Kick the Dust Up

Disclaimer: I received a pair of Horizon RTT  from Under Armour to review 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!”

Surprisingly enough, dirt and trails are a few of a my favorite things.    I say surprisingly because in some ways I am a huge germophobe and if I’m not in running gear, odds are high that I’m in a dress and heels.    Get me on a trail though and I turn into a 5 year old and run free.  Sometimes a little too free but that’s another story.


When I had the chance to try the Horizon RTT’s from Under Armour, I almost jumped for joy.   My current trail shoes were trashed and it had been way too long since I had run recklessly down a mountain.  I needed it.    Then they arrived and they were so pretty.  But hopefully they wouldn’t stay that way for very long, I wanted to get them good and dirty.

Ok, let’s cover the technical details first-

UA Snip
from the website

Ok, first impressions.

This is a serious shoe.  So much sturdier than my previous trail shoes.   How was that going to feel on my feet?  Ok, where’s the dirt? 😀  My first run in them was a couple laps around the lake.    Not bad, nice traction, good grippy feel, I never felt like I was going to skid out in the loose dirt.


Next adventure- 3 Bridges Preserve, a new trail with a little more zig-zag up than I was expecting.  😛     The shoes felt good, kept me sure footed on the path and helped me explore a little more of what run town has to offer.


Other adventure- An unexpected illness turned a planned Bishop’s Peak hike/run into a calmer ocean trail adventure where I took the shoes over paved paths, hard packed sand,  sandy dunes, boardwalk, gravel and roads.    No problems at all.  And something else I noticed that day?  This hike was done with my mother and she had just purchased a new pair of trail shoes that day.  Her shoes and socks were full of dune sand when she took them off but mine weren’t!

Overall, I wore the shoes for about 20+ miles of mixed routes and surfaces since I received them.  Full disclosure, that unplanned sickness kept me from testing them in my favorite way.   My favorite part of trail running is careening wildly down a mountain side in a barely controlled fashion.  Yes, people usually look at me like I am crazy but I love it.  I need a trail shoe that grips tight so I can run free.  Being sidelined kept me from 2 planned mountains.  Boo.   So as soon as I can run crazily down a mountain, I’ll be back with an add on to this review.  And probably a big smile on my face.  😛

That said, I do have some thoughts on the shoe.  While the outsole is great for traction, I feel like it is very stiff on your foot.   Now maybe I have just become used to a more cushioned shoe lately thanks to my everyday running shoes.   I have a tendency for taking the wrong turn on trails and turning a 5 mile run into 9 or 10 and I think more cushion in the sole would be nice.  This can also probably be corrected with a good pair of inserts, I’ve just never had any luck with those. We shall see.   However I plan on putting in many more miles in these in the months to come.  😀

Want to hear more? Check out these thoughts by other Bibrave Pros-

TedrickLindseyJessicaCasey

How do you run on trails?

Mid Week Musings-3

Woo hoo, it’s Wednesday!   WordPress tells me this is the third time I’ve posted with my mid-week musings, so here we go.

D.E.R- Smart Choices-

As in Don’t Even Register.    I’ve never DNS’d a race because I register super late.  I figure I’d rather pay $20 more than lose the whole registration fee.   My post back in May laid out my summer race schedule.   It listed a 25K trail race on August 1.  Which I really, really want to run.   But let’s be real here, I haven’t been on a trail since April.     I am not in any kind of shape for a 3200’+ elevation gain.  And it’s by the beach.  Hello humidity.  While I was struggling through the last humid miles at Shoreline, I came to the conclusion that a humid 25K just might kill me.   That struggle bus was fueling some dramatic thoughts apparently.    So, I decided that a 12K with 1400′ climb would be fine, a little fun with a little difficulty too.   Then there was my leg and let’s be real there too, it’s been bothering me for a while now.  It’s not a new thing.    It’s not like I’ve never done dumb things before (i.e. Ventura half on heavy-duty antibiotics, a 5K after an asthma filled 10k -September makes me stupid) but I am trying to be smart here.  So from 25K to 12K to 0.     Which makes me cranky since our area has 2 trail races a year and this was the last long distance option until Fall 2016.  Waah!   Or so I thought.   🙂   The one I ran in January is coming back in November.   7 days after the Big Sur Half.   Yup, I’m still crazy.  Just not running next weekend.   🙂IMG_1230

