Thursday, May 21, 2015

Returning to the Surf

For the fourth year in a row, I participated in the Surfer’s Path Marathon and Capitola Half in Santa Cruz. This year however, I did not return volunteering for the event, serving on the race committee, but was able to be apart of the event as a runner!

I love this race! Not only is it well organized (and no, I am not just being bias), but running in a town that I absolutely adore with coastal views makes this a destination race not to be missed. It was so awesome to be able to actually run the course!

I originally signed up for the half with my badass ultra friend Cara, who had recently just completed a 50 miler race where she overworked a muscle and had a slight injury. She was able to run six miles, but not certain if she could run the whole 13.1 miles. Not wanting her to waste her runcation, we switched flawlessly to the relay at the expo the day before the race.
Stolen picture of  me in the air
I ran the second leg and met Cara in Capitola where she passed the slap on bracelet to me and I passed the keys to the car back to her. The relay  transition was awesome and smooth. Before Cara was even at the transition area, our bib number was called out and I was able to meet her with ease and grace. I was off and the first few miles were awesome and at a sub 8 pace. I love running at sea level, I really do!  At 4.5 miles, I got a horrible, no good, very bad, side stitch. It was unlike anything I had experienced before. I walked and stretched it out a tad, came to an aid station, gulped some electrolyte where it immediately ceased. Thank goodness. The pain was so bad I almost thought I would have to stop running completely. So happy that this was not the case. On I went. I saw Paulette cheering on the course, passed the boardwalk and then, soon enough, I was crossing the finish line!
Cara and I at the Finish
Paulette and Kevin at the finish

Paulette and I at the start
Apparently the timing company had marked our time wrong, and it had us with a finishing time of 1:37:00. While it would have been fantastic to finish in that time, that simply was not the case. Instead, we received an overall finish time of 1:47:00, 13th overall out of a hundred and something teams. Not too shabby! I think my split was  6.9  at 53  minutes! Happy relay team! Go us!

It was super fun to see Meg and Kevin at the finish line too! I just love the finish line festivities. It was like a run party on the beach!

Cara and I also had an opportunity to go on a brewery tour where my friend Keri joined us for a beer! It was a great full packed weekend. I definitely will return to run this race again! I love the Surfer’s Path!

First beer stop - Discretion Brewery

Monday, April 27, 2015

A Double 5k Weekend

Months in advanced I registered for back to back (Saturday and Sunday) 5k races not knowing at the time that I would be engaged in one hectic week leading up to the events. Just days before I went out to Sacramento for Confluence 2015, which was a "California for the Arts" conference involving Art Council and Art Organization professionals. It was busy, tiring, and amazing! I was not able to fit any running in that week and then fast forward to Saturday morning - Race day!

The Sugarloaf Stampede is a local race on a course I know oh too well. In fact, I had won the Gold Rush 5k and 10k on this exact course years before. I am quite a bit slower than those glory winning days, but I was excited to participate in a local race where I did not have to wake up super early. In true Alisyn fashion, I still arrived at the race with plenty of time to go to the restroom three or four times, pickup my bib and buy some raffle tickets. I bumped into an AMP Fitness fellow bootcamper and we both guiltily chatted about our lacking attendance at bootcamp these last few weeks. Finally it was time to toe up at the start line and with a brief announcement, we were off.

The course started above a school field and led us to the El Dorado Trail where it went up and up and up a hill. A few guys were in front of me and another chick was close behind. Admittedly, running up the hill really took a lot out of me, but I told myself to take it easy until I reached the turn around. I pushed and at the turn around point I sprang into a sprint--down, down, down. Running downhill is the best thing ever! The next mile and a half was pretty uneventful as I cheered on other runners and went through all the mind games that occur when running. Before I knew it, I was back on the field running through grass and then I crossed the finish line! I finished in 25:57, 4th overall, 1st female, 1st AG. Of course this was not a PR, but I will take the win all just the same. This was a great, well organized race overall. My only qualm was that at the awards ceremony they did not recognize the overall winners but only announced the Age Group winners. Strange. Oh, but I did win a raffle  prize, a new pair of Brooks Running Shoes. It was a day of wins!

Shoutout to my faster half who decided at the very last minute that he was going to run the Mokelumne River 50 miler on the same day as the Stampede. UMM ran well, but I would expect nothing less! Go UMM!

On Sunday, Penny the Pup and I went out and ran the Mighty Dog 5k out at Granite Bay. This race was geared specifically for runners and their dogs. Instead of age group categories, there was small, medium, and large dog categories all eligible for awards. I had Penny the Pup, (26.5lbs) under the medium category that was 26 - 69 pounds.  That is a huge category. Sadly, we did not qualify for an award, but had a fun time out on the trail! Penny pushed me when I needed to be pushed and I did the same. We made a great team! So cute to see all the dogs off and running at the start! They were all very excited, and UMM told me afterwards, that we left a cloud of dust. It was a super fun race! The Race director did inform everyone that the next race would have more dog categories! I will definitely participate again if that is the case.

