Tushars Marathon Race Recap

Last year at AC100 one of our running friends walked into packet pick-up and told us about this amazing race that he did the weekend before.  Now this isn’t someone who runs a race every once in a while, this is someone who runs just as many or more races than us.  He told us that we needed to run Tushars, that it was hands down the most beautiful course he’d ever run.

So flash forward to June or so and we were looking for some additional summer races and we realized that Tushars would fit into our schedule so we registered, me for the marathon & Sean for the 100k.  I was a bit nervous since I’ve never run at that high of altitude before but I was excited to see the beauty that was Tushars.

We flew into Las Vegas & then drove the 3.5/4 hours to Beaver, UT the next day. We stopped in St. George for some lunch and supplies before driving the rest of the way to Beaver.  Once we got there we had to call the resort before driving up the mountain (no cell signal) to let them know we were on our way so someone would be there to check us in.

We started our drive up the mountain and were greeted by the most beautiful views & cows sitting by the road.

We got to the resort, checked in, changed & then headed over to the packet pick-up.  We dropped Sean’s drop bag off, got our bibs and then headed out to get Sean’s streak run in.

Afterwards we took a few photos and then headed inside for dinner.  They had a pasta dinner for the runners, it was pretty inexpensive at $7 per person.

We went back to our condo, got our gear ready like normal and then I went to bed early.  Sean’s 100k started at 5am, my race started at 7am.

We got up around 3:45am, got ready & then headed up to the start.  It was pretty low key, I saw Sean & the other 100k runners off and then headed back to the car to take a nap.  I got a little sleep until about 6:15a when I got up to eat a half of my Lenny & Larry’s apple pie cookie and go to the rest room.

And then it was time to get started. The start was pretty low key.  Noah, the race director told us about the markings & to make sure that we read the signs at critical intersections to make sure we took the correct trails.  Miss a sign & we could be out there a lot longer than we expected.

The night before there had been a lot of rain so they had put some carpets out in really muddy section at the start of the course, which was nice so we didn’t start the race with super muddy feet.  As we ran down the ski slope it was a bit muddy but not too bad.

I had decided to wear my Altra Running Timps for this race.  I had a brand new pair that I had sitting on my shoe rack for months and thought it might be a good time to try them out.  I normally wear the superiors which would have been fine for this course, but I did like the extra cushion of the Timp, even though the grip isn’t quite as good.

I quickly started hiking pretty early on.  I was happy to be out there but I didn’t have any illusions that this was going to be easy.  Surprisingly my breathing wasn’t too bad, considering my sea-level training.  I didn’t hear my heart beat in my ears very often but interestingly, the pain I’ve been having in my abdomen near my left ribs (the diaphragm) was an issue the majority of the race.

I just took my time hiking up, enjoying the view.  There was a lot of climbing and being over 10,000 feet definitely made it slow going.   The rib pain was really annoying and honestly I felt like quitting at almost every aid station.  I got to mile 7/8 and the first aid station.  There was one girl there and no cars, it appeared to be out in the middle of nowhere so I got some ginger ale, refilled my pack and kept going.  I couldn’t quit with no way to get out of there lol.

From there, we headed up, climbing a really rocky section, and then from there it would be up to the peak. I had a guy pass me who had started late.  He was hiking really well while I was taking short breaks every 100 feet or so to catch my breath.

I made it to the top of this section & then we actually went down again before heading up a beautiful yet seemingly never ending path to the peak.  Up & up we went.  I had taken my long sleeve off at one point but then as we were climbing up, I needed to put it back on and added my buff to be around by ears.  It was getting windy and pretty cold as we made our way up.

Once we got to the open area, it was windy, but not super cold because of the sun.  I was passed by an older guy, he had to have been in his 70s, who powered up that hill like it was nothing!  I, on the other hand, was trying hard to make it from ribbon to ribbon without stopping.  Being close to 12,000ft was not easy for me.  Finally I made it to the top!

Jubs was up there taking photos.  It was soooo windy & freezing.  I don’t know how she was able up there for hours!  They had a hole punch that you were supposed to punch your bib to show you had made it to the peak.  I went to get my phone out of my pack to take a photo or 2.  It was so windy that my phone almost blew out of my hand.  But I was able to get a few photos before I headed down the mountain.

As I was heading down, in some crazy wind, with so many rocks everywhere, I could see a storm coming to the left of me.  I was hearing thunder and then when I was almost to the bottom it started raining.  So I got my rain jacket out, but it on & then got to a critical intersection.  Marathoners headed to the right and crazy enough, less than a 1/2 a mile on that path & it was bright, sunny & warm! So I took off the jacket & stowed it back in my pack.

I kept moving, we were on a fire road at this point and as I was going down from the peak, I did see the aid station from afar.  We had to go down & then go back up in order to get to it.  On this section, I was pretty much done.  My chest (or diaphragm for that matter) was really sore and I was having trouble catching my breath.  And we just kept climbing.  A few cars passed me in this section along with a few 4 wheelers.  It seemed like it took hours but I finally made it up to the aid station.  There was one guy behind me.

I got to the mud lake aid station and I was seriously ready to quit.  The two very nice volunteers were like you have plenty of time, I was still about an hour or so ahead of the cut-off, but if you really want to quit, Matt Gunn is going to be back in a few minutes with some other drops.  By this point, the guy who was behind me was in the aid station.

We chatted for a few minutes and he said he’d stay with me if I wanted to keep going.  After a short deliberation I decided to keep moving, mostly because they said that this next section mostly downhill for 5ish miles before a climb to the next aid station, which was 6.7 miles away.

So we ran slowly past Mud Lake which really did just look like a huge mud puddle and down the mountain.  I kept looking back to see where the guy John was and he was following me from a little bit of a distance.  I was mostly power hiking at what felt like a decent pace, I guess that ginger ale and a few pretzels at the aid station really helped.

We kept motoring along down the mountain, once we got to the bottom, we were treated to a beautiful view of a small river.  We had to walk across 2 logs to get across and then we started heading up again.  I would take a quick break here and there but I was ready to be done!

We made it up to a camp ground and another fire road.  We started on a gradual uphill climb that would get steeper the further up we went.  I was moving pretty good in this section hiking strong.  I kept looking back and John kept getting further & further back.  I thought I should wait, but then I looked back and he was sitting/laying down on the side of the trail & I knew I just had to keep powering along so I could finish.

In this section there were a lot of 4 wheelers, I saw an older guy with an oxygen tank drive past me.  Another older guy passed with his grandson behind him and said he’d be back & would give me a ride, um, no thank you lol.  I passed a couple taking photos of the race signage who told me I was almost to the top.

I finally made it to the aid station, refilled my hydration adding in some carbo-pro.  I saw the 2 volunteers from Mud Lake & they were like we just got here so you made decent time!  There were just 4 miles to go!  Jamil told me that they were rolling, but it didn’t really matter because I was mostly hiking at that point so off I went.

It looked a little like it might rain again and the downhill towards the beginning of this section was pretty technical so I hiked down.  There was a small creek crossing and then it was a nice single track.  I saw the 2 ladies who I had been following from a distance up to the peak.  I really thought I was going to be the DFL female and didn’t think I would run into them again.

Eventually I caught up and passed them.  Not long after I passed them, I was having some trouble finding the next marker & I thought they might pass me again.  I finally found the marker and a bunch of cows.  This is kind of funny.  One of the cows was staring right at me as I was making my way around the trail, as I got closer to where he was, he started peeing.

I kept moving up & then down.  I eventually made my way back to the beginning section of the race that I remembered and headed down towards the finish.

As I was about a mile from the finish, I was actually running down the trail, I ran into the older runner who had passed me on the climb to the peak.  Yet another person I never thought I’d see again.  He wasn’t sure he was on the right trail so I think he was waiting to see someone else?  In any case I told him I remembered this section, he was standing by an abandoned house that we passed at the beginning and then we had to go under a fence.

I felt a little bad because I was feeling relatively good, tired of course, but just wanted to be done, and I passed him in the last mile of the race.  I thought he would catch me on the uphill climb up to the finish when I stopped a few times but he never did.  I ended up finishing 9 seconds ahead of him.

