2017 San Diego Half Marathon Race Recap

Nothing like registering for a race the week of the race.  When Jenn tagged me in a photo that SD Half posted of me 1 week before the race, Sean & I discussed it, eventually we decided to go ahead and register for the half.

I really like the San Diego Half, which I ran for the first time last year, you can read my 2016 recap here.  The race starts by the convention center, takes you by the Harbor to Liberty Station, up the crazy Washington St Hill up in Mission Hills before taking us through Hillcrest, by Balboa Park (the start of RnR SD) and then down to the finish line by the Gaslamp sign.

The course is mostly flat until about mile 9 where you have hills for the next 2 miles before a nice downhill final 5k.

The race expo is on the Pier on Friday afternoon & most of the day Saturday.  Since Sean & I had some plans for Saturday, I drove downtown to pick up our packets on Friday after work.  You are able to pick up someone else’s packet with a signed release & a copy of their drivers license.

I was in and out in about 5 minutes with our bibs, shirts and bags.  One of the really cool things that SD Half does is a legacy program that isn’t just for the people who have run every year.  Running as few as 2 years in a row gets you legacy status.  We are at 2 years in a row so we got a race shirt with 2 stars on the sleeve.  I really like the gifts they have for years 4 & 5 so if we are able to, I’d really like to keep to our legacy up ;).

Sean & I went to the PCT for a nice run on Saturday, I had a fabulous run, which was so nice because I’ve really been struggling the last few weeks with not loving running and my mental state on the run.

We spent a little time taking photos and then headed back to SD.

We carbloaded at our fav new Italian restaurant, Cucina Basilico in La Mesa and then relaxed.

The only downside to the race being on this weekend is that the time change happens.  It’s always a bit stressful hoping that there aren’t any issues with your iPhone changing time.  The race sent a text reminding us to change our clocks, which was a nice surprise.

We got up around 5:00am and left around 5:40a getting downtown and finding an awesome spot on the street (free parking for the WIN!).  We walked down to the race start area, we saw Jenn & her friend, hit up the porta potties and then walked over to gear check.

Sean is still nursing his knee so he decided to start with me in Wave 3 instead of his normal Wave 1.  He always starts in the front so he doesn’t normally have to wait for the waves to go off and was like wow, it takes a while for the other waves to start, huh.  They started each wave about 5 minutes after the last one so we waited about 10-12 minutes to start.  It was super foggy at the start, a big change from last year’s race.

We finally got started, heading down towards the harbor, I felt really good, even with the really humid weather.  I was keeping up with Sean and ran straight until about mile 9 when the hills started.

We finally got up the Washington St hill which I ran/walked.  I took a minute to get down a Glukos gel, which was a good choice because I needed more calories.

Once we got up, we were in Mission Hills heading towards Hillcrest which is an area I run often at the #619Run club on Friday mornings.  We headed towards Balboa Park and into downtown.  I picked up the pace following Sean, the last 3 miles were ticking off. 9:01, 8:21 and then about a half a mile from the finish, my shoe came untied, oops, but I just kept moving.  We fortunately missed having to stop for the Coaster like I did last year.

I was running down the street, huffing and puffing, just trying to get to the finish line. I finished that last mile with a super fast 7:47 mile – who would have thought? I haven’t run that fast in a very very long time & never at the end of a half marathon!

So while this was not a PR time, it was my fastest half marathon since Nov 2014 when I set my current half PR.  Not too shabby considering my training hasn’t been for shorter distances lately.

After the race Sean & I got a few photos at the finish.

SD Half gives a great goodie bag of post run snacks and a nice medal.

Sean & I collected our gear, headed to Starbucks for a warm coffee just as the sun was coming out and then headed over to get breakfast at one of our fav brunch spots, Eclipse Chocolate.

They haven’t announced the date for 2018 yet, but as long as it doesn’t interfere with the LA Marathon, I definitely plan to return & I’ll register earlier to save 😉 lol.

Griffith Park Trail 50k Recap

One week after the Wisdom Tree Marathon, Sean & I made our way back up to LA for Keira Henninger’s Griffith Park 50k/Marathon & 1/2 Marathon.  We had a ton of friends running and were excited because Keira always does an awesome job.  We always have a great time at her races.

We drove up to Manhattan Beach on Friday to stay with Sean’s sister.  Driving to LA on a Friday is always a bit stressful since there is so much traffic but it wasn’t horrible until we hit the 405.  We managed to get to her house relatively early.

We got our gear out, did our flat runner photos and then headed to bed.

We got up pretty early to drive the 30 minutes to the park. This race started on the other side of the park, by the Merry Go Round, opposite from where we were for the Wisdom Tree race the week before.

Once we got on the road, we hit insane traffic because they closed one of the freeways for construction and had to be re-routed around the airport.  It was super stressful since we were already running a little late.

I was texting with Kristina and asked her to pick up our bibs just in case we were really late.  We managed to arrive with about 30 minutes to spare but I was a bit nervous.

We got lots of photos with the OM Team and lots of friends running the 50k and other distances.

Keira gave a quick pre-race speech and then we were off!  Sean & I were with Kristina for a bit at the beginning and then we all separated on the first little climb.

Once we got up a little ways we were treated to the most spectacular sunrise!  This photo I got of Sean really doesn’t do it justice but gives you a little insight into what we saw.

I really had no idea what to expect from this race except that the course was a little short (29.5 miles) and that there was going to be a LOT of climbing, over 6k.  If you have followed me for a while, you probably know, I’m not a fan of climbing, LOL.

