Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Run for the Water

A late and super short (for me) race report. I wanted to do one since I actually had a fantastic run.
Linda and I got to the start fairly early and it was cold! I was wearing a ton of clothes, but I'd much rather be too warm than too cold. We found Monica and the 3 of us started together. We chatted and ran along at about a 10:30 pace, fast for me! But I felt good, I ran with them for 2 or 3 miles then decided to let them go because there was no way I could run 10:30 for 10 miles! I felt great and even through the hills continued to feel really good. A girl dressed as a box of popcorn kept playing tag with me. I never really felt overly hot and I wasn't really cold either. I just felt really really good! I got back on to Ceasar Chavez for the last few miles and I knew I was going to finish faster than I had expected. I saw Laura ride by on her mountain bike and she cheered "Go Heather" for me, when she did, the box of popcorn girl said "are you Heather from Tri Zones?" I said "yes" and she said "it's Stacey Green" of course I had no idea who she was all dressed up as a box of popcorn, I could have chatted with her the entire run! But we were close to the finish and I was close to coming in under 1:50, so I didn't chat for long. I was just hoping for under 2 hours (1:50-1:55 was my realistic goal), so when I finished in 1:45:25 I was ecstatic! That's a 10:30 pace, and a faster pace than I've ever run even a 5K!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Kerrville Triathlon Race Report

Kerrville was such a fun race last year and I was only 1 minute from my half iron PR, so I was really hoping for a good day and a PR this year. I went out to Kerrville on Friday to make the most of a fun weekend. I felt great on race morning and Kristen, Ingrid and I executed our pre-race parking strategy perfectly. It wasn't as cold as I was afraid it would be, so I waited until about 30 minutes before my start to put my (borrowed from Coach Jen) wetsuit on. I got it on, went to zip it up and it broke, so the zipper was only attached to one side! I asked 2 random guys beside me for help, they worked on it for a minute, but I quickly realized they couldn't fix it. Then I saw Julie, Kay, Vanessa, Rey & Miguel so I ran over to them to ask for help. Julie had worn the wetsuit for the sprint on Saturday and she knew how to fix it. I took it off and she and Kay went to work. Now it was less than 20 minutes til my start. I knew I didn't need the wetsuit to stay warm, but I knew it would help me swim a little faster, probably 2 or 3 minutes, not a huge deal, but enough that if they could fix it, I wanted it. They kept working frantically while we walked toward the swim start and with about 5 minutes til my start the zipper broke completely out of the wetsuit! By the time I lined up with the rest of the girls in my wave, it was only about 30 seconds til they let us in the water.

SWIM
BRRRR!!! The water felt cold without the wetsuit, but once I started swimming it wasn't bad. I forgot that the river bends so the course isn't exactly straight, I sighted, swam straight, then realized I was off course. Unfortunately, I forgot about the bend in the river until I was about halfway through the swim, so I kept getting a little off course. I did the same thing last year. Other than my slight issue with sighting/navigation I had a good swim, I felt strong, and I didn't feel like the lack of wetsuit was an issue. I remembered enjoying the sunrise last year during the swim, but this year it was cloudy, overcast and drizzly so no seeing the sun rise. I passed quite a few people from the waves ahead of mine (I was in the second to last wave this year). I got to the ramp and the awesome volunteers helped me out, I crossed the timing mat at 46:23  just over 3 minutes slower than last year, that's probably mostly due to lack of wetsuit (of my 8 total half irons this was my first wetsuitless swim), so I wasn't unhappy with it, even though it's one of my slower half iron swim times.

T1
I ran up the big hill into T1 got to my bike and had a really hard time deciding what I wanted out there. I was sorry I didn't wear my arm warmers last year so I planned on wearing them this year, but after the swim I decided I didn't want them. It was still drizzly and I hate wearing sunglasses when they get foggy or wet and I wasn't sure they'd stay in the pocket of my new tri top. So I threw the arm warmers and sunglasses into the bag and headed out of T1. My bike didn't seem to be rolling quite right so I stopped to make sure my brakes weren't rubbing (I have issues with brake rub on my Mavic wheels), nope, both were spinning fine, it must have been the mud in transition. T1 was 3:57 a little faster than last year since I didn't have a wetsuit to strip.

BIKE
I got onto the bike course and felt good, my lower back hurt a little (the hotel bed didn't quite agree with my back) but I figured it would loosen up in a few miles. I hit hwy 27 and felt the tailwind. The wind was forecast to be pretty strong, and I'm generally pretty awful at riding into the wind, so I really wanted to take advantage of the tailwind as much as possible. My average speed was right around 17.0 mph for the first 12 or so miles until I turned and hit the newly chip sealed road and the headwind- YIKES! Chip seal always slows me down and this was really awful super rough nasty chip seal! I'm also pretty terrible at riding into a headwind, so I watched my speed drop. Coach Jen had given me some tips for riding on chip seal, so I tried really hard to "power through it" but I felt like I was working super hard and getting nothing for it. That road was only 2 or 3 miles but it felt like forever! I had a hard time recovering and getting my speed back, my back was still hurting a little and my legs were feeling a little tired already- not good! I couldn't remember if I had used my Mavic wheels with an 11-25 cassette last year or my Eastons with the 11-28 "climbing" cassette. Jeff thought I'd used my Mavics so I went with those, but as soon as I got onto the 1 steep climb on the course I knew I'd used my Eastons last year! It wasn't really an issue, that steep spot just felt significantly harder than it had last year. I made it up the climb fine, and then turned onto chip sealy, headwindy 173- YUCK!! Then it started to rain on me, between the headwind, the chip seal and the rain, I was NOT happy. I also knew I had already lost any chance at a PR and I really didn't want to go out and ride that loop again. I actually thought about stopping and DNFing, I didn't want to DNF the Texas Tri Series, but I knew Stacy or Dan would give me a volunteer job for my tri series credit if I asked. I made it to the corner where everyone was cheering, I saw Becky, Linda C, Emmie, and Lynn, they all cheered like crazy and were super encouraging! It gave me enough of a boost that I went straight out for a second loop instead of turning into the finish and DNFing.
I gave Tom a fakey half smile just after deciding I was really going to go out for a second loop instead of DNFing. Photo by Tom Marek
The tailwind on hwy 27 felt great! But instead of trying to really push and make up for my dismal first loop, I tried to recover and save my energy for the rest of the loop. By the time I got to 173 again, my back and legs were really hurting and I was REALLY ready to get off my bike! Of course the wind had picked up even more- so it was even harder the second time. I was super frustrated and I wanted to cry, at one point I just let out the loudest scream I possibly could- good thing no one was around me! It made me think of a story Ingrid shared with me about Ultraman Canada this year, and I smiled. Eventually I finally made it back to town. I was SO happy to see the dismount line! I went to stand up off my bike and thought my legs might buckle. I was certain I would not be able to run at all, I was considering my options- a DNF or walking 13.1 miles- neither was appealing at all. Bike time was 4:10, my worst half iron bike ever!

