New Year’s One Day – Race Report

So, I was writing this in my head as I made multiple laps around Crissy Field – of course, now that I sit down to write it, I can’t really remember what I wanted to say…

Let’s start with the race itself and how I got there.  After the stomach issues at North Face, I needed to find another race to get in 50 miles prior to the Umstead 100 in March.  Googling local races, I found out that coastal trails had a twenty four hour race from New Year’s Eve to New Year’s Day – laps around Crissy field….not my idea thought on how to spend New Year’s, but it seemed easy enough.

The race was set up like your typical ultra….show up, get your bib and t-shirt, run the race.  This was a little different, since it consisted of one mile laps, there was a kind of camp set-up….start/finish, aid station, and tents….a bunch of the people brought tents for resting/hanging out.  There were others who brought chairs and coolers, and were set up for an all day group event. I set my bags down and made the decision to leave my pack with them, why carry it if I would literally pass by it every lap.

We ran in some serious wind for the first three hours….it wasn’t too bad on the stretch by the street, but the stretch by the bay was brutal.  However, the other runners were nice, sharing stories of races past and advice.  I decided to pick up my shuffle around lap three…I had twelve hours of serial podcasts that would keep me busy….unfortunately, they didn’t download for some reason.  So, I had a two hour loop of music that I hadnt listened to in ages…a close second, I guess.

Sometime around lap three or four, I heard someone calling my name.  I looked up to see my friend, Zena, from bootcamp.  She was there to do a few laps with her friend doing the six hour.  It was great to see her at the start for a couple of laps, and then out on the course at one point.

I easily made my way through the first fifteen or so miles, felt good and made sure to stop and eat every five miles or so.  The course had two paths by the aid station, and the veer right to the aid station was called ‘pit’.  I thought that was cool.  I had a good plan going thanks to some strategically placed cone markers….run parts of the pavement stretch (though, this stopped at mile 15 due to the tough terrain), run the first curve to the first cone marker, walk to the next cone, then run the next two….repeat to the aid station.

I stopped at some point to find out why my toe was hurting…turns out there was no reason for it, but I did find a blister on a different toe to wrap. Hopefully I dont lose a toenail in the near future.  By the time I hit 25, I was ready for some fresh clothes….I had dressed warmly for the morning chill, but was now sweaty and not warming up.

By the time I hit mile 30, I was far more sore than I wanted to be for only being at 30 miles.  I was also bored and getting tired of laps.  It was pretty bleak until about mile 35, where I think the Advil kicked in. However, my friend Joseph came down to say hello and do a couple of laps with me.  It was great to catch up and have some company to pass the time.  He also said something about the messages people had sent via email.  I hadn’t gotten any, so I assumed I didn’t have any yet.  He said that he had sent one…and that people on Facebook had mentioned they were sending them too.  I was surprised no one from the race had mentioned where to find them, but after stopping and asking, I was directed to a filing box holding messages.  And I had a bunch – very thankful for all of the hellos from friends and family.  A friend and some nice messages, great way to get through some tough miles.

Once I hit 35, I started to feel pretty good again.  Still sore, but I was able to take up my running plan again on the trail pieces of the course.  Loved getting the sudden burst of energy….it really made miles 35 to about 42 pretty bearable.  I checked my messages again and had a bunch more…many thanks – those made my run :).  I talked to the guy about the 100 miler I had planned and he asked why I wasn’t doing coastal’s….haha…maybe next year.  It might be fun to volunteer at this year though or get in another 50.  Somewhere in there the aid station had pizza…nothing like walking a mile and munching on a slice of cheese and pepperoni.  haha…

At 42, I was pretty much done…I hit 12 hours right around that point, despite having been shooting to get the full 50 in 12.  Stupid miles 30-35 or whatever they were.  I had been ahead of pace until then, but good learnings for next time.  Hopefully that will still be ok for the 100 miler.  I was also getting cold, despite having on one of my everest wool tops and hood.  It was warm when I was walking, but the clothes underneath not so much after sweating.  I told myself I needed to get to 50 before I stopped again….it would be a great reward in a couple of laps….clean clothes, bathroom stop, aid station break.

