Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Running at My Happy Place

This last weekend I headed out to the Bay Area where Penny made her Bay Area debut. I loved seeing some of my friends who I miss so dearly. The trip went by far to quick, but I am happy for the quality time spent with some awesome people!

While I was down there, I also participated in Nisene Marks Half Marathon trail event. This is my fourth year running the event. The first year marked my very first 5k race where I placed 1st in my Age Group. The second year I ran the half in the pouring rain and got a pretty good finishing time despite the downpour. The 3rd year I ran the 5k and this year was back to the half!

Our traditional Nisene picture! Charly and I met four years ago where we ran both our very 1st 5k!

It is no secret that I absolutely love running at the Forest of Nisene Marks State Park. No matter how many times I have run there before, whether it is an organized event or leisurely, it always seems to take my breath away! It is truly one of my favorite places to run. My Happy place!

While I would have loved to have crushed my time from the previous year, in reality it wasn’t going to happen. I have done really no speedwork these last couple of months, and my ankle is still quite cranky. So, I just enjoyed myself on the course.

Honestly, while I miss running fast and PRing, it has been nice to focus on other goals within running. Speed is not everything! And I realize some of you reading this might gasp, but it is true. We all go through our running cycles and I have really enjoyed my current cycle of trail running and training for my first 50k (completed), exploring news areas, and running lot’s and lot’s of hills. The only pressure I have put on myself was to push and finish. Don’t get me wrong, I will return to my attempting to be speedy ways, but all in all, it has been a great journey!

I know the Nisene Marks Half Marathon course very well, and it went by far too fast. It was unusually hot, but I didn’t seem to mind as the beautiful tall trees provide an abundance of shade. You have to run down a hill to the finish line and always with a kick in the end, I started to sprint. I caught up with a gal and encouraged her to sprint with me. We crossed the finish line together, hi’fived and she thanked me for the push! It was fun sprinting with her and I must say, she really held her own.

Mark and I waiting in the bathroom line before the race

I had also brought Penny along to the race. While she did not run the half with me (dogs are only allowed on the fire roads and not single track), Shannon was so very nice and took Penny along with her dog Monte on a 6.8 mile run. Penny had a blast and so grateful for Shannon for watching my lil girl so I could run!

Post race adventures at the beach w/ Shannon, Penny and Monte too!
On the drive home from an exhausting morning!
This is the second year the new race director has overseen the event, and I must say, she does a stellar job. I really liked her humor during the announcement time. Everyone who finishes gets a medal, and the shirts have improved so much that I will actually wear it! A fantastic race in such a beautiful area with some fabulous friends, overall it was a fantastic weekend!

Monte showing off my medal!

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