Weekend Trail Love

So after pounding out the pavement for the last few weeks, I finally had the chance this weekend to get back on the trails with some friends. Saturday I was planning on hitting up Buntzen Lake with Suzanne, Nicole and whomever else wanted to for 20k. Sunday was the 5 Peaks Golden Ears Race Orientation.

First off, I LOVE the fact that most local trail races have orientation runs. I love the ability to get out with others to run the race course, and get to see what I am up against for race day. Also, with being so new to trails and not knowing the area it gives me a sense of comfort.

Saturday did not go quite to plan. I did the first loop of LakeView Trail, slow and steady. My body felt great and the views were awesome. But common sense prevailed. I had not been on trails for a while. I was planning on doing 14k the next day and I had just come off a hard week of 2 road halfs. So I only did the first loop

20140428-201109.jpg

20140428-201133.jpg

20140428-201152.jpg

Sunday again did not go as planned. I balked on doing the 14k Enduro course. My legs were still tired and stiff from Saturday, and I knew I would be extremely slow and sluggish up the killer climb shown on the map. So I opted for the 8k Sport course instead. This was my first time ever running at Golden Ears and I must admit it was stunning. The terrains was not as technical as I thought it would be, and when I finished the Sport I felt guilty for not doing the other loop. Until I heard Russ say that the one climb felt like the grind. I knew then I made the right choice.

20140428-201528.jpg

My feet lately on trails have really been hurting. Realization that my favorite brand of socks Injinji were not thick enough made me sad. I had a few people suggest trying their trail socks, which would make sense. I’ve been wearing the lightweight which are awesome but too thin. So I went and bought 2 pairs at MEC of trail socks to see how they work.

20140428-201820.jpg

As long as this damned headache that has been haunting me for a week allows, I will be giving them a test tomorrow at the Ladies of The Trail run after work. Pretty excited to see how they feel, especially if they help keep my feet drier after trudging through the water.

20140428-202018.jpg

Advertisements

Vegas Half Marathon

20140427-162729.jpg

Race recaps really are one of the hardest things for me to write. I struggle over what to say, and want to be able to capture how I felt in words, which isn’t always easy. Vegas was my slowest half marathon ever. But at the same time, the fact I got to enjoy running the race with Kendall and Krista made it one of the best runs that I have ever had.

I somehow managed to convince Kendall last fall that going to Vegas over Easter to run a “once in a lifetime” half marathon was a brilliant idea. With us running Whidbey Island half 6 days earlier, we would also be eligible to apply for Half Fanatic Status which was a bucket list goal of mine. The game plan was to complete the race, no time goals, just crossing the finish line.

We grabbed the shuttles from the hotel to the race site, which was rather convenient. Downside was the fact nobody seemed to know there was a race going on, or where to go for the shuttles. The drunks in Vegas seemed to think we had already run the race, which was amusing.

I’d say the course was slightly drunk. Seeings how the race was in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Shelby Mustang, the course was on the Nascar Speedway. There really isn’t a lot of options on where to run 13.1 miles in a confined space, so there was some looping, backtracking and zig zagging. Mile 11 was passed 3 times… 3 times!

20140427-172619.jpg

See?? Drunk!!

I must admit it was really cool to be out on the track, for all of 5 minutes. Kendall and I started out with Krista, but she soon pushed ahead of us while we kept it at a leisurely pace. Normally I set my Garmin for 10 & 1 intervals on race day, but I just let it run. No sense intervaling when your goal is just to compete.

Krista eventually backtracked to us, and the 3 of us spent the rest of the race together talking and just enjoying our run. Oh, and taking pictures!!

It was hot, we were slow, but the race was great. Random people chatted us up, and even photo bombed pictures

20140427-173654.jpg

This was my first half that I did not carry my own water. I am usually pretty anal about that, as I have been struggling with cramping and dehydration. I carried gu, salt pills and utilized the 10 water stations on the course for my needs. I have to say, for how hot it was the volunteers did a good job of ensuring there was always water. Only one station was struggling but they were at a section where runners were hitting both sides of the table. But still a good job.

The big downside to this race was at the finish. There was no food, no water, and even the advertised beer for the runners was not there. I couldn’t care less over the beer, but I was very disappointed over the lack of food. I was given a small bag of Pretzles when I crossed. Thankfully because I know what my body needs I packed food, but still was not impressed.

Other than that, crossing the line my official time was 2:58:48. I still need to apply for half fantatic status, but it was amazing. I was so thankful to Krista and Kendall for joining me in my crazy idea. It really was an awesome experience ….. Despite some chafing.

20140427-174332.jpg

I honestly love my Handana and would recommend it to anyone who needs something to wipe your face, or nose during a run.

20140427-174610.jpg

20140427-174629.jpg

20140427-174703.jpg

20140427-174733.jpg

20140427-174754.jpg
By far my favorite picture from the whole run!

I do have to say my New Balance 880 were amazing. I wasn’t sure what I would think of them when I first got the shoes. But I wore them for both Whidbey and Vegas no problems. My feet felt great no aches at all.

20140427-175128.jpg
Love this medal!!

Whidbey Island Half Marathon

Not all races are created equal. Some are definitely a lot more challenging mentally, some physically. I guess up to this point I have been fortunate to choose what I would now consider relatively easy courses for my half marathons. Today? Well, I have never hated running as bad as I did today. I actually stopped at one point and said out loud “what the fuck am I doing?”

I like hills, I love the challenge and naturally I am a pretty strong climber. But lately I have been experiencing tight calves, and expected today to be rough. Especially having to drive 2+ hrs home afterwards in a standard after a course with what I assumed to be “rolling hills”.

I knew the weather was going to be nice and this was going to be a challenge, but I didn’t expect this much of one. My first 5k were good, I felt strong, happy, and confident I could do this in the 2:25-2:30 time range I set for myself.

But that didn’t happen. There were some rough areas on the course, hard packed gravol that hurt my body, and there were chunks of the path that felt like potholes on a road. My body was not happy with those. My Gu’s did not want to go down. I was struggling to get those in, and at 14k I debated skipping my last scheduled Gu, but smarter heads prevailed. I was not deviating from my training plan. I walked on my walk breaks even if it was on a downhill. I walked a bit more on my non walk breaks but I am ok with that.

At 17k my calves seized. I had compression sleeves on but…. No dice. I came to the conclusion my electrolytes are not where they should be for summer running and the amount I sweat, and I need to invest in salt pills. Did I also mention that 17k happened to be at a hilly flipping part of the course??

I’ll be honest. I almost threw in the towel. I came close to DNF. I considered it and that is NOT me. But I didn’t. I crossed the finish line. Garmin said 2:32:17. Gun time was 2:33:58 but the website says I was at the start right at gun, so I am sticking with my Garmin. I paid $18 and got an amazing massage afterwards which helped.

I do have to say though, besides the shirts being kind of ugly….. This race was amazing. The cost was great, the medals are cute, the scenery was gorgeous, although hilly, the volunteers outstanding, and the water/aid stations????? TOP NOTCH!!!

I have never been at a race that I could have not packed water and would have been fine. They were frequent and always full of water or Gatorade. The volunteers were friendly, encouraging and I have to say this was one of my favorite races when you take everything into account. Although I struggled, I would do this one again. And for the inclines I was only 5 minutes off my personal best, which is still amazing.

20140413-174734.jpg

20140413-174754.jpg

20140413-174804.jpg

20140413-174813.jpg

20140413-182703.jpg

20140413-182724.jpg