I finally could see the finish line! I ran through the muddy section and of course in the last 25 feet of the race got mud all over my clean shoes, lol.  But I was finished!  I had done it, the highest race I’ve ever done, 7,000 feet of climb in 26 miles, up to 12,100 ft!

After I finished, it started to rain, phew, I missed the rain!  I sat at the aid station for a while drinking ginger ale and got a vegan quesadilla and some oreos, which are accidentally vegan ;).

Eventually I drove myself back to the condo, took a bath with my Savasana epsom salts and took a short nap.  I didn’t know what time Sean was going to finish but I wanted to be at the aid station so he wasn’t looking for me.  There wasn’t any tracking since we were so far out there so I didn’t want to be late.

I got over there around 10pm.  Checked on things and realized that there weren’t too many finishers yet, so I went to take a short nap in the car.  I slept for maybe an hour & a half and then headed back to the finish line.

I hung out with a few other spectators, most of whom were waiting for 70k runners.  I chatted with a guy whose dad was also running the 100k, rang the cow bells when we would see head lamps coming in.  It was getting later & later, finally I asked Noah if he knew when Sean had gotten to the last aid station and it was around 12:45am so I knew I had a bit longer to wait.  It ended up being even longer because Sean got a little lost a mile or so from the aid station.

Around 2:30a, I think, he made it in!  I was so happy to see him & he was so happy to be done.  He sat for a little bit while cheering the others on & then I told him we needed to get moving since we had to be out of the condo by 10:30am.  We went back, he took a quick bath/shower while I packed up a little bit to get a jump on things.  We finally got to bed around 3:30 or so & I didn’t sleep much at all, the room we picked to sleep in didn’t have the best shades and as soon as the sun was up, it was shining in my face.

Sean was able to sleep decently and I started quietly packing up his stuff and finishing my own packing.  I ended up driving us back to Vegas with a stop at Zion National Park.  We wanted to explore a little more in the mountains but in order to get to where Sean wanted to go, it was going to require a bit more hiking than he wanted to do so we headed out.

Tushars was a bit smaller of a race this year than it has been in the past.  Aravaipa Running took it over but they didn’t have an official date until later in the season so I think that hurt them as far as numbers.  The volunteers, mostly Aravaipa employees this year, were amazing.  The course was breathtakingly beautiful and challenging.

I would recommend this race to anyone looking for a beautiful, challenging, well organized race.

PS. Photos aren’t necessarily in order of the race.   I couldn’t remember exactly where each photo belong so I just added them in how I saw fit. 😉

Revel Mount Hood Race Recap

With all the travel this past month or so, I’ve really gotten behind on my race recaps.  This one is a big one though so better late than never.

I don’t think I ever recapped my Revel Mount Charleston race back in April, but even though I crashed & burned at that race, it was a turning point for me.  I hit the halfway point in a PR time of 1:51 (7ish minutes faster than my official half marathon PR) and was soooo excited.  I quickly found out that my body wasn’t really prepared for all those fast miles & my hips & calves pretty much shut down, culminating in me laying on the ground screaming at mile 22 with the worst calf cramps I’ve ever had before.

That being said, I was hungry for more.  I wanted to see what I could do!  Could I actually BQ?  I had thought that was a pipe dream, I was 40+ minutes off my BQ time & you pretty much need to go at least 5 minutes faster to actually get in, that’s a huge jump, but maybe with some training, I could do it!

I bought a book, Run Faster, Run Less or something like that fully intending to do a crash course training plan after Nanny Goat. Unfortunately, Nanny Goat set me back a bit further than I would have liked & with all the travel we had for June didn’t help either.  My mileage in June was one of my lowest mileage months for the year.

I finished up June with Black Mountain 25k & then we ran the Crown City Classic 12k on July 4 which was a pretty good & speedy race for me. Then I kind of just did maintenance runs here and there with some climbing days on our treadmill when I was home and it wasn’t a billion degrees in our house, lol.

I got off the waitlist for TRT 55k so I added that into my schedule the week before this race.  I had a good race at TRT, followed it up with a nice 7 mile hike/run with Sean on the Tunnel Creek trail & then didn’t run the rest of the week, until Friday when Sean & I did our shake-out run in Portland.

The expo for this race was held at the convention center, it was pretty low-key, like most Revel expos are.

The only thing that was really unique in this race was that for the marathon there were waves that were 15 minutes apart.  Ok, so waves aren’t that unique, but in this instance, they weren’t based off time, they were based off how early you registered.  So because we waited until June to register we had to choose wave 3 at registration.  I emailed and was able to get us moved up to wave 2, but Sean was trying to go for a better BQ & the pacers were in the first wave.  We were able to convince the timing guy to allow Sean into wave 1 fortunately.

I totally get that they were trying to reward those who registered early & they kept saying it’s only 200 people per wave so it’ll be open & not much congestion in the waves.  That’s fine, but I found it very odd to not allow the fast people to be in the front like is the case in most races.

In any case, we got our packets, chatted with Christy from Running Skirts, she told us about this amazing shave ice place, which coincidentally has a location in San Diego too! and we talked to the Altra rep for a bit too.

Since Revel buses everyone to the start & wave 1 started at 5:15am, we needed to get up really early again.  We had a super yummy dinner at Prasad in downtown Portland, followed it up with a second shave ice and then headed back to our hotel.

We got our gear out, including drop bags with a change of clothes & warm gear for the morning at the peak, set our alarms and were in bed by 8am.

The alarm clock rang really early! But we were up, dressed & ready to go by 2:30ish.  It took about 30 minutes to drive to the high school where we would catch the buses.  The wave 1 buses were leaving at 3:15am sharp and the lady who was in charge was pretty cut-throat.  No seat was left unused & I’m glad we got on without her seeing my bib because I feel like I would have been kicked off since I was wave 2. LOL.

I rested a bit during the ride up the mountain and when we got off the bus, we were told that they didn’t have a sound system, the lodge was booked, but by other people so they couldn’t have sound.  They did the pre-race announcements on the bus and then we were able to mill about until the start.

Sean & I hit up the port-a-potties (no lines because we were the 2nd bus there), saw a few other Altra Red Team members & said Hi.  We chatted for a short bit and then it was time for Sean to get ready for his wave.  Since there were only about 800 people (if that) in the race it wasn’t super crowded at the start.

I wished Sean good luck, he was going for a better BQ to ensure he got in for next year. Then hit up the bathroom again before dropping my gear bag.  It was a little chilly at the start so I was glad to have my sweatshirt, jacket & track pants.

They walked us down the mountain to the start line, it was pretty low key with no one really wanting to be by the start, I really had no idea how this was going to go, but once we started, I decided to stay with the 3:45 pacer.  At Mount Charleston, I started out way too fast and paid for it so I figured I’d try to stick with the 3:45 guy for as long as I could.

He was with another guy who seemed to be a friend, they were chatting the whole time.  As a pacer, he wasn’t great, he never asked if any of us around him were running with him, etc. I stuck with them until they dropped off at mile 5 to chat with some friends that were cheering.

At this point we were on Hwy 26, which I remembered from our last trip to Mount Hood a few years back.  We ran past Government Camp and just steadily moved towards the finish.  I started running a bit too fast, I told myself to just settle in and keep moving.  Eventually I was able to do just that.

My calves were starting to tighten up a bit around mile 6, I wasn’t sure if that was a sign of things to come or just a normal ache.  Around mile 10ish, the inside of my ankle started to hurt, I told myself, just get to the halfway point.  I got to the half marathon in 1:45:30, which was 6 minutes faster than Mt Charleston!!  I was feeling pretty good, relatively speaking.

I was running pretty consistent splits at this point: 8:06, 8:07, 8:05, 8:19, 8:00, 8:03, 8:06, 7:58, 8:08, 7:41, 8:05, 8:08, 8:03.

I told myself to just keep moving, I settled in again and just kept the momentum.  I was passing people, wondering if they would pass me again later, but just trying to keep moving.

