SLO Ultra 5K Recap

A part of me almost upgraded to the half during the week leading up to this race. Now, I’m so glad I didn’t.

Race morning came and my stomach was being a total asshat. Not too unusual so I just got ready like normal and hit the road. While I drove, I had some ginger mints hoping to calm my stomach.  I thought it helped.

The race was held in a combo of El Chorro Regional Park and Dairy Creek Golf Course, parking was across the highway at the community college.   It was stressed heavily that we either had to pay for parking during registration or have cash on hand on race morning.  I paid during registration.   Yet on race morning there no sign of anyone to take cash, so half the runners didn’t pay.  Grrr.  I ended up talking about it with with a couple.   I spoke with a volunteer as I left the lot, chatted with another as we waited to cross the highway.  Actually, this was the most I’ve ever talked at a race and some of the friendliest people throughout.

The start was about a mile away and I arrived in time to see the delayed start of the half marathon.   Turns out the inflatable arch had a little issue.  The 50K had started at 6:30.  I got in line to use the port-a-potties which is when I had my sad sunglasses incident.  Boo. After some announcements and the National Anthem, we were off and running.

Mile 1-11:07

Oh, god, I’m nauseous, why am nauseous? Where did that come from? And I’m breathing like I’m sprinting but I’m not. What is going on?? The first mile wound up a back road away from the park towards a ranch. It was paved but in poor condition and you were dodging cow dung along the way. It was a tiny incline but all of this would have been fine had I not been feeling like I needed to find a bush to throw up in. I slowed to a walk about 3/4 a mile in and tried to walk it out. I wasn’t upchucking in public!

Mile 2-10:48

More walking. Still nauseated. The road had switched to dirt and the incline picked up a bit. Part way up the road was blocked by a gate- it wasn’t open. We had to climb over it. Single file. Surprise! I think the complete stop I came to while I waited for my turn helped a bit because I picked up the pace on the other side and ran a bit. Then walked a bit, then ran. We had a little downhill and I was able to pass a few of the people who had passed me previously. Truthfully at this point, I didn’t care.

Mile 3-10:46

I’m still not feeling right but I just want to be done. I take water at the one aid station and hustle on. The next 1/4 mile was the “trail-iest” section of the whole race. We climbed a small hill and could see the finish line a ways off- across the golf course. My watch was already at 3 miles. Grrr. I ran past a few people (even sick, I’ll take advantage of any tiny downhill) then it was sidewalk and golf course running to the finish line.

A little boy and I had been playing leap frog for 2 miles- he’d pass me every time I’d walk. We were both powering to the finish and it’s sad that instinct is telling you to win. 😂 I pulled up and let him cross first.

Finish-36.23   Garmin Pace-10:49*3.4 miles    Official pace- 11:44

For once in the numerous times I’ve run races by this organization, water and snacks were easy to find at the finish.  Yay!   I grabbed a bag of salty chips thinking they might help with nausea.  I chatted with some other runners and we helped each other take finisher pics.  Then I started the trek back to the car.

*I am normally never one to say the course ran long; I know I suck at tangents.  However, I really couldn’t go wrong during the first 2 miles and mile 3 was more of a follow the leader with no course markings.  Plus, thanks to Strava I know that I am not the only one who measured it long.  All the public users did- so I am going to call the course long.   Doesn’t change the official pace though, it is what it is.

This wasn’t a bad race.  I really wouldn’t call it a “trail” race, I know the other distances were.  It wasn’t the great views of last year and I missed those. The organization was better than previous races and the medal is a good one.   Bling makes everything better right?😀

2018 Rock n Roll San Diego 13.1

Disclaimer: I received an entry into Rock n Roll San Diego 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!

Last year I loved this race and I jumped at the chance to go back.   The course is great, the crowd support was awesome- sign me up!  However, I also knew that I was would be one month out of Big Sur, so realistically I had no idea how that would affect me.  So I was going in with the only goals of having fun, enjoying the race and crossing that finish line.

I joked in my previous post that with 8 aid stations this would be the race to try running without carrying water however I knew I was too paranoid to actually do that.  Except I forgot my flasks.  I didn’t figure it out until after the expo so it was too late to buy anything.  I thought about carry a plastic bottle but that just didn’t sound appealing to me.   Guess I was relying on aid stations after all.

Race morning dawned all too early after a poor night of sleep.  I was ready fairly quickly which was surprising as I was having major indecision about what to wear on my bottom half, I settled on my Skirt Sports skirt, made a quick compression sock change and was out the door to meet Kate.  I love my hotel because the race morning shuttles pick up 1/2 block down and the finish line is 3 blocks away.  Met up with Kate, we boarded a bus and in less than 10 minutes we were at the starting area.  We wandered for a bit before getting in a porta potty line.  We missed the National Anthem- too noisy- and separated to our corrals after that.   I appreciated the new larger corral markers- it made it easier to find mine (17 of 33) but we were still packed in like sardines.  I also started to question what the hell I had put down as a finishing time.  The 2:15 pace group was in the corral behind me.  Say what?!  But we steadily made our way up and then we were off!

