A blog about trace and her races.

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Next Up: MUC 50

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Wow, it’s 2015 and already halfway through January – time comes and goes so quickly! I have really been on the fence lately about which races I want to focus on this year and I am finally making progress (at least for the first half of the year). Late last year, I registered for Sean O’Brien 100K (SOB) which is just around the corner on 2/7. At first I was really excited and then my excitement started to wane once Coach and I started talking about marathons. As much as I love being out on the trails, there is competitive side in me that loves a painful marathon. Training and planning 50-milers and marathons together is a challenge already – throwing in a 100K just because is a different story: Lots of recovery and lots of excessive miles on my legs and less races on my calendar cumulatively.

This last week I decided to race Marin Ultra Challenge 50 (MUC)again for the third time on 3/14. This race will replace SOB. I LOVE this course – it’s definitely not an easy one, having over 11,000ft of climbing with one pretty loooooooong hill that I can barely get up hiking. I try not to think of the super hard sections – I know they are there and that is enough for me to know. No play-by-play recaps until I get close to the event so that I can focus on being tough instead of worried or scared.  I will start to get more consistent with my training, run a 50k at the end of this month and maybe a half or some other short-er type of even in February before the big day.

I spent all day yesterday and this morning in San Francisco with my friend Stacie – we are so excited about the race that we decided we’d run a large portion of the course at a conversational pace. Trust me when I say that it is very rare and unlike me to run more 20-25 miles in one day, but it does happen on occasion. We had a phenomenal day – ran from the city and across the empty Golden Gate Bride and right to the race start. We ran the first section up and through SCA and then we were gone. Before we knew it, we were halfway done with our run and at Muir Beach. I suggested we go through one of my favorite sections of the course, Middle Green Gulch, which is a super long climb with lots of switchbacks. This was only one of a few hills where I took off and forced myself to envision myself right there on race day. Gosh, it felt so good, I felt so strong and I am glad I did it so I can remember this spot with a positive memory. One less thing to occupy my mind with later. :)

Anyway, after a solid 7 hours running, and 35 miles, we found ourselves back at her house devouring whatever food we could find until we could get some real food. We both looked at each other and said, “Can you believe we only need 15 more miles to get 50?” We both laughed, we had an amazing day and are really looking forward to this race.

As for my marathon, I am looking into a May/June event. OC on 5/3? This is the race I ran and broke my foot at mile 20 – not the best last memory. Read about that here. Or, Eugene on 5/10? Finish on the track. Not sure yet, but training begins regardless.

If you are interested in reading my re-caps from the last two years at this event, you can find them here:

2013
2014

My ‘A’ Race of 2014

This view never gets old. I love running in SF. Thanks, Nate Dunn for the photo.

This view never gets old. I love running in SF. Thanks, Nate Dunn for the photo.

Since the first day of last year, I knew my ‘A’ race would be the North Face 50 (SF) in December. There wasn’t a day that went by where I didn’t imagine myself somewhere in the Headlands, imagining how good it was going to hurt. Every tough workout, every time my legs screamed and my lungs burned, every time I climbed the 2-mile Wellbarn fire road climb at the end of a killer trail run, I would pretend it was THAT race. I sacrificed a lot of local racing throughout the year to avoid burnout for this end of the year race.  I had high hopes. I was confident. And I believed I had it in me to battle the whole way. I didn’t.

My race was cut short at mile 28 when I decided to drop. My body was fighting me for last 8 miles. My quads, hammies and back were cramping. I knew I was doing the right thing when I called it. It hurt, but I needed to be smart. Today, as I sat in a cafe talking to a friend, she asked me what my true running goals were. Like did I have something major I wanted to accomplish? The answer for me was simple, and it really confirmed that I did do the right thing. My answer: I just want to be able to run. There is no doubt that I am a competitor and that I will continue to compete, but that is just a bonus to huge blessing already bestowed upon me.

That day in the headlands was a big reflection of my personal life and struggles. I needed to let go. I needed to be realistic and stop trying to fix things or hang on to things that were broken. Things that I thought were so important to me. Things that I thought I needed. Things that couldn’t heal themselves with more time, more talks or miles. This race outcome was the closure that I needed to start a fresh new chapter of my life. It felt really good. I feel really good. I feel hopeful, happy and refreshed for a beautiful new year filled with new opportunities and experiences.

Here was my immediate Facebook post after my race:

I dropped at 28. At mile 19 I stopped to stretch quad and my hamstring cramped too. Then it was my back. I was strong until that point and took a break at 28 then stated again, but I had to stop. Then I tried again and stopped. I walked back to the aid, visibly upset, but it was the best decision for me. Not happy, but there was no way I could run downhill for five miles and that is when I decided to call it. Omg I hope you never experience hamstring cramps – nearly made me scream like a girl. I literally saw all of your faces during that moment of me needing to drop – I had to do it, and hated having to relay this message about the drop. This is what makes ultras unique – anything can happen even when you feel you you are complete ready. Thanks for all the well wishes and support – it means a lot to me.

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San Joaquin River Trail 50 – A Home Away From Home

MIle 16-ish.

MIle 16-ish.

