An End of The Semester Celebration of Sorts

Today I finished my last two finals of the Fall 2012 semester! Yay! Even though I have been able to complete these two tests for the past week, I procrastinated until the very last minute to do them. This just shows that I have many other things that I would rather do than my assignments, as is the story of the entire semester. Anywho, since classes are now officially done, I celebrated my day doing some things that got pushed aside thanks to my studies.

Throughout this semester any free time I had to myself was spent running and doing chores and things that I don’t really care to do. My classes were online this semester purposely so that I could train for my 50k race in October. On my days off work I was able to run for 6 hours a day if I wanted to, but that usually didn’t happen. I would run for a couple of hours then do homework and chores before getting the kiddo from school. My schedule was ideal and really spoiled me for any future semesters where I wouldn’t be so lucky with time.

So as a way to celebrate the end of this semester I did two things that I love that I hardly had any time to do during the semester.

I spent my day gardening and my evening baking 🙂 Happy Day! I should have taken pictures of what I accomplished in the garden today but totally spaced it so that will be for another day, but I did make some yummy pumpkin chocolate chip cookies!

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On a side note, I am attempting to eat everything in the pantry before adding more to it, so this was a perfect way to use up some canned pumpkin and chocolate chips that were waiting patiently to be put to use, and since it seems to be rare that I have an opportunity to bake, they won’t be missed for long.

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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
2. Cream butter and sugar together.
3. Add egg, pumpkin and vanilla
4. Combine and sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Add all dry ingredients to butter and sugar mixture.
5. Add in chocolate chips by hand.
6. Drop spoonfuls of dough on ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 23-25 minutes. The cookies do not expand too much and appear the same way as they did when first placed in the oven. To make sure cookies are done, gently touch the tops. They should start to become firm and slightly browned at the edges.

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Cool on wire rack and enjoy!!

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To Eat Meat, To Not Eat Meat…Update – 30 Day Plant-Based Challenge

On October 15th, I announced to the world (well this blog and Facebook,) that I was going to endure a 30 day plant-based diet. If you missed this announcement, you can check it out here. For those who have been patiently awaiting the outcome of this challenge, the day has come! Yes I am aware that I have completely slacked in the department of keeping my readers posted on what I eat nowadays, sorry but life does tend to get in the way 🙂

Ok so here goes!!

Over the course of my 30 days of eating plant-based I learned, enjoyed, hated and took note of a few things. Here’s the rundown.

The first few days of this challenge was hard mentally draining. I had this great idea one day to go for the challenge without actually doing my homework to start with. How hard could it be? Just eat plants, right? Sure I knew that to be successful in this I had to eat tons of different types of foods to get the proper amount of nutrients. I am the type of girl who finishes everything on her plate plus everyone elses, basically I can put it away. Also take into consideration that I was about two weeks away from running a 50k. I needed lots of calories, fats, and carbs to sustain energy to complete this race.

Now it may seem silly to start a drastic change in diet so close to a big race, but that was part of the challenge. I knew that if I could successfully complete the race without falling over and dying with hunger, that the diet challenge would be a complete success.

If I could do this, then anyone could! Here are a few things that I learned the hard way.

1. Do Your Homework

A week before I started the challenge I should have researched what types of foods had the most bang for their buck, heck even 2 days before the challenge would have been better. But no, I jumped right in and had to figure it out as I went along. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but for me my time to research what to eat and new and inventive ways to spice up plants is divided between family, household chores, work, homework, studying, and training for a race. And this is not over the course of the week, no it’s everyday. The extra thirty minutes it would take to find and plan out yummy vegan recipes to fulfill my desire for foods similar to what I used to enjoy simply does not exist. Pre planning time would have made the transition so much smoother.

2. Stock Up On Staples

I usually have dry beans, canned beans, and some sort of legume in my pantry at all times. These things I found to be my staples in this challenge. I love beans, don’t judge me. The canned beans are higher in sodium, but when you are lacking some serious time (as I already noted, I suffer from this) they can make for a real quick meal. After running out of my supply of canned beans, and figuring this out while I was starving, I made sure to never let that happen again.