Miles 1-3 10:17, 10:44, 11:43

I love that there is a man shouting encouragement though a bull horn as we run past .25 mile in.    It can pretty crowded in the first few miles but my goal was to just keep my effort steady.  I had told my mother that I wasn’t really concerned about my finishing time but in the back of my head, I figured 2:25 ish wouldn’t be too off the mark.   However during mile 3 things started to get rough and I realized there was one thing I forgot to take into account- humidity.

Miles 4-7 11:21, 11:03, 11:36, 12:01

I was still running just a lot slower.  It was so damn humid.  It was mile 4 and the people running near me looking like their shirts could be wrung out.  The men running shirtless looked like they just got out of the shower.   I happened to pull out my phone to text my mother that is humid- actually I used much more colorful language- and she reminded me to use my inhaler as humidity is one of my asthma triggers.  But when I pulled my phone I saw that it showed 80% humidity.  What the what? I am used to like 15%.  The sun was pounding down on us and I could tell we were all struggling.  I texted Kate and told her to be careful.   I did all this while running, haha.  I was still enjoying the race, I love running through North Park and Normal Heights.   Mile 5 also brings us the Wear Blue- Run to Remember section and I like to try and pay more attention in that area.

My strategy was to run everything but walk the entire aid station- getting water and Gatorade at each one as it was offered.  Clearly this was not the race to not carry my own water.

Miles 8-10 11:57, 11:49, 12:41

Oh my gawd, I was hot.  Temp wise, it wasn’t even hot but the humidity was kicking my butt.  I was now taking more time at the aid stations.  One cup of Gatorade and one cup water.  If the station only offered water, I would get one cup of water at the very beginning, drink it while walking the station slowly, then get another to drink at the end.  I took off my hat and dumped water in it before putting it back on. The stations were also struggling to keep up with demand from the runners- in fact I would be surprised if the one at mile 9 lasted the entire race.

I took my first non- aid station walk break around mile 9.5.  I just had to.  I was starting to feel nauseous.   Kind of like I had consumed too much water.  Which I coudn’t see how as I wasn’t carrying any and they don’t fill those cups up too full.  But I skipped an aid station just before mile 10.

Miles 10-13 111:56, 11:30, 12:22

From then on it was a run- walk to the end.  Which is a bummer because I really like the last 3 miles.  We come back into Balboa Park, run under the big guitar guy, up a hill past some Taiko drummers, by a golf course, then there’s a sweet downhill that brings you back into the city.     I may have been feeling rough but I was still trying to enjoy as much of my surroundings as I could.   Then it was through downtown with a slight down hill to the finish-

Finish- 2:33:38

I honestly hadn’t been looking at my watch at all so I had no idea where I was at time wise until after crossing the finish line.  That time is fine by me.  So fine, I’ve already gone and input my results into Athlinks.  😊

I stood around for a couple moments needing a moment if that makes sense before getting my medal and heading out of the chute.  One of the volunteers became my new favorite person as she was handing out bags of ice.   I stuck it on my head as I walked to the meeting point to find my mom.   I still felt way too hot so I jammed back to the hotel for a cold shower before flying back to the finish line to see Kate.    Success.

The weather may not have been my friend but I still love this race and it was only made better with friends out there too. And Kate got a PR!!!!!

What’s your weather nemesis?

Tent City Half Marathon Recap

This may be the latest I’ve ever finished a race recap.

I’ve been talking about half marathon #30 since October but never made it work, finally I stopped talking and just signed up for a race the same day my training plan called for 19 miles.  I figured 13 supported miles with other runners followed by 6 solo miles was better than 19 lonely miles.

Tent City is in it’s first year and that generally makes me leery of races.  It offered a full, half, 10k, 5k and None run.  Packet pick up was a sure sign that it was a first time, small town race- a folding table next to an open van with the shirts and numbers.  Did I mention it was in front of a creepy abandoned building?😜

Ok, maybe not so abandoned.  The race was a fundraiser for the Printery Foundation which is working to restore the Printery building which is over 100 years old.  But until then I think it looks kind of haunted.   Call the Winchester brothers.  Did I mention this was also the start line?   In the dark.

The race started at the crack of dawn in the cold and dark.   Seriously, the sun hadn’t risen and it was 34*.   Dude, what??? I had my fleece vest from the week before and debated wearing it, I mean 13 miles…I’d warm up right???  I stayed in the car until the last possible moment before heading to the start line to find a port-a-pottie.  Luckily I had thought ahead and brought a Knuckle Light with me as the bathrooms were completely dark.   I was so cold.  Luckily, the announcer said a few words, the National Anthem was sung and we were off.

Miles 1-3 10:16, 10:46, 12:04  I wasn’t planning on racing this- it was more a training run so I was going to happy with anything around 2:24-2:30 overall.  The first mile looped us around numerous downtown city blocks before heading out onto the highway out of town.   I was kind of surprised when I figured out what highway we were on, we were running on the closed shoulder while the lanes were open.  We crossed a bridge and I was wondering where the first mile marker was.  Checked my watch and saw that we were past a mile so I figured I missed it.     But I never saw mile 2 or mile 3… ok, so there are no mile markers. Ummm?   I was feeling an odd tingling in my backside during mile 3- it was more that I felt like the zipper to the pocket on my pants was super cold- almost too cold but I ignored it and it went away.  Probably shouldn’t have.

