Race Reports

Santa Clarita Half Marathon 2014 Race Report


The numbers for those of you who don’t want the fluff:

Time 1:53:01

Overall 264/1449

Women 62/782

Age Group 15/133

I wasn’t originally planning on running this race but since Stuart was going to be running the full marathon I asked my coach if I could run the half. This race is dear to me because it is the first race I ever really trained for and ran back in 2006. Coach said I could race this so I was excited to go for a pace of 9:00/mile, a full minute below my goal marathon pace for Ironman Arizona. If it felt good I was going to push it a little more. Well, the first couple miles felt pretty good so I just kept going with the pace. Originally I just wanted to break 2:00 but once I got to about mile 5 I was hoping to catch the 1:50 pacer. I couldn’t quite catch him but I ended up running just over 1:53. I will take that!

After the race I jumped on my mountain bike and chased after Stuart who was still running. I found him right before mile 18 and made sure he had everything he needed and checked on how he was feeling. He was in the zone and needed nothing so I hung back on the bike and just followed him. I started meeting other running the race who really needed someone to talk to them to help get them through the last 6 miles. I ended up spending a chunk of time with one woman who was in from out of town to run. I essentially talked her ear off for the rest of the race and helped keep her aware of how she was in relation to other runners. I had so much fun!!! It is such a small and quaint marathon! I may have to go back and run it again next year!

Below are some pictures from the day…the perfect day!

Chesebro Half Trail Marathon 2014 Race Report

photo 1

I hear about this race every year but this year I finally signed up for it.  It is run on a local trail that is actually where I had my trail running debut in 2011. I decided to do this race a long time ago and signed up nice and early.  I like to put my money down early so that I feel committed to a race.  My training was pretty consistent and I got out to the actual trail whenever I could. I thought that a 10:00 min/mile pace was a good goal which put me finished in about 2:20.  I got to the race around 6:00 AM for a 7:00 AM start because I needed to pick up my race number. I headedup tot he start and waited with all the others

photo 2

After a couple sportive messages from my husband and coach the gun went off and down we went.  I chose not to run with music for this race.  I won’t be able to run with music at Ironman Arizona so I figured I better start practicing.  Also, recently I have found the music to be distracting.  I really wanted to pay attention to how I was feeling and be aware of people passing me on the trail.


Me in pink in the middle. On our way into Chesebro Canyon

I switched the screen on my Garmin 910 so that all I could see was my HR zone and the current lap time and distance.  I worked very hard to pace evenly and  not go out to fast .  I knew what the climbing was like and I didn’t want to walk it.  I felt great and just kept chugging.  Around 60 minutes in and at a very steep point in the trail I had to walk so I used that opportunity to have a Salted Caramel GU. No problems at all.  Once we reached the top I flew (relatively) down the hill.  I really wanted to take advantage of the downhill section.  After one last little up and out we were back on the streets and cruising down back to the start. I did all I could to pass as many people as I could and even had one little burst at the very end to keep from getting passed in the finishing shoot.  I stopped my watched and was so excited to see the time. 2:03 and change!

photo 3I did so much better than I expected!  This race was a real ego boost after having a couple years of not-so-great running.  I beat what I thought I could do by a good 15 minutes and felt completely in control of the whole entire race from start to finish.  I also did it with a lower average HR than usual (175). Garmin data here.

First race of the year….Tick!


Here is a video someone took during the race.  I saw this guy pass me a couple times. I don’t know him but it shows the course pretty well.

(Also, I have no sound on the machine I am writing this on so I haven’t listened to the audio.  If he is crazy talking, let me know and I will remove the video)


The 2014 Tour of Sufferlandria


The Tour is over… 😦

For 9 days I joined about 1600 other riders from all over the world as we completed the Tour of Sufferlandria.  It was a virtual tour that was done on our bike trainers in our own homes; but what was surprising was just how much we felt like we were doing it together.  The premise behind The Sufferfests is that you will become a better cyclist through pain and suffering on the bike.  While that may be true, in reality it is a really fun way to kick your own ass so you can beat others!  Usually I dread my trainer time but since my recent adoption of TrainerRoad and this tour, I have found a new passion for my trainer time.  Of course it also helped that except for 2 rides, Stuart and I did all the stages together.  He has done a much better write up of each stage on his blog and the recaps on The Sufferfest website are awesome.