3. Plan Out Your Day

As I noted earlier, dry beans are always something on hand. They take a huge chunk of time to make though. If you plan it out, you can prepare a huge batch of beans to freeze and have even more ready when needed. I learned to soak my beans overnight and cook them in the crock pot the next day, which took absolutely no effort really on my part, and it didn’t take time away from the time I already don’t have. From this I was then able to have a base for all my meals that could be transported with me anywhere I went. On days when I went to work, I brought all my meals with me so I wouldn’t have to sit and wonder what I was going to eat next. I knew what I was going to eat for dinner in the morning so that I wouldn’t have to suffer from mental distress all day long trying to figure it out. These things I didn’t learn until the end of the first week or so, and I was so thankful that I did. I don’t think the first week would have been quite so hard had I known about planning it out.

4. Get Breakfast Down

Breakfast was the hardest for me. I have gotten by for quite some time without consuming dairy simply because it doesn’t like me, but eggs? Almost a couple of years ago I ate a vegetarian type diet but consumed eggs and fish, pesco-ovo-vegetarian. I mostly consumed egg whites during this, and they were the basis of my breakfast, lunch or dinner. Obviously this challenge was little different so I had to get creative with what I ate for breakfast. Almond butter became a daily thing as well as avocado and potatoes. If I don’t eat enough at breakfast time, I suffer from foggy brain the rest of the day, so this was an important thing to conquer. Here is one my favorite veganized breakfast meals that I ate a lot during the challenge.

5. Get Your Family on Board

I live with a meat-eater. Said meat-eater feels that a meal is not complete without meat. This became an issue over the course of the 30 days because I became content eating vegan pizza and bean tacos for dinner. I knew that my 6-year-old son along with the meat-eater would complain about anything I served them that I could eat, so I kind of stopped making traditional dinners. I knew that this was my chance to introduce my picky eater kid and boyfriend to new foods, but it seemed like more work than it was worth. Failure on my part. At dinner time I would have had to make two separate meals, involving more time. It was just easier to make them something that they already eat, and I would eat leftover foods that I already had for myself. My son never caught on to the fact that mom wasn’t eating anything animal related, and I didn’t really want him too, yet. He did learn that mom doesn’t drink milk though, and he was amazed. My meat-eater boyfriend was supportive of the diet ‘as long as his diet didn’t have to change’ kind of thing.

My Daily Eats

Things that I ate every to every other day included:

  • avocado
  • tomato
  • beans
  • oatmeal
  • banana
  • nuts

Things that I thought were interesting through all this were the comments I would get from people who didn’t understand what I was doing, or why.

“runners can’t be vegan”

“it’s not healthy”

“you’re not getting enough protein”

At these moments I was placed on a platform where I had my chance to preach about a lifestyle that may seem foreign to them. I never claimed to be vegan throughout this, and every time I had the chance, I explained that it was simply a 30 day challenge.

Towards the end of the challenge I was so used to eating ‘my foods’ that it felt weird to stop. I decided a few days before the thirtieth day that I was going to try my best to continue eating plant-based, but I knew that when I didn’t actually have to do it, my chances of doing it were smaller.

Eating plant based made me feel healthier, cleaner and overall better. After the 30 days was up, I ate meat and eggs and right away I didn’t feel the same. I felt like crap.

So what am I going to eat? Who knows. I imagine that most of my meals will be vegan or as close to it as possible. I found that the hardest part of the entire challenge was thinking about what to eat. Not actually eating it.

Now if only I had a vegan chef, who planned and prepared all my meals… that would be the life!

Happy Eating!

Welcome back Motivation, I Have Been Waiting for you!

This morning I started writing a post about how I was such a California girl. For me that means basically a weather wimp. I don’t like being cold, and with every intention to go for a long run today when I woke up, that plan went down the drain once I saw it was “raining” outside. Here in Southern California, we freak out if it starts drizzling, and that was reason enough for me to put off my run.

