Introducing Rocko

Because I’m just that excited about my new bike…

WelcomeRocko_Bike Argon18 E116

…or because I’m pathetic and can’t prioritize things to do on a Tuesday night.

Either way, the bike love is back in a big way. We’re fitting, tweaking and prepping for Rocko’s big outdoor debut and I’m anxious to get back on two wheels.

Big thanks to Tiny Prints for letting me steal this ridiculous comp, to a good friend for helping hook me up and to the moving company who cracked the frame of my first bike, who made me want to punch someone in the face, but ultimately compensated me with enough to take home Rocko (R.I.P. Dora).

Rocko is a 2014 Argon18 E116 and I feel like a completed fraud with him — he’s far too sexy for this pasty redhead. I guess this Fred will just have to fake it until she makes it, but I can’t wait to try.

Happy Running & Cycling!

   
23 Comments | Posted in cycling

2013 In Review

At the end of 2012, I vowed to live adventurously. What I didn’t anticipate was just how…adventurous…2013 would be.

Contrary to its stereotype, adventure isn’t just global treks, skydiving, or a Swiss Family escapade. And adventure wouldn’t be adventure if it didn’t come with crazy highs and frustrating lows. Instead, I’ve discovered that adventure was finding patience, going outside of my comfort zone and making big, risky, and scary changes to my life and my family’s life. Some of which ended well and others did not.

But I suppose that’s part of the process, right? The process in living life, finding myself, creating a story and simply…evolving. In the end, it turns out that 2013 wasn’t so much about living adventurously, but rather, about taking chances. And it’s like they say, you only regret the chances you didn’t take.

In 2013, I traveled, I became an aunt (twice!), I learned about injury recovery and ankle rehab, I completed my first Ironman, I fell in love with triathlon, I cooked more, I moved to a different state, I started a new job, I met two of the most important friends I’ve ever had, I started trail running, I read more, I PR’d in the marathon, I became an ambassador, I registered for more races, and most importantly, I continue to learn more about what’s truly important, and love my husband, Lola and family more every day. Now that right there is what it’s all about.

Here’s to the chances and changes of 2013, and to you guys — thanks for your continued support along the entire way. Your comments and cheers mean so much to me.

 Happy New Year & Happy Running!

   
14 Comments | Posted in Life

The Coeur Sports 2014 Elite Team

While the list of things to do is still a mile long, I have to take a break to share some very exciting news.

Unlike every other person in my Facebook newsfeed, no, I’m not pregnant. No, I did not buy a house. No, I did not win Mega Millions. Who are we kidding, if I won Mega Millions you’d likely not hear from me for a very, very long time.

But I do feel pretty lucky in that I am joining the Coeur Sports 2014 Elite triathlon team!

I am excited to join this new family of incredibly talented female athletes and to join a company that has entrepreneurship, mentorship and a drive to dream big at heart.

Does Coeur have great products? Of course! Do other teams have solid gear? Most definitely! But I wanted to share why I made the jump to be part of this new family.  Yes, the free gear is awesome and makes my life that much easier – I would be lying if that wasn’t a great perk. But more than the product, it’s the people.

If you’ve followed me from the beginning of my triathlon journey or if you’re new here, I don’t hide my triathlon fears. From my (still present) open water anxiety issues, to my first group ride fears, to lacking the self-confidence, to be calling a Fred and then the Wall Street Journal posting about my “Fred” experience – making a jump into a new sport is flat out scary.

But through social media, I found myself tweeting, Facebooking, and emailing a handful of inspirational (that adjective is an understatement) women who in my eyes were the epitome of “kick ass.” Even as a noob, they never shunned me or mocked my questions (as I have been so often in the past), but instead they took the time to listen, invite me on adventures, connect me with the right people, comment on my blog and cheer me along the entire way.

In a world where women far too often fail to support each other and in a sport where competition is at its core, to be welcomed, mentored and supported is refreshing, reassuring and appreciated.

So when some of these same women invited me to join the Coeur 2014 Elite team, it was clear. Yes, the product is top notch, but even more than that, I want to surround myself with these types of people. The kind that aren’t afraid to start from scratch, the kind that want to dream big, and most importantly, the kind that welcome the newbies, ambassadors, elites and pros all with the same open arms.

