IMG_1680

The La Jolla Half Marathon. Back in 2010 this was my first half marathon ever. I thought it was kind of a one-and-done type of thing. Not even this race specifically, just half marathons in general. Fast forward to Sunday afternoon — 6 years, 4 La Jolla’s and 20 half marathons later…here we are.

The race started at 7:30am at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. I thought I was being smart coming from the north and exiting on Lomas Santa Fe to Stevens Ave. However, instead of being able to cross over Via de la Valle to the Del Mar Fairgrounds parking lot, cars were forced to turn left and head east. I ended up flipping a U and parking in the surrounding neighborhood. I ate a little more of my oatmeal, lubed up with body glide, fastened by bib and walked over to the start. I had to go to the bathroom so I easily slid into the Del Mar Surfside Race Place hall where I waited in a short line of 4 people. I exited the bathroom and had a brisk jog to the start. I popped into wave 2 and waited 2-3 minutes before the race officially began.

It was already hot and I knew by the time I hit the first aid station I’d be taking water. I didn’t bring a water pack but I probably should’ve. I mean, I carried my fanny pack last week on a 6 mile trail run in the lagoon (and even though I felt like an absolute kook it was completely necessary). I didn’t have a playlist prepared so I ended up just listening to my NYC Marathon playlist (and I forgot, it’s actually a good one!). I didn’t pay much attention to my pace, I knew I just needed to listen to my body since I haven’t run over 10 miles since my last ultra in the beginning of February…

This course I pretty much know like the back of my hand (but probably even better than that). From working in Del Mar for the past 4 years, to attending UCSD the 4 years prior, these are all streets and routes I’m very familiar with. The race traces the coast from Del Mar, through Torrey Pines State Park Natural Reserve, past UCSD, down La Jolla Shores, and into La Jolla Cove.

The hardest thing for me was the heat. I should’ve worn a hat to 1. catch some of my sweat that started mixing with my sunscreen and dripping into my eyes and 2. for some sun protection because my face felt burnt and completely dried out by the end.

One of the best parts was coming from Stratford Court before 4th Street in Del Mar. I encountered Dallas from Run North County Monday Night Runs. I trekked the short but steep hill up 4th Street and saw Bartley (from Run North County too), then Susan and Marc from Seaside Striders. Just seeing everyone gave me a little pep in my step. After this brief incline we were rewarded with a downhill before we came to Torrey Pines and I started to feel a literal runner’s high. But to the point where my body felt no connection to my brain and I might actually pass out.

So for the first time while running this race, I walked (most) of Torrey Pines. While everyone else continued to run around me, I kind of had to tell myself “who cares what everyone else is doing.” Because I knew if I tried to run the whole hill mountain, I would have died. I channeled my “ultra” mentality and power walked most of the hill, with quick and smooth bursts of running, in which I actually passed people who continued to run while I took my walking breaks.

After exiting Torrey Pines State Park, the course transitions into the rolling hills on Torrey Pines Rd. Usually this road can seem arduous and long, but I don’t even remember where my head was. Maybe texting people (lol)… because I found myself pulling off to the side to semi-walk and text. Someone ran up next to me and gave me words of encouragement to continue, and I just thought YOU DON’T KNOW ME. Let me text my friends!!! (Just kidding…kinda 😛 )

IMG_1693

Right after I grabbed water at the top of La Jolla Shores (around mile 10) I heard someone yell my name and it was Evan (who’s opening up the really cool Tasting Room Del Mar next month). We ended up running together until the last-ish hill(s) that goes Spindrift to Princess and finally Torrey Pines (and then I pulled ahead…muaha). I thought I was going to walk at least part of this section, but I knew the end was just so close. And once I hit Prospect it would be all downhill.  Luckily my watch/GPS was hitting close to the mile markers so I knew it would be pretty spot on (and not something like .5 longer than 13.1).  Overall it was a hot and challenging day, but I think all in all I’ve become a stronger runner, and learned that when I don’t care too much, good things can still happen (even a course PR…4th times the charm!).

IMG_1690

Mile splits recorded by my Garmin (1:45:32):
1 – 7:27
2 – 7:41
3 – 7:56
4 – 8:17
5 – 7:24
6 – 10:13
7 – 8:33
8 – 8:14
9 – 7:49
10 – 7:56
11 – 6:56
12 – 7:44
13 – 8:05
Last .21 – 1:12

signature

Thanks to RACEPLACE for the opportunity to run this race!

IMG_0648

The was my last trail run with Kate before the SOB 50k.  After a lazy and overcast morning in Encinitas, we grabbed coffee from Ironsmith and headed down to Alpine.  After an hour of driving, we arrived at our destination, or so we hoped/thought.

We parked in the apparent lot and spotted the sign “Espinosa Trail –> Secret Canyon rail.”  By the time we made it out east to the trailhead, the temperatures had risen.  No need for an outer- or wind-layer and we both stripped to tanks and shorts.  We headed out with the intention of running 10 miles.  The trail was wide and evident, and we followed along this main trail for 5 miles.

IMG_0527

At this point, we had never reached Secret Canyon.  I guess the big indicator should have been the fact that we continued to gradually climb and never dropped down into a canyon.  In our defense though, the climb was very gradual and we didn’t realize it until we turned around to run back.  We did take some walking breaks on the way up, but I just assumed that I was out of shape/getting my bearings back (not the greatest feeling the week before the race).

IMG_0754

On our way back we also realized we clearly missed the split off for Secret Canyon.  It was maybe a mile or so in, but at a quick glance, the small wooden sign was misleading.  It clearly said “trail –>” but since I didn’t read it and the wooden sign was kind of shaped like an arrow in the opposite direction, we just stayed on the Espinosa Trail the whole time.