A lot of people seemed to disappear at this point…either to tents or cars or where ever to rest.  But, I was going to get my 50.  I ran into a guy dressed in flame print shorts and a shirt, who told me he was facing his feet forward, because one day, they would all be pointing towards the sky….well, that was one way to look at it.  haha.  I did various parts of 47-49 with a guy visiting from Dallas, specifically for the New Year’s race.  He had accepted the fact that he was going to walk the rest of the night, and had changed into hiking boots.  My right knee had been pretty sore since about 45, so hiking boots seemed like they would have been a good call at that point.  I was thankful for the company, as I was also really bored….give me the hills in the headlands any day…..  

I finally got to my last lap, and I had originally planned on changing some, eating some, maybe having some soup, maybe a rest in the car, and coming back out for some more laps.  But, I think on some level, I knew I was done.  I bid farewell to the pavement that was destroying my shins, to the slight hill on the first curve, the deep sand right before the first curve, and the sharp turn to the timing mat.  I stopped to snap a photo of my garmin once it hit 50….on the back straight-away that had been insanely windy during the early part of the race.

I crossed the lap mat post-50 miles and hobbled over to the aid station, desperate for some soup.  Somehow, I managed to hit it just as they ran out and they were making more.  Ugh…how do you run out of soup?  I wanted to stop and get any additional messages that had been sent, but I was so cold and sore and desperate for a few minutes of warmth and dry clothes, so I hobbled over to my stuff, grabbed it, and began a treacherous walk through the grass to my car.  In reality, it was probably 100 feet, but it was grass and not flat, and wow did my knee hurt.  I did notice multiple people sleeping in their cars as I passed by….I apologize for the headlamp I probably flashed directly at them….

Once I got in the car, I realized how cold I was and how sore my knee really was.  I wasnt sure what was worse, trying to stop shaking or having to push the seat in my car back and pull my leg in with hands because my knee wouldnt bend.  Once I got a better look at it, I realized it was swollen, and there was a weird swelling just above my knee on the side of my quad.  Gross….did I break my leg and miss it?  #ultrarunnerproblems.  At that point, I realized two things: one, I really didnt feel good and two, I was done for the night.  I opened the car door to get some air….to think a few minutes ago all I wanted was some heat.  Once I felt a little better, I pulled off my timing chip, put my headlamp back on and hobbled over to camp.  I asked the race director if I should give it to him and he pointed me in the direction of the check-in tent.  He asked if I was done, and I told him I got to the 50 I wanted and my knee was shot, he congratulated me on the 50 and wished me a happy new year.

I hobbled over to the check-in tent where she took my chip and gave me a medal.  It would have been fun to make it to midnight, to share champagne with my fellow 24 hour runners, and to walk through the night with the people I’d me throughout the day.  However, there is something to say for  knowing when it’s time to be done.

After turning everything in, I hobbled back over to the car where I proceeded to wait until I stopped shaking and was able to drive home.  Luckily, traffic was minimal and I got home pretty quickly.  It took me at least ten minutes to gather the strength to get out of my car….of course in that time, I found the slug that hitched a ride to the car on my bag.  Awesome.

Somehow, I got up the stairs to my apartment – perhaps the adrenaline was still flowing.  Once Brian greeted me at the door with some wine and I sat down at the kitchen table, trying to get up was a different story.  Literally hanging on to walls to get to the stairs and then using the railing to climb up the stairs…..I have no idea how I managed to shower and get back downstairs without falling and breaking something.  Super thankful for grubhub and their ability to let me order Sparky’s on my phone and have it delivered to my house.

After a brief New Year’s celebration and my Sparky’s dinner, I was ready to call it a night.  Another race in the books.  50 mile distance achieved.  Kudos to Wendell and Coastal Trails for putting on another great race.  And, what did I learn?  There are a lot of long runs in my future….double days are one thing, but I really need to work on staying stronger longer….pushing that wall out from now mile 30.  And, while this race was an experience, the ultras in the headlands were much more fun….so I see more of those in my future too :).

so, thats it for now….over and out for now.  hopefully a new years/2015 entry coming soon :).

Pre-Race Jitters

Wow…it has been awhile.  So much for hoping to update this weekly….then monthly….then who knows what happened.  Haha…looking back, I feel like I didnt have much interesting to say, but at the same time, there is a ton going on.  Anyway….

