Run Find Your Happy Pace

finding my happy pace in running and life

10k Trail Mardi Gras Run 4 Beads

Trails, trails, trails! ¬†I love trails ūüôā ¬†And if you have never been to Smithfield, Virginia or Windsor Castle park its a real treat.

If you’re looking for a small mid winter trail race this is a great one! Smithfield is a beautiful old-fashioned kind of town. The 10k course loops through the slightly hilly dirt packed trails of Windsor Castle Park. Most of the race is on the dirt trails with a small portion of paved trail. It was a cold one this year (27 degrees) for Virginia but the scenery of the trails and the trees blocking some of the wind made for a wonderful run. The 10 AM start also let is warm up from the chilly teens earlier in the morning. I was a little concerned about staying on course since the race has some crossing loops, but the volunteers were great about keeping you on the right track. There was one water table, which you pass twice due to the loops.

The run is timed the old-fashioned way with rip off tags you hand in at the end. Yes there are still such races! ¬†No timing mats or anything of that sort here. If your plan is to place and go out fast, you need to start at the front of the pack. Everyone’s time starts when the horn goes off.

This year there was also a 5k fun color run which started at 11 AM.  No one I know participated but they looked like they were having a good time.

Packet pick up was the day before (Friday). No type of expo or anything like a bigger race, which wasn’t expected.

Swag includes a t-shirt and a free beer/soda at the end of the race. If you wait around for the “party” after the 5k fun color run finishes up (at noon) You are given one ticket for one free beer / soda.

SWAG etc:

There is NO BLING at this race.  Other than the few plastic bead necklaces we got in our bag.  So if bling is your thing your out of luck.  Also NO FREE FOOD whatsoever unless you bring cash, no banana, bars nada.  There was a Barbecue truck and a Chik-Fil-A food truck with food for purchase. The t-shirt is nice and colorful, long-sleeved but it is cotton

The trails and scenery made up for the lack of swag for me.  There are hills, nothing steep, but rolling hills throughout the trails.  So much more interesting that a flat road.  Parking is literally right by the start line so no issues there.

Showers were available at the local YMCA if you finish the 10k and have time to head over there for a shower and a change of clothes before the noon party and awards. I guess that would all depend on how fast you finish.  We chose to skip that and head out to town for lunch.

Smithfield is lovely and has an lovely step back in time type of feel to it. Nice shops, restaurants and bakery are a short drive from the park.

Pre-race "Wear all the clothes" because its cold selfie!

Pre-race “Wear all the clothes” because its cold selfie!


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Manchester Road Race – A Connecticut Turkey Day Tradition

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In preparation to Gobble till you Wobble!
This was my second time running the Manchester Road Race. I grew up in CT but have lived out-of-state for the last 8 years. My family still lives up there and my brother has run the race for years so when I get a chance to join him I do.

The race draws a HUGE crowd for such a short race. This year there were over 12,000 (the cap is 15,000) yes that’s 12,000 NOT 1,200.¬†With a untraditional distance of 4.748 miles ?? (yea I have no idea either?) ¬†The course is lined with people from start to finish. Its like the fun of a well run half marathon all rolled into less than 5 miles. As far as I know none of the entertainment is set up by the race itself, the town of Manchester has just embraced this race as it has grown from year to year. From free shots at mile 2 ish, to bands, to the ever classic¬†theme from “Rocky” blasted over loud speakers, this race is just plain fun. Costumes aren’t necessary but are plentiful on the course. For those who are familiar with the race keep an eye out for “Safety Man” I don’t know the story behind it but everyone knows him ūüôā He is a “the” race day celebrity. Walkers are also encouraged to participate but asked to place themselves in the back of the race.

Note to those who want to know about the course. There is a loooong steady hill so if ¬†you’re not used to that you might have to train for it or plan to walk some of it. There is also prize money for the queen and king of the hill. The bright side is there is also a nice downhill right after.

If you do want to take the race seriously you must submit a qualifying time to be seeded in a corral. The frontrunners do compete for cash prizes so if that’s your thing you just have to plan accordingly.

FYI: There is NO expo, NO medals and NO aid stations. At the end of the race they do hand out bottles of water and a commemorative program.

There are t-shirts but you must BUY them on-line prior to the race. That is the reason for the one star for swag. They are nice technical shirts but not included in your race fee.

If your nearby and looking to “Earn your turkey” this is a really fun race to kick off the day!