I can’t wait to see what 2014 has in store and I hope you have the happiest of holidays.

Happy Running!

   
15 Comments | Posted in Uncategorized

2013 Runner & Triathlete Holiday Gift Guide

It’s true, every blogger has a list of their recommended holiday gifts, and I too have the same. I contemplated writing a post about how I loathed joining the gift guide bandwagon, but then writing a post about the loathing the proverbial bandwagon means that I’m joining the bandwagon of those writing about how I’m just another blogger with just another gift guide. Totally makes sense right? Someone get me another eggnog! Wait, I don’t even like eggnog.

Thus, to be a total holiday rebel, I’m going to play a mind-boggling card here and just say here is my list of some of my favorite things that would make a great runner or triathlete gift. Also, please note that I personally own or have tried everything on this list so they are TSATS tried, tested and approved!

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1. You Got Chicked T-Shirt, $29: You might get some strange looks, but explaining what “Chicked” is brings a whole new level of pride. I got this shirt after IMCDA and I wear it confidently at least once a week.

2. Black Diamond Sprinter Headlamp (Titanium), $52: Captain Obvious reporting here: it’s freaking dark and cold this time of year. Tell your secret Santa, or yourself, that you care about their wellbeing and don’t want them getting hit/attacked/injured in their athletic endeavors by gifting this headlamp. It came recommended to me by my ultra-running friends so you have multiple stamps of approval.

3. Air Stability Wobble Cushion, $15: What the heck is this spikey blue thing? It’s a balancing/strength training tool and your ankles will thank you for it. Buy one. Use it. Don’t get injured.

4. Cards Against Humanity,$25: If you haven’t played Cards Against Humanity yet, gather your most non-judgmental friends, grab some booze and get playin’. Added bonus: you can even make/print your own cards here.

5. Rose Gold Nike+ FuelBand, $169: I wouldn’t say it’s a tool to help you train in a specific sport, but it’s a great way to simply empower you to move more. Even though I train for multiple sports, I still work in a cube and when I see that I haven’t moved more than 5 minutes within the past hour, it’s pretty enlightening. That’s where the Nike+ FuelBand comes in. Whether it be via Sessions or challenges with friends, it’s a great motivator to get up and get moving, plus, the limited edition Rose Gold band makes for a super sleek arm party.

6. Patagonia Ultralight Down Hoodie, $349: Full disclosure here – I did not pay full price for this jacket. In fact, my mom bought it for me for my birthday, at the Patagonia outlet, where it was not only discounted but she received an additional 40% off. However, this jacket is nothing short of amazing. It’s light, I don’t feel like a marshmallow in it, it keeps me incredibly warm, and it rolls up into a little ball. Perfect!

7. Oakley Radarlock Pitch Sunglasses, $300: I didn’t know what good cycling glasses were until I found these. They are worth every invested penny. Trust me on this one.

8. Barracuda Goggle, $17: These goggles were recommended to me when I first started swimming and I haven’t found anything better since. They fit my wide face, don’t give me a headache and leave minimal goggle marks.

9. The Complete Runner’s Day-By-Day Log 2014 Calendar, $10: I try to track all of my miles online, but there isn’t anything quite like pen and paper. This is a great log for newbie runners to document their training.

10. CycleOps Fluid 2 Indoor Trainer, $280: So you really want to impress the cyclist in your family this holiday? Then up your ante and get them this trainer. For bonus points, get the climbing block too!

11. Homeland, $29: During last year’s trainer rides, I was all about my guilty pleasure, SMASH. But if I had been watching Homeland instead, I would have demolished my rides out of pure intensity and anticipation. Get the DVD series, watch from the beginning and be prepared to praise Claire Daines as a brilliant actress with some really strange facial expressions.

What are you hoping for or gifting to your favorite athlete this year?

Happy Holidays!

   
20 Comments | Posted in Uncategorized

Race Recap: California International Marathon (CIM)

On Saturday afternoon, we stopped at Target for some throwaway clothes.

Starting line temperatures were to be below freezing, I’ve never run a marathon in these kind of temps, hell, I hadn’t run a full marathon (minus the Ironman marathon) since 2011. With cheap sweats and snacks in hand, Chicken Face and I proceeded to do nothing but rest and eat for the rest of the day.

UntitledThese are my sexy sweats.