Anyways, I started off hiking the uphill and running the downs and flats.  I chatted with a few other runners and Orange Mud fans. We eventually were treated to an awesome view of the Griffith Park Observatory. The guy I was running with at this point was telling me La La Land was filmed there and that I should check it out.

Just after this we saw Howie Stern taking photos and then we got to another uphill, where there were volunteers cheering us on and sending us down to the left to the observatory.

Down I went, I saw Sean coming back up not too long after I started down.  I was having a weird feeling like my right foot was swelling even though my shoe didn’t seem to be overly tight and I had to go to the bathroom. Odd, but I kept moving and eventually got to the bottom where there were more volunteers telling us where to turn around.  As I went back up, I saw a bunch of my friends, Jenn, Vanessa, Alexis & Kristina.

 

The only downside to this race, at least the first half of the race was that there were a lot of other people out on the trails which meant weaving in and out a bit.

I hiked the way back up and once up we headed over to towards the Hollywood sign.  We went down a pretty steep trail and then up the road to the sign. At the road there were a few volunteers, I saw one of the guys I followed for a bit at Sean O’Brien directing us up the road.  Once we got to near the top, there was a girl there telling us to go up to the flag and when we came down she would give us a wrist band showing that we made it to the top. Once I got to the top, I asked someone to take my photo since I was by myself at this point.  Note to self…make sure to tell the person taking the photo to get your feet in the photo too so you can show off your Altras ;).  The sign was the turn around spot at about mile 11.5.

I got my bracelet and headed down the road to the little hill that the week before I described as a slip and slide ;).  And we did a portion of the course that we did the week before – on the single track section. It was a lot harder to run the single track because it was dry and there were so many other runners coming that it was hard to get any kind of decent pace going.

Once we got back to the road, that the week before would have taken us to the horse trails, this week we headed back up over towards the Observatory.  My legs, specifically my hamstrings & glutes, were starting to really bother me around this section and when I saw Smitha, Jenn & Valerie, they asked me how I was doing and I was like my legs hurt! lol

Fortunately we didn’t have to go back down to the Observatory and just headed back towards the start. Those nice downhills were now pretty steep climbs and by the time I got to mile 17 I was hurting pretty bad.  I texted Crystal and told her where I was, pretty much whining about the horrible hills.  From this point until I was to the final turn around, I was not in the best of moods.

For some reason when I looked at the course map, I thought the course was a loop not a bunch of out and backs, I was kind of confused when I was heading back and didn’t know where the additional miles were coming from. Turns out all the out and backs look a lot like a loop.

Regardless, I finally saw Sean around mile 22 as he was almost back to the finish.  I was not happy and complaining about why was I even doing this, I hated running, etc. etc. This has been a reoccurring theme during my long trail runs lately, especially when there are a lot of hills.

And the worst hills were still to come it would appear.  I hit the last aid station and headed out for the last out and back.  I was not happy when I got there and I was pretty calorie deficient by that point too.  I’ve still got to work on my fueling.  I got some more CarboPro and kept moving.

As I was heading up a pretty steep hill, another girl passed me and then was like this is horrible, how far up to we have to go.  I felt at least a little comforted that it wasn’t just me who was hating these hills lol.

We just kept going up and up and up and then finally I saw 2 people and asked hows much further we had, they told me the turn around was by the trees, which was a lot further than I was expecting.  Regardless I got to the turn around and then saw my friends, Jenn, Alexis & Vanessa coming down.  Then on the second or third uphill, I saw Kristina and we got a quick photo before continuing on.

I could not wait to be done! Finally I got to the last aid station, had my bottles topped off and was told it was only 2.5 miles to the finish! Hallelujah! I took off and caught Tam shortly afterwards, we chatted for a minute and then I started running again.  I’d hike the uphill, run the down.

Finally we got to the final turn back to the finish line.  Raul & his son (Founder of Running4ThoseWhoCan’t) were there and cheering me on.  I started running and didn’t stop until I got to that finish line.

I was so incredibly happy to have made it to the finish.  That was a very tough race.

Sean congratulated me, got a few photos and then I got my medal & buckle from Keira.

We waited for our friends to finish, got a few more photos and then headed back to his sister’s so we could have lunch.

As always Keira does an amazing job and even though mentally I was not in a good place, this was a great race.

Griffith Park Trail Marathon – Wisdom Tree Loop

I’ve been procrastinating long enough and I’m now 3 race recaps behind with another race this weekend so I better get a move on!

Sean & I have headed over to LA to run in Griffith Park, in downtown Los Angeles 2 out of the last 3 weekends.  Our first jaunt up there was with a small group of friends for an informal marathon.

I found us a cool historic hotel about 15 minutes from the start in Koreatown.  We got there around dinner time and just decided to grab dinner in the cute burger place below the hotel called Cassell’s since we had already valeted the car.

You’ll see that eating burgers before a race is now becoming a trend, which is interesting. lol

These burgers were super yummy, we also got some amazing sweet potato fries that were covered with cinnamon sugar. I’ve eaten a lot of fries, but none that were like dessert, lol.  I also ordered a ginger beer that Sean & I shared, it was homemade and huge! Like 2x the size of the water glass.

Of course we couldn’t resist getting some pie.  Personally I prefer fruit pie, but Sean is more of a chocolate person so we decided to try the chocolate peanut butter, which was good but the back crust was a little tough, I kept clanking my fork on the plate.

After dinner, we got our gear ready and then hit the sack.  I’ve been so exhausted lately, I sleep but yet it doesn’t seem to be helping me to feel rested.