The weather was absolutely perfect! It felt cool for most of the race & we were in the shade as well.  I was soaked in sweat but I felt nice and cool until about mile 22/23.

This race is unique in that the marathon runs a separate race from the half until the last 3 miles.  We basically run from the base of Mount Hood down to Hwy 26, turn right and then run on the side of the road down Hwy 26 to the fish hatchery.

I had to stop to get rocks out of my shoes once around mile 20 I think, it was driving me crazy.  The 3:45 pacer passed me around mile 22, he was gone & I never saw him again, he had to have finished few minutes ahead of me (under 3:45).

Around mile 24/25 there were a few smallish hills that I ran/walked.  I didn’t really look at my watch too much during the race, but towards the end, I was really doing a lot of calculations in my head.  I was thinking, could I do it?  Could I really BQ?  I knew it would be close and even if I did, I probably wouldn’t be under enough to actually get to run in 2019.  But could I do it?

I knew I was going to PR, but I still wanted to try for the BQ.  I was finally at the turn to get to the finish.  I was .3 miles over and I was hoping I was wrong and that I’d get those .3 miles back, wishful thinking lol.  I was moving as fast as I could, where was the finish line???  My calves were starting to cramp and then I saw my friend Paul with his go-pro out.  I said Hi & he took a few photos of me as I made my way to the finish.  He got this photo of me checking my watch, so close!

I made the final turn & I could see the finish line! Working hard to get there as fast as I could!

I was over 3:45 but I did it! I ran a 40 minute PR and came sooooo close to a BQ.  And without any specific speed training!  I was in shock as they said my name.  I was so happy, but I couldn’t believe it, where in the world had that come from!

Second half splits: 8:02, 8:06, 8:21, 8:36, 8:49, 8:36, 9:32, 9:01, 8:39, 9:38, 9:17, 10:02, 9:17, 8:19 (.56)

I saw my friend Helen, asked her how her race went, she BQ’d, Yay! I told her I got a huge PR and she was a little shocked, lol.  I then tried to find Sean.  I couldn’t find him so I grabbed a bottle of water & a banana before going to the gear check.

They couldn’t find my bag, so I asked about Sean’s and they said no, so I knew he grabbed them.  I ran into one of my Altra teammates, chatted with him for a few minutes and then had to keep moving.  My calves were so tight.  I walked backed towards the finish line and finally saw Sean.  I was like 40 Freaking minute PR baby!

He was super happy for me!  We got a few photos before I had to get changed.  I was soaked & my calves were seriously cramping.  It took me about 10 minutes to change, lol.

We finished up, grabbed a piece of pizza, Papa John’s was there, we just took the cheese off and ate the crust lol, got a coke and then got in line for the buses back to the high school where we left our cars.

Again, like at the Yosemite Half, the buses were a huge problem.  We waited in line for about 30 minutes before a few buses showed up.  The lady said that they finally were in sync and had 3 buses coming at a time to get more people transported back at a time.

Overall though, I would definitely recommend this race! It was beautiful, fast, downhill, shaded, great weather, good swag (nice tech shirt & great medal) and super fun.

Now to decide on the next marathon & get that BQ!

2018 Tahoe Rim Trail 55k

We love Tahoe & go at least twice a year.  TRT has become a part an annual tradition.  I ran the 50 miler there in 2016, my first mountain 50 miler & the 55k last year.  Sean has run the 100 miler 4x so it’s a pretty special race for us.

This year, I didn’t get in immediately, I was like 31 on the waitlist so I had to wait until maybe June to find out if I got in.  I knew that I would run if I got in.

We got our new treadmill at the end of June so I was trying to get in a few climbing sessions here and there.

This year instead of flying into Reno, which is closer to Carson City & the side of the lake where the race is, we found really inexpensive flights into Sacramento so we ended up driving about 3 hours on Friday morning/afternoon.

We got to stop by one of my favorite places, Basik Acai, which has a location in Reno, on our way to our hotel so that was a plus :).  Unfortunately I forgot to book a room earlier in the year so we ended up staying at the Holiday Inn, which is nice, but note to anyone who stays there, they do not like early check-ins and are pretty rude when you try to check in before their official time.

In any case, we had to sit out in the car so Sean could get his drop bags set up until we were able to check-in.  We got that all sorted & raced over to the packet pick-up/100 mile race briefing. How cool are these bibs? This was the first year for these and they are so pretty.

It was starting to get pretty windy when we got there.  We saw Kat & Kristina and a bunch of other friends before the meeting.

During the meeting it got so windy that a few of the trees starting cracking and branches were falling on people.  They ended up finishing the meeting early because it was getting pretty bad out.

After the meeting we had to get in a quick shake-out run so we headed over to the spot where we normally run and did a quick & windy run.

We headed to a pizzeria in town for dinner, they had a yummy vegan pizza.

We got our gear ready & then headed to bed very early, around 8/8:30 because we had a 2:30am alarm.

Since we were in Carson City, we had to drive over to the start area.  They wanted everyone to take a bus over to the start from Carson City, but since I was also going to be crewing Sean, we decided that we would pay for parking and then I would be able to come back after my race to find Sean.  That meant getting there really early so that we could get a spot.

The start is pretty crazy, since they were busing everyone there, it was crowded a lot earlier than normal.

The 100 miler started at 5am so I saw Sean off and then headed back up to the car to take a quick nap before my start. I ran into Kristina & the gang on the way back up.

I also ran into an Instagram friend Janice before the start and said Hi.  I put my drop bag at the finish line, it was cool, but not as cool as last year so I decided not to run with my arm sleeves.

The 50 miler & 55k start at the same time so it can be a pretty crowded start.  I was maybe half-way pack in the pack.  I as usual just run my own race.  I was just taking it easy at the beginning, following a random pack, but the guy in the lead ended up being pretty slow on the downhills so I passed him and just kept moving.

I got to the first aid station, Hobart, which is about 7ish miles in.  I was feeling good so I got a little more water & a few orange slices before taking off.   I hiked out of the aid station & got a photo in front of Morraine Lake before continuing on.

This section we could really smell the smoke from the Yosemite fires.  I was moving pretty decently on the downhill, but realized that my eyes were getting a little black around the edges, it was really odd.  When I got to the Tunnel Creek aid station, mile 12ish, I got checked out by medical & was told I was fine.

So I got a little food & some ginger ale before heading down on the Red House loop.  I felt better so maybe I was just calorie deficient or something.

I got back up to Tunnel Creek, mile 19ish, got ice in my bladder pack, in my hat & buff and took off back over to Hobart.  I was feeling pretty good, just hiking back up the trail.

I made it back to Hobart, had a horrible time getting my bladder pack open.  I really dislike the hydro pak bladders, they are sooo hard to get open & closed.  It took 2 other guys & myself to get it open, ridiculous!

I got a few sips of ginger ale, some more orange slices and more ice for my hat and took off to get to Snow Valley.  It’s only about 3 miles up to the aid station and then 7 miles to the finish!

I passed a bunch of people in this section and was passed by at least one 100 miler.  I made it to the aid station without much trouble, I was hiking really well.  This aid station is really nice, the boy scouts put this station on & they are super nice, greeting you by name, taking your pack, etc., etc.

I got a little more fuel, ice & then took off.  I wanted to finish as quickly as possible so I just started moving.  I passed 2 guys in the first mile or so.  I remember looking at my watch and realizing that if I could keep moving, I could get really close to 9 hours. So I really pushed it going down the mountain.  Running as fast as I could on the downhills and hiking fast on the uphills.

I passed a few more people on my way down.  I was trying to remember where the last water only aid station was.  It was inside 2 miles to the finish.  And it was getting hot by this point & I was running pretty fast (for me at the end of a 55k).  The last 2 miles were so tough, I could see the finish line but it seemed like it was getting further and further away.

But then finally I was at the split for the finish & the 100 mile (50 mile aid station). I was so close, I managed to finish in 9:09, which was an hour and 1 minute faster than last year.

