Carlsbad 5000 2019 Race Recap

For a while it looked like Carlsbad 5000 might disappear.  Competitor Group sold the Rock n Roll series to Ironman and last year, Carlsbad 5000 was interesting, especially in regards to the elite races.

But after what seemed like forever, it was announced that Meb & a group of local San Diego investors had purchased Carlsbad 5000 and in December they opened up registration to the race.  We immediately signed up only to realize that Leona Divide was the day before.  For some reason I had my dates wrong and thought it was later in the month.

In any case, we decided we would still run, especially since the Arete ladies were doing a big meet-up where we would get to meet one of the founders, Mary before the race.

So when I left off on my Leona Divide recap, Sean had finished and we were high-tailing it out of Green Valley.  Well it got dark not too long after that and I don’t enjoy driving in the dark, especially when I’m tired. Plus getting out of Green Valley/Palmdale requires driving on a very stressful two lane road with a ton of traffic.  We finally made it to San Bernardino and found a place to have dinner.  By this point I was so exhausted I couldn’t drive the 2 hours home so we got a hotel near the airport in Ontario and decided to drive to Carlsbad in the morning.

Sean’s wave started at 6:53a and mine at 7:55a.  We decided to shoot for my wave and left the hotel around 6am I think.  The sun was just starting to come up when we left the hotel.

It was a pretty easy drive, we ended up on a toll road that was so incredibly beautiful, unfortunately no photos, I was driving, but it was almost empty and I kept thinking how lucky we were to get to see these beautiful mountains.

Eventually we made it to the 5 and then made our way south to Carlsbad.  I was starting to stress out, would we find a parking spot, get our bibs & hit the port-o-potties and be there in time to start the race?

We found a parking spot, jogged over to the starting area, I picked up the bibs for Sean & I, he was jogging just a touch slower than me ;), understandably so after finishing a 100k less than 12 hours before.

We then jogged over to the start area, where we immediately saw Kristina & Josh, we said a quick hello & headed immediately to the bathrooms.  We made it & even were there in time to hear the National Anthem.

Last year Kristina & I were racing around this course trying to get PRs or close to them.  I managed to go under 25 minutes for the first time last year.  This year we were both like, I don’t know how this is going to go.  I told her I might not be able to keep up and she said the same thing lol.

But off we went.  I started out really easy at least compared to last year, lol, when I was weaving in and out of all sorts of other runners.  This year I didn’t have a real goal but just wanted to do my best.

The first section has a few little bumps that feel like hills and then you make the turn.  I was feeling pretty good as I made my way down to the turnaround.

I hit the first mile then made the turn to go back the way I just came around 1.4 miles.  I missed the aid station, I was pretty thirsty, but it was only 3 miles so I just kept moving.

I started to feel like my legs were really tired so I know I started slowing down around the 2 mile mark.  We eventually started seeing the leaders and I was just saying to myself, keep moving, it’s only 3 miles, don’t walk.  I was waiting for the next turn, where was it? Finally we came up to the turn.  I made it and felt like I was going soooo slow, willing myself to keep running, not much longer now, less than a mile.

Then I heard Sean call my name! I turned, thinking I probably looked like death & Sean took my photo.  I thought these photos were going to reflect how I felt, but they actually didn’t look too bad, lol.

Seeing Sean gave me a little boost and I continued moving towards the Carlsbad sign and the final turn.  I hit the turn and did my best to speed up, it was tough, let me tell you.  I don’t believe I’m smiling in the photos at the finish lol, which was a shame because they had free photos!!

But I did managed to hang on to get a 8:31 avg pace which for these days was a significant effort. I was about 3 minutes faster than the LA Big 5k so that was a good sign.

For the second year in a row, Kristina finished just behind me.  I kept thinking she would pass me, but she was hanging on just like I was, lol.

Sean finished a few minutes later, I was able to wait for him & see a few other friends in the meantime.

We got a quick snack, some coffee & then headed to meet the Arete ladies by the packet pick-up.  Most of them were running in either the 30 – 39 or  2o – 29 age groups.  I think I was the only one who ran in the masters group this race.

We got a few photos & then they took off for a quick warm-up run.  We headed to the finish area to wait to watch the next race.

It’s pretty exciting and we would have loved to have stayed to watch the elites but we were exhausted so we said good-bye to all our friends and headed to Plant Power for some lunch before heading home.

Some of the cool things about this years race, free photos, Meb was taking photos with runners at the finish.  I wish I had know there were free photos because I would have gotten a pic but I didn’t really want to pay for them.  We didn’t pick up our shirts, although they were  a nice design, we just have so many race shirts we don’t wear.

Leona Divide 30k 2019 Recap

Leona Divide was my first ultra back in 2015 when I ran the 50k with Sean.  This race holds a special place in our hearts because of that.  Sean ran his first ultra, the 50mile in 2013 & then I did the 50k 2 years later.  You can read my past recaps here & here.

When Sean O’Brien was cancelled due to the fires last year, Sean was given the opportunity to run a special one time 100k race at Leona.  He decided to take it and so I asked Keira if I could run the 50k at Leona vs the Verduga 50k in February.  This was a good call since I wasn’t feeling well in February.

If you’ve read any of my other recent recaps you would know that I have run/walked a lot of races lately.  I was planning to do the 50k up until the day before the race.

As we were driving up to Palmdale, where we would stay the night before, the thought of being out there doing the 50k started to feel like a really long day especially since I would need to drive us home to run Carlsbad that night.

So I started thinking that from a training perspective I should probably drop down to the 30k and see if I could run the majority of it.  The idea started percolating in my head and it actually excited me.

So the next morning, I decided to officially drop down. I saw Sean off at 6am, went back to the car to drop off my extra clothes, chatted with my friend Missy for a few minutes and then we were off at 6:30a.

The first mile or so is a decent uphill on the road.  It was still pretty chilly when we started, my legs felt really heavy along and my breathing needed to acclimate.

I ran/walked the road section, then walked the steep section on the trail.  I didn’t go too fast on the downhill, we had a way to go at that point.  It’s amazing how different the trails look when they are all green, it’s been 3 years since the last time I ran Leona & the first section seemed different.

But then we turned on to the PCT & it all came back.  This section is really pretty and since we were doing the 30k relatively early in the day, there was still a lot of shade.  I kept my long sleeve on for the majority of the race until the last few miles when it got really warm.

I ran/walked the first section, my legs were still feeling heavy, it probably took about 4-5 miles for them to loosen up. I met a lady named Summer from Pine Valley & another lady named Michelle, who was an absolute beast on the uphill, she was from nearby & had run this section not too long before.  We ran together for a bit until Michelle left us in the dust.

We finally made it to the final downhill into the San Fransquito aid station which is the turn around.  I had on my dirtbag runners hat, which I really liked & my sunglasses and apparently my head was steaming lol.  I wish I had gotten a photo!  I refilled my water, had a few oranges & then headed up the hill.  I saw Summer up ahead and tried to catch up.  I eventually caught her just as Rob Krar came flying down the hill.  It was really funny because everyone who passed us for a bit was like did you see Rob Krar?

As we made our way up the hill, Michelle caught up with us towards the top, Rob also caught up with us right as we made it to the top. Haha.

At this point, I started running and I ended up passing Summer and doing my own thing.  Michelle was so strong on the uphills, some of which I ran, some that I walked that I could see her in the distance but didn’t catch her until right before the final aid station.

This year, there was an actual waterfall on the course, you can’t really see it in my photo but there was running water.  I’ve never seen anything like it on this course because it’s almost always super dry.

She ended up leaving first but I passed her again, I was feeling pretty good and we only had a few miles left.  At this point I was pretty much by myself.  I saw Uly from Paksit Photos as I was climbing up the hill & then another one of his photographers just as I was heading down the last section of trail.

