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:
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:
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).
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.
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.
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!
I know I have been really quiet here, but it wasn’t until recently that I started racing again. Don’t get me wrong, since the first of the year, I have been training, but I had to take some time to figure out exactly what I wanted to be doing and until I felt I got my motivation to put myself back out there on a a race course. Let’s not forget that I am just getting settled in my new life here in Central California, (which has been amazing BTW, and one of my best adult decisions to date) and I have had to prioritize a few things before I got carried away and over-committed to racing.
After Javelina at the end of October, I decided to give myself plenty of time to recover and renew from all the racing and training that I had done for 10-months prior. This decision forced me to back out of The North Face Endurance Challenge held in December (SF) and I pretty much didn’t do any type of exercise. I look back and I am glad that I took a break, I am never one for quantity anyway; if I am going to race, I am there to run like it matters.
Almost all of my training so far has been solo and mostly on the trails of Auberry, near to where I now live. I have yet to do any speed work (well, I did do one) although I will be adding it to the mix very soon. Every run and every chance to get out there has been wonderful and luckily, I felt the break had actually done me good – I feel very strong!
Trying to put together a strategic and successful racing schedule together, I registered and got into Way Too Cool 50K (WTC) on 3/8. At the time I put in for the lottery (December), I felt a little pressure because this race along with Miwok 100k and San Diego 100 all required early registration for the lottery process and I didn’t really want to fork out all the money in a week if I so happened to get into them all. I took the chance with WTC and I got in. Couple that with the fact that I had just announced that I would be a part of the 2014 Pearl Izumi Ultra Team, and I thought I was on cloud-9…until the motivated quickly went away.
After spending quite a bit of time thinking it over, I decided that I would not race WTC and that I would leave the team. I will say it again and again, “if I am not motivated to do something, I just can’t do it.” Weirdly after I made those decisions and focused on consistent training, all the racing excitement came back again. THANK GOD!
A last minute decision to race The San Joaquin River Trail Half Marathon (same day as WTC) — the same trails I run regularly, gave me something to focus on and enjoy. The minute I crossed the finish line, I was already planning my next race: Marin Ultra Challenge 50. So far, so good. 🙂
I was so bummed when I got sick last week so early in the year. You know how it is, starting the new year fresh, excited to start logging miles consistently and then BOOM – lots of time off fighting some disgusting bug that wants to take over your body. For the first few days I just laid in bed fighting fever and body aches and when that subsided, the phlegm and congestion took over. Inside I was furious and seriously worried about how this could affect my 50K in early March because it seemed like everyone who was getting over the flu (or whatever it is/was), had been fighting it for over a month.
Thank goodness I started feeling better early this week – everyday I feel like I am improving. I am not all that furious after all – I guess it could have been worse getting sick closer to my race and that is what I keep telling myself. After a week of no running, I finally was able to lace up and get back at it. Today I logged 13.1 miles in the Kaiser Wilderness. It was supposed to be a 19-mile loop starting at Upper Creek (horse stables) through the peak and then around Billy Creek before heading back to the stables, but it didn’t quite work out that way. No big deal. About a mile or so after passing Kaiser Peak, it became impossible to recognize the trail that would take us to Billy Creek. It was nearly 2pm and falling in and out of knee deep snow (ouch) searching for it no longer seemed like a good plan, so we turned back around and finished the way we had hiked in. Really great day.
I had a pretty solid week of training last week (69 miles) and now I am partially tapering for Javelina.
Following that great week of training, I went for an easy 6-miler with D on Monday at the Santa Ana River Trail and then I didn’t run for the next two days. Part of that was just because I didn’t want to on Tuesday, and then last night I got carried away on some marketing work I recently picked up.
Today I had an awesome 12-miler run and if you are following me on Facebook, you would have seen the photos I posted of the Fox and Bobcat that was out there with me. I actually saw a Coyote, a pair of deer, a hummingbird, the fox and then the bobcat, all in that order. The crazy thing about the fox and the bobcat was that they were not even spooked by me and they let me get really close to take photos. The bobcat was less than 5 feet away and it didn’t even run.
