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Ok, last post for this 50k!  I can’t believe it was only over a week ago…it feels so much longer!

This time I paid a little less attention to my fueling, in terms of what I ate and when I ate (and didn’t do the best job at remembering either). But I made sure to eat before I started to feel hungry. In my 50oz camelbak I carried:

1 almond butter & jelly sandwich
2 Nuun lemon lime tabs (both split in half)
2 packs Probar BOLT Energy Chews (only ate one pack)
5 Fig Newtons

In addition, I ended up eating some random stuff at the aid stations.  Here’s a rough estimate of what I ate and when (separated by the start and each aid station).

Start

2-3 chews, 1 Fig Newton

Aid Station #1-Corral Canyon- Mile 7.5 — Nuun, potatoes

Aid Station #2- Latigo Road Crossing- Mile 11.8 — refilled water, 1/4 sandwich, chocolate covered espresso beans, salt tab

1 Fig Newton

Aid Station #3- Kanan Trailhead- Mile 14.6 (marathon turn-around) — Nuun

3 fig newtons

Aid Station #4- Zuma Fire Road and 50k Turn Around- Mile 16.3 — 1/4 sandwich

Aid Station #5- Kanan Trailhead- Mile 18 – Ginger ale, potatoes

Aid Station #6- Latigo Road Crossing- Mile 20 – 1/4 sandwich, plantain chips, salt tab

Aid Station #7- Corral Canyon- Mile 24.5 – 1/4 sandwich, ginger ale, potatoes, Nuun, refilled water with ice

Remaining chews

Finish

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The week of the race we received an email from race director Keira Henninger. At the end of the email was this sentiment: “stay positive, and remember to enjoy the day. Be in the moment. Life goes fast. Someday Saturday will be a faint memory in one of your life chapters. Have fun, and just be stoked to be out on the trails. Its a gift!”

This completely resonated with me and Elisa, and we both approached the race with this in mind.

The Sean O’Brien 50k started at 7am. Around 6:45 we walked over to the starting area, grabbed our bibs, checked out bags (with only our new Patagonia race tech tanks in it) and lined up. We shivered next to each other while we were given a few pointers, much of which we couldn’t hear (save for how to pass other runs). A few minutes later and we were off.

We started towards the group camping at Malibu Creek State Park, up some single track switchbacks (the same ones I started with at the Malibu Canyon 50k), that rolled down the back. I already wanted to pass the girl in front of me, since her stride a little bit shorter than I would like on the downhill portion, but I knew it would open up soon enough.

We came to the creek, but this time it was pumping. There were two options — to grab the rope and run through the creek, or to cautious walk on top of the rocks. Elisa and I both opted for the latter, preferring to avoid soaking our feet less than 2 miles in.

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The first part was pretty much the same as the Malibu Canyon 50k until we reached the first aid station at Corral Canyon. I knew what to expect, as the first climb took us over 1,600 feet in four miles. Going into this we knew we would hike the steep portions and run everything else that we could.

After the Corral Canyon aid station, instead of continuing to head up like the Malibu Canyon 50k, we continued on the Backbone Trail heading west. We popped onto rolling single track that provided a much needed reprieve after all of the uphill. The scenery transitioned from dry chaparral to shaded oaks saving us from the increasing 75 degree temps.

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4.3 miles after the first aid station, we came across the Latigo aid station. I thought this was going to be the last aid station before the turn-around, but was pleasantly surprised there would be another one in just a couple miles (where the marathoners turned around).

At the Kanan aid station we prepped ourselves because we knew there wouldn’t be any aid until we were back there again. I was feeling pretty good at this point (around 14.5 miles) and could hear some volunteers talking about how I looked so fresh (definitely made me feel good and boosted my spirits — damn right I look fresh!!).

The turnaround point was further than I anticipated and I keep wanting it to come around. The goal was always to make it to the halfway point and then we’d be home free!

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A little over 16 miles we made it to Zuma Ridge where we received our high-fives before turning around.  Mentally, the out-and-back made it easier. It also made it feel like you weren’t the only one out there because you would pass runners both ways. And it
made the race seem like 2 different courses.