It was actually really funny because I was smiling for the photos and then a bug hit my lip & I think I ended up swallowing it.  I was still smiling but after I passed her I spit and she was like did you swallow a bug, yep, I did, lol.

I hit the road & started the descent to the finish line.  This road section felt so much longer than it did when we climbed up. I passed one lady and was just concentrating on not getting hit by cars, there was one SUV that the lady did not car we were on the road, she literally did not move one inch from her path to accommodate me, not cool.

I made a turn and then I started to hear footsteps behind me.  I just concentrated on continuing to move, I remember saying to myself, don’t look back, don’t look back, just keep moving forward.  And I did.  Finally after what felt like forever, Jesse Haynes & another guy passed me and flew down the hill.

It wasn’t too much longer & then I was making the turn into the finish line. I finished around 4:10 with 19.65miles on my Garmin. I was pretty happy, that was probably one of the best avg pace trail runs I’ve had in a long while.  While not super fast, it was a solid run that I felt really good on and that was a success.

I finished, got some snacks, they had veggie subway sandwiches & chips.  I spent the rest of the day hanging out with Missy and some of our other friends watching the rest of the runners come in.

Once Sean came in, having a solid race and finishing before dark.  I collected his drop bags and we high tailed it out of there because we were going to run Carlsbad 5000 the next day.

Leona is one of our favs & we will definitely be back.  As always Keira Henninger & her crew does an amazing job.

 

**Running photos are from Paksit Photos.  All other photos are my own.**

Encinitas Half Marathon 2019 Recap

This is the second time we have run the Encinitas Half.  I decided to sign Sean & I up in early February.

We enjoyed last years race but this year they made a few changes including running the course backwards and eliminating the crazy steep hill that we went up and down last year.

Sean had to do trail work on the Saturday before the race for AC100 so I went up to Carlsbad, did a fun silent Orange Theory workout with the Carlsbad Lululemon.  It was a blast! I had so much fun.

Afterwards I headed over to pick up our packets.  They moved the packet pick-up to a new location, a community center.  There was definitely more parking so that was nice but I personally preferred the outdoor expo we went to last year.  There were maybe a half dozen vendors? Nothing that interested me so I just grabbed our bibs & swag.  They allow you to pick up for other runners with their bib number & a photo of their ID.

You could also pick up your packet on race morning but they charge you an extra $20 for that so, we didn’t do that.

Sean didn’t get home until pretty late on Saturday night so we got our gear out & then headed to bed.

The next morning we got up pretty early because the race started at 7:30a and we had at least a 45 min drive.  We started up to the race and hit a dead stop on the freeway about 10 minutes later.  Not a good sign but fortunately it cleared up pretty quickly & we were on our way again.

We got up to the race area & headed to the dirt lot we parked in last year.  There was a car in front of us that decided to turn around after starting up so I got out of the car and guided Sean up around the rutted areas & my little Prius C made it ;).  It’s been in quite a few tricky spots over the years lol.

Behind us was our friend Jonathan so we chatted with him and his wife for a while before heading over to the start.  It was a little chilly out but we didn’t know if they were doing drop bags or not so we didn’t want to run with extra stuff if there weren’t drop bags.

We got over to the port-a-potties, which was a bit of a cluster, but we managed to get in pretty quickly and then realized that Sean forgot his bib because I had it on my side of the car.  So I walked back to get it for him.

By this time it was time to get into our corrals.  It was a bit more disorganized than I remember from last year.  With both the 5k & 1/2 marathon starting around the same time there were a lot of runners hanging out.  I tried to make my way to what I thought was the 2nd wave, but there were no wave signs just pace groups which seemed to help a little but it was really crowded.  I jumped in and just stayed put.

They started the National Anthem but it was really low so there were a lot of people talking.  Then they started the runners off! The first wave went and since they didn’t have anyone separating the waves, people just kept moving until finally one of the announcers, Rudy, started yelling no more runners, no more runners just Team Hoyt! It was crazy!  I was still a bit of a way back from the front so I was just chilling.

We finally got started and it was quite crowded, in fact the whole race felt a lot more crowded than I remembered from last year.  But I settled in and just ran.  I was enjoying the beautiful views, this course runs next to the ocean for a good portion of the course.  We cheered on the lead runners, I watched for friends and cheered them on.  It was a beautiful day and it started getting hot pretty quickly.

I just took it pretty easy and did my best to keep running up and down the hills, I took a few walk breaks but not many.

I finally got up the final hill and on to the final out and back.  It went up by Sean’s uncle’s house so even thought I didn’t think he would be around, I looked for him ;).  I saw a fellow radrabbit, one of my fellow run Arete teammates, Jonathan & then Sean.  Another friend saw me & I waved back.

I hit the turn around and headed back to the finish.  As we were running back, I see a guy bend down and stop to pick a poppy from the median, I yelled don’t pick the poppies but it was too late, he had headphones in and didn’t hear me.  Not cool dude, not cool.

We ran under the Encinitas sign and then headed to the finish.  I was getting kind of hungry by this point so I just tried to get in as quick as I could.  I heard Sean call my name and then it was over!

Half marathon 56 complete! I think I did about 2:08 which was 2 minutes faster than San Diego Half so that was a good thing.  I felt tired but good the majority of the race.

After the race I ate a half of a banana, got a bottle or box of water & we had a kombucha sample before we headed back to the car.

The medal was pretty, although I thought it was interesting that it seemed like the 5k got the same size medal.

We didn’t stick around for any of the post race activities this year, we headed to Plant Power for lunch and then on to The Carlsbad Flower Fields to check them out.

I liked the reverse course, but honestly it didn’t really matter to me, I just liked that we didn’t have to run up/down the super steep hill.

I did feel like the course was a lot tighter this year though, people seemed to be a lot closer together on the course and the turn-arounds were quite tight.

All in all, it’s a beautiful course & depending on our schedule I’d probably run it again.

Do you run races that you don’t have to travel for?

LA Marathon 2019 – 5 in a Row!

I was given a free entry to the LA Marathon in exchange for sharing my experience over the last 5 years.  All thoughts and opinions on the race are mine & mine alone.

Sean & I have run LA every year since we’ve met.  My first was back in 2015, which was LA’s 30th Anniversary.  Outside of LA & Tahoe 200 we don’t really have many races that we do each and every year so we have decided LA is the one that we will continue to run year after year.  And it’s a great one to repeat!

I’ve shared my past recaps before but if you are interested in looking back on my previous races you can find them by clicking on the following years. 2015, 2016, 2017 & 2018.

I mentioned in a post I wrote earlier in the year that I had originally wanted to try and go sub 4 this year. Unfortunately with my thyroid issues I had to throw that goal out the window and I decided to ask my friend Laurie if she wanted to run together.  We ran San Diego Rock n Roll together last year and had a blast so I figured we would have a blast doing this too.  I didn’t want to stress my body too much, plus there is always this point at LA where I just hit that proverbial wall and then I’m walking/running by myself wishing I had a friend for company.

So we agreed we would run together, Laurie gave me a out many times but I committed to running with her and I honestly wanted to.  That being said, I haven’t ever run with anyone in the marathon except one time with Sean at RnR LV and the time I met up with a girl at Mountains 2 Beach when we were both having a hard time.

I was excited and we planned it out to wear the same outfit, we both had the 2012 Lululemon SeaWheeze shorts and then grabbed a Sunday Runday shirt from Miles & Pace (a local SD shop) for a super steal using our friend Jenn’s code JENN20 for 20% off.

Anyways, back to the race.  Sean & I headed over the expo after the 5k that morning.  We were able to check into our hotel really early, got the car charged up and then had breakfast on the 26th floor of the hotel in the Club Lounge.  I have elite status with Marriott so it comes with perks at some hotels.  It was nice, we couldn’t eat a lot just oatmeal, hashbrowns & fruit but it tided us over until we could have lunch.

We were staying downtown so we were able to walk to the expo.  We saw a super cool set of wings by the Grammy Museum by Colette Miller so of course I had to get a photo & then we made our way into the expo.

It was in a slightly different spot in the convention center than it has been the last few year and I found it a little smaller than the past, but I might be mistaken.

We got our bibs in minutes, this year they sent us QR codes to have scanned and then we met up with my contact, Carleigh, who works for Conqur Endurance to finally meet in person.  We chatted for a few minutes & she gave us stickers so we could go to the VIP Bungalow a the start & finish of the race.

We walked around for a little bit but just ended up stopping at the LA Loyal booth before hitting up the Lululemon booth so I could get a shirt with the cool logo they had made up for the race with the coordinates of the race.

Last year, a new program was created called, LA Loyal.  It rewards you for running 2, 5 & 10 years in a row. This year was my fifth consecutive year running LA.  In every other race I’ve ever had loyalty at, you get your loyalty award the year you hit the number of races.  So for example, this year was my 4th year running San Diego half marathon, they gave me the 4 year loyalty award. At LA that’s not the way it works. You have to complete 5 years & then sign up for the 6th race in order to get your 5 year award.  I get it but it’s really confusing & most races giving you your reward the year you do your loyalty race, so it was frustrating to me.  I plan to run next year so I guess I’ll get my 5 year award then.  I just hope that I don’t go next year and they say, sorry, you should have gotten it last year.

Anyways, moving on after that we walked over to an amazing place called Backyard Bowls and had the first of 2 lunches.  We had an Acai bowl that is definitely in my top 3 favorite.  I keep thinking about it even a few weeks later.

We headed back to the hotel & got changed before going to meet Ari, our SoCal Altra rep, for a mid afternoon lunch.  We went to a yummy vegan place called Beelman‘s.

After Beelman’s we hit up this amazing vegan ice cream placed called Divine Dips & the lady who was working was amazing, she let us try as many flavors as we wanted and pushed us to taste flavors we wouldn’t normally gravitate to.  I ended up with a cone of New York Cheesecake, which honestly I wouldn’t normally pick but it was amazing!

After ice cream we headed back to the hotel to relax, we were going to have an early morning!

We got up around 4:30a or so and then got on the bus to Dodger’s Stadium.  They had the buses set up in a new way this year.  There were 3 lines of buses so they could drop off more people at the same time.  They only downside was that we had to wait for buses to go through before walking to the start area.

We hit up the port-o-potties, never pass up empty ones at a huge race like this, then we made our way into the stadium.  No one seemed to know where our VIP Bungalow room was but eventually we found it and it was awesome.

We saw our friend Eric, who also ran the run4kids 24 hour the weekend before, got some nice private bathrooms, bottles of water & they had snacks, but I just ate my cliff bar.

The best part was that they took our bags so we could pick them up at the end of the race & not need to worry about going to drop them off at the normal gear check.

Sean & I made our way into the corrals, I had managed to secure a B bib because of my race at Mt. Hood last year, Laurie had an E bib so I met her over by the E corral and we pushed our way into the corral.  I don’t know if it just wasn’t clear or if people just didn’t pay attention but so many people in the open corral were trying to get into the lettered corrals.

We finally got in, took a photo, listened to the announcements, the speakers near us cut out as the Mayor of Los Angeles was speaking, poor guy, and then started moving towards the start.

Since we were wearing the same outfit, we ended up making it onto the news, I had a few people mention it to me & one sent me a quick screen shot.  Too funny how we are both looking down starting our watches.

Off we went, running out of Dodgers Stadium on our way to Santa Monica.  We were doing great, got to the first aid station in Chinatown.  We saw a bunch of legacy runners, who had run all 34 races.

We were run/walking, taking some photos here and there.  I saw this cool Audrey Hepburn street art about 3ish miles in.

We saw the Disney Concert Hall shimmering in the sun, looking beautiful.  This year, there was a screaming guy talking about religion as we ran up the hill.

The Japanese drums are my favorite musical group of the race.  They are always at the top of the hill by the Disney Concert Hall.

As we turned the corner, Laurie saw Justin Turner & had to get a photo so I took a few for her.  We kept moving, running the downhills, run/walking the uphills & some of the flats.

We saw our friend Pretty, we went back and forth with her for a bit until we lost her on a hill.

We were doing great, moving decently, we hit 5 miles in under an hour & then 10 miles in just around 2 hours. We saw some more cool street art.

We passed the chili dog station.  This is something I look forward to seeing each year.  I don’t eat them, but they are so sweet to come out and support us like this.

Then we had a short break while Laurie grabbed a donut from California Donuts.  While she was getting her sugar fix, I had a lady insist that she was going to be DQ’d because she left the course, she literally went 50 feet to the shop to grab a donut, not a mile or 2 off course.  The lady was so convinced that Laurie’s chip was going to turn off and she would be DQ’d.  Ok, then.

We headed onto the Hollywood Walk of Fame, by Mann’s Chinese Theater.  We were looking for Jimmy Fallon’s crew, but never saw them.  I always seem to get the best photos in this area of the course & this year was no exception :).

I love seeing the Hollywood sign.  The first few years I ran the race, I didn’t see it, this year we saw it a few times.

We hit the first of the Clif Bar aid stations, this guy’s costume is sooo cute.  I don’t normally dress up for Halloween, but this would totally be an awesome costume.

We hit the half marathon just after this in about 2:40 or so.  The sun was shining, we were doing good.  Running through the city, we came up on our friend Briana who was running her first marathon! She was struggling a little but moving really well.  She was excited to see her parents at one of the LA Leggers aid stations.  I saw Josh Holmes, from RunItFast, out with his kids.

We ran down an awesome downhill around mile 16ish, turned the corner saw the drag queens and kept moving.  By this point I was just a little bit ahead of Laurie.  I was trying to keep with her but I felt like I was always a few feet or more ahead of her. These miles, 16 – 18 are always tough, they aren’t the most exciting, although there are a lot of tents set up & spectators.

Eventually we headed into Beverly Hills & saw the We Run Social group, Ivie & AJ & a few others.  By this point, Laurie was having a short low point & so Ivie ran with us for a few minutes, she gave Laurie a birthday gift, one of her Cozy Cone Crafts.  She put it on her arm & I told her it was her power up.

We turned on to the section of the course where they have the USC/UCLA cheer groups.  I turned back to make sure Laurie was behind me.  She had her head down & I thought she was hurt or sick.  She was just in the zone.  We walked & ran & eventually caught up to Briana again.  Briana wasn’t having the best day, she started feeling a little light headed earlier in the race so she was walking. We walked with her for a bit.

By this point we had slowed down a bit, but we were still moving well.  I know Laurie was struggling a bit and it was getting hotter.  I was trying to keep her motivated.  She was doing so great & I was so proud of her.

We finally made it to the final downhill & headed down to the beach.  We were almost there!  This part of the race is a challenge, you can see the finish line, but it seems so far away! This year it was absolutely beautiful! Bright blue skies, sun shining, the spectators were out in full force.

Closer & Closer we were almost there & then we made it!!

I was so proud of Laurie! She pushed the whole way, running while I was walking next to her, running up hills, downhills, when she probably didn’t want to ;), for staying in our positivity bubble & keeping her head up high.