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Freedom Run Recap and Hip Recovery

Short update.  On 9/9/17 I participated in a local race in my new town.  The Freedom Run 9.11 miler.  There was also a 5k race and a 1 mile kids run.

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The race was small but nice.  The weather was fantastic and much, much better than all that rain in New Hampshire for the Covered Bridges Half the weekend before.

Located on the paved trail of the Dismal Swamp Canal (believe me it is much nicer than the name makes it sound)  less than 200 of us headed out for a beautiful run in remembrance of those who lost their lives or were someway affected by the tragedy of 9/11.

I signed up the day before because I figured it was so close I might as well participate. ¬†Since I had just run a half the week before I decided to make it more of a training run with a nice steady slightly increasing pace. ¬†This usually leads me to end up running alone. ¬†Sometimes I really think I have an odd pace, because even in big races I seem to end up alone or with just a few runners around. ¬†Lucky for me I have no problem running¬†solo. ¬†In my opinion it looked like a lot of runners were headed out too fast at the beginning of the race. ¬†I have always been more of a “start slow and let them go” kind of mentality. ¬†If I get too caught up in the fast pace of a start line I suffer at the end.

The course was an out and back loop and sure enough right before and after the turn around I stared passing people who probably headed out too fast.  Slowly but surely I passed at least a half-dozen or more runners.  With each one I eyed the next person ahead of me.  I made my way to the finish line with a respectable time. Plenty of food and drinks awaited.  Buffalo Wild Wings, YNot pizza, chocolate milk, beer, water etc.  Gotta say that was a pretty good spread for a smaller local race!

Everyone who finished received a nice commemorative medal.



To my astonishment I found out later that day that I had placed 3rd in my age group! ¬†That’s a first! ¬†Small race but hey I’ll take it, it’s all about who shows up that day right? ¬†The only downside is they didn’t do any AG awards at all. ¬†In fact only the #1 man and woman in each race received an award. ¬†Oh well. ¬†At least my family was excited for me!! ūüôā

About a week later I started having some hip problems.  I had hip bursitis about 7 years ago and this felt just like that.  So I did no running for just over a week.  I also started Active Release Therapy with a local licensed massage therapist.  Come to find out I have a tight hip, IT band and calf.  Yikes!   Still working on loosening things up but started back with some short runs.  Needless to say this is gonna put a dent in my next half in early October.  We will see how it goes.


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Handle It, Move It and Get Ready to Run It! Plus a review of Covered Bridges Half Marathon

Long time not write. ¬†Seriously its been since May??? ¬†How did that happen you say? ¬†Because life people, life happens. Sometimes you need to prioritize. For me family comes first always! ¬†Sometimes you put down the blogger hat and¬†strap on that¬†Mom hat a little tighter and handle when the poo hits the fan. ¬†Sometimes you have to¬†fall on your knees and pray (pretty sure I should do that way more often) ¬†And oh yes that whole moving thing yea that happened too. ¬†Because when we move we don’t mess around. ¬†I moved from Cali back to the east coast with three kids, 2 cats and, oh thank God, my Dad to help me drive.
¬†We are pretty much settled in. Honestly I have just started ignoring the boxes in the “dinning room” that are still sitting there at least for the moment. For the most part those boxes are not mine so I cannot really do anything with them anyway. ¬†The plan is to not move again any time soon. (fingers crossed) ¬†Maybe that is wishful thinking but I like this little happy place of ignorant bliss for now. ¬†ūüôā ¬†Don’t judge me.
¬†Any who, now that I am back on the East Coast and finally re-adjusting to the humidity / dew point that was practically nonexistent in Cali. ¬†I am ready to race. ¬†I signed up for most of my upcoming¬†races before leaving Cali. Gotta keep the motivation going. If you don’t a move will take over your life and next thing you know you haven’t run in weeks or even months. ¬†I did well not letting that happen when we moved to Cali and have been doing great with this move too. So my first official race back east was this weekend in Swanzey, New Hampshire. ¬† Check it out:
One of the 4 Covered Bridges on the course.

One of the 4 Covered Bridges on the course.

Covered Bridges Half Marathon (also known as Elijah’s Race)¬†Swanzey, NH.