On the way out, I wasn’t focusing on anything but my footing on the downhills (because it wouldn’t be a trail run if I didn’t almost trip several times). So coming back up them seemed like completely different terrain and I kept saying “I don’t remember this.”

Before we hit the Kanan aid station again, I wanted 2 things. Ginger ale then. And beer after (the race). Luckily, at the Kanan aid station THERE WAS GINGER ALE (not just coke). Elisa also informed me there would be beer at the finish line. I sighed the biggest relief like this was the best news I had ever heard. EVER.

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In addition to sharing the single track with other runners, we also had to share it with mountain bikers. It was fine and we pulled off to the side. The one thing that bothered me was one biker who rode by and said “I want to get in this sport, if all you do is walk.” …ok buddy….

We started to make every aid station a destination. We discussed how we would fuel, what we would eat at the next aid station. We also decided how we would celebrate after the race (Blue Ribbon Pizzeria BABY!).

At the last aid station, we were completely pampered. Someone filled my camelback with water, another person added ice. Someone fetched me run goo, ushered me to sit down, and another handed me baby wipes. There was one guy that was so kind and willing to do anything, I would like to hire to be my personal assistant for life!

After Corral Canyon, we knew we would literally be home free. With a big downhill (the uphill of which we had to endure on the way out) was waiting for us!!!

We flew down this but still encountered some uphill that I’m pretty sure we shouldn’t have (but then again, I wasn’t paying attention when it came to any downhill on the way out).

We reached the creek and decided that we would both run through it. I was worried even if I attempted to walk across the rocks, I would fall in anyways. It felt so refreshing, but also made my Hoka’s feel like they had mini puddles inside. My toes started to feel frozen too. I was definitely glad we didn’t run through it the first time!

We knew we had just a little bit left and powered through. I was really proud of how strong we were both running, after 31+ miles. Just a little bit of uphill and then down the switchbacks we started with. We hit the base of the group camping, and the finish line was less than a quarter mile away. Elisa started to pick up the pace and I said “ok badass!!” as I checked the pace and watched it drop to 7:15. We continued with this pace, rounding out to the road. I pulled a little bit ahead and dropped down to a 7 minute pace. One quick turn as we shot by the spectators and into the finish line.

I turned around with Elisa right behind me as we gave each other the biggest embrace. WE DID IT!!! I was so happy and it was such a special feeling I felt the most emotion I ever have at the end of a race and could feel my eyes swell with tears of excitement.

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We were adorned with our cool wooden medals, picked up some ice from the med-tent, grabbed subway sandwiches, and headed for the beer station.

I would definitely recommend the Sean O’Brien 50k. Although it lists all of the distances as challenging and not recommended for first races, I enjoyed it so much! It was a well run and well organized event, with overabundant aid stations, extremely generous and attentive volunteers, and a great course. I will most likely return next year.

I ended up placing 52nd overall and 7th in my age group (Elisa was 53rd and 8th).

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Mile splits recorded by my Garmin (7:28:18):
1 – 11:49
2 – 11:14
3 – 16:43
4 – 19:03
5 – 12:27
6 – 14:09
7 – 11:49
8 – 14:57
9 – 10:50
10 – 15:58
11 – 11:51
12 – 15:00
13 – 12:22
14 – 15:23
15 – 12:40
16 – 12:25
17 – 14:29
18 – 12:37
19 – 17:42
20 – 16:02
21 – 13:21
22 – 18:04
23 – 15:51
24 – 11:00
25 – 13:40
26 – 22:04
27 – 13:33
28 – 11:05
29 – 10:04
30 – 8:46
31 – 11:03
32 – 13:16
Last .82 – 6:46

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This picture basically illustrates how frigid it was on race morning!  It was probably around 35-40 degrees at the start, warming up to around 75-77 degrees during the race.  Luckily, we were able to drop our outer layers and warmer gear at the first aid station around mile 7.5 and pick it up on our way back.  Here’s what I wore during the race:

–GapFit long sleeve
–Lululemon Power Y Tank
–Lululemon Trail Bound Shorts
–Buff Original Buff
–Asics Felicity Fleece Gloves
–Patagonia P6 Trucket Hat
–Injinji Compression 2.0 OTC
Hoka One One Huaka
Body Glide
–GoPro HERO4 Session
–Garmin 620 Forerunner
–Camelbak Mini M.U.L.E.