As I sat and typed about how the sky was grey outside of my freshly cleaned windows, I came to the realization that something was happening. I was all snuggled up on my couch by myself with a nice warm coffee in hand. I was enjoying my time partly online shopping and partly writing. I didn’t need to run today. I was just fine spending my cloudy and drizzly morning in this manner. Then my computer automatically turned off. I grabbed my coffee, it was ice-cold. I was too warm to sit and be snuggly.  I knew what was happening, and I tried to push it away.

I got up and went outside and realized that it wasn’t cold, and it wasn’t raining. It was perfect. Perfect running weather.

I tried to erase those thoughts from my mind and got busy tidying up the place. After about 2 hours of doing olds and ends in the house, it hit me again.

Run. I finished my homework yesterday, and really had nothing to do.

As much as I didn’t want to agree with myself, it was inevitable. I was hit in the face with two things, lame excuses and motivation. I had a little over an hour to get a run in. Afterwards my time would be filled with family, soccer games, dinner, softball games, and Christmas tree decorating among whatever other things could spring up between 1pm and bedtime.

I have been looking and waiting for my friend motivation to show up again on my doorstep. My friend arrived and I tried to push him away. Well, he won. I quickly grabbed my stuff and the dog and ran fast. I didn’t have as much time as I would have liked, but when motivation shows up, you can’t be choosy.

I knew from the time I got out of bed this morning, in a really crappy mood mind you, that I would instantly feel better and then awesome on top of it if I just went for a run. Running does that for me. I even really enjoy running in the rain, but without motivation, running is placed on the back burner.

I have a 50 mile race in about 5 weeks.

I needed motivation to show up a couple of weeks ago, but I guess better late than never is alright.

So I am happy to welcome back my old friend motivation. He wasn’t gone too long, in fact he was there in full effect 4 weeks ago when I ran Lake Hodges Trail Fest 50k. Maybe he knew I needed a break. Whatever the case, I’m back!

Happy Turkey Day Run! United Run for the Hungry 2012

So obviously this post is a little late in the making, but I do agree with the ‘better late than never’ principle.

Last year, weeks before Thanksgiving I decided that I was going to run a Thanksgiving day race on turkey day, but my plan of that fell through once I realized that I would not be able to enjoy my Thanksgiving morning with my family in my pajamas if I actually signed up for it, so that was out. When I woke up on that Thanksgiving morning, and realized that it was a beautiful day to run a race, I was saddened for about 7.2 minutes that I didn’t actually sign up to do the thing. I grabbed a cup of coffee and turned on Spongebob Squarepants, snuggled with my little guy, and I was over the race. How quickly I get over things, huh?

    

I don’t work a traditional Monday thru Friday job, instead I am required to show up on weekend days, so for me to race on the weekends, I have to pull strings and take a day off. So this year I decided that Thanksgiving day is actually a free day off and it would be a wasted opportunity if I didn’t sign up for a race. So I recruited my friend Trisha and she recruited her cousin Alysa, and it was a go.

I decided that a race downtown might be nice, and this one had a 10k option as well. Plus it benefitted San Diego food charities. It seemed to make sense.

So Thanksgiving morning I was up and out the door at 5:30am, while the rest of the family slept in their warm and cozy beds. I met Trisha and Alysa and we were on our way downtown. The race started at 7:05, and as we drove around in circles looking for a place to park with 20 minutes to spare, our interest in this race dropped drastically.

The bib and packet pickup area was an absolute mess, and this frustrated us even more. After we finally got our things, and stopped at the port-a-potties, it was time to head off into the streets of downtown all to benefit a good cause.

Trisha and I signed up for the 10k while Alysa would toe the line in her first race ever, the 5k.

Thanksgiving 10k

Trisha and I started the race together, but I wanted to get this thing over with, and left her before the half mile mark. I weaved my way through runners for the first two miles before I actually found a comfortable spot in the crowd. I decided in the cold morning hours that I was going to wear pants during the race. Bad idea. I have only run in one race wearing pants and that was in 34 degree weather. Right off the bat I could feel I was getting too warm too quickly and I blamed the pants. Oh well.