If you’re looking for a small New England Race this is for you! Classic New England town, beautiful¬†scenery. ¬†The course runs¬†through (literally) not 1 but 4 covered bridges. ¬†There is also about a mile of¬†beautiful trail along the route. ¬†Sigh, brings back the thoughts of all the lovely trails in California so I was stoked to run them. ¬†You will also find rolling hills along a good portion of the course. ¬†Pretty typical for the North East. ¬†They weren’t steep but there were¬†quite a few so if you ever run this race be prepared for them. ¬† The weather was wet! ¬†Like start to finish wet, rained the entire race. ¬†A first for me and yes I realize how lucky I have been. ¬†The saving grace was that the temps were in the 50’s and not lower. ¬†Lower temps would have just been miserable! ¬†The only time I got cold was after I finished and stopped running. ¬†Brr.

So here is the good:

1) the 4 covered bridges are absolutely beautiful and you literally run right through them.

2) It’s a small race, there were less than 200 runners.

3) Beautiful country views. Lots of trees, Inns, some horses, donkeys and cows too.

4) About a mile or so of some lovely trails. ¬†I like trails a lot so this is a good thing for me ūüôā

5) The race is extremely easy to get to, packet pick up is day of the race and is at the local high school.

6) Great water stops manned by the local high school and scouts. They dressed up as characters and were very encouraging. ¬†Star Wars, pirates, fairy’s and minions to name a few.

7) Free photos…always a bonus!

8) BBQ after the race. Hamburgers, watermelon, corn. Since it rained the entire morning the burgers were rather cold and blah. I’m pretty sure they did the best they could and if the weather was better we would have enjoyed it more. ¬†Although I am not sure I would have eaten the corn anyway after running that far, but maybe that is just me.

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Corn poop, lol. Maybe corn isn’t the best post run food?

The Not-So-Good:

1) NO port-o-poties on the course, none what-so-ever. ¬†And nobody mentioned that to us before we got to the start line. So make sure you go before you walk to the start. I do fine with that but I know some people don’t so beware.

2) The town DOES NOT close ANY of the course to traffic. It’s not an extremely busy town BUT since its small race you do have to keep an eye out for cars since there is a chance you may not be running with a group. There are some cones along some of the busier sections but between the rain and the cars it was a concern.

3) The course has a lot of bends and turns which made it hard to see oncoming traffic and for cars to see you. If found myself switching from side to side depending on how far ahead I could see. Also since it rained, the entire race, I had to give myself a bigger safety buffer.

4) If you’re in it for the bling….this probably isn’t the race for you. You do get a medal but this years was a stock medal with a sticker on the front. Its cute but its nothing to fancy if that’s your thing.

Would I recommend it? Yes, Swanzey is a beautiful New England town and the views don’t disappoint. Just be sure to check the Not-So-Good section to see if its right for you ūüôā


Headed into one of the bridges. You can see the traffic ahead too.


Trails at the beginning of the race. Sorry its blurry didn’t stop running for the pic.


Free photo ūüôā That’s me, I couldn’t run through the middle because of the truck that was oncoming.


Finished! It rained the entire time but I did it!

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This One is Gonna Hurt. When you know its time for a DNS

February 2017

25K Trail Race

My first ever DNS (did not start)  

But why?

  • Was I sick? ¬†No
  • Was I unprepared? ¬†I thought so.
  • Hard decision…definetly!
  • Right decision? ¬†I still say yes.
  • Does it hurt? ¬†A little

I was signed up for my first ever 25K trail race.  I was distance prepared but not hilly trail prepared for this race.  I had done a half just a few weeks earlier at Disney but my trail hill training was lacking.  I was hoping to get a few good long, hilly, trail runs in the few weeks between races.  I have to thank the Treadmill and my friend Sharon (Rungry Runner) for the few that did happen.

Never regret the steps you have taken for they all lead you somewhere.  


Sharon aka: RungyRunner

Sharon aka: Rungy Runner

I was uneasy the entire week leading up to the race, and especially the night before. ¬†I personally knew not one person who was also doing the 25k. ¬†I knew people doing the 10k and some doing the 50k. ¬†If I had one partner in crime I would have toughed it out no matter how long it took me. ¬†Once you commit to a trail race your out there. ¬†And if that means your out there alone then that’s your situation. ¬†Distance trail races are different from road races. ¬†I have done quite a few half marathons out here in Cali alone. ¬†But being a less experienced trail runner, and this would be my longest trail race ever, I just wasn’t feeling it.

