Monday, March 11, 2013

Way Too Cool (March 9, 2013)

Way Too Cool 50k
March 9, 2013

Ran the Napa Valley Marathon. . .got a marathon PR. . . Then, six days later, ready to run a 50k. . .a Way Too Cool 50k. . .;-) 

The Race 

The Way Too Cool 50k is just a fun event!  It's local race and many of my trail running friends are out at this event either running, volunteering, or just out cheering!   So, it's a fun day with my trail running friends!  

The Start Through the Olmstead Loop 

I stand at the start line with many of my fellow FTR friends around.  There is a lot of energy in the air and it is a beautiful sunny day out in Cool, California.  My legs feel pretty good having run a marathon 6 days ago.  I had taken it easy running during the week.  Spin class and swimming helped shake the stiffness out.  I feel ready to run my second Way Too Cool.  

The gun goes off and we all take off running on the road for a mile or so.  Then, we hit the trails on the Olmstead Loop.  

At one point, we run down a hill and cross a small creek.  I run right through the creek in my new Saloman XR Mission shoes.  I have run in my Salomans a few times but this is the first time I am running through water with them.  As I come out of the creek and start running up the hill, my shoes make a squish-squish-squish sound.  My feet feel fine but my shoes are so loud as I loudly squish my way up the hill.  A couple runners nearby comment on how they can hear me coming.  Squish-squish-squish-squish.  

Running up the hill, I am feeling strong.  I have been doing some hill repeats lately to get stronger on hills.  I want to try to run more runnable hills on trails now (and still hike those steep ones).  So, I run up the hill feeling pretty good.  After a little while, my shoes stop making the squishing noise.  

I run at a pretty good pace through the Olmstead Loop.  I am remembering running through this single track last year and getting stuck in an annoying slow congo line.  But, this year, I am in a line of runner but we are running at a nice comfortable, not-too-fast and not-too-slow pace.  This year, they had two start waves.  I went out with the first wave. 
As I hit the meadow area of the Olmstead Loop, we cross a couple more creeks and my shoes go Squish-squish-squish again afterwards.  It isn't slowing me down or irritating my feet in anyway so I just go with it.  

In not too long, I am heading back to the Cool Firehouse.  I see various friends out watching and cheering me and others friends on.  This gives me a little extra pep.    

Cool Firehouse to ALT

Coming out of the Cool Firehouse, I continue running along pretty well.  The next section is a nice downhill section to the bottom of the Confluence.  This is a nice fast section.  I run along enjoying the downhills.  But then I feel the need to pee.  I will just wait until I get to the bottom.  Having such a good momentum now.  

As I run down, we cross a very small stream crossing.  And, I stupidly do not follow my own rule of running through the stream.  Instead, I try to step on a rock over the creek but my foot slips on the wet rock and I fall.  My knee and hand is slightly scraped up but nothing major about the fall.  I feel more stupid than anything.  I pick myself back up and continue running.  

I reach the bottom of the Confluence and cross Highway 49.  Then, I head towards the Quarry Trailhead.  There's a few runners lined up at the porta-potty so I keep running knowing there's another one down the trail.  
As I head down the Quarry trail, I see Charito standing there cheering everyone on and taking pictures.  I smile at her and give her a wave!  

I run past the next porta-potty but there's a line and I don't feel like waiting so I run along.  I think there's another one.  I run along some more.  But then, the need to pee grows.  So, I look on the sides of the trail to see if there's a good area for me to go.  I even look at going down the side near the river but there's not much coverage here.  I see a couple dudes go towards the side of the trail near a small bush or something.  Guys have it much easier than girls when it comes to this sort of thing.  But, I think there is another porta-potty ahead if I remember correctly.  

And sure enough, there it is.  It is a little bit off the course but I see it and no one is there.  So I run towards it.  Thank goodness!  

After relieving myself, I run out and back to the main trail and up the first hill.  I run up most of the hills and am feeling happy that all the hill work I have been doing in the past month or so seems to be paying off.  I run along the Quarry trail feeling pretty good.  

In not too long, I reach to the bottom of Ball Bearing.  I take the left turn before Ball Bearing and run along on some beautiful lush, shady trails.  I cross another creek and my shoes are squishing loudly again as I go up the hill afterwards.  

The next section seems to go by quickly for me.  The scenery is nice and my legs feel good so far.  I reach ALT in decent time.  I am happy my foot is not cramping this time like I did at this location last year.  I go to the aid station and enjoy some delicious blood oranges.  There is something about juicy oranges that is so refreshing on a long run.  The blood oranges make me think of Craig as he absolutely loves blood oranges.  My friend Paul Grimes hits the aid station shortly after I do and we talk for a quick bit.  

ALT to the Top of Goat Hill 

I head out of the ALT aid station feeling pretty good and ready to run one of my favorite sections of the course.  This section is some nice soft single track and it can be a fun, runnable section.  

As I run along, I get stuck behind a few runners.  I am stuck in the middle of a congo line.  It is too narrow here to pass.  The couple of runners ahead of me are not runner super slow but a little slower than I would prefer.  Then, the guy in front of me must have farted or something as oh my goodness, it stinks now!  Seriously dude!  The stank is horrid!  Ugh.  There is a line of runners behind me too so it's not like I can slow down to give myself some distance from this guy.  

