Saturday, March 30, 2013

Time to Run!!

Heading out to run Brazen's Lagoon Valley, which happens to be a Goonies themed race and will be a blast!!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Coastal Trail Runs Canyon Meadow 30k

I'll start with just getting the race stuff out of the way - shirts are nice, things were organized, people were nice. No lines to wait in, park had enough potties even with a record crowd of almost 400 (this is a lot of people for a CTR race). Aid stations were great, had everything I could have needed, my water bottle was taken from my hand before I even got to the tent and was being filled for me. Plenty of food options, drink options, and smiling faces.

The course - was beautiful!  The first few  miles were pretty exposed, but once you got to Skyline Blvd, you had plenty of shade. It had a nice mix of fire road, single track, and what I call a mix of both - wider than single track, but not fire road wide. It had steep climbs, steep descents, and some technical downhill single track that was a blast. There were lots of Redwoods, and lots of Eucalyptus trees that smelled so good! 

The view to your left up the first climb.

A fun section of single track.

I'm guessing that pointy Mt in the distance is Diablo??

If you look close you'll see the fence that runs along side the trail we were on.

More fun trail as we start a long downhill stretch.

Coastal puts on a good race and this is one I would do again.

Cons- man, those loops do a number on me mentally!! You  have to have the will power and determination to get with in feet of the finish line and veer left instead of crossing it. There was an aid station full of all the finish line food/drinks and people standing around talking and celebrating their finish (5 mile and 13.1 were mostly finished)....and you have to keep going and basically start your race again, heading out for another (shorter) loop which started off with the hardest climb of the day that you have already done once. I grabbed a cup of Sprite and kept walking. Had I paused at all I would have been done.

My Day - The honest truth is I was swinging from high - highs, to low- lows pretty rapidly from the start of this thing.  The climb was tough, but we were staying mid pack of everyone getting it done.  I have had insomnia for the past 9 nights/days (this happens every few months, no biggie, it's just inconvenient) and tummy issues for a week...after maybe 3 miles I was doubled over in a bush heaving with no relief.  If I could have just puked it would have felt so good!!  Brian and I both used the potties at Skyline Blvd, and I took off while he was still doing his business. I ran with 2 ladies, we were doing the pass/get passed thing for a while. I left the next aid station first and didnt' see them again. I did not eat anything at the aid stations, just drank sprite and refilled my water. I stuck to my Peach Tea Chomps that I always use because I knew I could get them down. Brian caught back up to me by Chabot Space Center, just in time to take the road kill picture. We actually just cross the road, we didnt' actually run along it. I told him to go on by himself, I would be fine, and he did.

View behind us heading up the first hill.

This I believe is part of the second 5 mile loop as it cuts down to the creek.

Did I mention it was COLD at the start? Like frozen grass cold??

The first aid station we came to.

Brian catching up to me right below Chabot.

There was some really fun, beautiful sections as we looped back to the finish area. The views from the ridge were amazing, and the single track was a blast. I had updated my music the night before and kept finding myself smiling like a crazy person, running down the hills to songs like "Chicken Fried", "Fishing in the Dark",  "Pontoon", and Alabama's "Mountain Music".   "Mt Music" starts off with an old man who says, "see that mountain over there? One of these days I'm gonna climb that mountain"...and every time it made me laugh out loud.  I guy passed me at one of my deliriously happy moments and said "isnt' this just amazing??"  Yep. The feeling of singing out loud to "Fishing in the Dark", running all out downhill on fun single track, jumping over roots and rocks with beautiful trees and wildflowers flying by....I can't really explain how good that feels.
So pretty!

Made for some fun downhill running!

Obviously one of my deliriously happy moments.

And another happy moment.

There were a few times you could look down over the edge and see the trail you'd soon be on.

Yummy smelling Eucalyptus trees.

That can only mean more downhills coming!

This would be one of my less than stellar moments..look how glassy eyed I am.
The first ridge, second time around. Lots o sun!!

A good example of how well marked Wendell's trail runs are, you see ribbons like this every few minutes.

Hot Dang!! I'm going that way!
 And then other times....I was loopy, dizzy, doing the stumbling shuffle trying to frantically get a chomp in my mouth because I didnt' feel right and surely needed more sugar.  I was doubled over heaving in bushes 2 more times with no relief.  Then, once you are back near the creek in Redwood Regional Park, you go out along the creek for what felt like forever, while the runners ahead of you are running on the other side of the creek in the opposite direction towards the finish. Brian and I saw each other, and he figured he was 10 minutes in front of me.  For some reason he decided to wait for me at the finish line aid station, wasting 10 minutes. I promptly told him to move his butt and get going on the second loop. That was the last I saw of him until the finish. That last 5 mile loop was not pretty. I got through the climb, but it was sunny and hot and pretty miserable.  Eventually you top out and then cut back down to the creek and man, that cut down was steep and not nearly as fun as the earlier single track!!  My joints were pretty cranky coming down that section. At the bottom, you are back to the finishing side of the creek, and it was just a matter of shuffling along to the finish. I shuffled like a champ and got it done.
This was heading up the climb for the second time, it was much warmer the second time and I swear it was steeper, too : )

Post race thoughts - still swinging from "you did ok, you pr'd, you'll be fine for Diablo" to "good lord lady, if 70 degrees and under 3000 ft of elevation was that hard, you have no chance of finishing Diablo".  That said, I feel ok today. If I had to run today, I could. I will workout later. I'm not as sore as I thought I'd be.  I have to remind myself I haven't slept for longer then 2 hours at a time in over a week, I've been sick with stomach stuff on top of that, and I got it done. It was right at a 16 minute PR over the last 30k I did. Brian finished 16 minutes before me.

