Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Way Too Cool 50K 2011

Ran this last solo last year.  Was such a pretty run, signed up again for 2011. Was lucky enough to get picked again.  Running partner Rick was also selected, so we set about getting the time off from work and trying to get in a few miles before the March race day.
Getting the weekend off was almost as hard as trying to get in training miles.   Working the graveyard shift with minimal staffing leaves one with limited possibilites when it comes to covering days off.  After some complicated trading, I did manage to get the weekend off.
Now, the training...
We entered tthe SJT 50K as the training run for WTC.  30 miles the weekend before another 30 miler...And we tried to run SJT with very little mileage under the belt because of all the rain and trail closures.  We managed to crawl through the first loop-19 miles, before calling it quits.  Could we finish WTC?   Doubts started to fill my mind.

The week of the race, we anxiously googled the weather for Cool, CA daily. hourly...
Rain predicted for the drive up, and even on race day.  Highs in the 50's, lows in the 40's.  brrrrrr....
Started packing by throwing in whatever cold weather running gear I could find (Chimera-ish).  Tights, fleece, gore-tex, drymax etc.

Friday morning, as I drove to Rick's house, I listened to the radio, tuned to a news station to get traffic updates.  Tsunami warnings?  Earthquake in Japan??  Whats going on??  I call home and warn Matt about some tsunami warnings.  We'd gone to bed early, and missed the evening news on Thursday night.  As I  listen to the radio, I miss the turn off to Ricks street, and drive around a bit lost for about 15 minutes.  Finally arrive and ask him what he knows about the earthquake.  He's in the dark too, and wonders if he should wake up Karen.  We decided to start out and monitor the news, get more info before getting too worried about this.   There were tsunami alerts for parts of the OC coast.  Waves were expected to be small, and of no real consequence to us.  My thoughts turned to my coworkers-we work for a hospital on the coast of Newport Beach, I think we are one of the official tsunami shelters-I give the lab a call to see whats up.  Happily Benny reported that nothing much is going on.  Business as usual.

Saturday morning, is beautiful!  Perfect weather for a run!!  Mostly blue skies with starting temps in the upper 40's.  Most runners start with jackets and long sleeves, but peel them off during the first mile.
The new course had us running an 8 mile loop back to the start.  We hit  our first water crossing there.  Remembering last year, I didn't want to waste time keeping my feet dry, so plowed through the middle of the creek while others tiptoed across stones.  Drymax socks are the BEST!!
This race has some of the prettiest trails.  We ran on singletrack that passed along waterfalls, creekbeds and the American River.  Rick didn't think he took many pictures, but after he downloaded them, found he'd taken almost 100.  Every bend in the trail led to another picture perfect treasure.

one of many waterfalls along the course

31 miles of muddy fun!
After getting through the half marathon point at round 2.5 hours, thinking we may get finish under 7 hours, we hit the first set of hills.  The first hill was a killer, even more so because we'd just finished a nice long gradual downhill, running almost all of it. It was like hitting a wall.  Literally.  It went straight up.  My muscles didn't know what to do.  Calves started to cramp.  Hamstrings took notice too.  I took an endurolyte.  Then another endurolyte.   This helped a bit.  We saw an aid station worker after what seemed like an eternity.  she shouted out encouragement and said the AS was just a little farther up.  I asked her if this was the last hill.  After a pause she said yes, there would be other hills, but by far this was the worst.  So, somewhat energized I used whatever reserves I could find and finished this "mountain" .   At the GoatHill AS we refueled and continued on. To another hill.  and another hill.  and yet another hill. So much for finishing under 7 hours.  We are now just looking at making the 8.5 hour finishers cutoff!!  Luckily the last mile was pretty flat, and we crossed the finish line smiling and running. Our time 7 hrs and 48 min.

A successful end to what was a pretty eventful week.

Rick has Old Goats 50 miler this week.  He ran so easily at WTC, I think he will have a great race.

Oh, Congrats to Lauren on completing the SJT 50K!!  You're one tough lady!!


Monday, March 7, 2011

Still Alive and on the Run-A TRR recap

Just took a look at my last post.  August of 2010!!  How to update without typing a book?!
The TransRockies recap could keep me sitting here for hours, reminiscing, getting out a paragraph or two...