Total miles ridden were just under 200 miles  in almost 13 hours (I had to do Rubber Glove twice)


Wildwood 10K 2013 Trail Run Race Report

SufferScoreThat pretty much sums it up.  And up was where we ran!  We got a new local 10K here in town on a local trail I have run many times.  We signed up and though this should be fun.  I was excited for my first run as  Vanderkitten VIP!  Had my new snazzy hat and couldn’t wait to run!


It was fun but OMG it was hard!  Everything was great for the first 2 miles; nice and fun and easy.  We even ran by a volunteer keeping us away from the baby rattlesnake!  Weather was perfect.  A little breezy and warm but really really nice.

And then the climb started… Up to Lizard Rock.  I had never run it that way before; I guess I had always run down it.  WOW!  I was walking and had a HR of 192!  It was really challenging.

WW10KElevationOnce we got to the top we got a nice quick downhill followed by some tricky technical rocky miles. We went back down to almost the very bottom again just so we could climb up one more time!  That was when they snapped a picture and I actually managed a smile!


Overall it was a really hard run but I had a blast.  It was great to do something local with all the local runners we know. Can’t wait to run it again next year! But I think I might practice that climb a few more times!

Garmin data can be seen here.

Tiki Swim 3 – Race Report

The idea of this swim came up easily 9 months ago.  Several of my close online friends (Ted, Leo. Leah, and Sugarmagnolia) wanted to do this swim and it sounded like a great idea.  After the Tour De Big Bear, I changed my focus to the pool for 8 weeks to prepare.  I was lucky enough to get another good online friend to coach me for the race.  I followed his workouts pretty well and saw great improvements in my swimming.

My goal for race day was to swim 1:10 or faster for the 2.4 miles.  All five of us suited up and got ready to swim.  The waves weren’t to big and in no time we were off and swimming.  Water temperature was perfect! I settled into a pace and just worked on swimming consistently.  It wasn’t until I turned into the harbor around 3500 yards that I started to tire a little.  The training had worked perfectly!

I did my best to push the last bit and made it out in 1:11:56 by their clock.  Not the 1:10 that I was aiming for but with the surf and currents I know I did the best I could.  Funniest thing that happened was I had a little bit of sea water in my goggle once the swim started but I was too stubborn to stop and clear it out.  By the time I was done my eye was super swollen!  It didn’t really hurt but it looked pretty funny!

I plan to do this swim next year for sure as I prep for Ironman Arizona in2014.  We were lucky to have Quadrathon along to take pictures for us.

Click here for the Garmin details.

Next up…getting my running back…Stay Tuned!

Monte Rio Olympic Triathlon Race Report (AKA, she is still doing stuff?)


So let me catch you up a little bit on where I have been for the last couple months…

Had IT band issues and pulled out of the Boston Marathon (still feel very lucky for that)

Bought a house with my partner in all things, Quadrathon

Bought a mountain bike and started hitting the trails

Finally got some motivation back to get my a$$ in shape

Then all of the sudden we realized we had a race coming up

that we had signed up for months ago.  Neither of us were very well prepared but for some reason I was pretty excited to do an Olympic distance tri.  After spending the last couple years doing longer distance events, an Olympic sounded perfect!

This race was a new race in the Vineman series and was up in Sonoma on the Russian River.  If you have never been there I HIGHLY recommend it.  Great place to race and visit!  Back to the race.  We drove up on Friday but got to the hotel late because we stopped and visited with some Facebook/Twitter friends on the way up (so glad we stopped!).  Saturday was spent working in the morning (things have been very busy at work lately) and then we made are way out to the course to check in and drive the ride and run.   After all recon was done we headed back to the hotel for some rest, dinner, and packing.

Race morning came early (I kind of remembered one of the reasons I wasn’t doing this much anymore) but we got up and out and to the swim start.  We had bought the VIP entries so we had great parking (and guaranteed entry in to the Vineman 70.3 next summer).  We didn’t have a ton of time to goof off so we set up and got to the swim start.  Stuart started one wave ahead of me so the plan was that I would pass him on the swim (my strength but not his), he would catch me on the bike, and then we could race together after that.

