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?

Race Recap: Santa Barbara Red Rock Trail Run – Marathon

The race recap blitz continues…

Mid-October to November was busy with a lot of travel & a lot of racing so originally we were going to just stay home and chill for Thanksgiving.  But it was Sean’s birthday weekend so when I asked him what he wanted to do, he said, “I just saw that the Santa Barbara Red Rock 50 & Marathon is on Saturday.”

We were interested in this race last year but couldn’t make it work.  So this year after we found out it was on Saturday, not Sunday, we were like let’s do it so the Monday before, we checked on hotels and went to ultrasignup.com and got registered.

We drove up to Santa Barbara on Friday, we were planning to leave around 11am but ended up leaving a bit after noon.  There was a bit of traffic around LA of course but we made it there around 5ish.  Checked into our hotel and then hit the boardwalk for a quick 4 mile shakeout run.

A nice dinner at an Italian restaurant nearby and a flat Jenny photo and we were headed to bed.

The race started at 6am and it was about a half hour from our hotel.  The weather was calling for rain most of the day so we had a lot of extra gear to accommodate for that.

The start of the race was at the same place as Santa Barbara 100 so we knew exactly where to go.  It wasn’t easy to find a parking spot this time thought since there were a lot of campers.

And it was 35 degrees so we were freezing!  I was originally going to wear shorts but ended up changing into a pair of capri’s.  I wore my North Face Thermoball jacket and a long sleeve shirt with a buff over my ears.

As usual with an ultra, there is a bit of a chat and then you’re off.  With this race, they were really specific about the fact that we all had to check-in with Jean Ho at the finish no matter what.  After Luis told us that about 4x we were off.

I started the race chatting with Gisele, the female marathon winner and Lori, the 50 miler female winner.  Gisele is super fast and I knew there was no way I would be able to keep up with her, lol, so after a few minutes I slowed a little.

This race had a number of water crossings, with the first one about a mile into the race.  As we got to it I saw a bunch of people off to the side taking their shoes & socks off.  I was like I just don’t want to deal with that so I just walked right through.  I decided to wear my Altra Superior 2.0s because of the issues I had with caking mud & my Olympus 2.0s and they were amazing!  I had absolutely no issues with caking except in the areas that I was skiing in the mud.

I knew I had 2 more races coming up the following week and I was considering attempting a PR at CIM so I didn’t want to go too hard.  And since Sean was going to be out there for quite a few more hours I had a lot of time to just enjoy myself out there.

As the sun came up, it was absolutely gorgeous out.  Bright blue skies, a beautiful sunrise, absolutely beautiful single track and crisp cool temps.  I kept my jacket on the whole race except for about a mile in the middle of the race.

I also, couldn’t fit my headlamp in my pack so I ended up wearing it the whole race, lol.

There were 2 aid stations on this out and back course, one at mile 7/22 and then another at mile 12/17.  After the mile 7 aid station there was a stretch on the road.  I recall this road from when I was crewing for Sean at SB100.  We ran on the road for about 2ish miles before heading up the mountain.  During this section there were a few more water crossings.

It was nice, peaceful and so beautiful.  I hiked the uphill before running down a nice downhill that was reminiscent of the never-ending downhill we did at Kodiak back in September.

Another steep climb and I made it to the 12 mile aid station.  The volunteers there were so nice, I got some orange slices before heading out to the turn-around.

This was a pretty hilly course and it felt like it took forever to get to the halfway point, which was actually about 14.5 miles out.  I was so ready to be at the turn-around.  There wasn’t a aid station at the turn around, but it was really obvious it was the halfway point.

I took a bunch of runfies while hiking up the hills, of all the things I brought with me, I forgot my sunglasses so I’m a bit squinty in all the photos, but I was having fun, at this point at least.

Once I got to the turn around, I felt so much better and was flying down the trail.  I didn’t realize that it was as uphill as it was on the way out but it was so much easier on the return.

I swear it took me no time at all to get to the aid station again.  When I got to the top, I told them that it was so much easier on the way back, to which they responded no one else had said that, they all were like it was uphill both ways, which it was, but it seemed easier to me lol.

I refilled my Orange Mud ultra pack and had a few more orange slices before heading down the hill.  I knew I had to head back up the never-ending hill I went down earlier.  I just kept pushing on, as the weather started to turn.

