Tag Archives: Stonegate

OREGON COAST 50k RACE REPORT

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Spontaneous (spon-ta-ne-ous) adjective: performed or occurring as as a result of sudden inner impulse or inclination and without premeditation.
Spontaneity was our theme, our goal, our mantra this past weekend. We only had two items on our road-trip agenda:
1) Stop, stay and explore Eugene, Oregon; and then
2) Head to the coast and run the Oregon Coast 50k.
We’ve had this trip in the books for a while.  When Stonegate presented me with the idea of running the Oregon Coast 50k, I was all-in because I love a good race destination road-trip ESPECIALLY when that destination is in Oregon.
Photo from: www.rainshadowrunning.com
Photo from: www.rainshadowrunning.com

When I signed up for the race, I decided that I truly wanted to run it. Maybe the correct phrase is “race it” but in a middle of the pack kind of way. 🙂

I started training in July. I told Stonegate and Burning Girl (who was supposed to join us but had last minute family obligations), that my intention was to push it hard(er) on this race than I have for our other road trip races. I don’t normally run “hard” in the fall, instead I use this time as more of a recovery period from a gnarly spring race schedule. Yet, something compelled me to want to run harder.

The Oregon Coast 50k boasted an elevation gain of about 4500 feet. I tried not to let that get in my head. That is probably the lowest elevation I have raced on trails in a long time, but I know better than to underestimate any race, especially a coastal race.

I had an A Goal (place top 3 in my age group), a B Goal (place top 5 in my age group) and a C Goal (finish standing and smiling). The day before, Stonegate and I played “tourists” a bit over zealously and man, did we both feel a tad bit tired! Oops.

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The race had a 9:00 am start time which is something completely foreign to me! Most ultras start in the dark and super early. Stonegate and I really didn’t even need to set an alarm for this one. What did require some juggling, was our pre-race fueling but we managed okay by making huge smoothies and taking selfies on our hotel patio.

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They have you head to the finish line and then they bus you to the starting line up the road. The race starts on the beach! The bus ride was quick and painless. Some runners had to stand but no one seemed to mind because the weather was gorgeous. I guess in years past it has been rainy and pretty gloomy … it was sunny and quite warm for us.

Starting line - Jason (in red) is the Race Director
Starting line – Jason (in red) is the Race Director

Stonegate and I were pretty excited. The energy around was happy and everyone was so nice and talkative. Jason, the Race Director let us all get situated on the beach before we took off running.

Stonegate and I minutes before the start
Stonegate and I minutes before the start.

Boy did everyone RUN! The whole race started off crazy fast! I was hoping it was just the excitement and that everyone would eventually settle down. I mean, 6 miles all along the sand … that can be brutal on your body if you’re not careful. Stonegate stuck with me. My first mile rang out on my watch. …

Stonegate: I feel like we’re going really fast.

Me: Well we’re doing about an 8:30 pace according to my watch.

Stonegate: Okay then, you go ahead, I am going to slow down dude. I don’t want to start out too fast. 

Me: Okay! I am sure you’ll catch up to me soon!

I felt okay and not like I was pushing to keep the pace so I tried to just settle in and run. A few groups passed me so I assumed that I had slowed a little bit.

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Now don’t get me wrong, the ocean was GORGEOUS. You had the beautiful Pacific to your right and an adorable coastal town to your left but six miles, on sand … is a really REALLY long time. It was for me at least. I found my mind wandering, “What will I eat later today?” and “What do I have to do on Wednesday again?” I tried to zone in my thoughts and focus on my form like my coach instructed me to but every so often I would drift.

At the end of six sandy miles you literally hit a rock wall. You then have to climb up some steps (that felt like boulders at the time), and then you run along the most beautiful path!

We walked the path the next day ... super cute!
We walked the path the next day … super cute!

I sort of felt like a weight had lifted off me when I left the sand. I am not a sand loving runner. 🙂

You then run through the coastal town of Yachats (pronounced Ya-Hots).  The first aid-station is here, Mile 7 except that I never actually SAW the aid-station. When I crested the grassy area, I saw a ton of elite-looking guys changing their shoes but I never saw a table and I didn’t really want to waste time looking for one. I decided to fuel with what I had on me. In hind-sight, I probably should have fueled a tad earlier in the race given the later start time.