Wow it has been a long time!

Wow it has been a long time!

Swim started and I was off!  I swam hard and had a good swim.  I saw Stuart as I passed him but just kept going hard.  The water was pretty shallow and there was a lot of walking by some of the racers but I stayed in the water the whole time.

I got out of the water and walked up to transition.  The distance to transition was really far and the path was very rocky so I took my time.  My new wetsuit came off sooooo much faster than my last suit and I was on my bike in no time.  I have NOT spent anytime on my Tri bike in the last couple months so I wasn’t really sure how it would go.  Luckily the mountain biking was paying off.  I was still getting passed a lot (something I am used to) but I felt good and by the end of the ride I was passing people!  I kept waiting for Stuart to catch me but I didn’t see him until I was a couple miles on the way back from Jenner.  At this point I started to get excited that I might be having a decent race.  I love you Stuart but now it is every racer for themselves.  If you want me you better come get me!

I got into transition and thought I had ridden a 1:20 (about 10 minutes faster than I had hoped I could ride it).  I was thrilled!  I got out of transition  ASAP and got on the run.  This was my chance to finally use my super awesome Garmin 910 XT and all of it’s cool features like multi sport with transitions.  It seemed like it was working fine but when I looked to see my running pace there was no distance.  Later I will find out that when I transitioned I actually was transported all the way to the coast of Africa! (known bug in the 910 after using multi sport with and open water swim)

Anyway, the run was really flat and very shaded; it was perfect!  I did my best to run hard but stay in a comfortable place.  I used the mile markers and the elapsed time to monitor my pace.  I want to run a 9:00 mile pace and I was doing that for the whole run.  I finally saw Stuart again a mile after the run turn around.  He looked great and told me to keep hauling. I just kept moving and tried to pick it up for the last 2 miles (Wish I knew my splits but since I was running in  Africa it was hard to tell!

I made it into the shoot and finished strong.  I was thrilled.  I had no really idea of my time but I felt great about how I had completed each leg feeling strong!  I would have been happy with something between 3:00 and 3:30 so when I saw I did 2:54 I was thrilled and I was even more thrilled with 9/34 for my AG.

Here are the details and data

Swim 28:51 (4/34)

Bike 1:23:49 (11/34)

Run 54:57 (8/34) (note location on map…)

Overall 2:54:25

On our way back down we met up with a couple more Twitter/Facebook/Dailymile friends (so glad we made time to do this!)

I had a great race and two days later I signed up for another Olympic distance here in Ventura.  I race again in two more weeks!

Done, happy, and waiting for my better half!

Done, happy, and waiting for my better half!



We both survived!

We both survived!

So life is busy but good.  I have never been happier and I promise to try and get back to this blog a little more frequently.

RAD 10K Race Report

This year has been an interesting year.  When the year started I had some really high hopes and plans.  2011 was an amazing year for me racing wise.  I had two pretty successful 70.3 triathlons, I qualified for Boston, I won my age group in a marathon, and I completed my first Ultra. 2012 has been tough to say the least. Personally there has been a lot of change but race wise it has been very disappointing.  In January I started having IT band issues and then the first weekend in February I crashed my bike during training for the St. George Ironman.  Those two issues had me showing up on May 5th to do my first Ironman not in the best shape of my life.  I finished, but just barely.

This may sound like a lot of back story for a 10K race report but it is important to me. I feel like a failure this year which may sound absurd to you but it is how I honestly feel.  This 10K was the first running race I had trained specifically for.  I have never trained for a 10K but this one was significant because it is my entry back into running.  I want to be a good runner.  I want to be a (relatively) fast runner.  This race was my first entry back into structured running training and I am committed to get faster.  I used the FIRST training program and followed as best I can. I will admit I wasn’t great about following my plan like some people I know.  But I did all I could.  Anyway, enough excuses, how did it go….

I was lucky enough to get Quadrathon to pace me for the race and help me achieve my goal of a sub 50:00 10K. We parked near the finish and then ran a little over a mile to the start to find that the 10 miler that started before the 10K hadn’t started yet.  There was a potty emergency so they started the race late.  Which meant the 10K started late as well.  The course was very rolly but mostly downhill.  We tried to keep the pace consistent and the first three miles went by without incidence. The next three got a little bit tougher.  I did my best to just keep the pace up the hills and floor it down the hills.  The last 0.20 was  the hardest.  I ran as fast as I could (6:51 pace which is good for me!).  I really thought I might earn a pukey award!