Doggie Dust Bowl

Penny the Pups tongue might be sticking out, but she is smiling for sure!

It's hot out, but still smiling!

Crossing the finish line and yep--Still smiling!

Even Penny appreciates ice water baths!

Overall, it was a fun running weekend!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

HotShot Trail Half

The inaugural Hot Shot Half Marathon was held on the beautiful Bullards Bar Reservoir Trail in Dobbins, Ca.

This race was in memory of Mike Kelly, a Tahoe HotShot. When he passed away, the Wildland Firefighter Foundation was incredibly supportive of his family. All the proceeds of the race were donated to this worthy foundation in his name.

I can't say enough amazing things about this race! In true hotshot fashion, always going the extra mile, the course was actually 14.5 miles instead of 13.1. The trail was absolutely beautiful and freshly swept of needles and weeds. Stumps and roots in the trail were painted bright red and the hand made mileage signs and course markings were clear and everywhere! There was no way you could get lost on this course for at every intersection was stationed volunteers and cheer support. Honestly, I have never received so many cheers and seen so many spectators on a small trail race course before, and I absolutely loved it as the positive energy was just amazing!
The only picture I took out on the trail
Just us chicks!
Joel and UMM
Leading up to the race, I confess, my trail running had lacked as did my long distance training. The trail was just so breath taking however, that I immediately felt that runners high. I ran strong for the first seven miles enjoying the rolling hills, gorgeous views of the reservoir, and the conversations I was having with new friends I met out on the trail. It was around mile seven or eight that I switched from running to power hiking. Up and up I went. Of course, what goes up, does eventually go down. My favorite part of trail racing--running downhill! At each aid station I made sure to fuel properly with oranges, bananas, and the electrolyte drink that they offered. Sadly though, it wasn't enough as I skipped breakfast. I do this often. I just can't get myself to eat so early in morning and then I pay for it later while running. I definitely felt my energy levels dropping, but I was having so much fun that I just ignored that blah feeling. And then, at mile 11, I tripped, and took a brutal fall. It was at this time that my calf seized up and I was in serious pain. I lost my runners high after that and I lost my beautiful trail stride. I limped a bit after that switching to a wog (walk/jog) and finished the race in 3:09. It certainly was not the time I was expecting, but I was just happy to have finished.To have run on a beautiful new trail. To be apart of this inaugural event!
Mike Kelly Senior coming into the finish with his entourage
Penny the Poser
UMM was there to greet me at the finish line where he finished in 1:49. We received finisher pint glasses, never ending portions of chili, baked potato, fixings, and a large assortment of drinks. A great finish line party! Did I mention, the race also included free camping? We camped at Hornswoggle where after the race festivities, we fished (yes, I fish!) and then celebrated with an after party.
My lil rock climbin' dog

No fish were caught by us! :(
Why, yes that is a banana slug on my cup
Overall, I give this race a five star rating! For an inaugural event, I was very impressed by all the attention to detail that other race organizers tend to miss their first time around. It truly was an amazing race to be a part of and I can't wait to do it again next year!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Birthday Blog

I love Birthdays! And not just my own, but I am particularly fond of my own. You should be too! Well, not of mine, but yours. Anyway, I currently celebrated yet another birthday. It is amazing to me to think that I have made it this far. More so, that I am the age that I am.

Monterey getaway, had to stop at the Aquarium of course!
Selfies at the shore!
Hiking at Point Lobos!
Favorite German Restaurant - Stammtisch in Seaside.
So fast. Too fast it all went, but that is how it goes, right? This year, birthday celebrating did not disappoint! Thank you everyone for all your birthday wishes! Ever notice that the official birthday song is a very monotone sound? Is that because we are just plain sick of singing the Birthday song, or it naturally just a downer type song. Perhaps it is time to update the Birthday Song...Thoughts?

Birthday Beers back in my own stomping grounds!

Celebrating dual b'days with my mom wouldn't be complete without an ooey gooey Chocolate Cake!
In other news, I spent another year cheering and spectating at the Way Too Cool 50k race. Like years past, it was a great day! Congrats to all the runners and all the PR's to be had! 
PRs all around!
Penny the Pup Cheering on the runners

Monte too!


Thursday, March 5, 2015

Owls on the Run

I participated in the Getty Owl 5k race in Sacramento on Sunday, February 22. 