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The course was extremely well marked. We were assured at the start that if there was a major turn that there would be clear markings and signage and there WAS! I only had a few moments when I was alone on the trail, that I had those “Oh crap! I haven’t seen a ribbon lately!” thoughts but to be fair, there were no turns or any other trails around…you just had to follow what was natural and in front of you.

 There were more stairs much to my dismay but not a ton. Not like at Stinson Beach or in the Bay Area. I just kept moving. Then we hit our first climb and it felt like a ton of bricks had landed on my chest! “What the heck?!
I decided to fuel thinking that maybe I was in need of calories. However I could barely chew because my chest felt so tight. I pulled out my inhaler and actually took a puff. I can’t remember when I have had an allergy attack like that. I say allergy because I never had it again and Stonegate had the same thing around the same spot on the trail! Something was blooming that my allergies didn’t like.
Around this time, about 20 people passed me on the uphill deflating my inner fire a bit. How on Earth did they have the strength and power to climb like that?!
I decided to power hike as best I could. I knew I was on the first of the three climbs and that the second one was way bigger.
Photo from: www.rainshadowrunning.com
Photo from: www.rainshadowrunning.com

When I got to the top and started on my way down, I was eagerly looking forward to bombing a downhill! The trail however was super technical with lots of tree roots and rocks. Still, I did my best trying to open it up on the down.

I was flying down a hill, somewhere at about the 12 mile marker when I felt a sharp stabbing pain in my left quad! “What the heck!” I yelled. I had thought that I was hit with a be-be gun! I didn’t stop running but the pain was intense! I looked down and there was a stinger sticking out of my quad! “A bee?!”

I was seriously just dumbfounded.  I kept running afraid to stop and have it blow up and swell. I haven’t been stung by anything since I was like 8 years old so … I had no idea if I was allergic or not.

It burned, it itched, it stung. I didn’t stop. Finally, I came to Mile 14 and the Cape Perpetua aid-station. I grabbed a hand full of grapes and I asked the guy there if they had bees around here and he goes, “Oh yea! We have an angry bunch that just stung a ton of people!” Great. Well at least it wasn’t a be-be gun. 🙂

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I continued on a bit, knowing that the big second uphill was coming. I was starting to feel a little bit better around mile 17 or so. The views were just outstanding and really were lifting my spirits.

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Just keep moving Pam, you can do this. You trained for this.” That’s what I kept telling myself at least. Then I ran with a guy for a little while who was talking about the 100 milers he had done and how he was excited to have his Western States Qualifier. He lived in Ashland and I told him that was our race destination spot last year!

THEN! I was stopped dead in my tracks on the trail. There was a bunch of runners and some guys just yelling. Turns out, there was a Yellow Jacket’s nest in the middle of the trail with tons of angry yellow-jackets.

One dude said, “I am going to go for it!” and he ran straight through! I felt like I was watching him in slow motion … BAM stung in his calf … BAM stung in his quad.

I turned to the girl next to me and we were like,  “Um nope! No way. No how!” We followed the other group that had to bushwhack their way FAR around the buzzing yellow jacket’s nest.

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By the time I reached Cooks aid-station (mile 19.5) I was already coming back to life. I was excited that this was essentially the “turn-around” spot which mentally always helps propel me in races.

I ran into that aid-station ready to be in and in out but then I looked at the table and saw mini dill pickles! Oh my. I’ve never eaten pickles in a race before though I hear a lot of runners like them. I had a quick mental battle of “should I or shouldn’t I?” in my head and decided to grab one and walk out. It was THE BEST PICKLE ON EARTH! 🙂 Seriously, that little dill pickle recharged me and I floated out of that aid-station light as feather!

One more aid-station to go and the biggest down hill section of the race was next! I honestly felt like I was flying down the next section. It was one of the few NON technical downhills in the course. I am going to assume that the intense thick tree cover interfered with my pace on my Garmin. 🙂 I know it did with the mileage because the race came up short in distance according to my Garmin but we were under some pretty thick tree cover for a lot of the race.

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I just kept running. I’d pass a few people here and there. Sometimes they’d pass me back. In my head, I had settled on my C Goal but a part of me wasn’t giving up completely.

I came across one guy who was laying on the ground. I asked if he was okay and he said he had swelling in his knee. I asked if he wanted any Advil and he hopped right up and said, “Sure! We can keep walking so that way I won’t slow you down.

I handed off some Advil and wished him luck and continued on my way.  Finally, I came to the last aid-station! Woo hoo! I was getting excited knowing that I was getting closer and closer to the finish!

