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:
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?
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!
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.