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!

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˜‰

 

 

 

Run!

Tempo Troubles

Year of Challenge, right?

Training for Destination Races Santa Barbara started Monday.   After much deliberation and a little reworking, I am using a combo plan.  Primarily Run Less Run Faster with a little Jeff Galloway thrown in.  Kind of an oxymoron but I was hoping it would work for me.    The plan means 3 key running workouts a week, 1 tempo- 1 interval workout- 1 long run.

Sounds great, right?  Except it’s day 3 and I am already having troubles.

Monday opened with a tempo.  Probably not the best idea (also against the plan) considering I had run the previous 2 days but unfortunately that was how my schedule worked out this week.   That wasn’t the only trouble.   I suddenly realized I had no where to run said tempo.    I have no access to a track.   The treadmill tries to break me, even the idea of attempting a 5-6 mile made my calves seize up in imagined pain.  I haven’t been on a treadmill since the nightmare fiasco back in October.    Normally I run my tempo runs at the lake path…except thanks to the mudslides not only is my commute 15 miles longer each way due to the road closure but I can’t get to the lake.   A fact that did not occur to me until Sunday night.  Oops.

So now what?

Monday’s run called for a 1-2 mile warmup followed by 3 miles at short tempo pace with a 1 mile cooldown.  What was my tempo pace?  Well according to my last 5K- it should be 9:02.  Trouble.   Let’s all start laughing now.   People, I’m not in 9:02 shape not even close.  I would need a downhill with an 8% grade, a strong tailwind and maybe even skates to pull that off.   I went back to the pace chart.   Could I even maintain a sub 10?  Honestly, I wasn’t sure.  Ouch.

Next trouble.  I was running this in work town.  After work.   In the dark.  On the streets.  With cars.   Yeah, this was going to be very abbreviated and interesting.    What really happened?

.75 mile warm up
1 mile tempo
.2 mile gasp for air
.7 mile tempo
.5 mile cooldown

Holy crap, I was sucking wind.  My legs were so confused.  They were like, wait, fast running?  I thought we didn’t do that anymore, who agreed to this?    As for the paces?  Haha.    Tempo mile 1- 9:55.  Ouch.   I had hoped it would be a little better than that.  Except let’s be real, there was a 30 second walk break in there.  Ok, there was also a break.   Because when you come around a corner and see this sunset, you stop and stare a bit.


And try to stop panting.

That last tempo portion wasn’t a full mile partly because I decided it was too dark to run safely and if I stopped it there, I had a half mile cool down jog to my car.  That .7 mile of tempo came in at a 9:27 pace.   Somehow I improved going uphill, wonder if I could have held it.

So yeah, ouch.  I cut my 6 mile run in half.  Ran hard into the reality of how much work I need to do get faster.  I felt like toast just after those 3 miles.


However I still have the problem of where to run.   Until the highway opens back up, I can’t get to the lake path.     I could try the treadmill but I fear it would cause more harm than good.   I could keep running them at work until the lake path is available, they would just be way shorter than the plan says.  Something is better than nothing right?   The days are getting longer so I could the push the tempo portion to be a little longer each week.   I was looking forward to working on my training plan and now I just feel foiled.  Grrr.

What would do?

Where would you run?

 

Race Day, Recap, Run!

2016 SLO Half Marathon Recap

Sometimes it’s just not your day.  And that’s not always a bad thing.

Race day came early but I felt like I had slept ok.  Much better than last year at least, my Up band tells me I got around 5 hours of sleep.   Could have been worse.  I had no idea what I was going to wear until I put it on.  It was not one of the outfits I had tried on the day before.    😝

My mom was my driver once again (thanks mom!) so we headed out around 5:45.   She was able to drop me off at the same place as previous years, so I only had a short walk to the start line.   I ran into Heather along the way.   Perfect timing!  We headed straight to the porta potties.  Lines for days!  Seriously, for the second year in a row I started way behind all the pacers.  The race started right on time at 6:45.  I had no clue what I was going to run- I would have thrown a party for a sub 2:10 but also been happy with a 2:10-2:15.  While April was a very strong training month, I was tired.  Perhaps more than I thought.

Miles 1-3: 10:08, 10:07, 10:49

Not too bad.  Miles 1 and 2 were about what I was expecting  Mile 1 is downhill and 2 is uphill so keeping at that pace was where I wanted to be.  Heather and I were running together and it was cool getting to race together.  Mile 3 is where one of the longest climbs starts.   Last year I motored up it with no problems.  This year, it was kicking my ass.  It should not have felt that hard.

Miles 4-6: 11:06, 9:47, 10:48

And my first walking break.  I was already tired, I couldn’t seem to get into gear.  Strange thing- my toes went numb on both feet around mile 4.  Umm, what?   It leveled off a bit and we picked up the pace.  I don’t remember that mile feeling any different but it clocked in at the fastest.   We made it past where I fell last year and kept running.   Mile 6 was where we started uphill again.  This is not a course for the faint of heart.