We were meeting at 6:30am so we got up around 5:15a and left the hotel around 6:00am.  It was raining as we were waiting for the car to pull around and it was a little chilly.

We got to our meeting point a little bit before 6:30a, we got our gear ready, chatted with some of the other runners and then after the last runner arrived, we got started.

The loop started out with a tough technical climb up to Wisdom Tree.  We got a quick photo and then headed out to the next spot, above the Hollywood Sign, we would only go to the top the first loop.

After another quick group photo there, we headed down the road to the next set of trail. Up a steep section that reminded me of a slip & slide.

From there we took an overgrown & muddy single track trail to a fire road.  When we got down, we ran down the road to the horse trail, which was like a fire road.

We took the horse trail down for a bit and then we were at the bottom of the Hollywood sign.  We got a few photos and then headed on.  The next section included in a little more downhill fire road and a bit more road before turning onto a dirt sidewalk and heading back to our car.

Sean & I stuck together the whole “race” for the most part.  He is a bit better than me on the uphill, but with his knee still getting back to normal, I was a little faster on the downhill.

It was not an easy race and I struggled up the hill to Wisdom Tree on the 4th loop. I really wanted to quit, but I pushed through and we made it finishing 4 6.2ish mile loops for a total of 26.4 miles & somewhere between 5-6,000ft of climbing and earned this amazing medal!

Afterwards we went to Howlin’ Rays Tennessee Chicken with our friends, where we stood in line for 2.5 hours to order our chicken sandwiches.  They were good, but I’m not sure if they were 2.5 hour wait good, lol.

We did have a great time and of course watching Andrea eat the Howlin’ chicken was very entertaining!

Next up, I’ll recap Keira Henninger’s Griffith Park 50k.

What is the longest you’ve waited for a post race meal?

#Spring4Prana: Spring 2017 Review & A Discount

I’ve been really fortunate to work with prAna and FitApproach for the last few spring & fall seasons to try out some of their new line and share with you some different looks from my normal running gear ;).

In the past I’ve reviewed the Meme Pant, the Prism Yoga pant and last fall the London Jean (which I wear all the time they are so comfortable) and the Devan Henley.

I was super excited to receive my new prAna gear last Monday, right before I was heading to Miami for work.  I choose to try the Mantra Pant & the Liana Sweater.  These pieces seemed the most me & were a few pieces that I fit my fitness aesthetic, especially the sweater.

I immediately had to try everything on, over the clothes I was wearing lol.  And it all fit perfectly. I got a size small in both pieces.

I really like the Mantra pant, it’s casual, but yet still nice enough I can wear them for work.  I wore them for a nice dinner and felt super comfortable.  I’ll definitely be adding them to my rotation for work trips.

The Mantra Pant comes in 5 colors, I picked Oatmeal and Smitha picked the Black Herringbone, which is also very nice and something you could wear in a biz casual environment as well.

From the prAna website the Mantra Pant is Soft hemp is blended with stretch fabric and trimmed with organic cotton, creating a naturally versatile pant. A relaxed fit, mid-rise, and straight leg are classically styled.

For the top, I chose the Liana sweater because it’s a nice, light weight knit top that I feel like I can wear over a yoga or run tank before or after a workout to kind of dress things up.

The Liana sweater comes in 3 colors, I picked Bora Bora because it was a nice springy color.

From the website, the Liana sweater is naturally beautiful. A wide neck, angled stripes, and asymmetrical hem create a casual feminine silhouette. A lightweight blend of soft hemp and organic cotton is conscious, comfortable, and moisture-wicking.

I do like this sweater and it looks cute on, but I do have to mention that I have already gotten a few pulls in the knit from my ring and there is no way I can wear this around the kitties or I’ll have so many pulls.  I think the asymmetrical hem is a little odd, but overall it’s cute.

Have you tried prAna?  What are your favorite pieces?

They have a lot of cute things out this spring, including some running shorts and yoga gear.  You can use code S.4P17RLB to save 15% on www.prana.com until Mar 28, 2017.

My Road to SD 100: Stop 2 Black Canyon 100k: A bump in the road

Last weekend, Sean & I headed to Arizona to run the Black Canyon 100k.  We signed up last year expecting a fast and mostly downhill course with a long time limit (which appealed to me since I know I’m on the slower side).

Unfortunately Mother Nature intervened and the week of the race, the race directors at Aravaipa Running had to make a decision to change the course to an out and back due to a forecast of over an inch of rain on race day.  They made the right decision because the original course crosses the Agua Fria river several times and the river was too high & too fast for over 500 runners to safely cross it.

So, the course went from having ~9,000+ feet of descent to being an even up and down of ~3,500.  Once you got to the turn around, you would start making your way back up to the start.

The race directors did an excellent job of communicating the change to us runners.  I saw it posted on the Facebook event page, on their website, received an email via ultrasignup and also even watched a live Facebook video where they discussed it and answered questions.

We got to Phoenix late Thursday night, we were staying with my sister, who lives about 15 minutes from the Anthem Outlet Mall, where the shuttles were originally supposed to pick us up to go to the start line.  Since the race finish was at the start line we didn’t have to take the shuttle after all so it was just a 45 minute drive to Mayer High School.

We headed to the expo on Friday afternoon, got our bibs and shirts.  We chatted with Ben & Zach Bitter at the Altra booth for a little bit, I got to try on the new Escalantes, which are so nice! I can’t wait to get a pair and then headed back to my sisters.