When all was said and done I ran a 49:21, got 5/60 for my AG, and 8/268 for the women.  Not too shabby!  The best part of the day (besides having the best pacer money apple pie can buy) was meeting Lisa. She also got into the Boston Marathon and lives not too far from me so I am super excited for a long run partner!

From here I start training for the 13.1 Los Angeles half marathon January 13th and hopefully all will go well and I might get the PR I am looking for in Boston.  Regardless I am excited to focus on my running for the next couple months.  I really miss it.

2012 Dwight Crum Pier-to-Pier Race Report

I was challenged by Leo, a friend on the Dailymile, to participate in the Dwight Crum Pier-to-Pier 2 mile open water swim.  Since I don’t have anything major on my training plan right now it seem like a fun thing to do that I have never done before.  I have never raced more than 1500m in the ocean before and even though the swim in Ironman St. George was pretty intense, there is still something daunting about swimming 2 miles in the ocean.  So I gladly signed up and squeezed in one ocean swim prior to the event.

I had gone down the day before to pick up my stuff to make the morning a little bit easier.  So once we got to the beach it was pretty much just suit up and wait.  I put on my wetsuit (you can do it without…I don’t think so!) and got in the water to start acclimatizing to the water.  Temp was perfect and the conditions seemed great!

I lined up to start with Sheila, another Dailymile friend.  We started a little to the left since the first turn was to be on our right; I didn’t want to get swum over if we were too close to the buoy.  The course essentially is you start at Hermosa Pier and swim north to the Manhattan Pier.  It was a wave start with easily over 500 people in it.  It was one of the biggest starts I have ever done because we started on the beach which is much more difficult than an open water start with that many people.  After getting past the first buoy and hanging a right past the pier we were on our way.  It was very crowded but people were pretty courteous and not overly aggressive.  There was a lot of heads up swimming at first just because if you put your face in the water you had a really good chance of getting kicked in the face.

Once we were in clearer water and swimming North parallel to the coast it was just put your head down and swim. (Click here for the Garmin data)  I am a pretty straight swimmer so one of the biggest issues I had was those swimmers (you know those ones!) that weren’t.  I was swum upon a couple times by people that couldn’t keep their line super well.  Twice I had to stop swimming and get away from a couple that just really were too close (I am talking about you large man who bear-hugged me mid swim!).

I finally got a chance to use my fancy schmancy Garmin 910XT and had set it up to buzz me ever 100 yds.  I didn’t feel it buzz until about 10 minutes into the swim which doesn’t mean it wasn’t but just that I didn’t feel it.  Once I felt it, I used it as a good reminder that even if it didn’t feel like it, I was making forward progress. Later I would find out that my watch had me very short and I am not sure why.  I am just glad, in retrospect, that I didn’t look at it during the race because I would have been very disappointed.

At some point in the race I could finally see the pier ahead.  I tried not to look for it too often because it really takes time to make forward progress I the ocean so if you look too frequently you don’t feel like you are moving anywhere.  Instead I really used the paddle boarders who were lining the course to sight off of.  The provided an excellent way to stay on course and if you look at my Garmin data you will see my path was pretty straight.  Only problem with this method is that not ALL paddle boarders were lifeguards, some of them were paddling for friends, which made them a moving target. But they all kept me on course so that was great.

It wasn’t until the last 400 yards or so that I started to get tired.  I really struggled to not let people pass me during the last bit but I did finish strong and felt I had given it all I could.  I got out of the water and found my Sherpa and we waited to see how I faired against Leo and Sheila.  A couple minutes later Sheila came out and a few more minutes later so did Leo.

Overall I was THRILLED with this swim.  My goal had been to go under 1 hour but after the event I was very happy with my 1:02:14.  I was so spent by the end that I feel that I did all I could have.  Any harder earlier in the race and I would have pooped out even earlier.  And even though my splits are wrong per 100 yards, they are pretty consistent, which is what I strive to do in any race.