But, since it is where I left off, I will try to get in a short but sweet story of an amazing run.

We pulled in to Buena Vista at 10 pm, after a long but beautiful drive from California.  After waking up, we planned our day, take an easy hike up Hope Pass to acclimate to the altitude and then recuperate.
Finding the trailhead to Hope Pass was harder than we expected.  It took a trip to the outfitters , where they spent a good deal of time with us, to locate the trail.  Two new running packs later, up we went to 12,500 feet.
It was absolutely beautiful.  I can't even put into words how amazing the views climbing up to the pass were.  Previewing this hike turned out to be a great idea.  Not only did we get in some altitude training, we could take our time, enjoy the scenery and take photos.
We finished up and headed back into town just in time for dinner.
The next day was check in.  Got lots of swag and a pretty good dinner too.

Day 1.  Easiest run of the 6 days.  Lowest altitude and least amount of climbing...still over 20 miles of running.
Another great dinner, more impressive swag  and the ceremony for the winners of the first stage.  They also gave a short preview of stage 2.  They suggested bringing lots of cold weather gear, could be rain, snow or all of the above at Hope Pass.

Day 2.  Hope Pass again.  We all load into buses and take the long snaky road to the trailhead.  They check our gear to make sure we have windbreakers, gloves etc. in case we hit "weather" on our hike today.  Less than 15 miles, but all up and down.  It's a scramble after the gun, everyone running up the trail.  Less than 2 miles in, the masses thin and almost everyone is gasping for air.  Rick and I know whats ahead and keep up a slow and steady pace.  Head down and panting, I struggle and let Rick get ahead, he makes it look effortless, even running in sections.  No time for pictures, glad we took some a few days earlier!  At the pass, chug some heed and start down the backside, to lower altitudes and air.  It feels like a long run to the lake and the finish.  Quads and hammies are starting to complain.
All in all, we had a great day.  The weather was best!

Day 3. Another long run, over 20 miles, with over 2,000 feet of elevation gain.   We start out in historic Leadville.  After breakfast in the town gym, we head out through the town find the trail and start climbing.  This will be the way we will start all our mornings for the remainder of the race.  A big ass climb up to god knows where then a  long quad busting downhill to the finish.  All peppered with such beautiful views it almost takes away the pain..almost.
We are starting to recognize other back of the packers.  Some are better climbers, others bomb the downhills. We pass each other many times through out the hours-words of encouragement shouted out as we slog out the miles.  We survive day 3, was a hard one for me.  I just want to rest up for day 4, another short mileage day, but steep.

Day 4.  It felt like we were going straight up for miles.  This day feels even harder that day 2.  Michelle Barton explained it felt harder because it ends up steeper at the summit.  Steeper, and no air. But it was a stunner at the top!  Clear blue skies, above the treeline, we could see for miles.  Then there was the videographer at the top...capturing us in all our glory....we skipped dinner at the camp that night, preferring to try out a local Thai restaurant, but heard we made the nightly video recap...apparently we were a big hit, became celebrities for a day!!

Day 5.  It sinks in, we are gonna finish this.  We look at the map for stage 5, more up and more down.  13 miles of up and 13 miles of down with a finish in Vail. This was a strange run.  Alot of wandering around through the ski area.  One section is short but very steep, I have to slide down on my butt, in view of the everyone at the next aidstation!  Much running on access road through out the ski resort.  Finally a long switchbacky downhill into the town of Vail.  Steve promises us steaks at dinner tonight, even with the altitude playing games with my stomach, I feel as if I could eat a steak or two.
Dinner doesn't disappoint! It was a great spread!  The mood is light, unless we get injured or sick, we will finish.

