Tag Archives: Trail Race

THAT DAM(N) RUN HALF MARATHON RACE REPORT (and a million other things)

The October love is still flowing strong. This past weekend was no exception. We squeezed in a lot!

Crazy is as Crazy does!
Crazy is as Crazy does!

The weekend started off with the school’s Harvest Festival on Friday night. I am giving the PTA props because they made some changes to the festival and it was well done. Vans helped with some set up too.

Just hanging around
Just hanging around

Saturday we found ourselves at the Loving Lane event down in Sacramento. Sally Edwards, aka the Head Heart is a dear friend of ours. Her nephew Lane Edwards was in a terrible accident about two years ago and was left with a C4 spinal fracture which has left him unable to walk.

Lane is defying all odds with the help of a huge team of trainers who are supporting his efforts to be able to walk again, on his own two feet.

We attended his event to help support LovingLane.org which is enabling Lane to continue with his therapy. Check out his website www.lovinglane.org and see how you can help.

Pinkhouse age 97
Pinkhouse age 97

Also attending Lane’s event was Pinkhouse, our 97 (soon to be 98 in December) year old friend who contributed by doing an indoor cycling ride for Lane! How is that for inspiration!?

Indoor cycling workout led by Sally the Head Heart
Indoor cycling workout led by Sally the Head Heart

Sunday morning came bright and early for us after the great day we had at Loving Lane.

A few weeks ago I ran into Coach Nikon (my old trail coach and friend). He is the Race Director for That Dam(n) Run – trail 10k and half marathon.

Pre-Race
Pre-Race

Coach Nikon invited Vans and myself to come out to his race AND he told us to bring our girls. He said that he and his daughter the Cheetah, would watch them while Vans and I ran. How absolutely perfect (and nice) is that?!

Trouble!
Trouble! Peanut, Squeaker, Cheetah and friends

I ran the half marathon and Vans ran the 10k. My race started first. After a few announcements from Coach Nikon, I was off and running.

Coach Nikon talking to the 10k Runners
Coach Nikon talking to the 10k Runners

The 10k runners followed yellow and black checkered ribbons while the half marathon runners followed pink and black striped. The course was well marked with ribbons and with flour on the ground. If you got lost, you clearly were not paying any attention.

Day of the Dead theme ALL over the place
Day of the Dead theme ALL over the place

I should note that Vans does not run much if at all. He’s probably run once this entire month. Needless to say, he was pretty stoked to find out that he was the winner of the 10k.

Here comes Vans!
Here comes Vans!

He was also pretty tired and really did not enjoy the uphill finish! ha!

Winner winner tofu dinner!
Winner winner tofu dinner!

He had a blast though and loved the challenging course. Hmm, maybe I’ll sign him up for the half next year?? 😉

Coach Nikon and Squeaker - TOTAL trouble here.
Coach Nikon and Squeaker – TOTAL trouble here.

My race was fun. I ran hard and had a great first half. Second half, after climbing the old dam hill, I slowly started running out of steam.

There was a young(er) girl who passed me at one point and who I stayed behind the entire second half of the race. She was running super strong.

She stopped at the last aid-station, about 1.7 from the finish and I grabbed her arm and said, “Nope. Come on! This is your race. You’ve got this, let’s go!” She followed and took the lead.

She asked if I wanted to pass and I told her no, this race was hers as she had been a super strong steady runner the whole day.

We turned a corner and saw the final stretch to the finish. It was completely up hill!!! I had been running steady for the last 3 or 4 miles with no walking … seeing that hill just knocked the wind out of me!

Best race photo EVER
Best race photo EVER

Vans snapped that photo as I was cresting the hill. I was giving Coach Nikon the evil eye with a bit of Jersey-attitude for throwing that darn hill in at the finish. FYI – You had to run the hill because EVERYONE was watching and cheering at the top. 🙂

It was a FANTASTIC race. Such a gorgeous day and a very well run event with amazing volunteers!