I had been hoping with the bright blue skies that we had earlier would continue, but alas, that was not the case.  Almost as soon as it was 11:00am, the rain started.

I was heading down the hill back to the road and the first/last aid station when it started raining.  It wasn’t too bad at first so I waited until I got to the campground to use the bathroom and put on my water proof jacket.  I still had about 2 miles to get to the last aid station so I made my way up the road to the aid station.

I finally got there and it was starting to really come down by this point.  I stopped to get some more water and get my poles out.  This section I knew was going to be interesting with all the rain.

I headed up the hill, at first it wasn’t too bad.  But not long after that, things started getting really slippery.  This was the longest 7 miles I have ever done, let me tell you.

I was cursing Luis saying who’s bright idea was it it make a marathon 29 miles yada, yada, yada ;).   It took me forever to do this section.  It was cold, it was wet and I should have just run through the stream of water down the main section of the trail (in some sections) but my feet were getting so cold.

There were some sections where it was so slippery and we were on the side of the mountain, I just was trying not to fall off, lol.  I kept thinking that no matter how long it was taking me, (there were times when I would look at my watch and be like seriously, I still have 5 miles to go?) at least I got to do this in the daylight, Sean & the other 50 milers were going to have to do this section in the dark.

I was cold, wet, hungry and not having a whole lot of fun during this section.  I eventually ate a peanut butter filled clif bar.  These are seriously the best – I love them and am always excited when a trail race says they will have clif products because they normally have these.  Anyways after eating a little, I felt a little better.

Eventually I got off the single-track and on to a fire road where I could run or in some cases ski down the trail.  As I was running down this section, I happened to see what looked like a random swimming pool, it was really odd to me, but I guess there was a house that was off the trail.

I finally got back to the first water crossing and by this point, it was over my knees, it was under my knees the first time I went through.  I sucked it up and through the water I went.  And oooh was it chilly.  My feet and legs were tingling for a few minutes after I got out. But I was a mile out from the finish and the rain had stopped for a bit so off I was excited that I was almost done.

Not too much later, I saw the gate at the end of the street and I knew I was almost to the finish line! I saw my friend Jen – she cheered me to the finish and there were a few others who started cheering as I got closer which was nice.

I crossed the line, got a nice medallion, Luis doesn’t give out traditional medals at his races, instead they are give custom finishers medallions.  They are different for everyone.

I got a photo with Jean and then headed immediately over to get some hot soup.  I was so freezing! And let me tell you, the chili, was amazing!  I had 2 bowls.

After my first bowl of chili, I had to get changed, I was so so cold.  Fortunately they have decent sized bathrooms at the camp-ground so I was able to get changed, carefully, since the floor was wet.  I got a 2nd bowl of chili and settled into the car to wait for Sean.

This was by far the hardest “marathon” I’ve ever done, it was fun for the first 22ish miles but that last 7 miles (or more specifically) miles 22 – 26 were super challenging due to the rain.  I would like to run this race again in better weather conditions, without mud.  I didn’t even mind the water crossings, it was the mud that I didn’t enjoy.

Dream Big: Cuyamaca 100k Race Recap

Last weekend, I headed to the start line of the biggest or maybe I should say longest race of my running career.

This recap is pretty long too, so reader beware 😉 lol.

Back in March after a successful race at Old West 50k, I was feeling a lot better about running ultras.  I worked a lot on hydrating properly before the race and getting my race day nutrition in check and when the lottery opened for Cuyamaca 100k on April 1 I registered immediately.  A few days later I got an email telling me I was in!

Now, April is quite a ways from October so there was a lot of time to second guess my decision to register for this race.  And let me tell you, I’m pretty sure I second guessed myself pretty much from day 1 lol.

Fast forwarding through a PR at Leona Divide 50k in late April, my first 50 miler at Nanny Goat in late May, a really good showing at the Vancouver USA marathon in June and then my first mountain 50 miler at TRT in July.

Then things kind of got off track.  I started to get horrible sharp incredibly painful spasms in my back, literally to the point that I could barely get out of bed.  Surprisingly I was able to run without, but I was a bit scared to because the spasms would come on at any moment.  Eventually I went to see a chiropractor and found out one leg was 2 inches longer than the other and that my pelvis was locked & tilted.  But that I could still run.