I was super happy & felt pretty good after the race.  They give us a free meal from a taco food truck so I got just beans, veggies & rice.  I chatted with a 65 year old guy who came in about 25 minutes before me.  He was from Bishop & had a lot of fun stories to tell me.

Then I went up to meet up with Kristina while she was waiting on Kat & some other friends from San Diego.  Christy from Running Skirts was running too.  We just chatted for a bit & then I started to get worried about Sean.  I couldn’t find his pacer and he was taking a lot longer than I was expecting.

Christy came in, then Matt, then Kat, who said Sean was like 1/4 of a mile away and that he wasn’t feel well.  It took him a really long time to get into the aid station at least another 20ish minutes, which was making me really nervous.

He finally got there and was really bloated and having a lot of stomach pains, so we got him some ginger ale & some vegan broth to see if he would feel better.  Nothing was really helping him so eventually he decided to drop.

So now, we had to figure out where to stay.  I don’t normally get a room for Saturday night since I sleep in the car waiting for him to come in at Diamond Peak.

There was a huge concert or something in town, which sold out every hotel in the area of Tahoe, Carson City, Reno, Truckee, etc.  We had to drive to Placerville in order to find a room.  It was a crazy drive too on the 50.  I don’t like driving in the dark and this was so much downhill with people driving crazy, scary and frustrating.  The view of the lake at sunset though, was amazing.

We came back the next day to get Sean’s drop bags & did a nice hike/run up Tunnel Creek. On our way up, we ran into Magda which was super exciting.  We got a quick photo before she ran off.

Again, this is a race that I always recommend, if you have the opportunity to run this race, it’s well put on, great aid stations, great swag (Patagonia shirts) and it’s in Tahoe, which is absolutely beautiful.

March Run All The Races: Ramblas Run Half Marathon

Sorry for the delay on getting this up, I actually wrote this blog weeks ago & just never got around to adding the photos & actually posting, #blogfail.

We finished up March with a double race weekend!  First up was the Ramblas Run Half Marathon.  We ran this race last year and came back for the 2nd year.

This is a fun, but very challenging race in the hills of San Juan Capistrano.  They offer a few distances, 5k, 10k & half marathon (it is a touch short, but like all trail races it’s either long or short depending on your watch ;)).  The half marathon was $75 and included a bunch of swag.

We got nice light zippered long sleeve hoodies for the ladies, a medal & a logo’d glass.

The best part about this race is that it starts a little later, 8:45am, because it’s in a neighborhood.  You aren’t even supposed to arrive until 8:10am so we didn’t have to leave San Diego until around 7am, which after the 2:30am wake-up for LA Marathon was amazing!

I got up, made some oatmeal in the instant pot, got ready and we were out the door by about 7:15a.  There was no traffic on the way up so even with a last minute potty break we got to the start by 8:25ish.

We got our shirts & bibs.  The bibs kind of matched the medals, they were a 3 color bib, which was cool even if it didn’t say the name of the event :).

I didn’t want to run back to the car to put the shirts inside so I just put them on the back of my pack.  They were pretty light so it wasn’t a big deal.

We got in the line for the porta potties, which went pretty quick.  We chatted with some friends while waiting which probably helped.  My only complaint was that the spot where the bathrooms were was on downhill so went I got in, I really felt like it was going to flip backwards.  It was a really uneasy feeling.

We ran into Tam while waiting in line.

It only took about 2 more minutes and then we were ready to start.  I know that the beginning of this race is pretty hilly & my legs were still pretty tired from all the races + 80 Day Obsession so I just took it easy.

The first mile or so went by really quick.  I saw Kristina & Kat at the first aid station, I quickly gave them hugs before continuing on.  We were almost to the single track which is a lot of fun!  I was following this guy who was crushing it on the uphills!  I was having to work really hard to keep up with him and by the time we got back to the aid station (it’s a little loop) I was breathing way too hard.

I took a quick stop to get an orange slice and then kept moving.  Michelle asked me how I was doing and I responded I can’t get my heart rate down.  Between the hills & the light humidity, I needed a little more time to get my breathing under control.

Kat got this photo of me coming into the 2nd aid 🙂

I hiked up the next hill and finally got my breathing under control and was able to run again.  I came down a hill and saw Sean speeding down heading into the next section of the course.

As I was going around up to the flag pole, I was trying to get some water out of my gear vest.  I had filled it that morning & could feel the liquid inside.  I was getting a little concerned because it was brand new & I wasn’t able to get any liquid out.  I didn’t want to stop so I kept moving until I got to the top by the flag pole.  Then I took my pack off, and found that it was user error.  I thought I had pushed the hose all the way into the bladder but it wasn’t all the way in.  Finally I was able to get water out!

I took the next mile or so with a few other runners and then we started to climb so I just took this time to hike and run when I could.  I felt a bit stronger than last year, but this section felt a lot longer than I remembered.

Finally we were heading down the hill to the turn around aid station.  I saw Inna & her kids down there, got a few orange slices & a touch more water and then headed up.  I hiked the whole way up.  I could see my friend Helen ahead of me as I was heading up.  I just kept her in my sights and did my thing.

I could definitely feel all the race miles & glute work as we were climbing, more & more. But I felt like I was able to run more of this section than I did last year.

Finally we were coming up on the final aid station.  I grabbed an orange slice & just power hiked the last hill, ran, hiked, and finally we were coming into the finish.  I was right behind Helen now and as I was coming up to her I was like come on, let’s finish this! So for the second year in a row, we finished the race together, this year about 3 minutes faster than last year ;).

After the race, we grabbed little acai bowl samples, water, our medals, chatted with Sarah, the race director & Kristina.  We got a few photos and then it was time to drive home.  Which is the worst part of the whole day, it took us just over an hour to get there but almost 3 to get home :(.

But traffic aside, this is one of my favorite SoCal half marathons.  It’s fun, it’s challenging, it’s relatively short, we see loads of friends and Sarah does an amazing job.

I would definitely recommend this race & I look forward to going back again in 2019.  Maybe Helen & I will make our photo finish a tradition ;).

March Run All The Races: LA Marathon 2018

Third in line this month was one of my favorite marathons, the Los Angeles Marathon!  This was my 4th year running it and Sean’s 7th so we were both #LALoyal!

Since this is my 4th year running LA, I’ve recapped this race a lot.  If you are interested in reading all about LA, you can read 2015, 2016 and 2017‘s recaps.

But let’s get to this year.

We left for the expo a little later than I would have liked around 10:30/11am, stopped at Plant Power in Encinitas for lunch and finally got to the expo around 2pm.  We walked around for a short time, got some photos, etc.

LA Marathon started a new program called LA Loyal which means that if you have run the race at least one time and continue to run the race in consecutive years, you become a part of their legacy program.

If you were in the between year 2 – 4 you got a special LA Loyal Bib, if you were between 5 – 9 years, you got a special LA Loyal T-shirt & a mug (although they ran out of mugs by the time we got to the expo).  If were 10 or more you got all of these things plus more & a special medal that looks like the first LA Marathon medal at the finish.

I like loyalty programs and I think this is a nice addition to the race.

Another thing I did this year was pre-purchase the marathonfoto bundle.  They had a sale for $20 off for LA Marathon and then because it was St. Patrick’s Day weekend, I was able to get an additional 20% off so it ended up being around $42, less than the normal cost of 2 photos.

We stayed with Sean’s sister again for the race so we didn’t have to get a hotel. We had a pre-race meal at True Food, Sean & I split a rice bowl & a vegan pizza. Yummy!

We headed back to their house, got our clothes set up, with a 4:00am shuttle to Dodger’s stadium, we were going to have to get up early.  I like to do Flat Jenny’s not necessarily for the photo but because it means I’ve got everything set for the race & then I don’t have to search for anything early in the morning.

I bought us parking in Santa Monica again for $20 & we signed up for the 4:00am shuttle.  This year, the shuttles were 100% better than last year.  They had everything organized and the volunteers were on point!

We got to Dodger’s stadium pretty quickly and it was freezing!!!  We didn’t have any issues with our shuttle getting to the stadium. Although, Sean was wishing we had a blanket like some of the other runners, lol.