I chatted with the aid-station volunteer. I asked him if anyone dropped here earlier because of bee stings and he said he had a lot of drops, but not sure if because of bee stings – Stonegate is allergic and I had been worrying about her all race.

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I continued on my way running all the ups and the downs. When I encountered any stairs, I walked. 🙂 FINALLY I was dumped back onto the pavement! Yes!!! I could smell the finish but I knew that I had to run a lot of pavement first.

I looked up and saw a woman that had passed me earlier in the race. She had looked SO strong too. She powered up all those hills like they were nothing. A small part of me was excited to have caught up to her.

I ran along side her and she seemed excited to have someone to run with. I told her to go ahead and she said she was out of water and that she couldn’t go any faster. I asked her if she wanted my handheld water bottle, “Are you sure!? You don’t mind?” she said. “Of course not! Go ahead, I have plenty.

The two of us ran through the town together. Then we made the turn onto the grass. The woman said, “Come on, we have about 400 yards. We can do this! I don’t care about time.” In my head I was thinking: First of all, how does she know it is 400 yards and second of all, my C Goal had turned into “finish this BUT finish under 6 hours” since I was way off what I had hoped I would finish in … so for ME, I did care about time, MY time. It wasn’t about beating anyone but myself. It always is.

We were running across the grass. Everyone was cheering. I saw the finish and that it was a little up hill and something just turned on inside me and I went for it. I sprinted as hard as I could. I saw the clock and I pushed it!

Whew!!! I did it. I was done, thank goodness, I was done! That is one helluva race. It is unassuming in many ways, but don’t be fooled, it’s a doozy of a race and I was thrilled to be done!

The woman came up to me and thanked me and said, “When I saw you turn it on, I said, I don’t have what she has!” 🙂 Then the Advil guy finished shortly after and he thanked me for the Advil.

I found my drop bag and waited for Stonegate to finish. She texted me so I knew that she hadn’t dropped because of an allergic reaction but she had been stung.

Stonegate Finishing!
Stonegate Finishing!

I changed out of my smelly shirt and ran back out on the course to find her. I ran through the town with her until she reached the finish! What a day!

Final stats:

I finished in 5 hours and 53 minutes.

I was Second in my Age Group!! 🙂

And 17th female out of the 91 that started the race.

I will take it! I conquered my A Goal after all despite feeling like I had run a terrible race. It just goes to show you, never give up, never quit. Give all that you have left to give!

Stonegate and I didn’t hang around the finish for long. We were hungry! 🙂

Post Race Tradition - Champagne!
Post Race Tradition – Champagne!

We headed back to our hotel, showered, stretched, had some champagne (a tradition), hummus, carrots, crackers, chips and salsa. Food never tasted so good!

Later that night, being that we are both Plant-Based and know the importance of post race fuel being key to recovery, ran out to the store and bought kale! We made a rice, bean, kale and salsa dish in our instant-pot that night which was perfect!

Plant-Based Athletes recovering with plant-strong food!
Plant-Based Athletes recovering with plant-strong food!

Overall, I am happy with the race outcome. It was a gorgeous race, super well marked and well run. I would recommend it to anyone and everyone even though I had some dark(er) moments out there. I was able to pull through and not wallow for long … there is always a silver lining, there is always something you can do or try to pull you out of your funk. No one can do it but you.

In the end, it was the best road-trip ever. I am in love with Oregon and I finally got to visit and run on the coast. It was everything I expected it to be and more.

I truly am blessed to have a friend like Stonegate who seeks and cherishes adventure like I do and a husband who is willing to let me go and explore and feed my soul on trips like these. I missed my family immensely while I was gone, they would have loved the Oregon Coast. I guess we need to head back all together. 🙂

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Until next time Oregon!

Happy Trails!

~Trailmomma

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Some of my favorite road trip photos from our four days of fun!

We discovered a selfie-stick in Stonegate's car and it opened a whole new level of fun for us.
We discovered a selfie-stick in Stonegate’s car and it opened a whole new level of fun for us. Thank you to her 10 year old for leaving it in there!
Wandering the University of Oregon campus ...
Wandering the University of Oregon campus …
Discovering the Sea Lion Caves on 101!! One of the best random finds of the trip!
Discovering the Sea Lion Caves on 101!! One of the best random finds of the trip!
No shortage of laughter while driving long hours.
No shortage of laughter while driving long hours.
Our home away from home most of the time - our ocean side patio.
Our home away from home most of the time – our ocean side patio.