The 10k consisted of running the 5k loop twice, which also really throws me off. I don’t care to run on the same route more than one time because it becomes boring to me. Oh well.

People running in front of me, soon to be behind me 😉
This guy ran while pushing a wheel barrow, that was blasting music for the runners. Wow! Way to go dude!

So since I left Trisha so early on in the race, every time running ran past each other I was on the lookout for her. I never saw her after that point in the race, but she thought she saw me and yelled at some lady who she thought was me. Ha ha!

While running in the streets

I was almost to the end, and I really was mentally done with running the race at mile 2 but I was keeping a really difficult pace for me through out most of the race, that I didn’t want to lose. Then all of a sudden the police that were keeping cars from driving on the streets were stopping the entire race and allowing cars to go by. WTH? At first I was totally annoyed because the finish line was right around the corner, and my pace was getting screwed up. But then I realized that all of those runners who were alongside of me the entire race whom I was trying to beat, all had to stop too. As soon as the police let the runners go ahead, I ran as fast as I could!! I must have looked like a crazy lady flying around the corner, but I was determined to get the best time that I could, because even though everything seemed to going wrong in the race, it was the best race I ever ran. My official finish time was 48:29, 17th in my age/gender group!

People who see me taking pics while I’m running must think I’m crazy

I checked in with Alysa and grabbed our stuff just before Alysa headed out to the 5k race. I headed over to the finish line to watch Trisha finish, and then we waited there for Alysa to finish.

Alysa’s first race 🙂

All in all it turned out to be a fun time. I ran my fastest race ever, Trisha PR’d her 10k by 5 minutes, and Alysa completed her first race ever! I am thankful to live in such a beautiful place, be friends with awesome people, and be healthy and able to run, among many, many, many other things. We decided that a Thanksgiving run together will always be a part of our Thanksgiving mornings.

The start of a new tradition 🙂

Happy Turkey Day!

Injinji Perfomance Toesocks Review: Like Walking on Cotton Candy

As a runner, I often find myself struggling with how to keep blisters far away from my feet. For some reason, I associate getting blisters with being a new runner who is still trying to find themselves and establish what works for them. The problem with this is that I am not a “new” runner, so therefore I should know what works best for me. Obviously testing new shoes and products will sometimes give you problems. Right off the bat you should know that it’s the new gear you’re sporting, but when you’ve worn the same shoes for months as well as the socks, and blisters and hot spots still arise, then something is wrong. With an upcoming 50k I had to find a solution to my problem.

A friend of mine mentioned that she wears toe-socks when she goes out for her runs, and that struck my curiosity. The next day I looked up the company Injinji, and I was intrigued. Instantly I thought, ‘how do I not know about these?’

I contacted Injinji and was immediately sent out 3 different types of their toe socks. Yay!

So in the final month and a half of training for my upcoming 50k, I tried and tested all three pairs of socks to find out if they could ultimately be the solution to my horrendous blistering problem. Here’s my take.

Injinji Performance Series: Mid Weight Padded Interface

When I contacted Injinji, these were the socks that they recommended for me to try to wear for my ultra race. I was told that these are the socks that most ultra runners had success with. I can understand why. When I first put them on it was a little funny getting your toes in the right departments but once that task was done, they felt heavenly. Putting these on in a hurry, as you could with regular socks, may be a wee bit challenging.  These socks were the thickest of the three I received and because they were mini-crew length, you didn’t have to worry about losing them in your shoe. When I went on my first run with them, I headed out to the trail with my Merrell Pace Gloves and opted to run only three miles. I felt to properly test them I had to see how they sufficed on short runs as well as long runs. The next time I wore them out on an eleven mile trail run, and the performance of the socks were the same as they were on the shorter run. The only issue I felt I was going to have with these socks was the fact that I have long toes, and during the run I thought the shifting of the sock would force my long toes to rub and stretch in the toe compartments, resulting in a hole or tear in the sock. None of this happened though, which led me to believe that not only were these things comfy, but also well made. The padded interface of these socks led to comfort during longer runs, making them ideal to run an ultra in. After all my trial runs wearing this version, my socks were never really damp and I never got a single blister. That to me proves that these socks do indeed work and the claim on the packaging, ‘ Protection From Blisters and Hotspots,’ rings true.