We might not have had the fastest time, could I have run faster on my own? Probably.  But then I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to see someone dig so deep & finish.  I wouldn’t have changed my experience at LA for anything.  I just hope that I was able to be motivating and not annoying.

We finished up, Sean had been hanging out in the VIP Bungalow learning all about the race, seeing the winners & Meb while we were out there running.  He and Carleigh were there when we finished & Sean gave me my medal!

That was such an awesome surprise. And we even had some paparazzi taking photos LOL.

Laurie & I got our challenge medals, I got the double-play for doing both the 5k & the marathon & she got that & the season challenge medal for doing 3 races Santa Monica 5k/10k, Pasadena Half & LA Marathon.

We got a photo with Carleigh & then went our separate ways. The race was over.

Sean & I got to hang out in the Bungalow for a few minutes before we headed back to the buses to get back downtown.

The buses, well I guess it’s been a few years since we have stayed downtown.  We haven’t had to take one in a while since we have parked in Santa Monica for the last few years.  This was probably the most frustrating part of the whole race and not the fault of the race necessarily, but as we walked up, a bus left & then we had to wait for over 45 minutes until we had a full bus to leave.  Everyone got up and talked to the drivers & honestly they didn’t care.  So we sat & waited and waited some more.  Eventually we headed out but that was an exercise in patience for sure.

I have run 26 marathons now & this was probably one of the most rewarding.  I am so happy that I had the opportunity to share it with one of my friends. Laurie, you inspire me!

Have you ever run a race with a friend?

 

 

 

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Big 5k Race Recap

Here’s the nitty gritty, I received a free entry to the Big 5k from Conquer Endurance Group in exchange for posting a photo on Instagram. That being said as usual, all thoughts & opinions are my own.

As you probably are already aware, Sean & I have run LA Marathon many times, but this was the first time we have done the Big 5 5k the day before.

We drove up to stay with Sean’s sister the night before after work.  We had a pretty quick trip considering it was Friday night and a beautiful sunset.  This was also our first long(ish) trip with Sean’s new electric car, we did really good but would need to get it charged after the race.

Saturday morning, we got up pretty early, I think we got up around 5:40am.  We were in Manhattan Beach so it would take about 30 minutes to get to Dodger Stadium.

I think we left around 6:15/20a which was good because it’s not easy to get in and out of the stadium.  We got there early enough that we didn’t have to wait too long to get in.  We got parked, got our bibs & shirts.

There were a few fun photo ops.  I got my photo with Dumbo & the finish line.  Unfortunately I was still in my warm-up gear but it’s all good.

We used the port-o-potties and then when back to the car to drop off our gear.  I wore a new to me Lululemon style shirt called the Breeze Bay short sleeve.  It had all the holes in it that are so popular these days on the trails :).  It matched a pair of shorts from last years SeaWheeze and was super cute.  I know they say don’t wear anything new on race day, but I’m at a point where I do, plus I’ve been wearing Lululemon for years, how different could it be ;).

Anyways back to the race.  We ran into some friends before heading into the corrals.

We haven’t run a 5k since Carlsbad 5000 last year.  I always forget how low key 5ks are.  Plus I wasn’t planning to run fast so I had no pressure.

When I was told about this race, I was told, it’s kind of hilly so I was expecting a lot of hills.  There were some but it wasn’t as hilly as I was expecting so that was a plus.  I pretty much just ran/walked.  I had to stop to get water around the 1.5 mile mark & take my pill, I’ve been really good at taking my thyroid meds at about the same time every day & I didn’t want to forget so I took it mid race.

We got a nice downhill and then we climbed back up for the start of the final mile.  It was really funny, I heard this guy next to me say what I thought was Jenny we are on the 3rd mile, I turned around as was like how did you know my name, turns out I’m apparently bad at hearing because he said Jay, not Jenny, but it was funny and kept me amused as I climbed the hill!

It didn’t take long after that until we hit the finish and I managed to get in just under 30 minutes.  Which was fantastic to me, my legs were definitely not feeling it the first mile so it took a little bit for them to warm up before I felt relatively decent.

We got a cute medal and then Sean & I headed over to our hotel, we needed to get some breakfast, get his car charged and then hit up the expo before meeting our Altra rep for lunch.  We had a busy day!

All in all if I had the opportunity to run the race again, I would.  It was pretty low key and they had nice swag.  It is a little pricey for a 5k at $50 a person which is why we probably one of the reasons we haven’t done it but it was nice to get the shake-out run out of the way early.

 

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Run4Kids 24 Hour Run Race Recap

Two weekends ago, Sean & I drove up to Corona, CA to run a 24 hour race.  After Across the Years in December, we said never again to one of these races but one of the founders reached out to Sean because he has the same last name and we found ourselves registering to run the Run4Kids 24 hour race that benefits the 100 mile club.

On the way up, we saw the poppy superbloom which was so beautiful! When I posted this in my instagram stories I got a bunch of comments about not walking on, laying on or doing anything other than staying on trail. Please, please don’t go off trail, the poppies are very fragile & if you walk on them, you aren’t just killing this years bloom but also future blooms.

Now back to the race, Sean registered for the 100 mile & me for the 24 hour.  I was a little uneasy about the Friday 7pm start time because I had to work all day but it is what it is.  I figured I’d go as far as I could and then call it a day when Sean finished.

What is Run4Kids & the 100 mile club? For 26 years, 100 Mile Club has been the program leading the effort in the prevention of childhood inactivity and obesity across the nation. Click on the link above to get a lot more information on the 100 mile club & Run4Kids.

We got to Corona relatively early, especially for us ;).  I had to work all day and had an extremely stressful day & week. I was ready to get out there and start running but I was also exhausted.  I did a blood draw earlier in the day and also wasn’t sure how that was going to affect me.

We weren’t paying attention and missed the pre-race runner meeting where they awarded people for their fundraising & told some stories, oops.

One of the many nice things about running at a school was that we had real bathrooms to use. It’s amazing how much of a difference that makes lol.

7pm was getting closer, the sun was setting and it was super pretty.  I got a quick pre-race photo and then we were heading up to the start for the National Anthem.  About 2 minutes later we were off!

The loop was approximately 1/2 a mile and it was a true loop.  Interestingly, it was a lot easier to do this loop over and over again that some of the other loop courses I’ve done.  I thought it was going to be really challenging since it was only a 1/2 a mile but that really wasn’t my challenge.

I started the race talking to a guy, Jamie who knew me from Instagram.  He totally crushed it at his first 24 hour race getting 104 miles!  I ran with him for maybe 2-3 laps before I got a work phone call that I had to deal with.  That took me almost 2 laps to deal with and kind of got me off my game.

I did maybe 11 miles and then had to take a nap, I was literally so exhausted that I was sleep walking and not able to walk in a straight line.  I had my Orange Mud transition wraps and my rumpl blanket, 2 jackets and my hat and so I slept on the ground for a good 1 1/2 hours.  I felt better after that so around 11:45 I started up again.  I got in another 9 miles or so & had to take another nap.  I did another 5 miles after that & slept for about another hour.

It was the weirdest thing, but I guess because it was only a 1/2 mile loop and there was a lot of light on one side of the loop, most people did their loops without headlamps.  I used mine for a good portion of the race, but did do about a half dozen laps in the dark.

Around 5am I got up and walked for the next 6 1/2 – 7 hours.

I managed to hit 50k before 7am so that was a nice goal.  After that I took a short break, ate my picky oats, I brought a container from home ;).  Since we have gone vegan, you never know what you are going to get at the aid station. But they did have Oreo’s lol so I ate a bunch of them too.

I kept moving and then my friend Andy started his race.  I ran into him and we walked, talked & finished up my 50 miles.