The race that for a year has only been a date on the calendar and a far off thought in my imagination, will be here in two days.  The year of training, from the 8 mile pirates cove loop countless times before Nepal to a windy 4th of July run to my first 50k to my last training run on Thanksgiving, will all be put to the test.  Time cutoffs and rain and dark….lots to contend with….and then I thought I was getting sick earlier this week.  

I would love to say that I’m really excited and cant wait, but I think I’m more cautiously optimistic than anything.  I’ve put in the training, but I’m still concerned about the time cutoffs.  I wish I had been able to get in more long days, but I know I did plenty of 20-milers.  I have two 50k races and one 50k training run under my belt, but I still wish I had been able to get to 40.  I have to be at the first cutoff by 11:20…23 miles.  I should be ok for that, at almost six and a half hours, I should be at 26 miles by that point.  I’m more worried about the second one…3:15 and 36 miles.  Granted, I should be at mile 40 by then, but I tend to slow down around mile 20-25.  Add to that, those miles will most likely be my least favorite – the descent that scares me the most followed by some tough, but not the toughest climbing.  Ugh…the rest of its not that bad…at least that’s what I tell myself.  The third cut-off is the end…after a pretty tough climb (the toughest in my opinion, cause it just keeps going….and going…and going….) up Coyote Ridge.  But from there, it’s a downhill I’m pretty familiar with, the uphill I’m really good at hiking, and downhill to the finish.  Easy as that, right?

And there’s the fact that its been raining all week.  ALL WEEK.  Seriously?  I know we need the rain, but really, this week?  Ugh….as of right now, there’s no rain in Saturday’s forecast, but that keeps changing and I’m pretty sure it will be wet anyway.  Hopefully I dont crash out….and it doesnt slow me down too much.  I need all the help I can get.

But, on some level I’m still excited.  I packed my bags for the crew and the drop bag station, and it was kind of fun….thinking about what I would need and the most efficient way to pack things.  It’s going to be all about keeping moving, even at the aid stations.  I need to finish this for my 100 miler in March.

Its been a crazy week, well…crazy few weeks.  But, I’m enjoying what’s probably my last glass of wine until Sunday (provided I want a glass of wine on Sunday…haha) and chatting about the race with Brian.  No matter what happens, it will be an adventure.  I hiked to Everest while sick….I can do this…at least that’s what I tell myself.

Until next time….over and out.

Coyote Ridge 50k(ish) Race Report

So it was a day of the three times I thought about quitting and the one time I didnt…

The first was just before the .9 mile mark, coming through pirate’s cove the wrong way (well, according to me…it’s just different than how I usually do it).  I rolled my ankle, and it was pretty sore.  I spent sometime walking it out, and just decided to get to the aid station in Tennessee Valley, and reassess.  I got there, and it was actually feeling ok.  So, I continued up Marincello, and out towards the Bonita Cove turn around.  Such beautiful views along the way.

The second time was around mile 10, and I was feeling pretty good…I was actually ahead of the pace I wanted, legs felt good, and I was running down a gentle slope towards bunker road.  I got to the road, and didnt see any pink ribbons.  I looked down the road, across the road, and still didnt see anything.  The course had been really well marked, so I couldnt believe that there wouldnt be ribbons here….come to think of it, I couldnt remember the last time I saw a ribbon.  I knew where I was…..I just didnt know where the course went.  And of course it was the one area I didnt know very well.  But, I did know that the trail across the street would meet up with Miwok, which would take me to Old Springs, which is how I was supposed to get back to Tennessee Valley.  I confirmed with a cyclist, and was on my way…kind of like choose your own adventure, except it was choose your own course.  And really, who doesnt love an unnecessary climb up a hill over a mile long….

I got back down to Tennessee Valley and let them know what happened – I didnt really care about the distance, let’s be honest, it’s not like I was in it to win it or I had cut enough of the mileage to impact how I would finish.  But, I was concerned that there was some sort of check-in at the Point Bonita aid station, and they’d send out the emergency crews to find me if I didnt check in.  Of course, they had no idea if anyone was checking…just that they were not checking.  But I could ask when I got back to Muir Beach.

Then came the hot, slow, hike up Fox Trail…really slow.  Ugh…but, at that point, after rolling an ankle and getting lost, I was really just trying to get mileage in.  Hopefully I can work on the pace for the next two months and still be ok for North Face.