Characteristics:

  • Anatomical 5 toe design – Interface keeps toes dry and prevents blisters and properly aligns toes for natural movement.
  • Arch Support – Mid foot stability, eliminates bunching
  • Vector Heel – Precision stitching for custom fit, prevents slipping
  • Dual Welt Band – holds sock in place
  • Superior moisture management

These socks are made of 50% CoolMax, 45% and 5% Lycra

All of these characteristics were true of the sock, and I give this style a thumbs up!

Injinji Performance Series: Original Weight Moderate Interface

This style of sock appeared to me to be just like any regular sock, aside from the fact that it has toe compartments. The weight of the material from which it was made looked just like a pair of Hanes athletic socks. When you put them on though you can notice that 1, they are cozier than Hanes athletic socks, and 2, they also have arch support that you can feel more than you can see.

And obviously they have the super cool logo on the side that makes them all that more awesome. Usually when I run I opt to wear either lightweight socks or thicker socks, depending on how far I plan on running or the terrain. I tested these out on a 3 mile mixed terrain run that included, sidewalk, trail, grass, asphalt. I also wore my Brooks Green Silence shoes with these. For the length of my run these seemed to be fine. I did notice though that my feet started to get irritated towards the end of my run. I don’t discredit the sock though, because all the things the packaging claimed the sock to be, they were. They just are not my preference of sock weight for a run. But, these socks would be ideal for an every day, non-running need to wear socks. Catch my drift? I will totally wear this sock, and have already done so, as an everyday comfy sock.

Characteristics :

  • Anatomical 5 Toe design- Interface keeps toes dry and prevents blisters, Properly aligns toes for natural movement
  • Arch support- Mid foot stability, eliminates bunching
  • Vector heel- Precision stitching for custom fit, prevents slipping
  • Dual Welt Band- Holds sock in place

All of these characteristics were also true of the sock, I just prefer either a lighter or heavier weight. They still get a thumbs up!

These socks are made of 70% CoolMax, 25% Nylon, and 5% Lycra

The original weight socks are available in 3 different lengths: Micro, Mini-Crew, and Crew

Injinji Performance Series : Lightweight Ultra Thin Interface

This was the lightest sock that was sent to me in the bunch, and I would say the most comfortable. These socks are so lightweight that it kind of feels like your not wearing socks at all! I tried the no-show length and if your concerned with the back of your shoe rubbing on the back of your ankle because the socks are so low, don’t be. These socks have a tab on the back of them that protect your skin and the chance of the shoes rubbing on it.

So I tested these socks on a short trail run wearing my Merrells and also on a long trail run. I also tried them out wearing my Brooks and running on the road. These socks passed all the tests, and were so comfortable! I imagine because these socks are so lightweight that they would be exceptional in the summer and during days of long, hot runs. I was kind of skeptical of wearing this weight of sock on longer runs, due to the fact that my feet seem to get tender quickly, but the socks performed wonderfully. The toe compartments are roomy enough that your foot has the ability to spread with each strike to the ground, and your toes are not squished together in one universal space. Moisture that would normally accumulate between your toes is absorbed as well as moisture in the rest of the sock, so you don’t suffer from blisters.

Characteristics:

  • Anatomical 5 toe design- Interface keeps toes dry and prevents blisters, properly aligns toes for natural movement
  • Arch Support- Mid foot stability, eliminates bunching
  • Vector Heel- Precision stitching for custom fit, prevents slipping
  • Dual Welt Band- Holds sock in place

These socks are made of 75% CoolMax, 22% Nylon, and 3% Lycra

The Light Weight socks are available in three different lengths : No Show, Mini-Crew, and Crew

These socks were probably my favorite based upon comfort. They can be worn for everyday activities as well as running. They get two thumbs up!

