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.**

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.

 

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 :).

 

WIWW: The Cozy Edition

*This post is a part of my affiliation with the Prana Fit Pros, as with all posts, all opinions are my own.

It’s been such a crazy summer & now fall.  Sean & I have been traveling like mad men this year.  We had 2 stretchs this summer & now fall where we have traveled for like 7 – 8 weeks in a row.

I love traveling but after a while it starts to wear on me.  I need comfortable clothing especially when I get towards the end of a long stretch of travel.

Gear, like the Prana Cozy Up collection was essential for me this summer/fall.  It came in really handy when I was travelling to places that were waaay cooler than San Diego.

Prana’s Cozy Up collection, pant, tee, sweatshirt & zip up jacket come in both regular and plus sizes.  The pieces are functional & cute.  I especially loved the pant, which was a jogger style.

The Cozy Up collection is made of a Hemp/recycled polyester/Tencel ® lyocell fleece blend which has natural odor reducing features and UPF 50+ (for the sweats) and UPF 30+ for the tee.

They are all sustainably made, which really makes me happy.  It’s one of the things I love most about Prana.

I have been living in the jogger style pant this fall.  I’ve never been a “sweats” type of girl, preferring leggings instead but these pants have changed my mind, I really love the style.  They fit nice, they are warm and of course they are very cozy ;).

I love that all the pieces are made with odor reducing features, sometimes when you travel or crew a race, you might be in your clothes for quite a while and I am a huge proponent of odor reducing fabrics.

We’ve been to the mountains in Utah, staying at over 9,000 ft, where it was chilly at night in early August!

To Lake Tahoe, with warm days and cool nights, while crewing for Sean at Tahoe 200.

Finally in Vancouver/Whistler where it rained and was super chilly for us in September.  The cozy up sweatshirt was my go-to after running.

The pant, my favorite for cool mornings & hot cups of coffee on our amazing balcony.  We totally got hooked up at the Four Seasons Whistler ;).

And I lived in the zip up for cool evenings here in San Diego & plane rides.

Traveling can be stressful, but I never stress over what to wear while I’m out and about.

Want to save on prana gear for yourself?  Use code JNAKprAna25 for 25% off. (good until Dec 31, 2018)

2018 Tahoe 200 Crew Recap

I love Tahoe 200 – it is one of my favorite races of the year & I don’t even run it LOL.  This was Sean’s 5th time running and the first time that they have done the race in reverse.

I recapped my first time crewing Sean at Tahoe 200 in 2015, which you can find here if you want to see how things have changed ;).  That recap & this one are quite long (it is a 206mile race so there is a lot to say, lol) so I won’t be offended if you just scroll through the photos ;).

This year, we had a whole new #TeamSexyCalves because our old crew was busy crushing their own races.  Greg (@gregknottlemond) was going for his Western States qualifier up in Canada.  Maili (@mais_runs_trails) was going for her first official 50 mile finish,  Eric (@aspireforlife) was also running and Joyce (@flyjoyce) was crewing & pacing Catra.

We had talked to our friend Josh (@jwanders11) at SD 100 and he was willing to come up and help crew & pace with us.  And then after TRT, Sean & I thought we should ask Kristina (@ocrunningmama) to come with us too & she jumped on the chance to come back to Tahoe!

About 2-3 weeks before the race, we found out that Spooner Lake was no longer going to be crew accessible and so I was pretty worried that we needed to have another pacer who could go the first paceable 36 miles with Sean.  Enter our friend and amazing runner, Jake (@ultra_trucker).  Interestingly, I found out after he ran that Jake had never been to Tahoe before.

Sean, Kristina & I headed up to Tahoe on Wednesday evening. We got to the B&B around 11:30p or so.  Had a little craziness where the door to our cabin was locked when it was supposed to be open and had to call the owner to figure out how to get in.  We got it sorted & were able to head to bed.

As per usual, I had to work on Thursday and so I did that while Sean slept in.  We hit up some groceries for supplies to get his drop bags ready for the afternoon.  I worked while Sean & Kristina worked on them.  They finished up & we headed over for the mandatory pre-race meeting at Homewood Resort.

It was a huge group of runners, I think they had 230 people start the race.  There were not that many people who had done the race before and Sean was the only person to have done it every year.  Candice made an announcement that there would be a special award for him when he finished the race and she was super excited about it.

I stopped to say Hi to Catra, who was selling & signing her book onsite.