The Espinosa Trail extends 7 miles out.  Kate was obsessed with how green it was and kept exclaiming “it looks like Ireland!”

Although we ran the wrong trail, it just gives us another one to try the next time!

Espinosa Trail

Entrance: 21697 Lyons Valley Rd, Alpine, CA
Route: From the trailhead parking lot walk to the trail.  Espinosa is the main trail and will take you out 7+ miles.
Miles: 10 miles +

signature

 

IMG_0611

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

signature

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.

IMG_0616

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.

IMG_0670

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!

IMG_0624

 

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.

IMG_0623

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.

IMG_0643

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).

IMG_0641

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

signature

IMG_0650

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

signature

IMG_9762

Happy Black Friday!  Hope you are all following the REI movement and choosing to #OptOutside.  Kate, Andy and I went out and hit the trails running in Escondido earlier today.

Yesterday I ran the Encinitas Turkey Trot.  This is my third time running this course (last year’s Turkey Trot and the Cardiff Kook 5k).  For this race I didn’t really know what to expect.  I haven’t done any type of speed work in months, and I ran this race following an 11 mile run the day before…My goal was somewhere in the 21 minute range.  For some reason my results didn’t track, but luckily I was running this for fun and caught my time on my Garmin (good enough for me).

IMG_9706

This year the 5k started at 8am.  Around 6:45am I jogged over from Kendall’s house to the start.  I met up with Graham, picked up my bib and hung around with all my fellow SSRC-ers who all ran the 10k.  After they took off (7:30am) I met up with Jen and Tyler as we waited for the 5k start.  It’s self-seeded so I tried to get as close to the front as possible.  I started off slower behind a group off people and just tried to run by feel.  I also tried to run with music but my headphones were falling out/banging against my ear piercings so I just decided to wrap them up and just run.

It’s hard to do recaps on 5k’s because there’s not much too them!  I love 5k’s though because even though they’re hard, they’re done so fast.  This one hurt (more respiratorily than physically) but it was a good way to start an increasingly busy Thanksgiving Day!

Splits according to my Garmin (20:52):
1 – 6:52
2 – 6:52
3 – 6:45
0.1 – 0:21

Did you run a Turkey Trot yesterday?  Did you choose to #OptOutside today?

signature

IMG_9681

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!

IMG_9679

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.

IMG_9370

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 
 Screen Shot 2015-11-22 at 7.28.04 PM
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
signature

With days that turn into nights waaaaay too early, I found myself without running. My scheduled workouts fell by the wayside and I unintentionally missed runs. Night running is pretty much limited to one path (the only street in Encinitas with lighting). And sometimes incessant (week long) hunger makes dinner sound waaaay better than yoga.

IMG_9587

Monday night Kendall and I attended the reveal of the Seasons 52 winter menu at a special blogger preview.

IMG_9582

Tuesday night I squeezed in a run with Kate before the girls and I gathered at London’s neighbor’s house for a homey, warm fall dinner — Cardiff Crack, grilled asparagus and Kendall’s vegan tomato soup :-)

Wednesday I suffered from an on-and-off eye twitch (which I’m pretty sure signifies my impending death :-P) all day. So when it came to get my eyelashes done, I COULD NOT RELAX. All I could think about was how much my eyeball must be moving under my eyelid, and how I could not control it or get it to stop. Afterwards I easily easily easily could have done nothing. Luckily I had Kate to coerce me into another week run, and then I was able to go over to Kendall’s where she fed me a nice salmon dinner she had already made #blessedwiththebest.

Thursday night Kendall and I planned to go to yoga. But lately, I’ve been having hunger issues. Like, can’t eat enough I’m legitimately hungry, to the point where I just want to be able to stop eating! So it didn’t take much convincing to get dinner instead of a workout (East Village Asian Diner again if you were wondering 😉 ).

IMG_9619

Early Friday morning I stuffed 3 dozen balloons into my car  and then set up our Breast Cancer Walk cheering station for work. With a short day at work, I left late morning for an exciting photoshoot downtown with Fit Andy and Kate. Definitely felt paparazzi style, strolling downtown trying to look candid in our sporty chic attire. After a good number of hours shooting, snacking on goldfish, gummies and granola bars, Kate and I were ravenous (because, please feed the models!!!). We ended up staying downtown and chowing at The Neighborhood, devouring THE BEST burgers, and some unique one-offs of beer for the passing San Diego Beer Week.

Once the weekend hit, I realized that I failed to have any mornings to myself all week.  Every day was an earlier one, so on Saturday I tried to capitalize on getting just a little more sleep. Elisa and I met later (around 8:30am) for a run, but little did I know it would rise back up to 80+ degrees in late November – __ – After our run we baked these muffins. And then I spent the rest of my evening, having the most bizarre blogging environment/experience at Better Buzz until Jen and her daughter, Tyler, swooped me up for a dinner at Solace :-)

IMG_9686

Sunday morning was BY FAR the best trail run out at Noble Canyon. You bet a full review is coming soon!!! Eventually, the 5+ hours of running this past weekend definitely caught up to me, and I snuck in a nap that I eventually woke up from just to go to sleep.

This new week I’m feeling especially thankful, I suppose just in time for Thanksgiving :)

Weekly Workout Recap (11/15-11/21):
Sun – Sandstone Peak Hike
Mon – Rest
Tues – 6 mi
Wed – 4 mi
Thurs – Rest
Fri – Rest
Sat – 12.5 mi
Total Weekly Mileage: 22.5 mi
2015 miles: 1301.45 mi

signature

IMG_8786

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

Screen Shot 2015-11-19 at 4.37.32 PM

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.

signature

IMG_8794

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!!

 

signature

 
 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers: