Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Race, Ride, Run... A Weekend Back At It!

Last weekend was my kinda weekend. Lots of time outdoors, and even when we came home at night we watched some great ultra documentaries that kept us in that outdoor mode -- Unbreakable: The Western States 100, and Race Across The Sky (Leadville 100 MTB). Side note: One of the Leadville events is definitely on my bucket list (not sure which one!), but knowing that I don't do so hot in altitude it may require moving up high for a year...  ;) Anyway, that's a far ways away.

Trail race = happy place. Rocking my Endurance Planet trucker hat,
my Rousey shirt complete with HOT DOGS, 110 Play Harder Compression, Team Betty Sweat band, and Hokas!
(Hoka should love me by now with all the love/support I give, right?!)

Pre-race IPA. I don't drink beer often, but when I do I
keep it quality. 
As you can see above in the photo, this past weekend I jumped into a little 10-mile trail race, The OC Chili Run in O'Neill Park, close to where I live (scroll down for course details). It was very last-minute and unplanned in the "big picture." I found out about it while doing some work, mentioned it to my family, and both my mom AND sister wanted to do it too. Sold. An opportunity to race with family like that and I'm in. Originally, Lucho and I threw out the idea of just having me do it at MAF effort, but then I got that competitive bug up my ass and there was no way I felt like just cruising. It wasn't a crazy competitive field or anything nor that long, I just personally felt like digging deep and putting myself into race-mode effort. It has been a while ;) Meanwhile, I wanted to self-experiment and run it with no nutrition, just to see how my body would hang knowing my current metabolic efficiency situation, and since it was just for fun I didn't care how that worked out for me, whether good (feel fine) or bad (bonk). FYI: For breakfast I had 2 TBSP chia soaked in almond milk, mixed with 1 TSBP hemp seeds, a slice of mashed kabocha squash, cinnamon, dash of stevia, Himalayan sea salt -- all mixed together, and coffee with unsweetened coconut creamer. Then a handful of MAP before the race with water.)

Pre-race with Karlee, my sister, and my mom, Lyndee.

My Race
I actually ended up winning overall female and led from the beginning. Surprise! Well, that said, there was a 7-mile option and we all started together; there was one fast lady who blew past me in the beginning and she won the 7-mile race, but I held on to win the 10-miler. I mean, ya, it was a small field of runners, plus I'm sure all the local fasties were saving themselves for Sunday's Xterra Crystal Cove (an epic race). But it still felt damn good to run hard, feel that drive to push myself again, and take a W. (Maybe it was that beer the night before! And it was just one then done, in case you're wondering.) 

Despite a small field, at one point I thought I was actually in a bit of a race with another gal, which got me pumped. There was a turnaround in the last 5 miles, at which point you could see everyone else behind you. I knew before turning around I was in first, but not sure how far back any other girls were. At the turnaround I saw another chick coming up, less than a quarter mile back with still 2.5 miles to go. I kinda said "oh shit" because at that point my plan to go without nutrition combined with hard running was starting to come back to haunt me. I was definitely feeling the ol' bonk-a-roo, and it was an ever-so-slight uphill grade those last 2.5 miles to the finish, just enough to add to the pain. I was seriously digging deep to run those last couple miles hard. But I needed/wanted a self-imposed struggle like that.

Ya know what though? Even when I was going hard, from the beginning of the race till the very end I always made an effort to congratulate nearly everyone I passed by, including my mom and sister of course! It was an all-smiles, all-good-vibes kinda day. Plus, self-experimentation worked: Found out that I'm not yet in that great of shape to handle 81 minutes of hard running (i.e. at LT and higher) on just breakfast and two sips of water from mini dixie cups at an aid station. Haha! I held an average pace of 8:08, which is great for me on trails especially not being in great shape yet. Elevation change wasn't insane, something in the range of 800-950 ft vertical total? Next time, I'll bring nutrition to see how that changes results.

Finished, and went straight for the Coconut Cashew Bonk Breaker. It worked its magic. I'm forever grateful for the support from Bonk Breaker. They are the shiznit and I'm honored to be on their Team again this year. Those are carbs I will partake in ;)
Form good not great (head a little too tilted back, too much anterior pelvic tilt, etc etc), but
still decent considering I hadn't dug deep like this in a long time and I wasn't
totally falling apart and a mess.

As you can see, thousands of fans were in attendance.
Of course, my mom and sister did great too! It was a super fun and special morning. Love that my sister is getting into all this racing stuff. They rock.
This girl! So proud of my sister. I think she's finally been bitten by the endurance sports
bug. She's killing it.

My mom sprinting to the finish line. She was side by side with that lady in blue so I started yelling for her to "pick it up and pass her," dang it!!! And she did :) Tough love it is.

Mom's form lookin' good.


The OC Chili Run Course
The OC Chili Run organizers designed a great route, and the trails we hit were super cool. I've lived near O'Neill Park -- which is just beyond Cook's Corner off Live Oak Canyon Road in the Saddleback Mountain area for those of you who know OC -- my whole life and have never run these trails. They actually combined several different trails to make up the race so a couple times you'd hit asphalt transitioning from one trail to the next.