For Christmas, I had gotten my sister a pasta maker so she made us a yummy pre-race meal with fresh pasta and baked chicken.

While she cooked, Sean & I got our flat runner photos done and backed our drop bags.  Since it was going to be wet & rainy, we packed everything into 2.5 gallon zip lock bags to keep everything dry.

Since we only had to drive to the start line in the morning, we were able to sleep a bit longer.  I think we left the house around 5:20am and made the 45 minute drive up to the high school.

We dropped off our drop bags, hit up the bathrooms and then headed to the track where the race was starting.  It all happened so fast.

I saw Rachel, one of my fellow Orange Mud Ambassadors & we got a quick photo.  I also met Tara, @runwithtara, saw Malia, @rnrgrl808, her son ran the 60k and came in 2nd overall!! I also saw Jen, @jenlaughlin_18, who was like 2/3 races we’ve done together have been in the rain, lol.

Sean & I got a quick pre-race photo and then we were off. It was already raining when we started.  The race started off with a lap on the track and then we ran through the town before hitting the trail.

The first part of the course was the muddiest of the whole race but I was wearing my new Altra King MT’s which were created specifically for muddy conditions.  They did not disappoint.  I felt so secure and was not slipping and sliding at all. There was only one small area where the shoes had some caking but it quickly fell off.  Sorry for the blurry pic, my fingers were already wet so I had a hard time even getting the phone to work. After this, I didn’t take it out again until after I dropped.

I felt really good the first 7 miles to the aid station.  In the last 1/2 mile I started to get a little bit of a stomach pain but kept moving knowing there would be a port-a-pottie at the aid station.

I got there, grabbed a few glukos gels from my drop bag and then waited a few minutes to use the bathroom.  The next section, I started slowly because of the stomach pain, but it eventually got better.  I enjoyed this section, it was absolutely beautiful single track.  I had a few close calls where I came  close to a few hard falls so I slowed down a bit and really started watch my footing.

Unfortunately tripping multiple times caused some pulling in my hamstring so I was dealing with that as I made my way into the 3rd aid station.  This is where Sean caught up with me.  I was not a happy camper, practically in tears, and not at all excited about running in the rain for another 12 hours.

After a few minutes of chatting with Sean, refilling my pack I decided to move on.  In retrospect, after I had heard some people talking about dropping to the 60k, which they normally don’t allow but due to the weather, they made an exception, I should have just dropped down at that point.

I slowly made my way up the fire road to the single track.  I was following 2 girls for a bit.  During this section, I was having a lot of pain in my right foot under the midfoot.  Literally every step was excruciating. Seriously this race was just full of rando physical issues.  It eventually went away but I was power hiking the majority of this section.

As I made my way to the aid station, I saw a photographer from Sweet M, who got this lone photo of me during the race.  I’m a little disappointed she didn’t get a full body shot but it does show how wet I was, my skirt was completely soaked.

Sean was waiting for me at the aid station and I put a few things in my drop bag, took way to long trying to get my bladder back in my pack, the bladder I was using wasn’t opening easily so every time I refilled it, I had to ask for help and we would fight with it to open.

We finally made our way to the turn-around, where I would have to sit down for a few minutes because I was feeling light-headed.  I had 2 cups of ramen and felt a little better.  We headed back up the hill and the rain just kept coming.  I was trying to move as fast as I could, but I kept feeling lightheaded and I wasn’t happy.

We got to the mile 37 aid station and I was super close to dropping but Sean convinced me to keep moving to the next aid station, which in the end was a smart decision.

This section was the last before it got dark and I was moving as fast as I could to get there. I was starting to get really cold and the rain just kept coming down.

When we got to the aid station, I told Sean he could continue on, but I was done.  I was so cold and it was just going to get worse as we got into the night, and into the windiest, most exposed sections of the course.

I walked into the aid station saying I was freezing and they directed me to the heaters to warm up.  One of the volunteers, who I would later find out was the founder of Squirrel’s Nut Butter, Stacy kept asking me if I wanted to get out of my wet clothes.  I didn’t have anything dry to put on so I said no originally.

Finally after I officially dropped, she told me that she gave me a dry Squirrel’s Nut Butter sweat shirt I could wear and pretty much made me get out of my wet clothes.  Sean asked me for my waterproof jacket to put over his other clothes because he was going to continue on.

I hung out in the aid station until they closed and I was able to get a ride to the finish line.  There was a cute little boy who asked to play some games on my phone so I let him play for a bit.

Once I got back to the High School, I got changed, even after getting into dry clothes, I couldn’t warm up.  I think I had on 3 sweatshirts.  I hung out with Ben at the Altra table chatting and interacting with runners who had questions about Altra.  I met & chatted with another ambassador, Kim while waiting for Sean.

My King MT’s were awesome on this course!

Now that I’ve had more time to think about the race, I don’t regret my decision to drop, because I know I was pre-hypothermic and continuing on could have resulted in putting myself in a bad situation.

I also know that I could have physically finished the race, while I had minor aches and pains, I was not injured but mentally I was checked out, not having fun and let that take over.

Running is hard, running ultras is harder and I think that the mental part is the hardest.  As I continue on with my journey to SD100, I think I will have to train my brain the most.

Even with a DNF I learned something important about myself and what I need to do to get to the next finish line.

 

My Road to SD100: Stop 1 – Sean O’Brien 50k

The first half of this year is all about getting to the finish line of SD 100.  And with 2 races a month, I’m using races to train & get more comfortable being on my feet for a long time.

