Monthly Archives: April 2014

I signed up for my first ultra.

After  reading all the great recaps and tweets about The North Face Endurance Challenge – California, it sounded like an awesome challenge. I wanted to run it.

The North Face Endurance Challenge

The North Face Endurance Challenge has a couple of race lengths – 5k (3.1 miles), 10k (6.21 miles) , half marathon (13.1 miles), marathon (26.2 miles), 50k (31 miles), and 50 miles.

The events take place in the  Marin Headlands, the course features scenic views with some drastic elevation change.

Guess what I did? I signed up. Duh. 50k. Go big or go home, right?

This will be my first 50k AND first trail race. I’m scared, nervous, excited and can’t wait to run it!

Now it’s time to read every article and blog on training for a 50k…

Do you have a favorite blog for training for an ultramarathon?

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RECAP: Ragnar SoCal 2014 – Team afterNUUN run

A few months ago I was invited to join team afterNUUN run, which was made up of San Francisco Marathon Ambassadors (an awesome writeup on each of team members can be found on Gametiime’s blog). Needless to say, I jumped at the chance!

Team afterNUUN run

We were split up into two vans (listed in runner leg order).

Van #1:  Keith, Kristina, Jordan, Me, Erin, Chris

Van #2: Matt, Paulette, Miriam, Meg, Bruce, Alisyn

To add the already awesomeness of the team we were fortunate to have many generous sponsors!

Nuun (NUUN, water bottles), The San Francisco Marathon (shirts, vans), Sketchers (shoes), Gametiime (shirts) , Zensah (compression sleeves), and FitSok (socks).

Here we go!


I arrived in Orange County on Thursday. Met up with other team members at the airport. We then went to the rental car facility to pick up another mini-van #2. We stopped at Yard House for some lunch and a beer before heading to the hotel to check-in. Lucky for us there was a Target across the street from the hotel. We picked up a bunch of snacks, water and items to decorate the vans.

Later that evening we decided to run to Downtown Disney for dinner. It was a nice evening and run! We ended up having some delicious pizza at Naples. A few decided to run back to the hotel. While the rest of us opted to take the shuttle back.

The next morning we loaded up the vans, said our goodbyes to Van #2 and took off for the beach.

We had to sit through a mandatory safety meeting before we received our bibs. Afterward we decorated our van and anxiously waited for Keith to start the race.

Van #1 is ready!

Van #1 is ready!

12:45pm – it was time for Keith to start the race for team afterNUUN run! Off he went and so did we to the next exchange.

Leg 4


It was Friday evening and time for me to finally run. I was ready. I studied the route map, applied sunscreen and stretched. Yeah, I’m ready…I think. I waited at the exchange for Jordan (runner 3). The volunteer yelled out our team number. There she was! She handed off the slap bracelet and I was off.

My leg was pretty short, 2.7 miles. There were only a couple turns. Pretty easy.

The scenery was cars and more cars. I saw Angel Stadium in the distance. I knew I wasn’t far from the next exchange. At the traffic light was the Ragnar sign “Left”. The light was red. I waited and waited and waited until it finally turned green. Off I ran…left.

My Garmin showed that I only had a little bit to go. But I didn’t see the exchange. Where is everyone?! Oh no, I ran the wrong way! Doh! I ran back the way I came, which ended up being a mile. Yes, I ran a mile out of my way. Oh, THERE is the exchange. Doh. And there is Erin! SLAP! And off she went.

I made it to Exchange 4!

So much for studying the route map. However I did run faster than expected. Only 5 minutes later than my expected time.

Leg 16


It was now about 2:00am on Saturday. It was time for my second leg and my only nighttime leg.

I asked Chris to pace me during this leg. I wanted a solid run and knew that he could help me do that.

I heard our team number called. I saw Jordan running up. Off I go…again! Less than a minute into the run I asked Chris what the pace was, because it felt comfortable. He said 7:30. Whoa. I don’t ever run this fast…but I was and it felt great!

The route was flat and short, 4.10 miles. Not much to look at except the random jackrabbit running across the trail. We only passed one runner along the way. Before I knew it, we were at the exchange.

Thanks to Chris, I ran my fastest 4 miler ever. 7:37 minute pace!

Leg 28


My last leg. We were almost done! I was looking forward to real food, a beer, a shower and a long sleep in a real bed.

I planned to enjoy this last leg, not worry about pace and take it all in. There were a lot more runners on this leg than my previous legs. It was actually nice to run with other runners. I stayed behind a couple of runners for the first couple of the miles. Their pace was just right. Plus it allowed me to take in the awesome ocean view!

My last leg!