Thanks to our free hotel room near the start, I was able to wake up at a decent hour (5 a.m.), eat breakfast in our room, gear up and get comfy in my throwaway clothes. It wasn’t long before I was at the start, in line for the port-a-potty and I spotted my friend Antonia.

We huddled and discussed our clothing layering options. At that time, I second-guessed my tank top and shorts decision, but there was no turning back and put faith in the clothing advice Aron and Jen had given me. With the start approaching, I tossed my sweat pants but decided to keep the sweatshirt on, with all of its fuzz-ball, anti-wicking glory.

BANG! We were off.

I had Gu Chomps shoved in my bra and I was holding extra pack — I had learned my lesson about fueling and I did not want to run out. But there I was with a new situation: I was running with an abnormally big sweatshirt with tight cuffs, so I shoved my Gu Chomps up the sleeve and they found a snug little resting place. But in order for my Chomps to rest safely and comfortably, I had to pull down my sleeve over my watch – and so I did.

At that point, I just ran. I ran to what felt comfortable, to what felt fun, and to what felt a bit challenging, yet sustainable. Because my sweatshirt was covering my watch and holding my Chomps in place, I didn’t look at my time until each mile marker, when my watch would beep and tell me my splits. When I looked down and saw the faster than average splits, I told myself to calm down, don’t blow up too soon.

So the sleeve would go back down, cover up the watch, and I wouldn’t check again until the next mile marker. Mile after mile, my splits were faster than normal, yet consistent. I was feeling great…well, cold, but great, so I just kept running.

I told myself I would ditch the sweater after 2 miles, maybe 3 miles, maybe 4 miles… I didn’t end up getting rid of it until I made my first bathroom stop at mile 8. It was those first eight miles of not looking at my watch and instead running by feel that set my pace, perspective and confidence for the rest of the race. No pace mind games, just running at my capability level, at a pace I enjoyed. People tell you this all the time, but you never really get it until you try it. And in my case, I unexpectedly discovered it thanks to an $8 throwaway sweatshirt.

At this point in the game I was already surprised by my own performance, but was cautious not to let it get to my head as these paces were fast for me, I knew I needed to sustain, and my gut wasn’t feeling too well.

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I turned the corner at mile 10 and saw all of my friends jumping and cheering like crazy. What I didn’t know was that they had made a sign for me and to see all of them cheering their hearts out almost made me cry on the course… this is no exaggeration. A big thank you to Alyssa, Cate, Mike, Will, Aron and Jojo for being out there on a frigid day – you gave me something to look forward to and I will forever be grateful. Chicken Face couldn’t make it out to be on the course as he was finishing a final, which is why I’m even more thankful for this bunch!

CIM markets itself as a “net downhill” course, but if you look at the map, you only lose ~300 ft. of elevation, and instead, it’s 26.2 miles of constant rollers. Thus, the middle miles were just a constant chug. I had my music on and I just made my way through the miles, counting down one at a time, hoping to not hit a wall.

Along the way I made two more bathroom stops (for a total of three – ugh) and my gut was turning over. Not much you can really do except put one foot in front of the other. I saw friends again and saw a blog friend I wasn’t expecting to see when I randomly heard someone shout my name. Hi, Tim!

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The course itself is 95% through suburbia with not too much to look at. But the sun had finally broken out during the middle miles and the clouds were enough scenery to provide something beautiful to look at. As you can see, I wasn’t doing much other than running, listening, and stopping at the bathroom.

By the time mile 20 came around, there was a sign that said, “You’re at mile 20. Never trust a fart.” I appreciated that so much more than the multiple “That’s what she said…” signs that were everywhere. Mile 20 also had these banners up that looked like brick walls and at that point, I thought, “Oh my God. I haven’t hit the wall yet.” There was minimal watch obsessing and I only focused on the lap splits and then how much time I lost at each bathroom break. Overall, probably a minute and a half to two minutes total.

As I was weaving through some trees, I saw a petite girl in neon up ahead. I knew exactly who it was: my friend Jess. She looked like she was having a bit of trouble so I had to hustle to catch up to her where she told me she was having a bad cramp. I then looked at her and said, “Jess. Come on. Let’s do this together.”

We didn’t say much of anything to each other for the rest of the race, but instead, it was a silent agreement between two friends and runners that we were in this together, until the end, and that we were going to absolutely finish this.