At 9am they started the 5k & 6 hour run for the kids & their parents.  There were 100s of kids and their families out on the track.  I happened to be heading by when the kids started so it was a little crazy. But it was so cool to see the kids all in their shirts marking how far along they were in their 100 mile journeys.

I had to take a quick break at mile 44.5 to get changed, it got hot, fast!  I was wearing my SeaWheeze reflective crops, which Sean really liked & said he could see them across the loop.

I had to take another quick break around mile 48, I needed to get some salt & a quick nap.  It was warm outside but I was starting to feel chilled so I knew it was time to take a few minutes.

Finally I finished my last 4 loops!  It took quite a while but I was pretty happy to have finished.

I got a sno cone for me & Sean and then settled in to wait for Sean to finish.

He had about 10 miles left to 100.  He ended up winning the 100 mile distance in 19:25.  It was so cool because some of the kids ran with him on his last lap.

It was a really cool event.  I probably would prefer to just run the 12 hour in the morning if I was to do this again because running through the night, starting in after work wasn’t very easy for me.

The Run4Kids is truly a special event that I would recommend to anyone though.  I was amazed at how much fun I had.

 

Recovery Run: 2019 San Diego Half

This is my 4th time running San Diego Half Marathon. It’s a fun & fast race in downtown San Diego.  You can check out my previous recaps here.  2016, 2017, 2018

I signed up back in August of last year & I had high hopes for a big PR here. As we know, that didn’t happen due to the hyperthyroid/Graves diagnosis & the subsequent lack of real  training since Javelina. But that’s ok, I’ll get there.

So I honestly wasn’t sure how this race was going to go. I haven’t run anything over 4 miles in weeks, since Surf City Half so my bigger concern was how would my body handle the jump in miles.

This past week I’ve run more than I have in a week (outside a race) in a long time.  It might not seem like a lot but I ran 9 miles this week before the race.  In February, I ran a total of 49 miles with Surf City Half & about 20 of that pacing Sean at Franklins, which means I “ran” 16 miles the rest of the month.  I also took up riding at Soul Cycle and in the last 2 weeks I’ve racked up 6 rides & plan to continue on with 2 rides a week for the foreseeable future.

Now back to the race. Sean & I picked up our packets on Saturday at the expo.  It’s still in the same place on the harbor.  It was a touch cool & cloudy but no rain.  SD Half does their bibs in order of when you register and since I registered the first day, I had a very low bib number.  I also was surprised to see I was in Wave 2.  I normally am in Wave 4 so I don’t recall what I put as my projected finish time. Maybe 1:50?

We grabbed our race shirts & legacy gifts.  This is our 4th consecutive year of running so we got half zips as our bonus gift.  Unfortunately they were all out of men’s smalls so they told Sean he could get a different size.  Since we know he’ll probably never wear the shirt, we passed & the poor volunteers didn’t know what to do. You are supposed to get 2 shirts lol.

The expo as usual is pretty small so we didn’t really stick around, instead heading to get lunch, some yummy acai bowls from Everbowl.

The race always takes place on the time change weekend so if you enable text messaging they will send you a reminder text to change your clocks to spring forward.  That’s a nice touch.

Race morning! We got up a little later than last year, around 5:30ish, I was already up, but Sean’s alarm hadn’t gone off yet.  We left the house at 6:08a & were downtown by 6:15a which was probably the fastest we’ve ever gotten down there.  Hitting all green lights & having barely any traffic really helps!

We walked down to the starting area.  As per usual they start the race right in front of the convention center.  I needed to meet the Arete ladies for a quick photo & meet-up so we did that first before dropping off our bags & heading to the corrals & port-a-potties.  It was a beautiful morning, no marine layer and we got to see a great sunrise.

It was nice to meet some of the other ladies in the group, since I’ve been off I haven’t gone to many of the meet-ups since I joined the group in January.  Side note, I was so excited to join this group & to really work on my speed & goal to BQ & then I had all these issues pop up just as the group was getting started.

And I’ll be honest, knowing how fast all these ladies are, was really intimidating. I feel like I’m kind of the weak-link in this group even if I wasn’t dealing with medical things.  They all finished within minutes of each other & I was about 30 minutes back.  But I can’t be too hard on myself, I went from barely running to running a half averaging just under 10 min pace with the last 3 miles being the fastest of the whole race. At Surf City, I could barely breath & I averaged 11:45 pace.  Again, I digress.

Sean & I headed back to gear check to drop off our clothes.  I’ve said this before, but I’ll reiterate it, I always bring a set of fresh clothes to change into after the race, I hate being all wet after the race.  And sports bras take forever to dry so I had lots of warm, dry clothes in my drop bag.

We headed back to the start, hit up the port-a-potties.  This year they had it done right so that there weren’t lines on both sides of them.  There was a porto in the middle of each section so that you could only enter from the sidewalk.  Finally!! In the past it was total chaos with people lining up on both sides.

I got a quick selfie of Sean & I and then we headed to our respective corrals. It was shaping up to be a beautiful morning with the sun peaking out & for once, no marine layer!  Normally this race is so humid, but it felt really nice, in the mid 50s.

I was a little nervous before we got started not knowing how I was going to feel but once we got started I got into a grove.  For once I didn’t feel like I started out too fast, I just kind of followed the other runners & didn’t weave in and out too much.

One of my favorite parts of this race is the first 3 miles running by the harbor.  We pass the Midway, there was a Disney Cruise Liner in port that morning.  As we head over to Harbor Island you can see my favorite view of the city & it was spectacular that morning with the sun behind it.

I ran the first 3 miles with no issues, I stopped for water at the mile 3 aid station & then from there I started run/walking.  I ran to mile 4, took a short walk and then tried to do mile repeats with a short walk in between.

We run down to Liberty Station, which I always enjoy as well.  By now it started to get cloudy but it wasn’t humid.  I remember thinking how I was sweating but my shorts weren’t soaked & sticking to me like they normally are, lol.

I made it to the 10k in just over an hour which I was happy about.  From there I just kept chugging along, mile 7 came up fast, then we did a quick climb on mile 8.  I started getting a cramp in my oblique around this point so I walked to stretch it out a little at the mile 8 aid station.

I was getting a little tired by this point,  but I kept moving.  I walked the short steep hill, ran to Washington Street & ran/walked the big hill.  One day I will conquer this hill, this year wasn’t it.

There were a bunch of Milestone Running & November Project people who were running up and down the hill with runners which was so cool.  The only bad part was that they were all running down right where we were running & I like to run on the very far left so I had to keep moving over to let them run back down.

In any case I finally made it to the top, in a lot less time than it seems like I normally take (11:45 for that mile & in the past I think I’ve taken 13/14 minutes).  The next section I have run many times with the #run619 group & I always think about them when we run through this section past the Hillcrest sign down to 6th Ave next to Balboa Park.

The last 3 miles are mostly downhill & I knew that Kari @grrrlrunner was going to be near Balboa so I was looking for her.  She was with her son & got this photo of me running by!  So nice of her to wait to see me!

From there I was starting to get a small cramp in my right quad, a place I’ve never felt any issues before, maybe all the spin? and I was getting hungry.  I didn’t have any CarboPro in my pack so I didn’t really have any calories on this run except one muir energy around mile 11 which was really too late to start eating.  I’m the worst when it comes to fueling, which is why I normally just use carbopro so I can drink my calories.  I drink a lot so it works good for me.

In any case, I had to get to the finish so I powered on. I was getting closer to the spot where they can stop you for the Trolley to pass.  I saw 2 Trolley’s stopped & waiting and was hoping I could run fast enough to miss them.  And phew, I was the last runner they let go by before stopping runners.  I have been lucky, I think I’ve only been stopped once in the 4 years I’ve run this race.

