Black Mountain 25k Race Recap

Happy Sunday friends! It’s been a while since I’ve been on here but I attended Blogfest this past week and I’m feeling extra motivated to share. 🙂

After a busy few days at Blogfest, with multiple workouts a day & amazing speakers, Sean & I hit up one of our fav San Diego vegetarian/vegan restaurants, Plumeria, for a pre-race dinner.  I’ve tried a lot of the food at Plumeria, but the Tangerine Chicken is our favorite.

We got home, I threw together an outfit for the race, I was so exhausted that I didn’t even bother with a real flat Jenny, just a pile of clothes, lol.

Black Mountain was a new race for both Sean & I, neither of us have been out there so we had no idea what to expect. The 50k started at 6:30am & the 25k at 7am so we left our house around 5:20 to get there by 5:50 or so.  It was a pretty casual race, we picked up our bibs & race shirts, which for the women is a nice tank, hit up the porta potties and then just chatted with all our friends.

There are a lot of Rabbits in the SD area and we got a pre-race photo.  I’m the odd one out, for some reason choosing to wear a different shirt, which once I saw the photo, I was like what was I thinking lol.

The 50k start was super uneventful, the race director was like 1, 2, 3 Go and they were off.  I wasn’t ready and only managed to get a few snap shots of Sean taking off & he was chewing gum at the time so it’s not the most flattering of photos lol.

After they started I ran into Sarah, the race director for Ramblas Run & chatted with her for a few minutes, then chatted with one of my fellow Dirtbag Runner ambassadors, Pamela & some others at the race.

We listened to the RD tell us a few things about the race, i.e. what color ribbons to follow, thank the volunteers, pick up your feet etc., etc.  and then we were off!

After Nanny Goat at the end of May, then all the travel, work & being sick in June, I really have been slacking on my running so I didn’t know what to expect from my body so I started out relatively slow.

The race starts in the park with about a 1/2 mile on the sidewalk before getting to the trail head.  Once at the trailhead it’s a bit of a climb, which I choose to hike up.  I knew there was about 2,500 feet of climbing during the race, but I didn’t know when or where it would be, except in the last section, so I wanted to make sure I had something left for the big climb.  Who am I kidding, I always hike the big climbs lol.

After the first mile or so I settled into a comfortable pace & started chatting with a guy named Owen who had just moved to SD from Italy with the Navy.  We chatted about running & training and just how nice it was to be out here on the trails.  I was having an exceptionally amazing attitude morning, I was truly so happy to be out on the trails & I pretty much smiled the entire race.

After a while we had another guy join us, we all chatted for a bit more & then I lost them for a bit when we started climbing a little more & I slowed down. This race had a lot of little out and back loops, I went through the first aid station without stopping, did my first little loop, came back through the aid station & met back up with Owen.  We headed out on the next section.  I lost him again but another lady passed me on the uphill & we ran together for about a mile or so.  It was her first trail race.

After I lost her, I was by myself for a bit heading into the next aid station.  We went down a really steep & rocky section before heading onto a beautiful single track section heading into the next aid station, I think around mile 9.  From there we had another little loop to do, about 2 miles before heading back the way we came.

There were a lot of really beautiful purple flowers in this section so of course I had to grab a photo ;).

When we got to the top of this section, I think I heard people call it the Glyder Port parking lot or something like that, we headed down a fire road & then out on to the actual road for a short bit.  Then we started climbing.  And it’s about here that I started to feel that the lack of CarboPro was starting to take it’s toll because I essentially had 2 scoops of Gnarly Hydrate (approx. 60 calories), 3 orange slices & a half a bag of Skratch Labs gummies in 12ish miles.  Not really my best fueling, lol.

Needless to say, the lack of calories was really starting to catch up to me.  I was fine for most of the hike up to the peak until the last .6 mile section.  It was getting hot & steeper, but I kept it going by saying good job to all those coming down.  I finally got to the top!  They had Otter Pops & ice so I got my pack refilled, had 2 otter pops & then started my descent to the finish.