So after a whole lot of travel, to UTMB, to Cleveland for work and then finally to Tahoe to crew/pace Sean at Tahoe 200, I got in a decent amount of miles, but mostly hiking and I wasn’t feeling really confident.  Which is why at the absolute last minute, we drove up to Big Bear to do the back 50k at Kodiak.  As I mentioned in my recap, this race was so hard, it did nothing to help my confidence, at least while I was out there.  Afterwards, once I was told that the winners didn’t come in until around 7 hours, I felt a lot better about it.  It was a beast of a course and if I could do that, I could do Cuyamaca.

Cuyamaca 100k, Altra Running, Orange Mud, Running4thosewhocant, lululemon

We are finally at race day, my anxiety was off the charts for pretty much the whole 2 weeks between Kodiak & Cuyamaca.  The morning of, we drove over to Camp Cuyamaca getting there in plenty of time to be able to get a decent parking spot.  It was cool out which was a nice change from the record highs we had in San Diego the week prior.

Cuyamaca 100k, Altra Running, Orange Mud, Running4thosewhocant, lululemon

I was so nervous and starting to feel nauseous the closer we got to the start.  I drank water and probably went to the rest room at least 3x before the start.  And then Sean & I walked to the start line with Jenn & Vanessa (who were also doing their first 100k), we got a few photos before Sean gave me the best advice.  He told me to remember that there will be lows, but that a high is always around the corner, just keep moving.  He kissed me for good luck and then moved to the front of the pack :). Next thing I knew were were off, and all the nervousness fell away.

Cuyamaca 100k, Altra Running, Orange Mud, Running4thosewhocant, lululemon, paksit photo

One thing I’ve learned from Sean is to just go aid station to aid station.  It breaks up the race into manageable distances and gives you something to look forward to, especially if you are in a low point.

Cuyamaca 100k is broken into 3 loops, the first and longest is 32ish miles, has four aid stations, the second loop is around 12.6 miles and has one aid station and then the last loop is just over 18 miles with two aid stations.  Of the 3 loops, I’ve run the second & third loops in their entirety and portions of the first loop.  They gave us colored bracelets corresponding to the ribbon color on each loop.  Orange for the first loop, Blue for the second & Yellow for the third & final loop.

I had decided that it was best for me to just run the race by myself after TRT went well on my own.  I had a pacer for my last loop since I knew it was going to be dark.  Originally I was thinking to run with Jenn & Vanessa but I decided that for me it was best to do this on my own.  And so I set a goal to finish within the Western States qualifying time frame, which meant finishing in under 17 hours.

Cuyamaca 100k, Altra Running, Orange Mud, Running4thosewhocant, lululemon, Paksit Photo

The first section to Merrigan Aid Station went really well, I felt decent although I had some minor issues with calf/shin tightness but for the most part, I was able to run the majority of this part of the course and only walked the big uphills.  I got to the first aid station, had a few orange slices and then headed back up the hill I just came down.

img_1124

The next section to Green Valley, I was so sweaty.  I put some ice in my Running Skirts neck wrap and I don’t know if it was just that the ice was dripping or if I was sweating like crazy, but I was literally sopping wet.  Seriously I was wringing out my shirt periodically throughout this section.  It was horrible, especially because my shorts were also wet and I was acutely aware that while I normally do not have chafing issues, I could have some serious issues if my shorts didn’t dry quickly.

I finally made it to Green Valley camp ground and after a quick stop at the restroom who do I see? My friend Fern!  He was like you are doing great, what do you need, etc. etc.  I had him refill my new Orange Mud Endurance Pack, which I’ll review soon, but worked really well.  Here’s where I made a huge mistake.  I told him to add in both of my baggies of CarboPro/Ultima combo, thinking that would be best and would soon find out that was going to be a big problem.

img_0316

I got out my Pink Aftershokz Wireless Headphones to put on my new to me audio book from Cleo Coyle grabbed an electrolyte popsicle and then off I went for the next 9 miles up to Cuyamaca Peak, the highest point of the race.