This run was also a lot of fun because I explored North Ridge Trail a few more miles than normal and found several other trail options that I can explore next time. I remember when I first headed up this trail, I could barely make it up a mile without walking, and now I can practically go the entire way without walking. This particular route I do requires you to go straight up for 4-6 miles depending on where you turn, and then it’s pretty much all down or flat for the rest of the run which I think is a fun way to end the run.
My plan is to stay on these trails until I am completely bored out of my mind with them and I don’t really see that happening – mostly because there seems to be a new challenge around every singe trail and turn.
Lately I have been feeling pretty motivated to get out of the door and onto the road or trails. Last Friday/Saturday I put in a little more than 30 miles and then yesterday and today, I was just a tad under that number.
A few of us met at Indian Truck Trail yesterday for a night run and made it to Upper Holy Jim and back – I didn’t get home until just before midnight. This morning I had a scheduled 5:40am run at Chino State Park again. Last night’s run was last minute; I wouldn’t typically run back to back runs that close together with little rest. My focus is to always avoid injuries and lack of recovery and little rest definitely won’t help my focus.
The idea of night running is awesome, especially when you are going to have to run through the night in a 100-miler. Although I am hoping I won’t have to go too far into the night at JJ, I thought it was a great experience to run feeling fatigued both mentally and physically since I know that’s what I will soon be experiencing.
During this morning’s adventure, I again experience pitch dark running and had to use my headlamp to light the way. It was so peaceful out, and with the sudden change in weather, the chilly temps, and morning fragrances were really refreshing. I always finish a morning run ready to tackle my day and asking myself why I don’t I head out earlier so I can see the sunrise more often, especially with the landscape of gorgeous mountains.
Anyway, I am much more content right now building mileage than doing some tempo run. Even though the plan is to continue with mid-week speedwork that I did during my recent marathon training schedule, I just don’t want to dive into it just yet. I told my coach that I am not ready and he is OK with that. I hope I will be mentally ready for it again towards the end of the year.
I spent two days running and exploring Carbon Canyon Park and Chino Hills State Park and I am pooped. Coach wants me to stay on terrain that is similar to my upcoming 100-miler. I think he also is concerned about me crashing down some steep mountain before my big race. I agree with him on this one – no need for me to run lots of elevation and in regards to keeping me “upright,” I do trip quite often and shouldn’t chance it.
Yesterday I put in about 12 miles and today, while I was supposed to run 22, I was only able to finish 18.5. It was a crappy day to run in Orange County with the Santa Ana Winds blowing like crazy, dust everywhere, plus, I had to sneak in the park (closed due to wind?) and I ran out of trails and didn’t feel like exploring other nearby areas.
Looking forward to my workout tomorrow and hopefully a meeting with my friend Josh – we are going to start a “Workout of the Week” type program that I will post here on my blog/Pinterest/FB. I am about 1/3 of the way done with my 30-day Plank Challenge and I am finding myself enjoying it. I am hoping the “Workout of the Week” will help motivate others and encourage them to participate as well.
OK, it’s off to planking – it was a joke at first starting out with :20, but tonight I have to go for 1:30 which is a whole :30 jump from yesterday. I will be super stoked when I am able to plank for the whole 5:00, it will be a new record for me. I am also enjoying the sore abs part too – makes me feel like I am doing something right. 🙂
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…
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.
Week 8 — My coach gave me a free week following my 50-mile race this past Saturday so I was able to get in more runs with friends.
Total Miles: 48.08
10.00 Easy recovery run at Woodward Park after my Marin Ultra Challenge 50-miler on Saturday. Felt amazing — the first time in a long time I can say I am not injured after a race…must be all this running. ;P
10.00 easy run out on Wellbarn. It’s a tough course and it was a hot day so D and I took our time and cut it short. Click here to see course. Felt tired but still very happy.
