Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘10K’

Reppin’ the East Bay at the Let’s Go 510K


I don’t hide my love of the San Francisco Bay Area at all. After two years of living in Oakland for graduate school, I found it hard to come back to the valley after spending a summer doing an internship, after graduation, in Dallas. Everything just seemed to slow. I went from areas where there were 100 things to do each night to an area where there were limited opportunities after 8 p.m.

I’ve adjusted better in the past couple years to suburbia. A move to a neighborhood where there were more commuters than not helped. What’s also helped is having easy access to the East Bay, including my favorite haunts in Oakland and Berkeley. My husband works in Richmond every day, so if I really, really need to do something, I can meet him in the East Bay.

I’m more connected to that area than I am my own some weekends. That’s probably why I consider Bay Area runs my “home” races. I know I work in Stockton, and have since I took my first job years ago, my most the races I sign up for and run are close to home the opposite way.

I run the East Bay because I love the East Bay.

That’s why it was easy for me to decide to apply to be a race ambassador for the Let’s Go 510K on Oct. 19.

I was so excited when I got accepted to be an ambassador with a group of other fantastic runners. I was more thrilled that I got to be part of this inaugural race representing the 510 area code. The race comes from a team sponsorship with Represent Running (which also puts on the 415K and the 408K) and Brazen Racing.


The 10K route is probably the most beautiful one I’ve ever run. It starts at the back of Golden Gate Fields, in the parking lot right along the waterfront.

My husband dropped me off early to make up some time at work, so I had about 40 minutes to enjoy the scenery.


Yeah, my 10K location was probably so much better than other people’s that weekend. Not even kidding.

Although a mostly “flat” course, runners go on a significant uphill in the first .20 miles. But that’s it.


First things first, before I continue my recap, I need to talk about the elephant on the blog: I’ve been running pregnant.


I’m at 14 weeks now. I was at 12 weeks then. I’m still kind of in the “Is she just gaining weight or is she pregnant category?” with my work and home clothes. I’ve only had to buy a couple maternity shirts because I have a closet of clothes that once fit me when I was 200 pounds, four years ago, that I just couldn’t bear to part with.

In my running clothes, though, it’s a different story. I’ve been bumping out for about six weeks now. Spandex doesn’t do women any favors in hiding a mini baby bump.

Running pregnant has NOT been easy. I always thought I’d be one of those women who ran through her entire pregnancy. But the first trimester left me so exhausted that I did little running. The one half marathon I did took me 3:21 minutes because of fatigue and injury.

Also not easy? The morning sickness that seems to creep up on mornings when I have races. Imagine how happy I was when the 510K started at 10 a.m. and not only gave me time to sleep in, but also to pull myself together in the morning.


One of the biggest selling points of the 510K is the location. It starts and ends, as mentioned before, at Golden Gate Fields. In fact, the finish is actually ON THE RACE TRACK.

The route moves along the waterfront, never crossing over the Eastshore Freeway (Interstate 80) and taking runners around Cesar Chavez Park in Berkeley. This inaugural race had about 1,000 people sign up for it, which I learned at the volunteer shift I did the day before the run.


That meant that there were always a good amount of people around during the run, even though I was a little slower than my fastest 10K time. I was glad too, if only because I’ve been very cautious about racing since finding out baby is on the way.

The first two miles were a little too fast for me right now: I ran a 10:00 and a 10:07. Yikes. It was already an odd warm day in the Bay Area, so I was starting to overheat a little pretty quickly. I carried my water bottle with me, which I normally don’t do in 10Ks, but figured with extra blood pumping through me I would need it, I was right.

As we made our way into the park, I started to slow and take some walk breaks. I probably should have went out at an even 11 pace and then worked my way down and pushed it at the end if I felt good. Instead those two 10-minute miles, which are pretty common for me in 10Ks, were kind of killer.

My next two miles were reflective of that: 11:46 and 11:32.

I definitely went out too fast and buy the time we were working our way back up along the scenic San Francisco Bay, my heart was beating a little too heavy and I was fading fast.


I may look strong in the photo above, but by then I was dying. At the second water station, I chugged down two cups of water and two cups of electrolyte. I was also sipping from my bottle more frequently.

My last two miles were similar: 12:38 and 11:42.

That said, I wasn’t disappointed by my finish time. I ran a solid 1:09:17, averaging 11:11 miles.

The best part, though, was finishing along the race track. The material on the track was interesting, to say the least. The last .20 included something of a single-track finish-area as people didn’t want to carve out new tracks on the track.

I actually ran ahead of quite a few people and kind of created my own path. I don’t want to say it was hard, just weird. I’m definitely not used to running on that sort of surface.


Represent and Brazen had a great finish-line festival after that included the typical Brazen set up of food and refreshments. And the medal was ridiculously awesome.


It’s bigger than some of my marathon medals!

