Friday, July 1, 2011

FINALLY!!!! Western States 2011

Photo by Glenn Tachiyama (Super extraordinary Photo-Guy)

I am still having a hard time with actually being done with WS. I first entered the lottery in 2007 after going to a Western States training camp with Scott Jurek. When I went to the camp I just thought it would be a fun few days away running in the Sierras, eating good food, and meeting new people. I never thought I would want to run a 100 mile trail race. Well, that is what happened after spending 4 days talking about and running the WS trails. That year I decided I would try and get in by placing in the top 3 at one of the Montrail Ultra Cup races. I trained hard and ran American River 50 mile. 4th place. I entered the lottery and was a loser. The next year I tried again at Mountain Masochist 50 mile. 4th place again, lottery loser again. The only good thing about being a two time loser was I was guaranteed a spot for 2009. 2009 came and the race was canceled due to fires. The two time lottery losers were split and half were eligible for the 2010 race and half for 2011. I was finally given a spot. 2011 was my year! With all the frustration of waiting so long to get in I think it all worked out for the best. I was able to run 2 hundred mile runs (Cascade Crest and Tahoe Rim Trail) and I paced Nikki Kimbell in 2010 on the last 38 miles of the WS course.

Western States is unlike any of the other 100's I have run. There is A LOT of hype. They make you feel like a rock star. It is enough to make this girl extremely nervous. I was so happy when Saturday finally came and I was able to just get going! The course had snow the first 38 miles. There were some spots where we were sliding down hills on our butts because it was easier and faster than running. I was extremely slow on this part but I think it was good because it encouraged me to not waste too much energy on the beginning. Because of all the snow the first time we could see our crews was 55 miles. This was after climbing from Squaw Valley, running through snow, running in the heat of the canyons, and climbing some steep peaks. The climb up Devils Thumb about killed me. I came into Michigan Bluff feeling nauseated and plain old spent. It was such a perk to see Kristjan and Riley. They gave me some water mixed with maca, a Vespa, and a quick hug and I was on my way. My next stop was Foresthill at 62 miles where I could pick up Shawna and finally have some company. I was ready to visit with someone and be done with the i-pod. By this point the music was really bugging me! Kristjan helped me change my wet, dirty socks and shoes and lubed up my feet (now that is true love) and Shawna and I were off for the last 38 miles. We kept a pretty good pace mostly running and power hiking any inclines. She kept me entertained and updated with what I would need to run to make it to Auburn under 24 hours. I told her I really didn't care if I was under 24 but she would not accept that and she kept reminding me that although it hurt pretty bad at the time I would be much happier if I gave it my all and did what I set out to do. It started getting dark as we were heading down to the river (77 miles). I was wishing it was a year when we could walk across the river instead of ride boats because that cold water was needed on my aching legs! We made the river crossing and saw Kristjan and Riley again as we were getting out of the boat. They fed me and hiked up the hill with us with their big packs of gear. Shawna and I ran the last 20 miles through the night telling stories, listening to rattlesnakes, dealing with upset stomach, racing the clock. Shawna kept encouraging me to run when all I wanted to do was walk. We made it to Placer High School with 6 minutes to spare! My final time was 23 hours 54 minutes. She was right. The feeling of accomplishment was worth the pain and the 5 year wait made me appreciate it all the more.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Western Freakin States Time

Every race and training run I have done since March has been in preparation for June 25th. I am now starting to taper (sort of) and hope that all will go as planned. It has been a long time coming getting into this race that really is not even a race I would normally choose. I hate downhill running. Don't do well in heat. Elevation is a killer for me.'s WESTERN STATES!!! Something about it. I am feeling ready. I have been doing Bikram Yoga to get used to the heat. I have raced marathons to 100k the past several months and even managed to pull off a couple wins. Now I just need to stay healthy and calm!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Orcas 50k

It has been two weeks since Orcas 50k and I am off on a plane tomorrow morning to Austin for a marathon so I suppose it is time to do a little Orcas recap! James knows how to put on a race!! It actually feels more like a party. Good friends, beautiful trails, delicious food and drinks, and a few little hills thrown in just for the heck of it! I was worried this 50k would be a suffer fest considering I have not felt like myself ever since Colorado in August. I have been dealing with shortness of breath even running with very little effort. I also started a new job in January so my training has not been up to par. Well, it ended up working out well. I took it easy and considered it would be a good run to begin my WS training. I certainly felt my lungs working, especially on the power line trail but it was a normal working. Not a wheezing, feel like I am going to die, working. The day was beautiful (check out Glenn's photos) and it felt like home reconnecting with my trail running buddies. My time was way slower than in years past but that is what my plan was. Results here. If you are ever looking for a race with views from Canada to Rainier, 8000 some feet of elevation gain, and great amenities check out this run! It is a perfect season opener!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Transrockies 117 mile stage race