First up in my journey is Sean O’Brien 50k, which was my 5th 50k.  I went to Sean O’Brien with my Sean last year and ran/hiked the first 5ish miles of the course so I had a very small knowledge of the course, which is not easy.  The nice thing about SOB is that like with Keira Henninger’s other races with multiple distances, there is a long cut-off for the shorter distances which I like.  I hope not to take the full time, but I know I don’t have to worry about cut-offs, which I really like :).

Anyways, Sean & I drove up to Calabasas on Friday afternoon/evening.  We made it to packet pick-up in time to get our bibs and to try out some of Altra‘s new shoes.  I was super excited to get to try on the new King MT & the new Superior 3.0, both of which I can’t wait to add to my collection.  (I wish I had asked Ben, the SoCal rep, if I could have worn a pair of the King MT’s for the race, but more about that later).

We headed over to our hotel, got dinner at a very clubby Italian place that I felt a little under dressed at in my super comfortable Orange Mud sweatshirt. Side note: If you love super soft, comfy sweat shirts, this is the best one ever, I literally wear mine every day.

We got back to the hotel and got our flat runners set up before heading to bed.  With a 3:15am wake-up call I hit the sack as soon as I could.

That alarm sure came fast, I think I snoozed once maybe twice 😉 before getting up and starting to get ready.

It didn’t take us long and we were out the door and on our way to the start line.  The 100k started at 5am so we were trying to get there by 4:15/4:30 so we could get a decent parking spot.

We got Sean’s drop bags over to the start area & he headed out to start the 100k.  As I was listening to Keira’s announcement, she was talking about how lucky we were to even have the race because of all the rain we’ve had in SoCal lately.  She lobbied with the Parks department, reworked the course and we were all able to run!

The 100ker’s took off and I headed back to the car because my race didn’t start until 7am.  I decided to get a little more sleep before getting up around 6:20ish to get ready, check in and hit up the port-a-potties.  I met up with Emily, a (very speedy) fellow ProCompression Ambassador and a few of my fellow Orange Mud ambassadors.  We got a quick photo and then Keira was asking us to head to the start line.

Once we were at the start line, she let us know that the race was going to be muddy (I was like great, I left my poles in the car, oops) and that the 50k & marathon were the only races that didn’t have a course change.

Pretty soon after that we were off, I kept a steady pace for the first 2ish miles to the creek crossing.  I felt decent during this section.  The creek crossing was a lot higher this year than last year – it was knee high and the creek was rushing.  They had a nice strong rope to keep us safe on the crossing.  The mud we encountered just after the crossing was actually a bit more stressful.

And then up the hill we went and as we went up, we got over the fog and it was so amazingly beautiful.  I chatted with some other runners as we climbed and climbed.

As we made our way up to the first aid station, we were going up over these boulders, which were awesome and so different from the rest of the course.

It was in this section that I saw Howie Stern who got this photo of me.

I got to the aid station, had a few snacks and then crossed the street, a volunteer was advising us to be careful because it was slippery.  This initial section was pretty slippery because there was a lot of flat rocks.  But as we kept moving it cleared up.  I was following a marathon runner who picked up a friend at the aid station, don’t think that’s really supposed to happen, but I guess anyone can come out and run on the trails.

I finally passed them and kept moving.  And then I came across a crevasse taking up 2/3s of the trail, it was nuts.  I slowly made my way around it and kept moving.  This was maybe 8-9 miles into the race.

It wasn’t too far after the crevasse that we got to the mud.  It was pretty slippery but I figured out a way to run/hike through it and I wore my Superiors which really helped as opposed to my Olympus.  This is when I wished I had the King MTs to see how well they really worked in the mud ;).

This section felt like it took a long time for a variety of reasons, one, it was muddy, two, I was in a pack and at the start of the mud, I was behind a girl who didn’t have the right shoes on and she was slip sliding around like crazy and three we were stopping a lot and attempting to move to the side for the lead runners coming through.

After the mud, we had a very steep downhill into the mile 13 aid station.  I had to go to the bathroom so I lost a lot of time in this mile because there I had to wait for someone to get out.  Unfortunately sometimes you just have to wait, and in this case I made the right decision :).

It was about 2ish miles to the next aid station.  There was a nice down hill and then some climbing.  As I got closer to the aid station, people started saying BACON!  And you’re almost there, this one is good, they have bacon.  Ultra runners love bacon! Although who doesn’t love bacon.

I made it to the aid station, practically sliding into the table, refilled my pack and then turned around.  I saw a few friends and enjoyed running the downhill in this section.

I made it back to the halfway aid station, grabbed a few potatoes and I was out.  Now, I should have had some new shirts in my drop bag because I was soaked.  Note to self, put a dry shirt in your drop bag.

I headed up the hill and ran into my friend Tam, who was coming down to the aid station.  We got a quick pic and then kept moving.

I was anticipating a tough road with the mud.  I was pleasantly surprised to see the mud had dried a little bit so it wasn’t as slippery, but instead it was super sticky.  My heels were popping out of my shoes, I was a little worried at one point that I was going to walk out of my shoe, lol.

The first part of the next section went really well.  2 guys passed me and I followed them for a bit, down and through the small creeks – there were probably 11 water crossings during the race.  They ranged from the rushing knee deep creek to small puddles that you could hop over.  It was nice having these guys to follow for a bit.  I couldn’t really keep up on the steep uphill to one of the aid stations, but I caught back up and passed them on the downhill in the last section.

