Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Tribute To The Trails 2009

Don't forget to order the 2009 Tribute To The Trails Calendar! Great cause and beautiful photograghs.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Rose Valley 33 Mile (Substitute for Santa Barbara Nine Trails)

Due to the Tea Fire in the Santa Barbara area the race that was originally scheduled had to be moved to trails in the Ojai Valley. Race Director Luis Escobar accomplished this task with only a week until race day. I am so impressed with the work he and all the volunteers put into this race. Having never run the Santa Barbara Nine Trail Run I don't know what I missed, but from all accounts it is THE race to attend! I hope to go back next year for the real deal!

Rose Valley 33 mile Run was great! The sky was clear blue and the stars were bright at the start. It was cold with temperatures in the upper 30s but after the first climb I warmed up nicely. By 8:00 I was wishing I had applied sunscreen and worn sunglasses! This race was held on part of the course that Coyote 2 Moons 100 mile run is on. It had long climbs (9700 feet total elevation gain) and over 20 miles of single track trail. The views were incredible of the Ojai Valley, Lake Casitas, Pacific Ocean and The Channel Islands. I ran the first 10 miles or so with Krissy and Luanne and then settled into my own slower pace as they took off down hill. Even when running alone, since the course was an out and back plus a couple more out and backs off the main course I was able to see people and keep up with how everyone was doing. I ended up placing 2nd girl and 8th overall with a time of 5:39.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Cle Elum 50k

Photographer Glenn Tachiyama spent his day in the woods taking pictures and cheering runners. It always feels great to see Glenn. Usually it means you have almost reached the top of a hill or you are close to an aid station! Cle Elum was one of the first ultras I signed up for many years ago but schedules conflicted and I have never been able to run it until last weekend. What a wonderful opportunity it was to participate in this run. The weather was warm and the trails were in phenomenal shape. The whole race except one mile is on trails. The first 17 miles we climbed to approximately 6000 feet and then headed down the last 14. It makes it fun when the second half split is faster. Race directors Chris and Marty Fagen did a great job. So much work goes into ultras. I truly believe the runners have the easy part. No more racing for me until November. This 50k was soooo fun I hate to say I am done for a while (running is quite the addiction) but it's time to rest and focus on some other things.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Cascade Crest 100

My first 100 mile run...... Stomach issues for the last 45 miles, bees, bears (actually just one), mosquitoes, vandals, getting lost twice. BUT... The scenery was beautiful (see photo of Mt. Rainier by Glenn), volunteers spectacular, and pacer (Devon) extraordinary! I was so nervous going into this run with White River DNF still lurking. Turns out every day is a new beginning. Charlie Crissman knows how to put on a wonderful event. The run started at 10AM on Saturday so it was nice and warm for the initial climb up to Goat Peak. This climb is the same elevation and mileage as the climb up to Escapment @ Western States only on more technical trails. This set the tone for the next 20 some hours. Climbing, climbing and more climbing (20,147 ft. elevation gain over entire course). I met Devon at mile 52 and we put on our headlamps and took off following the well marked trails with red ribbons and some glow sticks at turns. Unfortunately, some creepy boys thought it would be funny to move the glowsticks so runners would take wrong turns. This ended up costing many of us added miles and time. Something I discovered about putting my body through an experience like this was that it really affected my brain. I have been in this daze like I just took a handful of cold medicine. Even two days out I am having a hard time remembering things. There are sections of the course that I have no recollection of running. My family is having to tell me things over and over again. During the run Devon was answering the same questions I asked 10 miles back. Weird... Will I do it again? ABSOLUTELY! When I wake up and feel normal again I will post some pictures!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

White RIver 50 mile

Saturday was not my day. The first five miles of the race I had this feeling things were not going well. Funny thing with running (and life), you can be so prepared and doing great and then WHAM! Something happens that reminds you we are here to learn and sometimes the lessons can be tough. I am a pretty stubborn Aries and even though a little voice in my head was saying, "Drop out Monica, save yourself for Cascade Crest" I just couldn't do it until I...

1. tripped and fell within the first 10 miles
2. had a terrible time breathing the first climb
3. had cramping calves
4. had an upset stomach
5. tripped and fell again during the decent
6. had cramping hamstrings
7. tripped and fell for the 3rd time coming out of the aid station at 27 miles

Photo by Glenn

OK...I do have a reputation of tripping but this was getting ridiculous!

8. got to the top of Sunset and decided my stomach could not handle the 6 mile road down.

So, I did it. I dropped at 37 miles. Terrible, terrible feeling. I have never dropped before and I hope I never do again. I sit here the next day wondering if I should have made myself finish. Really though, what would that prove? At least now I can focus on CCC100 and work on what went wrong yesterday.

What I loved about this weekend was I got to hang out with some amazingly awesome, kind, fun, intelligent, positive, talented runners and volunteers. The first and second place women were both 40+ and they ran incredibly well! Susannah set a new course record, Kami was second. That gives me hope for some better running to come the next few years! Annie placed 3rd. I am so glad I have visited with her during a couple races. She is one of the nicest women I know. I also got to meet Devon. She is going to pace me at CCC. Krissy accidentally double booked so she suggested her friend. Devon is full of personality and seems like a great gal (not to mention a super speedy runner)! I can't wait to get to know her better.