We come to a creek and he stops to tip toe through it and I run around him splashing through and getting away from stinky guy.  I run a bit but get stuck behind a couple of runners.  Running in the congo line now.  At first, I think this may be good to pace myself.  Allow myself to go slow for a bit then save some energy to finish towards the end.  I can hear that Paul is in the line too.  Maybe two or three runners behind me.  I hear him chit chatting with another runner in the line.  

After a bit, I get a bit antsy in the line.  This is a section where I just love opening up and running but my stride feels confined in this congo line.  It makes me anxious to be in the middle of a congo line too.  Ugh.  But, I am not good about getting around runners and moving up the line.  So, I stay put.  

We come up to this guy who is going really slow.  Another runner who's more bolder than me starts moving up the congo line.  I get right behind him and ask the guy in front of me if I can go by too.  He lets me pass and then I am free!   Whee!  I am able to run now.  Really run at least for a mile or two before the dreaded Goat Hill.  And, I enjoy it now.  I wish I had asked to get around earlier but oh well.  At least I am able to run now.  Whee!

I then reach the bottom of Goat Hill and begin the slow trudge up the hill.  Goat Hill never seems to get any easier for me.  I hike my way up the hill.  My quads and calves are really feeling it now.  Up and up and up I go.  I feel my heart rate go up a little and I start to pant a little bit.  As I go up the hill, my breathing becomes a little more labored.  I almost feel like I am about to wheeze.  oh no!  I feel my chest closing up.  I try to slow down a little to catch my breath but I also want to get this hill over with.  I had forgotten my inhaler this morning.  

On the last few feet or so up the hill, I feel myself starting to gasp for air.  I reach the top but it is hard to breath.  My chest hurts.  It is so hard to breath.  I am wheezing and gasping for air.  I walk my way to the aid station.  I see my friends Charito and Susan with bright smiles waving and cheering me.  Charito is telling me to smile for the camera or something.  I feel like I cannot breath.  I am wheezing and gasping for air.  I get to the aid station table and place my hand on it and bend over trying to get air back into my lungs and to get my breathing back to normal.  I don't feel good.  My eyes are watering.  

Charito and Susan faces go from excited to concern and they come running up to me.  In between breaths, I say "I-cannot-breath...."  Charito wants me to sit down and she guides me to the side of the aid station.  She says something about cutting off my pack.  I tell her I just need a minute to catch my breath.  

After a bit, I am able to get my breathing back to normal (or near-normal).  I then start heading on out of the aid station.  Charito and Susan have such looks of concern and I tell them I will be okay and thank you.  I need to get this race over with.  

Goat Hill back to Cool

I leave Goat Hill and start running down through a meadow area.  I am starting to feel better and am running okay, though not quite as well as I was before Goat Hill.  But, good enough.  The downhill section is nice for me to re-collect myself.  

There are more hills that come up and I take them a little less aggressively now, not wanting another asthma attack.  Other than my lungs, I am feeling okay.  I remember when I was in this section last year and was feeling rather mentally fried.  I am definitely feeling better than I did last time I was on this part of the race.  

I run along until I cross Highway 49.  Then, it is a long one mile uphill stretch towards Cool.  I am hiking more now.  It is thankfully not as steep as Goat Hill so I am breathing better than when I was on Goat Hill.  A lady and I keep leapfrogging each other.  We chit chat a little bit until a younger boy, I think her son, comes down and joins her.  

Then, I come up the trail and can see the Cool Firehouse across the field.   I am nearly done.  
I start running along the trail towards the finish.  As I near the last bend, I see Craig with our dog Lyla sitting on the grass on the side.  I am happy to see Craig and pleasantly surprised to see our dog with him.  

I then kick it up for the final stretch to the finish line!


Chip time: 5:43:10. PR!


After the race, I got a nice finisher's medal but also made sure I got my WTC Frog cupcake!  Then, I hung out with many of my running friends out at the race.  It was run to see some of my friends finish their first 50k as well as see others who got some amazing new PRs!

Charito and Susan did see me after I finished.  I think both were grateful I made it okay.  I am grateful they were there for me today.

My Salomans held up pretty well and I didn't get any foot problems.  I am not sure I dig the loud squishing noise when I run but they were comfortable for the run.  And, I guess that's what really matters.

I had hoped to finish around 5:30 but I can't complain too much about my time.  I did get a PR and I had run a marathon six days ago.  And, it is just good training for AR50 next month, right? ;-)


Thank you NorCal Ultras for putting on a fun event!

Thank you to all the volunteers for being out there.  You all make it a great event for us runners.  Thank you to my friends that volunteered as it is nice for me to see familiar faces out there!

Congratulations to all my friends who ran today!  Everyone did great today and it made it fun for me to see many friends out there!

Thank you Charito and Susan for helping me out when I was on top of Goat Hill!  I am sorry if I gave you bad scare but it was helpful for me hitting a rough patch to have good friends there for me!

And as always, thank you Craig for always supporting your crazy girl and bringing our crazy dog out there!  :)

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