Final Thoughts:

Since ultimately my goal was to find a sock that was made from a performance stand point that would help me achieve the success of running an ultra race, I felt a review would not be fair unless I put them to the ultimate test. I decided to wear the Midweight version of the Performance series for my upcoming 50k. I knew through all my trial runs in this style that they would be the best option for me over any other versions I tried, as well as ay other style sock.

I wore these socks for the entire 6 hours and 23 minutes it took me to complete my race. I had packed other socks just incase something went wrong with these, and hoped that I really wouldn’t need them. After the race I was certain that I had torn holes through the toe compartments of the socks but to my surprise they were perfectly intact. Not a single problem went wrong due to wearing these socks, and in fact during my race I did not suffer from one single blister!! This to me is just amazing and makes me a true believer in these socks!! Note the picture below, I never said that the socks will keep your feet clean!

All in all the socks I tested were amazing. I recommend them to runners and non runners alike. I will never go back to wearing regular sport socks to run in. If you want a comfortable option in socks Injinji is the way to go!

Happy Running!

Tuesday’s Tip From the Trail

In Southern California, we get to experience all sorts of wildlife. When running on trails it’s important to stay alert and aware of your surroundings. You never know what could be hiding right under your nose.

This little guy was hanging out near a trash container during the 2012 Raptor Ridge half marathon.

Fortunately an aid station worker noticed him and moved the trash container so that runners would have no need to get near him. Check here for information on rattlesnake encounters while running.

Lake Hodges Trail Fest 50k – Race Report

Two weeks before this race I decided to challenge myself to eat a vegan plant-based diet for thirty days. This race fell right in the middle of that time period, and while I knew that it may not be such a great idea to change eating habits so close to a race that I trained months for, I stuck it out. A few friends of mine discouraged my decision and thought that while the challenge seemed interesting, a month down the road would be better. Nevertheless I was determined to finish this thing and prove that I could do it.

The night before the race I did everything different from what I had ever done the night before a race. Usually I’m up all night trying to figure out what to bring and stress out because I know I’m not ready. I actually laid out everything I needed and met with Trisha who was going to crew me during this race. Even though their would be plenty of aid stations, I needed a vegan food caddy and some motivation from a buddy. So everything was in place the night before and I actually went to sleep by 8:30. The next morning I woke up and headed out the door at 5:30.

We arrived by 6am and were met by a huge unexpected group of family and friends who came out to support me for my first ultra race. Seeing them made me so happy and even more excited to get this thing under way.

At the beginning of the race
Family and friends held down the fort while anticipating my big finish all day.

The race started at 7am and I was off! The temperature at the beginning of the race was a chilly 42 degrees, and since I knew that once it warmed up I would never be able to run in long sleeves or pants, I started off wearing shorts, a tank-top and arm warmers and still had to open and close my hands as I ran to warm them up. While training for the race I wore a hydration pack but once I figured I was going to have a crew person there, I decided a hand-held bottle would work better.

My plan for this race to was to focus solely on getting to the next aid station. So after the race started the first station was 4.6 miles away. The crowd stayed together mostly during this time, but the terrain was very technical at times, and with the sun rising in your face it was really hard to see where to place the next step.

Rocky Trail

Between the start and aid station 2 which was at mile 8.5, I tripped 3 times and actually did a superman fall on the second trip. I quickly grabbed my hand-held off the ground and got up and just kept going with a freshly trail scraped leg and all. I had no time to see what kind of damage was done. I had to get to station #2 where Trisha was waiting for me.