The race supports SMA that stands for Spinal Muscular Atrophy and is an inherited disease that causes progressive muscle degeneration and weakness. 
The course started and finished at Crocker Park that is right across the street from the Crocker Art Museum.
I used this race as a time trial to see my improvements from the track workouts I have been doing the past couple of months. The course was relatively flat with a couple of tiny hill climbs. I can't say that I felt a 100 percent going into this race, but I wasn't completely craptastic either. A good in between, I would say. 
I was hoping to average a 23 minute finish at this race. This by no means is a 5k PR for me, but I am slowly trying to get back my 5k groove. Hence all the intense track workouts I have been putting in. Much to my disappointment, I crossed the finish line in 24:43, four seconds faster than the Folsom Christmas Carol 5k I had ran back in December. That course held more steep climbs to boot. I will take that three seconds faster, I was just hoping for more. Perhaps it just wasn't my day. I did finish 11th female overall and took home a 2nd place Age Place win. Despite the disappointment of my performance, I had a really fun time at this well organized race.
Shiny medal making me squint.
After the race, my friend Jessica and I went for brunch at the Fox and Goose and then enjoyed the Crocker Art Museum. A fun day in Sacramento indeed!
Dressing up fun at the Crocker -- Toulouse Lautrec Installation

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Running Parade

Last weekend, UMM and I headed out to the Sausalito area for a run weekend!

Our first stop was running the ninja loop with friends. This is the second year we’ve met up with friends through the SFM ambassador program. Perhaps this might turn into a tradition. The forecast called for pouring rain, but really, we only got rained on for exactly one minute. It was a heavy rain, but I welcomed it as it was unusually humid that day and of course, I had dressed for the rain and the cold so I was quite hot.
Kevin, UMM, Penny the Pup, Meg, Paulette, Kristin, & Matt
It was so wonderful to see everyone and awesome to be out on the trails. Some of us did the full ninja loop, while myself, UMM, Paulette, and Kevin took a shorter route. And by shorter, I mean by a mile? We thought we had shorted the loop by three miles, but perhaps we took a wrong turn somewhere. No worries as we were all able to regroup at the parking lot all just the same.

I don't know what we are doing, but why aren't we enjoying the gorgeous view at this very moment?
Family picture!
Photo credit by the lovely Paulette

Love this picture taken by Matt G.
Beautiful Humid Day!
We then parted ways, where the five of us - Paulette, Kevin, UMM, myself, and Penny the Pup headed to the Marin brewing Company. The beer was delicious, the food satisfactory, but you can’t beat the wonderful company!

Penny the Pup making friends at the brewery.
On Sunday, UMM and I awoke to the sound of rain. We dressed in our race/rain gear and headed out to the Coastal Trails Golden Gate Trail Race. UMM was going to race the marathon, and I was running the 5 miler. I had UMM’s oversized rain jacket on and the hood covered much of my face. I resembled Kenny from South Park. I was bummed to learn after the fact that so many of my friends from the Bay Area were also running in the race. With my head kept down looking at my feet most of the time and everyone in rain gear, I did not recognize a single person. Oh well. Glad to hear through social media channels that they all had wonderful races!

I wasn’t very motivated to run in the race, but being that UMM was running the marathon, I told myself, I could always wait in the car and think about what a loser I was, or just run the bloody five miler and enjoy it for what it is. And that is what I did...Did you honestly think I would just sit in the car? Shame on you! UMM’s race started 15 minutes before mine. I watched him run in the distance for quite some time. Just running up and up and up. I wondered if that would be me, hoping not, but discovering that sure enough, up and up and up I went. I walked quite a bit of that continuous climb that brought me to a series of stairs that led me to rocky climbs. Finally, I reached the downhill part and was in heavenly bliss. The views were outstanding and had I had my phone with me, I would have captured some beautiful pictures. Instead, I flew down the hill. I love running downhill, got into a groove, only to discover that my shoe was untied. I stopped to tie it, but the laces were sopping wet just like my gloves that I was wearing. I knew that if I removed the gloves, I would never be able to put them back on. Wanting to get my groove back on the downhill, I quickly tied my shoe in a half ass manner and continued down again. Flying I was again down the hill, my other shoe soon became untied. And this continued to happen for at least a dozen more times. I finally just threw off my gloves and tied those buggers properly. In hindsight, I should have tied them properly to begin with, but you know, I just love tying my shoes over and over again! Best thing ever! For the rest of the race, I carried my wet, heavy gloves and crossed the finish line. I was happy to be done.

UMM apparently had a great race! He loved running in the rain and high winds. He placed 4th overall and 1st in his age group even despite missing a turn and having to backtrack 15 minutes!

The rain certainly did not rain on our running parade! It was indeed a fun run weekend!