First in AG, 4th overall in the half - Vans was first overall and first in AG for the 10k
First in AG, 4th overall in the half  – Vans was first overall and first in AG for the 10k

We chilled at the finish line laughing and chatting with friends.  We didn’t really want to leave ….

Two little monsters!
Two little monsters!

but alas, we had promised the girls a trip to Apple Hill to get pumpkins since next week is Halloween. Where is time going?!

All the tutus and all the fairy wings = heaven for Squeaker
All the tutus and all the fairy wings = heaven for Squeaker

We stopped quickly at an orchard to get pumpkins, apples and look at the all the vendor booths. Squeaker found her happy place at a booth that sold tutus and fairy wings.

Next stop, was at our dear friends winery. Our peaceful happy place. The girls just love it here and so do we.

Sisters
Sisters

The girls run around playing while Vans and I chat with the owners and our friends, Ann and Paul (in between masses of people visiting the winery of course).

Peanut - love her
Peanut – love her

October is always an insane month for them. It is the busiest time of year actually. Vans and I are low maintenance and happy to sit and enjoy the views. We also love to help them out when they need it, carrying boxes, empty glasses or whatever they need. It makes us happy to help.

Happiness
Happiness

Needless to say, I am bummed this is the last week of October. It has been one amazing month and I have been so blessed and over-joyed with all that we have been a part of this month.

Next weekend is my plant-based cooking class and I am super excited about that. Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, November isn’t looking too shabby at the moment. My trail-girls, Stonegate and Burning Girl and I have a little road trip adventure coming up which should be fun!

Life is just good all around.

Loving life
Loving life

Happy Trails!

~Trailmomma

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HEADLANDS MARATHON RACE REPORT

At the beginning of August I had gone on a trail run with some trail friends. One of them mentioned that the Headlands Hundred race had other distances besides the hundred miler. In fact, they have a 75 mile race, a 50 mile race AND a marathon. My friend was doing the marathon. It got my brain thinking (which is trouble, I know).

Even though I have been road training lately, I really miss the trails from time to time. Trails just provide a sense of adventure, some recovery for your body and ultimately, depending on the distances (and how you run them), are way easier.

So when I got home I looked up the race and started planning. I texted Stonegate to see if she was game for this. She had been mentioning that she wanted to get something on calendar recently so why not?

Turns out she was and the rest was history. For the month of August, I continued on my road CIM training way, barely stepping foot on the  trails for more than a few miles. I knew from the get-go this marathon would be just a fun adventure on the trails for me. As it turns out, Stonegate didn’t do much training either! HA!

I am used to spontaneously running marathons on a whim with little to no training. She is not. She got her first dose of it this weekend and rocked it.

Stonegate and I arriving at the start
Stonegate and I arriving at the start – when the sun was up

In typical Trailmomma and Stonegate style, we worried about the parking situation at the start. So, we were pretty much like the third car in the lot when we arrived at 5:45 am in the pitch blackness. We sat and waited a bit before heading down to get our race bibs and check in.

The start/finish area was insane. It was literally just steps from the ocean.

Start/Finish and drop bag area during pre race talks
Start/Finish and drop bag area during pre race talks
AND there's the ocean...
AND there’s the ocean…

I got to see so many people I knew at the start. I had a few friends doing the 50 mile distance and throughout the course we would pass each other and give support.

The ultra distances started 5 minutes ahead of us and we also had to run an extra 1.2 miles around the parking area before hitting the trails to make up some distance. It was fun cheering on the ultra peeps as they took off.

Stonegate noticed her fashionable outfit as we were waiting...
Stonegate noticed her fashionable outfit as we were waiting…

As we were standing there, Stonegate noticed that her outfit some what clashed in terms of patterns and colors. haha I thought she looked great.

Almost GO time!
Almost GO time!

Finally we were off and running. Like I said above, we had to run a little ways up the road/path and then turn around before hitting the trail and then … it was instant climbing.

900 feet straight up. Some people ran more people hiked. We did a combination of both and then eventually settled into a good hike.