Since my husband was still at work, I stopped by the Represent Racing booth and said hi. I also sat down for a little bit and took in the scene. The race track was a vastly different environment than I’d ever finished in.

The best part was the interaction with betters.

Case in point was a man who stopped me to ask what was happening.

Him: “Did you get in free? What was happening here?”

Me: “The runners got in free. It was for a race.”

Him: “Was there betting on it? Did I miss it?”

Me: “No. There was no betting. At least not that I know of … “

Awkward. When I mentioned it to my husband, he laughed for a good while.


The Let’s Go 510K quickly became one of my favorite races this year. I was actually excited to run a 10K instead of a half marathon. I was happy for the 10 a.m. start time and more excited for the course that kept it close to the bay.

The aim of Represent Running is to showcase different parts of the Bay Area by offering races in each of the area codes. Runners can get a “Run the Bay” medal if they complete all three races in a year period.

I would be all over the challenge, because the medal is pretty sweet, but I haven’t registered for any races after the Nov. 24 Berkeley Half Marathon. I think I’ll still be running, but not racing into my mid second trimester and my third trimester.

This is a GREAT race, though. And the first year event went off so well. I haven’t seen a first-year race so organized in a very long time.

Overall, the 510K was an amazing experience. It is definitely a race I’ll sign up for next year.

Disclaimer: I was given a free race entry as part of the Let’s Go 510K ambassador program, but the thoughts and race report are my own opinions.

Today was a good day to run


To say running has been a struggle lately might be an understatement. It’s been impossible on most days. In four weeks of scheduled races, I only made it to two. But the two I made it two were like night and day.

Two weeks ago, I ran a horrible half marathon. To make matters worse, my running buddy was having such a hard time with the race that she kept telling me to go ahead. I didn’t want to. As much as I had invested in it, I didn’t feel the need to do run away from her or go on without her. Nope. Wasn’t happening.

So Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose didn’t go well for either of us. She was trying to keep me at a slower pace, too. If she hadn’t have paced me through the first eight miles, I probably wouldn’t have finished.

Today, though, marked the inaugural Let’s Go 510K.

So many things were amazing about today. I’ll write a race recap later, and hopefully be back to regular blogging, but a couple standouts included:

  1. An excellent turnout of people: I was given the chance to volunteer thanks to my race ambassador duties at packet pick up on Friday and was told that around 1,000 people signed up to run the event. THAT’S AN AMAZING NUMBER! Especially for a first-time event.
  2. Good running conditions: The race start was at 10 a.m., which meant that I could sleep in! It was still cold and slightly windy when we started our trek from Golden Gate Fields toward the Berkeley Marina.
  3. Plentiful support: The East Bay really came out to celebrate this run. We passed members of the Oakland Raider’s Black Hole, young soccer players and avid bird watchers — all cheered loud and proud.
  4. Location, location, location: A start along the San Francisco Bay? A route that winds around Albany and Berkeley’s picturesque shoreline? A finish ON THE TRACK at Golden Gate Fields? I haven’t run an in-city 10K with that much to offer ever.

The best part, though, was that I ran decently. Not well. Not PR status. But good enough that I feel better about running again.


I haven’t had such a “runner’s high” in quite sometime. But today, surrounded by a group of ridiculously excited first ever “five and dimers” I found a new spark in my passion for running.

Beyond the personal fitness mess that is now

More often than not lately I feel like running and I are just having a “time out.”

After a really successful spring racing season that gave me a 12-minute PR in the marathon and a 2:16 finish in the half, I shouldn’t be surprised.

I’ll be switching down to the half marathon at Half Moon Bay in a couple weeks. I have a lot of reasons to do so. One of them, though, is that I’m just not ready to run 26.2. (There are health reasons too, yes.)

After yoga on Tuesday, I felt like I had been hit by a bus for no other reason than it just didn’t go well for me.

I feel like a fitness mess right now. But I also have A LOT to look forward to in the next couple months.


colormeradThe first is that I’m FINALLY going to be participating in a color run this weekend. I’ll be heading to San Jose on Saturday, husband in tow, to run in the Color Me Rad 5K. After not making it to the start line this summer for the one I previously registered for, I’m excited to get to do one. I didn’t get to early packet pickup with my students in production for their first newspaper of the semester this week, so I’m anticipating long lines comes Saturday.

My wave starts at 9:20 a.m. I’m hoping to get there at about 8:15 a.m. or so.

The best part of this run is that it’s a 5K! That means that, in comparison to the other runs my husband has had to wait for me at, this one won’t be nearly as long. I’m excited to run something shorter too.

But I won’t be running for speed. Instead I’m going to focus on taking it all in and having fun.


I’m planning on taking this one slow and steady too. I’ve never run a trail half marathon. I don’t really feel like I have anything to “prove” on the course either. I’m just going to get it done.

I went into my first trail 10K thinking the same thing. I was slow. The next year I ran it much, much faster. I just want to enjoy myself.