After about an hour, give or take, in the stadium we headed out to hit up the port-a-potties.  There were bathrooms in the ball park, but the lines were ridiculous & I didn’t want to miss getting to drop my finish line bag.  They said the bags had to be dropped by 6:30am.

We headed out towards bag drop and got in line for the port-a-potties, by this time the lines were pretty long and after waiting in a line that never moved, it was almost 6:30.  I told Sean that I was going to the gear check and then headed over.  The gear check lines were soooo long.  For next year, this would be something that they need to work on. I saw lines that were 2/3x longer than the port-a-pottie lines.  I don’t know exactly what was going on with them.

After I dropped by bag, I ended up not being able to find Sean again before the race started.  He was in Corral A & I was in Corral E.

But I did run into my friend Almi, who went on to crush it and run a sub 4 hour race! So proud of her!

Anyways, I made it to my corral & never got a chance to use the bathroom, I wish they had port-a-potties inside the corrals, but unfortunately they don’t.

A few minutes after I got there they sent the Elite women off and then all the corrals got pushed up.  I’m not sure why I forgot this from the last 4 years, but basically there was so much room in the corrals that I was up with the C corral folks by the time I started the race.

I headed out, just wanting to survive this race.  After the last 2 weeks of half marathons and starting 80 Day Obsession, my butt was a little sore, although I wasn’t upset about that because it meant that my glutes were finally firing! and my legs were tired.

I did have to hit up the first set of port-a-potties since I missed the pre-race bathroom stop.  Fortunately there wasn’t too long of a line so I didn’t lose much time.  After this I just worked on keeping my breathing & heart rate under control and just cruised along through Chinatown and up to the Disney Concert Hall.  My favorite band of the whole race are the Japanese drummers, I always walk up this hill, I’d like to say just to listen to them, but it’s a pretty steep hill ;).

We made our way over towards the Chili Dog Station, which is so fun.  I don’t think that they have a vegan version, lol, and it’s still way too early in the race, but I always love seeing them out there.  I did see another Orange Mud ambassador & his friend out there eating one while running!

When I got to Mann’s Chinese Theater I was struggling a little with tummy troubles, but we still had over half the race to go so a minute or two of walking and then I was running again.

Right as we were approaching Beverly Hills around mile 16 the 4:15 pace group caught up with me.  I was trying to stick with them for as long as I could, which would be through BH.  I could see them through mile 20 and then they took off up the hill lol.

I did my best to run as much as possible during this race & I really succeeded.  I pushed as hard as I could and while towards the end, I really struggled with a lack of calories, I got to that finish line and managed to be within seconds of my PR.  At the time I really thought I had PR’d but after looking at the official results I was just over.

The last three miles, which are normally some of the funnest for me because we are going downhill & almost to the finish, where a serious struggle this year.  Due to my lack of calories and probably the first week of 80 day obession, my calves were really cramping and my fingers were starting to tingle again.

I pushed so hard to get to that finish line.  The last 3 miles, which were not fast, but I managed to run pretty much every step.  I was so close to a PR, I had to try for it.

I finally got there hands up, smile on my face, sorry to the girl behind me for blocking your face, I had no idea you were right there.  And as soon as I stopped running, the hurt set in.

I was in a lot of discomfort immediately after the race.  I was hungry & sore but you have to keep moving.  I got my medal, put it on for a photo and then immediately took it off.  I love the LA Marathon medals, but they are super heavy and after a race, I can’t always handle having it around my neck.

I started getting texts from Sean & made my way over to him.  Grabbing a few snacks on the way.  I think I mentioned this last race, but being vegan, you have to really look at the post race food options.  This race has always been someone lacking in my opinion in post race food, with fish pretzels, animal crackers, bagels & bananas.  I grabbed a banana & some animal crackers & made my way to find Sean.

I found him & we got my gear bag.  We made our way to the port-a-potties to get changed and then made our way to the Santa Monica pier where we got some french fries & a coke to refuel before some photos.

All in all, it was a great race, my fastest time on this course, beautiful, runable weather, awesome spectator support & volunteers.

We’ll be back next year!

 

2017 Recap

It’s been months since I’ve even come on here.  2017 was an interesting year.  It started out continuing on the high from 2016 and then my hamstring tendonitis brought my year to a halt.  After taking a little break, I lost my run motivation and got into a bit of a funk.

I wanted to recap how things went as far as my goals for the year.  Most of them were put to the wayside with my injury, but I’m interested to see if I achieved any of the others.

  1. Drinking more water is always a goal, I think I did ok on this but it’s always a work in progress.
  2. Strength Training – I did work on this a lot this year and with the help of Crystal Seaver I think I really did well on this one, once I got the go ahead from PT.
  3. Hill Training – This one didn’t really happen.  My injury meant that it was painful climbing so I didn’t do nearly as much as I would have liked.
  4. Speed work – Again, my injury was aggravated by speed so that kind of went to the way side as well.  I have done a few speedier workouts in the last month or so and felt decent.
  5. Run streak – That was dropped around 140 days and it might work for Sean and other runner streakers, but running every day doesn’t work for me or my hamstrings.  I won’t be starting another one.
  6. Mileage: I wanted to run 2,000 miles in 2017 and I fell very short, I only got about 1,150 for 2017.  With my injury and my lack of motivation, I had a hard time getting myself out the door.
  7. Long Run Nutrition – Still a work in progress.  I have found that I really like a mix of Skratch Labs & Carbo Pro.  I’m still working on this and since I didn’t do a lot of long runs this year, I didn’t really have much time to practice ;).
  8. Eat smaller meals – I don’t know that I succeeded at this, but after a lot of bloating and stomach pain this year, I finally in November made the decision that something needed to change.  I’ve been transitioning to a vegan diet, specifically eliminating all dairy & eggs from my diet.  It’s been helping a lot and I’m looking forward to keeping it up in 2018.
  9. Eat More Vegetables – This I did work on a lot. I still don’t love salad, but I’m working on it.
  10. A speedy marathon – Yeah, this didn’t happen, although I am really happy that I had 2 decent races at SF Marathon & then in Chicago with barely any training.  Not recommended but it worked for me.

Even though 2017 didn’t go exactly as planned, it wasn’t all bad.  I still managed to run or walk 15 races, a 10k, a 30k, a 35k, 5 Half Marathons, 4 Marathons & 3 50ks.  I volunteered at a bunch of races in the spring & summer.

I supported Sean at a bunch of races this summer including his “perfect” race at Tahoe 200 that resulted in a course record & huge course PR for him.

I went to Maine, on my first trip to the Northeast, for a fabulous retreat & met a bunch of amazing women.  We adventured around Vancouver & Kauai and spent a lot of time out on trails. All in all, even though it wasn’t the year I wanted, it was a pretty incredible year.

What were the highlights of your 2017?  Did you achieve your goals?

SeaWheeze 2017 Race Recap

SeaWheeze…I’ve had the opportunity to run SeaWheeze 3 times.  I was one of the lucky people to run in the inaugural year & then I went back and got those amazing plaid shorts in 2013 (still one of my favorite pairs). In case you don’t know, SeaWheeze is put on by Lululemon and takes place in the beautiful city of Vancouver, British Columbia.  It was my first international race back in 2012 and is a great event.

I was one of the lucky people to get a photo on Facebook at the first race, they don’t do many photos at this race so I was pretty excited :).

That being said, it is different from other races. What do I mean by that? Well read on to find out :).

Registration: I’m going to be honest here, registration for this race is super stressful. Lululemon uses Eventbright for their registration and unfortunately it’s not able to handle 10,000+ people registering at the same time so there have been a lot of problems over the years.  Personally and I know a lot of people will disagree with me, but this is my opinion, it’s time to go to a lottery system.  It will eliminate the issues with the server not being able to handle the demand.  Obviously we got in, but it was a mess and I know a LOT of people who got stuck in the dreaded waiting room forever.

