Tags: trail running
Tag Archives: trail running
If you had told me 9 months ago that I would be an Ultra Runner one day I would have said you were crazy. This was never something I was interested in. Heck, I had never enjoyed running the trails until April of this year. At that point the thought of doing an ultra was planted in my head. I had a lot of races between then and the race day of November 20, 2011, so I could only get as much time on the trails as I could sneak in during my various training plans. I figured my marathon training would help prepare me for the distance and I would do all I could to prepare for the terrain.
So the day was finally here to tackle a 50K. I woke up extremely excited to do the race. I knew the weather was gonna make things tough; rain was predicted for pretty much the whole day. I wore my new #DoEpicShit shirt, a running rain jacket, my CW-X tights, and my Salomon XR Crossmax shoes and started off on my adventure.
This race is essentially 5 ups and downs, so I will give you a run down hill by hill. The first hill is a counter clockwise loop kind of like a lolly-pop. The views are breath taking and the terrain is very technical. It is single track and some fire road with varying surfaces. It can be kind of tricky (I actually fell on this the first time I ran it and almost broke my ribs). Luckily my legs were fresh and I was excited. This loop went by pretty smoothly but it did rain the whole time. I had lots of nice conversation with the fellow runners (something I am not used to from triathlon), and the first loop was done!
I ran thru the first aide station and started on the second climb which takes you up and over a hill/mountain (whatever you call them) into a totally separate canyon. The up was pretty much all single track. I was still feeling good and ran most of this leg. The conditions were getting worse and there was a lot of mud and puddles. The down was mostly fire road which allows for easier passing (and being passed) but it made for some CRAZY mud! I tried to get out my camera to take a picture but I fell flat on my tush! It was a slippery mucky mess! Once I got myself up (thanks to the help of a nearby runner) I finished the descent and ran on to the aide station. I needed to refuel big time! The spread was awesome! Payday bars, pumpkin pie, beef jerky and coke was what I ate! It all hit the spot! After the snack and some Advil I was on my way.
Luckily the rain was still coming down so all the mud on me started to wash away. The next climb was a killer. My back was tightening up and my hip/glute was not happy. This was the my lowest point in the whole race. The climb just felt like it went on forEVAH and I did very little running. All I tried to do was keep moving forward, purposeful walking I call it. Luckily after every 3 mile climb there was a steady descent to enjoy. The trail was getting muddier and muddier so some parts of the descent were not runnable for me. I didn’t feel like falling on my a$$ again!
Got to the bottom and ran by the start/finish but really had no desire to quit. I knew I could do this but there was no way I was going to make my goal time of 6 hours. I hit the aide station for a few more snacks and continued on to the first loop again. I remember saying to myself, “How did I run up this before?” A voice inside my head answered “That was almost 4 hours ago! That is how!” Lots of purposeful walking and some very cold and deep puddles and I made it to the top. There is a really nice pretty flat section at this point. I was amazed that my body just kept running! It wasn’t going fast but it was going! I made it to the descent, got back to the start/finish, and quickly set off for the final hill.
I didn’t waste much time at this point to get moving. I was starting the last 9KM out-and-back and I was at 6 hours (the time I had been hoping to finish in). I couldn’t do much running up but I just kept moving forward. That was all I could do. The clouds had broken over the ocean and the views were amazing. The pictures from my camera don’t do it justice (mostley because water leaked in my lens!). At this point it was just about getting it done. Get up, Get down, and get out of there! The descent was pretty slick in parts but amazingly I was still pretty comfortable running downhill.
I made it to the finish around 7:35! Not the most exciting of race finishes and honestly I was a little disappointed with my time at that moment. I grabbed a banana, headed back to may car where I took off all my muddy and wet clothes (which were all of them). If I flashed you on the side of PCH either sorry or you’re welcome! Drank a chocolate Honeymilk and made my way home! I stopped for some soup, nachos, and coffee and then finally washed the rest of the mud off me!
In hindsight, what I did was pretty amazing. Not many people can say they ran 31 miles with well over 5000 ft of climbing, especially in those conditions. Not only that, but I never turned my music on, not once. The fact that I did 7.5 hours continuously and with NO music was a big boost to my confidence for Ironman training.
I had said that I had no desire to do another Ultra anytime soon and honestly there is no time in my schedule to really train for one specifically (but you know I already am planning on how to crush my time!).
For those of you that are following my training you might know that I only recently picked up trail running recently. Up until then I was strictly a runner of the black top. The trails never really worked for me. But once I was introduced to them I fell in love! And the best part of starting to run on a new surface meant NEW SHOES!!!! I went to the local running store that sponsors one my my triathlon teams (yes, I belong to a couple) and tried on couple pairs of trail running shoes. I was very interested in the Salomons because I knew a couple people who also ran in them. So I picked up the Salomon XR Crossmax neutrals. I wrote about these shoes when I first got them because it was the first time I had switched from a stability shoe to a neutral shoe.
