take a picture until after.  Duh, silly Slacker.   After a little more shivering, the race started just a few moments behind schedule.


Miles 1-3  11:04, 11:01, 11:19

The first few miles were pretty crowded, this wasn’t a large race but the neighborhood streets were smaller.  That said, it looked pretty cool just seeing a crowd of runners ahead for the beginning miles.     The race profile had made the course look like a gradual incline through mile 7 but I quickly realized it more flat.  At least by my standards.  My calves were feeling kind of tight but they loosened up around mile 3.    Those first 3 miles also had some of the cutest furry race spectators ever-   a woman was standing on a corner with her pet goose.  Seriously, this goose looked so chill while thousands of runners ran right by.   Further down, 2 goats came running to a fence and looked like they wanted to run with us.   Then there were the miniature horses!!!  So cute.


Miles 4-6  11:35, 11:11, 11:33

I was staying steady, sluggish but steady and that was fine.  The course so far was more back roads and neighborhoods, I was waiting for vineyards.  I was actually surprised that the roads were completely closed- it was awesome but I was surprised- I’m only used to that at races with much bigger crowds.   A little past mile 5, we were running into the town of Los Olivos- it’s so small, it’s so cute!  Crowd support picked up too because mile 5.8 was the relay transition point.    I won’t lie- getting a medal at 5.8 looked pretty awesome.   I knew we were almost to the end of the “climbing” section but since the uphill hadn’t been so up, I wasn’t counting on much of a downhill.


Mile 7- 12:29  Corkscrew Hill

Oh holy hill.  Found the elevation gain, it’s all in mile 7.  Seriously, my Garmin shows an elevation gain of 235 in mile 7 and really maybe all in a half mile.  I knew the hill was coming but not like that.   I rounded a corner and saw it with runners dotting the way all the way up.  Just as I did, my headphones were playing Papa Roach and Jacoby sang/shouted “I don’t want no part of this, None of the above”.  Dude you have no idea.  πŸ˜›     Knowing I was tired and that I still had 5+ miles left, I walked it.  


I knew it was the smarter choice.  Ashley and the 2:30 group caught up to me and passed me.     The hill may have been kicking my ass but now I was hopeful for at least one good downhill somewhere thanks to this monster.  I’m used to hills but this was a beast.

Miles 8-10 9:33, 10:08, 11:20

Thank you downhill!   I caught up to Ashley and her group again, said hey and continued running on.   We were now running through vineyards which I love but it was a little warmer than I would have liked.  Correction, I shouldn’t have been in long sleeves even though I was thankful every time the wind had a crazy strong gust.  πŸ˜›  I took my phone out around mile 9 to take a picture only to see the low battery alert and that it was at 10%.  What the hell?!?   I sent a quick text to my mom letting her know I was turning it off, shut off my music and turned off my phone. Boo.   I also realized 2:25 wasn’t likely anymore.


Miles 10-13 11:32, 12:51, 10:58

Ok, the last 4ish miles without music is way different than the first 4 without.   It made things feel so much harder.   Well, that and my stomach was starting to cramp.  Stupid stomach, stupid hormones.  That last real hill was mile 12, it wasn’t even big just steep but for some reason I crawled.   We were out of the vineyards and back into neighborhoods, I knew the finish line must be close- I was so ready for it.  I admit I was walking more than I wanted to.    The crowds were picking up as the finish line neared.   A fire truck also ripped through the course but I didn’t pay it much attention- I had a 1/4 mile to go.

Finish- 2:28:46


Slower than I had hoped for but it’s all good.  The course was super pretty- yes I would have preferred more rolling hills and less of a beast in the middle- but I say I like hills, right?   I wish I could have taken more pictures but I’ve known I need a new phone for  while now, wasn’t expecting it to crap out on me like that though.   And I got to catch up with a good friend.  It was a good race.

*This may sound more positive than I normally am because in all honesty as I was crossing the finish line I realized where that fire truck had been headed.   Reading about things happening at races and seeing it real life are 2 entirely different things.   It puts things into perspective.   I’m also choosing to believe that no news is good news and there was positive outcome.