I woke up at about 4 and told my hubby I decided not to do the race.  He said are you sick?  Nope, just not ready.  I got up at about 6 instead and headed out for some less hilly trail miles close to me.  The more I ran the more sure I was that I had made the right decision.  And if you believe in signs these were some pretty good ones.  Rainbows, lots of rainbows out during my run.

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I guess sometimes DNS is the right thing to do, its just hard.  





Have you ever had a DNS?  Well, now you know your not alone.


2017 So Far… Did Someone Say Star Wars?

Its been a while, and this post is pretty late but I haven’t fallen off the running wagon! ¬†In fact I ran Disney in January. ¬†But not just any Disney race, a total “Bucket List” Star Wars half marathon race for me.


This wasn’t my first Disney race but it was my first half at Disneyland. ¬†And having it be a Star Wars was more that just the icing on the cake for me. ¬†I am a HUGE¬†Star Wars nerd. ¬†In fact we are an entire family of Star Wars nerds. ¬†No regrets, no excuses. ¬†I grew up on Star Wars and my favorites were always the droids….and of course Princess Leia. #princesspower


As luck would have it my kiddos also had a few days off from school around the race so we made it a Mommy & kiddo weekend.  We are currently about 5 1/2 hours from Disneyland so we drove.  Through fog (lots of fog) a crazy rain and wind storm (thank you Grapevine!?!) and fog and almost snow and fog because did I mention the fog?  Geez who knew I might have to worry about snow driving to southern California?!?  Amazingly we made it in exactly 5 1/2 hours on the dot.  BAM.  Go Mom.

The kiddos and I headed to the expo not too long after we got to Anaheim.  The hardest part for me was figuring out where the expo was and how to get there, lol.  I am slightly directionally challenged, ok maybe more than slightly.  But we managed.  Packet pick up complete.  Next we were off to lunch at Rainforest Cafe.  No rest for the wicked (or pre-race Mom) we spent most of the day in the parks.  #worthit


Unfortunately I wasn’t able to participate in any of the weekend challenge races but it was fun to see people walking around the parks with all their medals. ¬†My race was all about Sunday’s half. ¬†I was ready and so excited. ¬†I had decided to dress as BB8 because I had gotten a SWEET BB8 shirt from InknBurn. ¬†And I am always a sucker for the droids. ¬†Not too long before the race the world lost our Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) ¬†so I decided to do an ode to Leia by wearing my hair in Princess Leia styled buns for the half. ¬†RIP Carrie.

Race morning was chilly but I meet up with a fellow Subbers (Sub 30 club) Shannon and Mary and we headed out to the half together.  OK they totally showed me how to get to the start because apparently the kids and I had been taking a round about way to enter the parks.  See, directionally challenged my friends.  We met up for a pre race group Subber pic and then said our goodbyes as we were in different corrals.


Members of the Sub 30 Club

If there is one thing I am always happy for it’s a good toss away shirt / sweatshirt for waiting in the corrals at the start of the race. Can I get an Amen? ¬†Even though Disney always keeps things lively there isn’t much they can do about the cold. ¬†I was really happy I had a sweatshirt for that 30-40 minute wait for my corral to get on their way. ¬†Running through the parks and Anaheim were magical for sure. If I included all the pics I took this post would be more like a mini novel. ¬†Here are a few of my favs and no surprise with some of my favorite droids.

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By far this was my favorite Disney race so far.  And yes it was totally because it was Star Wars themed.  Characters of all kinds were plentiful both inside and outside the park.


Getting close to the end and yes I was still this happy!! #StarWarsNerd #foundmyhappypace

My time was even better than I had anticipated despite stopping too many times to count. ¬†I know a lot of that had to do with my training. ¬†Since my last half in November I had been using the Aaptive App Half Marathon Training Plan. ¬†What you have never heard of Aaptive?? ¬†Oh my friend have you been missing out….but that’s for another blog entry. ¬†Best App I have ever used for running hands down, just saying.

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After more pics and making my way back to the hotel I showered and changed and soon the kiddos and I were off to the parks for the next few days.  Admittedly I was quite sore after this half, more so than usual.  The only thing I can think is maybe all the stopping and starting for character pictures but again #worthit.


Me and Chewie!!!

I can’t wait to do Disney again and it will be another new race for me. ¬†Disney Wine and Dine back at Disney World in November. Bonus…I will earn my coast to coast medal too!


Have you ever run Disney?  What was your favorite Disney Race?  