I just kept pushing, and then finally I could see Petco Park .  At this point I was following a lady in a Oiselle team shirt and I wasn’t sure if I could pass her or not.  I followed her down to the turn off into the park.  We went through the tunnel & then I was like time to finish strong & while I expected her to push to the finish, I must have pushed harder because I passed her after we got on to the baseline.

I finished!  It wasn’t fast, but it wasn’t super slow either!  24 minutes faster than Surf City & I felt 100x better.  I can only get stronger from here!

So overall, I like this race.  I’ve done it 4 years in a row, it’s pretty fun, it’s fast, it has a cool finish line where you finish inside Petco Park.  They give out nice gift bags at the end, we use our reusable bags year after year.  This year we got a friar bobble-head & a book about one of the Padres players that made to the Hall of Fame.

The medal was really nice this year, a huge softball size medal with the Gaslamp sign on it.  They abandoned the idea to do the 4 part series medal they started last year after hearing that people didn’t like that idea.

We’ll be back, but maybe not next year, I really want to run Antelope Canyon so it might be time to change it up :).

2019 Coldwater Rumble Race Recap

I going to be honest, I’ve been struggling this year.  After a really amazing 2018, this year has not been nearly as awesome so far.

I have been having some breathing issues lately which is making running hard.  I went into Coldwater Rumble knowing that this was going to be a challenge, but I would go out there and do my best!

We flew into Phoenix on Thursday evening, both Sean & I had to work on Friday and ended up being really busy so we didn’t have time to get to the packet pick-up on Friday like we normally do.

We did have time to get some pre-race pizza from Mod Pizza near our hotel.  Sean & I went there last year as well & it’s probably the last time he ate pepperoni before going vegan.

We got our gear out, I love taking #flatjenny photos because it means that I have all my gear ready & waiting for me on race morning.

Since we were close to the start, we didn’t have to get up too too early.  The 100 mile, that Sean was running, started at 7:00am so we left the hotel around 6:10a & got there within 10 minutes.

Estrella Regional Mountain Park does have a $7 entrance fee that you have to pay when you get to the park.  There wasn’t a long line when we got there so we were heading to the start area within minutes of arrival.

Aravaipa does a great job, they have a huge set-up at the start-finish area, with packet pick-up along with the timing tent & aid station.

We grabbed our bibs & shirts and then hit up the port-a-potties before setting up our drop bags & then hanging out with some friends before the race started.

I didn’t sleep well at all the night before, I feel like I might have slept at the beginning but then I was tossing and turning the rest of the night.  I wasn’t in a great mood, but I had plenty of time so I started my race fully expecting to run the full race.

The 52 mile starts at 7:30a and you do 2 – 20mile loops and finish off with a 3rd 12 mile loop.  Just like at Javelina they have you washing machine the loops so you mix it up.

I started out feeling decent, I was surprised to see that I was in the top 1/3 of the runners & barely anyone passed me in the first 10 miles or so, except Eric Senseman, who won the 52k & set a new course record & a few other 52k runners.  The 20 mile runners didn’t pass me until about mile 15 – Yay!! lol

I tripped a few times, this course has a few sections were there are a lot of rocks.  There are a few other sections with a lot of sand, but all in all it’s a pretty runnable course.

I was planning to be out there for a while so I wasn’t moving super fast.  I did end up having to work while I was out there, I had a trip that needed to be changed & so I called the agency to get it sorted & put my phone on speaker.  I ended up being on hold for over an hour!

I ran into Sean on his 2nd loop before the last aid station.  I was feeling a little tenderness in my shin from a when I tripped and kind of hyper extended my ankle.  oops.

I got to the last aid station, filled up and then headed out for the last 4 miles.  As I started running & walking this last section, I cheered on other runners.  This is my favorite part about running.  I love cheering everyone else on.  I was starting to get a headache around this point.  I was drinking a lot from my pack to try and get rid of it.  I thought maybe I was dehydrated so I wanted to get as much to drink as possible.

I made it down the mountain, I wasn’t moving super fast, but I was moving. I finished my first loop with a pretty bad headache.  I sat down by the drop bags for a few minutes to check my email – I had to do something for work again and as I was sitting there booking a hotel room, my headache just got worse & worse.

After a few minutes I decided that was it for me.  As I checked my email I saw I had a test result from my doctor.  I looked at it and I found out that I am slightly anemic which is probably why I’ve been having so many headaches lately & why my breathing has been so off.

I got some coffee & my free pizza from Freak Brothers Pizza that came with my entry.  After that and some water, I felt a little better.  I crewed Sean for the rest of his race & chatted with some new friends from Performance Tea.  I cheered other runners on & just enjoyed being out there.

I have no regrets, of course I would love to finish another 50 miler, but it wasn’t my day and that’s ok.  This year isn’t going to be as easy as last year, but it’s ok.  After I figure out a few health issues, I’ll be working hard to get back on track!

It was getting hot out when Sean came in from his second loop.  I helped him get ice in his bottles & he put lots of ice in his buff before heading out on loop 3.  Note: Always make sure to give your runner their headlamp before going out if they finish mid afternoon. Sean took his smaller headlamp & good thing because he came in after dark.

We switched out his headlamp, got him some more CarboPro & his pack.  He put on his headphones & started some podcasts.  It was around 7:30p when he left & he was going to try to be in around midnight.

I got another pizza for dinner & then went to take a short nap.  I set my alarm for 11:20p.  It wasn’t easy to sleep because they were playing music really loud but I think I drifted in and out for a bit before heading out to the start/finish area to watch for Sean.

I sat down next to this older lady, who was there crewing for her grandson.  She had crewed her son at Bigfoot 200 & Wasatch many times so she was a pro.  We chatted for a little bit and then Sean came in around 12:30a.  I got him some warmer clothes, just in case because it was getting cold out and some more CarboPro.  He had a little over 6 hours to finish in under 24 hours when he left at 12:40a.

I attempted to get a bit more sleep, they did turn the music down a bit so I was able to fall asleep eventually.  I set my alarm for around 4:30/45 so I would be up in plenty of time in case he decided to crush it this loop ;).

The moon was amazing, huge & right in front of the finish line so it made for an awesome back drop.

A few runners came in while I was waiting, but only maybe one or two that were finished.  We were waiting and waiting & then I saw him coming in!

Sean crushed it with a 23:05 finish which is faster than the last time he finished Coldwater back in 2016.  He was 5th overall & had a nice & easy training run.

We love Aravaipa races, they always do a great job, have good markings, although I did get off track 2x this race, fortunately I figured it out pretty quickly.

We will be back again, I’m sure of it :).

 

2019 SoCal Resolution Run – Half Marathon Recap

Yesterday, Sean & I ran the Resolution Run Half Marathon at Tecolote Shores as our first race of 2019.  This was our second time running this race & 12th edition of the Resolution Run.  If you’d like to read my recap from last year to see what was different click here.

This year, we decided last week to sign up, we found a great deal via a last minute discount website & gave it a go.  We picked up our packets, our bibs & race shirts, on Saturday at Road Runner Sports.  Quick & easy.

Sunday morning, we woke up a few minutes late so we left the house about 15 minutes later than  we did last year.  I ate my Picky Oats in the car, I’m really enjoying the apple version & have eaten them before my last 2 races.

We arrived at the start area around 6:30am, the half marathon started at 7:15am.  Since we were a little later than last year we had to park about 3/4 of a mile from the start area.  It was chilly out but the sunrise was super pretty!