My last leg! Psst! I’m the runner in the middle.

I knew there were a few hills on leg. They didn’t look too bad on paper. The first hill wasn’t that bad. But the second hill. The second hill was a beast! I started to run up the hill, but I just couldn’t. It was hot. I was tired and didn’t have it in me. So I walked/run to the top. On the way I started talking to two runners. We talked about where we were from and about Ragnar. Once we were within eyeshot of the exchange I said my goodbyes and passed off the slap bracelet to Erin.

And just like that. I was done.

To the beach!


Our last runner, Chris, made his way into the last exchange. Soon after we hightailed it to the beach! Van 1 was done! We waited for Van 2 to finish their legs and meet us at the beach to run to through the finish together. In the meantime we got lunch, hung out and relaxed.

A few hours later Van 2 arrived. We quickly made our way to the finishing chute and ran with our last runner Alisyn through to the finish line! 194 miles done!

afterNUUN run at the finish line!

afterNUUN run at the finish line!

Our official finish time was 26:40:57. We finished 8th in Mixed Open category and 24th overall. Not bad!

It was an amazing experience with a bunch of awesome runners. I would definitely run another relay with this group!

RECAP: Los Angeles Marathon 2014

Last year I had to take a DNF at mile 10 due to a IT band injury. This year is my revenge on the LA Marathon!

I arrived late Friday afternoon. I was a bit weary at the start about my right foot. I was having some issues with it a few weeks earlier. I tried to stay off of it as much as I could prior to Sunday.

Saturday


The expo was held at the Los Angeles Convention Center. My main goals were to pick up my bib, quickly check out the expo and stop by the San Francisco Marathon booth.

Bib pickup was easy and quick! Absolutely no lines or issues. Awesome.

LA Marathon

I made a quick walkthrough the expo. Walked past all the usual expo vendors. Found the San Francisco Marathon booth. Chatted with them for a little bit and I was on my way.

For an early dinner we had some really good homemade spaghetti. I tried not to eat too much, but I failed. I was full and content.

I relaxed the rest of the evening, watched a movie, and laid out my clothes for the race. I double and triple checked to make sure I didn’t forget anything. I was asleep before 10:00PM.

 Sunday


Alarm went off at 5:00AM. I was up and ready within 20 minutes. We left for the start line at 5:30 and arrived just after 6:00AM.

Side note: They changed the entry route to the start line this year, but it didn’t add any additional time to get to the start.

A bunch of my fellow San Francisco Marathon Ambassadors were running too. We decided to meet at 6:30AM for a quick picture. After the picture I did some stretching, used the restroom and made my way over the to corrals.

The corrals were REALLY full. I couldn’t find my way into one until the gun went off around 7:30AM. I squeezed my way in. Slowly made my walk to the start line.

Mile 1-4. Ran out of Dodger Stadium and down past the Disney Concert Hall. Just after mile 4, I needed a bathroom ASAP. Luckily there was one right there with a very short line. I was in and out in under 2 minutes!

Mile 5-9. It was nice to see a lot of people lining the streets cheering everyone on. Feeling awesome running through Downtown LA!

Mile 10. Just entering Hollywood. Last year, at this mile I decided to take a DNF (read more about that here). I knew that that I would get somewhat emotional here. My eyes welled up a little bit. But then I had a huge smile on my face. I made it further than I did last year. Wooohoo!

Mile 10-12. I was still excited about making it past mile 10 AND I was feeling good. These miles were kind of a blur.

Mile 13.1. On Sunset Strip. Half way done! Feeling awesome. Foot felt good. I still had a lot of energy.

Mile 14-16. My right foot was starting to hurt. I tried to not run on the side of my foot that was hurting. Looking back I think that didn’t made the foot feel any better.

Mile 16-20. I had to run/walk. Foot wasn’t getting any better. It was getting warm.  Every water station I ran by I grabbed some water.

Mile 21-24. Zombies everywhere. People just didn’t have anything left in them. It was now HOT. About 85 degrees. I was exiting the VA at the point. I tried to run when I could. As soon as my foot started to hurt I stopped and walked.

Mile 25-26.2. Almost to the ocean. Coming around the corner I could see the finish line! I decided to sprint the short distance to the finish line. I was done! SO excited. And really, really warm.

After I received my medal, I REALLY needed water at the finish. Unfortunately I didn’t see any close to the finish. I did see a cold, wet towel, which I grabbed. I did eventually find water, but it was a ways away. Ack.

Super excited about finish. Not so excited about my foot. Lots to think about and work on.

After two years of running (well a DNF and a finish) the LA Marathon, I think this will be a yearly race for me. I love the course and the weather!

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