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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SURPRISE!  I signed up for my first 50k on December 12th — the Malibu Canyon 50k.  Piggybacking off the training and mileage I established for the NYC Marathon, I’m excited to embark on this new and fun adventure, with absolutely no expectations.  Although I originally signed up to do this with my (future) ultrarunning buddies who are no longer able to do the race, I’m still committed to filling up the next couple of weekends with long runs on Saturday (~2 hours) followed by longish trail runs on Sundays (2-3 hours).

This past weekend London and I visited Malibu Creek State Park for a quick overnight camping trip, with the intentions of checking out parts of the 50k trail.  While we didn’t actually end up surveying the route (damn Daylight Savings time making the sunset at 4:45pm…), we did come up with some good camp hacks, tips and recipes to share.

So stay tuned for a lot of trail running and a little camp vibes content coming soon!!

 

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And we’re off! This morning we’ll be taking the streets of San Francisco. Make sure to follow along on Snapchat as Fit Andy and I will be taking over the @finishlineusa account!  Here’s the gear I’ll be wearing (and don’t make fun of my Hokas!!!).

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–Larabar
Skinfix  Rash Repair Balm
–CLIF Shot Blocks
Garmin 620 Forerunner
–Ipod shuffle
Stance Run Threshold Crew
Body Glide
–Lululemon Turbo Run Shorts
–#FNLRunsSF tank (similar style here)
Hoka One One Huaka

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I did it!!!!  My second marathon is complete, and I couldn’t be any happier about the results.  I surpassed my own expectations and came out with a HUGE PR and ran a time fast enough to qualify for Boston.  Recap and more to come!

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Lululemon Power Y Tank
Lululemon Seek The Heat Short

-Ipod shuffle
Garmin 620 Forerunner
Strawberry Lemonade Nuun
-Breakfast: Quest bar (ended up just eating a banana and almond butter)

Stance Fusion Run Crew Cut Socks (ended up trading these out for Injinji Trail Socks at the last minute)
Body Glide
Gu: Carmel, Macchiato, Salted Caramel & Chocolate Peanut Butter
Amphipod Profile Lite
Hoka One One Huaka

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On Superbowl Sunday I ran the Cardiff Kook Run 5k. It’s one of my favorite local races, with the same exact course of the Encinitas Turkey Trot. Last year I ran it for the first time, doing the 10k, but as I’ve learned, I do not like the 10k distance. I find it to be really challenging distance to pace. Even in workouts, I find myself faltering too easily between too fast and too slow for a 10k pace.

Lately I’ve become pretty confident with the 5k distance. However, I didn’t change my training schedule, and preceded to run 14.5 miles the day before.  Needless to say, this made me a little sore to start.

The 5k started at 8:55am and since it was self-seeded, we lined up right in the front of the pack.  I started my “Turkey Trot” list, which has just become my hip hop/running playlist since my last 5k on T-Day.

It ended up being a beautifully warm and perfect first day of February, and the perfect precursor to enjoying the Super Bowl! 😉

I ended up running 21:05, placing 2nd in the age group and 6th female overall.

Splits according to my Garmin (21:05):

1 – 6:45
2 – 6:57
3 – 6:57
Last .10 -0:25

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After what was supposed to be the end of my race season, I continued to have the bug and felt the need to throw in another race.

Last year was my first time doing a Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving, but I really enjoyed getting my legs moving before settling into a turkey coma. Since I just moved back up to Encinitas, I thought it was only right that I participate in the inaugural Encinitas 101 Turkey Trot.

The morning of the race I picked up Graham and we headed down so I could pick up my bib and he could register for the 10k. I love 5k’s because I know I can endure 3 miles, even if it hurts, but 10k’s just feel awful, like an over-extended sprint.

By 7:30am we were all ready, but the 10k didn’t start until 8:30am, and the 5k didn’t start until 9am. So we had some time to kill. Once again, I didn’t feel like running and the lag time, waiting made it a little worse.

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I was afraid everyone from SSRC was doing the 10k after all of them lined up and were away. However, at the start of the 5k I met up with Jennifer, her husband, Marc and his son, as we all lined up together.

The course was super familiar (the same as the Cardiff Kook Run, except for that I ran the 10k option that time), and was moderately flat. It was a straight shot, starting under the Encinitas sign with a turn-around at just about the start of the San Elijo campgrounds.  I just ended up running out, settling into a pace, and pushing it on the way back.

It was a quick and fun race, as I approached the finish line I saw the clock was still below 20 minutes. I had to weave around and essentially cut off a man with a stroller to make sure I wasn’t caught behind!

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I finished with 19:57, a PR of over a minute from the Fit Foodie 5K! 3rd in my age group and 14th female overall.

