Saturday, September 28, 2013

Adalpe Summit Race Report

Well, normally when you have MAJOR surgery the doctor tells you no lifting or other activity for 8 weeks.  Then you are allowed to begin to do LITTLE things over the next couple weeks.  By 16 weeks you should be feeling recovered and then start run/walking again. MAJOR surgery was 17 weeks ago.  What did I do to celebrate?

Why not?  Michele and Kris had signed up for the Aldape challenge early and were always talking about it.  I opted no too because I felt I wouldn't be recovered enough to train for it.  Then a couple of weeks ago I decided to just DO IT!  I could use it as a fun trail type training run with my Sole Sisters.  Hmmm........

I had to be to Michele's by 6:00 AM to get ready to head to the race.  I live about 25 minutes from her so that meant I was up at 4:45 AM.

Oh man was I tired! As I headed down my hill, 3 deer bounded across the road in front of me.  Slamming on the breaks quickly woke me up!

As we Sole Sister's were piling in to Michele's car Kris had already told me to "shut your face" twice.  She was really in rare form.  It was actually about something that the race officials had put in their email:
  • Place an “X’ across the front of your race number to let us know you may need extra care. On the back of the bib write the details of your condition, especially any medication that you may be taking.
We had a good laugh about it and mentioned that Kris better put an "X" on her race bib.  Her husband said that it didn't apply for mental issues!  You may think we sound mean, but you'd have to meet Kris and then you would see that we are not!

It was easy to get a place to park and take a bathroom break while we waited.  Michele told Kris that if the handle was green then you could go in.  So Kris opens the door and SURPRISE!  There is man inside!  WHOOPS!!

When I come out I head over to wash my hands.  Michele is standing there and yells while holding up her hands, "No here take some of mine I got too much!"  I head over and take what I think is hand sanitizer from her.  As I rub my hands together I realize it is NOT.  "Michele, this is SOAP!"  Oh boy, I am a tad worried about those two today.

Kris debated for 15 minutes on what exactly to wear.  With 5 minutes to the race start she sent Michele running a jacket back to the car for her.

We start off at the sound of a blow horn.  We all decided to take the first mile very easy and slow.  We just ran along laughing and really enjoying ourselves. 


I am really happy in this picture because we had left the pavement and had FINALLY hit the dirt!  Also, Kris we left at mile one, but that is not why I am happy in this picture.

By mile 4 Michele says I am pushing her too much and need to leave her and run my own pace.  I was feeling really good and decided to push it a little.  I was still not racing though, it was too soon in my recovery for that!!

The climb to the summit was longer than I remember it being, Michele said she felt the same way.  When I finally reached the top I was SO relieved.  It had been a tough climb.

My summit time was 1:38 which was 3 minutes faster than when I ran Robie Creek in the INFERNO OF STUPIDITY last year.  The weather today was cool and breezy.  So when you reached the summit, you felt like you could continue to run.

As I tore down the summit I eventually passed Michele.  She yelled to me, "I've been worried about you!  You are the 24th female!"  What?!?!  I was not supposed to be racing, why is she counting people?  She later confessed that since she had not seen me in the top ten women she thought I was injured sitting at the top of the summit. So now I began to wonder.......should I push the pace?

Once you hit the summit you have run 8.3 miles UPHILL.  The reward?  You now get to run DOWNHILL!!!  I was so excited I was grinning for a solid 2 miles.  Michele said she did the exact same thing.  As I ran down grinning with joy I saw Kris coming up the hill.  She had her head down.  I started to wave and try to get her attention.  When she didn't notice me I start running right towards her.  A few runners gave me strange looks as I charged down the hill right in her path.  She finally looked up.  I waved and we high fived each other!

I was so excited when I finally was nearing the finish line.  I had pushed pretty hard and the last 3 miles on the pavement was KILLING me!  I had the strong desire to walk many times but I dug deep and trudged along.  Finished in 2 hours 48 minutes.  I ended up in the top twenty of all the women racers, 19th place.  I guess I ended up doing a little racing after all.

My next job was to watch for Michele.  I knew she was probably about 20 minutes behind me at the summit. I saw her purple shirt coming down the road.  YAY!!  She finished at 3 hours and 4 minutes.  She was only 16 minutes behind me...SO AWESOME!!

We went over to watch for Kris.  We were about at the .75 mile mark.  When she saw us she yelled, "Never again!!"  This surprised some spectators but we just laughed.  She came in with me screaming her name at 3 hours and 22 minutes.  She was only 18 minutes behind Michele.  SO COOL!!!

Kris yelling at us!
We had a good time as we always do.  It was a fun race, but not one that we need to do again.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Armageddon Run meets the circus

That may seem like a really strange title for today's blog, but today's trail run was a very strange run.  We both wanted to get a long run on the trails today.  We were aiming for 10-11 miles.  Michele had it all mapped out in her head so I just said, "Yep. Let's go."

We started at the upper parking lot on 8th street.  That way we avoid Camel's Back and jump on the trail right at Owl's Roost.  It is a run we have done before....Owl's Roost, The Grove, Kestral, Crest Line to Sidewinder.  We were doing really good walking the hills, keeping a good pace. 

On Fat Tire we came to the "love rock" corner.  There seems to always be a different design there.  Last time it read something about loving to ride bikes.  This was spelled out with small rocks.  Today it was back to just a simple heart.  I wonder who does this all the time?

