It was my first ever trail-relay and I was running a section of Folsom Lake that I have never run before.
The run was tough. My section was 25 miles, a lot of pavement and quite a few climbs.
Unfortunately, our team did not finish. Stonegate started her leg at 3 pm in the afternoon, when it was already quite hot outside. She mis-judged her fueling routine with the later start time and ended up not being able to finish her leg. She was pretty ill and I know for her, it was a very tough decision to make. As her relay team, we didn’t care one bit, we just wanted her healthy.
After that, I took a “me-day” from work and ventured to Santa Rosa!
It was really interesting to see how someone else demonstrates certain cooking techniques to others.
After the cooking demo, I visited the Savory Spice Shop and was in total spice heaven!
I bought some fresh herbs and spices to try at home.
My time spent in Santa Rosa was brief but lovely. I had never really been there before (that I can recall anyway) and I can’t wait to go back.
THEN, I had a friend who I met at Plant-Stock in 2015, text that she was headed my way and was wondering if she could crash and visit for a few days with us. I was beyond excited to see her!
Tara is a bundle of absolute positive energy. She is a joy to be around and my girls had a blast with her. Hopefully they didn’t scare her from having children in the future! 🙂 My kids were pretty wired when she was here and in rare form. Squeaker was on fire and quite hilarious.
Unfortunately, Tara picked the worst weekend to be here because we had our first ever major storm. A weekend full of rain and wind which doesn’t make for great hosting and sightseeing.
While she does run trails, Tara didn’t have storm weather appropriate running shoes with her so she wasn’t able to join Stonegate, Pigeon, Miss P, Pearls and I on our Sunday morning run in Auburn.
We were the only ones on the trail and we had one helluva time!
It was MUDDY and slippery but oh.so.much.fun!!!! We ran, we laughed and we all were in total complete heaven.
How often do you find a group of women like us who live to get muddy and soaking wet at the butt-crack of dawn on a Sunday? 🙂
So, as you can see, I haven’t been hiding under a rock. I’ve been out enjoying nature and all that October has brought with it thus far.
Like I said earlier, I hope to be able to share some of the projects that I have been working on lately with you or at least the status updates of those.
I am hosting another plant-based cooking demo later in the month for a small group of people who are interested in learning how to cook plant-based. I am excited to open my kitchen to them and to answer any questions they may have about the way that I cook.
Hopefully, down the road, maybe I can do more of these or even better, be invited to other people’s homes to show them how to use what they have to cook and eat plant-based.
Until then, I am enjoying some family time and some adventures.
So when sign ups came for the 2016 Headlands Trail Marathon we both jumped at the chance, not really thinking too much about our fitness level and mileage.
I have had a few longer runs under my belt recently, nothing more than 15 miles or so though. Stonegate however, had not really run much more than 7 since her 50 mile race back in April. Still, we went into this run looking for fun and adventure. Pure and simple. No expectations. No agenda.
We arrived in Mill Valley late afternoon on Friday. We bummed around town a bit checking out the shops and planning our post-race meal location for the next day. This town is absolutely adorable. We crashed at our friend Mill Valley’s place just as we had last year. We made her a plant-based dinner in exchange for two comfy beds to crash in pre-race and a nice shower post-race. We are super lucky to have her and she is one of THE nicest people I have ever met.
Saturday at 4 am my alarm started blaring and we began getting ready. We arrived at the race start pretty early. We sat in the car until race registration opened up and we could go get our bibs and use the restrooms.
The race start is steps, literally, from the ocean. The temps were breezy and cold but the salt water air was a refreshing change from the pollen and smoke filled air of the central valley.
When race time neared, we headed back down eager to get the day started. While milling about waiting for the pre-race meeting, we ran into Miss P and Pearls (named for her Pearl Izumi shoe obsession – which by the way, she’s super sad the shoe has been discontinued, but she’ll always have her nickname!).
While also hanging around, we noticed two people wearing shirts that said VEGAN in super large lettering. Of course I had to say something. I sort of walked over and said, “Awesome shirt! Woo Hoo, go vegan!” The conversation started and we all talked about being plant-based and learned that Vegan Skott, who was from Boston, was running the Headlands Hundred! Rachel, his crew, was assisting him. Super sweet people!
The race director jumped on top of the water fountain and gave us a little pre-race briefing. After that, we lined up at the start.