–Probar Bolt Energy Chews x2
–Lemon Lime Nuun Tabs (x2 split in half)
–PB&J sandwich
–Fig Newtons x 5
–Toilet paper

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This is my emerald year!!! Jupiter is in Virgo, which only happens every 12 years, making it a year of luck and success. In addition to checking my Free People and Refinery 29 horoscopes weekly, Susan Miller is my favorite monthly source of predictions. They’re accurate in a non-fluffy, over generalized fashion. And they’re based on mathematical calculations and planets aligning, so they’ve got to be true!!!!! 😛

A lot of exciting things have been happening. I recently became a Westfield UTC Brand Ambassador. I randomly received a Parkland duffle and backpack in the mail. I grabbed happy hour with the girls from Alternative Strategies. I took over the RACEPLACE Instagram. And I ran my second 50k!

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Elisa and I both took Friday off to slowly make our way up to Malibu. Before we reached the campsite, I had to introduce her to Malibu Farms Cafe at the end of the Malibu pier. We had, what Elisa boldly claimed as “the best sandwich ever.” And I almost lost my keys before the weekend even started, but luckily found they slipped into a bucket underneath the water station.

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We arrived to Malibu Creek State Park with our selection of campsites. It appeared that not too many people were camping before the race, or camping that weekend in general. We set up, and took a long walk on a trail. Before we knew it the sun had set and we were making dinner. After eating another take on the DIY Monk Pot, we sat around the fire and warmed ourselves before retiring into the cold tent to read. Go figure, the two of us didn’t generate much body heat. However, after all the ups and downs in the middle of the night mixed with the early bedtime, we probably rounded out a decent night of rest.

Saturday morning we woke up, made coffee and oatmeal and had a 5 minute walk to the starting line. We grabbed our bibs and lined up in the freezing cold….more on the race to come!

We got a late check-out for our campsite so we were able to pack up after the race. We had our eyes set on a celebration at Blue Ribbon Pizzeria way back in Encinitas, so we made our way back home — dirt, sweat, and all.  Once home we quickly showered and dined on the lemon-infused signature pizza we both love!!

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Sunday morning my dad was in town, so after attempting to sleep in, I met up with him and my brother for brunch at Union. A total treat-yourself weekend (including BeerMosas) was in tow after my big accomplishment Saturday :-0  Then we went to REI where I got a backpacking backpack (no trip in mind yet), and then shopped for the big Super Bowl Party for the 3 of us 😛

All in all it was a great weekend and I’m still living on a high from the race (and also soaking in my rest days).  Now to find the next 50k… *insert devil emoji*

Weekly Workout Recap (1/31-2/6):
Sun – Hot Yoga
Mon – Rest
Tues – Rest
Wed – 5 mi + Hot Yoga
Thurs – 5.5 mi
Fri – Rest
Sat – SOB 50k 32.85 mi
Total Weekly Mileage: 43.35 mi
Hours cross-training: 2
2016 miles: 116.6 mi

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Back and at the trails!! One week after my 50k, Elisa and I took to Iron Mountain + Ellie Lane. Iron Mountain is a very popular hike in San Diego, however this was my first time visiting the trail. Elisa suggested we take the offshoot of the Ellie Lane loop because it’s less trafficked and it adds a little distance to the run/hike.

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Even pre-holiday weekend, it was still pretty busy, especially when we reached the top. My legs were still tired from the weekend before and were definitely feeling it. We took the casual approach of walking the uphills, and running the downhills. However, in general it was really nice to get out. I couldn’t imagine running if it had to be on the road, but the trail was exactly the freedom and diversity I needed.

