Today marks the one year anniversary of Chronicles of Kate!
I remember one year ago, sitting down to get this thing started and thinking to myself, “what the heck am I going to write?” I really wanted to document my life in terms of running and different aspects of health, and looking back now, I’m so glad I did!
Thank you to all of my followers, and those who have just stopped by to see what the ramblings were about.
Here are some highlights and some of my favorite posts after one year:
Two months ago I recieved a lovely package from a company called Buff’s Headwear. I knew the package was on its way, and the day it arrived I quickly ripped it open to see the contents in real life; two brand spanking new buffs.
What is the heck is a buff you wonder?
A buff is a type of head protection that can be used many ways.
I received two different types as well as patterns of buffs. One was a regular standard sized buff, and the other was a half buff.
My running attire consisted of shorts, shirt and hat. I wanted to change that. I love wearing a hat for the fact that it keeps my hair pulled back and out of the way, and the brim keeps the sun out of my eyes. I was curious to see though if their was a more stylish and versitle approach to what a hat can do for me.
Since receiving the two buffs, I have worn them on almost every single run I have ventured on.
Also another thing I found to be excellent with wearing a buff, is the fact that they also provide warmth. I am not a fan of running in the cold, or the cold period for that matter, and when wearing a buff, it is super easy to pull it down over your ears to help keep cold air from hitting the side of your face and irritating your ears.
I don’t buy or want things that require mass amounts of care. I want to wear or use something and not have to worry whether it will last. Well, if you’re like me in that sense, you don’t have to worry with a buff. I wear mine everywhere, and when I’m done, I throw it in the washing machine, and dryer. They do not lose shape. They do not fade. The colors do not bleed.
Want another use? Sometimes I suffer from my beer glass being to cold for me to hold. Problem solved!
Buffs are super easy, and their are so many different ways to wear them. On the Buffs headwear website, buffUSA.com they provide different learning videos, to teach yourself how to wear them in different ways.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Two years ago I sat at my son’s baseball practice with a magazine in hand. It was the newest edition of Runners World magazine; a special trail edition at that. I had recently started reading this magazine and was totally enthralled at all it had to offer. I simply couldn’t get enough of reading into other people’s running adventures, mis-haps, and accomplishments that were very much like mine. As I got into my reading, I came across articles written about ultra-running, and it seemed like something that was so foreign to me, because it was. Here I was, just a running girl who ran 3 – 4 miles at a time.I had never even run a race. I was no ultra runner, but I wanted to be. I wanted something that seemed so unacheivable. I hardly knew anyone that loved to run, much less anyone crazy enough to run hours upon hours in the mountains. I could not relate. So there I sat that day dreaming of what it would be like to be an ultra runner. To me, these people were like rock stars, running the ultimate race.
Since that day, I dreamt of running an ultra.
It’s funny how in such a short period of time, so many things can change. Things that you didn’t think were at all possible suddenly seem within reach.
Deep in me I knew that running an ultra-marathon was something I was going to do, but it was going to take work. I put that thought on the back burner and ran like I always did. Little by little. Then I started running farther and farther. I became a different runner. I no longer was the runner who ran fast, (well kind of fast) all the time. I was the runner who slowed down to appreciate the run. I was the runner who wanted to spend the entire day running. I wanted to see how far across town I could run. I wanted to explore new ways to find my way home. I wanted to get lost running. I wanted to get lost in my running. So I did.
Still on the back burner sat my dream. It was time to make it real. I made a goal for myself that I was going to run my first ultra by the time I turned thirty. Why wait?
In two days, let me repeat that. In two days, I will be running my first ultra. I have trained explored countless hours. I have discovered new places to go. I have run this race in my sleep. I have cried over this race. I have made amazing friends because of this race. I have changed my eating habits because of this race. I have become overwhelmed with joy because of this race. This is my race.
Is it really all about the race? No. It’s the fact that I had a goal, a dream, and I made it a reality. Hard work pays off. I worked my ass off for this and found myself along the way. In two days I will be able to say I worked for something and did it. It’s going to be a crazy emotional day for me with good reason.
Earlier this year I made a goal for myself that I was going to run my first ultramarathon by the time I turned thirty. You’re probably thinking two things.
Who in their right mind would make a goal to run 31 or more miles willingly?