Splits according to my Garmin (19:58):
1 – 6:51
2 – 6:59
3 – 6:07

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On Sunday, November 16th I ran the Celebration Run Half Marathon. Earlier this year, before we even knew each other, Avery–who handled marketing for the race–reached out to me to participate as a blog ambassador. Ironically, the race fell on her bday too (HBD Aves!).

Since it was the inaugural year, this race was smaller than many others I’ve run, but it was well organized, and really well run, especially for being it’s first year.

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I have never really run around Mission Bay, so I honestly don’t even know where we ran.  However, the course was flat for the most part, except for 4 overpasses that resulted in a few climbs.

Originally, Andy and I decided we would just run to run and approach it like a long Saturday SSRC run. However, mid-way I started to feel good, so I just ran based off feeling. Around mile 11 I started to just get bored in general and knew if I ran faster, I would finish faster.

With the Fit Foodie 5K the day before, and then this race, I realized I have gotten good at choosing people to race with/pick off. Throughout the race I chose certain people in front of me to either keep in sight, or to eventually get in front of. By the end I had successfully beaten all 3 of my designated people.

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The race finished in the sand, which I surprisingly ran well on, as I kind of bounced and bounded (I think treading through the “quicksand” in the San Elijon Lagoon helped with that). At the finish line bikini clad girls and board short boys handed out medals (of which I made a serious effort to have the hottest guy give me my medal ahaha).

Afterwards we sat in the VIP area where we enjoyed catered BREAKFAST BURRITOS (HELLOOOOOO), fresh fruit and coffee.

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I ended up running a 1:45:01 and placing 2nd in my age group.  Taking the pressure out of racing to perform, it turned out to be a fun and successful race weekend!

Mile splits recorded by my Garmin:
Mile 1 – 8:05
Mile 2 – 8:05
Mile 3 – 7:54
Mile 4 – 7:57
Mile 5 – 8:02
Mile 6 – 8:10
Mile 7 – 8:03
Mile 8 – 7:47
Mile 9 – 8:06
Mile 10 – 7:59
Mile 11 – 7:51
Mile 12 – 7:51
Mile 13 – 7:30
Last .25 1:38

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As much as I love running and fitness, I LOVE food.

That’s why Cooking Light & Health’s Fit Foodie 5k Race Weekend might possibly be the best combination, ever. We’re talking about a weekend filled with VIP events, celebrity chefs, 5K race, Finisher’s Village, bootcamp, yoga, and brunch. Held at the San Diego Bayfront November 14-16, it’s going to be the ultimate foodie and fitness weekend.

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I’ll be running the race and have the opportunity for 2 of you to join me too!  Today I’m giving away two free registrations to the 5K Race and Finisher’s Village.  The 5K race will be held on Saturday, November 15th starting at 8:30am.  See the race course here.  At 9am, the Finisher’s Village will open, where there will be a post-event celebration including refuel stations, celebrity chef demos and tastings, fitness demos at the Power Systems stage, beer and wine tastings, giveaways, and delicious bites from participating restaurants, sponsors, and more!

2 winners will be selected!

Enter to win here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway ends midnight, November 10th

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*You can also use code “DAILYCUP” for 10% off your entry!*

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Friday night Andy and I flew into Oakland, where we then stayed the night in Benicia. Early Saturday morning we made our way into the City for a 7am meet-up at the Union Square Niketown for a shake-out run. We checked into our hotel early (like 6:45am early!) and quickly made it over to the Nike store.

First, we were all corralled into the store where we listened to and received some inspiration from some speakers such as Shalane Flanagan and Joan Benoit Samuelson. Then, they revealed the new Tiffany’s necklace for this year’s race.

In no time we were out the door on a quick 2 mile run. It was a fairly warm run, resulting in some sweat, which made me contemplate what I was going to wear for the race.

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After the run, a mix of the Finish Line girls and some other girls (who attended the Nike Track Club event at Del Amo in July) headed off to brunch (“and other fun things”) at Hotel Palomar. We were lead to a gorgeous outside patio where we were greeted with mimosas being served on a silver platter.

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The brunch was decorated beautifully, with a long, Pinterest-ly perfect table, set up with swag bags and our race bibs. There was a greek yogurt bar (I thought the only food), until I sat down and realized there was a full menu and meal coming, complete with dessert!

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It was a great way to meet and bond with some of the girls I’ve been seeing all over social media. And to build some camaraderie for the 13.1 miles we would all conquer the next day!

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After brunch, we all walked back to the expo and Finish Line presented their girls with even more special goodies. Fun printed pants and embroidered hoodies!!! @asheejojo is kinda a big deal yo!  Check back tomorrow for part 2.

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Big thanks to Finish Line for an amazing start to the weekend and the opportunity to Run SF!

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