If not which would you like to run?


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Heart Rate Training (HRT) Works! I Ran Slow and Got a PR

As some of you may know I have been know to do a HRT Heart Rate (based) Training. ¬†Read months of running slow…very slow in my aerobic zone.¬† Following my¬†last half back in November I decided to go back to HRT¬†once again. ¬†After completing another round of purely base HRT¬†I switched to an 80/20 Half Marathon Training plan for my next half marathon. ¬†What is 80/20? ¬†Basically its running 80% of your runs at / below your Max Aerobic Heart Rate Training number. ¬†So yes I did continued to run 80% of my training slow. ¬†The other 20% of it was spent in my anerobic training zone. ¬†As the plan progressed that included things like hill repeats. ¬†This past Sunday I ran the Surfer’s Path Capitola Half Marathon a beautiful course that started and ended at the famous Boardwalk in Santa Cruz. The course took us passed several well known surfing spots (thus the name). ¬†As luck would have it the waves were not happening Sunday morning. ¬†Lots of surfers basically just wading in the water ūüôĀ ¬†However the view…still amazing. ¬†But the best part? ¬†I PR’d! ¬†Up until last November I had not PR’d a half marathon in a few YEARS. So yes you can be older AND still get faster ūüôā using HRT, as long as you give it time.


Surfers waiting on some waves.

So how did it go?  

First off I had NO planed goal for this race. ¬†My friend had to pull out earlier in the week so I was going solo and my eating over my birthday weekend and beyond was less than stellar. ¬†I wasn’t expecting anything other than enjoying the views and finishing. ¬†I was more than pleasantly surprised by the PR!

My plan: I decided to go with a 2:1 run/walk ratio. I did run the entire first mile just to break up the field of runners a bit and warm up. ¬†I also ran this race by Cadence rather than a pace. Why you may ask? ¬†Well just out of curiosity I did my last tempo run by cadence and it felt pretty good and my time wasnt too shabby. ¬†My cadence goal for running was 180. ¬†I’m very¬†happy to say I nailed it! ¬†My walking cadence was around 124, personally I would like to see this go a bit higher, but that’s my new goal for the next race.

The course: ¬†It¬†wasn’t super hilly, but it wasn’t all flat either. The unfortunate part was that most of the roads had a very noticeable slant to it. ¬†I did my best to stay on the flattest part of the road, however this wasn’t always possible.

My race: After the turn around (it was an out and back) I noticed I started passing people #winning
However by mile 8 I felt a twinge in my right knee. ¬†No,no, no…try to adjust my form, don’t get lazy, don’t slouch! ¬†However by about¬†mile 9 the twinge turned more into pain. IT band related knee pain.
I continued to push through with the walk/ run. ¬†I had IT problems happen to me about 3 years ago during a race and I knew it wasn’t as bad as that time ( I hobbled to the finish line for that one, it was awful) so I figured as long as it didn’t get worse I could continue on.

Finish: ¬†I never looked at the time on my watch during the race. I just kept an eye on my cadence. In fact I didn’t realize I PR’d until I got home later, lol.

Feeling happy that my knee held out and didn't get worse!

Feeling happy that my knee held out and didn’t get worse! InknBurn Run or Die, the perfect shirt choice for the day :)

I like walk run because it helps me keep my HR down (however I don’t wear my Heart Rate Monitor when racing) I run by feel for races and I have to say I felt good during the entire race, knee pain aside.


Santa Cruz Boardwalk


Chillin’ at the beach post race.










So you might be wondering how one gets injured if doing HRT? I am 99% sure my IT band issues are from two things, and 100% sure none of it has to do with my actual HRT training!
1)Too much actual racing too close together
2) Not stretching enough.

I have done 3 “longish” races in less than a month. A nine miler, a double road race (8k followed 30 minutes by a 5k) and now this half. My body isn’t used to doing that much fast pace racing so close together.


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Big Sur Weekend Recap!

Hello everyone! ¬†I’ve been busy with family lately so¬†once again this is a little late here is my recap from my first Big Sur Weekend.

BUT FIRST‚Ķone word. ¬†Bart! ¬†If you know running there is no other words necessary. ¬†Except I do have to say and you can quote me: ¬†“Nicest guy ever!” ¬† He acted like he¬†was more excited to meet me than I was to meet him.