Other thoughts - 4:20 is a long 30k for most people. I get that. But, it was 18 miles. The first Diablo cut off is at 15.5 miles/5 hours. I did 18 in 4:20....sick, not sleeping, and taking a butt load of pictures.  The second Diablo cut off (which is new this year) is at mile 23/7.5 hours.  Even if I barely made the first 5 hour cut off, I'd have 2.5 hours to go 8 miles. Then if I barely scraped by that, I'd have 2.5 hours to go another 8 miles.  And, I'm totally ok with barely scraping by the cutoffs if it comes to that.   It all sounds very doable. 

So, as you can see, I'm stuck somewhere between 'your an idiot for attempting this again', and 'you can totally do this!'

Put a fork in us and call us DONE!!

Those are some nasty looking elevation charts!!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Caves and Road Kill

Sometimes the most difficult part of a run isn't the choice to enter the pain cave...cuz really, I knew going into this one, it was coming! It's what you do once you're in the cave. That is where you do battle.  It was indeed difficult to walk away from the finish and head out again up the climb.  I honestly already felt like I was in the final miles of my longest (in regards to finish time, not distance...cuz they're all the same 26.2 distance : ) marathon. The mild 70 degrees on the exposed climb up and away from the finish for the second time....took it's toll. 70 degrees and I was a mess - my mind went down the tube trying to figure out what that meant the smart move for Diablo 50k was. It will obviously most likely be at least 70 on Diablo day. One race at a time I had to keep telling myself....and I did do it. It took longer than I had in mind, but was a new 30k PR for both Brian and I. Brian finished about 20 minutes ahead of me. This is the longest run either of us have done in over a year (gasp) and it felt like it!! And....for any who have been wondering from that last post....we are no longer running compatible.  I much prefer to run at the pace I train at (slow) without the pressure of knowing I'm slowing him down.  I did convince him to part ways with me around mile 7...after making him take the above picture.  It was just too good a sign to pass up. : ) And that last steep downhill where I wished for switch backs and not stairs....neither. It was just very steep downhill.
More pictures and a recap tomorrow.

Friday, March 22, 2013

This Weekend's Race

It has been a good, long while since we've done an actual race. I'm more inclined to call it an "organized run" than a race, since we don't really "race" anyone, but I digress....
So it has been a long time since we've done any race, and even longer since we've done one together.  I think the last one we did was......hmm....I think mine was solo at Brazen's Diablo??? Goodness. The last one that was Brian and I together may have very well been Diablo 50k last year.  We've done a handful of runs on the mountain together on weekends, but for most of the past year we've been solo runners.  Solo from each other, although he has much more company on his lunch time runs on Embarcadero than I have on my 3-4 runs a week on Diablo. We've been running drastically different terrain,(although he's been getting in some hills on weekends) and very different paces as a result.  He is super speedy on flats, hitting low 8's and even some dips into 7's....where as I'm covering the Mt at between 10 - 12 minute miles, which climb into 14 and 15's for climbs.
So, I'm looking forward with curiosity to this weekends run. It will be a good measure of where we are with distance, speed, running compatibility, and maybe even how I'm doing adjusting to the heat!
We'll be doing the 30k (18 miles) of Coastal Trail Runs Canyon Meadow Trail Run in Redwood Regional Park in the Oakland Hills.  Looks like this -

This is only the second run I've ever done that loops you to the finish and then has you leave again. The first was Enviro's Angel Island run.  We will hit the finish at 13.1, use it as an aid station, then turn and head back out to do a 5 mile loop. That first climb looks steep but also looks to only be around 400 ft of a climb.....the first time should be ok, but I'm guessing hitting it again at mile 13 while running away from the finish won't be nearly as enjoyable! I should point out the 50kers will be hitting the finish line 3 times, running away from it twice...that's just plain torture. And that steep descent at 26k is most likely going to hurt. I'm hoping that is switch backs and not stairs. Makes me happy I've been hitting the hills hard!  The overall elevation gain is 2,652...over 18 miles, which is about 650 more ft than what I've been doing on 8 - 10 milers. It's by no means an easy run, but I do feel prepared for the climbs. It's more the distance that will be painful I think, and will be the longest run I've done in a long time.
Weather is supposed to be a beautiful 71 degrees, and while I don't know much about the course, I do know there are trees, so that should mean some shade. I also know it's a beautiful area full of Redwoods, which should provide lot's of excuses to pause and take a picture : )

Whatever adventure you are having this weekend, have fun and enjoy yourselves!!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


 I got a new camera!! I have been in need of a new one for a while, but I have a love/hate with new electronics. I hate change. But I love new when it's needed. I had my eye on a specific camera because of it's durability and pixel/zoom. It's a few steps up in terms of pixel/zoom....and is waterproof, crush proof, dust proof, says on the front it's "adventure proof" ..... so in other words I can drop it in a creek and all is good still! Plus, it looks like a transformer. Bonus. Took it out on Saturday's run, although I still don't really know how to use it properly, I just through a sd card in it and headed out the door.

See the crazy people??

Rock City from our run up Wall Rd

New Camera!! See the 6 little round spot lights around the lens, that's for close up/ lights your up close subjects so there's no shadows.

See the microscope....yeah, it can do that too, just haven't figure out how to use it yet!

And it has a huge screen.
 Ok, taking today off from running. Did run 7.5 yesterday, but felt like poo.....maybe fighting off the flu again, very nauseated and dizzy and spent more than the usual time in the potty....but I pushed through all that and ran and I figure pushing myself mentally is just as important a part of training as the physical there you go.But today I am resting!!