Whenever she would pick up the pace, I’d try hard to push my pace to catch up with her, and the same applied to her when I found some spare juice in my legs. Together, we were pushing each other through those last miles in a way that helped catapult us both to unexpected and overwhelmingly happy finishes.

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We reached the final 1.2 miles and I said, “Look, there’s Jojo and Aron ahead.” Just the energy booster that we needed; our leg turnover rate increase. As we approached the last .2 miles I muttered, “Let’s do this…” and we shifted gears into overdrive.

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We finished, together, in 3:12:57.

106th female / 37 out of 391 in my AG / 7:22 avg. pace

I couldn’t have done it without Jess and I’m so grateful that we had the opportunity to cross the line together.

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Celebrations quickly ensued, but I had to get home stat to address a work emergency. Yet the entire ride home, I couldn’t believe what had happened.

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A while ago I proclaimed my A+ goal to be a 3:15. I then struggled through injury and training to find my mojo again and was going to be happy with anything that broke my old PR of 3:31 (from Boston 2011). To think that I not only broke my old PR, but went beyond my A+ goal is unlike anything I could have dreamed of. While there are many people to thank, I learned an important lesson thanks to a throwaway sweatshirt.

Get out of my head, off of my watch and find my happy running place.
When you do, amazing things can happen.

Now to remember that for next time…

Happy Running!

   
65 Comments | Posted in CIM, Race Reflections, Races, recap, running

CIM Race Week!

When I looked at my calendar and saw that big red event on Sunday…

I then realized that 16 weeks had already past and it was time to toe the line at the California International Marathon (CIM)…

I really don’t feel ready for it…

But then again…

I soon got over myself, I decided to accept my fears…and the fact that this may not be my PR race…

And I’m hellbent to put the negative thoughts behind me and just accept whatever happens on race day…

I contemplated my race day attire…

I checked the weather and we’re rain free…

I’m following my taper plan…

I’m hydrating like a champ…

I have my fuel ready to go…

I have my race-day strategy all mapped out…

And I am READY TO RUN!

Happy Running!

   
17 Comments | Posted in CIM

Race Recap: Scheel’s Turkey Trot 2013

If Thanksgiving 2013 had a theme, it would be simple: BABIES.

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With the cutest block-head you’ve ever seen, my sister’s baby finally coming home from NICU on Thanksgiving day and my sister-in-law pregnant with a baby boy, it was all things miniature human. But I have to admit, I couldn’t get enough of it because being an aunt is simple the best. OH YOU ARE SO CUTE LET ME LOVE AND KISS YOU! Oh you pooped? Let me give you back to your mom.

In addition to the overwhelming cuteness, there was increased frequency of those questions…

“When are yoooooou going to have babies?!”
“You’re getting older, you need to be careful.”
“You know, as a runner, you can have increased complications.”

I simply shook my head while silently bemoaning their questions.

My family doesn’t have many Thanksgiving traditions, but one that I like to keep up myself and try to trick people in doing it with me is the Scheel’s Turkey Trot 10K. In 2010, I ran it in 10 degree weather (and also PR’d), in 2011 I raced it alone, I had to pass in 2012 due to the ankle disaster, and in 2013 I was back at it.

Let’s be frank, the course is horrible. Probably one of the most boring courses you could imaging: run out of a mall, through some warehouses, along a sidewalk, loop back on the street side and finish back at the mall. The only thing it does have scenery-wise is the ever present mountain backdrop that the Reno/Sparks area always has.

Regardless, Chicken Face and I made our way to continue the tradition and try to justify that day’s caloric consumption. Thankfully, we were in the 30 degree range; regrettably, my Garmin was dead so I ran watch-free.

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The race strategy: just run and try to limit the amount of times I curse the lack of oxygen in Nevada. I ran, saw old college friends (thanks for cheering, Monika!) and by the time mile marker 4.5 came around, I was getting kind of bored. The course is just so “meh.”

But thankfully, an older gentleman ran up next to meet and started verbally shouting motivational cues at me. And when I say shouting, I am not exaggerating.

“COME ON. PICK IT UP!”
“RUN FASTER!”
“WE’RE RUNNING 7 MIN. MILES. TOO SLOW!”
“WE SHOULD BE RUNNING 6:30s. COME ON.”

