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.

BibRave, Run!, Training

Week 30/ Rock n Roll San Jose Training Week 2

Upcoming Races-

  • Vintners 5 Mile-7/28
  • SLO ULTRA 5K-9/2
  • Rock n Roll San Jose 13.1 (Thank you BibRave!)-10/8
  • City to the Sea 13.1-10/14
  • Rock n Roll Los Angeles 13.1 (Thank you BibRave!)- 10/29
  • Monterey Bay Half Marathon (Thank you Bibrave!)- 11/12

So close, so close!  I almost hit every work out.  But I didn’t.  I tried rearranging to fit life, the heatwave and my leg and it just didn’t work.

The plan for the week was 4 Liift4 workouts and 3 runs.  The runs were originally laid out as an easy 4, a 30 minute tempo and a long run of 6 miles.  I knew I had a 5 mile race on Saturday so I figured that would be my tempo and I would just run another easy 4 to make up for the shortened long run.   Well, that was the plan.

Monday- Liift4/ Fair  Stupid mistake #1.  Possibly 1 and 2.  I should have done the Liift4 workout in the morning.  I didn’t- I did it after the fair, finishing around 11.  I wore flip flops to the fair- which might have been fine if it was just the fair but I also walked home.  Everything below my left knee was pissed.   The funnel cake was awesome though.

Tuesday- Liift4 I packed my gear to run but my leg was still pissed at me for the flip flops.   In the end I decided another day of rest was best and met my mother for dinner instead.  However that may have been a bad idea as I spent the rest of the night violently ill.🤢

Wednesday- 4 miles With the temps in hometown around 110, I opted to run in work town where it was a pleasant 66.  I always feel super awkward running in work town for some reason but usually settle into it around 1.5 miles in- around when I hit the eucalyptus grove.   I feeling good and running an easy pace but the 80% humidity was making my breathing sound like I was sprinting.  That said, this was a rare time I powered up the hill back and felt like I could have done it again.  I didn’t.

Thursday- Liift4 I wanted to run but it was another 110 degree day and a late afternoon doctor appointment in another town messed with my plan to run in work town again.   Traffic getting home due to the Luke Bryan concert irritated me and I really wanted to run but the temps didn’t really cool until after 9 PM and not really even then.   I don’t run at night let alone at night during the fair.

Friday- Rest The Liift4 leg workout was on the schedule but I remembered being extra sore last weekend afterwards.  Which normally would be fine but with a trail race on Saturday and my leg still feeling funky, I decided to push the workout until after the race.  Possibly mistake #3.

Saturday-Vintner’s 5 Mile Race Race recap to come complete with vines, dirt, rocks,  barns and medal snafus.  My Liift4 workout did not happen that evening.

Sunday- Rest Oh, what the??? Not only did I not do the Liift4 workout I missed, I did not run.   Without going into too many details from Saturday, there are some lingering issues and anything weight bearing sounded and felt like it would do more harm than good.  I wish I could say I made that choice easily but I kept telling myself that things were going to improve right up to 5PM.   Nope.  Crap.

So yeah, 9 miles for the week, 5 out 7 workouts.  Which on the surface might not look so bad but I am a little for how it going to play out this week.

How was your week?