Not long after I finished my popsicle, I took a sip and realized that I had over done it with the CarboPro/Ultima combo, as soon as I started drinking, my entire mouth got super dry, ugh not good considering this was the toughest section of the race and quite a while until the next aid station.  But the show must go on and I just trudged my way up the mountain taking small sips as much as I could.

img_1137

2/3s the way up the mountain, I started getting a little dizzy & light-headed.  My audio book was not helping since it was talking a lot about food lol and eventually I found a shaded place to sit on a log and loosen up my too tight shoe laces.  It was during this section that Jenn & Vanessa passed me.  They stopped to see if I was ok and then I told them to keep going and I’d start up again soon.

img_1139-copy

I caught up and managed to keep them in my sights the rest of the way up to the peak.  Once we got to the road up to the peak, I saw another friend who gave me an otter pop and up I went.  Once there, the amazing Angela Shartel asked me how I was doing, I told her I was so thirsty but I didn’t feel well because I put too much CarboPro in my pack.  She told me she was going to empty it out, put ice & water inside and then I should take small sips on my way down to the next aid station.

She told me to take some food with me since I wouldn’t have any calories to drink, I grabbed a few pieces of watermelon and after a few glasses of water, I definitely felt better.

After the low climbing up to the Peak and some thoughts that I wouldn’t make it through the loop in time, I rallied to get it done.  I couldn’t let my pacer Kristina down, knowing that she was driving over from Dana Point to support me.

a42x3179

I knew Jenn & Vanessa had already left the aid station so I set a goal to catch them. I headed back down the road, grabbed another otter pop 😉 and then kept moving.  I turned onto the trail, started running the downhill and then I tripped on a rock and my left calf got this super painful charley horse.  It was so bad I had to sit for a minute and I know I said ouch out loud.  But it went away and then I caught up with the girls as we made our way down a super rocky section, there was no real running during this part because it was practically bouldering the rocks were so big.

Once we got to the bottom, we hiked up a short hill and then I took the lead on the next downhill section.  I thought the girls were right behind me, but then I looked back and couldn’t see them so I just kept moving towards the Paso Pichacho aid station.

img_1138

This is the only area of the race that I saw any animals, at one point, I saw half of a rattle snake, the back half thank goodness, heading into the grass.  And then I could see the aid station.  I got there, had them fill my pack with water & ice and used the restroom and washed my hands – they smelled awful and were so sticky.  It’s nice on this course that there were some real bathrooms with running water so that we didn’t have to use port-a-potties the whole way.

I grabbed some more fruit and then it was time to finish this loop! 4 mostly downhill miles and we would be back at the camp. We crossed the street towards Stonehedge and there is a trail that follows the road a little bit up the trail.  I enjoyed this section and just thought about finishing the first loop.  By this point, I’m pretty sure my watch was a little off mileage wise because next thing I knew I was at the camp!

img_1122Looking pretty beat after that first loop, or just trying to understand what they were telling me, lol.

I finished the first loop in 8:25, which is really good for me, I got my bracelet for loop 2, grabbed some CarboPro for my pack, refilled my pack.  Paksit Photos caught some cool photos of me while I was out there and then I was off.

img_1123

I’m so glad I was able to run the 2nd loop with Sean the week before the race so I was familiar with what was to come.  There was a bit of a climb up to some amazing single track through the golden fields and then after what seemed like forever, I made it to the downhill to the aid station.  It was during this section that I noticed some sharp pains in my left knee on the downhill.  It wasn’t the whole time, just when I took too big of a step down.  I had to slow down a bit but I didn’t let it get to me too much.  I knew I was going to finish this loop and Kristina would be there to keep me company on the last loop.

I made it to the aid station and I was starving.  I was like I need calories so I ate potatoes, oranges and got another popsicle while they filled my pack.  I didn’t see anyone in the time I was going down to the aid station but a bunch of people came in right after me so they were closer than I thought.

img_0469

I headed out, trying to run, but mostly walking at first, this section has a brutal climb that I had to stop on a few times the week before.  This time it was a bit later in the day and somewhat shaded, it wasn’t easy, but it definitely wasn’t as bad as I remembered.

Then it was time for a short downhill and flat to camp. By this point, I was a bit over where I thought I needed to be to beat 17 hours but I thought there might still be a chance if we moved quickly and you always need a goal :).

