A blog about Trace and her races.

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Miley Is Making All This Much Easier

I hate hearing/reading anything about Miley Cyrus (or any other troubled starlet – for that matter), but I let my curiosity get the best of me and I found myself Googling her “Wrecking Ball” video in hopes to understand her recent over-the-top behaviors.

What I found was that I actually liked the song, not the wrecking ball-humping or hammer-licking stunts, but I genuinely felt her pain and could almost imagine what it would feel like to lose someone I loved so dearly. Let me be clear about this, I am not talking about any past/present/future relationships, I am just trying to say that I could feel her pain, if in fact there is pain to feel at all – this is Hollywood after all.

Anyway, the point here is that after watching the video, I went straight to the iTunes store and purchased the single since I am desperate for a fresh, new, and motivating playlists for my tough runs and for races.  For months now I have had the same songs playing over and I find myself distracted, tripping at times while I try to skip over songs that I now despise during my run.  Mumford and Sons used to get me going and running quickly but now I get this dreaded feeling when I hear them – time for new stuff!

I noticed today that I had a little pep in my step when her song came on and I even repeated it a few times. I came home from my run and pre-ordered her CD and got to hear her other song that is available called “Bangerz” which I also liked. If you enjoy running to music then I am sure you can understand why it is important to pounce on songs or artists that motivate you and get you through your workout/race. Right now, regardless if she is a horrible artist or not, she is helping me so that is enough for me to support her music.

Pic of the Day: The Only Redwoods in Orange County


Nice little patch of redwoods found near Carbon Canyon, a county park. Sure its not some big national park with huge trees, but it will still smile when I pass through. Let’s see how many miles I can put in today…


Pic of the Day: Best Shoes, Best Socks.


Pic of the Day: Death March to Mt. Baldy


Charlie, D and Balmore at the top of Baldy.

I am exhausted after a very long day that began with dreadful march up to Mt. Baldy. Even on a good day, the 6 mile and 6, 000 ft. climb can feel daunting, but today I did it with DEAD legs and got my butt handed to me. As lousy as I feel right now, I  am so grateful that I wasn’t alone and that I was able to spend that time with D and Balemore.

Pic of the Day: 30-day Plank Challenge


Day 3. At this point, I can’t imagine getting to 5 minutes!

Pic of the Day: The Final Countdown

Carbon Canyon Park (North Ridge Trail)

This morning’s run: Carbon Canyon Park (North Ridge Trail).











In only 32 days (1 year later), I will find myself back at THE place that sent me away, perhaps defeated for that day, but with a renewed spirit and soon-to-be best friend.

Going back will be an important milestone – a second chance to finish what I started, and of course, to celebrate one year with someone I absolutely adore and admire.

Having said this, it is ALL focus from here on out until race day. 30-day plank and ab challenge in full effect, daily foam rolling, early morning running, a full night’s sleep (gasp), and finally, putting together the perfect Halloween costume for the contest.  I want this race so badly and I am willing to be on my best behavior until then. I just know it will be worth it.


“Never think th…

“Never think that someone else knows what’s best for you. Trust your way and don’t ask for so much advice. Learn how to be quiet and still enough to hear your own voice. It’s up to you: Your voice will either be silenced or will get to roar”. — Maria Shriver

Los Pinos 50K Recap

1st Female, 8th Overall

1st Female, 8th Overall

I waited until yesterday, exactly one week after Los Pinos 50K to lace up my trainers and go out for a run. Running Los Pinos the week after Ventura Marathon earned me this reprieve or “hall pass,” as my coach Andy likes to say. I started feeling anxious yesterday, but I wasn’t quite ready to commit putting in miles just yet.  Today was the day I really wanted it so I headed out the door for a nice and easy 8 mile/75 minute run on the pavement. I felt pretty normal (good), a little tight in my right glut and left calf, but nothing to concern myself with.

To tell you the truth though, I am filled to the brim with all these (now) wonderful emotions that had until recently felt like dead weight and quite honestly, damn near impossible to make it through.