 

 

 

 

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WOLF-PACK

wolfpackWhat started out as a joke on Facebook before our road trip a few weeks ago (you can read about that adventure here), got me thinking about the people I run with and who honestly, I spend most of my happy time with (besides my own family).

I feel very lucky to have the set of friends that I do. Friends who do crazy things and who enjoy Mother Nature and getting muddy just as much as me.

Waterfall fun!
Friends who jump off rocks and take a million photos
But remember, Blue is Bad!
Friends who goof around in the middle of a run.

If you read my posts, you know who these usual suspects are in my life. Pigeon, Stonegate and Burning Girl are the most frequent. Occasionally we are lucky enough to run with Miss P and Pearls.

These ladies rock!

I also run with a dear friend, TiggerT. She doesn’t run ultras but when we do run, we usually laugh, a lot. She is my California International Marathon buddy and my “road-running” friend.

TiggerT and I
TiggerT

But more importantly, she and Stonegate, Burning Girl and Pigeon are my friends. My wolf-pack. They are the ones I know will support me in a race and in life.

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They also send you funny texts during races.

Truth be told, before I ran trails, I ran alone. A lot. I used to read Kristin Armstrong’s blog Mile Markers on Runner’s World and would be so envious of the stories she’d write about – meeting her friends for a morning workout or a long training run – laughing and sharing their life’s problems with each other. I wanted that.

2016 Selfie

Well now, I have it but 100 times better.

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My wolf-pack doesn’t run together every day or every weekend, but we are connected. The trails may have brought us together but it isn’t what keeps us strong.

Trail Girls

My wolf-pack keeps me sane. They keep me on my toes. They are resources for things I know nothing about. They build you up and remind you, that you are worth it and that you deserve the best. They are shoulders to cry on when life gets hard and they remind you when you may be making the same mistake twice.

Hugs!

They give you hugs when you need them and they make you laugh.

Oops! hahaha

I adore my wolf-pack and while it seems stereotypical to “give thanks” this time of year, that is exactly what I want to do.

Thank you ladies for all that you do. Thank you for being a little bit crazy and a lot-a-bit fun. Thank you for being adventure seekers and thank you for supporting my often crazy ideas. Thank you for the hugs, the laughter and the tears. Thank you for listening. Thank you, for being you … my wolf-pack, our wolf-pack.

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Happy Trails!

(and Happy Thanksgiving!)

~Trailmomma

 

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AMERICAN RIVER 50 MILE – Pacing Report

This past weekend I did NOT run the American River 50 mile race although deep down, I truly missed being out there for the full race like I have in years past. However, I was honored and lucky enough to be able to pace my friend Stonegate during her first American River 50 mile race. Pacing someone truly gives you a whole different perspective.

The day started when I woke up at 4 am and threw on sweats and hopped in the car to pick up Stonegate and Burning Girl. I was excited. I had energy and I couldn’t hold it in. I love this race and I especially love being able to support friends who are doing such amazing feats like running 50 miles for the very first time.

Burning Girl and I didn’t have to do much to calm Stonegate down. She seemed at ease although I got the sense as go-time neared that she was starting to feel the excitement with perhaps a side of nerves. We gave her hugs as we walked her to the starting line.

Burning Girl and Stonegate
Burning Girl and Stonegate

We wished her well and told her we’d see her at mile 25 ready to crew!

They counted down and off they went. I actually got a little choked up at the start because it is just so exciting and the energy at these things is palpable.

Then, Burning Girl and I went home and I went back to bed! 🙂 I didn’t sleep long. My mind was going a mile a minute thinking about all that I had to gather together. Burning Girl was going to pick me up and we were going to head to Beal’s Point, the half way mark of the race where I was going to join Stonegate as her pacer and run with her the last 25 miles or so. To be honest, I have never started running so late in the day and on such a HOT day at that! It was definitely interesting to say the least trying to figure out what to eat and how to get ready to start running at 11:00 am vs 6:00 am when we normally go for our long runs.

Stonegate texted me her location and I knew she was right on pace. I texted Burning Girl that I was antsy and wanted to head to Beal’s Point. She picked me up and drove over and set up camp. Stonegate texted at various points continuing to stay on pace.

She came into Beal’s and was immediately welcomed by the group that she coaches. That got me a little choked up (again). How sweet! I knew it helped boost Stonegate’s mood too.