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And because PB&J sandwiches are my FAVORITE (and such a large staple in my diet now) this post is filled with pictures of me stuffing my face!!!

Iron Mountain + Ellie Lane Loop

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Entrance: Hwy 67 & Poway Rd, Poway, CA 92074
Route: Follow the Iron Mountain Trail until it comes to a split. Head left for Ellie Lane. Continue on this until you meet back up with the main Iron Mountain Trail.
Miles: 10 miles

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Elisa and I ran this trail probably 2 weeks before my 50k.  This trail run ended up being a lot more hiking than running.  However, I think it ended up being good preparation!  With over 4,000 feet of elevation gain, there were some good, steep sections of climbing.  It also allowed for a lot downhill.  Meaning, getting those legs used to rolling, feeling the impact and dodging stones.

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It was warm at the start, however, once we got to the highest point, we realized we were severely underdressed compared to everyone else (donning full pants, jackets, etc. while I was merely wearing a tank and shorts).   Our favorite part of any trail run are the breaks at the top (to eat our PB&J sandwiches, always).  However, after we scarfed down our snacks, we were quickly on our way, experiencing huge goosebumps from the settled sweat and cool breeze.

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We ended up running all the way down.  I don’t think I’ve been this sore in a long time!  This run definitely took a toll on my calves on the uphill, and for sure my quads on the downhill.

El Cajon Mountain in the El Capitan Open Preserve

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Entrance: 12777 Wildcat Canyon Rd, Lakeside, CA 92040
Route: Begin at the staging area just off Wildcat Canyon Road and walk .5 mile uphill to the proper trailhead. Continue along the main trail to the summit.
Miles: 11 miles

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Get ready…this is going to be a novel!

Saturday, December 12th I woke up at 5:50am. I made a fire, some coffee and spent close to an hour trying to make oatmeal. Unfortunately I stayed at the Leo Carrillo Campgrounds, which ended up being 30-40 minutes away from Malibu Creek State Park (which is south and east from Leo Carrillo). In hindsight I’d plan a little more ahead and stay at Malibu Creek State Park. Originally I wanted to leave around 6:40, but with waiting for water to boil, it was more like 7:05. So of course, I ate and drank on my drive over, resulting in some spilled oats on my shirt and shorts. Great!

I arrived at Malibu Creek State Park in the back of a car line around 7:35. I was slightly worried because the bib check-in was from 7-7:45am. However, I tried to remain calm, and remind myself that it was a super low-key race, and if I made it in the realm of on time, they would have to give me my bib.

When I arrived I quickly parked, hopped out of my car and ran over to get my bib. I returned to my car and prepped all my gear — water in the Camelbak, fuel, GoPro, iPod, keys, toilet paper, etc. I debated between wearing a long sleeve shirt and not (the same one that had oatmeal stains on it now). It was quite brisk so I decided to keep it on. I had to pee, and the line was a couple people deep, so I decided “this is a nature race,” and popped a squat behind a tree. My biggest fear was not starting with the pack and not knowing where to go.

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At 8am we were off on the Malibu Canyon 50k!  I hopped in the back and walked my way up to the start.  Everyone started at essentially the same time, because there was no tracking when we crossed the starting line. Around less than a half mile in, before we had even passed the parking lot, I decided I was NOT going to wear my long-sleeve shirt (mind you, we had already started the race). I decided to pop out and shed this extra layer, since 1. this race was pretty low-key, 2. I knew I would be taking pit-stops anyways, and 3. I didn’t want to end up carrying extra gear. I jumped back into the race but was now in the back of the pack. As we made our way from the camp road to the trail, we started on single track switchbacks, running in a single file line. It was fine until people started walking…already. In a single file line. My pace dropped to 13 minute miles and I knew I could be running this part at least a little bit faster. I wasn’t racing this race, however, I don’t like feeling stuck and confined. I was just going to go with the flow until a boy passed on the left so I decided to piggyback and follow him. I have and had no idea about etiquette in terms of trail running and/or ultra races. He seemed pretty experienced, like he’d run several ultras before, and like he’d be in the front of the pack. However, this was also his first ultra, and first race ever. Little did we know, Max and I would be spending the next 6 hours together.