As shocking as his approach was, I kind of loved it. Ok old man, I can appreciate this. Let’s do it! So I ran with my new drill sergeant friend until we were almost there and I shouted back at him and told him to KICK IT IN. Then off he went.

I finished the race 42:XX (small town race still doesn’t have the results posted) and 2nd in my age group. Not a PR, but I still felt proud of the solid effort.

I finished the race in time to see Chicken Face finish his 10K at a pace of sub-9 minute miles, which is fantastic, especially considering he only runs when I drag him to races.

Thanksgiving continued as it should: family, food, sleep, food, repeat three times. It was fantastic.

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I hope everyone had a great time turkey trotting and had an amazing Thanksgiving.

Happy Running!

P.S. We’re officially one week out from CIM. Uhhhh…

   
8 Comments | Posted in Races, recap

Sandbagging

“I don’t know…

I feel like shit, I have shin splints, I have a hangover, I just traveled to Ghana and back, I had an allergic reaction to my cat, I ate gluten, I just got back from President Obama’s Dreamworks tour…

I’m just going to take it easy.”

Then they PR.
By 30 minutes.
Sandbagging SOB.

You’ve seen them. Heard of them. And perhaps, maybe much like myself, been called one. You know, those “sandbaggers” who make excuses, playing down their true strengths and abilities in preparation to have excuses for a possibly less than stellar race performance. And it’s not just runners or triathletes; according to Wikipedia, there is all different types of sandbagging depending on your sport. Regardless, it’s vicious and I’m guilty as charged.

I could make another excuse (My ankle! My training! My recovery!), but instead, I’d be back at it, sandbagging with the best of them. So instead, I’d like to issue a personal apology for any hint of sandbagging that may have come across in this training cycle or throughout the entire lifespan of this little blog. So here goes…

<PLEASE HIT PLAY TO THIS SONG WHILE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING>

Dear Gracious Reader,

Hey. It’s me, Page. If you’re new to my blog or have been reading my rambling over the past few years, hopefully you know that what you see is what you get. Cursing, typos, glorious iPhone photos, good training cycles and bad…it’s all been displayed on the blog. And if you’re still coming back, thank you!

However, it has come to my attention that at times, I may have displayed some “sandbagging” qualities. I may have played down my training cycles, dismissed the highs and focused the lows. Sad, but true.

I wanted to confide in you and tell you what’s really happening. Those qualities aren’t to secretly demolish the competition, shock and awe, or break the ribbon in any grand manner. But rather, deep down, it was to shield the shadows of doubt and fear that come along with every race experience. Or in other words, a lack of confidence.

At times, I take leaps of faith and declare my true goals (e.g. running a 3:15), but as the training cycle goes on and I start to break down, the excuses become more prevalent. It’s true, an ankle injury IS a reason to be concerned, but rather than wanting to “throw in the towel” as I so eloquently proclaimed in my last blog post, I should readjust perspective and the plan, but never the end goal. 

Perhaps it’s because blogging creates this hidden pressure among us all and I/we feel pressured to perform, or fear writing a “DNS, DNF, excuse, excuse, excuse” race recap. Why do we fear this? Because it’s a proclamation to the world that we tried and failed?

Well, I’m pretty sure that’s the meaning of life.

And if anyone is judging you because you tried and failed, well then, they’re not worth your energy. This sport isn’t about them or their opinions, but it’s about YOU. Working, trying, pushing, sucking, failing and trying again because we love it. Nothing else.

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It’s not sandbagging, it’s the secret doubt that sits within me.

I have a healthy, albeit sometimes injured, body that I should be thankful for.
I’m going to relish the places it takes me, even if it’s not on the path I had planned.
I’m going to once again try my best to keep trying, keep failing, and keep enjoying the journey along the way, regardless of what race recap I write. Why?

Because that’s life.

Happy Running,
Page

 

   
5 Comments | Posted in Life, running

Injured, Sick & How To Treat A Sprained Ankle

There I was, galavanting around the office in my chucks, jeans rolled up, thinking nothing of it. But when I sat down, crossed my legs at a meeting and my colleague said, “Oh my god, Page. What happened to your ankle?” I freaked out.