Day 6.  We start up(what else is new...) and out on a pretty singletrack through a grove of aspens.  I think this is my favorite so far. It levels out for a few miles and rehash the last few days as we run easy.  It's a stage of rolling hills and more ski lifts.  At some point we exit the trail and run through the town of Beaver Creek.  It raised a few eyebrows as we colorful and somewhat dirty runners run through this upscale ski resort, with Transrockies workers holding up traffic for us so we could cross streets.
We think we are near the end of the stage, as we climb out of the city up thru some trails behind some really nice homes.  I call Matt(who is meeting us at the finish with Karen) to let him know we are probably on the home stretch.  They are there having lunch waiting.    Well, that last little stretch look us almost an hour longer that we expected!!  But we finally cross the finish.  We did it!!!! Pictures and hugs!
An over the top banquet that night.  We wanted to look good leaving, so Matt brought me heels and a dress to wear at the dinner.  Rick wore a suit!  People didn't recognize us!  So much fun!

Thinking back, I'd have to say, I am very proud of myself for finishing this.  I think it was the hardest event I'd ever finished.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

6 Days of Running Bliss

At least I hope it is!  Sometime last year I put in a deposit on the TransRockies Run.  A six day fully supported run through the rockies in Colorado.  Old Goats, Steve and Doug had run it in its inaugural year and last year, gave it a big thumbs up and promoted it at a Trailheadz meeting. 
There are different team divisions-men's, women's, mixed(men and women),80+mixed,80+mens and 80+womens.  The race is run in teams of 2, and both members must stay within 2 min. of each other.
So, I called up my favorite running partner and asked him if he was up for the adventure.  He got the okay from his social director-took a few weeks-and so here we are now.  Trained and ready to go. 
If you believe that last statement, then you don't know Rick and I very well!!!
We will be taking it very slow in Colorado, our goal is to just make it to the finish line on August 27 where our families will be waiting. 
In about in hour we will start out on the 15 hr drive to Buena Vista.  Last weather check predicted rain.  Arriving Thursday, we will have 3 days to acclimate to the altitude and sort out and weed out our gear.  Day 2 of the run has a 10 mile hike(run?) up Hope Pass-around 13000 ft.in altitude.  Weather could be anything-they've had a lot of rain.  Last check of predicted weather in Vail and Beaver Creek(the finish), was cool and wet.  The runners are allowed one generous duffle bag-mine will be full of shoes...

here's the link
TransRockies Run

I am taking my netbook and if I can get a signal in one of the local towns, I will update.

The tenative running schedule is(they keep the actual route a secret until checkin)
day 1 20 miles
day2  10 miles of altitude!
day3 24 miles
day4 14 miles of altitude!
day 5 24 miles
day 6 21 miles.

gotta go.  need to pack more socks. and maybe another windbreaker. or another pair of tights.... 