Her people!
Her people!

She came in and we got her squared away. The temperature was really starting to rise at this point. I tried cooling her down by putting ice in her bandana and ending up slightly choking her! 🙂 Hey, that’s what pacers do right? Haha

Here let me choke you, I mean tie your bandana
Here let me choke you, I mean tie your bandana

Then we took off ready for the best part of the race, the trails! While we ran out of Beal’s I checked in with her. What has she been eating, drinking? Is she going to the bathroom? Has she started taking salt tabs? I know I was peppering her with a lot of questions but sometimes you have to ask a runner as they don’t always volunteer information. 🙂

Leaving Beals
Leaving Beals

To start, I ran alongside of her. When we hit the single track sections, I ran behind her. You can see a lot when you pace a runner and start running behind them. I could see her highs and her lows at times. At one point, I could she her running off kilter just a bit and she was quiet (she normally is not a quiet person). I saw a sandwich sticking out of her pack from behind and I suggested that perhaps she have some of that as well as a salt-tab. Then I marked the time mentally as to when she took that salt so I could keep track. Once she ate that piece of sandwich her form returned as did her energy. She was still quieter than she normally is but hey, this girl just ran 35 miles, farther than she ever has before.

She did fantastic. I noticed that she started tripping more often over the rocks and branches that were on the trail. She’s tired (obviously) so I offered to run in front of her where I started pointing out every rock, branch or step down. I wanted her to not have to think too much and just react. That really seemed to work well. She’d listen to my cues and moved accordingly. I also like to think that I was “pulling” her just a bit by picking up the pace ever so slightly.

Occasionally I would encourage her to run this downhill or that downhill and we’d hike the ups when she asked. I wasn’t a slave driver but I was noticing she was losing the pace that she had worked so hard for earlier in the race but to be fair, she was also battling a pain in her foot too so I was trying to be cautious of that as well.

Her darkest hour was the time between Granite Bay and Horseshoe Bar aid stations. That stretch is brutal and almost 9 miles long. Truly the hardest stretch in the race and she did fabulous. After that, she was a good girl taking her salt and eating when she should. Her energy picked up when she found out that her family would be a Rattlesnake aid-station. So that was my drive for her to get there, “Just keep pushing girl! Your family is waiting!” And she did.

The last 10 miles of the race is an awesome section with rollers and some amazing views. I know she loves this section and I tried to capitalize on that by pointing out the views here and there. When we finally dumped out onto the gravel at the bottom of Damn Hill I knew I had my work cut out for me. She looked so sad and I hated to tell her that she had 3 more miles to go and that it was entirely uphill.

You got this girl! 3 more miles!
You got this girl! 3 more miles!

She turned to me and said, “Girl, I can’t run.” And I replied, “That’s fine. I wasn’t going to have you run this gravely section anyway but we will run when we get to the pavement.” And she just shot me a side glance like, “Are you kidding me?” haha!

Sure enough we got to the pavement section and I said, “Okay, do you think you can run to that pole up ahead? We can stop there and assess.” She kind of groaned and looked at me and said, “It hurts to run!” to which I replied, “Of course it hurts. It’s going to hurt you just ran 40 something miles!” haha So, she ran. I pointed out that once you actually get moving and get past that “oh my gosh this hurts” feeling, it actually feels even BETTER to run than walk. So from that point on, it was “to that sign” or “to that rock” and we’d run and walk. Pigeon came down the hill and met us and helped motivate Stonegate up the hill too.

I told her that they play a super cruel joke by putting this really steep little hill at the very tippy top. I advised her to drop her pack and just go and I reminded her that her daughter and son were waiting just on the other side to bring her into the finish.

She listened. She dropped her pack and pushed. Hard. Pigeon grabbed the pack while I ran into the parking lot screaming my bloody head off as she ran the perimeter of the parking lot to the finish line with her kids alongside of her. I was so dang proud.

Stonegate and her little peeps!
Stonegate and her little peeps!

My friend worked her butt off for this race and it paid off. I couldn’t be more excited and happy for her. I remember exactly how I felt after finishing my first American River 50 mile race. Heck, I remember how I felt after my other two finishes. The excitement, the energy, the pride you have knowing you ran farther than most people drive?! It just never gets old.

Congrats Stonegate! You did great girl! Thank you for allowing me to join you on that journey.

This girl can do anything now!
This girl can do anything now!