T2
I slowly walked into T2, still thinking about whether I wanted to DNF or walk an entire half marathon. I started getting my run stuff together and thought maybe I could find June on the course and walk with her (she power walks) walking with someone would make it feel better. I got up and walked out of T2, and saw Bob H. I didn't even smile at him, but he said something encouraging to me. T2 was 4:07, which is pretty fast considering I wasn't trying to hurry at all.

RUN
I got onto the run course, saw Betsy & David, told them I had the worst bike ever and I was going to retire from half irons. Then I decided to try running a few steps just to see how bad it felt. SHOCKINGLY, it didn't feel that bad, actually it felt kind of GOOD! I decided I would just run as much as I could, I might even be able to finish before 4:00pm. I had told Kristen I would finish around 3 if I had a great day and hopefully before 4 if things didn't go great. I have no idea how my legs and back could hurt so much on the bike and then feel fine on the run- but I'm not complaining! The run was 4 loops, all my teammates and friends were ahead of me, but because of the loops I got to see all of them. I was really starting to have fun and enjoy this race again! I finished the first loop and told the Tri Zones & TWCC spectators near the finish that I still had 3 loops to go, their reply "Don't worry, we'll be here" That was really nice! People said I looked so happy and smiley, I was back to my normal self!
This time the smile was real! Photo by Tom Marek
I remembered the trail part of the run being pretty hilly, but it didn't seem as hilly as I remembered and I was able to run all but the very steepest of the hills. At the beginning of loop 3 I saw Betsy & David again and Betsy asked "are you still going to retire?" I laughed and said "I don't think so, I think I'm over it already". Just like last year, the volunteers on the run course were awesome, super encouraging and nice, even though they had been out there all day and I was toward the back of the pack.

3rd loop and still smiling for real. Photo by Kristen Carey
I felt awesome and 100% enjoyed the run until about halfway through the 3rd loop when my legs started to get a little tired. I walked the uphills on the trail and then ran back toward the finish line to start my final loop. As I started my last loop I realized I had run each loop in 40 minutes or less and if I could run the last one in 43 minutes I would finish the run in 2:40, which was my original goal for the run! I really hadn't thought that was possible after having such a tough ride! Of course I was getting more tired so 43 minutes was a little challenging on the last loop, but I was still having fun, talking with other athletes still on the course, and thanking the volunteers. My original goal was to finish the race by 3:00, before the awards ceremony (I almost always finish during the awards ceremony), I finished around 3:30 during the awards ceremony, so Logan wasn't there to announce, but as I got close to the finish line, I saw that all the TWCCers had run over to high five me as I finished- cool! :) Run time was 2:40:07, 10 seconds slower than my fastest half iron run, I'm ecstatic with that considering I almost DNFed instead of even trying to run!

Overall time was 7:45:09, not my fastest half, but not my slowest either. As disappointed as I was with my bike, I was just as happy with my run- so even though it wasn't the race I wanted, it sort of evened out in the end. Plus I was pretty pleased with the mental effort I put in to keep going when I really didn't want to. Betsy posted on my facebook after the race "Way to keep patient and let your race come back to you!"
Julie must have gotten all the fast antelope this year. Photo by Katherine Mudge

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Sport Legs

What is SportLegs
SportLegs is a supplement that contains vitamin D, calcium, magnesium, and lactate. Based on the ingredients it doesn't seem like SportLegs should do a whole lot. The makers claim "It primes muscles with lactate, your muscles' natural fuel, so they make less lactic acid. It works better than electrolytes, without sodium or painkillers." and "Bicycling magazine's testers conclude, 'SportLegs really works. It pushes back the point where your legs start to 'burn' during hard efforts, allowing you to ride harder, happier.'" The website looks pretty gimmicky with a lot of testimonials and not a whole lot of real information (as a scientist I'm a big fan of double blind studies and from what I can tell, they haven't done any). But then they have all these testimonials. Sure a lot of them are sponsored athletes, but the majority of sponsored athletes are probably getting nothing more than free product. So they obviously think the product works if they want to get it for free. And if you dig a little deeper on the website you can find some supported sciency claims

Obviously magnesium and calcium are important in muscle contraction and relaxation and in ATP production (adenosine triphosphate is the energy that cells use, food eaten is eventually broken down into ATP). But I didn't realize they can be limiting factors in skeletal muscle fatigue and ATP production.

My Experience with SportLegs
I first tried SportLegs back in 2007 when Jeff first started working for Performance, I think we got a free sample bottle. I honestly don't remember if I thought they did anything or not. I do remember looking at the ingredients and thinking they shouldn't do anything. I only used them a couple times and didn't give it any more thought. Then while I was training for Ironman Cozumel 2011, my legs kept feeling tired and sluggish, especially at the beginning of rides. It would sometimes take me 1-2 hours to get warmed up, feel decent and be able to ride at my normal long ride pace (which is only about 14-15 mph so riding at 12mph was really brutal!). Sometime in February after Ironman Cozumel 2011, I found a bottle of SportLegs at home and decided to try them before a ride, I had a great ride! My legs felt great from the start! I assumed it was just a fluke, or placebo effect, but I kept using them and my legs kept feeling great! Even on some really tough rides like Marble Falls and the Easter Hill Country Tour! So I've continued to use SportLegs for most of my rides this season, even most of the short ones and I have only had that tired sluggish legs feeling 2 or 3 times this year. Does that mean SportLegs work? I have no idea, it could be placebo effect, it could be that my legs are getting stronger, or it could be something else. Then I got on the bike at the Austin Tri on Monday and my legs felt awful- that tired sluggish feeling is NOT what you want at a race! I kept trying to figure out why my legs felt like crap and why I just couldn't pedal as fast as I wanted. About halfway through the bike I realized I hadn't taken my SportLegs that morning...hmmm, interesting.

The other thing that I find interesting is that SportLegs claims to stop "the burn" but my issue isn't really lactic acid build up after riding hard for awhile. My issue is icky feeling legs from the minute I start to ride. This from the SportLegs sciency page may in part explain my issue: 
  • "How taking SportLegs first helps performance: SportLegs uses lactate, your body's primary high-exertion muscle fuel, to signal muscles not to overproduce lactate before you even begin exercise. Muscles switch from lactate overproduction to net lactate consumption in response to a rise in blood lactate concentration, regardless of whether blood lactate is raised naturally or from exogenous infusion (7,8,9,10,11,12,13). That's precisely what SportLegs accomplishes. It's 86.4% lactate. Taken an hour before exercise, SportLegs raises blood lactate, so you experience exercise with less limb "pump" and heaviness, and improved lactate transfer facilitates a noticeably higher Lactate Threshold"
What do you think of SportLegs? Have you used them? Do you feel like they work?

The Austin Tri aka TriRock Austin Race Report

The Austin Tri is one of my favorite tris, I love the course (only course I like more is Cozumel), I love the organization (High Five puts on a great race!), I love that it's local so I get to race with friends, I love the loops on the bike & run so I get to see tons of spectators! I just love everything about this race! 2012 would be my 5th Austin Tri- it was bought by the TriRock series, so it's new official name is TriRock Austin, but it's still the same race. I was feeling pretty good about my tri season so far this year, so I set a goal of PRing at Austin even though I knew my 2010 PR would be really hard to beat. Looking at the weather forecast, I thought it would be a great day for a PR (my 2010 PR was an odd cloudy, cool Labor Day) Sunny, 9 mph south wind, and high of 101 ("but it should 'only' be 88 when I finish"). In retrospect, I was a bit delusional.

Ed, Linda, Cindy, Eva, Kim H. Kim B., me, Katie, Jill, & Laura. Photo by Kristen Carey
Pre-race & Swim
Pre-race was pretty typical, up at 4:00am, meeting lots of friends in transition, hanging out at the team tent before heading down to the water for the start. The swim course was a little different this year, they've had a huge growth of fanwort in Town Lake, in some areas (most of the original course) it's way too thick to swim through, so this year we swam mostly east instead of west. I didn't think anything of it and assumed it wouldn't make any difference for me. I know a lot of people don't like swimming in Town Lake, but I have always enjoyed it. I don't think it's any "dirtier" than Lake P-ville, Lake Travis or anywhere else we swim, and it's certainly cleaner than the Ski Ranch water! No wetsuits this year, I got in the water with the other purple caps, and swam over to the start line, and heard "5...4..."seriously? already? ok, good thing I swam straight out to a good start spot! "GO" Not too much contact at the start and I felt pretty good. I noticed quite a bit of fanwort on that first stretch heading west, but we turned quickly and there wasn't much plant life after that. Crossed under the First Street bridge and headed toward the Congress Bridge- cool I'd never swum under First Street before! As I got close to Congress I started to smell the bat guano, I had not thought of that before the swim! We always smell it running under the Congress Bridge (where the famous Austin Bats live) but now I was actually swimming through bat poo! Ok, maybe this east bound course isn't so great after all. It also seemed like the water got choppy in that area, it was a little windy and they had boats out for safety so that's not really surprising, but I would turn to breathe and get a mouth full of water instead- yuck! I checked my watch at the turn but I knew it wasn't the halfway point and it didn't really tell me if I was on course for goal time or not. As I got out of the water I saw 36:xx on my watch! WTH how in the world did that swim take me 36 minutes?!? Goal time was 33 minutes. Yikes! Official swim time was 36:28  my slowest swim time at the Austin Tri ever! This was shocking to me because I felt good during the swim and I feel like my swim training has been going well.
Out of the swim. Photo by Miguel Ortiz
T1
As I was running up to my bike I could feel the KT tape on my ankle coming off- not cool, I had practiced swimming in it and it stayed on fine. (I've had a slight Achilles "thing" for a while, it's really more of an annoyance than an injury, but I'd like to keep it that way, and the tape seems to help). I got to my bike and decided that I had to at least take off the bottom piece of tape that was coming off anyway, so I sat down on my towel to do it right, put my socks and shoes on while I was sitting, I actually put one sock on upside down first (heel of the sock on top of my foot) I've never done that before! Then I got the rest of my stuff together and got out of there. 6:00 for T1- my longest T1 ever at the Austin Tri- not looking good for a PR so far! But I knew if I had a good bike & run I could still make up for it.

Bike
Starting the bike. Photo by Kristen Carey
I was happy to be on the bike course and I knew I'd have to work hard to beat my fastest time of 1:31. I turned onto Congress for the first time and started up the hill, my legs felt kind of tired and sluggish- not at all what I was hoping for. I struggled to the top of Congress, turned around, enjoyed the downhill and hoped my legs would warm up and feel better soon. The rest of the loop is mostly flat and my legs didn't feel too bad even though I was pushing really hard to bring up my speed after a slow start up the hill. I hoped they'd feel great for loop 2. But as I started up the hill the second time, if anything my legs felt worse and that headwind had really picked up! I was getting a little frustrated that I didn't seem able to do what I had wanted and I tried to think of why my legs might feel sluggish. During loop 2 I realized I hadn't taken my Sport Legs this morning. I started using them early this year and they seem to work for me, so maybe that's why my legs felt sluggish (the Sport Legs issue might deserve it's own post). I pushed super hard during loop 2, but was still behind where I wanted to be. Up the Congress hill the 3rd time, I just tried to survive, it seemed crazy windy and it was crowded since most of the sprint racers were on the course by then too. I checked the wind speeds later in the day and toward the end of my bike there were gusts of 22 mph, so it really was crazy windy! Even though I had a tougher bike than normal, I still loved it! I loved flying back down that tough Congress hill with a tailwind (5 years ago I was braking and scared to death going down that hill). I loved riding through down town Austin toward the Capital, I loved hearing my name tons of times on the course, sometimes I knew who was cheering for me, sometimes I had no idea! I loved seeing so many teammates and friends on the course and cheering for each other. Even on a tough day, that's one of the best bike courses around! Bike time was 1:36:38, exactly to the second the same as my 2011 time (when it was ridiculously crazy windy the entire day).
Finishing the bike looking happy. Photo by Kristen Carey
T2
 T2 was 3:27, nothing too interesting there, except that giant step up to get onto the course, I'm pretty sure they had a little step in between last year.

Run
I started running and my legs still felt tired & sluggish. I hoped maybe it was just a brick feeling and they'd feel better soon. It already felt warmer than I expected, and I knew all hope of PRing was gone, so I just wanted to have a decent run. Mile 1 was actually pretty quick considering my legs didn't feel great. By mile 2 I was already getting hot and I ate my emergency sport beans. I was also feeling really thirsty, which is rare for me.  Up the little First Street hill and back down, I was already halfway done! I LOVED seeing and hearing all the spectators on the course- so much fun even on a hot, tough day!
When I saw Kristen I had just eaten my sport beans and needed to walk a few seconds to let them settle, so I pretended to run for her :) Photo by Kristen Carey
and then I laughed at how funny I was :) Photo by Kristen Carey
I had never even heard of Vitalyte the course drink and I knew I couldn't put something new into my sensitive stomach during a hot race so I had planned on just water and my sport beans if I needed them. But by the first aid station on lap 2, that Vitalyte looked tempting, instead I took 3 cups of water, drank them all and walked for a minute to let it settle. Kim H. and I kept passing each other the entire run, at least 5 times I think! It was fun to see her and it was a great motivator to pass her again, or not let her pass me again! I was still really thirsty and getting hotter. I thought it would "only" be 88 when I finished, but it "hotted up" faster than forecast and it was over 90 on my second lap. I even felt like my quads and calves might cramp which has never happened to me before! I saw the girls handing out ice and this time I stopped and grabbed two big handfuls- ice is the BEST on a hot run! Thank you to those girls- whoever you are! At the next aid station I did take a cup of the Vitalyte and it was super cold and tasted pretty good. I walked for a minute to let it settle and it seemed ok. But I still felt super hot and thirsty, I wished I had worn my fuel belt (which no one does for an Olympic distance). I tried to really enjoy the shady points, and at the last aid station I took more Vitalyte and water and walked again to let it settle. That's when Jason O. saw me and cheered like crazy "RUN Heather RUN!!!" I told him, probably not as nicely as I thought, that I drank that Vitalyte stuff and I had to let it settle...and he said back "I'm sorry, I'm just trying to encourage you"...wonder what I actually said to him, sorry if I was mean Jason! Saw Kristen again and this time I was actually running- Yay! Then up First Street one last time and all downhill to the finish! Run time was 1:15:08, about 7 minutes slower than I was hoping for.
Actually running the second time I saw Kristen. Photo by Kristen Carey
If I'm not having a fast race, I might as well have fun! Photo by Kristen Carey
Overall time was 3:37:43 my second slowest Austin Tri ever. I really can't figure out why... I've been training really well, I've PRed other races this year, I know I raced as hard as I could because I was absolutely exhausted after I got home. At least it's a really awesome race, so I enjoyed it and had a good time even though I wasn't as fast as I'd hoped. Nicki and I were talking about it and she said "sometimes it's just not your day" All I can say is, I really hope it IS my day at Kerrville!
I look pretty happy for it "not being my day" Photo by Kristen Carey

Monday, August 6, 2012

Jack's Generic Tri 2012


 I hadn't really planned on doing Jack's this year, but then I found out it fell on my birthday and that this would be the last High Five race at the Texas Ski Ranch, the ski ranch isn't my favorite triathlon location, but since this would be the last race there and on my birthday, I decided I wanted to do it. When does someone get the chance to do a triathlon on their actual birthday? and when they're turning 35- going into a new age group, I thought it might never happen again, so I definitely wanted to do it!
Sunrise at the ski ranch
I've done Jack's twice before, in 2010 and 2009. When I raced in 2009, it was actually a cool day in August, I don't think it got above 80 all day! I had a really good race that day and didn't think I'd ever beat that time. So my goals for this year were to beat my 2010 fastest bike pace, and I knew if I beat it by enough and had a good run maybe, just maybe I could get a PR for my birthday, but I wasn't going to be upset if I was way off a PR, it was forecast to be 100 degrees on race day. Then Jeff and I went hiking at Colorado Bend State Park the day before the race, we hiked about 9 miles and I fell down a river bank. About 6 miles through the hike I told Jeff, "I have revised my goals for Jack's, now I just want to have fun racing on my birthday."
Jeff and I pre-race. I'm wearing the birthday tiara, on top of my new Newton Running visor, it's just hard to see
Jeff and I pulled in to the ski ranch at 5:38am, I know this because we were a few minutes early and I wasn't sure they'd have the gate open and be ready for parking yet, but the main lot was almost full already and we got one of the last super sweet spots in the main lot right by transition. I went to set up transition while Jeff napped in the car. Katie body marked me and wished me Happy Birthday and "welcome to my age group" I've technically been in the 35-39 age group all year (USAT rules go by your age on Dec 31), but this was the first race where I really raced in my new age group (I raced in my new age group at Marble Falls, but all women under 40 started together and since it was an out of town race, the only person I knew in my new age group was Kelly Green). I walked into the transition area and was immediately greeted by Happy Birthday wishes and hugs from lots of Tri Zoners and other friends  and lots of "you're wearing the birthday tiara!!" Mohamed even gave me a Newton Running visor for my birthday! Thanks Mohamed!! I hung out with Tri Zones and TWCC before the race and got lots more Happy Birthday wishes.

My wave was set to start at 8:24, Jeff gave me a good luck kiss and Carolyn volunteering at swim start wished me Happy Birthday as I got in the water. I looked around for Amy B. I had seen her that morning (when she and Matt gave me birthday hugs) and I knew she was in my new age group, but I didn't see her. Then all of a sudden she was right beside me and said "hi Heather, I didn't know you were in my age group" and I replied "I'm in your age group NOW" to which she replied "oh yeah, it's your fucking birthday! Happy Fucking Birthday!!" Which made everyone around us laugh and a few strangers wished me Happy Birthday, then Jen Ritchie said Hi and Happy Birthday, I didn't realize she was in my new age group! Then just before the start (Logan was counting down as she was singing) Amy sang me her favorite birthday song "This is Your Birthday Song, It isn't Very Long"...GO!!!

The Ski Ranch water is pretty disgusting, a combination of goat poo (goats live on the island in the middle of the pond), oil, and silty mud. They have to do water quality tests, so technically it's safe, but it doesn't always look, smell or feel good.
goats on the island
I started swimming and immediately got gross ski ranch goat water in my mouth- yuck!! My legs felt tired when I tried to kick faster, I knew it was not good if my legs already felt tired! I swam a little too far to the outside by accident and when I got to the first turn buoy I was way outside of it. But otherwise I had a good (but gross) swim. As I got near the shore I could see and feel all the disgusting muck that gets stirred up and sticks to your face- Yuck! I was glad this would be my last swim in this water! I made sure to exit to the right side so the volunteers would grab my right arm to help me out and not my left scrapped up still sore arm. And someone handed me a wet wipe as I ran up to transition- thank you whoever you are! Swim time was 11:30, my fastest Jack's swim time is 11:16.

T1 was 2:59, 10 seconds faster than my previous fastest T1 at Jack's.

I got on the bike and my legs didn't feel too bad up the first hill, Red flew by me and wished me Happy Birthday again. Then Eva flew by and wished me Happy Birthday too. It became a theme (I'm a decent swimmer but a pretty slow cyclist so I get passed a lot on the bike) everyone I knew who passed me wished me Happy Birthday, then people around me who didn't even know me said Happy Birthday too- Fun! Plus I had Amy's stupid "This is Your Birthday Song, It isn't Very Long" stuck in my head! The first half of the ride went really well, I was averaging over 16mph (awesome for me), and the roads weren't as bad as I remembered. Then I turned onto the chip sealed road from Hell- Yuck! My scraped up arm actually felt ok in the swim, but on the rough chip seal it vibrated and really hurt, I couldn't wait to get off that road. The nasty road was longer than I remembered and I thought "I will not miss this bike course!" really it's just that one road, the rest of the bike course isn't bad but I got sick of that nasty chip seal fast this year. I was really feeling every little hill after hiking so much on Saturday too. But soon I got to turn back onto the frontage road and fly down the big hill, in the past I have been nervous on that hill, but this year I loved it! Bike time was 54:25 (15.2 mph) best previous bike at Jack's was 55:24 (14.9mph) so a course PR on the bike!

T2 was 1:36, 11 seconds faster than my previous fastest T2 at Jack's, even with an extra second or 2 to put my birthday tiara on my running hat!

I don't know how I ran a 10:12 pace at Jack's in 2009, but I knew I couldn't beat that, especially since it was already getting hot. I hoped to keep my pace under 11min/mile but I knew even that might be tough since my legs were tired from the start. I love the run at Jack's and I will miss that part of the ski ranch course. It's just an out and back, but it's mostly uphill out and mostly downhill back, my strategy is always to push harder than I think I should on the way out and then take advantage of the downhill on the way back. I also love that I get to see all my faster friends on my way out and my slower friends on the way back. It was especially fun this time, since I was wearing my birthday tiara and everyone wished me Happy Birthday! There were more people around me on the run than there had been on the bike, so it felt like everyone racing wished me a Happy Birthday! Fun!! My Garmin said my first mile was a 10:20 pace- wow that was way faster than I thought I could do! Mile 2 was about the same and I tried to pick up the pace as I ran around the lake to the finish line. Run time was 30:58, 10:19 min/mile.
Almost to the finish! Photo by Miguel Ortiz
 I didn't know my overall time when I finished, I knew I was close to an overall PR, so I kept checking the results pages, it took them a long time to post mine! When they did post them, I was looking at the page from 1:43-1:47 finishing times (my previous Jack's times were 1:45:39 & 1:45:51) so I thought mine still wasn't up, I checked the page above and there I was at 1:41:29!! wow a PR over the time I thought I'd never beat by 4:10! I didn't find this out until later, but I was also in the top half of my age group which has never happened for me before at any race! So far I'm loving being 35!!
Very Happy post race! photo by Miguel Ortiz
After the race, we went to the Gristmill for lunch with Vanessa, Miguel, Sandra, Jenny & JoAnne. We had a great time and they even got me a birthday dessert- strawberry shortcake, my favorite!
Vanessa, Miguel, Sandra, JoAnne, Jeff, me, and Jenny at the Gristmill- Yum!
me with my birthday strawberry shortcake, and still wearing the birthday tiara :)
 I had an absolutely Awesome time doing a triathlon on my birthday!! Thanks so much to everyone who was there and made it extra special!!

Colorado Bend State Park

We had originally wanted to go to CBSP for a camping weekend, but it was a little too hot for Jeff to enjoy camping and I decided I wanted to do Jack's Generic Tri on my birthday, so we decided on a birthday weekend day trip to CBSP. It's a little too long of a drive for a day trip, so we got out there about 9:30am. We decided to hike from the park office to Gorman Falls instead of driving back most of the way and only hiking a little way. Hiking sounded fun, driving sounded boring, we're not into boring.
My birthday tiara at Colorado Bend State Park
Jeff at the Colorado River. Water was pretty low, where we're standing would normally be underwater
I knew it would be about 4 miles to the falls and 4 miles back, so we each took a full camelbak and a full bottle of frozen water, and Jeff threw a few snacks in his camelbak for us to share. We started off down the trail past the primitive camping, soon the trail got narrow and then it started getting hard to see. We had heard CBSP is "rugged" so we didn't think anything of it. We knew we needed to follow the river until we came to Gorman Falls Trail, so we couldn't get lost. At times we couldn't find the trail at all, I'd go one way, Jeff would go another and whoever found a better "trail" was the way we'd go. But we were having fun, checking out the wildlife and we didn't see any other people.
Cicada we found along the way, I think they're pretty cute for insects
we saw tons of different types of dragonflies too, but this is the only one I got a picture of.
 We climbed over a couple of fallen trees, and then the pretty inland sea oats grass got really thick, to the point I couldn't see where I was stepping! I told Jeff, "I hope there isn't a snake because I'd step on it without even knowing!" We were right along the edge of the steep river bank and suddenly I stepped onto...Nothing! I slid head first down the steep river bank then did a full somersault- Yikes! All I thought was "I hope I stop" because I knew it was a long way to the river, luckily I stopped about halfway down the bank, I sat up and realized I really wasn't hurt! I had slid through a bunch of thorny smilax weeds and my arm was scraped from them and I had a few small scrapes on my face. Wow that was lucky! I poured a little water on the bleeding scrapes and hoped I'd be able to wash the dirt and grass out of them at the "conference center". We continued on, and came to a big gorge, I went one way, Jeff went another way to find the best path, and I found a real maintained trail! We followed that and realized that what we had been on wasn't the park trail at all, we had been following deer trails for an hour or two!
my wounds from falling down the river bank, luckily they weren't too bad
Once we found the real trail we made it pretty quickly to the Gorman Falls Trail and the "conference center" which is an old house that stays locked unless you make reservations to use it. But Jeff did find a spigot so I could rinse off my cuts. I was really happy to rinse them off, the sweat getting into the cuts stung like crazy and I knew the dirt all over them couldn't be good. The conference center is up away from the Colorado River, but there is a large creek running right by the house, it looked like it came from nowhere! And there was A LOT of water in it, which is amazing in August! We hiked up to the falls and immediately decided the entire trip was worth it!
video

Gorman Falls was awesome!
We came back from the falls to the conference center and I was curious about the spring that fed the creek, so Jeff waited at a picnic table while I walked the Gorman Spring Trail, the trail follows the creek until the banks turn to sheer cliff walls, there really wasn't any way to follow the creek further, so I went back. It might be fun to wade the creek all the way to the spring sometime, but we weren't really prepared for that this time.

The 4 mile walk back was less eventful since we stayed on the actual trail! But it was really hot by then. Along some cliffs, I stopped to take a picture of a butterfly (which flew off before I got a picture) and Jeff found a cave, we decided to explore the cave a little, it was really big and it felt air conditioned inside! We probably went about 20 feet or so into the cave. Jeff shined his flashlight up on the ceiling and we saw big nests of daddy longlegs! I thought they were kind of cool and a little creepy, Jeff just thought they were creepy, but he did shine his light on one so I could get a picture.
nest of daddy long legs in the cave

We left the cave feeling a little cooler, but I figured we still had about 2 miles to get back to the car, and we didn't have too much water left. We had started with a 70 oz camelbak, a 100 oz camelbak and 2 20oz bottles of water, it all stayed icy cold for us the entire time. Jeff finished all his water and we were sharing the last of my camelbak, just after I took the last gulp of water we turned a bend and I could see the car in the distance! Perfect timing!

We ended up hiking about 9 miles, we had a great time, and saw lots of cool stuff. We definitely want to go back, but we'll probably camp next time because it really is a little too far for a day trip.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Marble Falls Triathlon

I had never done the Marble Falls Tri before, people always said it was "very hilly" and I just checked it off the list of possibilities. But after riding in and around Marble Falls for the RAAM ride with Annette and Betsy, I thought maybe the MF Tri might actually be fun!

I raced the Couples Tri last weekend and raced Splash & Dash on Tuesday, both are short, but I raced pretty hard at both. I felt great after Couples and S&D, but then on Thursday morning my quads felt super sore! Coach Jen thought it was residual soreness from racing hard, so she suggested I run a little easier at our Thursday night run, and stretch and roll my hamstrings & quads. By Saturday I actually felt fine again! I did my 1:30 ride and 1 mile run with no issues.

Since I had never done this race before and it's an odd distance, I didn't really have any goal times in mind but I figured I should be able to swim about the same pace as I did at Couples, I just wanted to survive the hilly bike- although I kinda thought I might be able to average 15.0 mph, but I knew that might be pushing it on a hilly course I had never ridden before, and I hoped to run under an 11 min/mile pace- but I knew my legs might be fried after the hilly bike and racing twice the week before. My true main goal was to have fun racing with friends and enjoy the day.

I got up at 3:50 on race morning and drove out to Marble Falls, at 3:50 the people who chose to go up on Saturday and spend the night were looking pretty smart! I got a good transition spot, set stuff up (and Kim B. ended up right beside me) and went to say hi to everyone, between Tri Zones and TWCC I had LOTS of friends racing & spectating! At 6:30 I drank my Pre-Race and Linda and Laura joked about the crazy effects it was going to have on me! A few minutes later I found Justin and we went to do a warm up swim, he called the water "bathwater" but I thought it felt good, only problem was, I was freezing when I got out.
Interesting, I look deep in thought, but I could have sworn Kelly and I never stopped talking, but she's behind me and we both aren't talking. Photo by Bart Kleiman.
I went over to the start and found Kelly G. and Kelli H. I talked with them until it was time to get in the water. I probably shouldn't have talked to them so much because I forgot to zero out and restart my stopwatch for the swim. As race director Mario counted down, I pushed a few buttons, but apparently not the right one (this problem could be solved if I actually learned how to use the watch properly!) so I had no idea what my swim time was, and I like to look at my watch during the swim to see how I'm doing. Starting the swim I did not get touched by a single person! We had a big start area and a small wave- nice! It seemed like a LONG way to the first buoy, but then the second one seemed much closer. I did end up getting run into a couple times and I had a tough time getting around a couple breast-stroking guys from the wave before mine, but otherwise my swim went well. As I got close to the boat ramp, I knew it was super slippery so I swam as far up as possible then let the volunteers grab my arm to help me step onto the carpet and avoid the algaefied slippery cement. Swim time was 23:07  for a pace of 2:18 per 100m, just a tiny bit faster than my pace at Couples the weekend before.

I ran up the little hill to T1 and got my stuff together. I felt like I took a long time, but T1 was 2:45- not bad for me.
Starting the bike and waving to Tom. Photo by Tom Marek
I started the bike knowing the first 5 miles or so were pretty much all uphill. I had been really concerned about using Pre-Race for this race because I thought it might make me really upset about being so slow up the hills. But instead I kept thinking to myself "it's ok that your average speed is 10.x right now" and "don't worry about people passing, you need to ride your own race" I guess my Pre-Race focus ended up being on NOT getting too worried about my speed (or lack thereof) on the hills. I turned onto 71 and got some good downhills, but there were still some pretty big uphills too.
I started to think that Cindy and Kim H should pass me soon and just a few minutes later I heard my name and Cindy came by me, then I heard Vickie yelling "YEEEHA"- oh yeah, I forgot that I'd get to see Vickie too, and then Kim H. rode by. At the turn around my average speed had come up to 14.0, hmm I might actually be able to do 15 if I really take advantage of the downhills on 281. My legs were starting to get a little tired on some of the long uphills on 71. I saw Kristen, Katherine & Jody on their way out and cheered for them. Even though it was a challenging ride, I was definitely having FUN! Then I noticed Allison O. was right in front of me! She's a ton faster than me, so how did that happen!?! I was right behind her on a hill, I yelled something at her, she didn't hear me, so I raced up the hill to talk to her, then passed her. Of course she passed me back about 10 seconds later on the downhill. And she yelled to me "keep pedaling, don't stop pedaling on the down!" Yeah Allison, if I hadn't overcooked it passing you on the up, I could have kept pedaling on the down, but I needed a break! Oh well.
I finally made it back to 281 and I was determined to take the downhills as fast as I could and try hard to make it up to 15mph average. It started off great, but I was a little sad when not just 1 but 2 guys over 70 years old passed me! One of them was next to me in transition and when I saw him before the start I told Kim B. he was going to kick my ass! There was quite a bit of traffic coming back on 281, we had a big shoulder so it wasn't bad, and I felt like I was flying downhill! As I rode up to the 2147 intersection, I realized my shoulder was blocked by cement construction barriers and there was a ton of traffic stopped at the light, I slowed down and realized there was definitely not enough space for me to squeeze by the cars on the right (between cars and construction barrier), and there were cars in both lanes, so I stopped behind 6 or 7 cars at the light. I was NOT happy about it because my Pre-Race focus had kinda turned to "bring my average speed to 15 mph" and I was getting really close! And of course this light was on a good downhill, it felt like I stood there forever (probably only about 1 minute), there were a couple cyclists stopped a few cars ahead of me, and as I was standing there I saw a guy fly by in the left turn lane, hmmm that looked pretty dangerous, but at least he was moving! Then the police started waving cars through, as I got to them them I yelled "where am I supposed to be???" They pointed and yelled back "LEFT, LEFT" turns out the bikes were SUPPOSED to use the left turn lane (and stay in that lane all the way til our turn off 281). A sign or volunteer telling us would have been really helpful, turns out most people had the same issue as me. I got over that issue pretty quickly and was happy as I rode to transition and saw Tom, Bart, Linda, Laura, Gina, and Justin who had done the sprint standing there eating BBQ! I finished the bike in 1:33:25 for a pace of 14.8mph, but honestly 15mph was a very arbitrary goal, and I wasn't upset even being so close (and even on Pre-Race!). My main goal of surviving and even enjoying the bike course was definitely a win!

