Tag: Training

Oakland Hills Trail Race

4 days after getting my stitches out, I was back at another race. No one said I was smart.

I had looked at Oakland Hills for years but never run it. Since this seems to be my year of doing the Inside Trail races, this was the year. My brother was going to run the 35K and I was going to slow roll the 10K again.

His race started at 8:30 and mine 9:00. I knew I was still not 100% and also was having tummy issues all morning. I think this race takes the all time high for the number of times I used a porta potty before the race. This course is the opposite of most of my trail races. Here, runners go mostly downhill for the first half and then climb back the last half. It’s a trap.

Everything started out pretty well. I may have enjoyed the downhills a little too much, ha! It took about 2 miles for me to decide I was an idiot who overdressed and was regretting my long sleeves. Even under the shade of the Redwoods, I was heating up.

The trails were my favorite kind, hard dirt, surrounded by tall redwoods with views for days. The was the sun cut through the trees sometimes was just awesome. I think I took a couple hundred pictures while I was out there. Mile 3 started to take us through a more user friendly section of the park but it was just as pretty. However I also knew we were in for some serious uphill to come as we were fairly flat at that point.

Reader- I didn’t know. I was not prepared.

No good pictures of the up because… up.

Holy hell, the last 2 miles killed me. I was taking back everything I had ever said about any other hill in a race. I stopped to take off my long sleeve because I was seriously overheating and go stuck in my shirt. It stressed me out. 1/2 mile later, I fell on my ass. One second I am trying to just keep putting one foot in front of the other without looking at how far I still have to go, the next I am on the ground. Apparently I made enough noise that the hikers I had passed about 50 yards back turned around and asked if I needed help.

People- miles 5 and 6 were 22 and 33 minutes. Strava shows my moving time was around 16 minutes for each mile, ha! Mile 5 averaged a 19% grade and mile 6 was 20%. I was freakin’ toast. I was so done. My stomach was starting make me question things as well. I was no longer enjoying the pretty trees.

I finally crossed the finish line in 2:07:11.

I’ve run a half marathon faster than I finished that 10K. I’ve never been so done in my life. Meanwhile my brother finished the 35k in 3:38:20 and took 3rd overall. Who is he?

Don’t get me wrong this was a great race, I was just so not prepared. Maybe next year?

Space Rock Trail Race Recap- 2022

I love Space Rock, so much that I registered for the race way back at the beginning of the year. I don’t usually register for races that early, you never know what life might throw your way. But as much as I love this race I also know it gets pricey so I took advantage of a discount code. Which means of course something came up and I probably shouldn’t have done the race.

I ended up having another melanoma removal a week and a half before the race. This left me with a row of stitches on my left upper back. Right where all my sports bras hit. I was also given instructions to take things easy and not do any strenuous workouts. Well shit.

I thought on it and decided I would just walk the 10K. Should I have? Maybe not but I figured going in with the intention of walking and making sure I kept it chill would get me through. Plus my brother was running the half so I had to kill time somehow.

Race morning dawned early and chilly. Which confused me because all my previous times at Space Rock were warm. Combine that with my plan to walk and I had no idea how to dress. I wore full pants with compression sleeves under, a t-shirt and a long sleeve. I also second guessed myself the whole time. I had covered my stitches with layers of gauze and KT tape.

Once to Vásquez Rocks, we were able to park in the park this year. Which I have to admit I did not like. I wish parking had stayed at the lot about a 1/2 mile north. I felt all the cars kind of detracted from the awesome-ness of the rocks. Although I did take advantage of the closeness when I realized in the porta potty that I had forgot to put on my watch. Who does that? I also used to time to ditch the long sleeve in the car.

My brother’s race started on time and we were about 20 minutes behind them. I seeded myself in the back and told myself to chill. And for the most part I did. I knew where the photographers would likely be so I decided to let myself jog past them when I knew they were coming up.

That turned into jogging the downhills and walking the flats and hills. I wasn’t breathing hard and my stitches didn’t hurt so I stuck with that. The only irritation was having to carry my handheld since I couldn’t wear a pack.

The first 3 miles have a great downhill to start and then an out and back along the PCT with a mild climb. The tricky part is that the out and back is single track and boy were there some attitudes out there this year. Now maybe I noticed it more this year since I was farther back in the pack but dudes, chill! Sometimes it would be hard to stop or get out of the way as there wasn’t always somewhere to go and people would get huffy. I also had my first experience with a blocker. Not sure that’s the word but this lady was not happy that my hiking pace was her running pace. There were times I would try to pass her but she would not let me. Or if she did, she would huff about it angrily and then try to make a point to pass me a little down the path and then slow down in front me. Excuse me?

I was still feeling pretty good as we came back to the only aid station- miles 1/3 but I knew next 3 miles were the hardest and they usually killed me in previous years. Like in 2021 when I lost count of how many times I stopped for a break. Maybe it was due to my relaxed attitude and pace from the start but I made it up the first huge climb without any breaks. I felt pretty good too. My watch says my heart rate was up the whole race but I never felt it. I also felt good as I dropped the blocker completely here and never saw her again.

From there we went into the rollers. As long as I felt good I decided to keep jogging the downhills and slow rolling the ups. I was actually passing more people too- some 5K but quite a few 10k people too. I never took any intentional breaks but did chill for a few moments when we bottle necked behind an older lady who was stuck trying to make a tricky transition. Once she made it she let us all pass her and we were off.