Plus, my husband will likely pack the kayak for this one, so I can take a little longer if need be as well.

I’ll admit, though, I’m a little bit more excited about the fact that this half is named for the Internet Honey Badger meme. And the medal is pretty awesome as well.

LET’S GO 510 10K

letsgoI’m REALLY excited to announce that I’ve been chosen as an ambassador for the Let’s Go 510 10K on Oct. 19 in Berkeley.

I love the East Bay. When I was a graduate student at University of California, Berkeley I lived in Oakland for two years. I loved the life and culture of the area. I lived in North Oakland, where there were a bunch of cute shops and restaurants.

I’m already signed up for the Berkeley Half Marathon in November. So when I saw this race, I knew I had to get involved. I sent an email inquiring about the company’s ambassador program. And I was accepted!

I’ll be running the 10K.

This race is partially put on by Brazen Racing, which is one of my favorite racing companies.

The race will take runners through the Berkeley Marina area. It will be nice and cool come October. Even better is the 10 a.m. start of the race. I actually get to sleep in a little before running.


The reason I’m so excited about these races is that they are all a little bit different than the norm for me. A color run. A trail half marathon. A 10K. Two I’ve never done. One I haven’t done in awhile.

I’m hoping by the time the Let’s Go 510 10K comes around, I’ll have rebounded from this funk. That said, I still have two other half marathons to run in that time. But the good news is that I’m excited about running again.

Now if I could only clam down the nagging pain in my hip and the nasty pains in my stomach…

Going the distance (at any distance)


Horrible reproduction, right? Pixelated photos are so 2008. I normally wouldn’t post a photo this grainy on my blog, but it’s one of only about three I have from my first 5K. I wasn’t “into” running then. I hop on the treadmill from time to time, usually only when I was feeling really heavy or unsatisfied with myself.

Running didn’t become part of my life for good until 2010.

But that first 5K was a monumental stepping stone for me. It was the first time I’d run that distance. I trained hard for that race, but not nearly as hard as I should have. I hurt afterwards. I felt miserable at parts during the run itself. But I also felt victorious when I finished it.

I felt on top of the world.

As spring winds down, there are races nearly every weekend now in my area. A lot of people are out running their first 5K, 10K, half marathon or marathons right now.

There are training plans all over the Internet to get runners to that next pivotal step in their running journey. But many of them don’t cover what to do to prepare for the day you walk up to the start line and get ready to go on that first run.

Here are some tips to make it through a race, whether it’s 3.1 miles or 26.2.



That happy face? By the end of my first 5K I was panting and my legs were cramping up with a pain I had never experienced before. I didn’t know why until another runner mentioned to me, when I was complaining to my husband about how bad I felt (“…like I was hit by a truck…”), that I likely needed to be more hydrated.

I’m always worried about multiple trips to the portable toilet before a race. So in the beginning my strategy was to not drink anything so I could avoid those trips.

Don’t do that. Ever.

In fact, as a runner you should regularly be hydrating. I carry around a 25-ounce bottle of water and usually refill it once or twice a day. This is especially true now that it’s warmer outside. Keep drinking water.

Now that hydration is a regular part of my life, I don’t worry so much about those morning of bathroom trips. I’m not drinking a ridiculous amount of water in the morning to catch up now.

Hydration helps you avoid injury and cramps. It will also help you get through a new distance feeling better at the end. Take it from someone who learned the hard way.



That typically means being less concerned about time and more concerned about finishing.

I hate to tell people to “aim low.” But in reality, the first time you run a new distance, you should really train yourself to focus on making it through. I’m one of those people who went out way too fast in my first half marathon. Then, by the end, I looked like the above photo. I was exhausted.

I just wanted to be done.

Then at mile 10, I hit “the wall” and I’ll never forget it. My chest felt tight. My body felt like it was shutting down.

But I went into that race with one goal: finish it.

My second goal was to finish in under three hours. I figured I’d factor in some extra time as padding.

When I finished in 2:35:36 I accomplished both those goals.

I know people who make grand plans for finishing races, saying they want to have an instant PR or qualify for Boston during their first marathon. Some people do. More mortal types like me don’t. And that’s not a reason to throw in the towel.


I’ve seen it happen. In fact, at a recent race, I recognized the symptoms of a Did Not Finish (DNF) happening right next to me as I hit mile 8 in the Oakland Half Marathon.

A woman next to me was making pretty good time. But that was my perception of it. Not hers.

She was running at a conversational pace with a friend. And she starting talking about dropping out of the race.

“I’m not going to make my 2:10 goal,” she said. “I wanted my first half to be a decent one.”

OK. A 2:10 would be a PR for me. If I could get myself to a 2:10 half marathon, I’d be over the moon happy.