The first aid station came at mile 2.7 (Tapia Park). I didn’t need any aid at this point and moved quickly past. This stop marked the start of the climb that would last until mile 10. It was definitely an uphill climb, so steep that running wasn’t even an option for me. Walking at a moderate pace was all I could manage. And even then, if I didn’t have Max hiking at a faster pace I definitely would’ve been walking slower.

Around mile 3 my nose started to drip and I realized it was bright red blood. I ended up using my gloves to stop the bleeding (which caused some chafing under my nose), and luckily I had packed some TP (in case of bathroom issues) so I shoved some up there several times until the bleeding stopped.

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The second aid station came at mile 8 (Corral Canyon). By this time I took a little water top-off and started my electrolyte hydration plan (or non-plan because I kind of made this up as I went along). I had packed some Nuun tablets split in half, and when I came to an aid station, I grabbed a water cup, threw in a tab, and chugged it. After this point, we had about 2 more miles of climbing until the GLORIOUS downhill began. The first time around it felt great. We flew down with an ~8 minute pace. On the flats we kept it consistent and were “flying” in an ultramarathon sense of the word.

At mile 12.7 we came to the M*A*S*H* site aid station. I re-filled my Camelbak with a little more water, took a Nuun, and sat down to rub some vaseline on a blister I could feel forming on the inside arch of my left foot. From this point we knew we had 2.9 miles until the halfway mark.

We finished the first 25k with smiles on our face. I think if I was alone and hurting, this would have been mentally challenging because the turn-around checkpoint was immediately to the right of the finish line. We stopped, I ate half a PB&J sandwich, swallowed a salt tab and continued with my half Nuun hydration tactic.

We started back off feeling great. But by the time we hit the switchbacks again we both were beginning to experience the fatigue. All of our intentions of making the second half better and faster than the first quickly went downhill. It’s true you experience so many different emotions, so many highs and lows. There are times when you feel like absolute shit and times when it’s not too bad. Max and I worked off of each other, making plans like “let’s walk the uphill and run the rolling hills,” or “let’s run to that ribbon,” “let’s run to that tree” even if it was just to keep us moving and propel us only 50 feet forward.

On the second go, the scenery looked vastly different. Instead of focusing on the people in front of me like I did in the beginning, there was nothing around us this time except for an arbor of trees and a fall backdrop. After crossing the small creek (a much bigger feat at mile 17 vs. mile 2) my hips started to tighten. We stopped and stretched, I did a figure 4 on both sides which helped out immensely. See, it is a different mentality! In a normal road race I would never stop and stretch.

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The one good thing about repeating a 25k loop twice is that you know what to expect. I knew from about 18-25 we would be climbing (which meant walking, which was OK by me). At mile 23 I could not be any more excited to seek some serious aid from the aid station. I already had it planned from 2 miles out. Salt tabs, Nuun, vaseline, potatoes dipped in salt. What I would’ve given for some McDonald’s French fries at that point! This was our longest pit stop but very much needed. It lifted our spirits and I left feeling refreshed and ready to go for the next 8 miles.

Max and I talked about what our position might be in the race. I suspected we were in the top third because based on where we started and how many people were in front of us, it didn’t seem like too many. Plus a lot of the runners that were on the loop the first time were only doing the 25k, so that put them out of the running.

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The downhills that felt so great the first time were far from that the second time around. They were torturous. My hips felt like they were rubbing and my knees felt like they were tracking out. I was afraid of taking too big of strides in case the impact was too powerful. Instead, I was taking 2-3 times as many small steps than usual. It was all about controlled falling. Originally we were going to skip the M*A*S*H* site and keep moving to the end. But after enduring the downhill, a little break sounded more than deserved. I could not have been more excited when we reached this aid station. A little stretch, a little Nuun, and a little questioning — “what position are we in?” gave us just the boost we needed. We found out we were 26th and 27th (WHAAAT!) and the game plan changed. “Don’t let anyone pass us, and pass people if we can.” We were ON! We came across #25 and he quickly succumbed to a lower position.