Friday, May 7, 2010

Miwok 100K

Sometime last year the lottery for the Miwok 100K opened up.  Rick emailed me asking if I wanted to try to get in.  Sure!  Leap first, ask questions later.  A few months later, we are both in and I'm finally asking him about the course.  His description..."there's nothing flat, all hills.  big hills. but it's pretty!" 
So, Saturday May 1st, we ran the Miwok.  And gosh it was pretty.  The race started in the dark at Rodeo lagoon.  Mother nature cooperated and gave us great weather, so at the start, while it was chilly, it was nothing like last years race, which I heard rivaled the Chimera.
Running thru the sand then up and around the first hill to get a glimpse of the bay as the sunrises. picture time!
This first part of the run is a short out and back, and we get to see the big name front runners still looking fresh, easily loping along a stretch of pavement.  Anton Krupicka, Hal Koerner, Jenn Shelton, Krissy Moehl and Kami Semick were among the few I recognized. 
The first major aid station we stop at is Tennessee Valley at mile 12.  We're still feeling good, grab a quick bite and get going.  Up, up and up(this hill out of the AS i'm naming it "Ricks Hill") out of the valley, then down to Muir Beach.
Rick took all of the great pictures, sorry if I've gotten them out of order....I think he'll understand though, after running with me for a few years he knows how directionally challenged I am.
Beautiful picture perfect spots everywhere.  It's hard to concentrate on running! 
The next stop is the Pan Toll aid station at mile 21-ish. The first place we can get to our drop bags.  This becomes a major stop, we leave warm clothes and empty Heed packets behind and pick up fresh supplies.  Rick mentions his stomach is starting to act up again.  The run out of pan toll is grassy singletrack, flowers and miles of green blades all swaying in the breeze.  There is no shade and the temps begin to rise.  Still, it's an easy run and not too hilly.  We are making good time and try to catch up with runners we know are ahead somewhere.  Next is Bolinas aid station.   As we near Bolinas, Rick's stomach is really starting to hurt, I could tell there was something wrong because I was keeping up with him.  Usually he runs ahead and stops when he can't see me.  But I was always in sight and catching him on the downhills.  He had to stop a few times to let his stomach settle.  We arrive at Bolinas and see Scott Jurek working, handing out gels and encouragement to the runners who are returning from the Randall turnaround. We see signs with the cutoff times posted.  Randall's is 2:30, I don't really remember what time we left Bolinas but it was going to be a push to get to Randall before the cutoff.  The trail is dark, tree covered and rooty.  It's slow going and we stop often.  We get to the turnaround with 30 min. to spare, hand off my water bottles and hit the porta potty.  It's another long stop, but we get out before the cutoff and it's up hill back to Bolinas.  Poor Rick looks miserable, but refuses to give in and being the veteran ultra runner he is, we continue on.  I don't know what the cutoff is for the return to Bolinas but I see another lady ahead suddenly crank up the speed.  She'd been slow and steady for most of the hike back, but she was starting to run again.  I was worried we were getting close to another cut off so I tried to push our pace a bit.  We get to Bolinas (mile 42-ish) again just in time to see them starting to pack up, but they don't stop us so we must have gotten in just in time.  Next is pan toll 7.5 miles away and we must get there before 6:30pm.  Another big push.  Up a hot hill out of bolinas-Rick struggles with his stomach.  We get to the grassy single track again and make up time even with the stops for heaving...
Mentally I'm struggling here-I'm not sure if we should go on after we get to pan toll.  I ask him about it, he wants to continue.  But we stop every mile or so as the dry heaves and vomiting continue.  He hasn't been able to keep any liquid or solid down since after mile 25. and we are approaching mile 50, with more to go after that.  In my mind, I called it quits around mile 47.  I slowed down, let him pass me.  Took in the views and thought about what to do.  We arrive back at Pan toll with 40 min. to spare-seems like a lot of time.  We rummage thru the drop bags-business as usual, look for head lamps and warm clothes for the last 12 miles.  I use the bathrooms again and when I get back I see Rick crouched over some bushes, pale and shivering.  We look each other in the eyes, I ask him(more like told him) is it time to drop?  It is.  We make it official and find a nice man with a Prius,  I think he said his name was Kent, and get a long ride back to the finish.
Warm heaters and hot soup are waiting for us.  Rick manages to get the soup down...I'm a little wary as he eats cuz I'm sitting next to him...but it stays down and he's looking better. We see runners we know and chat for a while.  We watch as the sun sets and see a few more runners with lamps make their way down the long downhill to the finish. 
Rick feels bad, thinks we should have continued.  But, deep down I know it was the right decision, the safe one.  Miwok will be there next year and lottery willing, so will we.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Leona Divide 50 Mile Run 2010

Leona Divide 2010.  A new course and a new RD.  Keira from the Trailheadz accepted the position of RD last year.  So this years run, while it kept the flavor of the original LD50, she added miles of the PCT. 
Keeping in what is becoming a tradition of our Leona start...or rather missing the start...we headed out about 4 minutes behind the last runner.  But, if given the choice of being 4 min. late or missing a chance at the bathrooms...well...go figure!
It was an absolutely beautiful morning to run!  Clear and cool.  Rick and I slowly made our way up the first hill.  Catching and passing the first runner after about a mile. About 3 or 4 miles later we saw the a small cluster or Trailheadz-Beiyi, Doug (Doug's daughter Michelle broke the women's course record!) andYen.