Not her. She wasn’t. I ran ahead, setting my own personal PR. I waited around at the finish to see if that woman and her friend came through the chute. I saw her friend only a couple minutes after me. I never saw the women. That’s not to say she didn’t finish, but it kind of stuck with me.

I know a person who had two DNF in half marathons before she could finish one. She gave up halfway through the first two times because, in her words, she “couldn’t complete the distance.” She had run the 10-milers. She’d trained for 14 weeks. But she couldn’t do it come race morning.

The moment you start to doubt is the moment it can all go bad. Don’t let a couple bad miles ruin a race, especially if it’s the first time you’ve run the distance. I promise, you’ll feel better when you finish. And you’ll likely want to sign up for another one.


Gear is important. You will likely carry something with you during a run, even if it’s just your car keys. I carry more stuff the longer the distance. But the key is knowing what works for you and just how little or how much you need to get through your run. Here’s a breakdown of what I carry with me over the four distances:

5K — Phone, usually in the pocket of my capris.

10K — iFitness belt, phone, two packs of Vanilla Bean Gu, small 12-ounce water bottle

Half marathon — iFitness belt, phone, five packs of Gu, 20-ounce water bottle

Marathon — iFitness belt, phone, $5 (never know when you’ll need money), 9 packs of Gu, 20-ounce water bottle

I also plan out what I am going to wear and test it at least twice on a longer run. For my half marathon, I wore a nice Dri-Fit shirt that I had worn on numerous eight and 10-mile runs during training. I also wore a pair of capris that I had run quite a few times too.

There’s a reason a lot of people don’t wear the race shirt on race day. It’s not because it’s “lame” as some people think. It’s actually because untested race wear is definitely not recommended. You could chafe. You could also be incredibly uncomfortable the entire race.

Just avoid the new things. And make sure you have tested and prepared to use the gear you are bringing.



I post photos of my race gear all the time. I also have a really bad anxiety problem. So if I don’t have everything perfectly ready the night before, I usually freak out a little in the morning.

I lay all of my gear out the night before just to make sure everything is there. It honestly saves time in the morning when I’m not rushing to find things, like my Garmin or my Body Glide.

I’ve done it so often that I just kind of go through the motions now. I also back my “after” bag with everything I need for after the race.



I can’t stress this enough. But this is also one of the hardest things to do.

Why? Race day nerves often keep you up longer than you’d like to be. I know. I’ve been there. I’d like to say it gets better after you do a couple races of your “new” distance, but the reality is I’m still nervous before every race I run. I’ve just learned to cope better with the nerves (sometimes).

I prepare the day before a race by not sleeping in too late, which could keep me up at night, and generally staying off my feet as much as possible. I also try to settle down and watch television for an hour or so before I’m supposed to go to bed. It helps me relax and take my mind off of everything. I almost always in bed by 11 p.m.


Another hard one when it’s your first time. You train hard. You put a ton of pressure on yourself to make it happen. Just go out and have a good time on race day. Don’t second guess your training (because by then you can’t do anything about it), just go out and run. You’ll be relieved once you shake the nerves out. But you’ll also be incredibly excited when it’s over.

Have a good time. Enjoy your day, because you never forget your first.

Finishers shirt by mail


Here’s something I’m not used to: Getting a finishers shirt in the mail. But I found this beauty shoved in my incredibly small, unforgiving mailbox on Thursday.

It’s a pretty nice shirt too. It’s a long-sleeved Dri-Fit. It’s not one of the cotton Dri-Fit shirts I normally wear when running (which I rotate out with my Lululemon shirts), which I’m kind of relieved about. This one picks up the sweat really nicely (yes, I’ve already worn it on a run).

I have to admit, though, I was a little confused when I got it. I didn’t realize it had a place for me to write something on it.

I’ve only seen a few photos of it online so far, though, for inspiration of what to write on it.

Some people write where they ran. I think if I put “We Run Tracy” people might think that’s my name. So I was considering something that was on one of my other shirts. Maybe I could go with something like “We Run Empowered” or something?

The problem then is that I have to write it.

I once won a third-grade penmanship award for my very straight handwriting. If you see my handwriting now, you likely wouldn’t believe that was ever the case. My cursive is much, much worse.

I know part of it has everything to do with a formally strained tendon that hasn’t been the same since I injured it shooting video a couple years ago. So when I sign my signature, it doesn’t really look like the pre-injury signature. Plus I can’t sign my husband’s last name well. I guess that’s the difference between 24 years of practice and five years of practice.

So I’m likely going to never write something on this shirt and have that awkward white area just sitting there waiting for something.

On the plus side, it’s a nice shirt. It’s looser than I’d like at the bottom, but fits snugly at the top.

Plus, it has a pretty nice design on the back too.


It, obviously, looks like many of the other Nike shirts I had already in my running-clothes collection.

My friend Jennie made a comment about long-sleeved shirts the other day, mentioning that so few races these days give that option. San Francisco has for the last two years, though I know before that they had short-sleeve shirts. California International Marathon gives both options if you sign up early enough. I always pick the long-sleeve version.