That leg though-

After hiding from the lightning and thunder on Sunday, and the oppressive humidity left behind on Monday, I was ready to try running.   Seriously, I’ve never seen 95% humidity in home town and work was a lovely 100% when I arrived that morning, thanks Delores.     On Tuesday, I changed and headed back to home to run.  I met my mom at the river path which was cool because I was actually really nervous to run so I ended up walking the first mile with her.     From then on I tried to run and just keep things easy.  I focused on how my leg felt and worked on my turn-over.  I know my left hip drops and I need to work on my form.   And now with no races in August, I can work on my form, like back to re-form school for slacker runners.  Oof, that was bad.  🙂  Anyways, the run was pretty good.  My leg felt achy but not in pain.  I paused for a stretch break after each mile and I made sure to stretch really well after my run and later.  I also iced my leg for a bit.  Now, let’s see what happens.

A Fab Choice?

Back on July 4th I finally caved to one of those Facebook ads and signed up for a Fabletic’s outfit.    They were offering an outfit for as low $15 so I figured why not.   After their little questionnaire, the site suggested a few outfits.   I didn’t buy any of those but finally chose one on another page.    Shorts, tank and visor for less than $20 after taxes.   I wore the shorts and tank on Tuesday’s run.  Somehow, I’ve already misplaced the visor.   😦     I sized up for both pieces which worked well with the shirt as I think my normal size would have been too small.  The waistband on the shorts feels super loose so a smaller size may have worked but damn they are short in the back.    The material felt slightly heavy when on and I was less than enthused with the shorts on that first mile.  They kept riding up.    Grrr.  Somehow running made all the irritation go away.    3 miles of running and both pieces were perfectly behaved.    I even forgot the shirt was new, it fit so well.      The second I started walking my cool down, the shorts went back to riding up.    WTH?!    So, overall I am not hugely impressed but not overly disappointed either.    More of a meh.   Why can’t Lulu be more affordable?

Tips for correcting form issues?

Ever tried Fabletics?  Thoughts?

2015 Firehouse 5K -Recap

After 3 years of running this race, I can say with absolute certainty that moving my long run to Thursday was the best decision ever.   Not just because it turned out to be a great run but because per usual, I feel a little broken after this race.   Yesterday’s easy, hoped for 6 turned into a slow, limping crawl for 4 miles.  But I still love this race!  🙂IMG_0049The race touts itself as the toughest 5K in the county.   Not sure if that’s true but it’s the toughest 5K I have run.   So of course that means I have had to run it 3 years in a row.  The course starts at the firehouse then runs .5 mile on the street before hitting the trails and heading up for 2 miles before heading back to the street and returning to the firehouse.

My mom and I were planning on spending the day in SLO afterwards so we headed out in the morning.  I had picked up my packet the day before and parking was a breeze.  We’ve parked in the same spot the last 3 years.   🙂   She stayed in the car where it was warm and I headed to the start line.  The morning was kind of chilly so I wore a long sleeved layer over my tank.   I would later regret that.  A lot.  I ran into an old coworker so we chatted for a bit.  The starting line is under a large flag hanging from the ladder truck and the mayor blows the truck horn to start the race.    I was super relaxed going into this race and that may have given me some problems.    IMG_0056I started way too far back in the pack and had trouble getting out of a cluster in the beginning.  The mountain starts with a series of switchbacks on the trail that usually slows to a single file walk.  I was prepared for this but not for how crowded it was farther back.  I passed people when I could but was hung up a few times.    Once out of the switchbacks we had more single file climbing to do.    The top is kind of a false summit so after reaching the top, there was still a little more up.   I finally got past a few people and was looking forward to cranking it on the way down.  I love running down a mountain.  🙂