Then Kristina wanted to say Hi to Courtney Dauwalter who would end up leading the race for pretty much the whole time before being passed by Kyle Curtain, who none of us had heard of before, but I’ve since heard he’s won Run Rabbit Run previously.  Courtney is seriously one of the sweetest people, she remembered me from Coldwater Rumble when Sean introduced us.

We dropped the drop bags & then headed to dinner at the pizza place down the street from our B&B.  Since the race didn’t start until 9am, we had some time after dinner for Sean to finish getting his gear together before heading to bed.

And then before we knew it, it was go time. We all got ready & headed to the start.  Sean got his bib, he picked to be 1 & his tracker, we got that sorted, found Josh, chatted with some friends, got some photos and then it was time.

As per usual Sean took off up the hill which is his traditional way to start the race.  Since the race was going to be crew accessible on Friday, I took the day off from work.  I normally work all day Friday before meeting the first pacer at Sierra at Tahoe & then crew from there on.

When we were leaving, I ran into Jay, Joyce’s brother and Catra’s head crew & TruMan.  He was a little nervous since his momma was gone, but he let me hold him & eventually drooled all over my arm so I think he relaxed a bit ;).

We got packed up & checked out before heading to the first aid station at mile 10.4.  Kristina & I stopped to take a few photos by the lake, it was a beautiful day & looking like it was going to be quite warm.

Courtney came into the aid station first, looking great as usual.  We waited for about 10 runners or so and then Sean came in.

He was just kind of chilling, taking his time.  He got some water from the aid station and then he was off.  We wouldn’t see him again for 20 miles.

While we waited, we headed to breakfast & then climbed Eagle Ridge (a short .4 mile hike with breathtaking views).  Kristina convinced Josh do his first insta story (and he’s now hooked LOL).

We made it to Tahoe City just in time to see Courtney come in and then speed out.  A bunch of other runners got there not to far after her, but I realized about 20 minutes later that no one else had left yet.  Most of these runners had done about a 6 hour 50k which seems waaaay to fast for most people in a 200+ miler.

Sean came in around 7h44m saying it was HOT out.  We got him cooled down & ready for the next section.  It was going to be dark by the time he got to mile 50, Brockway so we made sure he had his headlamp & then sent him on his way.

In the meantime, we checked out Kings Beach, had dinner and then hung out at Brockway.  All the while it was so weird to me going backwards to these aid stations.  It was super fun having other people to hang out with and doing things I would normally never do, like go to the beach, but it felt really weird.

While we waited for Sean, we were standing next to another runner & her crew.  They were totally stressing me out because they had binders and all sorts of papers telling them what to do, but when it came to actually doing anything they just didn’t seem to have a clue.  I really thought that the poor girl was going to end up going out without any hydration at one point.  I literally had to get up and move away because  they were totally stressing me out, lol.

Sean made it to Brockway around 11:30p. we got him food, energy drinks, extra headlamp batteries, etc. etc. and he headed out to Tunnel Creek.

We too headed that way, we managed to get a little sleep before we met up with Jake. Sean came in around 3am & I was asking him how he liked going down PowerLine vs going up & he said it was pretty slippery.  He got some food & then he and Jake were off heading up Tunnel Creek to Spooner Lake.  I’ve run this section with Sean before going in the opposite direction and it’s spectacular, it’s always been a fun section because you get to run down to the cafe, but this year they were climbing up instead.

Once they were on their way, it was time for us to get some more sleep so back to the car we went.  I think I woke up around 6:30a & Tunnel Creek Cafe opened at 7 for breakfast. I got a yummy granola with soy milk.

I wanted to go and cheer on some of the other runners.  I saw Catra @dirtdiva333 who looked super fresh.

I helped Mark Tanaka who was running solo get ready for the next section. He was a little out of it when he arrived so I helped get him some food & get his pack ready.  He said that someone told him that Sean had dropped, which was kinda weird, but who knows.

We ran into Robert Villani when we were heading to the car, he was doing great waiting for his wife to bring him some milk shakes, which is his secret weapon for getting in lots of calories. He told us about  how awesome the Kogalla light was (I asked Sean to pick one up in Moab & he did so I’m excited to try it out).

We still had a bit of time before we had to meet Sean at Heavenly so we decided to go to Sand Harbor for a bit.  Sean & I always pass by when we are in Tahoe but it’s always packed so we have never stopped.  We were able to get in and go explore for a bit.  I was climbing all over the rocks and in the water having a great time.