Race Shorts:  Instead of a finisher participant shirt, Lululemon does a special SeaWheeze specific short.  They send the shorts in May so that we can train with them and to ramp up the excitement for the race.  This year’s shorts initially were underwhelming compared to years past, but in the end I found that I really like them.  I picked the speed shorts but they also had the tracker shorts for women (I heard that they ran small). The black & white is quite easy to match with every color under the sun and I don’t even notice the faces, lips, eyes, etc. that are on the ladies shorts.

Pre-Race Communications: Lululemon did a great job of keeping us informed, they send out multiple emails discussing the fact that the air quality wasn’t as good as normal due to fires in Northern BC. They also sent out multiple emails regarding the procedures on getting into the showcase store.

Pre-Race Showcase Store: For the first time ever, Lululemon announced that they would be giving us a sneak peak & selling some of the special SeaWheeze gear online about 2 weeks before the race.  They announced it on social media and sent an email.  You were allowed to buy 2 pieces and only 2 pieces.  They were very clear that if you tried to buy more than 2 pieces your order would not go through.  I was one of the lucky people to get the speed shorts and I also got a new bra.

Showcase Store: In another first, Lululemon gave us a full sneak peak of all the gear that would be for sale at the showcase store.

The store is an interesting thing… A lot of the hype around the race is about the showcase store.  It’s where you can get special edition SeaWheeze product that you can’t get anywhere else.  It’s gotten to the point where people line up on Wednesday & camp out in anticipation of the 7am Friday opening.  Seeing as this was Sean’s first time in Vancouver and I really didn’t have any desire to sleep on the street, I got in line at 3:30am.

I think I was about 500 people back from the front and I was in and out of the store by 7:30ish.  While I love Lululemon and this is a fun part of the event, this year I was slightly underwhelmed.  I normally love to get the speed shorts, this year, there were several solid colors and maybe 2 patterns, neither of which really jumped out at me.  I did get 2 new swiftlys (short sleeve & tank) & an Energy Bra.  I didn’t see a theme in the gear like they’ve had in the past although the colors & patterns did go together. Honestly I thought the gear this year was boring and with the exception of a few things the rest you could find in the stores.

Expo: After going through the store, I was going to get by packet but decided to wait for Sean. I went out to the expo to see what was going on there.  I got in line for a cute mountain tattoo from the Clearly CA sunglasses booth.

I got a bottle of water from the Flow table & had a smoothie from Vega.  The test truck was there but it wasn’t open that early & I don’t know if they were giving out product or not.  There was a booth where you could see some of Lulu’s innovation and coming products & give product feedback.  They also had yoga classes and other activities going on throughout the day.

Packet Pick-up: I went back to our hotel to wake Sean up.  We eventually made our way to the convention center to get our packets.  When we got there the line was really long so we decided to come back later in the day, you could pick up your packet until 8pm.

Race Swag: Once we picked up our packets, we got a nice drawstring backpack that you could use for gear check, a water bottle, a container of Nuun and Sean got a free drink from JJ Bean, I didn’t have one in my backpack.  Instead of a race bib, they give you a wristband to wear which gets you into the festival and race. The first 2 years I did the race they gave us chips for our shoes that had the founder Chip’s face on them.  This year it was the normal D-Tag like Rock n’ Roll uses for it’s races.  That is the only thing that showed we were even in a race.

Race Day: We raced over to the convention center to meet up with the ProCompression Ambassadors & I was so surprised to see a sea of black & white socks.  It was pretty awesome.

Once the photos were done, Sean & I headed to the start line, it can be really crowded and he should be near the front so we were lucky to get to the corrals early before they were packed.

They had pacers, I lined up behind the 2:05 pacer and Sean made his way to the front, he would run a 1:35!!  I heard from others after the race that it was very difficult to get into the corrals and I saw a ton of people on the sidewalk waiting to get into the under 2 hour corral.

As usual, instead of starting the race at 7:00am, they started talking at 7:00am and I think we started the actual race about 10 minutes later.  Which is actually a big improvement on year 2 when we started over 30 minutes late.

Course: The course was different from what I had run back in 2013.  There were a few hills at the beginning as we made our way through the city and then we were by the water for a good portion of the course.  We went over the bridge into Kitsilano where the first Lulu store is.  This is the only out and back section of the course.  Once we got back over the bridge, we headed towards the Seawall.  The seawall isn’t very wide so there is some weaving in and out around runners.  I was fortunate to be in a section where the runners were somewhat spread out and I didn’t have to jockey for position.  I heard that it was really crowded at some points.

The seawall is my favorite part of the course, it’s really beautiful.  There were a lot of groups out supporting the race, from the fire fighters, the WestVanRun group (incidentally one of the very first accounts to follow me), the hippies, the mermaids, etc. etc. there was enough to keep us entertained.

The finish was also different this year, we kept going on the seawall, past our hotel, towards the convention center, where the finish line was on the water!  The first 2 years, I remember having to go back up to the street where we had to climb a hill to the finish line, this was much better in my opinion ;). I ended up with 13.03 miles, not sure if the course was short or it was the way I took the tangents but I was a little shy of the normal 13.1.

I was happy to see that they had more mile markers this year in addition to the km markers.  The first 2 years I think they only had one at the 10 or 12 mile mark.

Medal: SeaWheeze always does a unique medal, this year it was a super heavy, medal Cairn.  I was shocked at how heavy it was and thought it was really nice.

Post Race: After we finished the race, we made our way up to Jack Poole Plaza to get some treats.  They handed out bottles for Flow water, they were letting us grab multiple bottles, got a wet washcloth to clean up and then a pair of finisher sunglasses.

We were lucky to not have to wait on the ramp for too long to get brunch, which this year was a box of snacks.  I actually really like this idea because it takes so much less time than a buffet.  The snacks were all healthy and they were designed to help us recover faster.  My favorite was the chia pudding, super yum!

After eating our treats, we made our way down to the expo area where we had more Vega smoothies and got our runners reward from Saje Wellness.

Sunset Festival: Initially I didn’t think we would go to the sunset festival, but we were kind of lazy after the race, I was exhausted and after a super yummy brunch from Ritual we just hung out.

Sean & I eventually walked over to Stanley Park where the festival was going on.  What a fabulous location for a party!  Thank you to Pavement Runner for the photo.

There was a lot of food options, we had sushi, a veggie burger and fries and toasted marshmallows.  We stood in line to get into the gear tent which didn’t have anything I was super interested in.  There was a huge yoga class and then 2 bands.  We chatted with our friends from social media and actually had a really good time.

Overall thoughts: SeaWheeze is a great event, but it’s focus isn’t necessarily on the race.  I think that the race is the catalyst to get everyone to Vancouver but it’s more just one facet of the experience more than the focus.  If you are looking for a competitive race, this is probably not the race for you, I’d recommend the BMO Vancouver Marathon for that.

Would I come back? Definitely! I enjoyed the whole weekend, Vancouver is a beautiful city and everyone is so nice. That being said, will we come back? I don’t know, I know that Sean wants to run Squamish 50/50 and Fat Dog 120 so we might have to make a choice.  Time will tell.

Did you run SeaWheeze? Do you want to run SeaWheeze?

Gorge Waterfalls Race Recap

I’ve been avoiding this recap, because it’s the last time I really was able to run. I knew going into this race I was going to have a tough time.  First off it’s a tight 8 hour cut-off and with the pain I’ve been having in my hamstring, but nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?

So Sean & I went up to Portland on Thursday evening, on Friday we explored a little by our hotel in Troutdale while I had to work in the morning.

On Saturday, Sean ran the 100k and I volunteered at the 50k aid station.  It was a lot of fun, but a kind of rainy, cold day.

I saw Jim Walmsley come through in first place on his way to a new course record and a Golden Ticket to Western States. Not the best photo from my spot at the aid station but it’s him ;).

 

 

I had a great time volunteering, we were super busy and it made the day go by really fast.  While I was out there I saw Sean of course, Josh, Natalie, Gina & her fiance Richard and cheered on a ton of runners.

This was the day when I stopped my run streak as well at 138 days.  My leg wasn’t incredibly happy and I decided to be smart and rest another day before the 50k on Sunday.

