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.