But I got hung up again!   I had to bob and weave to get around people and it just took longer.   😦   I ran past a teenage boy who I thought was going to fall off the side of the trail, he was wobbling so much.  I started to wonder if I was gonna have to help him.   Once past him, I ran on down to the bottom and back up another hill.   Once again, I was stuck.   I was behind another teenage boy who had no concept of pacing himself.   He would haul ass for 30 feet and then just stop.   Every time I got past him, he would sprint to pass me and then just stop.   Finally I just sprinted past him and kept going.   We had one last trail downhill and I was able to pass a few more people.    I was sucking air, seriously thirsty and so hot.     I pushed for the last .5 mile and crossed back under the big flag.  First 5K of the year done!IMG_0065Apparently  I should have pushed a little harder, I finished in 33:56.  My slowest time on this course.  Waah.  I said I was relaxed but that still stung a bit.  Oh well, I still love this course and careening downhill so it was an awesome morning!   Starting so far back and getting hung up a few times probably contributed to the extra time but in reality it was only a minute off my best outing on that course.  IMG_0070The race is always well staffed and has volunteers at every point making sure no one makes a wrong turn.  Other than some interesting trail etiquette I observed, I only had one issue with the race this year.   Water.  Or lack thereof.  In the past 2 years, there was a water station at the junction where the road meets the trail.  You would pass it on the way in and on the way back out.  It wasn’t there this year and it hadn’t been mentioned anywhere.  I ran without water since I thought it would be there.    Boo.

All in all, I still love this race.   Even though, it still hurts to move today.  My calves are pissed.   There was no way I was able to do my long run yesterday.   Knowing that I had already done it was kind of awesome.   🙂

Ever run a trail race?  Or a race without aid stations? 

How do you get past people who just don’t want to move?

Sunday Summit- Cerro San Luis

December put a monkey wrench in my run/ hike a trail every other week plans.  I feel like I blinked and it was January.   I originally planned on hiking on New Year’s Day but quite frankly it was just too cold.  At least for this California girl.  I mean come on, I use a space heater every day, even in the summer.   After working in the morning and a rough, abbreviated 5 mile run on Saturday, my mom and I headed out Sunday for Cerro San Luis.IMG_8401Cerro San Luis is located in SLO and otherwise known as Madonna Mountain.  It overlooks the Madonna Inn and has a large M painted on the side representing Mission High School.  And I think it may be my new favorite view.  I just realized I took 165 pictures!IMG_8345 IMG_8353The mountain has a series of interconnecting trails, so I never actually found the M.   Guess that’s something for next time!  We wanted to add some distance so we parked at a nearby park and headed for the mountain via a trail there.   The trail wasn’t very technical and ranged from a dirt trail to a horse path.    Could have done without the horse poop everywhere but it was really cool being that close to the horses.  I had no idea you get that close to them on the trail.  It had an elevation gain of 1160 feet.  Which wasn’t that bad until the very end.  IMG_8373 IMG_8382There were quite a few times that the trail branched in different directions and we had to choose left or right.    At one point my mother chose right and holy crap, that was hard.  It was super narrow and super steep.    I was about ready to start hand over footing it when a woman came down on a bike.  Then I was jumping out of the way wondering if I was going to have to call for help.    I was afraid she was going to crash.  As she passed me she admitted that she should not have gone down that way.    She did not look comfortable or confident at all.    There were a ton of people out on the trail that day.   Bikers, walkers, runners, families and dogs.

Look- it's Bishop's Peak!
Look- it’s Bishop’s Peak!

It was a very warm day which was great but man we felt like we were working.  We finally made it to the top!  Talk about an awesome view!  We then did have to hand over foot some to get to the top of the rocks.   I could see another trail down but we weren’t sure where it went.   We could have investigated but it was way past lunch and I hadn’t eaten anything all day (stupid stomach) so we just headed back down.  We took our time going down because my mom has been fighting a knee thing off and on since we hiked Cerro AltoIMG_8409

Either stupid or daring
Either stupid or daring

This slacker forgot to charge her Garmin and it pretty much died at the top of the mountain.   Oops.  But it was 3 miles up and I think it was around 3 miles down but we went a slightly different way.   The clouds rolled in and the wind picked up as we got back to the park- perfect timing!  Oh and randomly, someone was base jumping off of one of the hills.    It wasn’t that high but umm, no thank you.

Oh hi there.
Oh hi there.

IMG_8444It was great weather and a great hike.  I look forward to going back again and exploring the other trails.  I want to find the M!   I like to call hiking my training and cross training all in one!    It was a great way to end the weekend!  The plan is to hike part of the 25K route this weekend but that also depends on how my mom’s appointment goes in regards to her knee.

How was your weekend?

Firehouse 5K -Recap

I met my goal, but just barely.

Firehouse 5K offers packet pickup at the firehouse the night before and it was a breeze.  My only hesitation came when I saw the sign for an Easter Eggstravaganza being held in the nearby park on the same day.   I asked what time that started because I was concerned that it would affect parking.  It didn’t start until 10 so no worries there!