I met up with my mom post race.    We hung out for a bit and I tried to find the other BibRave Pros that were running it but it was too much of a madhouse in too small of a space.  The finish was in Solvang Park but it is a small park.   It got crowded fast.

Overall, this was a good race.  I really liked the course and the aid stations were all run by very enthusiastic kids and teens.   This is one I would look forward to doing again…just maybe a little less tired?  πŸ˜›

Half #25 in the books.  πŸ˜‰

 

 

 

BibRave, Race Day, Run!

Wine Country- On My Way

Disclaimer: I received an entry into Wine Country Half Santa Barbara as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming aΒ BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

It’s race weekend!

In one way I feel like it snuck up on me too quickly and in another way I feel like it’s been a long time coming.

I’ve heard nothing but good things about this race so I am excited to finally be running it.Β  The course starts in Santa Ynez and ends in Solvang, so Santa Barbara is a bit of a misnomer unless they’re going for the county.Β  πŸ˜‰Β Β Β  My grandparents used to live in Santa Ynez so it’s kind of like a return to childhood for me. Except I wasn’t into running then.Β Β  πŸ˜›

The scenery looks to be back roads and vineyards which are my favorite kinds of roads.Β  And the elevation profile looks fun-

SB Elevation

Now, part of it’s called Corkscrew Hill and while that sounds ominous, I don’t see it up there? Except maybe that last bit to mile 7?

Now the last couple of weeks haven’t gone according to plan so I will likely be taking it easier than I planned.Β  I would to shoot for 2:20 but the lack of sleep and a medication mix up this week have left me a little lagging.Β Β  Ashley of Rather Be Runnin’ is pacing the 2:30 group so maybe I’ll just hang with them and catch up since it’s been so long.Β  Plus Saturday races seem to confuse my body.Β  Or maybe it’s all in my head.πŸ˜›

Anyone else racing this weekend?

Thoughts on Saturday vs Sunday races?

 

BibRave, Race Day, Recap, Run!

2017 Livermore Half Marathon Recap

Disclaimer: I received an entry into Livermore 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!

All right, if you’ve been reading me whine for the past week you know I went into this race sick.   I was questioning my sanity for running it and my ability to finish it.   As was my mother.  πŸ˜›


Race morning dawned after a less then stellar night of sleep but isn’t that to be expected before races?   The forecast had changed to just overcast and low 40’s and while I was thankful for the lack of rain I knew that was going to feel cold to me.  So I layered up.  Seriously.  Capri’s over compression socks, a tank with a long sleeve shirt over it, then my rain jacket.  A Buff around my neck and another Buff around my head to cover my ears with my hat over that.     My mom drove me to the start and dropped me off.

I made my way to the start line and suddenly panicked.  I forgot my bib!  Somehow I had forgotten to pin my bib on.  It was still in the car.  Thankfully my mother had decided that parking was a nightmare (we were in a dirt lot without specific spots which was very tricky in the dark) so she was just going to nap while I ran.  I hauled butt back to the car to get my bib.  Once that crisis was averted I headed back to the start line where I ended up meeting up with Laura from running4thereason.com, another Bibrave Pro.   We chatted while waiting for the race to start.  10 minutes after 7 and we were off!

My plan was to run until I got tired, walk, then repeat until the finish line.  I figured I would walk every hill and just do whatever my lungs wanted to do and just go from there.

Miles 1-3 10:24, 10:40, 10:22

The first 3 miles were through city streets and I was moving a hell of a lot faster than I thought I would be.   Hmmm.   I like low key city streets so I was enjoying the vibe and just letting my feet do what they wanted.  I skipped the first aid station at mile 2 because it was just too crowded.   The 5K was also running along side us for a bit so that was interesting.  A couple other runners and I were cracking jokes that we were going to “get lost” and turn around with the 5K’ers.   πŸ˜›  A little before mile 3 I came up behind the 2:30 pacers… um, what?  I knew I was moving way faster then that so I couldn’t figure out how they had gotten that far ahead of me.  Then I turned my headphones on and told myself to get over it.