T2 was 2:02  and as I left I ran by the crew again and told Justin "it's not fair that you're finished already!"
Starting the run. Photo by Bart Kleiman
I started the run feeling good, my legs didn't seem to be bothered by the hilly ride or by racing twice in the last week. I saw Allison O. in front of me again and I thought about sprinting to catch her, but I learned my lesson on the bike and decided I needed to run my own race. But I did get to pass both of the over 70 guys who passed me on the bike, I told one of them "wow, I hope I can be as fast as you when I'm 71!" My first mile was 10:04- probably a little too fast for a 4.4 mile run, so I slowed down a little and walked while getting water from the first aid station. I caught Allison and asked how she was doing, and she said she was hurting and having a tough day. I think we all have fun passing friends, especially those we think are a little faster, but knowing they're having a bad race just takes all the fun out of it. I offered her my emergency sport beans, but she didn't want them. I ran on and soon I saw Kim H. she seemed to be having a better day, so it was a little more fun to pass her, especially after she flew by me like I was standing still on the bike. I turned back onto the main road and saw Kelly K. going the opposite direction, then Kristen (who gave me a puke face when I asked if she was having a good race :(, then I saw Katherine who had the biggest smile on her face and replied "I'm having a GREAT race!" when I asked how she was doing- yeah! I also saw Carolyn & Annette on their way out. I really enjoyed the run, it was fun to see so many friends on the course and the volunteers were all really nice and super encouraging! Heading back into the park I passed Tri Zones corner then saw Lynn & Ed, and then up the STEEP hill to the finish with the TWCCers cheering and Tom taking pictures! Run time was 47:39 for a 10:49 pace- a little faster than my pace at Couples!
On the run, just before the steep hill at the finish. Photo by Ed Sparks
Finish line! Notice TWCCers cheering. Photo by Tom Marek
Finish! Photo by Tom Marek

 My overall time was 2:48:56, since this was my first ever Marble Falls Tri (and it's a unique distance) I didn't have an overall time goal, but I'll have one for next year now. My main goal of having fun racing with friends and enjoying the day was a huge success!

I hung out post-race and cheered in the other Tri Zoners and TWCCers, and watched quite a few from both teams get medals for placing in their age groups. Then I went to the famous BlueBonnet Cafe with the TWCCers for lunch and pie, and there might have been wine too (notice the turquoise solo cups!)
Bart, Annette, Katherine, Laura, Linda, me, Anne, Jody, Cindy, Kelly and Kristen at Bluebonnet Cafe post race. Photo by our very nice and patient waitress Stacey.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Couples Tri 2012

Cool finisher medals! Photo by Ed Sparks sparksphoto.smugmug.com
Couples is one of my favorite races. It's a Jack & Adam's/High Five event so it's really well organized and has a super fun atmosphere. The course at Decker Lake is fairly tough, but I kinda like it anyway. I had a pretty tough race at Couples last year since I raced with bronchitis and a sinus infection. I hoped to redeem myself this year. I hadn't raced a tri since February, so I was really excited!

Connie and I Coupled again this year with the same name "Heather & Connie's Excellent Adventure" and we did packet pickup and lunch together again too. We had a great time (maybe better than last year since we actually knew each other this year!).

I went to bed but got woken up by thunderstorms, I knew that might make the bike course wet and slower and it would make the run muddy, I knew my chances of PRing the course might not be very good on a wet course, but I knew I'd still have a fun race so I wasn't too concerned. I woke up 10 minutes before my alarm and got up to check the weather forecast, it said 70% chance of thunderstorms at 7am- oh no! I knew if it was stormy they wouldn't let us swim. I just hoped the forecast was wrong.

I got to Decker early enough to get a sweet parking spot and as soon as I got out of the car, I heard Logan announce "there is no chance of rain until 11am today" hmmm, I hoped he was right! I got my transition area set up with the other Tri Zoners racing in the "female friends" category, then headed to the tent to hang out. I planned to use Pre-Race for this race, I knew it could be really good or really bad. At 7:40 I drank my bottle of Pre-Race. A few minutes later Eva asked what Pre-Race was (I'm sure she was immediately sorry!) I could already feel it coursing through my veins as I jumped up from my chair and animatedly told her some of my crazy Pre-Race stories! **If my experience with Pre-Race today makes you want to try it, PLEASE see the disclaimer at the bottom of this post**

I got down to the swim start too late to do a warm up swim and I really wanted one. I couldn't stand still, I really wanted to get in the water! Finally it was our turn and I got in the water next to Nicki and Kim. The Female Friends wave is usually not very friendly at the swim start and this year was no exception, I swam the first few strokes Tarzan style to try to find some open water, I got kicked, hit and grabbed but nothing hard enough to really hurt. After a minute or 2 I found some space and could really swim, I knew I had to take it a little easy the first couple minutes since I didn't get a warm up swim. But soon I was warmed up and feeling good, around turn buoy 1 and onto the straight section, I took this a little wide to get around a few slower people, maybe I should have just swum over them, oh well. Turn buoy 2 and the home stretch felt the fastest! I crossed the timing mat at 19:03, compared to 18:10 in 2010 (my previous Couples PR, I'm not going to compare to 2011's dismal times), a little slower, but I had a good warm up swim and a great start in 2010.
coming out of the water. Photo by Miguel Ortiz
I hurried through T1 in 3:22 compared to 3:50 in 2010. I could feel the Pre-Race as I fumbled with my bike glove, then took a deep breath and chilled a little. This is actually my fastest T1 ever at Decker.