After my pacing duties were over, I took advantage of the icy canal, the massage tent and then inhaled a huge salad from Whole Foods.

Yummy Plant-Based recovery meal.
Yummy Plant-Based recovery meal.

Some final thoughts: Pacing really takes the attention away from you and puts it on someone else (duh! that’s really the definition of pacing). I drank and hydrated well. I kept up on my salt intake too. I ate but I ate differently throughout. I ate the same amount of food and the same food, just in different orders which was a bit weird to me. I wanted to eat the easier faster foods first so that I could focus more on her. It all worked out in the end, I had enough energy and felt completely fine after the race. This was good practice to throw me out of my usual routine and see how balancing and readjusting works when and if I should ever need to during a race. Overall, it was an amazing day.

Happy Trails,

~Trailmomma

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BACK TO WORK

It has been a few weeks since my last post. Sorry about that. I took a quick (5 day) trip back east just days after the race and then returned home feeling quite drained and a bit behind in work/life.

I ran the first weekend home and it was a bit of a struggle. I blame a lot of it on lack of sleep and allergies. The minute I landed in California, I’ve been attacked severely by seasonal allergies like you wouldn’t believe. I know I am not alone. Geez. I know rain is what we need but lordy has it caused a slew of allergic reactions in our house.

So when Pigeon and Stonegate said they were ready to hit the trails for a nice long run this past weekend, I was super excited and hopeful that my allergies would give me a break for the day.

Trails and friends make everything better!
Trails and friends make everything better!

Wanting to get in some decent mileage we decided to do our usual loops adding and changing what we wanted to make the miles work.

Adding to the fun, my roommate from college mailed my girls her son’s Flat Stanley. I decided to include Flat Stanley on our run. 🙂

Flat Stanley checked out the Free Library stand in Auburn
Flat Stanley checked out the Free Library stand in Auburn

Our first loop was about 7 miles plus and did not disappoint. We were able to see some amazing waterfalls.

Waterfall fun!
Waterfall fun! Gotta Jump off Rocks

Then we refueled and dropped some gear off at the car. It was getting warm and the rain was holding off for us.

We started our second loop up Stagecoach hill. Stonegate was waiting for a friend to come join us on the second set of loops but he had not arrived just yet. So the three of us took off hiking up Stagecoach with the plan that Stonegate would turn around when she received notice that he had arrived and would head back down.

Well, we all reached the top of Stagecoach and it was then that Stonegate got the text that Paul had arrived. So she headed all the way back down as he was working his way up.

Pigeon and I decided instead to work on our power hiking skills. We’d run about half way down and then turn and power hike our way back up. We did that three times before we caught up to Stonegate and Paul who were climbing back up.

Through Auburn we ran to the Overlook and then back down towards No Hands. I had to stop by No Hands to remove a rock from my shoe … once again, we decided to have some fun jumping around off the rocks (really we were making fun of this trail running video that made the Facebook circuit earlier in the week).

Flying!
Flying!

We all refueled at No Hands and then started making our way up K2.  K2 was actually quite busy! I ended up passing two men who were out there hiking. I am still working on my hiking skills to get ready for  13,000 ft of climbing come May.

Once we regrouped at the top it was time to fly down roller coaster back to No Hands. I thought that I would zoom like I have been lately but about half way down, my body just said, “Nope, not today!” The trails were super thick and sticky and every so often, we’d run into the trail maintenance crews out there so I took it a little more conservatively. My legs were happier with that.

When we all met at the bottom, we decided not to do another loop and to call it a day. I think we were all a bit tired. This was the longest toughest run I have done since FOURmidable three weeks prior.

We ended up finishing up at the perfect time as the winds started to pick up and the temps started to drop. We had perfect weather for our run but Mother Nature had decided enough was enough.

POST RUN FUEL

After I got home and showered, I warmed up some Split Pea soup that I had made earlier in the week along with a gluten free roll. It was exactly what I needed to warm up and refuel.

Post Run Plant-Based Recovery Fuel
Post Run Plant-Based Recovery Fuel

Overall it was a great day. I am happy with how my body responded during the run. I almost thought too much time off would hurt me but it was probably just what the trail doctor ordered.

I especially enjoyed all the laughs we had out there. Running with friends really can make all the difference in how you feel sometimes.

My face is priceless!
My face is priceless!

This photo makes me laugh so much so I had to include it. Before we climbed Stagecoach, I used the restroom and had left Flat Stanley outside (some things Flat Stanley doesn’t need to see).