I finally got to the last aid station, a volunteer helped me refill my pack with CarboPro and water.  As I was getting a snack, I saw Sean run into the aid station!  How awesome was that.  He was at mile 40 and I was at 26.  We spent a few minutes chatting about how he fell and hurt his knee around mile 1.5 and then we went our separate ways.

It’s interesting how quickly you forget the course because the first part of the last section was a lot hillier than I remembered.  I ran walked and eventually our friend Josh Holmes, of RunItFast, who was running the 50 miler caught up with me.  We chatted for a few minutes before he took off.

There was a girl in front of me with arm sleeves that I was following down the hill.  This section was really hard on my feet, but I kept her in my sights and eventually a little before we headed on to the single track, I passed her.  We saw another girl too who was a little confused as to which way to go and kept moving.

This section was fun, a lot easier on the feet, although still somewhat technical.  It was made better by the fact that we were getting closer to the creek crossing and I knew then we would only have 2ish miles left.

I finally made it to the creek.  I started across and about halfway through I stepped off a rock (I wasn’t looking for rocks to step on – just holding on and walking across) and I could feel a sharp twinge in my back.  Fortunately it passed pretty quickly.  I got out of the water and kept moving.

As I moved on in this last section, my calves started to cramp.  I think that the combination of the cold water and a little dehydration was the case.

I trudged on again forgetting that once we get back to the single track had some more uphill.  The guy following me was saying the same thing, how did we forgot this?

Eventually we got to the downhill into the campground and I knew we were so close.  My calves were still cramping but I kept running to the finish.

Right before the finish, I saw Josh again, he got a few photos of me before I made the turn into the finish.


And then I was done!

Even with the weather, I had a great time out there.  I feel like I did decently with my fueling, although I did have a stretch of uphill where I was getting tired, I could have probably had a bit more electrolyte, but overall I feel like I did pretty well.

I don’t necessarily feel like the time on the clock represents my fitness as I felt pretty decent out there.  I think I could definitely do better with a little more training & no mud!

Thank you to all the volunteers for spending their day with us & to Keira for all her hard work in getting us all to the start line!

Next up, Black Canyon 100k!

 

A Double FriYay Five

Today’s Friday 5 is a double.  I’m going to not only share with you 5 more exercises that you can do with the Kamagon Ball & Surge from Hedstrom Fitness but also 5 of my favorite things right now.

So let’s get started.  First up here are today’s 5 exercises using my Kamagon Ball & Surge.  I love the Kamagon Ball, it’s seriously one of my fav new things.

Now on to Five of my favorite things.

1) GoMacro macrobars – I’m so excited to have teamed up with Go Macro to be an ambassador & to be using them for my SD100 training.  I have been a huge fan since I first tried the Cashew Butter Macrobar back in 2012. I love that they use Certified Organic ingredients, all of which you can understand and don’t use dates as the base in their bars.  And they taste amazing!

2) I talked about this in my goals post, but I know that I haven’t been drinking nearly enough water, mostly because it’s so cold right now, I don’t feel as thirsty, but I’ve also partnered up with Essence pH10 water to help me get my daily water intake up, which as an ultra runner is so important.

From the Essence pH10 website: Essence pH10 is a premium alkaline water that contains 10% of the daily recommended allowance of calcium, magnesium, and zinc acetate. Additionally, we add organic hibiscus making this the only nutritional water on the market. This patented formula is designed to produce a sustainable pH10 that helps to restore the bodies pH balance. Essence pH10 is 100% sodium free.

3) My Momentum Jewelry sparklets & motivate wraps.  When you are training for a 100 miler or anything for that matter, it’s easy to get discouraged if a run feels super hard or doesn’t go the way you’d like it to.  I know that I look down at my wrist often during these runs for that extra mental push and to remember why I’m out there.

4) Altra Running Torin 2.5s – I am an Altra Ambassador and I’ve tried pretty much every Altra on the market, with the exception of the Provision & the Golden Spike.  I resisted trying the Torin 2.5s after the 2.0s just literally slipped off my feet the one and only time I wore them, but then they brought out the NYC version of the shoe and I thought, maybe the 2.5 was different.  Well I’m here to tell you, it is my new favorite road shoe.  It’s cushioned just enough to help me not pronate, which was causing me ankle pain during marathons, but not over cushioned.  I absolutely love them and if you follow me on instagram, you’ve probably seen me wearing them almost exclusively on the road since I got them.

5) My lululemon align yoga mat.  I don’t think they sell this one anymore, I’ve had it for like 6 years, but it’s a thin but cushioned and perfect for doing not only yoga but stretching and also strength training.

What are your favorite things right now?

Race Recap: Inaugural Pasadena Half Marathon

I feel like it’s been forever since I’ve had a race, lol, it’s really only been a month, haha.

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 (still want to register? use code JENNYLA2017 to save a few dollars).  I did receive a free entry into the race as part of my ambassadorship, however all opinions on the race are my own.

I signed up for the Pasadena Half knowing that we would be in Hawaii the weekend before for HURT, but I wasn’t positive on our travel plans so I signed up for the race day packet pick-up to allow myself some options in case we didn’t get back home until the day before the race.

That being said, I did not attend the expo so I can’t really comment on it.

With my training for SD100 starting and the first of my many training races coming up, SOB 50k on Feb 4, I felt like I needed to get in a double longish run weekend.  So we kicked off the weekend with a double loop run at Lake Miramar while trying to avoid the rain.  We didn’t end up getting on the road until after 3pm so we didn’t have time to go to the Expo which closed at 5p, which was fine.