After Fox Trail came the long, steep, descent into Muir Beach…..pretty terrifying for some reason.  I’m not sure if I’ve always been afraid of that descent, or if this is a new development.  It got better towards the end, and I was able to run out to the bridge and across it, over to the aid station.  I asked the volunteer who was helping me about checking in at the aid station I missed….she didnt know either, but said I could work with the race director to figure out the distance when I was done.  I told her I wasnt as worried about that (my watch would give me the distance), I was more worried about being reported missing.

Then, began the long climb up and out of Muir Beach, and the reverse trek through Pirate’s Cove….and it was so hot…ugh.  There were three of us, and we all kept stopping and taking breaks.  But, one foot in front of the other does the trick, and I was on my way down into Tennessee Valley again.  The last time I thought about quitting would have been somewhere in Pirate’s Cove, when I realized that was technically another turn-around point.

But, I decided the miles were more important, and after a sandwich and a ton of liquids, began making my way up Marincello, around some random airport thing, and down a steep descent to Old Springs trail.  I felt pretty good on Old Springs and decided to jog….until I tripped down a step, and rolled my ankle again…..ok, maybe no jogging.  And then a second trip up Fox Trail….just as tough since I was tired, but it was far cooler and there was a bit of a breeze.  The trip back down into Muir beach seemed less treacherous the second time around, and I feel like I was able to run more of it.  Before I knew it, I was down and dodging people as I crossed the bridge to the finish line…..the time I didnt quit….

I had some water and animal crackers at the finish line, followed by a beer (amazing…), and hung out with the people there for a bit, before walking the mile and a half back to the car.  I opted for that instead of the shuttle since I lost some distance when I messed up the course.

And, now I’m enjoying a really bad horror movie and my favorite owl beer while my body contemplates exactly what I did to it today.  Though, I was able to enjoy some dinner, so I think I did better with the hydration since the roof of my mouth doesnt feel like sandpaper.  Other than that, I’ll be reevaluating the rest of my training plan….maybe look to spend an equal amount of time getting better at what I’m already good at and trying to get better at the stuff I’m not….and do some more long runs….

Trail Runner Problems…

I set out today to run 20 miles and see the rest of the North Face course.  Unfortunately the crazy busy-ness of franchise work and holiday work over the past two weeks and being sick caught up with me.  I felt so sluggish and tired…ugh.  But, on the plus side, I learned so much and had so much fun over the past two weeks, I wouldn’t change it. I can handle a slow run….haha….

Going up the first two trails…way, way up, I was able to actually try some of the strategies I’ve been thinking about with those hills.  Went pretty well in a lot of places and was the fastest I’ve climbed some parts of the trail.  I didnt know that while I was running, and I still felt sluggish.  I figured I’d get to Cardiac, and go from there.

I got up to Cardiac, and decided to head down Dipsea, rather than do the extra Matt Davis/Dipsea loop.  I was still feeling pretty tired, and I still hadn’t figured out where the course went between Oceanview and Muir woods, so thought I would figure that out.  So, down Dipsea I went….almost literally…stupid mud…and, that’s where the adventure began….

I get to the Ben Johnson trail, which I’ve done one other time, that I can remember.  It was the one I thought maybe I could run down last week and rolled both ankles several times – lots of fun.  So this week, I thought I would take it slow…maybe last week was a fluke or something.  After I got through the part that was real crazy, I started to jog again…unfortunately, it didn’t take long to roll my left ankle again….awesome.  It was then that I realized something….I’m terrified of this trail.

After I rolled it and walked it out a bit, I realized I didnt want to run anymore and roll it again….at least until I was off this particular trail.  So, I walked (really awesome, since I already felt slow and sluggish)….and made sure I was watching where I was going.  Of course, I watched the ground so closely that I didnt see the tree branch I ran into….fabulous….stupid trail, I hate you…..and I hate it more that I’m afraid of you….especially since I don’t really know how to get over it.  I’m just hoping if I do it enough, eventually I won’t be afraid anymore.  I can handle the scary steps in Pirates Cove now, so I don’t think it’s impossible….I hope.

