Race Day, Run!

Spooner’s Cove Trail Race

Oh that kicked my trash.

Race dawned early, chilly and wet. I made my way out to Montana de Oro and arrived with plenty of time to pick up my bib, use the port a potty and chill in my car. My car was parked about 30 feet from the finish and 15 from the bathrooms, ha!

There were 5 distances running that day and we all started at the same time. The RD gave a few directions- which color flag to follow and where not to go. He called out all the distances and we all raised our hands each time- I was suddenly thankful I had done the smart choice and dropped to the 13K. Valencia Peak is rough on a good day and this was not my day.

The race started and we were off- uphill. Ha! The first mile weaves along the bluff which gave us great stormy waves to watch. It also brought the first rain and crazy wind. My hood flew off and never stayed on again. I was run/walking the flats as I knew the proximity to the ocean and the rainy, cloudy day were just an invitation to my asthma. My plan was to run/ walk the flats, power hike the climbs and run the downhills. This plan did work in the respect that I did not have even the slightest of a wheeze but it also resulted in a time I would not have predicted. And I was aiming pretty low.


We’re going to the top of the peak on the right

The first real climbs started in mile 2 but also gave me some good downhills. I couldn’t run the downhills as fast as I would have liked as I learned real quick that black mud has similar properties as black ice- hit a patch and you will go for a ride. I managed to stay upright but a runner behind me on one of the uphills was not so lucky. I heard a thud and crumpling plastic and turned to see a woman down. She popped up and said she was fine and we continued up.

Totally easy, right?

I was slowing way down as the climb got steeper and wetter. The wind was picking up and it tore my hat completely off my head. It was also wasn’t to bright of me to try to catch it as there were drops on either side of me. My right foot was starting to hurt as I was realizing that my trail shoes and I do not get along.

The top! Right after I chased my hat down a second time

I was sliding and slipping but still climbing. I may have been taking a few breaks to catch my breath too. People, I legit turned in a 34 minute mile for mile 5. Yes that was the last mile to the summit but how in the hell? I mean that mile was by far the sketchiest mile and a mile I find hard even in peak shape and good weather but how on earth did it take me 34 minutes????

Once at the top, I grabbed my rubberbands- you know proof I was there, even if I did take a wrong turn at the end and go the hardest way to the summit- and headed back down. Time to run free!!!

Except not really. Every time I hit a rock with my right foot, pain radiated. I may have started cursing. Out loud. A Lot. So, if you were out in MDO on Saturday and heard someone dropping f-bombs along the trail for a couple of miles- yep, that was me.

I finally hobbled my way towards the finish, over 2 hours after I started. Seriously, at one point, my mother sent me a text asking if I had fallen off a cliff. Well, I came close, ha!

So yeah 13K in 2:22:36. Y’all I finished dead last.

Which honestly I am fine with but it does confuse me. There were at least 4 people behind me when I left the summit- and I swear their bibs were the same color as mine. Either they didn’t finish or they were running one of the longer distances. I am just confused.

Even last, I still had a blast. Even if I was cursing for 4ish miles of that. Now, I am going to go start a bonfire for those shoes and ice my foot. I have big plans for 2020.

Hiking-Trails, Race Day, Recap, Run!

Space Rock Trail Race Recap

I am not exaggerating when I say if I hadn’t dropped to the 10K, I would have DNF’ed the half and likely have needed help off the course.

I first heard of Space Rock last year and thought it looked awesome but likely too far away. A little Googling and I learned it was only 3 hours south! But I had an insane October already last year with 2 halves at opposite ends of the state and a 2+ week work trip. So I passed. Instagram adds got me this year and I signed up.

Then the last 3-4 weeks went to hell in a hand basket and I wasn’t sure I was going to even start the race. However I knew that if I did, I was not in the mental shape for a tough trail half nor was I feeling physically up to it so I messaged the race and dropped to the 10K.

If you watch anything sci-fi- you’ve seen this rock

I headed down towards Santa Clarita on Friday wondering if the race was even going to happen due to large fire about 20ish miles away. Somehow the air over Vasquez Rocks seemed clear. I picked up my race stuff and checked into a hotel.

The race swag was awesome- the coolest tye dyed shirt and cutest canvas bag.