I finally made it and saw Kristina & Smitha there!  Kristina got a video of me coming in and I was like we need to move.  I got my headlamp out of my drop bag, I’m not sure what I was thinking though, I didn’t take the back-up battery, fortunately I didn’t need it but that would have been bad.  I grabbed my long sleeve lulu shirt and my Altra stash jack.  I thought about taking my gloves but ultimately decided against them, I should have taken them.

fullsizerender

We had just over 4 1/2 hours to finish 18ish miles under 17 hours, it was going to be tight and my watch was dead so I couldn’t tell where were at.

We took off, I was running the best I could, we passed a few people and got passed ourselves by one guy.  I was power hiking as fast as I could.  I was getting intense spasms in my left knee that would come out of no-where but I powered on.

This was Kristina’s first time pacing and she did an amazing job, I’ve never had a pacer before so I didn’t know what I needed, I just know what I’ve done with Sean and that didn’t really work in our case.  So after a bit of trial and error, I decided it was best if I followed her when we were hiking the uphills and then she could follow me when we were running the downhills.  I am extremely proud of myself for the amount of running I did in this race.  While super slow, in contrast to TRT50 where I hiked at least 75% of the race, I feel like I ran at least 60-70% of this race.

We made it to Sunrise Aid station, I was getting cold so I attempted to get my long sleeve on.  I was having a lot of difficulties, my fingers were cold, my hands were sweaty and I just couldn’t get the tight Swiftly sleeves up.  I felt really bad because this super nice girl at the aid station had broth for me and it was cold by the time I was able to drink it, I kept apologizing and eventually Kristina was like we are going to dress you like a kid lol and she got me into the shirt.  I drank my broth, had a bit of a quesadilla, some potatoes and my bladder was filled and we were off.

img_1128When you have a mouthful of potato and you think you are smiling but you really aren’t lol.

The next section a lot of which is on the PCT, is one of the most beautiful views during the day.  That night it was just windy and very dark.  I did my best to run as much as I could but by this point, I was starting to get really sleepy and I hurt all over.  But we were so close!

With Kristina counting off the miles and my knowing a bit of where we were at, we made our way to Pedro Fages.  Eventually we could see the lights of the aid station.  I remember telling Kristina that it was going to be just around the corner and then there it was.  I ran the best I could and then we were there and I saw Sean waiting for me!  I think I hugged him for about 5 minutes lol.

img_1127Knowing I have to eat something, but not really wanting anything – while Sean fills my pack :).

But there wasn’t time for that!  We had about 7 miles to go to the finish!  We refilled, ate a bit and then after a quick photo, we were heading across the road and onto the last section.

This section was a lot of hiking, my legs were hurting and I was trying to run but it was sooo slow.  I started to get really cold at one point and I could see my breath.  I was really glad to have Kristina with me to keep me company and we just kept moving forward.  At a certain point, I asked her what time it was and we had 4ish miles and 23 minutes to get under 17 hours.  Well that wasn’t going to happen, I’d have had to pretty much fly to the finish to go that fast.  So goal 1 was replaced with a new on the fly goal of going under 17:30.

I felt bad that I wasn’t able to run faster, I was trying so hard to not walk, but everything was sore by this point.  But slowly but surely we were clicking off the miles.  And then, we could see the finish line in the distance!  Yea!!

We ran, as fast as I could into the finish!  And the time on the clock? 17:28 so I did it, I made my on the fly goal and while I didn’t make the Western States qualifying time, I finished, upright, with a smile on my face.

Runlove

I was soooo sore, literally everything from my hips down was sore.  I was a bit scared to take of my shoes because I knew that my second toe on my left food was not happy, but in the end it didn’t matter, I ran/walked/hiked 63 miles for the first time ever!

Stats:  Loop 1 32.3 miles – total time 8:25
Loop 2 12.8 miles – total time 12:00 – 3:35 this section
Loop 3  18.2miles – total time 17:28:38 – 5:28 this section

I finished 116/131 overall and 21/28 women.  There were 168 starters, 37 DNFs and 32 DNSs.

I used a mix of CarboPro & Ultima for the majority of the race, had a few Glukos Energy Gels, Orange slices, watermelon, some boiled potatoes and broth once it got cooler out.