Pigeon and Stonegate were trying to play a prank on me but I foiled it. My face cracks me up. 🙂

Laughter on the trails truly is the best!

Happy Trails!

~Trailmomma

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SALMON FALLS STRUGGLE

You win some you lose some. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. It is always darkest before the dawn.

There are so many ways to look at situations where you do not feel your best and that is exactly the most clear way to describe this past weekend’s run.

Hello Salmon Falls
Hello Salmon Falls

Stonegate and I ran together on Saturday. I had heard in advance that there was a race in Auburn so we decided to stay clear of that area and run some miles on the Salmon Falls 50k course as both Stonegate and Burning Girl are running that race in three weeks.

The weather was supposed to be warm but it was pretty chilly to start (as usual – I feel like I write that sentence every blog post haha).

We took off up the Red Dragon from Skunk Hallow and just continued to hike one foot in front of the other. The first few miles of this run is up hill. My legs felt heavy from the start but I was hoping it was due to the fact that they had not quite woken up yet to be climbing this soon.

Stonegate taking it all in!
Stonegate taking it all in!

However, as the day wore on, it was clear that my legs did not feel attached to my body and my brain was constantly being pulled in a different direction.

Don’t get me wrong, I love running with Stonegate (we always have some fun) but I just didn’t feel within my own body. My legs were tired and heavy. My heart, for the first time in a while, just wasn’t excited to be out there much longer. Perhaps the last two weeks of 20 something mile runs had filled my cup so much that it was full at the moment. Perhaps, this is the perfect time for a taper.

I have a race in two weeks and should (in theory) be enjoying a taper period. In my head I was planning to just continue building miles and treat my upcoming race as just a regular training run but of course, the “trail me” wants to do well – which is probably why my body was rejecting the notion of pushing too much on my run this weekend.

Getting warmer!
Getting warmer!

Luckily I am not overly stubborn when it comes to my body and doubly lucky (although I want her to feel good), Stonegate was feeling whatever it was, too. We both were just “meh” on this run. That is the simplest way to put it.

No matter, we made the best out of how we felt and did not take for granted our time on the trails and appreciating what Mother Nature had to offer. It was a glorious day.

Recovery Meal
Recovery Meal

When I got home, I will be honest, my fridge was empty. The week had been so nutty grocery shopping was not a high priority. Still, I managed to get something nutritious and filling.

In the above photo: Leftover mashed no oil no dairy potatoes mixed with kale and copious amounts of a pureed mushroom gravy (I am NOT a fan of mushrooms but I don’t mind the pureed homemade gravy that I make). It hit the spot and was quite filling.

It was nice to have gotten that struggle of a run behind me on Saturday so that I could try and regroup on Sunday. I much prefer running my long runs on Saturdays because then that leaves Sunday for some R&R vs waking up and heading right into the work week where I absolutely get no time to rest.

And unless you live under a rock somewhere, Sunday was Super Bowl but we had no plans and decided to have a nice family adventure.

My Family is on No Hands!
My Family is on No Hands!

Vans and I drove the girls out to Auburn and I was able to show them  a good section of trail that I run often . We parked by No Hands Bridge and hiked in towards the Overlook.

My girls got to see and hear the river actually looking quite full and strong. Vans got to walk across No Hands Bridge and see where I spend a lot of time with my trail crew. It was a lovely afternoon.

We hiked all the way to the waterfall bridge. I wanted to have a “goal” in mind for them so that it wasn’t just a simple out and back.

Waterfall!
Waterfall!

The trails were pretty crowded with lots of other hikers. My girls were super excited to reach the waterfall. We took a few photos. 🙂

My other half.
My other half.

We stopped here for a quick snack for the girls. I was impressed they hiked a full mile in and then had to hike a full mile out. For a 7 year old and 4 year old, that’s pretty huge.

My future trail runners?
My future trail runners?

Overall it was one of the best Super Bowl Sundays that I can remember having as a family in a long time. We later went home and watched the game via DVR while I made pizza and dinner. Perfection.

So what started out as a challenging weekend turned into one of my favorites. I am not worried by how I felt on my run. We all have a down cycle. My sleep has been out of whack. My hydration was definitely off course on Friday and Saturday. Yet my focus is still strong and my drive is still there.

How can it not be when I have the best support crew in town?

My Crew
My Crew

Happy Trails!

~Trailmomma

 

 

 

 

 

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