The last 2.9 miles ended up being a constantly evolving game plan. From holding a 9 minute pace, to just running by feel, to keeping it moving until we reached the stairs. I would have to say mile 29-30 was THE hardest. Not even mentally, but physically. I felt like I was a cartoon character trying to run. By the time we made it up the stairs and onto the camp road, we were in the definite home stretch!! As we rounded the corner into the last straightaway with a clear view of the finish line, I could not contain myself. My body filled with so much adrenaline, to the point where it would have been more work to slow down. I picked up the pace and finished strong. 31 miles. 6:19:20. I have never felt more happiness, excitement or sense of accomplishment in my life!

We checked the sheet and saw we ranked around 29 and 30 overall. The official results came out and I saw that I placed 29th overall, 5th female, and 2nd in my age group. So not only did I get a coaster for finishing the 50k, I also got a medal for placing! :-)

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It was a blessing that Max and I were able to run together the whole time. It would have been miserable and 100x more difficult alone. At the end, I kept telling him to go ahead and I’d see him at the finish. But he kept telling me “we’ve made it this far together, we’re finishing together.”

Going into this race I had no idea what I was doing, but apparently I looked like I did, as I got that from several people. Everything I thought about or brought with me ended up being perfect and of the most absolute importance. I ate before I felt any type of intense hunger (I did not keep track of what and when) because I knew by the time I really felt hungry, it would be too late.

Honestly, after this 50k, I am hooked. Everything from the experience to the culture is unlike anything else. From being smaller and on trails. To everyone being so nice, actually talking during the race and being super supportive. I found it to be very different from road racing and actually really nice. I already asked my mom to sign me up for my next 50k for my Christmas present and I wouldn’t be surprise if ultramarathons took precedence over qualifying for Boston….just saying 😉

Mile splits recorded by my Garmin (6:18:47):
1 – 9:49
2 – 10:31
3 – 12:35
4 – 15:55
5 – 15:34
6 – 13:09
7 – 11:14
8 – 11:43
9 – 14:57
10 – 9:07
11 – 9:26
12 – 8:42
13 – 12:32
14 – 8:52
15 – 8:51
16 – 14:12
17 – 10:55
18 – 12:28
19 – 18:13
20 – 18:17
21 – 13:59
22 – 14:45
23 – 13:46
24 – 23:46
25 – 9:38
26 – 10:56
27 – 9:38
28 – 11:24
29 – 9:24
30 – 9:28
Last .55 – 4:45

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So not only did I plan to run my first 50k, I planned to travel and camp the night before (and after).  Ironically I listened to a Trail Talk by Rock Creek Runner podcast the week before exactly titled “How to Tavel and Camp Before an Ultramarathon.”  And basically, what I got as the biggest takeaway was pack more than you think you need — be over-prepared vs. under-prepared.

I didn’t know how the race would work, but you are allowed to have a drop bag.  The podcast recommends separating your drop bag before you leave.  I didn’t make a specific drop bag (since I went alone), but I made a bag specific for of all my race stuff (the clear blue bag from the NYC marathon above).

Packing List:

Race Day outfit
Race day essentials + my “sherpa pack” (aka additional gear) which included:
Long sleeve running shirt
Asics Packable Jacket
Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 3 Trail Running Shoe (the shoes I normally run trails in. However I ended up switching it up to my Hoka’s (my normal marathon shoes) at the last moment)
Injini Trail 2.0 Midweight Mini-Crew
Buff Original Buff
Skinfix Rash Repair Balm
Sunscreen (face + body)

Camp gear
Tent, footprint + hammer
Sleeping bag
Sleeping pad
Fleece blanket
Mexican blanket
Extra sleeping bag
Pillow
Backpack cooler
Camp stove
Mess kit
Camp utensils (fork, knife, spoon, spatula, kitchen knife)
Cutting board
Swiss army knife
Poler camp mug (similar here)
Nalgene
Shower stuff (towel, travel-size shampoo, conditioner, body wash, loofa, flip flops)
Books (Wild)
Magazines (Outside Magazine, Trail Runner)
Headlamp
Flashlight
Wet ones/make-up wipes
Hand warmers
Matches
Toilet paper
Paper towels
Trash bags
Tylenol PM