Bart and me!!  Swoon! Rabbit ears courtesy of my 8 year old :)

Bart and me!! Swoon!
Rabbit ears courtesy of my 8 year old :)

But on to the races:

First race up: ¬†The By the Bay 3k with my youngest kiddo. ¬†The culmination of weeks of running and training with the Just Run Program at his school and part of the Big Sur Weekend! ¬†It’s always great to spend time doing something you love, but even better to do it with SOMEONE you love ūüôā ¬†I’m so proud of this guy!

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My son and I post race

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Proud Mom moment :)

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Next up:¬†¬†April 24th the Big Sur 9 miler, part of the Big Sur Marathon Weekend. ¬†Running in Big Sur is a huge bucket list item for many runners, I am extremely¬†fortunate to live and work very close to Big Sur. ¬†In fact the finish line of all the Big Sur weekend races end in the parking lot of the CrossRoads in Carmel where I work at The Treadmill. ¬†Although I wasn’t able to register early enough for the marathon, 20 or 10.6 milers (due to family commitments) I was finally able to commit to the 9 miler. ¬†At first I was a tad bummed because a lot of the 9 miler is held inside Point Lobos and not on the marathon course, but man was I elated when I ran the course. ¬†Point Lobos ¬†truly is the crowned jewel of the California State park system. ¬†An absolutely stunning course, honestly the pictures do not do it justice, with part of the course even held on some trail, my new love in California.

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My favorite part was the mile plus run on the trails be the sea :)

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This pic does Point Lobos zero justice. Its stunning in real life


Post Race Roll out courtesy of The Treadmill

Post Race Roll out courtesy of The Treadmill













BONUS:  the final stretch of the 9 miler comes back out onto the marathon part of the course and I happen to get there at the exact time the winner was coming down into the final mile.  I got to cheer him on (as he flew by) which was pretty darn cool!

I would HIGHLY recommend doing ANY of the races included in

The Big Sur Marathon Weekend if you get the chance!  

Well run, breathtaking scenery and great support.


My First (and Definitely Not My Last) California Trail Race

This weekend I participated in my first trail race out here in¬†California. ¬†I had done only a few back in Virginia so I’m still basically a newbie, however I am pretty sure I am hooked! ¬†I met a bunch of amazing¬†runners out there and just set out to enjoy myself. ¬†No pace or finish expectations. ¬†For me this was all about the experience of trail running with a few added bonuses. ¬†#1 it was a Saturday race which I just love and #2 I got to see some amazing friends set out on some Ultra distance racing adventures.

Hosted by Inside Trail out at the beautiful Fort Ord, the race distances stretched from the 10k to 25k, 50k  and 100K distances.  Being newer to the sport I opted for the 10k which for the most part was held on fire roads with a modest 900 ft elevation gain.  The course was a stunner none the less.  The combination of beautiful weather, lots of rolling hills and plenty of green, due to the recent rains and break in the drought, made for an awesome first trail race.



 Inside Trail provided well-marked trails, along with great aid stations.  In fact I was so pleased that next year I am hoping to at least participate in the 25k.  The volunteers were friendly and I felt great support being a 10k runner as I assume the longer distances felt.  Here are a few more pictures from the day.    I am a bit sore in my hips from the hills but man was it totally worth it!

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View from the run

and up we go….again

and up we go….again


Do you enjoy trail running and racing?  Have you ever tried?

If you haven’t I suggest you do it at least once. ¬†Who knows you might just get hooked!

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Race Recap: Big Sur Half Marathon On Monterey Bay and a 5k to Boot

Back when I was still living in Virginia I signed up for The Big Sur Half Marathon mainly for two reasons.

  1. To keep myself accountable as far as continuing to run once we moved
  2. Because its one of America’s most beautiful half marathons

Mission completed. ¬†I’m still running and it truly was an absolutely beautiful run. ¬†Here’s my recap of the weekend:


Late Friday night I decided last minute to run the Lighthouse 5k on Saturday morning. ¬†The 5k is part of the Half Marathon weekend and because well why not right? ¬†Back in VA there are plenty of events¬†with multiple races on the same weekend. ¬†Why not make one for myself. ¬†The course is a short walk from my house and my youngest would be there for the annual Cub Scout pancake breakfast. ¬†So bright and early Saturday I made my way down to Lover’s Point and signed up at walk up registration. ¬†I decided to use this flat beautiful course as a shakeout run, nice and easy. ¬†It was a perfect cool sunny morning for a run along the beautiful coast. ¬†In the end I was pleasantly surprised that I completed my shakeout at a pace I use to struggle to complete a 5k at. ¬†Could those training hills be working? ¬†Or did I go too fast and possibly jeopardize my half? ¬†Eeek! ¬†













Saturday Night.

