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?

Eat!, Hiking-Trails, Training

Week 28- Of Birthdays and Dirt

This week was a little all over the place.

Also I didn’t mean to only post one blog post last week, the week flew by oddly fast.

I only worked 2 days before starting my first real vacation of the year. It was also my birthday so a few more indulgences may have occurred than normal. My stomach chose to remind me of it’s asshat ways on a few occasions and I also had a fun migraine try to join the birthday party.

I also may have gotten a little creative with my training plan. First by liberally rearranging things and then taking some creativity with certain runs. Then came the heat advisory. Hey, when life gives you lemons, right?

Monday- 2 miles up/down, 4x 800 at 5k pace/ Nailed it
Speedwork on a Monday is a little different. I headed to the lake so I didn’t have intersections to worry about. Why haven’t I done this before? For once it was nice to nail the pace for all of the 800’s. Could I have run faster? Yes, but maintaining it was not likely.

Tuesday- 1.5 miles/ 1.5 miles
Easy, not so breezy miles.

Wednesday- 1.5 miles/ 4ish mile trail run
First day of vacation and my rearranged week was already taking hits. Instead of my long run, I headed down to SLO for some shopping and ended the day by hitting a trail. Have absolutely no complaints about time spent in the dirt with ocean views.

Thursday -10 miles/ sick
I started to get sick on Wednesday evening and it was downhill from there. Unless a
2.5 hour naps counts as training, I did nothing.

Friday- .5 mile warmup, 6 mile tempo/ 5.5 ish meltdown
Birthday!! I admit I slept in a bit- it was my birthday, why not? It was still early my standards but it wasn’t enough. I managed 1 mile at tempo pace before I spectacularly blew up. It was 80* with 50% humidity and I was not handling it. At all. I all but crawled the next few miles and cut the run short by a mile.

Then it was time for a cold shower and off to birthday lunch.

Saturday- 10 miles redux/ migraine city
A migraine moved in Friday and took up residence. I tried my best to deal with it in my usual ways but ending up taking one of the heavy duty pain pills in the evening. My neurologist will be so proud. It did level my vision so yay!

Sunday- How many times can I type 10 miles?/ 8+ mile trail run
Still in the midst of a heat advisory, I figured heading south would be my best bet for the run. I had my mom and S along for the ride- I love this trail but it has given me some creepy vibes in the past. This way they could hike and I could run and at least they would only be few miles behind me. I underestimated the heat. By mile 4 I was feeling it. I don’t think I’ve ever been so sweaty in my life, it was gross and it was hard. So hard. I relished the break I got at the top while I waited for them to catch up. I was so looking forward to the run down but the heat had gotten to me, the return down was more of a jog/walk and a lament as to where all the shade had gone.

So 23.83 miles for the week. Plan called for 26.5, oops. Still, it could be worse and I can’t complain about any week where I get to run on the trails twice.

How was your week?

Hiking-Trails, Training

Week 14- Trail Therapy


How many times can I say the pendulum is swinging up before it hits me in the face?

  • 2019 Race Schedule (so far):
  • 4/28 SLO Half Marathon
  • 6/2 RnR San Diego (more to come)
  • 8-11 Oaktown Half (Thanks BibRave)

See that race schedule up there? Yeah last week included 2 races that weren’t listed- a trail race on Saturday and a local half on Sunday. Neither of those happened.

However, it wasn’t a wasted week entirely. I wasn’t entirely a sloth- I was able to get in a few miles. I continued to take my antibiotics- well mostly- seriously, I need a keeper.

Work has been a little on the crazy side, and it’s making me feel a little off. I really needed to run but I also wanted to make sure I had a couples days of antibiotics in me first. I also had an overdue dermatologist appointment. Once again I day why bother with the gowns? Make paper versions of shorts and bra tops or something. Show up in your bathing suit- either of those would be better than the gowns. And this years biopsy is going to be on my arm. Yay.

Monday/ Tuesday/ Wednesday
I thought about running but knew it was probably stupid. I was still stubbornly holding onto the possibility of running the 10K on Sunday instead of the half.

Thursday- 3.1 miles
I headed out for a run attempt after my doctor’s appointment. I set my watch for 1 minute run / 1 minute walk intervals and straight up walked the first 12 minutes. It wasn’t as rough as I had feared but it was not a walk in the park. How did I finish 13 just 10 days ago???? Note I did not say run. 😂

Saturday- 5 miles
Seriously is my voice ever going to come back and my ears unplug??? I waited until the warmest part of the afternoon and attempted my “long” run of the week. I kept tot the same intervals as Thursday. My pace wasn’t horrible considering but it was tough. What didn’t help was the heel pain I had on my right foot. I wore a stupid pair of flip flops earlier in the day since I left my main ones at work and they jacked up my foot.

Sunday- 3.25 miles
Trails! I missed you! Let’s never be apart for so long again.

My heel was still sore so I headed for 3 Bridges for some nice hiking miles. Except of course, I had to run chaotically downhill for at least part of it. Reckless abandonment-that’s my trail running motto. I did scream like a banshee when a wood mouse decided to try to run under my feet and then race me along the path. I was more concerned with stepping on it than I was scared but I react loudly. Ha! Now picture that and include the fact that my mother was out there with me except about 1/4 mile back. She heard the scream. Sorry mom!

11.4 ish miles for the week. Could be worse. Hopefully this week will continue to improve.

How was your week?

BibRave, Run!, Training

Big Sur Marathon Training-Week 9

Week 9… how is that possible?

Yikes.

Last week was odd.   I had to cover another location for a few hours on Monday, and my tire pressure light was on.  Not cool when you’re driving all over the county and it’s raining.  Oh and I had all my tires checked, rotated balanced the previous week.  Grrrr.   I was supposed to have 2 vacation days due to a tennis trip but it was canceled due to projected rain so I canceled of those vacation days.   The weather was hard to get a handle on as no app or meteorologist could it get it right.  There were other things that added to a very scattered feeling week.    I still feel like I am forgetting something.

Oh and after getting my air checked on Monday, my tires were fine until Sunday when the damn light came on again.  There’s a stinkin’ nail in my tire.

The Plan-

week 9.PNG

Life-

Monday -Wednesday- No Running There should have been but there wasn’t and right now I can’t remember if any of the reasons were actually really good reasons for not running.  I know one day work ran really late but as for the others?

Thursday– The vacation day I gave back. Boo.

Friday- 6 miles  The vacation day I kept as a kind of mental health day.  I slept in and headed out for a run in the afternoon.   It looked clear on the weather app but it lied.  It rained off and on the whole run.   I wanted 7-8 miles but I was so damn cold I couldn’t. 6 rainy miles were good for me.

Saturday- 6 AM miles, 11 PM miles-17 miles total  Hit the snooze button a few too many times and I knew I was splitting my run but it wasn’t supposed to be like this.  It was supposed to be 13 AM and 4 PM.  However, again the weather app lied.

I headed out in the AM planning for 13 but my legs were feeling a little sluggish and my stomach was a little off in a weird way.    At mile 4, I rerouted and reversed my middle loop so I would hit the park with the bathrooms around mile 6 instead of mile 10.  All hell broke loose just after mile 5.  It started with a few drops of rain followed by a few more then the skies opened and just dumped buckets of rain and hail.   Girls running a track race down the street past me started screaming, I tried to run for cover as hail was bouncing off cars.   My shoes were drenched with moments as well as both pairs of socks.    I had a choice to make- try to push on or bail.  It was the shoes that decided it for me.  I don’t want a blister with only 8 weeks of training left.  I also knew I’d passed the high school a mile back and my mother had a tennis practice that she was probably canceling too.  I had a small window to hitch a ride.   I called her as I ran for cover under some solar panels dodging giant puddles.

After lunch and a short nap, I headed out to finish my run.  Oh good lord, my legs were not on board.  This was struggle bus from start to finish.  The sun was out but half the miles were in a flippin’ wind tunnel and the other half had zero air movement.  It was a slog.  Nothing hurt, my legs just didn’t want to work and my little break had let me figure out what was wrong with my stomach, a surprise visit of the hormone variety, so my stomach was still not right and I was feeling more fatigue than usual so I just let it ride.   I basically crawled 11 miles.  Ok, it wasn’t that bad it just felt like it.   But I finished it.

Sunday – 3.5 mile trails  Took my shakeout run to the rails.  Went for elevation gain over pace.   Which was my original thought process back when I created my training plan but considering this is week 9 and it’s the first time I got my butt up a mountain- oops.  Every time I’m out on the trails, I remember how much I love getting my shoes dirty.

26.59 miles for the week.   So now if I could just figure out how to get the beginning of the weeks on track. 😛

How was your week?

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.  😛  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.  😛     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.😊