I looked down and there it was. Either I have a bout of elephantitis in my left ankle, or rolling my ankle twice during the Mt. Tam trail run actually DID do something to my bad ankle. It’s swollen again, but unlike when I first injured it, it doesn’t hurt at all. I’ll pretend that’s a good thing.

Needless to say, I’m annoyed and frustrated with CIM only a couple weeks away. Since then, I’ve also gotten sick and any ounce of energy has been zapped from me — making complete sentences on this blog post is even proving to be a struggle.

To be honest, part of me wants to throw in the towel on CIM as I don’t feel ready. I’m injured, sick, and while I did the workouts, I don’t feel like my training was analyzed and adjusted the way that it could have been to make great gains. I also know that I am a self-proclaimed sand bagger, and am doubting my own capabilities. Whoa. That’s another post altogether.

Anyways, I get a lot of emails asking about ankle sprains and my first piece of advice, especially if you’re close to a race, is to see a doctor. I’m not a medical professional and any advice I have would only be doing us both a disservice.

IMG_7789The ankle sprain from one year ago. How I loathe you.

However, I wanted to take a moment to explain the injured athlete’s best friend: RICE. No, not the starchy white stuff, but the approach to improved injury recovery. Here’s the RICE breakdown as outlined by the Mayo Clinic:

  • Rest. Avoid activities that cause pain, swelling or discomfort. But don’t avoid all physical activity. Instead, give yourself relative rest. With an ankle sprain, you can usually still exercise other muscles to prevent deconditioning. For example, you could use an exercise bicycle, working both your arms and the uninjured leg while resting the injured ankle on a footrest. That way you still exercise three limbs and keep up your cardiovascular conditioning.
  • Ice. Even if you’re seeking medical help, ice the area immediately. Use an ice pack or slush bath for 15 to 20 minutes and repeat every two to three hours while you’re awake, for the first 48 to 72 hours. Cold reduces pain, swelling and inflammation in injured muscles, joints and connective tissues. It also may slow bleeding if a tear has occurred. If the area turns white, stop treatment immediately. This could indicate a cold injury. If you have vascular disease, diabetes or decreased sensation, talk with your doctor before applying ice.
  • Compression. To help stop swelling, compress the ankle with an elastic bandage until the swelling stops. Don’t wrap it too tightly or you may hinder circulation. Begin wrapping at the end farthest from your heart. Loosen the wrap if the pain increases, if the area becomes numb or if swelling occurs below the wrapped area.
  • Elevation. To reduce swelling, elevate your ankle above the level of your heart, especially at night. Gravity helps reduce swelling by draining excess fluid.

A few other helpful resources:

Looks like some more RICE and DayQuil is in my future.

What do you do when sick or injured to keep from going crazy?

Happy Running!

   
30 Comments | Posted in injury

Race Recap: Mt. Tam Half Marathon (Or 15+ Miler)

My first trail race experience was nothing but waterfalls and oozing mush for all things trail running. No exaggeration.

But I suppose it was only a matter of time before the trails put me in my place and said, “Hey listen up you road-running noob, we still have some serious initiation to do.” And like that, I was tested.

My travel schedule to Portland and the Bay Area has been a bit chaotic lately for both personal and work reasons. I was in San Francisco all this week for work and managed to tack on some personal time with the husband this weekend. When Jojo mentioned the Mt. Tam 50Ka> that she was running and that there were shorter race options, Chicken Face and I decided to stay true to our resolution and say yes to another new adventure.

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Despite his cold and my throbbing leg (don’t ask), we hopped in the Westy and made our way to Stintson beach for the race start. He would be tackling the 10K and his first-ever trail race and I decided to do the half-marathon (my training plan called for 14-18, but McMillan said I could go for it).

UntitledHellllllllllo, California in November!

As a trail running newbie, I can look at this elevation profile and confidently say that this is more hill climbing than my pavement-loving legs have ever handled while proceeding at a pace that is faster than a walk.

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Did I know if this is considered a “tough” course? A “shit-ton” of climbing? Or was this pretty standard in the books of seasoned trail runners? I have no idea and I don’t really care. To me, it’s a lot. Regardless, I knew that this was just going to be a beautiful training run. I said goodbye to Chicken Face, wished him luck on his own adventure, and made my way with the pack.