“Roll, won’t you come roll with me, slow, fast, full speed…”

 These were the lyrics I played over and over on my shuffle and in my head for the last 8 miles or so and in review they fit so perfectly well with the rhythm of my race, or at least that’s how I thought it played out – my splits could say otherwise.

I can honestly say I am proud of myself for this performance – it has been a trying past few months, but somehow I managed to keep it together. Today I ran smart – not too fast, but good enough to enjoy this incredibly beautiful and challenging course AND take the top third spot and F1. The course was gorgeous, the aid was perfect and I got really teary-eyed near the finish because I have the privilege to run and race with such good friends. So proud of everyone today, definitely a special day! 8:26:35.

 

 

 

 

An Angel Named Heaven

 

She did it - Triathalon complete for Heaven!

She did it – Triathalon complete for Heaven!

A few weeks ago I was asked to be the running guide for Heaven during her run portion of the iCanTri here in Fresno and without hesitation, my answer was YES! You see, Heaven is 10 years old and is blind. The opportunity to guide her on a one mile run around a grassy and bumpy high school may have been to help her, but in the end, it was obvious that she would be the guide for so many of us who let small obstacles stand in our way when trying to reach our goals.

I only met Heaven the morning of the race and I was very nervous to guide her without prior training with her. In 2011, I was one of two guides for my now good friend Adrian for the Surf City Half Marathon and I will say it again, it was actually him who helped me because at the end of the day, he inspired me through all of our training runs, forgave me for the many accidents I caused (forgetting to tell him that there was a curb coming up, or a tree branch near his head, or a pack of cyclists heading our way through Griffith Park!) and helped me with a huge PR. He taught me a lot about the human spirit and what we can achieve all by effort and attitude. Read about that race experience here.

For this event with Heaven, she started out with a swim, followed by bike and then the run. When she got to the bike/run transition, she was so calm – it was as if there were no concerns. She was there to do something and there wasn’t anything going to get in the way of that or anything else she wants from life. She did great and finished strong and happy, not to mention she inspired many.  It was a great day — thank you, Heaven!

Sometimes Life Gets in the Way

It’s been a busy summer so far, too bad it seems like such a blur. Priorities always have to take precedence – even when it comes to running so I have found myself working a lot and other things, some small running too.

I got an email from a friend of mine in Southern Cali – letting me know that there was photo of me in the current issue of Ultra Running Magazine. Funny, I had already forgotten about the Marin Ultra Challenge, but it reminded me that I do race and I miss racing so badly!

I don’t race again until September here in Fresno and then again in November and finally,  December so I have been treating myself to doing whatever I want until it is crucial that I am on a strict training regime. I guess my biggest concern is getting burned out before showtime.

Here is what I have been up to:

Runners of all ages trying to beat the heat and stay fit during the Fresno summer. Sole 2 Soul 5K Summer Series.

 

Sole 2 Soul Summer Series – we decided to put on a 5K summer series for the community. $5 for a chip-timed 5K – six of them total, all in the evenings at 7pm. It’s over 100 degrees here in the summer, so it has been a beautiful thing to see hundreds of runners show up to this event, trying to stay fit, even in the blazing heat. It’s been nothing more than fulfilling running around like crazy, making sure everything will happen without a hitch and that everyone finishes with a smile on their face. In a weird way, I feel like this series is far more important than me running a race of my own for personal results. I have met some amazing individuals at the event and I look forward to many more!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every Thursday we have Group Fun Runs starting from the River Park store at 7pm. These runs have proven to be enjoyable for me (and hopefully for everyone who attends).

Such a great group of people - some regulars and some newbies!

Such a great group of people – some regulars and some newbies!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not too many epic adventures in the running department although I did head over to Santa Cruz to escape some negativity and for some fresh air. Didn’t get in nearly enough miles as I’d like to, but it was enough to help clear my head.

A beautiful place to run and escape reality.

A beautiful place to run and escape reality.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Montana del Oro Group Run – Sole 2 Soul put together another annual group run at Montana del Oro. It was so amazing to see how many people made the 2hour+ trek from Fresno, Visalia and Bakersfield. I counted around 60 runners from all the photos – most runners news to trails (which excited me the most). It was a long journey for the 10-miles I ran, but you quickly forget all that when you are with great company and trying to keep up with the boys (Cody, Matthew, David, etc.). I am anxiously anticipating our next Fall adventure in the same area.

All smiles at Montana del Oro.

All smiles at Montana del Oro.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Night running – it’s been hard to get out to the trails (half hour away) and still make it to work on time so I asked my friend Kristen E to join me for a night run in Auberry. To my surprise, her immediate response was, “YES!” And so we did it. This wasn’t my first night-time excursion in the dark, but it was my first time running at night in this area and only with one person. Maybe not the smartest or safest decision, but it went very well and it was enjoyable. We got to the trails aroun 11:30pm with intentions of running 19 miles, but as we got deeper into the run, little voices in my head told me that turning around early was a better decision. Kristen was right there with me with that decision and we got back to the car at nearly 2am. This will definitely a repeat adventure, but probably with a group of people for safety reasons. The only scary thing we encountered were black widows and they were everywhere!

"Ok, we made it to the bridge, now let's get the heck out of here!"

“Ok, we made it to the bridge, now let’s get the heck out of here!”

 

 

 

 

 

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