That terrible trail ended at Muir Woods, and picked up another trail that wouldnt have been so bad, if I wasn’t so exhausted.  I tried to run as much as possible, since I really wanted to get away from Muir Woods and all of the tourists.  As I was running up part of it, I’m pretty sure I came across a couple who had just gotten engaged…

I got up to Alice Springs camp (not sure if that’s what it’s actually called, but it makes me think of Outback and Cheese Fries, so let’s go with it) and began the descent on Fern Trail.  I really liked this one…easily runnable and very few spots that the trail could try to kill me.  This went down and met the Lost trail, except this time, I wasn’t lost.  Unfortunately then it headed up…and up…and up.  Hope you like stairs….I finally got to the top, and thankfully, the sign wasn’t broken, so I knew exactly where to head for the next part…..

Unfortunately, more up.  And some lady in wedge flip flops and an outfit fit for an office.  She looked relatively miserable….but looked at me like I was the crazy one, probably because I was covered in sweat and mud….it’s a trail…you’re supposed to be covered in mud…haha.  Anyway, once I got up, the view was beautiful.  And some how my foggy day had turned beautiful and sunny.  I went the wrong way on the next trail (why would the intersection have a sign…that would be too easy)….luckily, there was one not too far ahead and I quickly righted myself.  I found some more trails that I really liked….relatively flat, some slight descents…..and really interesting people.

The first guys were more annoying than anything.  Heard me come up behind them, and rather than share the trail like normal people they stepped into the middle of it so I really had no way around them. Annoying, but it was so pretty and they headed up towards the road pretty quick, so I didn’t really care.

Next, I came across a lady who thought I was a mountain lion coming up behind her….yeah…..nope…just me.  But, thanks, I think….

At this point, I was having a lovely time on the trail, but was a little worried about getting back on Dipsea.  I knew I still had to go down to get back to the beach, but who knows how Dipsea will get you there…..generally with a lot of up in between….At the meeting of Dipsea and Sun, I had a lady ask me where a bathroom was…..ummmm….yeah….so not the one to ask, let’s be honest.  I’m pretty sure most of the bathrooms I used in Nepal changed my opinion of what’s defined as a bathroom.  haha….well, that and the random port-a-potty I used at the meadow earlier.  Really, it’s the woods….there arent bathrooms….but, I was nice and told her there would be some at Muir Woods and Muir Beach, but I didnt know how far it was to either.  It was kind of fun to pull out my strava route and show her where we were and when those places were in relation.

The rest of Dipsea down to Muir Woods was pretty easy and pretty uneventful.  To the guy I almost blew my nose on, I’m sorry….

Of course, I get to the bottom, and expect it to be flat between Muir Woods and Muir beach…it was when I made up my own way last weekend.  But of course, this is the North Face course…and nothing is flat.  I pull out my strava and check the route….yup…cross the road and up Dipsea…..and up and up.  As I climbed and climbed, way more tired than I should have been, I thought about what might be waiting at the top…another good view maybe?

Or not….the trail literally t-boned into a fire road….a fire road that I was coincidentally heading back down.  Really??  Thanks North Face….I can’t wait to do this at mile 38….but, had I not climbed up, I would have missed the lady asking me for directions:

  • Her: Do you know which way to go
  • Me: Where are you going
  • Her: We thought maybe Stinson beach….
  • My Thought….well, that’s a nice thought, but based on the sign I passed a half mile ago, it’s five miles to Stinson, ten round trip…and it’s 3:30…that sounds like a long walk in the dark….
  • Me: Well, I’m not sure, but let me look at my route.
  • In the meantime, she shows me her map and points over way to the left (Muir Beach is in the bottom right)
  • Me: um….well, no….we’re here…by Muir Woods….and I show her the dot on my phone.  
In the end, she thought maybe they would head down towards Muir Woods….hopefully that’s what they did.  Or the guy she was with (pretty sure it was the guy I passed who was peeing in the woods…) has a better sense of direction or knows how to read a map…
I make it back to the car, grabbed some water….had I not been completely out, I may have continued to torture myself and climb up Coyote Ridge, but instead just walked over to where I had seen a water stop for a race earlier.  Was curious what the race was, but it was gone.  In the end, the run was about 16.5 miles.  Not too bad, and maybe if I schedule an early oil change next week, I can get out and get in a 20 miler…..and see the rest of the North Face course.
Speaking of North Face, they posted the course tonight….luckily, it’s what I thought it would be based on some strava courses.  Which means after next week, I will have hopefully seen the entire thing.  Unfortunately, I’m a little worried.  I dont move fast enough to be afraid of the Ben Johnson downhill….and I need to be faster overall….hopefully the additional day of running will help with that….and maybe I’ll add another…..we’ll see.  Hopefully there’s enough time to get as good at the muir beach/stinson part as I am at Pirate’s Cover, Marincello, and Miwok….well, good for me that is….and, I guess it’s a good thing I know those trails well, based on the course notes I’ll be covering bob cat, miwok, and coming down old springs in the dark (with a headlamp) on race day….eeeek….I feel like I should practice that…..
I think that’s it for now….over and out…