The first 2 miles are all a big climb up, and the last portion of that was definitely the steepest and the only point where I walked a bit, maybe a minute or less. (I didn't pay attention to any data during this race.) Some dudes passed me then, but then as soon as we got to the top and the downhill started I felt pretty recovered and just started bombing down the trail, passing those same dudes back. I'm decent at descending and I know how to strategize in a race like this to maximize on my strengths. However, that all said, the intensity and speed at which I ran downhill (sub-7:00/low 6's for more than a mile) would later KILL me with the sorest quads I've experienced in a very very long time, like even more sore than after a 70.3! It was actually comical how much DOMS hit the quads, and just the quads, the rest of me was fine. Up until yesterday I was hobbling around like a little old lady.

Anyway, after the initial hill climbs and decent, it's mostly flat-ish trails with little baby hills and downhills, and slight grades up/down, but nothing major. For a couple miles there is a sick single track that is totally like a luge course, it's so narrow and carved in that it's pretty much like an undesignated no-passing zone. In fact, hopped out of the trail and pulled over once to let a guy behind go by me.

You pass the start/finish at mile 5, and from there you go down a trail that's somewhere between fire road and single track in width, turnaround at mile 7.5 and head home.

Throughout much of this entire race (except for beginning climb) I was totally by myself and just completely enthralled to be outdoors on such a fun trail. It was really peaceful feeling that solitude and oneness with the running. I also loved the old-school vibe of the race -- no timing chips, they just took your bib tag at the end, which was dead on accurate to my garmin time. They served complimentary post-race chili, for those who wanted some (hence the race's name).

Food porn!

Saturday night dinner. Shrimp salad with kale and romaine massaged in extra virgin olive oil, mixed with raw chopped walnuts, and sautéed mix of onion, celery root, celery, garlic. Oh ya fresh cilantro too, and juice from half a lemon.
Shrimp was cooked in coconut oil, veggies in grassfed butter.

Sunday Funday
I can't go without mentioning the rad day we had Sunday! After a shitty night's sleep (ya, bummer but it happens), we met with a long-time Endurance Planet fan and all-around great guy/athlete, Joshua, for a long ride and t-run. I recruited some of my peeps -- John, my client Ray and my Ironman-in-training mom -- and we rode Camp Pendleton and some more. It was good to push Joshua and Ray on the bike ride, as they're both doing Oceanside 70.3 in March.
Cruisin the Camp Pendleton ride with my crew, and sportin my rad Team Betty kit! #bettydesigns

Joshua #ftw with his GoPro contraption and mad skills to get these photos, not to mention he's just a great
guy, dedicated athlete, and a loyal Endurance Planet fan. 
We followed that up with a t-run of around 45ish minutes (?). I wasn't too sure about how my run legs would feel, but I managed to hang, and we just cruised and had fun chatting and whatnot.
T-run on sore @#$%ing quads, thankfully these guys  were great company
and they didn't kill me with the pace. #bonkbreakersocks #cooltanlines
During the end of the workout I was thinking about how I'd get back to my phone and search for a nearby place where I could order a nice, big, healthy juice to replenish. Meanwhile, John had other plans.... Beer plans. Unfortunately for me, there was no juice place close by; however, beer was close by, so I caved and went that route to Pizza Port, with Joshua joining us as well. I only had a half-pint, but it was enough to feel it after a semi-long workout. I'm not getting back into beer, I swear, just living life. I'll take the opportunity here and there if it means enjoying good company and a refreshing brew.

To top things off I was able to take a short nap Sunday. Napping has been totally foreign in my world lately because on one hand I haven't felt the need for the most part, and on the other hand I am super busy and don't really have time. So to shut things down and take the time to nap felt ah-mazing.


It feels good to be back in this groove...

#getoutside #sunshine #smiles


  1. Congratulations on the win! Those are really the best weekends, enjoying the sun and being outdoors and a few pints doesnt hurt either :)

  2. From MN where we are covered in snow and sub zero i love seeing these posts! I think your form looks good, watch the Left Arm crossover not that you asked but that is usually lower ab's fatigueing-> controlling the pelvis and hence arm swing. Ignore me if that is annoying to hear:) but thought it might help.

    1. Hey! Great advice!!! I didn't ask but I will always welcome more critiquing. I know I have a pretty strong core, but I also know I wasn't really in "top shape" during this race so it's no surprise things were fatiguing and giving out, and I was thus compensating in other ways.... Really great observation, thanks :)

  3. if you're considering one of the 100 mile Leadville events and don't do so well with altitude, I'd really suggest doing the 100 MTB version. Biking at altitude is hard - especially when you live at sea level - but RUNNING at altitude is brutal...and, the run course is actually harder than the bike course. I lived up there for about 2 weeks prior to the race and it was manageable, went pretty well actually. Also, there are different ways that you can prepare for the altitude from home...options that don't involve a tent. My 2 cents.

  4. Great job on the race! Small crowd, big crowd so what. Bask in the glory of your victory.
    Love your shrimp, kale and romaine dish. I just copied it and will make it for the Mrs. one day this week. Those shrimp look awfully good. They wouldn't be grass fed too would they? Keep up the good work. Kona Dad