I wore my Olympus 2.0s for the whole race, ProCompression PC Runners (they did feel a bit tight by the end of the race on my toes), my usual Lululemon Speed Shorts & Swiftly Tank and my new Orange Mud Endurance Pack for my hydration.

I may not be the fastest runner out there, but I was so determined to finish. Getting to that finish line and proving to myself that I could do this was super important, regardless of the time.  #YOUCANDOHARDTHINGS 🙂

Huge thanks to Kristina for pacing me on my 3rd loop, I am so appreciative of all your support and belief in me.

Thank you to Paksit Photos for being practically everywhere on the first half of the course!  To George Blancos for the photos towards the top of Cuyamaca.  And Fern for all your excitement and help at Green Valley and keeping me updated on Sean’s progress.  Angela Shartel, thank you for getting me squared away at the top of the peak, I so appreciate it.  To all the volunteers, thank you so much for being out there – we so appreciate you taking the time from your weekend to be out there (for hours) for us.  And lastly, to Scott Crellin, thank you for putting on a well organized, fun event in our beautiful backyard, with a generous time limit that gives people like myself the opportunity to push themselves without a lot of fear of missing cut-offs.

 

 

San Diego 100 2016

San Diego 100 is a race that Sean has run the past 2 years and since it is a local race it’s nice and easy for to crew.

For 2016 they moved the race from Sat-Sun to Fri-Sat, so I took the day off work to crew & volunteer.  For the most part, we had cell service, except at Pioneer Mail so I could have worked remotely, but with all the driving from place to place it’s easier just not to deal with it.

This year I decided to volunteer as well as crew so I asked my friends at Running Skirts if I could be a part of their team at the first aid station, at the Paso Picacho Campgrounds.

So Sean & I got up early on Friday morning to head over to Lake Cuyamaca for the start of the race.  We got there in plenty of time, got one of the last parking spots in the lot and then walked over so Sean could get his packet.

Obligatory pre-race selfie

Along the way we chatted with other runners who either know Sean from other races or us both.

We said Hi to Cindy & Fern, Cindy would finish 3rd female in her first 100 mile race in just under 23 hours!!  We chatted with a bunch of our other runner friends and then eventually it was time for the race to start.

runner friends, sd100, 2016

The race director, Scotty Mills, talked a lot about how it was going to be extremely hot, up to 108 in some areas, and how important it was to be hydrated and to take it easy.  He really stressed that they wanted everyone to get back safely.  And then after a few more comments it was time and they were off!

And then Fern & I headed quickly over to Paso Picacho to join Christy and the other volunteers to get things set up for the runners.  Christy & Cindy own Running Skirts and they generously gave all the volunteers full outfits to wear, as well as giving their cooling buffs to all the runners.  Sean wears their buffs every race so we can attest to how well they work.

Running Skirts, Volunteer, SD 100, Paso Picacho

Not too long after arriving, our friends Kat & Matt came over as well, Kat & I got a few photos and then got to work.

Running Skirts, Volunteer, SD 100, Paso Picacho

The first aid station is a busy one because it’s only 7.5 miles from the start and everyone is still relatively close together.  The cut-off is 2.5 hours.

We got the food set out, we made PB&J, cut up salted potatoes, watermelon, frozen grapes, etc.  We filled containers with water and tailwind.  And then took the tags off the cooling buffs and put them in a cooler full of ice water.

Not long after that the runners started coming.  It was slow to start and then Bam! they were coming fast and furious.  I was filling water bottles and directing people to the other side for Tailwind & ice.  We were all moving like crazy trying to get everyone out and on their way.

It went pretty smoothly and we got everyone off quickly and safely, with the last runner leaving 10 minutes before the cut-off.  The sweepers came, we got them some food and then we all packed everything up and headed back to the lake to go crew.  Christy & Fern were crewing for Cindy while I crewed Sean.

Sunrise Aid Station, SD 100, Running Skirts, Paksit Photos

The next aid station that we could be at was at Sunrise.  By this point it was getting really warm.  Sean came in looking really good.  He got a lot of ice and then was on his way.

Sunrise Aid Selfie

I headed out to see him at Pioneer Mail, mile 28ish.  Crew wasn’t allowed inside the aid station for the first pass.  They set up the aid station very differently than last year, with 2 huge RVs taking up a lot of space and really blocking off view of the runners.