Miles 4-7 11:37, 10:43, 12:22, 11:52  I was slowing for no apparent reason but the reality is that I actually had no idea.  I was trying not to pay attention to my watch as this was a training run.  I had to look at it occasionally as the lack of mile markers was actually frustrating.  I wanted some idea of where I was.  Plus the course was an out and back so I knew the turn around had to come at some point but it seemed too far out.  I was enjoying the scenery of the back road we were now on but once again, it wasn’t the best road for runners.  We now had an entire lane to ourselves but drivers tend to treat this road like a speedway and they weren’t slowing even with the cones.   They were down to one lane and buzzing around us upwards of 40mph.

Miles 8-11 11:56, 12:07, 12:20, 12:27 The turn around!  Yay!  And I had finally realized that I was moving slower than I thought I was.  What was going on?  Wait, I can’t feel my butt!  Or my quads and thighs really.  What the hell?  How long had I been numb?  Seriously? Like I smacked myself in the butt and couldn’t feel it.   So I tried it again, same thing.  I couldn’t really feel the effort my legs were putting in or lack thereof.  🤣  It wasn’t that cold- wth?  My fleece vest had kind of frosted over though, haha.  There was a person out there in a tank!  Apparently I have zero tolerance for the cold these days.

Miles 12-13 11:58, 11:37  Back to the highway and my backside was finally starting to warm up.  But only in patches, haha and those sections were just itching.  Oh for crying out loud.  As we came back into town, I could see the finish line at the park (different than the start) but instead of going straight to it we had to go around the block the long way.

Finish-2:33:51

Yes, that’s fidget spinner for a medal

Not horribly off my long run pace goal and I learned that I really need to practice running in cold weather.  Nah.  After getting my medal, it was time to join the party in the park.  There was yoga, food tents, beer tents, cupcake tents, local businesses and one of those tables with computers that prints your results.  I’ve never had one of those!  It was barely 9AM, there was no way I was drinking a beer but I wasn’t passing up a free cupcake.  😀

For a first time race, they did a decent job, they have room for improvement but it’s a race I would run again.  Just move the dang start time back.   And maybe put up a few more road blocks.

2017- The Shiny and The Dull

It’s that time again- time to recap the Shiny and the Dull of 2017.

Let’s get the Dull out of the way first.

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So yeah, remember that post 12 months ago where I said I hated goals, that I considered them 4 letter words so I wasn’t making any? No? Well, here it is if you’re feeling really bored.   I was going to make 2017 the year of Challenge.  Ha!  More like the year of complacency.

Instead of running all the miles in 2017, I didn’t even clear 650.

Did I find my old pace? Yeah, no.

I was turned down for 2 jobs I applied for.

Should we even mention the weight I put on? I’m less irritated about the number and more irritated about how uncomfortable I feel in my skin.

Had migraine issues, thyroid issues, leg issues, back issues, bed issues.  Maybe I’m the issue?

Ok, enough with the dull.

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Shiny!!!!!!

I ran 10 races, 8 13.1’s, one 5 miler and one 5K.   If I had to pick a top 3, they would be –

  1.  Las Vegas!  I went to Vegas!  I ran a half and a 5K in one weekend.  I finally met Kate in real life! We ran her first half together.  I met Helly! I hung with Mai and other BibRave Pros!   There were lights and miles and good times and it was awesome.  Tiring but awesome.  And I am a bad blogger because I don’t have the pictures.img_5362
  2. Rock N Roll San Diego 13.1– My first Rock n Roll race and it was great one.  I loved the course and the whole experience.  I met Mai and Emily and made the We Run Social photo on race morning.  And I met Chelsea! It was also my fastest race in a few years. Until…
  3. City to Sea– Home town love.  Yeah, I consider the entire county my home town.  5th time running this race and I still love it.  Somehow pulled off my fastest race of the year too.  Still don’t know where that came from.img_4806

Honorable mentions- Salinas Valley Half Marathon, SLO Ultra 5 Miler

I had the opportunity to work with BibRave again in 2017 and it is a great group of people.  Plus I tested some pretty awesome products.   I’d have even fewer miles if BibRave hadn’t pointed me in the direction of my Ultra Boost X’s.  My running store doesn’t sell them so I wouldn’t have found them on my own.  I’m on pair 2 now.

I was also given the chance to be an ambassador for Miles and Pace.  If you’ve been around this blog for the last few years, you may have noticed that I am pretty attached to my Miles and Pace trucker hats so I was stoked.  My current hat count is 4.

As for work, I have a Rock star crew, so can’t complain about that.

So 2017 did not go like I hoped but then again I maybe got a little too comfy in the comfy chair and rationalized my way into being a little too Slacker like.   I mentioned on Twitter the other night that I have a tendency to get in my own way.

As for 2018? Time to Sound the Alarm.

 

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.  😬. 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?