Clothing
Lululemon Runder Under leggings x2
Lululemon Trail Bound Shorts
Patagonia Strider Shorts
Flannel
T-shirts (Hoppy Beer Hoppy Life, Sol Raiz Organics, Nixon)
Poler crew neck sweatshirt
Nixon hooded sweatshirt
Patagonia Down Sweater Jacket
Patagonia Down Sweater Vest
Coal Beanie
Target Gloves
Nike Free 4.0 Flyknit Running Shoes

Phew! That was an exhaustive list, but I think that’s all.  I’ll be sharing what I did in terms of nutrition (pre-race dinner, pre-race breakfast, what I ate during the race, etc.) next!

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Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored and none of these are affiliate links.  I linked some items so it would be easier to find, just in case you’re interested!

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A couple Saturdays ago, Elisa and I packed up in the Subi and headed east to Ramona for Cedar Creek Falls/Devil’s Punch Bowl.  After purchasing the $6 permit to visit the falls, we were warned — what goes down must come up.  Little did she know we would go down, up, down, and up!

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With our Camelbak’s full and loaded with pb&j sandwiches we hit the trails.  Starting with a descent, we flew down the switchbacks 2.5 miles until we came to 3 splits in the road.  We headed left towards the Julian entrance of the route.  After 2 miles of climbing that we briskly walked up, we turned around to run down the hill.  IMG_9680

At the base of the hill we turned down the split that leads to Cedar Creek Falls.  Although the waterfall was dried up, there was still a good amount of stagnant water.  We stopped, ate our sandwiches and people watched in nature.  It was good to test out potential ultra fuel, especially because I LOVE to talk about training, fueling and eating pb&j sandwiches.  After our brief reprieve, we headed out with our intentions to run and tackle the hill back into Ramona as much as possible.

We had some fun racing a group of egotistical boys that we successfully beat.  10 miles complete, at the peak of the day!  What goes down went down, up, down and up successfully without the need of first responders.

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This trail was perfect for a mix of trail running and power hiking.  It was a well designated path, and less of a challenge (I would rate it moderate) than the Three Sisters Hike I had completed the day before.

Cedar Creek Falls/Devil’s Punch Bowl 
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Entrance: 15519 Thornbush Rd, Ramona, CA 92065
Route: Follow the trail.  When you come to the three splits in the road, head left (onto Eagle Peak Rd).  When you reach the top, turn around and follow the trail to Cedar Creek Falls.  After you reach the falls, head out and retrace your steps back up the hill to Ramona.
Miles: 10.25 mi
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For the longest time I was anti-trail running. Varied terrain meant slower paces, more obstacles. However, in the past 6-9 months I would say that that mentality has changed. I realized after my race in SF that I would say 85% or more of my running is primarily trail-based. And I love it. Seriously caught the running bug with the perfect combo of running with friends on trails. And now, what do you know…I get to do it for 31 miles!

For the next couple of weeks leading up to my first 50k trail run, I will be sharing my favorite trail runs. This week we start off with San Elijo Lagoon, a definite staple in my weekly mileage. Whether it’s a traditional 6 mile run with Elisa, or a long run with several miles tacked on in the lagoon, I find myself doing a good portion of my miles here.

San Elijo Lagoon

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Entrance: The end of North Rios Ave in Solana Beach
Route: Head east on the trail, towards the freeway overpass. Follow the Solana Hills Trail and go under the overpass. Hop on the Dike/Levee Trail, until you reach La Orilla Trail, which you will follow until you hit the street at El Camino Real (Rancho Santa Fe). Turn around and follow back. Option to take the lower trail when you’re coming back west of the 5 fwy.
Miles: ~6 miles

For more info visit here.

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