I rolled my bike to the mount line and waited a few seconds for the people in front  of me to go, so I wouldn't run into them. I hate the mount line, it's always crowded and unpredictable, I'm always afraid of accidents at the mount line. But I got going with no issues and sped down the first little hill. On Decker Lane I passed by Kim H. with a flat, Oh NO!! I've been working hard on my biking this year, so I really hoped to have a good ride. I hoped my Pre-Race focus would be on a fast bike. Turns out my Pre-Race focus was on optimal gearing. (I thought about gearing when I rode Decker with Sandra a couple weeks ago, so I assume that's where that focus came from) I tend to be a lazy shifter and am generally happy to coast down hills. But today, I HAD to have perfect resistance at all times! When I turned onto Lindell my average speed was 17.4 mph- unheard of for me! I got up Little Tard with no drama and as I flew down Blue Bluff, Sandra flew by me- wow she's fast on that new tri bike! I was having a great ride and so much fun! And I don't think I've ever pedaled so much on downhills! As I was working my way up Big Tard feeling super happy with my ride, I felt/saw someone passing me really close, I heard her say my name so I knew it was someone I knew and I didn't need to worry. Just as I looked over to see who it was, Laura reached over and pinched my ass!! haha!! Later she told me that she could hear me laughing as she came up behind me, I don't remember LAUGHING while riding up Big Tard, but I was happy enough that I believe it! Thank you Pre-Race!! I finished the ride in 42:37 compared to 48:02 in 2010, and at a pace of 15.8 mph, my third fastest pace in any tri ever (and at DECKER!)

I rushed through T2 as well in 1:44 compared to 1;51 in 2010. This is also my fastest T2 ever at Decker.

I think I'm trying to wave at Ed here. Photo by Ed Sparks sparksphoto.smugmug.com
I started the run right by Laura, we chatted a little, I told her I had an awesome bike, I assumed she'd get ahead of me since she's a fast runner, but I was keeping up right behind her! I stayed with her almost to the top of powerline hill, then I had to walk for a minute and let her go. I also saw David spectating (while I was walking- sigh), at the top of powerline hill, I ran down the hill and into the woods still feeling good. Mile 1 was 10:44, maybe a little too fast for me on the wood chippy trail at Decker. Mile 2 was slightly slower even with quite a bit of downhill, my legs were starting to feel a little tired. Pre-Race makes me hungry (faster metabolism?) so I probably should have drunk more Infinit on the bike, I only drank about half my bottle. Mile 3 includes that huge hill, I walked most of it- I'm not sure I've ever run the entire thing, but today I walked quite a bit of it, even when I saw Lynn cheering at the top and heard her encouraging me to run! But I got to the top and was able to pick it up and run well on the flat into the finish. Run time was 34:42 compared to 37:20 in 2010. Under 11 minute miles at Decker! I'm blaming that on Newton running shoes instead of Pre-Race!
Finish Line!! Photo by Ed Sparks sparksphoto.smugmug.com
Overall time was 1:41:31 compared to 1:49:14 in 2010, a PR by 7:43!!

After finishing I went back to the big hill and hung out with Lynn, then ran in with Connie so we could finish as a team, hopefully Liz got a good picture :)
Even if Liz (official race photographer) didn't get a good picture, at least Ed did! Thanks Ed! Photo by Ed Sparks sparksphoto.smugmug.com
For all my concern about the weather, it was actually a beautiful day for a race! The bike course was dry and the run course wasn't really muddy at all!

As always, post-race at Couples was a lot of fun! I think my favorite moment was when I heard my name, I turned and saw some brunette I didn't know, but then I did a double take- it was Kim H. in a brunette wig! and Eva had a blonde one! Legally Blonde & Brunette wore backwards wigs post-race!

Thanks for being such a great Couples partner again Connie!!

**Pre-Race Disclaimer- Pre-Race is a supplement by First Endurance, it is completely legal but it is very powerful. It contains caffeine-which really affects me- and other interesting stuff that does things like "increase mental focus" which sounds great, and it is when you can focus on the right thing. I have had some great experiences with Pre-Race, and some really miserable experiences with it! For me, I don't necessarily get to choose what I will focus on, but Pre-Race definitely makes me focus on something! When it's the right thing- it's great, but when it's the wrong thing it's pretty awful! If you choose to try it, please try it in training a few times before racing on it and please start with just half a scoop! The scoop is tiny, but a little goes a LONG way!! Obviously it affects different people differently, and it REALLY affects me, just ask those who hung around me today!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Rogue Trail 10K

Kim talked me into running the trail race at Reveille Peak Ranch, she sold it as a Swim, Bike, Run, CAMP weekend like we did in Sommerville a few years ago. Unfortunately, she ended up with bronchitis and didn't get to come, Ingrid ended up riding in Gatesville, and Del couldn't bring a bike since he had to go straight to the airport on Sunday after the race. So it was mostly a camp, hang out at RPR, and trail run weekend.

Jeff and I scouted some potential bike routes on the way out, not a lot of luck, the "best" looking road was mostly gravel and had gates across it!
gate that I opened (and closed) so we could drive on the county road
We went through a couple gates but eventually just turned around and went back to the main road. We got out to RPR and chose a campsite, then hiked around part of the run course and Jeff mountain biked while Del and I SUPed and played in the water. We watched the sun set and the stars come out from the roof of the pavilion after Ingrid got there.
Del and I SUPing
Jeff at a creek crossing
Sunset
Waiting for the start
 I had never done a trail race before and very little trail running. So my only goal was to not get hurt! When people started lining up for the 10K start, I went way to the back, unfortunately that meant I had to walk some of the single track at the beginning. The course was beautiful but pretty brutal too.

Mostly uphill and lots of rough rock to try and run on. About a mile in, I ended up in front of 3 or 4 other runners and we stayed together most of the run. It was actually tough to stay on the course and I had to stop and look for course markers a few times. I also had to stop to look at the view a few times. By biggest concern about the race (aside from getting hurt) was that I'd spend tons of time trying to get out of the way of the fast 30K runners. About mile 3, a few of the fastest 30K runners started to pass us, but they were all really nice and getting out of the way wasn't really an issue at all. At the last water stop, most of our little group kept going, but Mandy and I decided to take a detour up to Decision Point where the owners of RPR got married, totally worth it!
Pretty flowers, and that's Mandy behind me

Mandy and I ran the last 2 miles to the finish, my first trail 10K was actually just over 7 miles, but I had a great time, made a new friend and I'm thinking about doing another trail "race".


Mandy and I finishing