As we came out and started to head down towards Mtn Cove Road, I began to notice some REALLY LARGE animal prints.  We finally stopped to check them out.  Yep, just what I feared.....BEAR!
We ended up following these bear tracks for 3 miles!  Just when you thought they were gone, BOOM!  There they were.  It was getting a little bit unsettling, especially when we ran through areas with thick sage brush where a bear could hide.

As we ran down the hill where Les Bois 10K race is held (still following bear tracks) we started to hear the firing range.  There was a lot of action going on there today.  So now, I not only had to worry about a bear eating me, I could now add risk of being shot to that list! 

It didn't help when as we rounded a corner Michele cried out and jumped towards me.  She thought she had seen the bear.  Okay this was getting to be too much!  It was as if Armageddon was here.  Bears, Bullets, what next?

We tiptoed passed the firing range.  For some strange reason the guys shooting were only standing a few feet from their targets.  Michele kept wondering aloud what the possibility of a ricochet was!  This was not helping my nerves!!!

When we hit the connector to head back into the Camel's Back Trails...the bear prints ended as well.  Hallelujah! No more bears and no more bullets!  We did however come upon something else equally as dangerous.....bikes!  There were a lot of bikers out now and some of them were going fast!  We had to jump out of the way more than once to avoid getting run over by a speedster around some blind corners. 

We hit Crestline and headed to Red Cliffs, almost done.  Red Cliffs is a popular bike trail so I knew we had to pay attention.
"I will look out for bikes!"  I called back to Michele.  But then what I saw coming really puzzled me, "Or.....Unicycles?" I added.

Sure enough coming up the trail as a man on a unicycle.

This is definitely something you do not see everyday, if ever!  He was a really nice man.  We chatted for awhile.  Amazingly he is 58 and had planned a 6 ish ride today on the trails!! Incredible!!  It really made our day!

Smiling we finished our 11.24 mile trail run for the day.  We were sweaty, and I really stunk, but we felt good!  Time for some Jimmy John's to celebrate!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Top 5 Best Trail Runs

Today was AWESOME!!  It does not happen very often that a trail run becomes so enjoyable and easy that you don't feel like you've ran as many miles as your Garmin says.  Today was one of those days!!

We are signed up to run the Adalpe Challenge in a few weeks and that means the dreaded training runs on Rocky Canyon Road.  I wanted to only do ONE and no more.  Michele thought maybe two.  UGH!

So we parked where the pavement turns to dirt.  This is a good place to park, lots of room.  However, there was a creepy van parked there.  You could tell that it had been there over night.  I wanted to get this run started quick because I was worried who or what was in the van!  When I started to smell cigarette smoke coming from it I was done waiting....."Let's Go!!!"  And yes, I had my pepper spray today...phew!

The climb wasn't so bad, in fact it was strangely easy.  Our plan was to run to the Three Bears Trailhead.

"How far ahead is it?"  I asked Michele.
"No, idea.  Maybe 2?"
After 2 miles I asked again.
"So, do you think it's closer to 3?"

Michele and I tend to get these ideas for routes and then we just run them.  We don't map them out, we don't check possible mileage or anything.  We just go.  So neither of us were sure how long it was to the trailhead.

Turns out it is 2.31 miles.

View of Rocky Canyon Road (where we were)

Three Bears Trail Head

Exact Mileage to the Trail Head

I have run Three Bears once and it just about killed me!  Of course that was also when I first started out running.  This time we were coming down three bears the other direction and I LOVED IT!!  It was such a wonderful run!

We climbed quite high and at the peak we had an amazing view of Rocky Canyon Road.

When eventually joined Shane's Loop and then hit the fork to return to Rocky Canyon Road.  We were only at 5.52 miles and we both felt amazing!  It was a great loop that ended up being 6.56 miles!  I felt like I had only ran 3!    This may be my new favorite loop!!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

I Can't See where I am going because of all the SWEAT in my eyes!

For the past few days we have had some very unsettled weather.  The thunderstorms have been a welcome break in the blazing inferno heat we have had day after day after day.  I have really enjoyed the break...that is until I realized what would happen when I ran.

So the run was in the Polecat Gulch, we have ran this several times.  It's a 6 mile loop with some challenging but doable hills.  When we run Polecat it is meant to be a moderate run, not hard at all.  Today we hit the trail at a little after 8:00 AM.  It was in the high 60s so I thought....PERFECT WEATHER.

As we ran I couldn't figure out what was wrong with me.  I was sweating like crazy.  And my breathing was so loud and labored.  What is going on???  Turns out we were running in over 80% humidity!  Not something I enjoyed.

I started to sweat so bad that it looked like I had just showered in my clothes.  Sweat was dripping off of my chin like a liquid goatee.  I couldn't keep my forehead dry and soon, I could barely see where I was even going.  The weirdest part, I wasn't hot.  Shoot I wasn't even warm!  I am not geared for this humidity garbage.

So I got to thinking, what am I geared for?  If I could turn a dial and select the weather for my runs, what would I set the dial at?

Once when I was running in Las Vegas I met a guy who told me his favorite temp to run is was triple digits. He must have a slight chemical balance in his brain to like that!  When the mercury gets over 60 I start to hate it!  I recently posted this exact question on a Trail Running FB group page to see how other local runners would vote.  The majority of the responders agreed with 30-50 degrees.  I must admit though while I agree with tat, there is a part of me that secretly loves the frigid single digits!

But, all things considered, we survived what I will forever remember as the Humidity run of 2013.