We got our gear & walked to the start.  First stop once we got there was the port-a-potties.  There were maybe 10 or so, but one line for them all.  I think that there were a lot of newer runners at the race, which is fine & I’m so happy that people are out there running, but it does make for a bit of a chaos in the port-a-pottie situation.  There were too many for people to see when the doors were all open & then randoms were not standing in line, just jumping in at the ends because they didn’t realize there was a line.

Once we got done there it was less than 5 minutes until the start! We got our traditional pre-race selfie & then Sean headed to the front while I started a little further back.  I have been having some issues with my breathing while running lately and so I didn’t know what was going to happen & didn’t want to really push it.

I started out feeling good, just running easy on our way around Fiesta Island.  I saw my friend Henry, from Run619.  Henry is 73 years old and he runs faster than I do a lot of the time ;), it’s really inspiring & I hope to be still running when I’m 73.

I took a few photos of the beautiful sunrise over the city & after 2 miles started to run/walk. I was keeping pretty good pace considering and decided to just do that for the rest of the race.

There are 3 races, a half marathon, 10k & 5k.  The half & 10k start together but when you get to a parking lot the 10k turns around immediately while the half went for a little longer turnaround.  Then the half marathon heads back towards the start/finish where they have a second out and back section.

This section is on the sidewalk so there are a lot of other runners/cyclists/walkers so there was a lot of weaving around people.  But that was fine because I was just run/walking so I didn’t really care too much.  I saw the lead runner come through, then a few more before I saw Sean, I congratulated him & told him he was in the top 10, I didn’t recall exactly what place he was in but he was definitely in the top 10.  From this point on, I cheered everyone on that was coming back towards the finish.  It was fun, but I’m not sure how many people heard me since 90% of the people were wearing headphones.

I got to mile 9 and saw that there was a board on the other side so I turned to look at it to see what the distance was to the finish & it said mile 11.  I thought to myself, great so about a mile before the turn around.

I remembered from last year that we went over a little bridge, went a little ways out and then turned around.  This year, they had a volunteer before the bridge and turned us around there.  I think I was at maybe 9.6 miles? And then I got to the 11 mile sign at 10.19 miles.

I kept thinking maybe the signs were off, but I was almost a mile off for the rest of the race & officially finished the race with only 12.29 miles.  I know all GPS devices are not created equal, but I also know that we went over that bridge last year before we turned around.  But regardless it was a beautiful day & I had a good time.

I finished the race in 2:06, which considering my breathing issues lately was pretty good for me.  I only had 2 miles over 11minutes with a lot of run/walking so that’s a win too.

The medals were similar to last year with a little chalkboard for writing your goals.

They gave the best goodie bag I think I’ve ever gotten at a race.  Full size container of probiotics & a full size spray sunscreen in addition to a bunch of snacks, which were almost all vegan.

They had a good amount of sponsor tents, we missed the Suja Juice but were able to get huge cups of GT’s Kombucha on tap.  This was really cool, they had kombucha on tap on a van & I tried a new to me flavor that was amazing!

All in all we had a great morning, I was able to get another 13 miles for the Lululemon 40/80 challenge, I’ve only got 5k left!

I’d run this race again, it’s a nice low-key event with great support & sponsors.

Sweat Pink Ragnar Los Coyotes Recap

This post is a part of my collaboration with Ragnar Trail & Fit Approach. As always all thoughts & opinions are my own.

Earlier this summer Jamie from Fit Approach asked me if I would be interested in captaining the Sweat Pink team at Ragnar Los Coyotes & that Sean could be on the team too. After checking with our schedule to see if it would fit & sewing if Sean would be interested in running a Ragnar event, we agreed & set out to form a team.

We got a team together, a mix of men & women from SoCal, Portland & New Hampshire and formed #teamsweatpink. The team was a good mix of runners of varying speeds, some of us were ultra runners but not all and we complimented each other.

Sean & I run a lot of races so we never specifically trained for this race, although if I was to give advice on how to train for a Ragnar I would say to try & run a few times in a 24ish hour period. If you are an established runner, you could run the exact same distances over a period of time, let’s say one run at 10am, another one at 7pm and then a third run at 6am the next day. It’s not exact but it’s close enough to simulate what you will do at Ragnar.

But now on to the actual event. The week before Ragnar, we were in New York for the marathon & then I was in Phoenix for my last work trip so it was a busy week.

I got home Wednesday evening & then we discussed driving out Thursday night but decided it would be best to just drive over Friday morning.

We left the house around 6am to head over to Warner Springs/Los Coyotes Indian Reservation. It took about 1.5 hours & was an easy drive. Once we got there we paid our $10 to go in & then went to try & find Jamie & the rest of our team. We were supposed to be in a special spot but we couldn’t find that spot. The cell signal wasn’t great so it wasn’t easy to get in touch but I finally reached Jamie & she said we were set up by the nose in a tree. Um…ok.

By this point I was getting increasingly more & more frustrated because we couldn’t find this stupid nose in a tree and we had been wandering aimlessly for about 20 minutes. At this point, I must have looked as frustrated as I felt because a girl asked me how it was going & I told her we couldn’t find our team & that we were looking for a nose in a tree. She was like ohh that’s what that was, it’s over this way by the mountains.

And finally we made it! I was not a super happy camper at that moment but I quickly got out of my funk & we unpacked the car so we could set up our pop-ups & chairs.

The rest of the team seemed to find the nose easily, I think we were directed down the wrong side of the path which made it harder to find. In any case eventually we all made it!

We got our team gear on, sunglasses from Goodr, compression from Lily Trotters & shirts/hats from Ragnar & got a team few photos.

After that we went to visit the village, Sean & I got an açaí bowl from the Sambazon booth to enjoy while talking to other runners.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then it was time for Kristina to get the SweatPink party started around 11am.

I mentioned it in my last post but the nice thing about Ragnar Trail is that everyone runs the same 3 loops. There are Green, Yellow & Red Loops and at Los Coyotes they are approximately 3.1, 3.2 & 7.9 miles. The color order is supposed to designate easy, intermediate, hard.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was runner 5 so I had a few hours to wait until it was my turn.

Sean & I then had the first of many Freak Brothers pizzas. Freak Brothers is owned by Nick & Jamil Coury & we’ve had their pizzas many times at Aravaipa events in the Phoenix area. They have a great vegan pizza that I would eat many of over the next day.

We would spend our time between legs, either cheering on other runners, talking with friends, at the camp site or waiting & watching the TV screens for our team.

We found Catra & Jay who were running the experimental Black Loop before my leg so we chatted with them a bit before I went to run.

And then it was my turn! I was running the yellow loop for my first loop. I will say I totally underestimated this course. I figured 3 miles, how hard could it be? But it was pretty hard. I was having trouble breathing within the first 1/4 mile & was seriously wondering if I would be able to run through the camp or if I’d have to start walking lol.

All three loops start the same way & then you take different turns for the different loops. Red & Yellow stick together for a bit longer.

I started hiking pretty early on, I was breathing so hard, it was crazy. We weren’t even at that high of elevation, maybe 4,500 ft? But Sean said he felt similarly when he did his first run too.

It was really pretty & a nice single track. A little sandy, but just a lot of climbing. I just tried to hike as fast as I could & then run the flats & downhills. The downhills were tough too though because they had super tight switchbacks with roots, rocks & ruts you had to watch out for.

The race had lots of color coordinated markers which made it near impossible to get lost & funny little signs periodically.

The last mileish was a slightly downhill fire road back to camp. That was nice. Loop 1: Yellow check. 3.18 miles 43:20 768ft of climb.

After my first loop I just wanted to get changed into dry clothes. It was already feeling pretty cool out. I put on the clothes I would wear for my next leg because it would be a night & I didn’t want to have to get dressed in the cold.