That's the trail we hiked/ran but this isn't the top yet...
That’s the trail we hiked/ran but this isn’t the top yet…

The views were amazing. I kept pulling out my phone to take photos realizing we were not even at the top of the first mountain yet.

Time for some stairs! There always stairs on these bay area trails!
Time for some stairs! There always stairs on these bay area trails!
Nothing but up for a long way....
Nothing but up for a long long way…can you see the people up above?.

Finally we made it to the top and we weren’t the only ones in awe stopping to take photos.

We're above the fog
We’re above the fog

From the beginning, Stonegate and I decided this race was all about adventure and fun. We planned to stick together and enjoy the day.

Our smiles were ear to ear all.day.long
Our smiles were ear to ear all.day.long
You can see the trails below we took to get here. From this point, the trail was runnable for a while
You can see the trails below we took to get here. From this point, the trail was runnable for a while – as in down hill

Literally the course went up and down up and down. Very little flat sections.

Elevation Map
Elevation Map

Stonegate and I would just and run and talk and talk. At one point I met a girl named Paulette who is from my Oiselle racing team! It was so nice to meet her and chat for a bit. She’s running her first 50k in October.

11b
Look at all the trails down there!

At one point I realized we were not nearly as far into the race as I had thought and that I probably should start fueling and hydrating a little better. I was thoroughly engaged in the views that I was neglecting what I needed to do. Even though we weren’t “racing” it is important with all these intense climbs, to continue fueling well.

I took a page from Pigeon‘s playbook and brought some of the Peanut’s apple sauces from Costco with me. However, I threw them into the freezer the night before and put them in my pack frozen.

Get these at Costco - then freeze
Get these at Costco – then freeze

I pulled one out afraid it would be warm and it wasn’t! It was fully defrosted but still amazingly cold. I downed one instantly and I have to say, I REALLY liked this. A lot. Normally this kind of texture is not my thing … but these were great. They have 45 calories, about 8 grams of sugar and 12 grams of carbs. They are kind of like Gu (with about half the calories so keep that in mind) but they offer a great rush of sugar before you have to begin any kind of climb. They are also very easy on the stomach.

Happy Trailmomma
Happy Trailmomma – you can see my apple sauce in my pocket haha

After running up and around this crazy foggy mountain with amazing views of the ocean below … we entered what we called the rain forest!

This is insanely beautiful!
This is insanely beautiful!

It was actually dripping some drops on us at times. We couldn’t help but squeal at the insanity of how beautiful this course was.

But after a few miles in the “forest” you are quickly dumped back out onto a trail with crazy views again.

Hello Bay Area towns!
Hello Bay Area towns!

And of course more climbing…

Just keep running up that hill into the fog and the unknown!
Just keep running up that hill into the fog and the unknown!

There were times when we felt like we were on the edge of a cliff. Like above, there is nothing to the right of that trail except down down down.

You done taking so many photos?! haha
You done taking so many photos?! haha

I must mention that the wind on the these precarious trails was definitely starting to pick up. Poor Stonegate’s nose started to run from time to time … I just happened to take a selfie and accidentally caught her in full blow … it was pretty hilarious.

Oops! hahaha
Oops! hahaha

And when I say the wind picked up … I am talking about 30 mph winds while we were trying to run on this cliff that was open on both sides! In a few spots there was little guide rope that I think was there to prevent people from literally blowing off the mountain.

Hard to tell but Stonegate is doing her best to standstill so that I could get a photo to show how crazy the wind was at times. She had to remove her visor and carry it.
Hard to tell but Stonegate is doing her best to standstill so that I could get a photo to show how crazy the wind was at times. She had to remove her visor and carry it.

Finally we get dumped onto some pavement right in the middle of a crazy tourist attraction. I am talking hundreds of people standing there watching you come out of this trail wearing nothing but a tank top and shorts while they are bundled head to toe because they are about to go across the Golden Gate Bridge.

We have to run down this long long LONG road that basically has us run UNDER the Golden Gate Bridge. YES! The freaking Golden Gate!? It was crazy.