I was feeling amazing on that section!  Those otter pops really gave me some extra energy & I had a pack full of ice cold water.  I was drinking a ton, so much so that I ran out of water with about 3/4 of a mile to go, oops! I was using a different bladder in my pack, the camelbak bladder because I’ve had a lot of trouble with the hydrapak  bladders & I had a 1.5 lt bladder in my OrangeMud gear vest, it doesn’t fit perfectly & I don’t think the volunteers realized that it wasn’t fully filled.  I’ll have to look at that more closely the next time I use it.

In any case, I was cruising in this section, feeling amazing, I passed a bunch of people and made my way down to the park, which was a tinsy bit farther away than I was expecting.  I think I hit 16 miles just as I got to the park. But trail races are always a little long or short depending on the race so it is what it is :).

The photographer told me which way to go because there wasn’t a marker there and I just kept the momentum up the best I could.  I was starting to feel a little sick from the lack of calories as I made my way to the finish, but I was able to maintain a sub 9 minute pace for that last 1/2 mile which felt really good.

Arms up & out in my signature Jenny pose at the finish & I was done!  I got my medal, an Elevation Culture original & a cute little rubber cup from the race director and then immediately headed over to grab a coke.  I needed sugar!

I was drenched for the majority of the race, I’m not sure if it was the humidity or if I was just sweating like crazy, but both my shirt & then eventually my shorts were completely soaked by the end of the race.  Which was nice for keeping me cool, but I don’t really like the feeling of sweat dripping down my legs, lol. After getting my coke & a finish line photo, I immediately went to get changed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Side note: As an avid racer, the #1 tip, I can give if you are a heavy sweater like I am, is to always bring a change of clothes to either have in your car or in your finish line bag.  I hate walking around in wet clothes after the race & sometimes it can get really cold. I always bring an extra pair of shorts, top & a new sports bra (because that’s the worst part, when is someone going to design a quick drying sports bra???) and put them in my finish line bag or in the car & I put them on as soon as I can.

The race had pizza for the finishers, I’m not sure if it was vegan so I passed, had some grapes & a handful of almonds & granola while I waited for Sean to finish.  I chatted with some other runners and just enjoyed a little time in the sun.

When Sean finished he explained that the markers got vandalized and that a huge group of about 20 runners got off course for about 3ish miles.  It wasn’t like a marker fell off and was put back accidentally, the people who vandalized the course did it maliciously by putting more markers about a half a mile down the wrong way, which resulted in a big group going the wrong way.  So not cool people.  Is it really that big of a hindrance to have runners in your neighborhood for one morning?

Overall though, the 25k didn’t have any issues with course markings, I had a great time & we got lots of CarboPro after the race so I shouldn’t have any issues in my next race :).

Race Recap: Whoo’s In El Moro 50k/25k

I’m not sure why it took me so long to finish this recap, but here goes, on Saturday, May 7 Sean & I made the short(ish) drive up to Crystal Cove State Park to run the Whoo’s in El Moro 50k.

I have wanted to run this race for a long time, after seeing lots of friends with the hats and hearing about the awesome race that race director Molly puts on. I was super excited, but a little nervous.  When I signed up for the race, my best 50k time was just over 8 hours and this race had an 8 hour time limit.

In the months that passed, I had some good 50k races and some not so good but seeing as Sean has his 50k PR on this course I was feeling positive about it and even set a goal of trying for sub 7 hours.

Race week finally got here and I was super excited, until I saw the weather report with rain in the forecast.  After the crazy clay mud in Zion I was not looking forward to more mud.  The week of the race I ran a lot, 2 back to back 10 mile days, a speedy 6 miles on Wednesday and finishing up with at short 2 mile shake-out on Friday.

Again, on Friday I drank a few bottles of juice, including my favorite, BluePrint’s Cashew Vanilla, which is sooo yummy, a bottle of Raspberry Chia Kombucha and lots of water.  I’m not sure exactly what I did but at some point on Friday I developed an issue in my right calf.  I tried massage, rolling, our new stim unit and just stretching and nothing was helping the cramping.  So needless to say I was a bit nervous about that.

Evolution Fresh, BluePrint Cleanse, Kombucha

I got my Flat Jenny ready, ate some pizza for dinner and went to bed early.  We were going to drive up the morning of the race, which mean leaving the house by 4:15am to get there in time.

Lululemon, Altra Running, Running4thosewhocan't, Orange Mud, Dirty Girl Gaitors, Carbo Pro, Procompression, Buff, XX2i

Waking up on race morning, I could immediately feel the tightness/cramping in my calves even without doing anything at all. Ugh…

We got on our way, I made some oatmeal to eat on the way up and since it was still dark and I can’t really stay awake when driving in the dark, I was half asleep as Sean drove us to Crystal Cove State Park.  On the ride up, we hit a lot of areas with rain, which was a bit worrisome because we really didn’t want to run in the rain.

We made it up to the park, paid the $15 fee to get in, thank goodness they take credit cards because I had no cash, parked and then immediately headed to the bathrooms.  Like at Old West, the park had real bathrooms so we didn’t have to use port-a-potties.  Then we made a bee-line to the starting area to pick up our packets.  All the while it was raining.

We got our packets, re-usable bags from 2XU with nice cotton shirts.  She had packets of different things on the table in they were giving out the bibs at including Justin’s, some sort of granola bar and a few other things.  I grabbed a pack of Justin’s and a granola bar and then we headed back to the car to get our gear.

Sitting in the Car in the rain

There were a few things that I felt like weren’t really well explained in the pre-race material and as a first time runner at this race I was a little disappointed by.

1) There was no start time on the email.  In looking at the website, it showed a 6:30am start and Ultra Sign Up showed 6:15am or vice versa, so we weren’t really clear as to the exact start time. It ended up being 6:30 because of the line to get into the park probably due to #2.

2) No where on the website or the email did it say that there was a $15 fee to get into the park.

Waiting for the rain to stop

So we were waiting by the start line for a 6:15am start only to find out we were a little early – we hung out with a few friends under the timing tents and waited for everyone to arrive, all the while waiting for the rain to stop.

UV, Buff, Buff USA, Bibrave, bibchat, whoo's in el moro

And then not long after 6:30am, Molly made a few announcements and we were off.

I don’t remember a lot of the course in this section except there was a little flat & downhill as we made our way into the park.  The mud was definitely there.  It wasn’t nearly as slippery for me as it was in Zion but it caked on my Olympus 2.0 which I absolutely love but not in mud. I could feel my legs getting heavier and heavier until it was hard to pick up my feet at all.  I mean look at all the mud on our shoes!

Muddy climbing

As we made our way up the hill at mile 2 I was just hiking up trying to stomp off the mud as I went along.  I chatted with a few other runners taking it somewhat easy up the hill to avoid any asthma issues.  I’ve found that my asthma acts up if my heart rate gets too high when I’m climbing so I was testing to see if I could avoid that when hiking.

Once we got to the top there was a nice stretch that was relatively flat and a nice downhill to the first aid station.  I stopped at the aid station to take off my jacket.  I tried to put it in the bungie section of my Orange Mud VP2 but it fell out which is why I had to wear it around my waist instead the rest of the race.  I was a little disappointed that there wasn’t any fruit outside of bananas at the aid station so I didn’t eat anything there.

Smiling thru everything

I power hiked my way back up the hill and then ran/walked through the section I just came from.  I came upon a guy who had completed a 50 miler the week before and was running the 50k on his birthday. I chatted with him for a few minutes before heading off.

I passed by 2 girls directing people where to go.  This race has a lot of overlapping sections so it can get a bit confusing as to where to go without help.  I chugged along with my calf cramping on and off.  I finally got to a nice section of single track and followed this girl into the 2nd aid station at about 7 miles in.

I got my bottle refilled, added my CarboPro/Ultima combo, ate some pineapple slices.  Then Steve, one of my fellow Orange Mud Ambassadors, helped me with my calf, by rubbing BioFreeze on it and even gave me an extra to take with me.

After a few minutes I was off.  My calf felt better initially and I was able to actually run for a few miles until I got to some hills.  Eventually we were got to this awesome downhill that went on for over a mile.  It was quite steep so I was a bit concerned for the climb back up.