Sean didn’t push it on this race, he was still recovering from some other races. He came in around 16:18 in a trash bag to protect him from the elements.  We got some of the super yummy pizza they were serving – SO GOOD! and then headed back to the hotel.

 

 

I was excited but also nervous about the 50k.  I made the decision to just go out and have a good time & do my best to make the cut-offs.

 

 

We started at the 50k turn-around.  And unlike the day before it was a beautiful, crisp, sunny morning.

Sean cheered me on as I started my race.  I started the race having to go to the bathroom, oops, so as we made our way to the trail, I hit up the port-a-potties.  I started the race towards the back, which was fine, I knew that I was probably going to be back there regardless so it was fine for me.

 

 

It was an interesting course, wet with lots of moss & pine needles with a lot of roots, kind of reminded me a little of the HURT course.  I decided to wear my Altra Running King MTs for the race.  It was a good choice as there was some snow on the course.  I also ran with my Black Diamond poles, which were a big help to me as well.

 

 

I made it to the first aid station in plenty of time, I was hiking the uphills, running the downs and some of the flats.  Everything was going relatively well.  I was taking photos and just enjoying my time out there.

The second section was a bit more of a struggle, we had a lot of climbing during this section and my hamstring just wasn’t very happy, but I took photos, and just kept smiling enjoying the day.  I was leap frogging with some other girls from Phoenix, they would pass me on the downhill and I would catch them on the uphills.

 

 

We finally saw a waterfall right about a half mile or so from the mile 19 aid station.

 

 

It was there that we had to climb up a section of the trail using a rope.  It was crazy, but there was a rock slide and the actual trail was damaged.  This was the way they could get around it. I wish I had gotten a photo but I was trying to put away my poles so I could climb up.  From there we still had about a mile down to the aid station.

I made it with 2 minutes to spare and could have continued on, however I was in so much pain, I knew it was time to call it and get my leg looked at in case there was something seriously wrong with it.

I had to wait at the aid station for someone to take me and a bunch of others back to the start/finish.  It’s quite interesting, I saw this at the 100k the day before and then again at SD 100 a few months later.  Even though races have strict cut-offs they don’t really have a plan in place to get runners back to the start finish.  There were a number of runners who came in after I did who were past the cut-off that had to turn in their bibs and then we all just waited.  We were very fortunate that there was a nice guy who let us not only sit in his warm car, but also drove us back.  I do wonder though if he wasn’t heading back to the start, how exactly would I have gotten there?

In any case, the course was absolutely beautiful and I did enjoy my time out there.  I wouldn’t mind going back one day and trying it again when I’m healed up even though the cut-offs do stress me out a bit.

When I went back to the finish, I cheered on my fellow runners and had a great time.  They do put on a great race.

Pros: Beautiful course
Well organized
The post race Pizza was AMAZING!!

Cons: No medals or finisher awards
You have to pay additional for a race shirt
Tight cut-offs

And there you have it, my first experience with Rainshadow Running and the Gorge Waterfall 100k/50k.

Ramblas Run Race Recap

I wrote this blog months ago, but never got around to posting it.  I’ve been so crazy that I just haven’t been posting but I’m back now so get ready!  I’ve got lots going on plus a bunch of recaps to post.

The weekend of LA Marathon, on our way up to LA, Sean & I drove past San Juan Capistrano and Sean brought up that Coach Sarah Mista was putting on her first race, a half marathon, 10k or 5k the next weekend.  We discussed it for a few minutes and then looked to see if there were any spots left.  There were 3 spots left so we decided to jump on them and registered for the inaugural Ramblas Run.

So we drove up to San Juan Capistrano on Saturday morning.  It was a nice treat to have a race that started at 9am, which meant that we didn’t have to get up at the crack of dawn to drive up to the start.  We got up around 6:30a and left around 7:15ish getting to the start right around 8:15a.

We got our packets, hit up the port-a-potties and then got our gear ready.  We had a bunch of friends that were also running so we chatted with everyone until the 9am start.

Kristina and I started out together, heading up the first few hills.  We hit the single track and I just started flying down the hill.  It was so nice, I barely had any pain in my leg and it was absolutely beautiful.  We passed Paksit Photo & he got a few awesome shots.

This course was a out and back, and while it was beautiful, it was hilly.  There were some really steep downhills & uphills, but the beautiful wild flowers and the company were great.

I ran into Helen around mile 8 so we chatted for a bit, walking the uphills and running the downs.  She wanted to fly down some of the downhill so I lost her for a bit as we made our way to the turn-around aid station.

When I got to the turn around I grabbed some orange slices and a bit more water and headed up the hill.  I passed Kristina on my way up, so we got a selfie ;).

I cheered on some other runners and just kept it nice and easy until Helen caught up with me.  We hiked & ran for a bit, stopping at the last aid station for some more water, etc. we had no idea that we were really close to the finish line so we’re just taking our good old time, having fun.  Eventually we saw a few photographers and then realized that the finish line was just below us, haha.

So we started running down the hill and finished together, laughing and having a great time.

This race was definitely for fun and I had a blast.  Sarah did a great job, with lots of yummy snacks after the race, including Essence pH10, Sambazon acai samples, nice big medals and pint glasses.

I would definitely recommend this race for a fun Saturday on the trails, I’m looking forward to next year!

2017 Los Angeles Marathon Race Recap

And with this post, I’m caught up on my race recaps!  Yea!! Can you see me giving myself a pat on the back? LOL

Let’s get the following out of the way and then get on to my recap.  I am an ambassador for Conqur Endurance Group, which puts on the Santa Monica 5k/10k, Pasadena Half Marathon and the Los Angeles Marathon.  I did receive a free entry into the race as part of my ambassadorship, however as usual all opinions on the race are my own.

This was my 3rd year running LA and Sean’s 6th.  We really enjoy this race and will continue running it for many years to come.

Sean & I drove up to LA on Saturday morning in an effort to beat some of the traffic and then to be able to get our streak run in and relax before having to get up crazy early to drive to Santa Monica.

Once we got near the convention center we started looking for street parking, it’s significantly less expensive than parking in the garage. We parked about 3 blocks from the Expo and walked over.

On Friday, we got a text with our bib numbers in, which was a nice surprise.  If you opted in for text messages, you received this text.

When we got to the expo, there wasn’t a line to pick up our bibs so we immediately walked over to our respective numbers to get our bibs.  They weren’t there and both Sean & I were directed to the solutions desk.  We had added on the start-line hospitality so our bibs were in a different section & tagged with a sticker showing that we were in the hospitality tent.

Once we got our bibs, we got our race shirts & gear check bags.  I really like the shirt and I would love to see a medal like the shirt with the landmarks around the medal, I think that would be so cool :).

We walked through the sponsored merchandise and Skechers had some nice gear at reasonable prices, but I have so much gear that I felt it best to pass.

Once we got into the expo area, I immediately took us towards the Lululemon Sweatbox where we would be for the next 90ish minutes.  I’ll talk more about this in a separate post.

Once we left the Sweatbox, we walked around the expo for a few more minutes, got some Clif Bar samples, a few photos and then headed out.

We were trying to decide when to do our run, but we also wanted to go to lunch, it was already 2:30pm so we were in that in between time.  We looked it up and saw that Bottega Louie was less than a mile away so we walked over.  Once we got there they told us that it would be 40 minutes for a table because they were changing over the shift so we put our name on the list and decided to go for our run.

We ran back to the car, I got us new shirts since we would probably be pretty sweaty and then we ran back to the restaurant.  We were probably a 1/4 of the way back when I got a text saying our table was ready so we ran back as fast as we could to get our table.

It was pretty funny when I sat down at the table, sweat literally dripping down my face.  Our server didn’t miss a beat and didn’t say a word as I was wiping my face, lol.

A hour later we had stuffed ourselves with Cobb Salad, Margarita Pizza, Creme Brulee & a Chocolate dessert.

We headed back to the car and over to Manhattan Beach and a movie.  Afterwards we had to find a FedEx office because I forgot to print out our parking permit & I didn’t want to have an issue in the morning.