Different from last year, the marathon started at the same time as the 100, 50 and 75 mile races but instead of going right, we went left to tack on an extra mile to make our distance equal 26.2.
There seemed to be a lot more marathoners this year than last year. You spread out pretty easily though so there is no stepping on feet or anything but it does take a minute or two to get some space.
My legs felt a bit heavy from the start. They had not quite woken up yet and I hoped that the sensation would eventually fade otherwise it would be a super long day.
I knew it wouldn’t fade right away though because the start of this race is up hill. Like REALLY up hill, for quite a while with very little break. Like hands on hips hiking straight into the fog up hill.
The central Valley allergies were still present. My chest felt tight and my right eye started watering. Stonegate affectionately started calling it my “leaky eye.” It was annoying but we kept hiking.
A quarter of the way up, we noticed something moving on the side of the trail. None of the other runners seemed to see it. It was a coyote! It had been at the start and now, it had run up the hillside and was watching us runners run by. It blew me away that no one else seemed to notice, or maybe they didn’t care. We stopped and took photos. Of course. 🙂
Unlike last year, the fog never seemed to dissipate. Last year we were rewarded with some amazing views of the ocean from the top of the hill but not this year. This year, we saw fog and lots of it.
Still we ran the flats and hiked the up hills stopping to take goofy photos along the way.
The fog also didn’t deter us from taking photos on amazing cliffs overlooking the ocean.
When we reached the aid-station at Muir Beach, for some reason I glanced up and saw that someone had placed a plastic pig on top of this sign hanging from a lamp post.
Because I am a dork, I pointed it out to Stonegate and the whole aid-station heard and they all started laughing wondering why this plastic pig was just sitting there. I assumed it was kind of a weird treasure hunt game thing. 🙂 Only I would notice something as random as that.
After that aid-station we were back on the trails hiking back up hill. One of the things I told Vegan Skott before the race had started was that he might enjoy the many “eco-systems” that we’ll get to run thru throughout the day.
Maybe “eco-system” isn’t the right word but it is the best way to describe running from a cliff beach like setting into something that looks like it belongs in a rain forest!
These “rain-forest” sections are my absolute favorite. It brings a huge smile to our faces and often draws out an “Awe yea” or “Look at this!” from one of us.
From the rain-forest eco-system you are then thrust into an urban/city-like touristy eco-system as the trail has you running high above the freeway one minute and then down below the Golden Gate Bridge the next.
You run a paved road down until you are underneath the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s kind of crazy. The aid-station is at the bottom and this year it was closer to the bridge. Stonegate and I stopped and added some water to our pack. This was about mile 20 here.
We got to see Vegan Skott arrive. Rachel, his crew had this mini-van that was full of plant-based food and she invited us to have anything inside that we wanted. She also offered to get us coffee to have at the finish. This girl is crazy sweet. We wished her well and told her we’d see her at the finish.
As we were making our way back up the hill, we looked to our left and did a double take. A bunch of people were gathered around this guy who appeared to have the largest gold chain and what looked like a gold roll of toilet paper hanging from it??!!! He was also rapping … about being under the Golden Gate Bridge. They were apparently shooting a rap video?! It was the craziest thing and totally unexpected!
We climbed back up the way we had come. Slower now, as it was uphill and there were still runners coming down. The trail leads you back across the windiest section of the race. Last year Stonegate almost lost her visor. This year she was prepared and she held it in her hand. The trail even has ropes on either side to keep you safe.
Back across the we went. Stonegate I think was starting to feel a bit off at this point. The girl hasn’t run more than 7 miles so I don’t blame her. I think her stomach had decided it was done. She battled some nausea the last few miles or so.
We would run and then stop to walk. She urged me to go on without and I wasn’t quite sure that was a good idea. This race wasn’t about time or performance but at the same time, sometimes when you are not feeling well, the best thing is to be left alone.
So I told her, “Let’s run some. If you need to stop again, I will just keep going. Don’t feel you have to rush to the finish or anything though.” So with about 2-ish miles to go, she stopped again and I continued on.
I have to say, those were the longest two miles ever. My legs had regained some energy somewhere along the run, I think back on the “rain-forest” trail so I had some pep in my step. I ran and cheered on all the ultra-runners who were coming back up to start their second loop of the race.
The trail along the ocean was pretty but never ending. You had the ocean to your left and a parking lot to your right. Lots of spectators were standing about which was nice as they cheered for you as you ran by.