The Oakland Half Marathon is one of the few races that does as well. And that’s what I’ll be doing this weekend.

I’m heading over tomorrow to pick up my race packet. I have a really, really low number this year, something in the 2,000 area, which I was surprised about. I’m planning on getting in and getting out quickly, unless I have a friend accompany me. My husband is supposed to work (or so I think, he told me earlier he switched his day off to Saturday, and then I reminded him that we’d only had a conversation about 10 times about Oakland being this weekend).

Oakland was supposed to be my “A” race this season. But with everything else happening (gallbladder removal, fractured arm, blah, blah, blah), I’m just going to happy to get going and finish. Plus, there’s this marathon in less than two weeks I’m really scared about at this point.

Crossing my fingers for a good race.

Luck of the Irish comes into play at 10K


Last year at about this time, I was writing about how this same race didn’t go as well as I thought it would. I’ve never sure how to approach trail races. I used to spend more time running trails. As I started training for one marathon, then another and then another, I moved away from that more leisure-like activity.

I’m joking, of course. It’s not leisurely at all.

Trails mean business.

And this trail was no exception.

It includes 400 feet of climbing in the course of a mile. Then more climbing. The first climb is a series of switchbacks that wreak havoc of every bone in your body on the way up. The first down is a quad destroyer.

The Badger Cove trail isn’t even one of Brazen’s toughest.

Last year, I was over the top anxious about this 10K. On Saturday, I was mostly fine. My husband had to work, so I packed up my belongings and drove myself to Livermore’s Del Valle State Recreation Area. The drive was about 30-minutes. I parked, thanks to a pre-paid parking pass sent over days before via email by Brazen Racing, and headed over to the sign-in area.


There was a lot of green. I normally don’t take photos of people’s butts or backsides for that matter, but this kind of illustrated the sea of green that was everywhere along the trail.

I headed back to my car after using the portable toilet. I warmed up a little, but mostly just looked through my goodie bag. About thirty minutes beforehand, I decided to head back over to the start and use the real toilets, which were a little bit of a walk away.


I walked by as the half marathoners were preparing to head out, 25 minutes before the 10K group.

It was chilly, but manageable. I didn’t need a long-sleeve shirt. In fact, I wore one of my only green shirts, a Nike Dri-Fit Cotton one from the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in 2011. (Does that seem like a long time ago to anyone else? To me, lately, it does.)

It was a peaceful, beautiful morning in general.


That view right there? That’s the reason to do trail runs. You get to spend more than an hour looking at hills and beautiful bodies of water. Plus, Brazen doesn’t charge an arm and a leg for races so you can do so for a good price, with a lot of support. (You can also run the trails for just the price of parking for free, but the support is amazing to have.)

I lined up for the start at about 8:20 a.m.

I held my arm close to me. I was afraid of getting bumped. And right when I thought everything would be OK, a guy walked by me and hit my shoulder. It stung a little. I think if I hadn’t had been so chilled, I would have likely been more hurt by it.

At 8:25 a.m., we took off.

Mile 1: 10:41 — I was worried about my calves cramping, as they have done quite a bit lately. I tried to hold the speed down to not aggravate whatever problems I’m having with my legs. A little bit of an uphill in this mile, but mostly the distance served to take us from the paved park to the trails.

Mile 2: 11:36 — Mostly flat, some small hills. We start the single-track area around here, which always causes some slowdowns, especially when people start to walk on the uphills. No problems here, the surface is getting choppy.

Mile 3: 14:10 — This may seem like a ridiculous pace for a mile, but this one is all uphill. It’s a battle. Switchbacks. Panting. Craziness. And yet, I took about two minutes off my time on here last from last year. I just kept moving. I never wanted to give up. I just wanted to move and keep going. When I finished this mile I was so happy, if only because I knew I had knocked a significant amount of time off that mile from last year.

I started to think that maybe I could come in quicker than last year.

Mile 4: 12:31 — Beginning of the significant downhills here. Normally I’m a little less cautious when descending, but for this particular run I had decided that I was going to take it slow, very cautiously. If I fell, I had no way to really pick myself back up. If I fell and hurt my right arm, I’d really be in a mess. I kept it nice and slow heading down, and then cautious when the hills started again.

Mile 5: 14:05 — One significant uphill here. I noticed the time and was wondering how bad I was doing there. It turns out I wasn’t doing that bad. I ran a 16:05 on that mile last year. I was doing significantly better now. But I didn’t know that then.

This was also the point where I was heading down a hill an suddenly felt like I was losing control. I can’t describe it other that it was like knowing that I had to stop, but not having the breaks to do so. I was scared for a minute. I thought of myself flying straight into a bush or, worse, a tree. If the trail hadn’t had made a quick turn uphill, I thought I would have just flown down a hill. That uphill gave me back the control I had lost.