To quickly recap, and as you may remember, I was going to run Santa Rosa Marathon on 8/25 and then Los Pinos on 9/14.  Well, I screwed up with both of these races, upsetting both my bf and my coach.  By missing Santa Rosa, and after having all this marathon training under my belt, I had to find another one close in date and found Ventura, but it would only be a week apart from Los Pinos. It was a stupid decision on my part to put myself through that – not enough rest and recovery from one even to the next, really setting myself up for an injury. The problem with Los Pinos was that I had already committed to the RDs and there was no way I could back out, I wanted to be there to support them. My bf was not happy at all about it because I had mistakenly signed up for this event that was falling on the same day as his long awaited 100-miler in San Francisco. I did my best to make everyone happy, and for the most part I accomplished that. In the end, even I was happy, but I learned a valuable lessen – do what is best for you (me) and everything will always work out regardless.


The Ventura Marathon: I Did It!






I did it. I finally did it! I finally finished a marathon where I am completely satisfied with my performance. Heck, I didn’t meet my sub-3 goal and it really doesn’t matter.  This was my performance of the year – not because I finished first place, but because I know for a fact that I am not the same runner I was a few years ago.

This realization occurred to me after I excitedly messaged my friend Radell a few days after the race to share the good news. He was so excited for me and his immediate response was, “You are a terrific athlete. I always thought you were grinding yourself too hard.” He was so right. Looking back a few years ago, when I wanted to break 3-hours at any cost, I wasn’t running for pleasure anymore, running was running my life. I basically took the fun out of running. I was dealing with injury after injury. It was horrible, really. And the best memories I have at that time are not the races, but the great friendships I made during that time – one of them being Radell, my coach at the time Sylvia Mosqueda, Adrian Broca, and so many more.


Tomorrow’s the Day






Camera 360

My last run before the race was with Brian O. at the park. We tried this lame 5K course and got lost. IDK, maybe we were lame!









Yep, tomorrow is a big day for me as I am running my first marathon since May 2010!  I am not really sure how I feel, it has felt like a countdown for centuries already and I just can’t wait to cross that finish line and that could be both a good and  bad thing, I guess.

My only focus and plan tomorrow is to be patient and to run my own race. My coach Andy and I have discussed this a few times and we decided that since my target is a timed goal, I can’t care who is in front of me and I can’t get caught running too fast by running someone else’s pace.

I am ready and I am ready to go out there and do my best.

The best part about this experience is that even though I spent 90% of my runs alone, my coach has been by my side throughout this entire training program and I am so lucky to have him!  Big thanks to Ashley and Balmore for coming up with me tomorrow — I owe you big time!

Click here to read my last marathon race report – pretty intense.



Pic of the Day: Eliminate the Confusion From Your Life

Camera 360

Last week during our adventures, Ash and I got our identical Garmins mixed up and ended up wearing eachother’s for a big portion of the hike. I know it’s not a big deal but we are fond of our own stuff! Tonight I swapped my band for this orange one ($18.95) which should eliminate any further confusion!


“You must find …

“You must find the place inside yourself where nothing is impossible.”
― Deepak Chopra

We are all capable of so much more than we sometimes realize. Dig deep, believe, and GO FOR IT!

Taper Week, Taper Tantrums.

Ventura Marathon Temp







Although I had an amazing time in Yosemite and Bishop this past weekend, I was anxious to get home so I could have one solid week of tapering and just focus on my race. I thought my first run without elevation and altitude would feel great, but I came home to hot, sticky and humid weather. The good news is that it shouldn’t be too warm on Sunday with forecast temp at a high of 69.

Ran an easy four yesterday, and today I ran four at MRP – I almost completely forgot to run at all so I didn’t get out the door until around 9:30pm! Oh, and I got a massage this morning but I don’t think it really helped since I haven’t had a second to relax since.  I should be getting my race shorts and shoes tomorrow which will give me a few days to put in a few miles before the big day (the shoes, not the shorts). I ordered these cute pink Nike boy shorts and I will be wearing them with one of my MILE AFTER FREAKING MILE tanks and some sort of trucker hat. I know to you it may seem silly that I put so much effort in what I am wearing but for me, it really helps, it’s fun, and it gets me excited.