When Sean came through, he filled his buff with lots of ice, took a water bath and refilled his bottles.  It was weird not being able to help him but he finished up and then we chatted for a minute before he headed out.  After this I wouldn’t see him for 20 miles.

Pioneer Mail Mile 28

Since I had a while until I saw Sean again, I drove out to get gas and some cold water before picking his pacer up.  Eric and I headed to Meadows (one of my favorite spots to run out there).  We chilled out for a while before hanging out with Christy & Fern for a while.

Fern asked me to take photos for them when Cindy came in so I was the official photographer 😉 lol.  They are a well oiled machine, with one person taking off her socks & shoes, Christy putting some cream on her legs, then putting her socks back on, all the while she is eating, someone else is massaging her shoulders and using the Inov-8 on her legs.  It was actually quite fun to watch.

Well Oiled Machine, Team Running Skirts, SD 100, Meadows Aid Station

She got on her way and then we waited a bit longer for Sean.  He came in all smiles.  It would only be another 7 miles until he could pick up Eric for the next 45 miles.

Meadows Aid Station

We headed over to Red Tail Roost, which last year was a much bigger aid station.  This year it was pretty much just for pacer pick-up, which actually was nice since last year pacers had to be dropped off at Penny Pines and there isn’t enough parking for crew cars.

Sean came in looking strong, he and Eric would head out to mile 64, a new aid station for us, Cibbet Flats.  Kat & Matt were running this aid station.  To get to this aid station you need to continue on Sunrise Hwy to the 8 heading towards El Centro, go 2 exits (I think) and then then drive towards the Cibbet Flats campground.  The aid station was in the campground.

I hung out with Kat checking people in and out while I waited for Sean to arrive.  He was pretty much right on schedule.  We got his bottles iced up, I gave him a Monster and pretty much sent him on his way.  It would be 20 miles until I would see him next and he was still on pace for a sub-24 hour race.

By the time I saw him next at Pioneer Mail, he was walking and not in the best of spirits.  He and Eric along with another runner had gotten lost leaving one of the aid stations, the aid station even saw them go the wrong way and never said anything, which seriously affected his mental fortitude at that point.

They would continue on, however without a time goal the goal shifted to just finish and would include a lot more walking than he normally did.

Sunrise Aid Station, Sunrise, SD100, San Diego

I would see them again at Sunrise, they got there just after the sun actually rose and had the opportunity to see a spectacular sunrise.  But even at 6:30am, I could tell, it was getting hot, I gave him my extra buff and we filled it with ice so he would keep cool over the last 9 miles.

IMG_2578

Incidentally, due to the heat, a surprise aid station popped up right when they needed it at mile 95.  Sean & Eric were the first to go through and really appreciated it.

I headed back to Lake Cuyamaca to wait for them to finish.  Having a bit of time, I cleaned the car up, got coffee, chatted with some other crew/spectators and waited for them to come in.  I was hoping that with the sun coming up, Sean would get a little boost and finish faster than expected, like he has done occasionally, but he was pretty tired by that point and with it getting so hot, he made the decision to take it a little easier.

A couple with a pair of binoculars allowed us to borrow them periodically so we could see if our runner was coming.  After a bit, I finally was able to see Sean & Eric on the other side of the lake.

And he's finished!!

I ran over to the finish so I could get some photos for him as he came across the line.  He got his medal, buckle and a bag full of swag, bag, sweatshirt, coffee cup & hat.  This is in addition to the shirt, orange mud bottle, injini socks & drawstring bag he had already received at check-in.  I have to say this is one of the best swag races I’ve seen. And he’s done a lot of ultras.

Team Sexy Calves

We hung out chatting with other runners, eating and relaxing for a bit before heading home.  We still had to go to the Rock n’ Roll SD race expo.

Finish Line Bliss

A huge Thank You to Christy at Running Skirts for giving me the opportunity to volunteer with the Running Skirts crew.  And to both Christy & Cindy for the Running Skirts outfit. I can’t wait to wear my Keep it Chill shirt at some races this summer. To Christy & Fern for sharing their cookies and ceviche with me. To Paksit Photos and Regina for the photos.  And to Kat & Matt for the hamburger at Cibbet Flats, I needed that!