I stopped and walked for a couple minutes after that. I was kind of scared. And, at that point, my arm had tensed up so much that it really, really hurt.


Mile 6: 11:15 — We start coming down from the hills an back to the flat trail path. I start thinking I can possibly come in a little under. I’m not really paying attention to the exact time, but when I see how far under last year’s time (1:26:53) and I realized it had been an amazing run.

Mile .42: 4:02 — At that point, I really started to push. I don’t know why at that sudden spot I did, but I just wanted to be done. My legs were tired. My arm hurt.


Around the corner and into the finisher’s shoot, where I was handed my very colorful rainbow medal with a badger on it (see beginning of this post).

I walked through a tent area and turned around to see what I would consider a Brazen pot of gold.


All the medals! The rest of these were waiting for other finishers to claim. I thought it was kind of fitting.

My final time: 1:18:13

I can’t even begin to say how proud I am of that time. It’s probably my best trail-run showing to date. It kind of makes me want to sign up for more, but I have a couple marathons I need to finish before I can head back out for the views.

Why am I running better? I don’t know exactly. It could be both mental and physical reasons. I know that I feel a lot better since the gallbladder removal. I know that I no longer have nagging abdominal pain or discomfort when I run. But maybe it’s also because I’m running a lot lighter lately. Not as many worries. A lot more happiness.

There’s a lot of good at the end of my rainbow right now.


I keep surprising myself


This morning I woke up, calm, ready to head to Livermore and do my first official 10K in a full year. I didn’t believe it either when I realized, today, that the last time I ran a 10K was this same race, a year ago.

I’ve a couple shorter distances in that time, but I knew this was the first in a year when I opened the pocket on the water bottle and saw that I had the map from last’s year Badger Cove run tucked into it. I only use the bottle, a small Lululemon for Amphipod one, for 10Ks.

Last year I ran Badger Cover, with all it’s crazy elevation changes and switch backs in 1:26:41. I wasn’t too upset about my time for that one because I knew it would be tough. I also remember the nagging side pain I got during the greatest climb that caused me to keel over on the side of the trail and feel like I was dying.

We know now that was the gallbladder. This year, it’s gone.

And I’m better than I thought I could ever be, even with tired legs and a bit of a dehydration/potassium deficiency as of late. That’s why my calves have been hurting me so much lately. Three bottles of water yesterday and a potassium supplement and this morning I was good to go.

Today, I finished the Badger Cove 10K in 1:18:13, according to the results posted before I left.

When I left my house this morning, my arm felt more stiff than it had last night. I popped an Ibuprofen, for lack of not being able to find a Tylenol, and was out the door. It didn’t take the edge off. At the start line, a guy brushed by my left arm and made me cringe. I’m considering writing “I have a fractured arm” on my head.

But I started running. And I forgot about my arm. At least for most of the race.

I don’t know who this version of me is and what business she has earning two course PRs in less than a month, but something has lit a fire inside me. And I like it.

Virtual race, real slow pace

I’ve admitted that I’m having some problems lately with my calves. I’m not sure why. I’ve changed nothing about the way I run. I have new-ish shoes that didn’t give me problems at the start and my socks are the same. But I’ve been thwarted in recent runs by calves that feel like they are on fire.

By two miles into a run I’m dying. My legs are burning. By four miles in, I’m usually fine.

On Saturday, I signed up to do the Nike Virtual 10K, logging 6.2 miles outside on my Nike+ iPhone app.


The run was in conjunction with the Nike Washington D.C. half marathon coming in April. I’m not doing that race, but the virtual run was for a good cause. Plus, it gave me a reason to run outside. Lately, I’ve needed reasons to run outside (hello horrible fall that I’m still experiencing pain from and can’t extend my arm!).

So this was a good test of my endurance. A run. By myself. Through my neighborhood.

I’ve talked a lot about the fact that I run in another community. I don’t talk much about the fact that I have completely ample running trails less than a half a mile from my house. It’s only been lately that I’ve been running the trails in my own backyard.

The run started just as I thought it would: my calves burned for the first two miles. I tried to keep going to register a decent time.

By the time I hit a park for a bathroom break, my legs were feeling a lot better.

My averages went down into the 10+ minute mile area. At one point I was running in the nine-minute mile area.

My final time: 1:10:41

Not horrible, but not wonderful either. Considering I had to stop at every stoplight (sometimes I paused it, especially when I knew I would have to wait a long time), but mostly I just waited. I thought it went pretty well.

The real gem, though, was checking out my neighborhood and seeing it in a different light.

I have some great views in my ‘hood.


Well-manicured running paths? Yes. We have those. This whole area is just south of my house. It had been a long-time since I ran this area alone. I’ve been running it a lot at night lately with Jennie. She moved to the far end of the city awhile back and it’s easier for us to run at night in Tracy than Mountain House lately.