It’s Going Down….

So, I had one thing I had to do before Everest, well, two, I guess. I really didn’t want to get sick either. But, I managed to avoid strep throat, the office stomach flu, and whatever cold Brian caught earlier this week. So, what do I do to ring in the seven day count down?  Go for a run in my new trail shoes, of course.  And what else would I do while doing that other than crash. Pretty hard. And skid…my friend told me she heard it, but thought the noise was me catching myself. My right leg was covered in dust from the skid….took a chunk out of my left hand….and rolled my left ankle (I’m pretty sure that’s what caused the fall).  I heard it pop on the way down, but once it was over, I seemed to be in one piece.  At least enough to hike myself up and out of there, and back to the car.  That’s the thing about trail running… can cut the route short, but there’s really no way back unless you walk. And it’s generally just as far to keep going or turn around.

So, ouch…not how I wanted to spend the week before my trip.   I run that trail all the time….of course I would crash today. Ugh….I’d take being chased by a turkey again….

It’s actually not too bad….only a little bigger than a golf ball….and it doesn’t hurt too bad if I just stay off it.  Cause I’m good at that, and do t have anything else to do….

In other news, I spent the week with one of our counterparts from Japan.  I’d met him when I traveled there two years  ago, so it was cool to see him again.  I also really enjoyed learning from him as much as I enjoyed showing him what we do in stores here.

Alright…off to dinner with some friends….if I can navigate the stairs….haha…

Until next time.

Three Weeks and Counting….

I realized today that we have three weeks until we leave for Nepal…crazy.  And it feels like it’s so much closer now than when it was four weeks away.  haha…I’m sure next week, when it’s down to two, it will feel even closer.  Second to last prep hike tomorrow….eeek!  Crazy….

We got the final trip email yesterday, so that may be why it feels closer too.  It looks like there will be eleven of us in the group, plus the staff from REI.  They’re going to pick us up from the airport, which will be nice.  Less to figure out is always good.  Of course, they’re going to identify us by our REI t-shirts, which they ran out of in my size.  Good news, they’re sending me a bag…bad news, I’ll get lost at the airport. Haha…we also have luggage tags, so I should be good.  But,  knowing my luck, who knows.

It also looked like our carry-ons might not count toward the 30 lb weight limit, which, if that’s the case, will be a huge relief.  Not that I want to bring a ton of stuff, but 30 lbs is not a lot and once I add in contacts, contact solution, medicine, first aid kit, etc, etc, I feel like it’s going to add up quickly.  As long as I can bring enough snacks to quell my ‘im always hungry’ appetite, everything will be ok.  haha…I emailed them to confirm, so we’ll see what happens.

I spent a few hours today running through the headlands.  I added a trip down to muir beach into what has become my normal route through pirates cove.  Time wise, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it might be. I felt like I was walking a lot more, but I was only a few seconds/mile off of my pace from last week.  Looking at my splits, I think my time through pirates cover was a lot faster than I was last week and the week before.  Hopefully that means I’m getting stronger and will continue to do so.  I’m trying hard to build some distance before the trip – who knows what I’ll lose or gain while trekking for days on end, but we’re looking at a 50k (classic me, right?) a month after we get back, so want to at least give myself a shot at it.

However, crawling out of muir beach was as awful as I remember it.  Not as bad on the way down as it was during North Face, but the way up was pretty rough.  Probably not as rough as North Face, since I was only at mile five or so instead of mile 16.  Of course, as I’m crawling my way up the crazy hills, I come upon paw prints…giant paw prints.  Sweet…I was hoping I could get mauled by a mountain lion today…but, after a nice trip down miwok cutoff, I was back to my car.  Which was in a really good parking spot….complete with the satisfaction that the car in front of me blocked traffic for several minutes to wait for someone to pull out, yet, I ended up with the best spot and didnt hold up traffic.