I met up with a few fellow Sub 30 Club friends who came to town for the Half Marathon. ¬†We had dinner in downtown Monterey with some great food and conversation. ¬†It’s funny how runners can just meet up and talk for hours and hours isn’t it? ¬†Awesome peeps! ¬†Highlight of the night, we each got to sign one of the famous Sub 30 Flags. ¬†The flag is being sent all around the country to subbers for¬†good luck and comradery from¬†the main group of almost 4,000 running buddies. ¬†What a great boost for Sunday’s race!


Subbers and I from the Sub 30 Club


Race Day:

I had plan A, plan B and the no fail plan C for Sunday’s half.

  • Plan A – shoot for a new PR of at least one minute
  • Plan B – shoot for an even better PR
  • Plan C – if it doesn’t happen, enjoy the ride!

California has brought me some new running buddies along with lots of hills to train on.  Hills are something that are hard to find in Virginia Beach.  So for the past 4 months I have learned the love/hate relationship of running them.  Oh and Palo Corona, which is more of a mountain really.  But I digress, in my mind if I have been running all these hills then they must have a pay off at some point.  At least I sure hoped so!  Thus my quest for a new PR.

The half itself is run like a well oiled machine. ¬†The folks at BSIM (Big Sur International Marathon) sure know what they are doing. ¬†Everything from packet pick up and the shuttles to/from the race were easy to find and navigate. ¬†Volunteers were plentiful on the course as were water / Gatorade etc. ¬†I even had the joy of having my oldest volunteering on the course! ¬†Getting a hug (and some water) at around mile 8-9 from my son was amazing ūüôā ¬†The course has a few uphill climbs, but nothing close to what I have trained on so I did fine. ¬†There was live music and DJ’s along the course, and post race grub was also plentiful. ¬†But the real winner of the race… the views along the course.

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I was blessed to bump into one of my Wednesday night running buddies in he starting corral.  I told her about my hopes to PR, she graciously volunteered herself and her husband to pace me for my goal.  Saki is awesome, and a machine, for real.


Saki and I in the starting corral

And by the way her husband is an awesome pacer!  The two of them had just come off a 10 mile trail run the previous day and were taking it easy for the half (lucky for me!)  Her PR for this course is a 2:01!  So we decided on a plan of staying with the pace group for the first half and then seeing how I felt at the turnaround.  *Except for a quick stop (yes I failed and got in the corral to early and had to pee!! Ughh.)   We stayed with the pacers until just after the turnaround.  side note:  If that port-o-potty stop had cost me my PR I would probably never forgive myself.   After the turnaround (just about mile 7 1/2) we slowly and steadily we made our surge.

Mile 10 is usually my hardest mile, and this half was no different. ¬†I started with my self-doubt. ¬†“I can’t PR, I have to walk blah, blah, blah, etc” Then I started to hear the pacer’s voice from the group we had broken away from. ¬†I may have used a few choice words, which I shall not repeat here, out loud and decided “That’s it!” “I do not want to hear them again!” ¬†Off I went. ¬†Did you know being mad really can make¬†you faster? ¬†I thought about God, my Mom and my I run 4 buddy Logan. ¬†I wanted to do this for all of them and myself. ¬†I kept repeating their names in my head. ¬†Saki paced me until sometime around mile 10 1/2 – 11 and then sent me on my way. ¬†I was in the zone and the last two miles ended up being my fastest miles of the entire race. ¬†I really appreciated Saki more than she can ever know.

I PR’d by almost 3 minutes! ¬†Which for me is huge! ¬†So hooray for hills, I might be getting older but I am also getting a bit faster ūüôā ¬†And I have to admit there were also some tears of joy at the end of the race. ¬†And as if it wasn’t already a great day I got to meet the Kara Goucher! ¬†She ran the race and had come in first for the women with a 1:11. ¬†An additional bonus was I actually got to see her on the course. ¬†She is amazing.

Here are some additional pics from the day.  First California Half (and 5k) in the books!



Kara and I…she may be my girl crush


Sub 30 “Dark Side” Flag. Post Race



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