I am not really sure how to feel about my race (races actually). I feel a little stressed out and for once it is not me stressing myself out, it’s everyone and their whisper voices about my upcoming races and who plans to run them and also who plans on beating me. It’s almost like a certain time or place is going to define me. I completely disagree. I know I am a tough competitor and I will always try to run and race my best. I will always try to chase the ponytail in front of me but I never put a target on someone, and I never run with the intention of beating any one person in particular. I run my own race. That’s kind of limiting, don’t you think? Anyway, while I let most of this chatter go in one ear and out the other, I feel like the fun is being sucked right out of something I love so much and I am not handling it very well. It’s times like these I wish I was just one of the guys, running fierce, trying my damnedest to take the podium while at the same time building strong friendships that nurture that winning attitude. Guys are really good at this, at least it seems like it anyway.

Do you ever feel that way? Or am I just having a taper tantrum?




Yosemite Traincation Diverted to Bishop

All photos here shown Lake Sabrina to Blue Lake in Bishop, CA (Inyo National Forest/John Muir Wilderness).

All photos here shown Lake Sabrina to Blue Lake in Bishop, CA (Inyo National Forest/John Muir Wilderness).

So as you know, Ash and I headed to Yosemite for our annual trip up Half Dome. We knew that we might have issues training in and around the area because of the RIM fire but we took a chance anyway and were pleasantly surprised that the skies were clear and the smoke was mostly heading North to Carson/Reno areas.

We spent the first day getting my MRP run done and then spent a good portion of one morning hiking from Camp 4 to North Dome. I have already posted about these two days earlier.

On Saturday, we had passes to climb up to Half Dome but our plans were canceled quickly when we felt that the air quality had suddenly took a turn for the worse – dark skies filled with smoke, and fine ash particles everywhere. After confirming that some other friends had also turned around to find another training area, we quickly headed back to our campsite, loaded our cars and headed towards Mammoth as an alternate destination.

On our way to Mammoth, we stopped for gas and were told that smoke had arrived (or would be arriving) there so we decided to get to Bishop and head up into the Mountains. We were so determined to have an epic weekend exploring trails that we drove campsite to campsite until we finally found a great spot at Lake Sabrina. Hurriedly we set up our tent at nearly 9,000′ and then put on our running shoes to explore and get a good sense of our training options for the next day with a four mile hike.

The next morning, we awoke without alarms and began our hike from Camp to Blue Lake and then try our luck finding some other lakes in the area. We had a lot of fun getting to our destinations, even when we managed to lose the trail as we went past Blue Lake – we asked for help and someone mentioned that we had to cross the stream over the water to the other side where the trail would be waiting for us. YES!  We finished the day with nearly 12-miles of hiking and were thrilled about our new discovery in the Inyo National Forest (John Muir Wilderness) and our camping skills. 🙂

On our way home, we stopped by Lone Pine for a beverage and we were pleasantly surprised to find my coach (Andy), Joel and Diana. They were there to support Diana on her JMT trek starting tomorrow.  This was the best way to end the trip and I am very excited for Diana and her journey!

MRP in Yosemite Valley

I had a very tough MRP run to complete on my first day in Yosemite Valley.  What made it hard was not only the elevation, but the long commute (and only a few hours of sleep) from Orange County to Camp 4.  Knowing I had one last important run before before taper, I was very anxious to get it out of the way so Ashley and I could start having fun in the mountains.
Before we headed out, Ashley rented a cruiser so she could guide and pace me all around Yosemite Lodge and Curry Village.  We probably picked the hottest and busiest time of day,  but we got the job done without any accidents or name-calling and that’s all that mattered. I felt really tired, so I just focused my eyes on the back of her bike and pushed forward, counting every passing mile in my head.  I felt bad in certain spots and very blessed in others, especially when I reminded myself of where I was and the beauty that was literally all around me.
Following our little excursion, we were so parched and hot and headed back to Curry Village for a fountain drink and quick shower before getting to our tent and passing out around 7:30. Geez,  we were tired…