Other than that, Game of Thrones starts tomorrow!  Yay!  We’ve been waiting for quite some time for that….like, since the end of last season.  haha.

Until next time…

North Face 50….it’s happening

So, we realized that the North Face Challenge had opened up, and despite everything we have put and need to put into Nepal, the 50 miler is happening in December.  I’m actually really excited about it.  And, I can’t blame it on the wine this time….haha. I celebrated by eating half of a container of gelato. Not a bad idea for someone who slept in….did a little bit of work…and slept some more.  Do nothing all day….sign up for a 50 mile race….consume a container of ice cream.  Haha.

In all seriousness, this is going to take a killer training plan. I’m envisioning a lot of early mornings in the headlands. At least I live close enough that I can train on the crazy hills. I’m pretty sure I’m not currently running fast enough to finish in the allotted time. But, I know I can get there. It’s gonna be an adventure :).

In other news, I think I’m really bad at doing nothing. I’ve been sick or coughing or something and have had no voice all week, so I decided I was just going to rest all day.  So, of course, I was up at 8:30….when was the last time that happened?  After a bit of NyQuil, I was able to get some more sleep.  Then, after dealing with a work issue, I was really restless. Couldn’t I go run or something. No.  I forced myself to rest a little longer, but then got up and started cleaning. Haha…even when I’m sick, I can’t do nothing.

We’re planning a longer hike for tomorrow…maybe a picnic.  I’m excited for that too (see, really bad at sitting still). Hopefully the NyQuil endured haze in which I spent most of today works and I’m close to 100% tomorrow. I have real hiking pants to try for the first time….and I really like my bag. Despite the whole everything is black theme I have going. I’ve decided not to list the gear in the individual posts, but will post a list at the end of my trip, after I post all the trip blogs. While it won’t matter to most, based on how much I’m relying on blogs from previous travelers, if someone googles and finds my blog, I want to be helpful :).

Other than that, it’s been a week of watching the Olympics and nursing the hot, sexy, smoker voice back to normal. Until next time….

North Face Endurance Challenge

So, let me preface this with the fact/thought that I should have done a training run (or six) that were longer than 15 miles.  But, I do what I can.  And, I was able to finish and have a great time doing so.  That being said, race report…

The start line was a pretty cool experience.  It was cold and somewhat windy, but they had heat lamps and fire pits going, which was a nice touch and made the cold bearable. There was also a welcome tent of sorts that had coffee and hot water and snacks (and more heaters).  I thought that was really nice, and not something I’ve seen at a race before.  I was nervous about drinking coffee before running, since I didn’t know how it would affect my stomach. But, one of the volunteers offered me a cup of hot water to hold, which was a great help with the cold.  While we were in the tent, we looked at the course maps and Brian talked me through the flow of the marathon. While we had run or hiked most of the course, we hadn’t done it all at once.  A couple of other runners joined us and we chatted through the course with them too.  The hour or so we spent there went pretty quickly, and was overall low key.  By the time we started the race, the nerves I had about not finishing had been replaced with the thrill of another adventure.

The course was a kind of figure 8 with a couple of loops.  The first loop went from the start line near the visitor’s center at the headlands, up miwok hill, then down the back side into the Tennessee valley, up marincello hill, over to bob cat and altar before dropping back near the start.  The first hill climb was tough, especially on my calves, especially so early in the race.  But the decent into Tennessee valley was fabulous. I ran all of it, despite the run walk I usually do.  The only drawback was the rude runner with the headphones who yelled at me once I started running after a walk break….I’m not sure why.  Maybe she thought I didn’t want her to pass me?  Whatever, wasn’t going to ruin my day.  Coming into the Tennessee valley, I said good morning to a couple of guys tending a stable, had my photo taken, and ran into our friend, Drew.  He said hello, I told him I was feeling good, and he said, ‘great! Now you get to run up the big ass hill’.  Haha….I think I told him I had just come down one.