I always forget how many rollers there are so each time I would come to the top of one and not see the last stretch to the finish, I get confused. Finally, I was in the last .5 mile stretch, I felt decent but also knew I was tired. I hadn’t done much physical activity in the last few weeks, haha.

Then the finish was there and I jogged across. Success!!

Finish- 1:41:02

I find it funny that I kept it super easy all race but still finished 7 minutes faster than 2021.

Once I finished, I got some food and waited for my brother to finish. He finished in 2:06:10.

Then we climbed some rocks.

Ghosted

Oops. Didn’t mean to disappear. My last post was about Santa Rosa. That was August. Oops.

Running or power hiking has been decent since then. I have three trail races to recap and tell you all about. Those will hopefully be up soon.

I had a great trail day at the beginning of October where I went out with the plan of getting lost. I did pretty well. 😄. And I don’t mean really, rally lost. I didn’t want to follow any sort of plan and just changed course each a time a trail intersection looked interesting. I was in a funk mentally and hoped a choose your own adventure kind of day would knock me out of it. I’m also not completely stupid so my adventure was only around 9 miles when it could have been much longer.🤣 Also I kind loved that it was so foggy for most of the day.

Work has been stressful so let’s just leave it at that.

My quarterly strip search- dermatology appointment- prompted another biopsy. Which came back bad and necessitated another cancer excision. I’m getting pretty good at dealing with stitches. Learned I was allergic to paper tape as well as bandaids though. Seriously? On a gamble I tried KT tape. Success!! Expensive as a tape option but worth not trying to claw my skin off due to the itching.

Good news was they got clean margins. Yay! The excision and stitches did mean I had to cut back on running. I tried to only walk, the stitches were high on my back and every single sports bra I own went right on top. Boo. I ended up deferring Joshua Tree half. I blamed the excision for taking away my training time but truthfully I just wasn’t feeling it.

I’m still kind of in a funk but trying to dig my way out. Think a stupid amount of Hallmark Christmas will help?? Or hurt? Maybe some online shopping?? I’m on staycation at the moment. Maybe I have too much time on my hands.😂

What’s new with you?

Santa Rosa Half Marathon -2022

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Santa Rosa Marathon 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!

After last year’s race where I cramped for 4-5 miles I felt like I needed redemption. Plus I do really like the course. And it gives great swag. Bonus! I stayed in a cute little hotel near the start and was able to walk to the start on race morning. Left the hotel a little later than planned but still made it so the start with time for a port-a-potty stop and meeting up with another BibRave Pro- Autumn.

We lined up in our corral a few minutes before the race and then it was go time. I tried to film my brother crossing the start line, I am lucky I didn’t fall on my face, ha! The first mile or 2 loops around downtown and we run passed the coolest Barnes & Noble. I ran into another Pro- Stephanie just before mile 1. She was pacing the 2:50 half. My calves and ankles were super sore so I knew I couldn’t hang with the pace group very long, even with run/walk intervals.

From then on, I was on my own. I was moving slower than I had hoped but I also knew I was moving at a realistic pace. The bulk of the miles of the race are on the River path so I was curious if I was going to be passed by my brother on the way back before the path split. I knew he was trying to see if he could break 2:00 for his first road race. I didn’t end up seeing him before we crossed the river and headed down the dirt path. Not gonna lie, the dirt path portion is my favorite part of the course.

I turned on my headphones around mile 7, needed a little kick in the pants. A little after the mile 8 marker, I heard the footsteps of a pace group behind me. I turned to see the 3 hours pacer behind me. I growled and told him “no offense but I really didn’t want to see you today”. He laughed.

I then spent the next 5 miles trying to outrun him. It was harder than it should have been. Even though I had told myself any finish time was good as long as I crossed the finish line without leg cramps I was irritated that I couldn’t move any faster. I zero pep in my step. Zero.

Oh! At the 2 hour mark on my watch I texted my brother to see how he finished. A couple minutes later, he texted back- 1:41. Holy sh**!!!! I also may have shouted that out loud as I was running… I may have gotten some funny looks from other runners. I am here to entertain, haha.

Mile 12 brought us back into town and I was ready to be done. I walked a longer stretch here than planned. I saw my brother about a block away from the finish line. Even though I was a couple minutes slower than 2021, I was able to run across the finish line this year as opposed to hobbling.

Finish- 2:59:28

This may be my favorite flat course. Maybe one day I will even be speedy at it.

Racing to (Santa) Rosa

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Santa Rosa Marathon 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!

It’s race week, say what???

Not only is it race week, the weekend is upon us! That snuck up on me. Well, let’s be honest, the past few months have snuck up on me. And then dropped me like Kipchoge rounding the corner on Boylston.

At the mid point of the year I realized I was somehow behind on my miles from 2021, which is so not good. However, July and August improved as I attempted to tighten my belt and train for Santa Rosa. I felt like I needed redemption for 2021.

2021 Start

See, I know I am not fast. I know I’ve been walking more than running. But now I know the course- which is scenic and I really like- and my goal is to not cramp. The leg cramps from last year still color my view of the last few miles, ha! I really would like to run across the finish this year instead of hobble.

Also, somehow, Santa Rosa will my brother’s first road race! And the mountain hiker/climber that he is- he is aiming for sub 2 for his very first road half. I specify half because I still need to tell you about Saturday but that’s for another day.

All right, Santa Rosa, let’s do this!!