The course was gorgeous, in fact, it felt like a little piece of Oregon tucked right within California, but with stunning views of the ocean mixed in. But this race recap isn’t about the views, but about the challenge.

The course itself was just as expected, you were either going up, up, up, or straight down. Hell, you even climbed a ladder at one point. A LADDER! My heart rate was in for a shock and I realized that the trail race I did a couple of weeks ago was a cake walk compared to this. I happily waited to the right for other to pass me.

Not only was the elevation challenging, but the funny thing is, you actually have to pay attention while trail running. The horror! I’m used to mindlessly following huge signs and cheering crowds, not being on the lookout for yellow ribbons, then orange ribbons, then yellow ribbons again, avoid the blue ribbons, don’t follow the pink ribbons, and if you get lost, you’re on your own.

Well shit. This whole “paying attention to directions thing” should have been my first warning because if you’ve ever met me, you know that directions and I don’t play well together.

So there I was, climbing, climbing, climbing, wondering when this climb would be over. All I saw were pink ribbons and after what felt like forever, I finally realized something wasn’t right. I managed to ask someone if they had seen any orange ribbons, when they quickly told me, “Oh honey, you missed that a while ago. The turn was back down and a ways back from the climb.” Lovely.

I grumbled profanities and made my way back down the hill only to find a fellow half-marathoner who had a similar fate. We both managed to miss the 8.5″x11″ sign with the orange arrow. Soon, I had made a new friend and we were both laughing about how idiotic we were for missing the turn, while making loops in and around the Muir Woods trying to figure out where the hell to go. I pulled out my phone to see if a map would help (it didn’t), so instead I snapped this: OH MY GOD WE’RE COMPLETELY LOST selfie:

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Luis soon spotted some park rangers who said, “We thought you were lost. Orange is at the end of the road that way…” The opposite direction in which we were running.

We continued to chuckle and when we finally found our orange arrow destiny, we rejoiced and figured that we probably added on around two additional miles. No longer were we in the half marathon game, but the “let’s just finish” game.

I soon parted ways with Luis with a new goal of just to get to an aid station. I didn’t have anything with me as I thought it was just a half and there would be plenty of aid stations along the way. I was wrong. There was only one aid station that you would visit once at mile 3 and mile 10 (which would be my mile 12+ by the time I reached it again). Trail running isn’t like normal road running where I can run 13 miles with minimal water or fuel, I needed something to drink and eat stat.

I could feel my legs getting wobbly and tired, and I rolled my bad ankle twice. Thankfully, it survived and I was a bit of a grumpy mess just wanting to get food and get done. Chicken Face would be waiting for me at the end and he would surely be wondering what happened.

I just ran and tried to take in the scenery because it truly was gorgeous, but the hanger was consuming me. When I finally reached the aid station I grabbed some fluids and bits of a PB&J. It didn’t take much, but it was just enough to give my the energy I had been longing for.

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I made my way to the finish, just trucking along, going back down all of the stairs we had climbed up, making friends with the other women around me. As I was approaching the final miles, I caught my foot on a rock in the middle of the trail and completely ate it, sliding down my left side. Thankfully, I was able to pick myself back up and the girl behind me joked and said, “It will be our secret.”

I later realized that the fall took a bit of my dignity as well as my favorite sunglasses. I leared that sunglesses were unnecessary/unsafe in the shade so I tucket them in my shirt. When I fell, they must have flown off without me realizing it and now my favorite, and only, running glasses were gone forever. Ugh. Is this race over yet?

I ran into the finish line, saw Chicken Face and started shouting, “I got completely lost for two miles!”

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I crossed the finish line not knowing, or caring at all, what my time was. I was just happy to be done.

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If I had to recap the course itself, I’d tell you that the beauty will not disappoint, nor will the challenge. Chicken Face said he was humbled by his 10K and the views were worth all of the climbing. Plus, I was so proud of Chicken Face for going along with another crazy idea and tackling his first trail race.

If I had to recap my personal experience, I’d say I have a lot of work to do. I have no idea how to handle running the descents, I need to learn how to fuel differently and properly for trail running, and my legs, well they just have a lot of work to do in order to be able to handle the trails.

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Post-race, Chicken Face and I went to the beach where we took a nap together on the sand. And that, my friends, made it all worth it.

Happy Running!

MtTamHalfElevation

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