I mean, really?! Look at that!
I mean, really?! Look at that!

I kept taking a bunch of photos and Stonegate kept telling me that there would be better views … so down we ran. There was an aid-station at the bottom, this would be mile 19 of the race.

Stonegate seemed pretty anxious to get to the aid-station. She wanted to get some fuel in her fast. I just kept telling people, “LOOK! Look at that view!!” 🙂 I was beside myself. I kept thinking Vans would absolutely love this and I also kept thinking, “Um, the further we go down means the harder the up later.”

We passed Oiselle teammate Erin here as well. She was out crewing her boyfriend Seth. Erin is also an insanely talented runner. She’s also incredibly sweet. Even though she was out crewing for Seth, we got to see her at every aid-station and it really gave us a boost of energy. We’d stop and chat with her for a bit at every aid-station, clearly not rushing through the race. 🙂 Seth and I used to work together many years ago (pre-Squeaker) and he now owns The Ranch Athletics in Loomis. This was his first 50 and he was battling some hurdles but looked great every time I saw him. Another bonus to this course is that I got to see him and give him a high-five a few times throughout the race. He looked good each time!

Stonegate and I got our fill at this aid-station and then made the grueling hike back under the bridge and back up to the trail head. It didn’t seem to take that long to get back up as it had to get down to the bottom.

Now, now we were on our way home. 7 miles to go until the finish! But first we had to go back through that crazy windy section again.

Another bonus in this race is that the 50 milers when they go out on their second loop of the same course, they do it in reverse, so we get to see all the front runners coming in. Everyone was so supportive and nice. We only had 7 miles to go and they were on mile 32 out of 50 (I think I did that math right … haha).

Back through the crazy rain forrest!
Back through the crazy rain forest!

The return, once you go back up a few of the big hills, is mostly downhill to the finish.

Stonegate and I just ran and ran and ran. All the runners coming in the opposite way would cheer for us and us for them. We’d pass quite a few runners too and we’d always give them some encouragement. I was feeling good and excited to get to the finish but I still felt strong, which was a great feeling to have.

The last mile is along the coastline. It is flat and on a nice little trail with the ocean to our left and a road to our right. Along this route we saw Seth heading out on his second loop and he looked great and was smiling. Erin was running with him too.

The ending was sort of anti-climatic though, no big hoopla going on. No one really announcing your name which is fine, because really, there were 3 other races still going on.

We crossed the finish line and received all our awesome schwag and our medal. We grabbed a few things to eat, said hello to a  few people. Chatted with Erin again thanking her and her friend Monica profusely for being such an unexpected shining light on our day.

We did it! We finished!
We did it! We finished! By the ocean no less!

Overall it was a great day. I couldn’t ask for anything better. I felt great, I fueled well. I really enjoyed the frozen apple sauce packets. The company with Stonegate was fantastic. We laughed, we joked and we had a great time.

I also got to meet and see a few of my new Oiselle Volee team mates!

Me, Paulette and Erin Oiselle Volee!
Me, Paulette and Erin – Oiselle Volee!

After the race, Stonegate and I returned to Mill Valley’s house where we were spoiled with a shower and a nice hot lunch. We are truly lucky to have Mill Valley be so gracious as to let us crash at her house the night before the race and to let us shower before our long drive home.

When I got home, I celebrated with an old marathon tradition of mine … champagne!

Cheers!
Cheers! Love the mini bottles!

This race was my 10th marathon. I had not planned for it to be that way. CIM in December was supposed to be my big day (and it still will be I hope) but it was nice to have my 10th be on these amazing trails.

It was a memorable day for sure. I won’t forget my 10th marathon now. Fun, adventure, laughter and views that could blow the mind?! What more could a girl ask for?

My favorite photo of the day.
My favorite photo of the day.

Thanks Stonegate for joining me! This may be one of those races we run again … it was that fun. 🙂

Happy Trails!

~Trailmomma

 

 

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