Race morning dawned clear and early. Parking was fairly convenient in a dirt lot. Then I walked the mile in to the start. The race started about 30 minutes late due to one of the bus shuttles breaking down. Just gave me time to use the port a potty.

Did I mention I was running this race in new trail shoes and a new watch?? 😂
We lined up and we were off.

Mile 1- 11:58
I was wheezing 1/4 mile in. Wait, what? It wasn’t cold and it wasn’t humid. The only thing I can figure was that I breathed in a bunch of dirt. I’ve run numerous trail races but I’ve never seen as much dirt in the air as I did here. I now understood the people I saw with Buffs over their face at the start- they knew. Other than that, we had a decent downhill and then we on to the single track. And the first person to fall in front of me hit the dirt. He rolled well and was up and running before I could finish my question if he was ok.

Mile 2-15:17
There was some climb here and I still couldn’t breathe properly but the main slow down was the out and back. We were running super narrow single track and it was and out and up then down and back. Those going up slammed to a stop numerous times to let the runners coming down through. We were doing the best we could but we kept bottle necking. And the second person took a tumble.

Mile 3-4- 14:58, 15:12
I still couldn’t breathe. I loved the downhill and I loved the scenery of the canyons as we were running. We came out of the canyon and started the climb that would break me. Oh, did I mention we ran through the darkest tunnel ever??

This was actually in mile 2

Mile 5- 18:06
I have never stopped during a race before, and I have run some doozy trail races. I stopped a few times going up this climb because I could not breathe and I felt like my heart was going to pound out of my chest. My only consolation was that I was not the only one struggling. Everyone around me was hiking and I wasn’t the only one coughing.

Real feel

Mile 6- 17:20
Are we ever going to stop climbing?!! The woman next to let a few f-bombs fly when we reached a false summit. I agree. I ran all the downhills and struggle bus’ed the climbs and stopped a few more times. Passed an adorable orange haired boy doing the 5K and he cheered me on. So cute! Then we were down near the rocks again and I was walking to the finish. I maybe jogged 20 yards at the end?

Finish- 1:33:57

Slowest 10k ever! I crossed the line wheezing and tired.

See? Legs were good to climb a rock

But the medal made me smile and the hot coffee being served made me want to jump for joy.

I would do this race again for sure, just maybe a little healthier and with my face covered in the beginning. Plus for all the roadblocks this race organization hit, they did a remarkable job adapting on the fly. Like water- their original water provider couldn’t get to the race due to the fire but they had plenty of bottles on hand at the finish and the 2 aid stations on the course seemed well stocked. Also, other my lungs, my body handled all the ups and downs well, I was only a little sore in my calves the next day. Oh and somehow in my struggle up the hill in mile 4, I landed in the top 10 in Strava segments. Yeah right!

What was the last race you underestimated?

Recap, Run!, Slacker

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?😀

Run!, Training

Rambling On 40

40?? Hot damn!

It’s Friday and it’s a 3 day weekend- shout it out!

I am looking forward to some nice down time this weekend, I don’t know about you but I really need that extra day.  However I have to get through a race first.

I have a 5K on Saturday.   A “trail” race.  This race organization irritates me but I keep signing up for them.    I’m already cranky.  I have a feeling this “trail” race is going to be more golf course than trail.  I am really hoping I am wrong.  Only time will tell.   But things were off to a rocky start when an email went out months back saying -Surprise! Venue Change!  Oh and the 50 miler and marathon runners have all been bumped to the 50K and the 5 miler became a 5K.  Ummmm????  The only distance that stayed the same is the half but I am not in trail half marathon shape right now.  Although the last 4ish miles with a downhill elevation loss look like my favorite kind of trail.  Sorry -fire road.  Ok, I’ll stop being bitter.  Maybe I’m wrong.

I’ve wanted to try running in my new PureFlow’s again but with a race coming I didn’t want to aggravate the blister anymore.  Boo.   Thankfully, I think it is nearly all gone.

Just a dream

My October continues to get more and more insane.  I just found out my work trip may be 2 weeks.  I have 2 travel races.  I am currently only home 1 weekend and that weekend is potentially filled by a local half but then I found a trail race down by LA that looks super awesome.  Ever heard of Space Rock?  Someone tell me to stop!!!!!  I should stay home.   I should…. right?

What’s your random this week?

Race Day, Recap, Run!