Right after this pic, the truck behind me pulled out with lights flashing!
Right after this pic, the truck behind me pulled out with lights flashing!

I had laid everything out the night before but right before leaving the house in the morning, I grabbed a long sleeve layer.  It was foggy and a little bit cold but I was hoping it would warm up.  The plan was to head out with my mom and the puppy.  Since it was so close, my dad and brother were thinking about following later.    Once we arrived it was still foggy and I figured that since my lungs have become babies who don’t like weather below 50, I put on my long sleeve layer.  I also used the inhaler again before heading to the start line.   I have had 3 rough races this year for a variety of reasons and I didn’t want this one to be the same.

Fellow Ambassador!!!
Fellow Ambassador!!!

I managed to snag the same parking spot as last year so it was about a block and 1/2 to the start line.   As we were walking up, I heard my name being called.  Huh?  Looking to my right, I saw a couple walking up.  It was another SLO Marathon Ambassador!  It was Lisa from Runner In Training!  Both she and her husband were running too.  It was great getting to meet another ambassador 🙂

Can you see the singer all way up there?
Can you see the singer all way up there?

The start time had been pushed back to 8:45 for some reason but there was a group warm-up put on by a local sports therapy group.   Then the usual pre-race announcements, followed by the national anthem.  I love how they display the flag at this race, and the singer gets to sing the anthem from the top of the big truck!  I’m kind of jealous.  With a blare of the truck horn, we were off!  firehouse elevation

A little under 1/2 a mile is on streets up to the trail, then it’s about 200 yards until we start climbing.   This is where it gets tricky.  All of the trail section is single track.  2 miles of the race is trail, which means 2 miles is single track.  Which for the last mile is ok because the crowd had thinned out.  However, the initial, biggest climb was a crawl.    At one point, I was stuck behind 6 people walking.  The short length of the switchbacks made it hard to try and pass people.  I managed to get past a few but not all.   We were so on top of each other that I could have smacked the firefighter in front of me on the backside.  ( I didn’t!)

so close to finish!!!
so close to finish!!!

After finally getting to the top, I was able to get around some people.  It also leveled out briefly so I picked up the pace a bit.   Then we hit our first downhill.   We went down a different way than we came up, so the downhill was shorter than the uphill.  The trail is shale-like, with some bigger rocks and divets, so you had to watch where you were putting your feet.   I tend to have kamikaze tendencies when running downhill on trails, and I have fallen before.  I skidded out once but managed to reign it in.  Then there was another uphill.  This one was small but I was already tired from the mountain.  It also bottle necked again.    Then it was down hill back to the street.  Kamikaze me came back and I a hit a 6 minute pace for the entire downhill.   Then it was back to the street and across the bridge to the finish line.     I crossed the line and stopped my watch.  Final time- 32:59.  Really?   Yes, it was faster than last year but only by 32 seconds.

I really felt like I was running faster than that.  The only thing I can think is that I probably walked close to a mile of it, between the climb and the bottleneck.  And even me running downhill like a crazy person couldn’t make that time back up.    It was hard to go off my Garmin because it never matched up with their mile markers.    All I really used it for was current pace.    I have to admit that maybe it’s just that this race kicks my ass.

The brother
The brother

DSC02673

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a smaller race, only 3 years old, but it has been impressively organized each time I have run it.   The course is well marked and any time there was a trail split, there was always a volunteer directing which way to go.   There was only one water station but that more due to land constraints than poor planning.    There is also a small health fair.     The crowd was smaller than last year but there was a conflicting race in a nearby town that accounted for that.   The other race is a very popular 10k that draws thousands every year.   It really was too bad that they both fell on the same day.

She's in front of the camera!
She’s in front of the camera!

My family was at the finish line which was cool.  We took advantage of some photo opportunities.  And in keeping with last year’s failed selfie, I have a new one to add to the collection.  I tried to get a photo with my brother and he ducked.  So my dad photo bombed again-

selfie fail!
selfie fail!

Today my legs are feeling the results of my crazy down hill running.  That probably wasn’t the best idea the week before a half marathon, but it was a fun race.  Maybe I will try again next year.  🙂   Running another 5 miles yesterday didn’t help either.  🙂    But the pizza reward for lunch was amazing!IMG_3836

How was your weekend?

Happy Easter!