Miles 7-9:  11:44, 10:47, 10:29

Hello, walking again.  This time longer.   I am so thankful for Heather sticking with me, I was realizing that this was not going to be my best showing.   We passed through the Cliff shot zone and I grabbed a citrus shot in hopes that it would help.  The turn around comes a little past the 7 mile mark, then we get some downhill to enjoy.    There was more walking in those miles as well.  Heather knows everyone, so we made some friends along the course.  😊


Miles 10-12: 11:19, 10:45, 11:19

With only 4 miles to go and it being mostly flat to downhill, I was optimistic that I could pick up the pace.  I say I because I was the one slowing us down.  I was dragging, couldn’t find another gear to get into and had to use my inhaler a few times.  It had turned out to be a very warm morning and was a little more humid than I would have liked but those things shouldn’t have effected me that much.   Mile 12 has a bridge that we have to switchback up then down and it kicks my butt every year.  This mile also had the last aid station.  It was manned by volunteers from one my work locations- and my boss’s boss- so I tried to at least smile at them when we past.  It may have looked more like a grimace.  😝


Mile 13:  10:43 -13.1 (8:31 pace to finish)-

Seriously, I was in a dark tunnel of misery here.  Not really sure why.  My calves were achy but nothing major, I was just beat and really needed to see that finish line.   Once again, Heather was awesome- I probably would have walked so much more without her keeping me going.  There is a tiny climb right at mile 13 that feels like a mountain and then it is all downhill to the finish.  That road seemed so long!!!   I spotted my mother along the side and tried to smile but again I think it was more of a grimace.  I dodged some people and crossed the finish line.


Finish- 2:21:55

We got our medals and headed for the water.  The expo area was kind of a hot mess when it came to recovery.   Water was the only thing that was easy to locate.   It took some effort to find the food and then more to find my mom.  Once I did, we took some pics before heading out.  I may have stuck around a little longer but that gel hadn’t settled well with my stomach so I was ready to get going.


Not the race I was hoping for but you can’t always get what you want.  However, the day was still good.  I got to run a course I love- hills and all- and it has pretty great spectators.   I got to run with a great friend and there is nothing bad about that.  πŸ™‚


 

 

Run!, Slacker

Stressed Out

A little venting can be good for your mental state, right?

While my statement last week about my long runs being more consistent was true, what wasn’t mentioned was all the failed long runs along the way.    And they failed in spectacular ways.   Like I don’t know how I ever call myself a runner ways.   And I just don’t get it.

It’s not that I expect all runs to be sunshine and roses, I mean let’s be real here.   There is just something about these runs that just punch me in the gut and leave me pissed off.    So what is it?

The long runs where I fight my inherent laziness and get up in the morning have been pretty consistent.  Slow but that’s intentional, it’s the main point behind 80/20. It’s the midweek long runs that are kicking my ass.   I love getting my long run done before the weekend.    Every month I work a minimum of one Saturday.  That means I typically get a half day during the week.   Yay for extra running time!  I love getting the long run out of the way before the weekend; that way I only have a short run to fit in then I can be lazy the rest of the time.    However, this year, all attempts have just sucked.  Misery, straight up.

First, there was the slowest 10 miler ever in January.  February saw the 5.5 mile blow up- because sitting on the ground at a busy street corner is so normal.  Today- attempt number 3- 12 miles was the plan.   Reality saw 7.5, painful and slow miles.  Grrrr.

 
I was looking forward to today, I was so excited to leave work to run.  It was predicted for the mid 70’s, so I was thinking shorts would be perfect.   I’ve been sore and tight lately, so I also had compression socks on.  On an odd note- I was tight like this last year at this time-I swear it’s like an allergy.    My calves were painfully tight so I walked more of the first mile than usual.  Mile 2 saw more of the same plus stopping to stretch out my calves a few times.    They hurt but I was having trouble figuring out if they were hurting in a injury way or just more tightness.  Less than 2 miles in and I was hot, tired, hurting and having troubles maintaining any sort of pace.   I was walking more than running and felt like bailing.    I considered it but decided that I was just stiff and sore and needed to get better at toughing out runs.   By mile 5, I was pissed off and talking to myself, no way in hell was 12 miles happening.

 
I had 2+ miles to get to the car and slow running wasn’t getting me anywhere.   So it might not have been the best idea but I ran fartleks back to the car.  Oddly enough, I was holding goal half marathon pace for the same amount of time I had been running slowly before.  The walk breaks felt better too.  The only time things felt rough was when I looked at my watch and figured out I was running a sub 7 pace.  Oops.  Hello crazy, slow the hell down.   Yeah, it was only like a minute and a half and slightly downhill but it was a good minute.

The last 2 miles helped wash the sting of the first 5ish off but I just don’t get it.  Have I not adjusted to temps in the 70’s yet?  I made sure to eat breakfast and a small early lunch.  I usually run races on an empty stomach without fuel.   Was it the food that threw everything off?   All three of these horrible runs were run in shorts.  I am so self-conscious in shorts right now- like I wonder if I should burn them all.  Could that really make me so uncomfortable that I tank my runs?   I don’t get it!!!!  The more I stress about it, the more I freak out and the more the run sucks.  It’s driving me crazy!

Do I forego any more weekday long run attempts?  Do I get over my desire to not have to run long on the weekends I work and just do it?  Do I just make the weeks I work on Saturday a cut back week?   I can’t decide!

Also, I’ve been running slow for 3 months now and I feel like I am getting nowhere.  You would think an 11:something pace would be something I could maintain by now but no.  Do I keep putting in the slower miles?  Do I change things up while I have the time before marathon training gets really real? Or did I just need to whine it out?

If made it through this- thank you!

What do you think?

Happy Friday!!