Vintner’s 5 Miler Race Recap

Dang those targeted Instagram ads that sneak up on you.    I was scrolling my feed one evening when a cute wine bottle shaped medal jumped out at me.  I don’t know why- I don’t even drink wine- but I saw that it was in Santa Barbara, fit my training plan, reasonably priced and vineyards usually meant dirt of some sort.  So I clicked through and registered.

As race day loomed, I was tired and fussy and wondering why I even registered.  They said the proceeds were for the Santa Ynez Valley Aquatic Foundation so maybe they could just use the donation?   Then I noticed the winery wasn’t actually in Santa Barbara but Lompoc and spoiler alert- it wasn’t really there either.  However I laid out a lazy flat runner and tried to get some sleep for the early morning drive south.

Race morning was actually a bit chilly in home town and made me question my shorts choice.   After a little driving shenanigans, we arrived at the race location- Sanford Winery and were directed to parking.   Then I had to decide on what shoes to wear.  If you’ve never run in an actual vineyard before, they can be a mixed bag.  They range from super nice fire road to ankle rolling hellish nightmare.  I didn’t know what this was going to be.  I wanted the cushion of my Levitates but chose my trail shoes.   Smart choice.

Picked up my bib and shirt, used the port a potty and waited for the start.  It was around 60 and overcast but at the last-minute I tossed my long sleeve layer to my mother.  I normally run cold but something told me I wouldn’t need it.   After a few announcements that I couldn’t understand over the spotty PA system, we were off through the winery.

Miles 1-2 10:14, 11:29

Dirt roads- yes!  But woah, that is some loose dirt.   And what the hell, my shorts just turned into underwear.  I’d never had that problem with this pair before.   I spent the next mile or so pulling my shorts down every 20 or so yards.  It was super humid so my lungs weren’t happy and I was breathing hard but I wasn’t out there to set any records.   Mile 1 had the cutest mile marker- a wine barrel with 1 foot painted on it.  By mile 2 and the wine barrel with 2 feet on it I figured out the pattern but I am a horrible blogger and failed to take pictures of any of the mile markers.

The fog came back, boo

Mile 3- 15:12

On the upshot, my shorts calmed down and behaved the rest of the race.  Downside #1, we started a 300 foot climb.  Downside #2- I hit a rock with my bad foot and rolled it in a bad way.   Colorful words spilled from my mouth and I slammed to a halt.  Then I hobbled my way up and on, trying to make sure that I didn’t step on any more rocks.   The route was still mostly dirt path but the rocks were getting bigger.  This also made them easier to avoid but I had to focus on where I was landing my feet.  What was I thinking running a race?

Miles 4-5 9:36, 10:42

Mile 4 started by running through a barn and for some reason I found a second wind.  We had a little bit of a downhill but because my foot was being an asshat I couldn’t really RUN downhill.  I was still trying to watch where my feet were landing before they landed and avoid all rocks.  As well as check out the cool outbuildings and the scenery in the vineyard as the sun had come out and it looked super pretty.   I managed to find another rock coming down a little bump in the last mile and let another string of words fly.  A guy running next to me asked if the hill was too steep, I refrained from being a smart ass and replying that it wasn’t even a hill in my opinion and just said I had hurt my foot a few miles back.   The last bit of the race had us running literally in between the vines.  Oh holy hell of rockiness.  There was nowhere to put my feet that didn’t hurt.  I damn near walked it but I was so close to being done.  As it is, I slowed way down.   Finally another few curves and there was the finish line!

Finish-57:44

If we consider this a true trail race- it was my fastest 5 miler by 7 minutes but as it only had 400 ish feet of elevation gain, I am not sure if I do.

Once across the line, there was some confusion.  Registration claimed it came with a medal and wine glass for every participant but neither was anywhere to be seen.    Now,  I downgraded from the festival to just the race so the lack of wine glass was not a huge deal to me but the lack of medal was a little confusing as there had been zero announcements.

I was not the only one confused as evidenced by Facebook comments post race.  We eventually received an email that said there had been a delay with the medals and that they would arrive Monday, then the race would be in touch with us after that.  However it is now Thursday and that was the last time the race reached out.    I have run numerous races with no medals but it’s another thing to say you are going to do something and then not do it.

Communication issues aside, I really did like this race and would consider running it again.