Plus, I no longer need the frequent portable toilets that Mountain House has to offer. (A good result of my gallbladder being gone, but also a bit of TMI, sorry.)

So I actually had a pretty good run.


Did I mention the views of the Diablo Range I see when I run here? Tracy is an ex-burb (there is such a thing) of the San Francisco Bay Area. It’s in San Joaquin County, which is considered part of the valley, but years ago it became kind of an extension of the Bay Area when the hordes moved out this way in search of big, inexpensive homes.

If you would have told me 10 years ago I’d live in Tracy at some point and own a house here, especially in my neighborhood, I likely would have laughed. But we’ve now lived here for five years. And I’ve grown to love it.

My hometown, Stockton, has become something I don’t even recognize anymore. My parents have become used to the sound of gun fire. My dad once told me about the “crack house” right down the street. There was a drive-by in front of my grandmother’s house involving people that my brother’s grew up with.

It’s become a city plagued by violence and sadness. It’s also where I go to work everyday still. It’s the place I consider home, but my life is in Tracy now. Jennie, who also grew up in Stockton, and me were talking about the differences between running in Tracy and Stockton.

I once made the mistake of going for a quick run around the downtown area before it got dark because I knew my day was going to be longer than I thought. It was an out-and-back path, four miles in total. I’m pretty sure I was called at least four names and had a guy chase me for about a quarter mile (that was scary).

Never again.

So my running paths here make me happy.


My freakishly scary photo from the run. I guess if I hadn’t taken time to stop and take photos, my time may have been better.

The 10K came a day before I finally finished my 15-mile run — on the treadmill.

I know it sounds like a cop out, but I had to run 15. And after the fall less than two weeks ago, I was still queasy about attempting the run along a path I didn’t know too well. So I took the easy way out. I hopped on the treadmill and just ran, watching “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” on Netflix. I got it done. Now I’m over it.

So what’s next? A trail 10K this upcoming weekend. Then the Oakland Half Marathon the following weekend. Two weekends after that I run the San Luis Obispo Marathon.

I’m know that I’m not as ready to run the marathon as I should be. I know because my training cycle was severely derailed by gallbladder surgery. But I told my husband I’m not about to throw in the towel and go for the half. I’m going to take it as it comes.

This is going to be harder than I thought

I’ve run all of six miles since I got cleared to officially run. Six miles. And the first two were slow-as-molasses miles. I’m talking 12-minute mile zone. That’s usually my warm-up pace for the first half mile.

Yesterday, it was a nice comfort zone that took me two miles to break out of.

Let me explain.

Today, I was supposed to pumping out a record-fast 10K at the 2013 version of this race:


Instead, I’m trying to find my balance again running, literally.

A week ago, after looking at my half marathon plans for Feb. 17 I realized most of my workouts were going to be treadmill activities. Not because I’m so in love with my treadmill I don’t want to leave the house. It’s because I’m still having some balance issues from the gallbladder removal surgery.

My surgeon said the issues will go away within a month. And while I could just say “oh well, no running for a month,” I can’t do that if I am really adamant about running Rock ‘n’ Roll Pasadena.

To be fair, anyone can walk/run a half without a ton of training. I want to do better than I did last year.

Basically if I get deep into a run, I start to feel as if my head is spinning. Then I wobble a little bit. Then my balance goes right out the window. It sounds really dangerous, yes. You’re thinking: “WHY THE HELL ARE YOU RUNNING?”

I sound naive, but it’s not as bad now as it was on Monday when I ran four miles. I’m hoping if I hit the treadmill today it would be as bad as it was yesterday. It will wear off, I was assured. So when I hopped on the treadmill for my six-mile run yesterday, I spent 24 minutes over two miles making sure I didn’t lose my balance.

I also ran later in the day.

Being without the dread of my full-time job means I can be creative again (not even kidding). It also means I can take on freelance assignments. I’m lucky enough to have a friend I greatly admire, who is sending some awesome coding/web building assignments my way. So I woke up at 7 a.m. Friday, put on my running clothes and then proceeding to alter alter CSS for five hours before deciding it was time to run. (My husband probably shouldn’t know that.) The good news is, the website I’m working on is starting to look like the mocks up. And I ran with only one short dizzy spell.

I WANT to be ready for Pasadena. I WANT to do better than last year. But right now I’m having some serious doubts in my capabilities to run a half. That gives me serious doubts in running the April 7 marathon too. (I hate even writing that because I’ve already paid for it, we already know we are going and I know I WANT to do that race too.)

Maybe this is still the post-operative fog talking. After a similar surgery in 2010, I only took a week off work. I ended up taking nearly six weeks off running. I don’t want to do that again. That was also a planned surgery. The gallbladder removal was an emergency. I can’t imagine what I’d be feeling, the back and forth thoughts and all, if it had happened closer to the Oakland Half Marathon, closer to the San Luis Obispo Marathon. I’d be devastated.