So, the good definitely outweighs the bad. I am so thankful for all the good running has brought me.

Monday, June 30, 2008


Our nephew Oliver came to visit this weekend.  With all that drooling he may need to rehydrate with some nuun!  

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Western States Canceled!

California has been devastated with wildfires already this summer and it is only June.  Unfortunately the danger from the fires and the poor air quality gave the race director and board enough reason to cancel the run. I am sorry for you all who have worked so hard to get to this weekend.  Take care, rest and then hit the trails again!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Lake Youngs Ultra

I signed up for this race thinking it would be a good way to get a long training run in with a fun group of people.  As it got closer to the day of race I had decided I probably would not drive the two hour drive to run.  I had a cold and have been fighting tendonitis in my foot.  Kristjan and Riley were out of town at a baseball tournament and I did not want to leave Emma at home all day just so I could run.  I told Emma I was not going to go and she said she would come with me. 16 year old was willing to get up at 4 AM and drive to Renton??? She had never come to a race before so I explained to her it probably would be no fun waiting around several hours for me.  My mom lives near the race start and she agreed to pick Emma up and be with her while I was running.  Even when everything seemed to be working out in favor of going I still was unsure about aggravating my foot or making it so the cold lasted even longer.  About 10PM Friday I decided I would go for it.  I am so glad I decided to race.  It was a small (about 130 people) race and very low key.  The 28.8 mile route went around Lake Youngs three times with an elevation gain of 900 feet per lap.  It was nice to run a fast course on a soft surface. With a cold it felt like I needed even more electrolytes and fluid than normal.  I stayed well hydrated with nuun held in my Nathan hand held water bottle.  I ended up setting a course record and placing first woman.  I am not promoting running when injured or sick but for me on this day it worked.  We just need to listen to our bodies and do what feels right.  I am a better mom, wife and friend when I can run.  I know that yesterday it was the right thing for me to do.  I feel better today.  My foot is healing.  Endorphins are still rushing. 

Sunday, May 11, 2008

North Face Endurance Challenge 50 mile

Reading the course description I was under the impression yesterday would be a nice little run through the woods with some gentle, rolling hills.....Not the case!!!  This was probably the toughest race I have ever run. I am not sure if it really was an exceptionally hard course or my body was saying "Enough already, you just raced this distance two weeks ago!"  I promise myself I will take it easy this week and recover.  As I was climbing Blanchard Mountain trying to get my mind off of negative thoughts (this is so hard...I want to be done...) I was thinking about how important it is to save these precious spots for all to enjoy.  The DNR wants to log this mountain which would be such a shame. There are too few spots left to wander through the woods.  Even a bad day of running is a good day spent in nature.  I ended up placing 4th behind some uber fast women (Nikki Kimbell, Susannah Beck, and Kendra Ralston).  Great job Ladies!  I also got some exciting news from Krissy (who was the overall winner of the 50k) at the finish line.  She is going to pace me in my first 100 mile run this summer (Cascade Crest).  How lucky am I to have the opportunity to run with such an amazing ultrarunner and human being?   

Monday, April 28, 2008

Capitol Peak 50 mile

         Photo by Glenn Tachiyama

What a weekend! I traveled to Tacoma to meet my mom for our shared birthday dinner on Friday night. We had a spectacular time eating and visiting on the waterfront. I then drove to Olympia to spend the night for Saturday's run. Shawn met me at the hotel at 4am and I followed her to the start of Capitol Peak. When the sun started rising I knew it was going to be a great day. The sky was clear and the moon was lighting the trails. John (race director) started the run promptly at 6am and we were off! The course had to be adjusted due to snow but we still encountered plenty of the white stuff and it did not lack any climbing! I was told by several people that this course tended to be muddy but I did not think it would be too bad since we had a couple dry days before the race. I WAS WRONG!! Deep mud. Poor Kendra had her shoe pulled off her foot by it. My Cascadias felt great. Even with the mud and snow my feet dried out quickly and the shoes were able to grip the ground to keep me from falling (which I have a tendency to do). I drank a lot of Nuun and felt well hydrated throughout the run. Although the course was well marked, I got turned around several times. I think I was enjoying the views so much that I was not paying attention to the bright ribbons. Brian Morrison was first male and I was first female. It seemed that a great day was had by all. Congratulations to Shawn for breaking 10 hours! Thank you to all the volunteers and to John Pearch for organizing such a perfect day!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Kristjan and I took Emma and Riley to Maui for their spring break. Early morning runs, lazy days on the beach, aahhh!!! While there I thought it would be fun to come back next year for Hurt 100. Is that crazy? I know it is a brutal race but Hawaii in January sounds pretty good!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

My very first entry!

Well, here I go.  I am entering the computer world.  This is my attempt to share my experiences with running, the products I use, the people I meet and the places I go.  I was so excited to hear from Scott that I was going to be a part of the Wasatch Speed Goat Mountain Racing Team!  This team is an amazing group of runners from all over the country.  Scott Mason and co-team director Tim Barnes worked hard to get a wonderful line-up of sponsors. These companies are true supporters of ultra/trail running. I look forward to meeting all you teammates at the races!  I plan to get some pictures posted after Capitol Peak 50 miler (April 26).  I just hope this Washington wind, rain, hail stops before then and spring will officially arrive!