Pic of the Day: North Dome



















Starting from Camp 4 in Yosemite Valley while still dark, Ash and I headed out for an out and back hike to Upper Yosemite Falls. Reaching the falls (pretty dry out, low water), we decided to continue up to North Dome.  Pretty tough hike but reaching the top at 7300′ elevation and very close views of Half Dome to our East, we found ourselves in our happy place. Total trip 18.6 miles and  approximately 5,500′ of elevation gain.


Pic of the Day: Hello Yosemite!


Quote: Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

“There is one spectacle grander than the sea, that is the sky; there is one spectacle grander than the sky, that is the interior of the soul.”

Hell of a Weekend: Hell of a Half (Race 1 of 2)

Post-race photo of me with D and the RD, Scott Newton from Sole to Soul.

Post-race photo of me with D and the RD, Scott Newton from Sole to Soul.









Wow, it’s Monday and I am still on a high from this weekend’s races. I went from just having a typical marathon training weekend to all of a sudden racing two half marathons – one road and one trail. Now that this weekend is over, it will be time to focus on my marathon that is only three weeks away.

HELL of a HALF – Exeter, CA

This last minute race turned out to be a great decision.  It was my ego that prevented me from running any short road races as I prepared for my marathon.  Let me explain.  My current marathon training schedule isn’t a typical marathon training schedule because I am also training for a 50K and a 100-miler. The differences in my schedule compared to a marathon only schedule are that I don’t do track workouts on Tuesdays, I instead run intervals on the road, and I do back to back (hilly) trail runs on Saturday and Sunday (like ultra marathon training). It’s been an adjustment, convincing myself that I don’t need to run 5:35 mile repeats on the track and that the trail running won’t slow me down.  I really believe in my coach (Andy) and this program and I know my coach believes in me so in reality, I have already accomplished big things!  In fact, I am lucky to have him because I am sure it is not easy to train someone with such varying race distance goals! So going back to this race, I didn’t feel half marathon ready, but I knew I could run a half at 6:35-6:45 pace based off of my recent tempo and MRP workouts.  Of course, I had to pick a scorching hot and hard course (two hills about 1.5 miles each around miles 5.5 and 9.5-ish) that wasn’t stacked with speedsters like the men’s side…it was definitely not going to be a PR day but that wasn’t going to keep me from having a great day and experience! The goal for the day was to do my best running 6:30-6:40 pace and finish the race using the experience to build my confidence for my upcoming marathon. I was also VERY excited to be able to see Andy and all my teammates from Bakersfield, not to mention the opportunity to support one of the best running stores around in the Central Valley: Sole to Soul. (more…)

Pic of the Day: My High School Track

A few years ago I had to travel to my hometown to attend a funeral. It was a sad day but I finished the day visiting my old homes and schools. I grew up in a very small oilfield town,  Taft, CA but you would never have know that by the wonderful schools, teachers, programs and facilities available to us. We were truly blessed. Here is a photo of me at my high school track where I learned a few lessons about racing and life.

A few years ago I had to visit my hometown to attend a funeral. It was a sad day, but I finished the day visiting my old homes and schools. The town I grew up in, Taft, CA, was a very small town, but you would never have known by the wonderful schools, teachers, programs and facilities available to us. We were truly blessed. Here is a photo of our beautiful high school track where I learned a few lessons about racing and life.

Pic of the Day: Potter Pass

D and I had intentions of running the Kaiser Peak Loop but unfortunately due to fires at Huntington Lake, we were not able to run any trails in the Kaiser Wilderness so we  diverted trails and headed to Potter's Pass instead. At first we were disappointed but it was still nice to be out there on the trails and I can't complain about that!