6.01 Nice easy, fun run with the OC Coast Runners at Back Bay. More of a social event followed by some Mexican food and beers.
Thursday – 10.00
FINALLY was able to get in a run with my friend Juan Ramirez. Though we had been training under the same coach a few years back, we were never really able to get a run in together. We met near Angel Stadium and ran the Santa Ana Bikeway out 5 and back. Our speed was a tiny bit too fast for me because I was a little fatigued but we chatted a lot and sweated like pigs — both of which make me feel alive.
Friday – Rest
12.02 miles running a portion of the Los Pinos 50K course. So much talk about this very, very difficult course has me on point to intimately know the course. The RD was nice enough to take me out on the course. I was using this run as a way to compare my times on this portion of the course and I will be honest and say that I felt really slow. It took me 2:21 to run 8 miles from Lazy W over Los Pinos and back to the Main Divide. I thought it was a crappy run but John Hockett told me it was actually pretty good. Can’t wait to get back out there and do another comparison.
Sunday – Rest
Total Miles: 47.09
Monday – 6.21 around my hood. Just an easy run and getting back into marathon training mode.
6.01 around the block again but this time with Ashley. Kind of tweeked my calf when I veered off course to snap a picture and then hauled butt to catch back up to her. Did this run instead of my speedwork because Ash and I were meeting someone from Hoka later in the evening and I didn’t want to be late.
Wednesday – 8.01 (3×1-mile on the Santa Ana Bikeway)
Felt absolutely fabulous although I did feel that calf thing kind of flaring up.
Thursday – 14 miles on the Fourth of July hiking to and from Mt. Wilson to watch the fireworks. Wonderful night.
Friday – Rest (Calf hurt like crazy so I took a day off!
Saturday – 12.86 miles on the Los Pinos 50K course. RD got another group together to run the first part of the course with the option to continue on through the peak for 25 miles. I was concerned about my calf but it didn’t hurt until I was done with the first part and there I found my answer to NOT run the 25 miles. Had a blast meeting new runners.
Sunday – Rest
Not too much to say about this past week’s training because 49 of 73 miles were from the Marin Ultra Challenge that I did on Saturday. Yes, I ran a 50-miler, but I had so much fun doing it. Typically I write looooooong race recaps but for some reason, I just don’t want to so I will just quickly tell you about it:
Gorgeous course all over Marin Headlands (SF) starting and finishing under the Golden Gate Bridge and then running through and around Rodeo Beach, Tennessee Valley and Muir Beach. Views were breathtaking (for me anyway), overlooking the beach from some pretty gnarly hills. With an elevation gain of 10,000+ feet, I really expected it to be a long, hot, 9.5 hour day and I was content with that.
My plan was simple, run fast enough to be the first woman, but not so fast that I might injure myself (thinking of the big picture marathon). I was really hoping for a top ten overall finish and I ended up placing 9th!
A few things to note:
- I was extremely worried about getting off course since we would be going in and out of Tennessee Valley from a few directions. I did, only once right before mile 20 and instead of turning right on Miwok, I headed left back up a trail that we had already came down earlier. Common sense told me I shouldn’t be heading in that direction and since I could no long hear the voices of the guys that were in front of me, I got back on the trail and found the pink ribbon that should have taken me right instead of left. Not sure how much more I added to my milege — not a big deal. The race was officially 49.3 miles and my Garmin died with 48.99 miles on it, 7.5 minutes before I crossed the finish line. I guess I could do the math if I wanted to. Garmin details HERE.
- Aid stations were fully stocked with a huge variety of items. I managed to get 90% of my nutrition (240+ calories per hour) from my own stash of FRS energy shots. I am really tired of gels and these remind me of concentrated orange juice that can be taken as a shot, or poured into a water bottle. Each shot is approximately 120 calories, 35mg of caffeine, and just…YUMMY. ONE thing I didn’t like was the packaging – the wrapper is hard to remove when you are running/hiking and then screwing off the cap is difficult; the hard little bottle makes it hard to carry more than a few at a time if you are carrying handhelds instead of a pack. *FRS website seems to be discontinuing this size and is instead offering a 16 serving size bottle (maybe for the reasons I just mentioned). I purchased mine on ebay, buy one case, get one for free so I doubt I will find another deal like this. By far my new favorite product that I don’t want to be without — a must-have!