You’re almost thirty..
To answer these questions.
Maybe I’m not in my right mind, but who really is?
No I’m not almost thirty. 🙂
For you to understand where this crazy idea came from I think its important to know the background information.
It all started in the beginning of 2011. I was a member of active.com advantage due to the registration of my son’s baseball season. I had been on the active.com website a handful of times before, perusing the different races as well as articles they had to offer for runners. I received an email one day that in 15 minutes they were going to give away a free race entry to the Carlsbad 5000 taking place on April 2nd. So I thought, what the heck, I’ll try it and I probably won’t get it. Nothing to lose, right? Fifteen minutes were up and I clicked that mouse as fast as I could. To my surprise I had won a free race entry to the race!
Let’s go back. In 2006 I started running. I began with the blocks around where I lived to lose extra baby weight and enjoy time to myself. I had a pair of running shoes and an iPod downloaded with a podcast running program narrated by Bas Rutten. After building confidence and ability to run 1 mile straight through, I moved on to 2, and then 3. After 3 miles I was pretty proud of myself. People that I knew didn’t do stuff like that and I stuck with it. After almost 3 1/2 years of running 2 or 3 miles at a time, and nothing more, I figured that was as far as I could go. My feet would hurt, and blister everyday at about this point, and I knew I couldn’t run further with daily problems like that. I made myself think that I was content with that distance and called it a day. The problem was that I needed new shoes. My shoes did not fit me the right way and I was just beating up my feet every time I ran. Once I finally found a pair of shoes that worked for me, my world of possibilities opened up.
Fast forward to 2011. When I got that free race entry to the Carlsbad 5000, I was still running but the consistency as well as the distances were not all the same. Some weeks I might have run 1 time, and others maybe 4 times. It wasn’t consistent and honestly I wasn’t quite sure how to prepare for a race. I ran when I had extra time. I figured I just had to keep working hard and do my best on race day.
The day of the race was hot and I was amazed at the amount of people there. My race strategy was to do my best and actually try to run faster than I did at home. I knew I could do well. I ran the entire course and finished strong in the end. I certainly did not come anywhere close to winning the race, but got a nice shiny medal that was handed out to the first two hundred and fifty finishers. YEA ! And then I got two free beers at the beer garten 🙂 DOUBLE YEA!!
So whats so important about this story? Well that day something happened to me. I was emotionally tied to this race without knowing it, and it makes sense. This was my very first race with other people. It was a huge event. And here I was just this girl wearing a green shirt and new balance shoes. I came in faster than I had than ever during my best runs at home. Was it the race jitters that did it to me? Was it the fact that I knew their was beer at the end? Was it because my family was watching? I don’t know what it was, but the feeling of accomplishment was so overwhelming I almost started crying as I crossed the line. I was proud of myself. I did something that doesn’t seem so big, but the fact that I did it all by myself was amazing.
Days following this race I couldn’t wait to do another and signed up to run America’s Finest City 2011. Not only did I feel proud of myself for running and finishing a race, but I also developed (or maybe it was there all along) a competitive side. In my training runs I pushed myself to beat my times, and I made time to run instead of relying on extra time. And next I was going to rock a half marathon!!
So how does this relate to my goal of running an ultra before I turn thirty? So after completing my first half marathon in August of that year, (2011) I had dreams of going big. Years previous I had no idea I was capable of running a half marathon. That was 10 miles longer than I ever thought I could do, but I finished 3 half marathons after than. This only proved to me that I am going to be what I push myself to be. Running an ultra is a huge far-fetched goal and I made it mine. I have never run a marathon and I’m making a jump from a half to a 50k. Who knows how I’m going to feel after I run a marathon. I may absolutely hate it and never do it again. But how am I going to get to my ultra without running that distance over again. I’m not. So I decided to skip the marathon and go straight for the ultra!! I would much rather spend my time and experience running that distance on trails than on roads anyway 🙂
On October 28th, 2012 I will be running in my first 50k at Lake Hodges Trail Fest. http://lakehodgestrailfest.com/. It is going to be phenomenal. And what’s great about it is that I am going to be completing my goal a whole year before its due date!! I’m not really crazy, and their are a ton of people out there in the running community who do stuff like this, and now I’m going to be one of them. 🙂