Now that I have put about 70 miles on them it is time to write about them. I run on the trails in Southern California just north of Los Angeles. As a result the terrain I run on can vary widely from rocks to sand to hard dirt to mud. The hills can get pretty steep at times as well which can making ascending hard and descending tricky. So far I have bee very pleased with the shoes. They have stood up to every surface I have thrown at them. Since I am new to trail running my ankles are a little weak. The shoes have provided a nice stable base to keep me from turning my ankles too often (can’t avoid it completely). The shoes laces took a little time to get used to and to get them adjusted just right. The shoes “hug” my feet just right by giving me the right space for my front foot but holding snugly to my heel. They do seem to allow some dirt through but if you want your shoes to breathe and dry out (after a water crossing or six), they can’t be air tight! To help cut down on the junk that gets in them I use Dirtygirl Gaiters (love them!!).
I am new to this product reviewing stuff so I am sure I missed some of the technical details that make them the great shoes I have found them to be. I am curious to see how well they do after another 100 miles. I am hoping, because I don’t wear them on the road where I am a heavy heel striker, they will last longer than most of my regular running shoes.
- Running – 101 miles
- Swimming – 19 miles
- Biking – 251 miles
- Total Distance – 371 miles
- Total Time : 41:34
I completed my first Half Ironman distance triathlon in Oceanside, CA on 4/2/2011. It was awesome! My goal ultimate goal was to go under 6 hours but I thought that I would most likely be closer to 6:30. I was thrilled to finish in 5:59:41! Full race report can be found here.
Notes on Month
Kind of a strange month because I had a big race in the beginning so there were a couple of light weeks dues to recovery. I did 30 less total miles than the month before but 4 more hours or training. This is probably due to the fact that I swam a lot! (twice as much as the previous month). I also upped the running and had a light month of riding. Another notable thing that happened in April is that I started this blog. I am really enjoying it and I hope that people continue to read it. And lastly, late in the month I tried trail running. I liked it so much there is a 50K penciled on my calendar for November 2011!
I have been running for about 5 years. I have completed a bunch of half marathons, several marathons, and now I am on to triathlons. But when it comes to running I have stayed on the road. The road is predictable. The road is flat. I find the road to be safe. I have tried the trails a little. Many talk about preferring running trails because it is a softer surface and more forgiving than the pavement. I have said that I prefer the predictable nature of pavement over the ankle turning nature of trails.
Enter Stuart (@Quadrathon). I was lucky enough to find Stuart through some combination of Twitter and the Dailymile and Foursquare (not sure which one first). We connected via the interwebs but we actually live quite close. We had been saying for some time that we should run together and this past week we finally made it happen. We did a couple early morning runs around town which were great. I am always happy to find someone to run early in the morning. So then he proposed some trail running this weekend. Something I am not strong at. Lately I have seen a lot of improvement in my running with regards to pace. The thought of running on trails meant I would see a decrease in my speed for sure. But I knew that this might be the time to branch out my running style. I was hoping that running in a new environment would translate to better running overall.
So this morning we set off to an open space near by, Chesboro Canyon. The weather was kind of gloomy. Very foggy and practically drizzling. It had rained a lot this winter so there is a lot of fresh growth in the canyon. We set off for 10 miles as I laughed at my choice of socks, bright white knee-high compression socks (not the best idea with the current conditions). The running was awesome! Now that I am a stronger runner I was so much more comfortable with the quick changes in elevation and surface type. It was so nice to be away form the cars, and roads. The combination of terrain and company made for a great run. I ran significantly slower than usual and had to do some walking up some of the hills (favorite quote of the day, “it gets worse after this!”). But overall I was pleased with how I did. Possibly to Stuart’s dismay I was able to hold a conversation for most (if not all) of the run. I may have been muddy, and wet, and cold by the end but the increase in confidence I felt left me beaming!
I can’t say how thankful I am that Stuart helped get me out of my running rut and on to the trails. Training can get tedious, repetitive, and boring if you never change things up. I needed a little nudge to move me on to something new. I am already looking for my first trail half marathon… ready to run Boney Mountain with me Stuart?
Photo above: here I am trying to gracefully (ha ha) navigate my way up the trail. (photo by @Quadrathon)
The grass was so wet! But the views were beautiful! (photo by @Quadrathon)
I wish I had a photographer for every run! This is my favorite picture. (photo by @Quadrathon)