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.😊

 

 

 

 

 

BibRave, Product Review, Run!

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?

Run!, Training

Week 32- Ragged

I was so glad that I didn’t have any races to worry about this week.

With all of the conversion craziness and trying to stay somewhat ready for Salinas Valley, I was beginning to feel a little run down.    As much as I want to run all the miles to get my numbers back up, I also need to not break myself.  And this was my thought process before the stomach flu tore it’s way through the office.  So glad I’d already decided to keep things chill this week.  😛


Monday- 3.55 miles  I had taken the day off as a vacation day post Salinas with the hope of getting some rest and catching up on some things I woefully behind on.  Umm, not so much.  But I did make it to the new trail in run town for a few miles up and down.   The trail is great, the drive to the parking lot though is ridiculous.

Tuesday- Rest Sticking to any sort of post work schedule has been difficult.

Wednesday- Rest  I am sure I did something but I don’t remember what it was. 😛


Thursday- 3.1 miles  I had zero desire to run after work.  None.  The long days were catching up to me.   But I changed and started driving towards home.     I ended up at the River path and told myself a mile was better than nothing.   I started out walking and had a hard time convincing myself to run but eventually I started.  I expected the crappiest run ever however I ended up running the smoothest, most consistent miles since marathon training last year.      I stopped once when I thought I heard a stray kitten.  If you follow me on IG then you might know that I spent a few moments looking for it in the bushes before thinking that this might be a good way for creepers to lure people into the bushes.  😛   Ok, the exhaustion is making me delusional.

Friday- Rest Yay, it’s Friday!  It was the first time I worked the late shift without opening too in months.  I couldn’t remember what time to set my alarm for, ha!


Saturday- 4 miles  After spending some time shopping in SLO, I hit up a path in work town that I haven’t been on since last year.   I love it but there are parts that I don’t feel comfortable by myself in the evenings.  This time it was the early afternoon and I took my mother along for the ride.  😛    The route is great and very scenic but about a mile from the car my left leg did that buckling in pain thing again.  WTH?!  I hadn’t felt it all week and I now I felt like it was going to knock me flat.   Grrr.


Sunday- Rest  I was still super tired and with my leg acting all wonky, I decided not to push it.    There are races I would like to run in October and I can’t do that if my leg is still giving me fits.    Stupid leg.  Where’s my foam roller?

10.65 miles for the week.  Not great but not too bad either.  I stayed upright during the stomach flu epidemic and my leg didn’t start screaming until Saturday, so I was able to get in some decent short miles.    Now if I could just figure out what is going on with my leg.

How was your week?

Any tips for odd leg pain in the groin area?😛

Random thoughts on the run?

 

Run!, Training

Week 28- Too Many Tabs

Upcoming Races-

  • Rock to the Pier 10K?
  • Salinas Valley Half Marathon

This week was so much better than last week but there were numerous points when I felt like an internet browser with too many tabs open.  Not just any internet browser- Internet Explorer.😛

The week leading up to system conversion was just as crazy as I anticipated and I didn’t make it to half of the training meetings that I had on the schedule.  I managed to have everyone else stick to the plan but me not so much.  Adding to the chaos, I was greeted Monday by a dead computer.  Yay.   With the computer change coming, I didn’t the point in bugging IT when they were already stressed to the max so I just stole pieces from other computers until I was working, haha.   This actually prompted someone to tell me that I was surprisingly positive.  😛

Oddly enough, this week, I was.   Don’t get me wrong, there were times I felt completely underwater but somehow stayed positive.  At least I think I did.  Maybe I should with my  coworkers.   I was exhausted but kept trucking.  Ran more miles than last week but still fell short in a big way.  Oh and that 10k?   Ha!

Monday-  Rest   I had an early morning conference call and afternoon meeting at the south end of the county.  The meeting ended early but instead of heading home, I headed back to the office which turned out to be a good thing as even with me, we still got out an hour late.    No running for me.

Tuesday- 4 miles First run in 4 days.  And a source of amusement.  I was a little accident prone this week.   How I did not cause actual harm to myself on this run, I have no idea.   It was a slow run but it was a nice stress release besides all the drama.  😛

Wednesday- Rest The day was chaos.  It was also my birthday.    Neither meeting really panned out.   My coworkers brought me donuts, Taco Works and Starburst’s.   Aww, they know me.   This system conversion is going to make my pants tighter. 🙂

Thursday- 3.6 miles  The tiredness was setting in. I was beginning to realize that Saturday’s 10K was not a good idea.  I really did not want to run.   I changed and headed for home town trying to talk myself out of running the whole way.   However I parked, changed into my shoes and told myself I could do a 5K.   I ended up running a little more that but it wasn’t pretty.   I was sluggish and stopped more than necessary for a short run but it was done.

Friday- Work We’re just going to call it that.   I think I left work after a long day a little after 7.  Maybe later.  It’s hard to remember.

Saturday- 4.2 miles trail  Ok- no 10K race because- 1) the thought of an early morning alarm made me want to cry, 2) the idea of driving to work town 12 days in a row, mmm, nope.   So instead my mother took me shopping for my birthday- new shoes!- and then we did a little trail run in the afternoon.  The trail is awesome and very friendly to tired Slackers like me.    I considered running 6ish miles when I got home to finish a long run but it was 100+ still and there was another fire so we had a smoke advisory.   Boo.

Sunday- Work  Here’s where the 12 days in a row would have come in.   I actually went in to work in running clothes with my shoes and pack in the car but we ended up being there so much longer than planned.  I also found that while I had managed to get a computer working for me during the week I didn’t come out so pretty on the other side of conversion.  A lot of my settings and links were unrecoverable. 😢 It’s cool, I didn’t need those anyway right?  Fingers crossed.  I returned home to temps of 104.  I still planned on trying for a few miles but I ended up passing out for a long nap instead.  Oops.

11.8 miles for the week.  Again so much better than last week but kind of missing that 10 mile long run.   I am hopeful for the coming week but I know that it’s going to be another intense week at work and that needs to be my top priority.     I think I can, I think I can.   I also don’t want to disappear into a hole.  I feel like I barely read or commented on your blogs last week- well I think I read them but I’m not sure what happened after that.  Like I said- I was kind of hazardous.  😛

How was your week?

Do you ever have accident prone weeks?  Moments?

Hiking-Trails, Run!

Sunday Summit- A Little Lost

Finally.

After 11 days off (stupid flu!!!) I finally got out there and did something!  I also made it to work on Thursday and Friday.   Wowza, Thursday was rough, I was exhausted.  No lie, I got through the day with a lot of Diet Coke.  But anyways, on to Sunday.IMG_8590

With the 25k 7 days away, eek, Sunday was my last day to get in a trail run/hike.   Plus I needed to test run my race day gear.  Because of the narrowness on the trails and the chance for ticks, I am wearing clothing that is a little more form-fitting than usual.   I also had a new hydration vest I needed to test.  The first one didn’t work out so well.    It didn’t fit right with water in the bladder and just didn’t feel like it was made well.  I replaced it with a new one a few weeks back but hadn’t been able to test it yet.  This one doesn’t have a bladder but has 2 water bottles in the front.  I stashed snacks in the back pocket and filled the bottles.   Success!  Well, except I haven’t figured out how to easily access my phone.  But I’ll work on that.  🙂IMG_8603

With me being sick and my mom being slightly hurt, we have readjusted our general time goal for the 25K.  Sunday, the plan was to head out to the race course and hike part of the last out and back.  According to the course map, that section is 8.4 miles.   We had troubles finding the right trail head but we were near another one that my mom had hiked before and really wanted to again.  The sign said it was 3 miles and it looked to be all fire road.   Fine by me, 6 easy miles was probably all I was up for anyways.IMG_8621 IMG_8626

It was freakishly warm!  High 70’s and I was burning up!   Being a fire road, the trail was easy but I was still coughing a bit.   The trail ends near a worn down, beat up, old barn.  It was equal parts creepy and cool.    So of course we had to take a few pictures right?  IMG_8634When we headed back, we passed a tiny, almost hidden single track trail head.  My mother insisted she had hiked it before so we should do it too.  Holy mother of incline.   We gained 700 ft over the next 1/2 mile.    Once we finally made it to the top, we found a picnic table.  We took a break and ate a few snacks.   And enjoyed the view.  🙂   We headed back down another way, hoping it was shorter way back.  Ha!IMG_8639 IMG_8666

Since we weren’t positive what mountain we were on, I pulled up a park map on my phone.   It didn’t really help.  Or maybe I just don’t know how to read it.  Eventually we found our way down to a trail intersection.  According to the map, the right trail led to a dead-end and the left trail was the backside of Hazard peak.    We went left which meant we then had another climb in front of us.     My mom’s knee was just starting to hurt and we coming up on 6 miles and we weren’t even at the top of the mountain.   Our pace had slowed but we mad it to the top once again and enjoyed more views.  There were some mountain bikers at the top discussing trails and I overheard one say that the trail we had not chosen led to another fire road.  Really?!  That would have been so much easier!  Where were they when we could have used directions?IMG_8645 IMG_8670Then it was time to head back towards the parking lot, down the front side of Hazard Peak.  So at least we were able to check out the race course from that direction.  Down hill it’s not too bad, but I am wondering what the uphill will feel like after 8 miles.   Guess I’ll find out next weekend!  We finally made it back to the parking lot- 9.65 miles later.   We survived, haha!  IMG_8701 IMG_8703Even with getting a little turned around, going farther than planned,and getting a little sunburned, it was a good hike.  I don’t think I would have hiked that far without getting turned around but some coughing attacks aside, it was great to get outside and do something again.    Plus it was a good practice run for next weekend.  It gave us a general idea of what kind of time to expect.  Sunday’s hike was just that a hike and we covered 9.65 miles with 1400 ft gained and maintained a 17:00 pace.  Next week the race will add some speed on the downhills but a little slowness when we climb Valencia Peak, but that’s only 1.5 towards the beginning, so fingers crossed?IMG_8734 IMG_8746Sunday’s route took us from fire road to single track, packed dirt to loose shale and then loose sand.   The surroundings changed from scrub brush to trees then to a Eucalyptus grove.   The sun was shining and sometimes we could hear the ocean.  I’d call it a pretty good day!

How was your weekend?

Ever got lost in the woods?  (yes, I wasn’t in the woods but still)  🙂