Sean was the last runner so we decided to wait until he was done to get dinner. Ragnar gives each runner a ticket for dinner. In the past this had been a mess hall type of thing with pasta, salad, bread sticks. This year it was super nice that we were able to use our tickets at the food trucks anytime between 5-10pm to get fresh, hot food of your choice.

After Sean ran his first loop he changed into some warm clothes & then we headed for pizza.  The Freak Brothers booth was hopping, we were able to quickly order dinner but then ended up waiting about 30 minutes for our pizzas, they made them vegan but they did mess up our toppings.  But after waiting in the cold for so long, I didn’t want to wait any longer so I just took the pizza that was made.  It ended up being really good so it was a happy accident.

It was only 7:30p but it was time for a nap.  Sean & I forgot our tent, oh well, I really don’t think it would have helped much thought, so we put down the tarp, got our sleeping bags out, our sweats, jackets & hats on, grabbed our extra blanket & tucked in for the night. Or rather until our next run.

It’s hard to sleep at Ragnar because you don’t want to not be there when your runner comes in so you or at least I am waking up many times to check the time, see who has come back, etc. etc. At some point around 9:30p Jamie came over and said that Jared, who was before me, had just gone out and they expected him back in about an hour, because he’s really fast, I agree Jared is quite fast, but at night, with almost 2,000 ft of climbing, 7.9 miles in an hour is a bit aggressive.  We had a few friends who are equally fast that took 64/68 minutes in daylight, but you never know so I got up, finished getting ready & headed over.  Sean came with me, which was really nice because he could hold on to my NYCM poncho that I wore while I was waiting.

For the night segment, I put on my SeaWheeze reflective capris & I wore my LA Marathon reflective rain jacket.  I didn’t bring any water because I was pretty frozen.  I was running the green loop, which was supposed to be easier.  I really do like running in the dark, but man was it cold out.  It took me about a mile to get anywhere near warm, my face was completely frozen, my feet were so cold I couldn’t even feel them.  Fortunately there was a bit of climbing so I was able to get a little warm.

The best part about this segment was that I must have had at least 15 people tell me that my tights were awesome ;).  This section was a bit short, but had that nice fire road downhill again, I did that last mile in about 8:27.  The total distance was a touch short my garmin clocked in at 2.98miles in 36.5 mins with 617ft of climb.

We immediately high tailed it back to camp, I was kind of warm but I had to get into warm clothes ASAP which is what I did.  I curled up under the covers to get some sleep, I figured I would be starting my last loop around 5/6am.  Sleep was tough, I have never “really” camped before, this is really as close as I have come and I don’t have any desire to camp in a camp ground, maybe out where no one else is, but man, it’s hard to sleep with people snoring all around you.  I had on a hat, a buff over it and the sleeping bag & I couldn’t block it out.  I may have slept a tiny bit, but it was tough.

Finally around 5, I started hearing people talking so I got up, it was freezing! I heard that it got down to about 28 degrees during the night! Yikes that’s cold.  I wasn’t sure what to wear, but then I remembered that I had my Janji tights (man those tights keep you warm!) & long sleeve so I put those on, put my jacket back on & decided to keep on my hat. I saw Jamie as I finished getting ready.  She had just finished her last loop so there were 2 people before I would go out.

She gave me Michael’s jacket, which I gladly took & wore until he finished ;). I told her that it was going to take me about 2 hours. I headed down to the village, where I found Jared & then ran into our friend Fern, who was anchoring his team.

Michael came in, we chatted for a few minutes while Jared took off on his last loop.  I hung out for a bit and then it was my turn.  Off I went, with super heavy tired legs.  I was hiking pretty early on, back up the same section as my first loop.  I thought to myself, would anyone know if I took the yellow loop down? LOL, but no, that wouldn’t be right, I continued on, my quads just so sore.

Little known thing, but my body is crazy weird, my quads always feel it when I climb & my hamstrings/butt feel it when I go downhill, it’s the opposite of normal lol.  And man were my quads feeling all this climbing. And climb we did.  So much climbing in the first 3ish miles.  It was taking me a long time to check off those miles.  I was beginning to worry if I’d be able to make my 2hour goal.

There were some really pretty views, I took a minute or 2 to take a photo here and there, and catch my breath, lol.

This loop had 2 water stations, there were no aid stations on the Green & Yellow loops.  We hit the first one at about 3.5 miles, I refilled my pack and then we were on a fire road that I could finally run.

We went down, down, down, I was totally in the grove, getting 9/10 minute miles, feeling great & loving this downhill.

Then we made a turn on to some more single track, I passed one girl and then next thing we were at an aid station, mile 6ish, about 2 miles to go.  I ran through that.  Kept running as much as I could, alternating run/walk, hike up the hills. I realized that I would be able to come really close to my goal so I just kept moving as fast as I could.  Run it in, run it in this girl was telling me and I did finishing in 2:01, 7.87 miles with 1,903ft of climb. And I was done! Thank goodness because this race beat me up way more than running 100k at Javelina! And it was less than 14 miles, lol.

Sean met me at my finish, there were 2 more runners, Sandra & Debbie, before his last loop.  We went back to camp, I again got changed.  Have you noticed yet that one key to running a ragnar is having lots of clothes.  No one likes to be all sweaty & wet (especially having a wet sports bra is horrible) & it was still chilly.  He got ready to run his loop and we packed up as much as we could so that we could be ready to leave quickly after he finished.

Sandra finished her loop, then Debbie took off on hers, we finished packing up our stuff, then we headed down to the village again.  Sean was ready to run! We figured we be able to finish before noon so everyone could head out.

Sean took off, I got my last Freak Brothers pizza, so good! ate a yummy toasted marshmallow, chatted with my teammates and then we were waiting to see when Sean would come in so we could cross the finish as a team!

And then he was coming around the corner!  We all joined him and ran in as a team.  Unfortunately there wasn’t a photographer so it was just for show, but YAY! we were done! Michael ran the first 8 mile loop & Sean the last and they were within seconds of each other time wise.

We got our medals, Ragnar always has special medals that connect together to say something.  In this case We are Ragnarians, we believe… Ragnar Trail.

Ragnar had a photographer out there for team photos that were offered for free download a few days after the race.

Sean & I shared an acai bowl after the others left and then packed up our stuff and off we went.  It was all over, probably about 28 hours total we were out there.

Would we run another ragnar trail?  Sure, but there were a few things I didn’t really like.

I would love to see something done with the camping situation.  I really feel like it was a total cluster and I would love to see something like at Javelina with tent city rather than this random put tents where ever thing.

I missed the women’s specific race shirts, I loved the design on the shirt, but in the past, we were able to get women’s specific shirts.  I would like to see that brought back.

I was a little disappointed to not see any photographers out on course.  In the past there were photographers.

This last comment has nothing to do with Ragnar itself, I would rather run a race at a warmer time of year, yes, I know most people would say that they want to run when it’s cool, but I don’t have any desire to camp in 28 degrees again.  I’d rather have slightly (50-60 degrees at night would be much better).  I’d probably pick a Ragnar in a warmer area/time of year next time.

But that being said, I did really enjoy this race & both Sean & I discussed it afterwards and said that we would do another under the right circumstances.  Being able to eat at the food trucks was awesome.  They had a lot of vegan snacks that they gave out to the runners so that was really great for us.  This photo shows the treats they give to each team, obviously the RX bars aren’t vegan but the nuts were and they were yummy!

I’m so happy to have been able to be on a team with such a great group of people.  Jamie, Michael, Jared, Kristina, Debbie, Sandra & Sean thank you so much for being a part of Team Sweat Pink!  And Josh, thank you for being our volunteer!

Have you run a Ragnar?  Which one do you recommend if we were to do another?