Once we got to Heavenly, it was soooo windy. Sean came in with Jake around 2:30p.  He wanted shade & to change so we got him all ready to go.  He and Kristina would be going from Heavenly to Armstrong, another section I have done with him.

We got a (full) team photo and then they were off.  I can’t remember exactly what Josh & I did in the interim, but we eventually made our way over to Armstrong Pass and he got his stuff ready to go out and pass Sean to Housewife Hill & then on to Sierra at Tahoe.  We ran into Schuyler from Mountain Outpost fame – Run Flat, Stay Low 😉 and Jamil’s son, who is super cute!  We chatted with them for a while since we were all waiting on our runners.  I think Sean was in the top ten during this stretch.

Sean got in around 8p just after dark.  We got him some food, a long sleeve shirt & then he was off.  But then, he came back a few minutes later shivering from having gotten too cold while at the aid station.  We got him wrapped up in a blanket, put on his warm jacket, got him some hot water to drink & I gave him my insulated water bottle full of hot water so he could use that when he headed out.

Next stop was Housewife Hill.  Somehow we ended up going into the aid station from the back, that was a first, but it ended up working out so it was all good.  This aid station is one of the best, they are always dressed up & so energetic.  When speaking with the aid station captain, she was saying that going this direction meant she had to take a few days off work in order to be there for the whole race.  I didn’t even think of that, but going in the opposite direction means a lot of changes for everyone.

In any case, Sean came in around 2:15am looking pretty good.  We got him some food & refilled his bottles.  He and Josh set off for the 7 miles to Sierra at Tahoe where I would pick him up to go with him for the next ~40 miles.

We got over to Sierra at Tahoe, I think I slept for maybe an hour before getting changed.  I originally had on shorts & then at the last minute decided to grab a pair of capris & I’m glad I did because it got warmer during the day.

When Sean got to the aid station I think he was in 6th place.  Jamil was still up in the aid station.  Sean changed in the bathroom, we got him food & refilled his bottles.  He doesn’t like going upstairs at this aid station so we always just stay at the entrance.  Interestingly the aid station was unmanned when he came in so we kept asking people where he checked in & finally as we were leaving, a few minutes after Jamil & Skylar left, someone came by to check him in.  The guy had been sleeping since so few people had come through & said, oh, you don’t really need to be checked in. Um, say what? I’m pretty sure someone always checked him in there in the past, but whatever.

So off we went.  I had this idea that we could finish the 40 miles in about 12 hours which would put us at Loon Lake about 5/5:30pm.  From Sierra at Tahoe, you take the road down to the trail, which is initially a fire road.  Last year, Greg & I did a little shakeout down this section so I was familiar with it.  After a while we turned onto a single track section.  Sean was moving pretty good in this section.

I had never been in this section of the course because typically they do this section on day 1 when crew isn’t allowed and I have to say, it’s not the beautiful rim trail.  The trail was not nearly as well maintained as the rim trail and there was so much poop on the trail we started calling this section the Pooer line trail, instead of Power Line ;).  We were like they obviously didn’t read the section of the handbook where it said you can’t just poo anywhere because it was literally like every few feet, sometimes less.

The section to Wrights Lake requires a 3ish mile climb up a road, which Sean did amazing at, he was chugging along, click, click, click of the poles.  It was really cool to see.  But, once he got to the top, he had a hard time going downhill, his hips were not happy.  We eventually made our way down to the trail again.  At this point, we had to take a few breaks & I was digging in to find his psoas muscle to try to get him a bit of release.

This section seemed to go on forever, we finally made it to Wrights Lake, I think there was one other runner there at the same time, got Sean fueled up, got us more water & then headed out.  We were coming up on the Rubicon Jeep Trail.

We started out fine, there were a few jeeps coming down to where the aid station has been in the past.  Sean was moving good, we had a little discussion about him moving a touch faster so we could make up some time & he was trying so hard! Then it happened.  We were following the markers and then all of a sudden there were no more markers.  We had crossed over this bridge & were climbing up rocks looking for the trail.  There were no markers.  Eventually we turned back and tried to see where we got off trail.  Sean ran into another runner & his pacer and we finally had to go to the GPX track to find the trail.