The day was a success, and in a year that hasn’t been as successful as I would have liked, I am very proud of my effort.  I don’t think I am interested in doing too many more swims like this again.  It is kind of boring to be honest.  I might be up for a 3 mile swim at some point just to do something longer than the Ironman distance.  But other than that, long OWS just isn’t for me.

Vineman 70.3 2012 Race Report

I had a big goal when I signed up for this race WAY back in November. I wanted to take off 25 min and go sub 5:10 to get a spot at the 70.3 championship in Vegas.   I put up a pretty decent time when I did Vineman in 2011 and I thought there was nowhere to go but up.  Boy was I wrong.  This year has been very humbling.

So here is how it all went…

I got up to the race location in Sonoma California by Thursday evening so that Friday I could pre-ride the course with  fellow Triathlete, Stuart, who was attempting his first 70.3 on his way to a full 140.6 in Arizona this fall.

Ride Recon

We set out Friday morning and drove the whole course as well as rode the two major hills (which aren’t all that major).  After a lunch break we scoped out the swim as well.  The river was warmer than last year but had the makings of a great swim!  Saturday was spent going to the expo for goodies and the race briefing, dropping off shoes in T2 (it is a point to point), prepping the last of the race gear to make the morning easier, and then trying to get a little rest!  My wave was 4th so I would be starting just before 7:00 AM (last year I was 3rd from last!).

Marked and ready… sort of.

Woke up at 4:30 AM, took care of the necessary business, and walked to T1 by 5:45 AM.  I didn’t have much time to waste so I got set up, met some other people I knew from the interwebs, and then got ready to race.  I am hoping I scored some good race karma because there was a girl in transition who forgot goggles.  I gave her my extra pair and she was VERY appreciative (even though she beat me out of the swim!).  The mood was really nice and I met some super nice ladies while we got ready to swim.

I lined up at the front of the swim because I am a strong swimmer so it only makes sense.  This was the only part of the race I thought I had a shot at doing well in so I really wanted to nail the swim.  Gun went off and so did I.  Only problem I had was a slightly leaky goggle but I refused to stop for it.  I just put my head down and swam. 32:46 later I was out of the water getting ready to hit the bike.  I had no idea of my time but when I found out later what I swam I was very pleased.  Last year I swam 31:35 so considering all that has happened and how under-trained I was going into this race I was VERY pleased with my swim.

I saw Stuart leaving transition before me so I knew that was the last I would most likely see of him for the day unless we crossed paths on the run (I can’t keep up with him on the bike).  I kind of dawdled in T1 and then got out of there.  The ride is beautiful; rollers with two little hills that are more annoying than anything.  I spent a lot of time aero and I had not rode my bike much before this race so I really started to tire around mile 30.  It really was just due to lack of training more than anything.  It was apparent, very early, that I would not be bettering my time on the bike from the year before which was a little disappointing.  3:22:48 and I was done.

I made my way through T2 but in no real hurry.  I knew this wasn’t going to be a big day so I just wanted to have fun and enjoy it.  Once I got to the run I knew it was going to take me some time to get through the 13.1 miles.  Because of that I stopped around mile 3 to pee and pretty much just ran from aid station  to aid station and walked thru them.  I took some extended walk breaks during miles 6-10 but then managed to run the last three miles in.  I did see Stuart once on the run which was nice.  The course kind of looped a little so it wasn’t guaranteed that I would see him.  2:34:56 later I was crossing the finish line, nowhere near close to my 1:51:10 from the year before.

Overall I did 6:42:05 compared to 5:32:25 from the year before.  I would be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed with my time.  But I am taking two positives away from the race.  One, I still had a great swim which really makes me happy.  And two, I ran pain free!! I miss running so much so to have a pain free run was very reassuring that I am on the path to running recovery!

It was AWESOME to see Stuart accomplish his first really big triathlon and I have NO doubts that he will hear his named called in the chute in Arizona in November.  I feel very lucky to be a part of that journey with him.

So what is next you might ask?  My next A race will be the Boston marathon in April of 2013.  I would really like to PR there and run under 3:30.  So my focus is going to shift back to running for the next 9 months.  I have a 10K in October, a half marathon in December then it is all about Boston!

Expo goodie for me!