The bridges moved when you ran over them!

Miles 4-6 11:11, 11:29, 11:41

I loved these miles and hated them at the same time.  Just past mile 4 we went from running the streets into a paved path in a park.  Heaven.  I want this path in my town now.   Paved blacktop with nature on both sides, a little stream running thanks to all the rain?  It was awesome.  A downside was that the path narrowed so it was easy to get roadblocked so there was lots of bobbing and weaving going on in these miles.  I ran in the dirt along the path a lot.  But again, that’s one of my favorite things so this should have been my favorite part.  What made it so rough was that just past mile 4 my stomach cramped, bad.   Like, I need a bathroom now, bad.  And of course, the next bathroom wasn’t until the aid station at mile 6ish. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ So instead of walking because I was tired, I walked when I cramped and ran when it eased, and repeat.   That kind of messed with my head.  Note to self- never eat Five Guys before a race ever again.


Miles- 7-9 11:31, 11:47, 13:02

Just past mile 6 and we were out of the park and back on the street.  The bathroom line was like 20+ people long and the cramping had eased so I figured as long as I went slow I would probably be ok.   My lungs were starting to protest and I was super congested.  I admit I did something I have never done in view of others before- I spit.  I did it more than once this race. I felt so bad but I had to!  I also ripped off a few choice words when a police car leading a trail of cars on the other side of the road let off a single screeching chirp.  I about jumped out of my skin.   2 people next to me also had some colorful words to share.   Mile 9 saw the only 2 real hills of the race.  I walked them.  At the top of the first was a water station that also had a paramedic and a fire truck- it was a small hill!  I got jammed up the water station.  I went to throw my water cup in the trash and a woman put herself in front of me to eat her Gu and a woman came up right behind me to drink water.  It was like a hug with random strangers and I couldn’t move.  Let me out!  It took me another 30’ish seconds to get myself out of the stranger sandwich and on my way.  Grrr.   We were leaving the road and entering another park with a paved path.   Seriously, I wanted this one in my town too.  My lungs were protesting as we hit the second hill, they were so not happy.


Miles 10-12 11:00, 11:51, 11:14

We were still in the park so I was running in the dirt every chance I got.    I love dirt.  Plus my legs appreciated the change in terrain.  They were actually feeling pretty good considering how little elevation this course had.   The 2:30 pacers had caught up to me and passed me, left me in the dust really.  I started to feel discouraged but told myself to get over it, I was already doing better than I thought I would, there was no sense making myself sicker just to meet some arbitrary “sick” finish time.  I just told myself to enjoy the scenery and try to calm my lungs down.   Mile 11 brought us back into town through a smaller park before we were back on city streets for the last mile.

Mile 13 12:16

Holy asthma city.  My lungs were done.  Between my cold and my asthma, I was fighting an asthma attack.  I walked so much of the last mile.  I was wheezing and coughing and gasping and probably looked like a hot mess.  Crowd support really picked up for the last mile and so many people were cheering.   I heard “come on girl in orange run! You’re so close!”  Don’t you see I’m trying!?!?!?!  I rounded a corner and there it was- the finish line!

Finish 2:30:15

Haha, this pic makes me laugh nowπŸ˜‚

I crossed the line and was handed my medal.  I saw my mom fairly quickly outside the fence and went to say hi.  She took one look at my face and said “you chose to do this”.  Haha, thanks mom.πŸ˜›    I then wandered down the finishers chute and collected my wine glass, chocolate milk and banana.  I was also able to refill my water bottle.  Once I stopped moving and was able to chill for a moment, my lungs calmed down a bit.


All in all this a great course.  I liked all the scenery and the varied paths.   I wish it had a few more hills.  I think another hill or 2 may have helped me a bit, this course was fairly flat.  So if flat is your jam, you could totally set a PR on this course.   And hey I ended up hitting my arbitrary sick time anyways- who knew?!

Half marathon #23 in the books.  πŸ™‚