Turns out the track showed the trail to be this random grassy section with logs at the start, which in most races is an indication not to go that way. So weird.  Anyways we went relatively slowly for the next 2ish miles following the GPX track and finally after about 2 miles saw a marker.  I don’t know what happened, but whoever marked this section did a horrible job, because after this, the next marker was at least a 1/2 mile away.  We lost a lot of time in this section to Tells Creek because we literally would come to a dead stop looking for the next marker.  They were not in our line of sight like they should have been.  It was a really frustrating section.

But eventually we made it to Tells Creek.  We got veggie burgers and coke and filled up.  I changed back into my capri’s because I accidentally spilled my drink on my chair and soaked my shorts, oops. But I was glad I changed because once the sun went down, it got cold!

We were moving really well on this section the first half, I think that the veggie burger gave Sean & me a nice energy boost!  I was having a hard time keeping up with Sean the first part of this section, he was moving fast & it was probably the only time that I got my heart rate up during our day together.

We saw the most beautiful sunset, stopped to take a few photos and then we were on a downhill section.  This section was pretty rocky so I took the lead and would go slowly down.  We made a pact that I would stay ahead of him, but not too far ahead so he could feel like he could catch me.  By this point it was getting colder but we were getting closer.  I asked Sean if he would want to take a nap, at this point he hadn’t slept at all and he was past his 60 hour threshold.  He said he would see, but he seemed like he was in decent shape.

We eventually got to where we could see the aid station! YAY!! Finally, 16 hours after we started we were there! Mile 180.  Sean’s mom, Josh & Kristina were there.  Originally Kristina was supposed to run this next section with Sean, but I guess during the day it was decided that Josh would do it instead.  So instead of taking a nap, with all the craziness that was going on, we pushed him out instead.  In hindsight I should have pushed for him to sleep no matter what, but I was so happy to be done & he seemed fine.

I had no idea, but Loon Lake is 2.5 hours from Lake Tahoe!! OMG, that’s a 5 hour round trip drive! Yet another reason why the original direction is soooo much better, that’s a crazy long drive, especially in the dark.  Kristina was a total rockstar driving us back while I was half asleep.  We finally made it back to the B&B, I was able to shower off all the dirt & sleep for a few hours before we headed to Barker Pass.

I would wake up, check the tracker, see Sean was moving really really slowly & go back to sleep for a little while longer.  I was stressing out a lot because I knew he was sleep deprived & sleep walking.  Everyone of these 200 mile races is around a work event that I have to be at, my job is very flexible & I can work from anywhere, except when we have events, I obviously need to be at them so I had to fly to Phoenix that afternoon & I was very concerned that I was going to miss Sean finishing.

We eventually drove over to Barker Pass around 6/7am .  I would try to work & keep checking the tracker, the cell signal up there wasn’t great & it seemed like he was just so far away.  I was incredibly frustrated & in tears by the time he got to the aid station for a variety of reasons.

He got there and we had a little chat, I told him that if he didn’t get to the finish before noon, I was going to have to leave & wouldn’t see him finish.  I was so upset & even now it makes me want to cry a little (and it’s about 6 weeks later).  After last year’s absolutely perfect race, it was heart-breaking to see him struggle this year.

But he & Kristina headed out & he rallied.  I took Josh back to the B&B so he could shower, we got some food & then we checked & Sean was moving quite well so we headed to the finish.

Two hours after he left Barker Pass, he got to the finish line! 74ish hours after he started with no sleep.  I was so happy for him & so relieved that I got to see him finish.

And as the only person to finish Tahoe 200 five times, that’s over 1000 miles on the TRT, Candice presented him with a special award.  He got a custom buckle & belt. It’s really nice!

What a weekend!

My final thoughts, as crew & pacer, 200s are so challenging.  They are all this hurry up and wait, being patient, stressing but not allowing your runner to see that.  While I absolutely love this race, it’s 1000x better in the original direction.

First, the runners get the really remote sections out of the way on the first day so crew doesn’t have to drive 5 hours to Loon Lake. Second, by the time you get to Sierra at Tahoe the runners have spread out a lot. Third, you don’t really have super long paced sections – the 15 – 20 mile section is really ideal for both pacer & runner so that neither gets burnt out.

Tahoe 200 is one of the most beautiful courses around so I’m sure we’ll be back, but I need a little break from 200s for the time being :).

Huge Thanks to our amazing team #TeamSexyCalves.  Kristina, Josh & Jake, we are so grateful for your help & support on this amazing adventure!

 

 

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.