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Posts tagged ‘trail’

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.

An empowering 9K

I signed up for the Title 9K for one specific reason: Last year an injury forced me out of the previous one at the last minute. It was one of two races in a two weekend period that because of my strained Achilles, there was just no way I could run.

I was on crutches, actually. And in a lot of pain. So much pain that it still hurt to put my foot down even slightly.

So when I found out that this year’s run would be at Quarry Lakes in Fremont and that it would be a little later in the year, I decided to sign up. I’m so glad I did.

Today was a good day. An empowering day, with hundreds of other women. And over a 9K (5.59 miles), I didn’t stop once. I also didn’t wear my Garmin, surrendering it to Jennie who came along to do a training run herself in the park. But my official time is pretty awesome.

I finished in 53:39 for an average of 9:37 a mile, officially.

I’m super stoked about this for a couple reasons.

One is that it means I can likely sustain a 10K at under 10-minutes a mile. Two is that it means, despite some recent setbacks and a not so great running week, my training is still on course for the California International Marathon. Success. Empowerment.

The sky was overcast as the group headed over to the start line.

Jennie looks a lot preppier than me in this photo. I just look tired. And my hair is a mess. Yikes. I’m only posting this to show the weather, which was a nice overcast.

I was only there for about 20 minutes before it started. There were plenty of portable and real toilets. I was literally in and out of the bathroom line in five minutes. Thumbs up for Title IX for that one, especially for an all-women’s race.

The starting line was chaotic, but organized. I don’t have any photos because my husband “borrowed” my iPhone so he’d have entertainment while I ran. (He couldn’t exactly leave because I was running for only an hour.)

My husband had already picked up my race bag with a bunch of swag in it.

And my nicely-designed T-shirt, which initially was too big. The nice ladies at the expo/check in both were nice enough to let me exchanged it with a size medium after the race. I’m glad I hadn’t washed it before, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to exchange it.

At 9 a.m. exactly, we were off to run Quarry Lakes. The organizers promised a “flat” race. I’d say it was “flattish,” but definitely not as flat as I’m used to on some of my training runs. I’m actually really glad I’ve been doing more incline work to prepare.

I started out strong, kind of stuck behind a group of women who were spread across the path. I kept trying to pass them, finally doing so when the path opened up a little bit more. I had no pain in my legs, not even my glute that’s been bothering me over the past week.

So I just kept going. I had no idea what my time was. I just kept at it. No problems, outside of a park official’s truck literally driving right through the race path.

I didn’t even need to stop at the first aid station because I carried my Amphipod 20-ounce handheld.

I quickly saw the sign for mile two and headed out into the out and back section. It all seemed to happen so fast. I turned around at a bridge, behind what seemed like a ton of people, and headed back along the outside of the park and then into the park again.

I slowed only when I hit an aid station on the way back, just after mile four, and grabbed a cup of water.

Toward the beginning of mile five, as I made my way back to the finish line, there were two ladies manning an aid station with chocolate for the runners. I didn’t partake. I figured I was doing really, really well. I was tired and I could have used a boost, but I figured I’d just keep going.

And I did.

My legs picked it up on a couple more small inclines and finally I ran under the finish line and my chip made the computer beep. My time was registered and I walked through a line of people toward an area of food.

As I was headed that way, I was handed an awesome water bottle.

It’s a little blurry, but the bottle is a nice metal one. It has the race on it and a design that matches the shirt and the bag. I was surprised because no one said anything about a finisher gift.

It even denotes that I ran and finished the Title 9K.

At the end there was a nice offering of bagels, Hint water and other goodies. In another line, people were being handed awesome multifunctional headbands/wraps. I was handed a tie-dyed purple and black one. It’s pretty awesome. I definitely think I’ll end up wearing this as it starts to get cooler in the next month or so.

It’s pretty nice. I’m looking forward to trying it out on one of my upcoming training runs.

All the “swag” at this race was pretty nice, but that’s not why I’m excited about it. It was a great experience, surrounded by other women who propelled me to do my best, resulting in one of my best races to date.

It’s funny, I figured I’d start this blog and talk all about how great I ran. The problem is, when I run great I don’t feel the need to dwell on it. When I have a bad run, I almost feel the need to justify my time, even on my blog.

This was a good run, but not because I willed it to be. Because my training is on par. Because I’m a better runner now than even four months ago. Because I’m taking my CIM readiness runs more seriously.

In three weeks, I run the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose Half Marathon. After today, I’m really looking forward to it. Because after today, I know I’m ready. And there’s no need to dwell over that.


Still training

I hitting a two races in two weekend time of month starting this Saturday.

I have a trail 10K with a nasty elevation climb on Saturday. On March 25, I’m running the Oakland Half Marathon.

I ran two eight-mile runs on the treadmill this weekend.

I was supposed to run outside tonight, but that didn’t happen. I wish it did.

Now I’m staring down this forecast:


Earlier today it said rain through Sunday.

That kind of makes my 10K, with its already scary terrain, a little more so. Wet weather. Mud.

Oh boy.

This should be fun.

I’m running a six-miler on Wednesday. Then taper until Saturday morning.

All next week is taper for the half marathon.

Then, officially, I start marathon training again. I want to be stronger for the June marathon. But I also know my limitations for training. I’m not 100 percent sure I can do it. I’m not 100 percent sure of my training plan, which includes 18 and 21 mile races.  No more half marathons until July, though.

I’m hoping to push hard at Oakland.

But I need to get through the wet weather of this week. And weekend.

Hitting the trails?

I’ve made no secret about my love of trail 10Ks on this blog before. I find them challenging. And the 10K is that distance that I just can’t get comfortable in. I start warming up at mile four. And I just want to keep going.

And I can keep going. My fastest 10K is a nice 1:02:52.

I love trail 10Ks because those races offer a bit of a challenge. Rolling hills? Yep. Rough terrain? Oh yeah.

And let’s face it, the views are often breathtaking. The picture above is from the Coyote Hills 10K I ran the last weekend in January. I only shaved a couple seconds off my time, but I still finished faster than the previous year. Even though I bonked during and after (seriously, the ride home found me nearly delusional and wanting to throw up), I loved the run.

My husband also likes taking me to these ones because he basically gets to explore. He enjoys it and, sometimes, I think he hopes I will take a little longer so he can hang around more.

I decided, though, after the run, that maybe I should invest in some trail running shoes. I’ve been running all my races in the same pair of Nike Equalon 4+’s for the past two-plus years. It’s time I seriously invested in better shoes.

What’s nice is that I didn’t have to invest a tremendous amount of money.

Over the weekend, I got a RoadRunner VIP coupon. I could get 25-percent off my purchase. Add on my already awesome VIP discount and free shipping and I literally only spent $75 on a pair of new shoes.

And these are them:

Yep, I decided to go minimalist. On the way to my house is a pair of Brooks PureProject PureGrit.

I’m more than excited to try them out when I finally get them.

And I’m considering my next trail run. Brazen Racing, my favorite race company, has a challenging 10K in Livermore, which is literally 20 minutes away. It’s the first time Brazen has been thisclose to me. So I figured I should take advantage.

The run is called Badger Cove.

The elevation is a little scary:

I think I can tackle that. I hope, at least. I’m planning on signing up by the end of the week.

The run is also a week before the Oakland Half Marathon, which was my first half marathon last year. It will be my ninth this year. So I’m expecting Badger Cove to serve as a good warm-up for the half.

I’m going to take trail running a step at a time, literally. But I’m hoping my new Brooks PureGrit shoes will be the beginning of many more happy race endings and a continued obsession with the trail 10K.