We had a quick dinner at CPK, which was right near our hotel.  We were going to just drive up on Sunday morning, but with the rain we decided it was best to stay over to avoid the stress of having of driving to Pasadena at 3am.

After some yummy pizza & pasta, I got a quick Flat Jenny photo and got my gear ready for the next morning.  The forecast called for 100% chance of rain so I added in my rain jacket.

Our hotel was 2 miles from the Rose Bowl so we left at 5:30am, which was 1.5 hours prior to the start of the race.  I guess I underestimated the time it would take and since we didn’t know the route to the start line, we didn’t realize that the 210 would converge on to the main road to race parking.

I’m not the most patient of people normally and knowing I didn’t have my packet, etc. was really stressing me out.  I think there could have been a little bit more of a police or volunteer presence to direct traffic and I’m sure that next year this issue will be fixed.

Although I will note, there will always be traffic going to the start of a race, it’s just how it is. This isn’t the first race I’ve been to with traffic, it’s just that there wasn’t anyone directing traffic at a major intersection and I think that’s what made it most frustrating.

Moving on, once I jumped out of the car and ran over to the start line area, it was just after 6:30a.  I quickly got my bib and I still had some gear on so I hurried over to gear check to check my extra long sleeve and my track pants.  They had it organized by bib number which was nice.  After the gear check disaster at CIM this was so nice.

I thought I was going to be late to the start but I was fine, about 6:50a when it was all said and done.  I ran into a few of my friends as I was heading to the corrals.  We chatted for a few minutes and then made our way to our respective pacers.  There weren’t corrals per say just pacers holding the pace sticks.

By this point Sean was making his way over to me, he wasn’t running the race but was going to run a few miles while I was running so he could get some photos for me and cheer me on.

Me, Richard, Laurie, Michael & Ivie

He got a few photos of me and some of my fellow Pro Compression ambassadors.  By this point the announcer was telling us that we were probably going to start about 10ish minutes late.  You could tell by the number of cars still coming into the parking lot that it was going to take a bit more time.  I think we finally started around 7:30a, give or take.

Our traditional pre-race selfie :).

And then we were off, I knew almost immediately that I probably shouldn’t have run quite so fast the day before, I was having an issue with my shin/calf muscles feeling super tight right above my ankle bones.

I slogged it out for the first 2 miles up the bigger hills and then just after the Tournament of Roses building, I pulled over to do a quick standing pigeon pose to try and stretch this area out.  That’s when Sean caught up with me and asked me if I was ok.  I didn’t realize he was going to be there so it was a nice surprise :).

I read on social media that a lot of people thought this was a tough and hilly course.  For some reason, after the hill on mile 2, I didn’t think it was that bad.  Again, compared to CIM which seemed like hill after hill after hill, this was a breeze, it felt mostly flat, but with a lot of out and backs. (It might be all the hill training I’m doing that’s making this seem easy too lol).

I just moved along, one step at a time, not really caring too much about my time, just wanting to get to the finish line.  I’m so spoiled getting to run in beautiful places, in San Diego and on beautiful trails around country that running in cities doesn’t really excite me much anymore.

I don’t think the course was bad necessarily, it just wasn’t super exciting with 2 exceptions.  The bridge on mile 9/10 was gorgeous!  That was my absolute favorite part of the whole course.  It didn’t hurt that there was a nice little downhill right after that.

I did however need to make a little pit stop around this point so I popped into one of the many port-a-potties they had near aid stations. I was so wet and so cold by this point I could barely move my fingers.

And then there was just a 5k left to go.  We made our way towards the Rose Bowl stadium and around the golf course and this is where Sean caught up with me again :).

3 miles, 2 miles and then just 1 to go. As we got closer, I could see spectators on the side cheering us into the stadium.  I saw Sean’s pink hat near the entrance and made my way over to the left side so he could get my photo.  And then we were heading down inside the stadium!

I’ve run in stadiums before, Angels stadium during the Disneyland Half, the Bravos spring training field during the Walt Disney World marathon but this was the first time I’ve finished on a field.  It was pretty exciting!

As I was making my way to the finish line, they called my name so up went my arms to cheer myself into the finish!

I got my medal, a quick selfie and then looked around for Sean.  He took a few more photos before we got chastised for not being in the right spots lol.

I headed over to get some bottled water and a space blanket, I was soooo cold! There was a photo opp in the middle of the field but I was so cold, I couldn’t wait in line.  I headed out, grabbed a few snacks: a muscle milk bar, pretzels, gold fish, cheez its and an apple.

By this point all I wanted to do was get warm, but I needed to get my race shirt.  They had Leslie Jordan shirts, which I know run a little big, so I grabbed a small, they had lots of shirts.

I got a bottle of organic muscle milk and then saw a photo op outside the stadium with a much shorter line so I took off my cozy space blanket because I had to look cute for my photo lol.

Overall, I enjoyed the race, with the exception of some minor stress over getting to the start line, I had a great time.  Even with the cold & rain.

Pros: Amazing Medal
Getting to finish on the Rose Bowl field
Race Day Packet pick-up option
Free Photos
Lots of port-a-potties at the start and on course
Awesome volunteers that stood out in the rain to support us

Cons: Parking
Rain & Cold (obviously this isn’t something the race could control)
So many out and backs on the course

Would I run this course again?  I will say it’s a long way to drive for a half marathon, but if it fit into my schedule, I wouldn’t mind trying it again, on a nice sunny normal SoCal winter day.