In the past 2 years, 2015 & 2016, we’ve stayed in a hotel downtown.  This year we were able to stay with Sean’s sister in Manhattan Beach so I pre-purchased parking in Santa Monica prior to the race for $20, note to self, print it out before you leave for the race ;).

We finally got to our destination, did our flat runner photos and headed to bed. A 2:45am alarm was going to come fast. Needless to say, I don’t think I slept more than about an hour the whole night and I was already up before my alarm went off.  I tried to sleep until about 3am before finally just getting out of bed.

We were out the door and on our way by about 3:40a, we took a nice route near the beach up to Santa Monica and encountered no traffic on our way to the garage next to the Civic Center. Since it was so early, Sean & ate GoMacro bars on the way to Dodger Stadium.

Once we got parked we headed to the shuttles, the line was quite long, but there were tons of buses so we assumed we’d be in one and on our way quickly.  30 minutes later, we had barely moved and maybe one bus had left.  We realized at some point that there were 2 lines of runners, on either side of the building, oops.

We finally made it up to a bus, a girl asked me if I was wearing my back and taking my bag with me to the start and gave me 2 orange wristbands to put on them.  I didn’t know what they were for, they didn’t look in or at either my pack or drop bag closely.  I found out later that they were checking bags for security reasons, but that wasn’t the case with us.

We made our way up to Dodger Stadium and got dropped off in the normal spot.  I heard from some of the other ambassadors that they would get dropped off outside the stadium and that the freeway exit got all messed up with cones in the bus lane.  Fortunately that didn’t happen for us.

We walked in and over to the start-line hospitality tent.  It was pretty chilly when we arrived.  This was our first time doing the start-line hospitality and it was pretty nice.  They had food, bagels, bananas, clif bar shots, coffee, bottled water and most importantly heaters!  We saw Tim, one of my fellow ambassadors (for Conqur & The OM Dirt Unit) at one of the tables, we eventually moved to the back of the tent to stay warmer.

It was really nice, they had yoga mats and foam rollers, Air France tote bags & infuser bottles, private porta potties and a special gear check UPS truck for us!

We got the whole ambassador gang together for a photo and then we went our separate ways to get ready for the start. Left to right: Linzie, me, Tony, Emelia, Erica, Tim, Brett, Carlee, Ivie & Miriam.

I was in Corral C which was the 3rd corral and Sean was one of the lucky 300 people to be in Corral A up with the elites.  As I was standing there waiting for the start, I saw Gocart Mario in his car.  It was pretty cool.

I will say thinking back on it now, the start line atmosphere wasn’t quite the same as it has been in the past, it seemed a little bit more mellow than I remembered from past years, but all good.

I turned my Garmin on about 20 minutes before the start and unfortunately it never got a signal so when I started I thought I hit the start button, but found out right before mile 1 that I had not started it at all so I was about .85 miles off on my tracking.

We start in the parking lot of Dodger’s stadium and as we were starting the sun was coming up and it was looking to be a very beautiful day.  Contrary to what we were expecting with fog for most of the race.

I started out feeling ok, my back and legs were a bit tight from standing around so I took it slow to start, or so I thought, lol.  I actually did quite well the first half of the race, looking back, although I did not feel great at all, my butt hurt pretty much from the get-go and that eventually moved to my hamstrings and it was all I could do to just keep moving.  A lot of my issues are stemming from an anterior pelvic tilt along with one hip that is higher than the other.

I was experiencing a lot of pain but I decided to just have a lot of fun, take photos & try to find some of the snap chat filters, I don’t use snapchat, I only downloaded it for the geofilters, which I was planning to upload to my Insta stories.

I’m still a bit shocked at the time I came into the 20k at the time I did considering I hiked up a lot of the hill, slowed for photos, etc.

Around mile 4, is the Disney Concert Hall, which looks so pretty and the Japanese drummers are there too.  They are amazing, I caught a short video as I walked up the hill.

One of my absolute favorite spots on the course is the chili cheese dog station at about mile 5.5.  They totally did it up this year with a table and chafing dishes full of food.  It is things like this that make LA Marathon so awesome.  The spectators really get into it.  That being said, I really wish this station was at mile 25.5 so I could actually enjoy one, my stomach is a bit too finicky to eat a chili cheese dog less than 6 miles into the race lol.

I ran walked from mile 4 on, taking photos, seeing the sites and just having a great time.

We ran down Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.  It’s really pretty with all the palm trees. I had a video of this area, but I seem to have lost it.

I love coming into Santa Monica, there are so many spectators, I swear this year there were even more than in the past.

About mile 18 the pain in my glutes/hamstrings started to get really bad, to the point where it hurt to walk.  I know my walk sections were getting longer but I kept moving.  Talking to other runners, listening to my audio book, enjoying the sunshine and all the spectators.  Around this point there were more and more of them.

After doing a run/walk hobble to mile 23, our friend Mitch came by and said Hi before passing me.  I chatted with some other runners and just kept chugging along.  Eventually we got down the hill and to the beach.  I ran the last mile just trying to keep it together and get to that finish line.

When I crossed the line, I was surprised at how quite it was.  I looked for someone I was supposed to meet at the finish but I never saw them so I got my medal and a few photos before going to look for Sean.  In the past he’s been closer to the finish line waiting for me, but he said they were pretty strict, and understandably so, about runners hanging out near the finish.

I got a bunch of post race treats, banana, bagel, Power bars, pretzels, animal crackers, cheese-its, etc. and then kept moving.  I was in so much pain, I just wanted to sit down.

After getting my heat blanket, I finally saw Sean & made my way to him.  We got my drop bag at the start-line hospitality truck, this was an awesome perk, it was the first truck!

After getting our gear and that Air France tote bag came in handy here for all of our post race snacks ;). We headed to the pier to change into dry clothes.  I sweat so much, my lululemon speed shorts are always soaked to the point I’m dripping, I don’t understand why I’m sweating so much lately but in any case, I always bring a full change of clothes for after the race.  I hate being wet once I’m done running.  This race, I got smart and brought a small towel to dry off with too ;).

We got warm, took a few photos and had a nice post race meal of burgers & fries.

I finished the race in 4:46:10, out of 18,893 runners I was 6,244.  After reflecting on my time, which compared to a lot of people isn’t fast, I realized that I was in the top 3rd of people, which means that over 12,600 people finished behind me.  That’s a lot of people and it’s nice to see that LA Marathon is a race that is for any ability.

So I already know I’m registering for next year, you can get in on the party by registering for the lowest prices for the next 3 days. (Regular registration opens later this summer)

As with any race, even those you love, there are always things that are better than others so here’s what I liked, what I didn’t like and what I’d love to see ;).

Pros:

  • Nice big expo that wasn’t super crowded
  • Beautiful Medal
  • So many spectators on the course
  • Amazing Volunteers, those kids were so into it, cheering us on
  • SRLA (Students Run LA Program) this is seriously an amazing program that brings over 3,000 at risk youth from grades 7 – 12 together for a marathon training program that culminates with them running the marathon. These kids inspire me so much & I look forward to seeing them every year.

Cons:

  • No information telling us that our bibs would be at the Solutions desk instead of the normal pick-up area.  It wasn’t a huge issue since it was pretty quite but if it had been busy we could have waited a long time.
  • Shuttles to the start line
  • While the volunteers were amazing, the kids had a hard time staying on the sides, some of the aid stations became bottle-necks
  • Last year at the expo we got a lot of treats in our gear bag, this year nothing. While I don’t need the papers, I liked trying new food products.

Suggestions:

  • As I said earlier, while LA has amazing medals, I would love to see a medal that looks like this year’s shirt with the landmarks around it.
  • Santa Monica shuttle definitely needs a little work, I know this is definitely something that Conqur is investigating already.
  • Give out bags with post race snacks in them – SD Half, NYC Marathon & Venice Marathon does this and it is sooo nice. You just grab a bag from a volunteer & go.

Overall though, this is one of my favorite marathons and I can’t wait to go back and run it again in 2018!