Right now? I’m mildly disappointed. I don’t think I’ve ever written a letter as sad for me as the one I did to the Brazen race director two weeks ago. I really just wanted to be there today. And not sitting at home wondering what might have been if my gallbladder had decided not to, for lack of better visual, explode on me.

A not so lucky St. Patrick’s Day race

I haven’t had much luck with races lately. The Pasadena half marathon didn’t turn out as I had planned. I haven’t been running as much lately. And my time of the treadmill was fairly seriously compromised because of a weird blood sugar/body aching like it’s on fire thing, that happened earlier this week and basically kept me away from work for two days.


I was hoping for a good run and finish at today’s Brazen Racing Badger Cove 10K.

It’s a new course for Brazen. When I looked at the elevation chart for the 10K initially I said no. Not only no, but hell no.

The climb? 934 feet. With switchbacks.

Yeah. It looked scary. My husband tried to calm my nerves today and basically told me no way it would be hard. There wasn’t all that much climbing involved. He didn’t run it, though.

And I signed up specifically because Brazen has never had a race within 20-miles of my home. I’ve usually had to drive into the East Bay, more than an hour or so, and venture somewhere distant.

I got to sleep in a little extra with this race. Big plus. And the Mountain House Running Club were showing up in force (more on that later).

The course stayed pretty calm the first couple miles. Not bad.

I stopped twice to tie my shoes. This was my first race wearing my Brooks PureGrit. It was a nice break-in run. But I’m still getting used to the shoes in general.

I wasn’t expecting having to tie my shoes. Lame. My Nike’s for street running never do that.

But the PureGrit’s were essential today, for many reasons.

First, everything was wet.

Lots and lots of puddles. Everywhere.

And second, there was a lot of mud, especially on the downhills.

The race was delayed until 8:30 a.m., which made getting there a little easier. By the time we showed up, the half marathon was already starting. I quickly got in line for my bib. Big surprise, the bibs today had our names on them.

Wow. Brazen is getting fancy. I was so impressed with this new addition to the regular Brazen star treatment. Really. I’ve been feeling not so great all week and this kind of made it for me.

Everything was moving along quickly as we lined up. Corey from the Mountain House Running Club found me. We had a nice chat before we took off.

I paced out pretty well. Outside of the shoe tying, things were going pretty well. Until the hills began. Then my body, which already felt slightly weak, really started hurting.

I was hitting under 11-minute miles until the climb.

Then things went downhill as I went uphill.

That mile three was brutal. It was switchback after switchback all uphill. I was ready to call it a day. I was lagging. People were passing. I was walking.

Then I hear someone behind me: “Tara, if I pass you, I’m putting it on my blog!”

That tidbit of motivation came from Corey. I dig Corey. He’s got a great personality. He’s sarcastic too, which makes talking to him all the better. Plus, he’s pretty accepting in general. (Let’s face it, I don’t live in Mountain House, but they let me claim their club. That’s nice, honestly. I don’t have a running club here in Tracy. The Mountain House Running Club is the only group that accepts all ages, genders, etc. around my area, but they are a cautious bunch who doesn’t just let anyone in. But I run in Mountain House frequently, so I kind of feel like it’s part of my routine.)

So…I decided to pick it up. Not really because I didn’t want Corey to pass me, but because his words served as motivation.

I kept looking back to see if he’d chide me again.

And, let’s face it, I didn’t want to be called out for the entire blogosphere.

So I pushed. When I wanted to quit, I kept pushing.

All the way to the end.

My official time: 1:26:41

Corey came in not long after me. Matt from the running club greeted me at the finish. He placed third in his age group (because he’s a lot faster than me). Soon after, Greg and Drew from the club came in. Chris was there before I came in too.

Here’s a group shot of those of us who were around at that time:

Of note: I’m really starting to look a little pudgy. Need to work on that. You’ll notice the mud on the ground. Yeah, it was kind of like that everywhere.

I grabbed something to eat, said my goodbyes and Thomas and I were off. Back to Tracy via Patterson Pass Road. (Why not? It was a nice drive.)

As for the PureGrits, the pair stood up to the test. I had better stability on the trail. I have no pain after. I did notice a little spring in my step. The elastic that crosses over the lace area actually kept my feet from slipping out. I didn’t feel as if every step would be the one that made me slip. I’m kind of in love with them.

Was it a bad race? No. But it still wasn’t my best. My race luck hasn’t returned yet. I’m still in a slump.

But the bling was awesome after. The shirts were green for St. Patrick’s Day. The medals were bigger than the one I got last month for running the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half in Pasadena.

And now? On to the next one. I’m planning a treadmill run for Sunday. It’s pouring outside again. I’m kind of done with the mud for today. I have a week until the Oakland Half Marathon.

I’m just hoping for better luck at that one.