When I arrived at station #2 Trisha was there ready to help me with anything I needed. I peeled off the arm warmers and my tank top, and she refilled my hand-held with the pink electrolyte drink, handed me salt caps and I was quickly on my way to the next station which was at mile 13. I continued to run and didn’t slow down pace, which was not part of the plan. I felt I was running too fast to sustain to the end, but it’s hard to make yourself slow down when everything is going smoothly. I made it to aid station #3 and while my hand-held was being refilled by the amazing aid station volunteers, I grabbed salt caps and a handful of pretzels and quickly left the station.

During my preview runs of the course I planned out where I was going to make myself walk. Aid station #3 was at the base of Raptor Ridge hill, the biggest climb of the course, and I planned on walking up the entire thing. I started out walking/hiking up this thing and at times found myself running the flat parts and slight dips in the hill. I find that I’m too competitive to just walk, so this part was difficult for me.

Once the hill started descending I began to run again. The next aid station was not until mile 18.75 from the top of Raptor Ridge, and at this station I got to see Trisha again. The stretch of trail from the backside of Raptor Ridge until the next station was very hard. The trail had absolutely no shade coverage and meandered for some miles through fields. The temperature was rising and I was getting very hungry. After what seemed like forever I finally made it to aid station #4. Trisha was there with food and whatever she thought I might need. I grabbed a peanut butter and jelly sandwich I had prepared, as well as some Sprite which I thought was water. I spent 20 minutes at this station and the longer I stayed the hotter it got. I packed some dried mangos as well as an Odwalla bar into my handheld and continued on my way. This station was at the furthest point in the race, now I had to turn around and go all the way back. I would not see Trisha again until the finish line, a mere 12.6 miles away.

View from the top of Raptor Ridge.

In the beginning of the race I planned on not listening to any music until I left aid station #4. This way I would have something to look forward to when I wouldn’t be able to see Trisha again.

As I went back out on the same stretch of trail I had just ran, the temperatures got hotter and I got slower. This part of the race was super hard for me and once I got to the base of the backside of Raptor Ridge I hiked the entire way up. I was running very low on fluids, and had to force myself to conserve. Once I got to the top of the hill I ran the entire way down, to the bottom where aid station #5 was. I had my hand-held refilled and took more salt caps, then left.

I had 4.5 miles to the next station and this part of the race was the worst for me. Temperatures increased 40+ degrees from the start of the race, and most of this portion of the trail had no shade at all. My legs were very cramped and I was forced to walk a lot of this stretch. I wanted to get back to the station as soon as I could especially since I ran out of my electrolyte drink a mile away from the station. Once I got to the station, I downed a bit of Mountain Dew, dunked my hat in ice water and refilled my hand-held. I left the station running, excited that I only had less than 2.5 miles left and had a beer waiting for me at the finish line. The final stretch of the trail was single track that weaved around the shore of the lake. It included dips and hills in the shade that made it so much easier to run than a flat straight path in the sun.

Finally I came around the corner to see the finish line and ran to the end. My family and friends were there to celebrate with me and handed me a beer as I received my medal. I couldn’t have been happier that I was finally finished.

Finally done!

I went into this race thinking I would conservatively finish by 7 hours. I knew that if I ran super fast and had no issues I could possibly finish in 5.5 hours. I officially finished in 6:23:55 fifth in my age group. I officially finished my first ultra.

I learned a lot from this race and now know how to plan better for the next one. I think the biggest problem I had was that I let the heat mess with my mind. After running 20 miles the last thing that I needed to worry about was how hot it was getting. I also probably could have benefitted from more super long training runs to acclimate to how long I would actually spend running. I thought I went into the race with a good plan as far as how to make the most of the time passing. I also think a huge mental advantage I had was that I preview ran the entire course. I knew where I had to run to and where the difficult parts of the trail would be.

This race was organized by Paul Jesse of Off Road Pursuits and I thought the race was very well put together. Everything was organized and all the volunteers were amazing. The course was clearly marked and the aid stations were packed with anything you could need as well as an awesome team of support. This was an inaugural race and I have no doubt it will become a successful event for many years to come.

Overall I had a great race experience. I successfully completed this race on a vegan diet and mostly felt great throughout the entire course. I can’t wait to do the next one!