It is hard to believe that Transrockies is only on its fourth year. The Gortex crew, staff, and volunteers were incredible. Runners were spoiled rotten with good food, hot showers, massage, entertainment, tent set up, and gear loading EVERY DAY! When I first heard about Transrockies last year I did not think it would be a race I would want to run. I like racing for one day...maybe even over one day in a hundred mile race...but 6 days of racing at altitude and sleeping in tents was a little scary. When Nikki called and asked if I wanted to partner up with her and race the 2010 edition I said yes without hesitation. After I hung up I wondered what the heck I was thinking! One of the rules with this race is you run with your teammate and never let more than two minutes get between you. Me running 20ish miles a day in the mountains with an average elevation of 10000 feet with Nikki Kimball? Oh my. I was in for it! What ended up happening was we had a great time! I SUFFERED with headaches, what felt like asthma, nausea, and muscles that just plain old felt like they were refusing to move. It took me two weeks at sea level to get rid of the headache. But even with all that I had a supportive partner, great times at what felt like summer camp for grown ups, and six nights in a row on the podium! We won our division, came home with some awesome swag, and donated our prize money to Starfish. I was supposed to be running Pine to Palm this weekend but decided to listen to the screaming my body was doing and give it a rest. As I sit here with a warm mug of tea after an easy trail run, my body is recovering and I am happy with my decision.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Speedgoat 50k

The first word that comes to mind is HARD!!! Wow, what an incredible challenge. The altitude (between 7000 and 12000 ft.), the climbing (12000 ft.), the descending (another 12000 ft.), and the heat got me. It was completely worth it though. My son Riley came to this race which meant so much to me. He had never been to one of my races before and to see his face throughout the day at aid stations was the best. He is now wanting to return to Snowbird to go snowboarding for his 16th birthday in January. I heard from many people that I would be cursing Karl's name throughout this race. I also heard that even the downhills were hard. All true. The cursing didn't start until about mile 16 but by then I did think of some really mean names to call him. It took me forever to finish this run. Seriously....I looked at my watch with 10 miles to go and was made painfully aware that I had run 50 milers faster than this little 50k. All that difficultly made it that much more fun and made me appreciate that beer at the finish line and the popsicles at Roch's aid station even more! Karl and Scott really do put on a great race and I would go back in a second to do it again. Hopefully being out there at altitude gave me a little preparation for my next big adventure. TRANSROCKIES!!!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Pacing WS100 GOOD JOB NIKKI!!!!

I have been wanting to run States since I started running ultras and my luck with the lottery and my racing performance at Montrail Cup races have not been good. Now I realize that the way things happened was all meant to be! I have gained experience in longer races and I was able to get out on the last 38 miles of the course with one of the best runners out there! Pacing Nikki was such a phenomenal experience. That girl works so hard and runs an incredibly smart race. She ended up placing 3rd in a stacked field of women. We had an awesome weekend visiting with friends and running together. Western States, in my opinion, is not the best, most beautiful, or toughest 100 out there but it is a race full of history that I am excited to run. I'm ready to go back next year and check that one off my list!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

American River 50 Mile

It has taken me over a week to feel like I can write about this race in a lucid manner. It really crushed me mentally. I came out of Buffalo Run two weeks ago feeling good and wanting to run a fast AR. I had myself convinced that all that rest from the broken foot would be beneficial and I could run hard and competitively. Well, that worked for the first half. I came through the marathon in 3:27 and thought I would be able to reach my goal of sub 7:15. Then I bonked. Big time. I had run this race two times before and wore road shoes both times. This year I thought it would be better to wear trail shoes for the added support. By 20 miles I had blisters in the oddest places. I don't know if it was the shoes or the fact that my gait has changed so much since the break. I constantly remind myself not to overcompensate to protect the foot but I catch myself doing some pretty strange maneuvers. I ran the second half with the worst attitude ever. It was this beautiful day and I was doing what I love but the thoughts that kept going through my head were "my feet hurt", "I'm so tired", "got passed again #$%@", "stupid poison oak", "I'm never doing this run again", "blah, blah, blah". What I have figured out in this passed week is I need to cut myself some slack. It has only been 5 months since the break, I just returned to running in February, and I raced 2 weeks prior to AR. I need to appreciate that for crying out loud...I JUST RAN 50 MILES and although it was almost 30 minutes slower than last year, (results) I finished and I learned some valuable lessons.

1. wear shoes I am used to and lube up!
2. don't ignore Howard and think he is being too easy on you
3. quit the grumpy self talk
4. eat more
5. don't start too fast
6. remember this is about having fun and surrounding myself with great people not the time on the clock

Now I have over a month to train for Blue Canyon 100k and then the biggest event of the year. My daughter's graduation!