I finally got down to the bottom of the hill and met a few volunteers who directed me up to the next aid station.  As I was climbing up, I had already been considering dropping to the 25k for a few miles.  I wasn’t really having a lot of fun and it was really challenging with the calf issue and all the mud.

In all honesty, I had been contemplating dropping to the 25k for a while, even before the race started because I was tired.  We had been doing a lot of running with back to back semi-long runs and it was starting to take it’s toll.

More Mud

I was hiking up the hill when I saw Sean coming…he stopped for a second to give me a kiss and I told him I was struggling but chugging along.  After chatting with him for a few minutes I kept moving only to hear one of the volunteers yelling don’t look down, I don’t want to see any heads down, smile, etc. I started laughing and smiling but really I look down so I don’t kill myself because inevitably I trip if I don’t watch where I’m going lol.

I refilled my bottles and then headed off.  A nice downhill to start before a long hike up.  I was pretty much all alone during this section.  At one point I got to a downhill section where I saw our friend Giselle, who would eventually come in 2nd place overall and first woman!  She looked great. After another climb, I saw Sean again and told him that I was done, when I got to the 25k I was finished.  He was like this is a tough course today and even he didn’t look like he was having fun.

After this I just kept moving, hiking the uphills, running the downhills – at one point I had a few mountain bikers following me down the hill which was a bit disconcerting.  After a few more ups and down eventually I found myself at the same aid station again after a short downhill.  I asked the guy there where the turn around was so I could drop but he didn’t know what was going on.

Coming down after loop 1

I got down the muddy hill and there were a the volunteers I saw earlier and I asked them where to go to drop down to the 25k.  They directed me up this super steep hill and said when I got to the bottom I’d be at the turn around.

And when I say steep hill, I mean crazy steep.  I saw a few more runners, even chatted with one on my way up and we were all slowly making our way up this hill.  I walked up backwards half the time because it was so tough.  And by this time the sun was out and it was getting warm.

I finally made it up the hill and was treated to a nice downhill to the turn around.  I made it and when they congratulated me I told them I was done and stopping.  Molly had told us in her announcements that she would allow us to drop down to 25k vs taking a DNF.  If she hadn’t said that, I probably would have just dropped to the 25k before the race even started.

And they finally had watermelon at this aid station lol.  I didn’t realize at first that the start was just a short walk away, but another girl came in and stopped as well so I walked back with her chatting about running and how challenging this race was.

We made it back to the start, I ran into Eric & Willem and they were like uh, where did you come from.  I told them I dropped down and another Orange Mud Ambassador, Tim told me he did the same. He has been struggling with plantar fasciitis and dropped as well.  They told me where to get my medal and I grabbed it.

Whoo's in El Moro Medal

Eric & his company Elevation Culture made the medals for this race too and they were super nice.

I headed to get changed because I was totally soaked with sweat and then came back to wait for Sean.  I chatted some more with Eric & Willem then watched the first place guy, one of the founders of Boom Running, who I would meet at PCT 50, and then Giselle and 3 more women come in before the 2nd male.  That was really exciting.

Sean eventually came in and we got a few photos before heading over to get our post race meal.  They had bottles of Essence pH10 Alkaline Water, which was interesting to me since we’ve been drinking the Core pH water.

IMG_0730Admiring our medals 😉

Molly set up a food truck to provide a post race meal for us all.  They had hamburgers, cheeseburgers, chicken & veggie burgers, chips and potato salads along with a whole bar of toppings.

This was a cool way to provide the post-race meal and it was pretty good too.

Sean and I hung out for a while chatting with some other runners before making the long trek back to San Diego. It’s not far but there was so much traffic on the drive home.

I have to say, even a few weeks out from this race, while most of the time after thinking about it I am not so anti any race, but in this case, I truly think Whoo’s in El Moro might be a one and done.  It is a very hilly course with a lot of steep climbing and in all honesty, I enjoyed Leona Divide so much more.  If Sean wanted to run this again, I’d probably either do the 25k or maybe more likely the 10k lol.

Thank you to Molly and all the volunteers for being so supportive and for putting on a great race.  Even though it wasn’t my favorite it wasn’t due to anything that they did.

And Thank You to Paksit Photos for all the on-course photos.