 

Friday 5 Workouts

As I mentioned in my goal post, one of my goals is to work on strength training and so I am happy to be working with FitApproach & Hedstrom Fitness on their Surge/Kamagon Ball campaign.

From the Hedstrom Fitness website: The Surge® is a specialized training device that utilizes fluid to create a “dynamic” form of resistance. This forces the user to challenge both traditional exercises, as well as sport and activity specific movement patterns. As a result, this training apparetus provides a very unique challenge to the joints and stabilizing structures to resist and control the unpredictable nature of the shifting water within this device.

The Kamagon Ball was designed to bridge the gap in functional fitness training. Most exercises target only an isolated muscle group and seldom teach the body how to utilize the core. The Kamagon Ball automatically eliminates both issues. The Kamagon Ball does more than simply train a group of muscles; it also teaches you how to use your body in the most effective and efficient manner. The Kamagon Ball is a destabilized weight that uses the principle of Hydro-Inertia™ to work your muscles while simultaneously training the nervous system. This is a key to strength, speed and overall fitness.

I just started testing out both the Surge & Kamagon Ball after we got back from Hawaii earlier this week.  I really like the Kamagon Ball, it’s kind of like a kettle bell but a little bigger and you can adjust the weight by adding water.  The ball I have goes from 1 – 13lbs.

Every Friday for the next few weeks I’m going to be sharing a few exercises that you can do using either the Surge or Kamagon Ball.  Since I wasn’t home last week this week you get a bonus video! I know you are super excited!!

In the first Friday 5, the moves I’ll be attempting to do are:

  • Squats with Overhead Press
  • Reverse lunge with oblique twist
  • Standing rows
  • V-Ups
  • Bicep Curls

And for video, the moves I’ll be demonstrating or attempting to demonstrate are:

  • Jump squats
  • Side Lunges
  • Tricep extensions
  • Russian Twists
  • Side Planks

Want to get a Surge or Kamagon Ball for yourself?  Head over to Hedstrom Fitness and you can get a 25% discount by using code: SPHF25 starting today, Jan 20 – Feb 28, 2016.  This discount is valid in either the US or Canada.

Dream Big: 2017 Goals

We are 2 days into 2017 and I’ve already got a lot of things planned for this year.  2016 was a great year and I tested myself by trying new distances like TRT 50 and Cuyamaca 100k.  We traveled all over the place including a few new places, like Chamonix, France & Portland, OR.

What’s in store for 2017? And what do I want to accomplish?

First off, I’ve signed up for my first 100 mile race, San Diego 100 in June.  Yes, I’ll be running 100 miles on June 9 – 10! I am so excited! And so nervous but more excited!

Here’s what is on the schedule for Jan – June (so far, I might look for one or two more short races)

January – Crew Sean at HURT100, Pasadena Half Marathon
February – Sean O’Brien 50k, Black Canyon 100k
March – Griffith Park 50k, LA Marathon
April – Gorge Waterfall 100k, The Canyon Endurance Runs 50k
May – PCT 50, Crew Sean at Cruel Jewel
June – San Diego Rock n’ Roll Half, San Diego 100

That means, I’ve got two half marathons, one full marathon, three 50ks, one 50 miler and two 100ks before the 100 miler = 315 race/training miles. The weekends when we are home I fully intend to be out in Cuyamaca/Julian/Cleveland National Forest to train on the race actual course.

Pretty much all my goals are geared towards getting me to the San Diego 100 finish line.  And then after I’ve accomplished that, I have a few other things I want to work on, but the 100 mile finish line is the ultimate goal for the year.

Now that I’ve got that out of the way, what are some of my more specific goals?

  1. Always a big one for me, drink more water.  I’m teaming up with an awesome company to help me reach this goal. I’ll share more about this in a coming blog post.
  2. Strength Training.  Yes, I know I say this every year, but this year it’s more important than ever.  I need to work on my glute strength & hip flexibility in edition to my core.
  3. Hill training, hill training, hill training.  I am not a strong uphill runner so I definitely need to focus on this and getting faster at power hiking.
  4. At least one speed workout a week.  When training for endurance, I tend run a lot of easy runs and while I don’t want to injure myself, pushing myself in at least one run a week isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
  5. Continue with my run streak.  I started a run streak on November 20, I’m up to 43 days so I might as well keep it up and see what happens, right? :).
  6. I ran 1,589 miles/avg. 132.4 miles per month in 2016, I’m setting a goal of 2,000/avg. 166 miles per month for 2017.  That’s a small increase over this year and with 100 mile training, I definitely things it’s doable.
  7. Continue to work on my long run nutrition, I love using CarboPro for the majority of my calories, but I’m hoping to incorporate more real food, like GoMacro bars, potatoes and experimenting with other things.
  8. Eat smaller more frequent meals.  I used to follow a plan religiously, last year, I was pretty lazy, I stopped eating breakfast, started drinking too much coffee and not enough water.  First order of business, start eating breakfast and healthy snacks.
  9. Eat more vegetables.  I’m not a huge fan of cold food, except ice cream, Jamba Juice Smoothies and popsicles of course lol.  I have a hard time choosing a salad over something hot, but I will start to do so.
  10. After SD100 I definitely want to work on my speed on both the trail and road.  I’m targeting the November Revel Canyon City Marathon for a new marathon PR.

That’s a lot of things, most of which I should be doing already, but sometimes you need a little push to get back to basics.  Basically it’s time to get comfortable being uncomfortable!

And away we go! Let’s do this!

What are your goals for 2017?