All things considered, we were doing pretty well.  We both felt pretty good and the miles started falling away.  The aid stations were awesome, the workers were helpful and the tables well stocked.  I tried not to graze too much, my stomach was still a bit raw from the day before...don't know why, but it was.  Took two pepto bismols before the start and they helped.  So I stayed away from solid foods untl it settled.  Gels and Heed were enough until lunch time.
The mile 23 aid station, the "70's Station" was run by what looked to be college age runners.  All very young and fit, and dressed in 70's clothing.  Just before we arrived we caught up with veteran runner Fred who was looking strong.  He was a good sport and took a picture with the AS volunteers.
It was high energy and Earth, Wind and Fire at this stop!  They pampered us, but sent us on our way. The next stop was over 6 miles away, but we were feeling really strong and looking forward to getting to the turnaround at 29 miles.
The next 4 miles, while on beautiful singletrack, were tough!!!  I struggled thru this and wondered when it was going to end!!!  We started seeing runners coming back thru this section, the front runners, this encouraged us because we hoped this meant we were close to the turnaround.  I heard Rick ask a few how much farther until the Aid station and the answers were always "at least 3 miles"...The trail seemed fairly flat, rolly mostly. Why was it so hard?  I could hardly keep up a run for more than a few minutes without feeling drained.  I pushed the fluids and gels, thinking i must be getting low on fuel, but it didn't help much.  Finally we break out of the tree covered singletrack and on to open fireroad.  Crew directed us to keep right, and it was still 2.5 miles.  But it wall all DOWNHILL!! Allright!!!! I felt the wings open up and flew the first mile or so.  It was a fairly steep grade, so after a mile I slowed it down to keep the knees and quads in shape, and also because I knew we'd be hiking up this grade in a few minutes.  We saw many familiar faces at the turnaround, Corrinne who was battling a strained hamstring was just behind us looking so determined!  Beiyi and Sue were not too far behind her.
Climbing back up the fireroad was slow and hot.  I took it a little too easy and  let people pass me.  This is where Fred found what he was looking for and passed us.  We would never see him again until the finish  line!  I was dreading that 4 mile section of the PCT.  After reaching the top of the fireroad and starting on to singletrack, I noticed it seemed all downhill...we kept going, all downhill...no wonder I felt so crappy, it was all uphill the first time thru and we were trying to run the whole thing!  Well, the second time thru was fun and fast.  Shady soft brown dirt with a mild downhill. We flew, trying to make up lost time.  We get back to the 70's station happy and refreshed.  This marks the 35.5 mile point.  We are at 8.5 hours.  15 miles left.  We decide to shoot for under 12 hours and head out. 
While our legs are feeling pretty good, Ricks stomach has other plans for us.  He is sensitive to sunscreen and he thinks a bit of it entered his water bottle at the last aid station.  He battled nausea for the last 15 miles.  We would trade off leading.  I would march on and try to keep the pace while he took needed breaks.  The day was warming up and that wasn't helping him either.  After the 42 mile aidstation was the last hill. It was a doozie too, no shade and over 4 miles of climb. We passed more people, and a few passed us.  Alot of "walking dead" on this stretch.   We discussed strategy here, should we just take our time and finish, or set a goal?  Rick wanted to finish better than last year, which was 12:39 i believe.  So we leave the comfort of the last aid station and begin the final miles. I keep a close eye on my garmin and our pace.  We are running 13 min miles...downhill...it's going to be close...we reach another hill, more walking...21 min miles.   finally I recognize the homestretch.  I look behind me to see how Rick is holding up.  He's still looking strong, running straight and tall.  It's all downhill now, we hit the half mile with plenty of time left and cruise across the finish line.  12:13.
Rick finds the first bench and calls it home.  He  looks pale, but still strong...and manages not to throw up at the finish line!!   Steve and Annie of the trailheadz give us hugs and congratulations.  I see Janet and we chat, she runs off to get Rick some water.   I try to eat a bit, share a little with the TH, but his stomach isn't quite ready for fajitas and spanish rice.  After an hour he's able to shuffle over to the dining hall, get a little food down.  He's looking much better, but a nap seems to be the next on the list.  So we make our way to the SUV, and much like last year...take a nap.

Next up...Miwok 100K May 1st.