The Aspen Fire near Huntington Lake prevented D and I from running the Kaiser Wilderness trails to Kaiser Peak, so with the suggestion of a local horseback tour guide at Deer Creek, we ran other nearby trails not considered a part of Kaiser Wilderness and ended up at Potter’s Pass and still had a great time!

Change in Plans: Ventura Marathon 2013

Unfortunately (now fortunately) I delayed registering for the Santa Rosa Marathon and it sold out.  I know it seems horrible that I would wait until my 11th week of training to register for a fast course, but it turned out to work in my favor because now I am running the Ventura Marathon a few weeks later instead.  I really need the few extra weeks to make up for a few off weeks I had at that time which included one really busy and stressful week that had me feeling down and sluggish and then a short run week when I paced and crewed for AC100.

Today I finished a great, strong week following those two weeks and besides feeling a little tired, I feel revived and ready to put more focus on my upcoming race that’s now on September 8th.  Here’s how this week’s training went:

Total Miles: 79.14

Monday – 8 miles at Woodward Park with D.

Tuesday – AM 4.03 miles at Woodward Park with D; PM 8.77 around Fresno State Vinyards/Orchards (10 Yassos)

Wednesday – 7.7 near the Kaiser Wilderness with D. Had to detail on to other trails as the Aspen Fire at Huntington Lake didn’t allow us to run to Kaiser Peak or any part of the Kaiser Wilderness trails. 3,500 ft elevation gain.

Thursday – 13.1 miles (10M @ MRP) around Fresno State Vineyards/Orchards with Trent. Thank goodness Trent agreed to run this with me because 10 quick miles seemed intimidating alone. 6:50/6:51/6:47/6:46/6:47/6:57/6:56/6:50/6:53/6:45

Friday:  7.86 at Woodward Park with D and our friends Katie and Jason. It was nice catching up and having breakfast afterwards.

Saturday: 10.17 at Wellbarn Road to campsite and back solo.  Took the shortcut back to the car. 1,800 ft elevation gain.

Sunday: 19.51 Wellbarn past bridge with clockwise loop with D. I really only intended to run 10 miles but since I had great company, I kept going. The last 7 miles felt great while the earlier miles had me breathing pretty heavy up all the hills. It was also very smokey out from a nearby fire in Oakhurst.  It seems like there are so many fires at most of our favorite trails around California. Sad. 3,500 ft. elevation gain.

Training Run on the Headlands 100 Course (Sausalito, CA)


This weekend’s training schedule ended with a gorgeous 25 mile trail run on some my favorite trails in the Marin Headlands. I needed the mileage to cap off my running week while D needed to log more miles on the Headlands 100 course before race this September.

The race course includes four 25-mile loops, every other loop ran in opposite directions (washing machine style) running under the Golden Gate to the SCA trail and then through Rodeo Beach, Tennessee Valley and Muir Beach. Headlands has such a beautiful course with views of the beaches and the city (SF), not mention tons of elevation gain — a little more than 5,000ft per loop!

I originally considered running the marathon since Pacific Coast Trail Runs offers this distance along with a 50 and 100-miler option, allowing me to pace D during his last loop of the race, but I mistakenly committed to running Mt. Pinos 50K on the same day.  I feel bad about that but I am now excited for my own adventure and still fortunate to go with him when I can to train on that course.

Pic of the Day: Woodward Park


In high school, our cross country team traveled to Woodward Park at least three times a year for races including the Clovis Invitational and a few more that led up to the CIF State XC Championships. Almost every reflection of my high school XC seasons includes a glimpse of Woodward just because so many achievments and memories were made there.
Like many things in my past, XC and Woodward Park were just memories, surely I wouldn’t find myself there again, or so I thought.
Nearly 16 years later I find myself out on my old stomping ground and it is exactly as I remember it, well, except it’s a little drier and hotter this time of year. Like The Santa Ana Bikeway, sometimes it can get a little repetitive and boring, but in a way I find a lot of peace within myself coming back because back then even though I didn’t think I’d ever be running on that course again, I knew I’d still be running (somewhere).