Finally, I made the turn to the finish. There wasn’t much hoopla. A few claps from people but boy did it feel nice to be done! Stonegate finished not long after either. We’d made it, we finished the Headlands Marathon despite our lack of training.
We chatted with Miss P and Pearls for a bit. Said hi to Rachel and wished Vegan Skott well on the rest of his race. As it turns out, he didn’t finish the 100 but stopped at mile 50. Having only trained in Boston, that was one tough 100 to try and run. Kudos Skott!
Stonegate wanted to jet out of there as we had to get cleaned up, eat and hit the road so that we could be home for the last concert in the park with our families.
Overall, it was a great day. The cool temps were great compared to the warmer temperature last year but I did miss seeing the views just a bit.
I am super lucky to have Stonegate who is open to adventure on a moment’s notice. She dug deep on this one and finished. Not sure if this will be on our calendar for next year. We love visiting with Mill Valley but maybe we’ll pick a different race? Who knows, but no matter what, it’s always an adventure.
I can’t believe it is August already. To be honest, I am kind of happy that July is behind us. It has been one crazy summer.
June was full of swim meets, Squeaker’s birthday, Father’s Day and a wonderful visit from Poppy. July quickly arrived with a holiday weekend, more swim meets and a weekend spent in Tahoe for Pigeon and crewing her for the Tahoe Rim Trail 100 mile race.
July ended with the Peanut and Squeaker’s Swim Championships which consists of a three day affair out at Sierra College.
The girls swam great but it was one hot long weekend. The Peanut qualified to swim in the comp freestyle event at the end of the day which was super exciting for her.
Overall the team took second and went 6 and 1 for the season. On the last day of the swim meet, the Peanut was asked to swim in the comp freestyle relay which was one of the later events in the day.
We were just hanging around watching all the other swimmers and being the klutz that I am, I took things to a whole new level.
I was walking down some concrete steps to the pool, took a second to glance at the time on my phone and missed about four large steps. BAM! Down and out just like that.
I didn’t have time to think much about it since we had the rest of the meet to get through so I just powered through the rest of the day as best I could. Fast forward to the next day and …
I found myself in a boot and on crutches. Ugh. Not going to lie, it was pretty painful.
The first few days was hard. Mentally and physically I was just down because I couldn’t do ANYTHING and I hate crutches.
Since I don’t do “resting” or “sitting” very well, I sought out a second opinion. Sorry Kaiser, you just need to employ more doctors who are hard core athletes and not text book readers.
My second opinion told me to ditch the boot, the crutches and the ice. I did all three. I did a few other things and did my best to rest and elevate when I had the chance. I’ve been working hard at strengthening and stabilizing the ankle too.
Within a week, I was walking almost normal again. Yes!
Today, I went for my first long(er) trail run. I started back easy this week walking some of the more technical downs on my morning runs and gauging how my ankle feels when I am done but today, today, I enjoyed a lovely trail run … right outside my door.
Things are still not 100% but my heart is happy and light again. Funny how just a short time away from something you love so much, can really just bring you down if you let it.
With school starting soon, Fall (my favorite season) will soon be upon us. Fall is my favorite time to run and I am looking forward to just running for enjoyment, laughter and fun. Too often we take things for granted until we can no longer do them.
I plan to cherish every moment out on the trails and you should too!
This blog is truly an extension of me. It is usually eclectic, curious and without a real purpose or direction. Clearly if you follow me, the important things in my life are my family, trail running, friends and following a whole food plant-based diet.
So this should come as no surprise that today’s post is something completely different and totally random.
A product review!
First and foremost, I promise that I will never endorse a product that I do not believe in or have not tested myself. I don’t get asked to do too many reviews so when I do, I want to be fair. I want to be honest. All thoughts and opinions on here are my own.
About a month ago someone at Govivo reached out to me asking if I would be interested in reviewing one of their products. I had never heard of Govivo before so I went to their website and initially saw that they sell nutritional supplements which is something I will not review or endorse. HOWEVER, I did notice that they also sold reflective vests and running belts. Running gear? Well that is way more speed!
When I run during the week, it is usually before the world wakes up and with two of my best running friends. We never carry much but after some scary situations, we all carry our phones with us and so I invested in a running belt. The one I purchased initially, I got from Amazon. I just saw the cheapest thing out there and went for it. It served its purpose but after a year, it is slowly losing its tightness and has been bouncing and riding up all over the place when I run.