Friday, April 9, 2010

"Speed work"

The weekend after the Way Too Cool 50K, I felt the need for speed.
I used to run 5 and 10K's all the time.  Once or twice a month! My times were never great, but they were fun and fast..
So, a very spur of the moment decision had me in Newport Beach running the Spirit Run 5K.  I originally had the 10K in mind but I overslept and ran the 5K. 
It's been about a year since I last ran a 5K.  This one even had chip timers, so it would be an "official" time. 
Standing at the starting line, I was feeling very nervous.  And very slow.  Especially after my less than stellar times in the back to back 50K's.  But, I'd decided to just do the best I could and treat it as speed work. 3 miles at race pace.
At the gun the race began...and it was a race!!! 1st mile at 8:06, even after dodging the walkers for the first 2 blocks.  2nd mile 8:03..negative splits!!  The 3rd mile was when the "race" began.  There was a man about 5 yards ahead of me, i'd kept him in sight since mile 2. He was easily loping along.  From behind, a man who looked to be in his 70's, passed me.  Slowly he caught the jogging man.  Jogging man, sensing he was about to be passed picked up his pace.  So I picked up my pace to keep the two of them in view.  Now, I could hear the steady breathing of someone behind me, on my right.  As I picked up my pace, the breather fell back a bit, but caught up.  A slight downhill ahead, again, I tried to pick up the pace and gain more of a lead.  A short distance later the breather was again on my tail.  The jogger ahead was no longer jogging...he was running trying to keep his lead, the 70 year old was not letting up!  On my tail was the breather, and 50 yds ahead was the finish line.  Should I go all out and smoke the breather or "maintain" and look casual as I cross the finish.  Being one to never want to look like she's trying too hard, I just kept my pace, and the breather passed me the last 20 yds.  I think the jogger kept his lead but he looked like he was spent. 
At the finish line the breather-I saw it was a woman, caught her breath and came over and shook my hand.  It was a good race, and a PR for me.  My final mile was under 8 min, because my overall pace was 7:50.  So negative splits! Woo Hoo!!!
Saturday is the Seal Beach 10K!  Last year was so much fun, Benny and I battled it out!  This year I have to work, so I'm going to be running after working all night, I'll try to keep it under 55 min.  Still it will be speedwork!
Oh, almost forgot!  After looking online at the Spirit race results, I discovered I placed 2nd in my age group! I think the woman that passed me took 1st!!


I've been good.  Added a few more miles since my last post.  I wanted to mention my run on Wednesday, which was less than memorable in miles, but a good reminder about running in the heat. I'd worked all night Tuesday, it was busy and didn't really have a chance to eat or drink much during my 10 hour shift.  After getting home and logging about 4 hours of sleep I got up and got ready for an afternoon run, it was going to be an easy short run thru the hills, recovery from Monday's run.  Ate a quick snack and ran out the door to el moro.  I started out feeling pretty good, but after the first hill my legs were quickly becoming fatigued.  It was warm out, so I started drinking.  Didn't help much.  By 3 miles I was walking back to the car, shaking my head trying to figure out what went wrong...Not enough sleep?  Don't think so, I do alot of training after work.  Heat?  Maybe, not enough heat training yet.  Low on calories?  Maybe, had only a p-nut butter sandwich in 12 hours.  Low on water?  Very likely.  I'd had 3 cups of coffee in 24hrs.  Thats it.  So I started out very dehydrated and as soon as i hit that first hill and started sweating my muscles were overheating.  Even after drinking a bottle of heed, I was still probably 3L low, and it didn't make much of a difference. 
I got home and downed another half liter of water, took an endurolyte, drank another half liter and ate dinner.
During my shift that night, I went easy on the coffee(not an easy thing to do) and kept up with the water and electrolytes.  The amazing thing, that morning, at the end of my 10 hours I felt great!  Much more energetic and clear minded than I usually do after drinking coffee all night long.  I had another run on my calender for Thursday afternoon.  So another 4 hours of sleep and I was up and on the trails again.  This time I finished off almost a liter of smartwater before getting on the trails.  Took an endurolyte and headed out to try to get in 9-10 miles before dark.  What a difference!! While I'm still a wimp on the hills I could get thru most of them without stopping, and then continue on quickly at the top.  At the end of the 9 miles I was tired and could feel the effects of the heat but could have continued on for more miles if I'd had the time.
So, moral to this little story...while drinking and eating during running is important, taking care of yourself while off the trails factors in big time too. I'd been too consumed with making sure I'd pack all my pills and powders for my run, I'd neglect to eat and drink properly before leaving the house.
And the warm up is very important too...