The next part of the course began like the first, but after going up miwok a second time (ugh), we made a different turn at  Tennessee valley and headed out toward pirate’s cove and muir beach.  This was when I started to get the Fun song, ‘put one foot in front of the other….lalalala’ stuck in my head. It remained there for most of the rest of the day. I met two other runners on the second trip up miwok.  Up until that point, I felt like I was pretty much in no man’s land. They thought they were lost, but since I had talked through the course that morning, I reassured them we were on track.  Pat was from Connecticut and Holly was from LA.  It was nice to have some people to chat with on our trip up the hill.  However, I lost holly on the way up the hill.  But, I did trade off position with Pat until we hit Pirate’s cove.  This was the one part of the course that was on pavement.  It was also where we started to see 50k runners coming back. I looked out for my friend Toby, who was running the 50k, but he was way ahead of me.  This was also a fairly easy portion to run….or run walk in my case.

The next part of the course went through pirate’s cove, out to muir beach, and then back to the Tennessee valley.  That was by far the most difficult part of the course.  I think the hill up to pirate’s cove was pretty rough, but quite honestly, I don’t remember it.  I remember the descent was pretty scary.  At one point, I stopped to dig a stone out of my shoe, mad had my feet fly out from under me. Luckily, they crashed on to the next step, and I was able to remain upright. Thank god for small favors.  The course between pirate’s cove and muir beach was pretty, but also pretty rough. It was a single track up hill, followed by a steep descent to the beach. Of course, it was an out and back, so all I could think was – I can’t wait to run back out if this. There was an aid station at the turn around, for those do us that turned around. If you’re me, you keep going and over run the turn.  Haha…luckily, I noticed the pink ribbon course markers had disappeared and I asked a volunteer, who turned me around, and I was back at the aid station shortly.

My friend Ed was working the aid station and gave me some water and electrolytes, as well as some Mountain Dew, which I hadn’t had since college, but was amazing at mile 15.  He asked how I was feeling, and I’m pretty sure I told him I had muscles I forgot I had hurting.  Then I finished my stretch break, grabbed some pretzels, had another drink, and took off.  I saw Pat on the way back, gave him a high five and told him we were getting it done.  I also saw Holly, she had hurt her knee and was glad the aid station was only half a mile away.  And, that’s where the course got ugly. After climbing the rollers out of muir beach, there was another never ending hill.  It felt like miles. Luckily, at this point there were plenty of people on the course since the 50 mile runners were on the same course. Most said hello as they jogged by me, and it was great to hear some friendly voices – even if they were running twice as far….

Upon returning to the Tennessee valley, I was glad to see the rest stop, and stopped to grab some more Mountain Dew and a pb&j.  I don’t think it’s ever tasted so good. I also overheard a pacer asking where he could meet his 50 mile runner.  So, of course the wheels started turning, and as much pain as I was in, I wanted to train better and do that one next year.  From the rest stop, we headed up marincello for the second time (ugh), but I knew what to expect, and I love the alta and rodeo trails.  And after that, less than a mile to the finish. And my Fun song about one foot in front of the other was back. Going up marincello, I walked by a couple of other runners, and was able to say hello.  It was nice to have some friendly faces through the final miles. Hitting the rest stop at the top of altar was nice too…great to see the friendly volunteers and have another mini sandwich and soda.

Coming out of the flat end of the rodeo trail, a volunteer at the last water stop let me know I had less than a mile to go, and offered me any last minute aid items.  I knew I was close, and didn’t want to stop moving, so I thanked her and told her I was good. Then, despite the finish being just across the
street and up a small hill, I started singing my song from the Honolulu marathon….’this is the race that never ends’. Approaching the finish line, there was a lady cheering, who told me to run like I was Black Friday shopping. Haha….then I entered the finish line chute, and heard Brian and our friend, Drew, cheering for me. The announcer got my name from Brian and said, ‘we’re all cheering for you, Kim’.

And, like that, it was over.  Am I thrilled with my time, not really.  Am I happy I finished, definitely.  It was my first trail marathon, and my first marathon in at least two years, and I didn’t train.  But, wow…so much fun.  As much as I knew I would be sore, and as sore as I am right now, I can’t wait to sign up for the 50 mile next year.  And train for it….that too.

 In other news, I had my last team meeting for school ever today. So exciting and surreal…