Enter the Govivo running belt. Upon first glance, it is way more “belt” than my previous running belt. The strap is thicker, the clips are thicker and the pocket itself is really two zippered pockets compared to the one pocket in my previous belt. To be honest, at first, I was a bit dismayed by it. It seemed heavier, bulkier and way more than I needed.
Also, in my research before receiving the belt, I noticed on their website that it says the following:
“The two double pockets (7.5″ inch wide and up to 5.5″ high) are perfect to fit the iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5, iPhone 4s, iPhone 4, Samsung Galaxy S4, Samsung Galaxy S3, HTC One among others.”
Hmmm, I have an iPhone 6 with a bulky case. I was a bit bummed thinking that my phone, the only reason I use a running belt in the first place, was not going to fit.
Needless to say, I was thrilled to see that my phone AND its case, do in fact fit. It takes a bit of maneuvering but it fits and it works!
Also, what is nice about the Govivo having two pockets is that I no longer fear that my car key is going to go flying out of my belt when I stop to take my phone out for a cool morning trail selfie with my girls.
I just put the key in the second zippered pouch which is also water resistant (another bonus) and never think twice about it.
The Govivo belt is adjustable, like my previous belt. It fits perfectly and doesn’t bounce or ride up at all. It also has reflective piping along the front.
The belt is sold on Amazon and currently the price is anywhere from $8 to $9 which is very reasonable and quite a deal if you ask me. My previous belt cost more than that and it barely lasted a year! I have only been running with the Govivo for three weeks now but the quality of the material is much sturdier compared to my other belt. It also comes in four colors to choose from: Pink, Blue, Black or Yellow.
The pockets on the Govivo are quite large and I actually will consider using this during CIM (the California International Marathon). I run mostly trails and usually have a hydration pack so I don’t need a running belt for those races but for a road half marathon or full marathon, where I don’t wear a pack, I could conceivably wear this belt and have a place for my phone and any fuel I might want to carry. I like that.
Would I recommend it?
I would. I think for the price and the product, it is a good belt. If you can overcome the initial bulky appearance, you will barely notice that you are wearing it once you start running. I plan to continue using the Govivo running belt because I love the no bounce and extra pocket options.
Full disclosure: Govivo contacted me and provided me their running belt free of charge in exchange for a review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I wore the belt on approximately 10 or 11 runs ranging from 3 to 8 miles in length.
We are breaking from our normally scheduled program to bring you a proud mama moment. 🙂
The Peanut had her first cross-country meet today! The past two years she has sworn up and down that she had no interest in running let alone running on her school’s team … but throw a popsicle after every practice, some good friends and a great coach into the mix? How can you say no to that?!
With the massive fires we’ve been having lately, the first meet was cancelled as well as quite a few practices leading up to today’s event. The Peanut has not run in a few days but today, she ran!
The weather was perfect! Cool temps and a slight breeze made for the best racing conditions.
The 2nd and 3rd grade kids only have to run 3/4 ths of a mile but the Peanut has been struggling lately to run the whole thing without stopping.
Today, she ran the entire time. She said she never stopped once!
The meet today was on home turf so that was a great way to build confidence. She knew exactly where to go.
When we practiced the night before her and I talked about pacing, the start and the finish. Hoping she wouldn’t go out too fast but praying she had enough in the tank to sprint at the end. She knows that her school (and her mama) loves to sprint to the finish line.
I wasn’t sure what was going to happen when she entered the finish chute. There were three girls in front of her but sure enough, I saw her dig deep and turn on the jets!
My eyes were misty well before this, actually, just seeing her in her cross county singlet was enough to make my heart melt.
But to see her actually try really hard to run past these three girls AND succeed, just opened the flood gates for me.
The Peanut doesn’t have a competitive bone in her tiny little body but she didn’t want to let her coach, her team or me down by not sprinting to the finish. If anything, she is a rule follower. 🙂
She was so excited to tell me that she didn’t walk during the race. She could care less about her time or place, until other kids were asking but even then … I don’t think she really cared all that much.
She’s a team player through and through. I see it on her swim team and I saw it today with her cross-country team. She is happy for everyone no matter what. For herself, she’s just happy to be a part of it all and today, she was a big part. Today, she was a cross-country runner!
So incredibly proud of you kid. You never gave up!