- Inside Trail hosted this event and had some really great swag. Coming in as the first Female earned me a new Suunto Ambit GPS watch with heart rate monitor, $250 in prize money and a few other things like an embroidered blanket and personalized beer mug. I was really excited about this since I have never really won anything before, plus I felt like I had to work pretty hard to earn it.
- Complaints? None, really. I would suggest that the race have water available in the morning at the start line. I never come to a race with an empty bottle or pack but I did on this day and got lucky to have a bottle in my car. Other than that, everything was great and I would love to do more of their races.
- One of the best parts of this event was the people. I had a blast traveling up with my coach Andy Noise (who did the 50K), allowing us to catch up and get to know each other better. I was also able to run with Mark Tanaka — this man heavily influenced and inspired me through my journey at Javelina in October. He has a lot of races under his belt and I think I could learn a lot from him. We ran together for quite a long time and only finished about 6 minutes apart. Then there was Chris B. who I ran into during the race, it turns out were were DM friends already but just never met. That was cool.
Well, I think I made this a long post again. Darn it, I guess I will try harder next time. 🙂
June 24, 2013 | Categories: Santa Rosa Mara
This was a tough week of training following my pacing/crewing/companion duties at SD100 simply because I was pooped. My duties didn’t end after the race, I was still on duty until the following Wednesday. No big deal though, I still managed to get in a little over 23 miles, and I had the Marin Ultra Challenge 50-miler race coming up. The highlight of the week was the beautiful training run through Los Pinos Peak as sort of a course review for the 50K race coming up. The two RD’s hosted this run with a buffet of food near the top and I was finally able to meet up with Teyana who was a doll and pleasure to run with. Really looking forward to this race and hope to spend the weekend of the 29th in the same area so I can become more familiar with the course.
Total Miles: 23.39
Thursday – 12.02 (Yay, first run back and felt pretty good running along the Santa Ana Bikeway!)
Saturday – 11.37 on Los Pinos 50K course from Lazy W Ranch to the Camp Blue Jay.
The major highlight of my training week was to companion D during his first 100-mile finish at the San Diego 100! Not only did he finish the race in record high heat with the lowest finishing rate (46%), he finished 25th with a 25:13 time! I am very proud of him and I hope to be the one crossing that finish line this time next year. The photo above was taken after shortly after the race with all our friends (racers/crews/pacers/volunteers) that were waiting at the finish line when we showed up at 8:13 in the morning. It was a long Saturday and Sunday for us all and we were very lucky to be able to spend so much time together in an environment that we love.
Total Miles: 66.92
Monday – 6.29
Tuesday – 8.47 (Intervals – 5×1,000)
Wednesday – 7.03 recovery
*Thursday – 7.69 (7 mile tempo: 7:01/6:57/7:01/7:06/7:21/dns/dns)
Friday – Rest
Saturday/Sunday– 36 (Crew/pace with D San Diego 100)
*Really tough run for me in the heat; I wasn’t able to run seven consecutive tempo miles and ended up only doing 5.
And so it goes that I settled on FINALLY running another marathon this year after realizing I needed to refocus and regroup and get back into a training zone. It is not that I haven’t been put on a schedule while training for my ultras, but like I said, I had become lazy knowing I could skimp here and here and still fare quite well. That attitude didn’t settle well with me and I really started to get down on myself for the fact that I wasn’t giving it 100% while my coach, Andy Noise, tirelessly prepared my workouts week after week to help make me a better runner and competitor. Not only do I owe it to myself, I feel that I owe it to him to do my best as well. (more…)