Ironman St. George 2012 Race Report

Wow, where to start…  The race report is going to be brief because I don’t want to get into every little detail about the race but give you the highlights of the day.  If you have any specific questions, leave me a comment and I will gladly fill you in!

The last weather report we got for race day predicted a perfect day for the event.  Low to mid 80s and a slight wind.  That was not the case at all.  The swim started off fine.  I was worried about the mass start because I have never done that before.  I didn’t have too much trouble finding open water to swim in and didn’t get whacked around too bad.  We all has no idea what was coming our way.  The race was essentially a big rectangle with three 90 degree left turns.  When we made it to the first turn we were greeted with waves that were (IMHO) 2-4 feet high and coming at us from our left.  All I could think of was we had another left hand turn to make that would put us straight into the waves.  Once that happened all hell broke loose.  The kayaks couldn’t stay up, the buoys were pulled out of wack, and there were people everywhere.  I realized immediately that fighting through the waves was just going to wear me out so I relaxed and worked with them to just get the swim done.  I had to look up often because everybody was so spread out and the buoys were no where near straight.  Amazingly I made it out of the water in 1:33:03; rumor has it that over 200 others missed the cut off or were pulled from the water.

I got into the transition tent where the AMAZING volunteers got me situated to get on my bike.  I ran out, found my bike, made a few last minute adjustments and I was on my way.  As soon as we got out of the reservoir I realized the wind was blowing everywhere.  The bike loop consists of three parts; the ride back to town, then two loops that are fairly hilly.  If it hadn’t been for the wind the ride would have been fine; but the wind was so bad that the ride felt like 80 miles uphill!  I made it though the first loop and was re-energized by the descent back to start the second loop but as soon as I started the second loop I realized the wind hadn’t stopped.  At mile 70 I started to worry about making the cutoffs for the bike.  I hadn’t paid close attention to what they were because I hadn’t expected to ride so slowly (Average less that 13 mph for the whole ride!).  The first cut off I was in danger of missing was at mile 93ish after the really big hill affectionately know as “the Wall”.  I made it through that one with about 2 minutes to spare.  The next cut off was getting out of T2 by 5:30.  At this point I wanted to get pulled off my bike.  I couldn’t imagine how I was going to run after the day I had so far and I wanted to be pulled rather than quit.  I rode the last 10 miles in tears.  Amazingly I made it in and out with 90 seconds to spare!

As soon as I started running I was thanking my lucky stars that I hadn’t quit!  I felt great!  My legs were a little tired and my skin was hurting from the sun burn I had been getting all day but overall I knew I could finish the marathon and was going to be an Ironman by the end of the day.  I could have cared less about my time.  I just wanted to finish.  I met a guy, Chris, around mile 8 and we totally hit it off.  He was the perfect running partner for the race.  We chatted for the whole run (almost 5 hours together) and had a blast! I realized at this point that even though triathlon is an individual sport, when you get to the last group of runners together in an Ironman it becomes one big team; everybody was helping everybody to keep going.  We did our best to walk the ups and run the downs (something I learned from trail running).  The run is three loops which was cool because you had a great chance to see all your friends that were running; and if you were a spectator you could catch your family and friends very easily.  We did pretty well for the first two laps but we walked most of the last one.  We were both starting to fall apart a little by 10:30 (we had been moving since 7:00 AM).  As we got closer to the finish you could hear the crowd going crazy; Mike Riley was doing an awesome job MC’ing the finishers.  In just a few minutes he would be calling my name!!!  Chris and I wanted to finish together so we ran down the chute and enjoyed the glory.  Apparently the male pro winner, Ben Hoffman, put my medal on me; I had no idea at the time!

Overall the day was incredibly hard. I knew going into it that there would be a time during the race that I would want to quit and that was going to be part of the race.  It was how I would deal with that moment that would determine the out come of the day.  I am so glad my body wouldn’t let me quit and neither would anyone else out there.  The support on the course was beyond anything I have ever experienced before both from the volunteers and my friends.  The words “thank you” are not enough to express how thankful I am for the support I got on race day and leading up to the race.

I forgot to mention my times for the race and I think I will post later with more information but just so you know, I was the last finisher in my age group and I finished 1010 out of 1026 finishers…I have never been so happy to be last!

Here is the link to the bike data from my Garmin.  My battery died during the run.