Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Old Goats Fiddy'

Part of the Rudy Project Ultra Running Team 
Photo: The amazing Jayme Burtis 

I officially survived Old Goats 50 mile. I say survived because I think it's the toughest 50 mile in the country besides Zane Grey(from what I have heard), and Red Rock 50 mile. I always think as humans when we put ourselves in situations where we push limits we never knew we had it becomes: survival. Yes survival. We resort back to childhood where you are completely in the moment, and all that matters is getting to the next moment. Drinking, eating, salt, one foot in front of the other; repeat. This will begin my story of survival at Old Goats 50 mile.....

Race week for me was actually very busy. Crazy busy. My INKnBURN family are somewhat slave drivers(OK NOT!!), but we have been wicked busy there to say the least. The company is doing nothing but growing, growing, growing, and we are all just working, working, working. Megan; who is one of the owners never ceases to surprise me. She works so hard, manages a household, and is the most amazing mama I have ever met. She wears like ten different hats, and sometimes I wonder how she does it all. She is amazing. So needless to say she has been holding down the fort for all of us and things have been nuts! All good though as we cannot make enough apparel to keep ya' all happy. So great! Ok so back to the re-cap! Race week flew by, and before I new it Friday afternoon was here, and I was picking up my son from school. In the car he asked me how I was feeling about the race, and I said, "its just another race". He looked surprised, and asked me if I planned on winning. I laughed, and said ,"Nope. No way... In Ultra Running there is no planning". There ya go. Thats my statement of the week-

Friday night rolled round, and me and the boys(Jesse and Tyler) had dinner, and then I packed my drop bags and got my bottles ready. I laid out my race day clothes, and laid down in bed. I tossed and turned until about 10:30 when Jesse finally starting rubbing my back. He told me to stop worrying as once the race started all the nerves would go away.  It only took me about 10 mins after that to fall asleep...

I stood at the start line(as pictured above) in a pretty calm state. These mountains were my back yard, and I spend about 75% of my time training in them. I knew this course very well, and would most definitely use that to my advantage later in the race. I took a deep breath and stepped to the front of the line with the boys at the start. 5,4,3,2,1...and off we went. I quickly watched 3-4 women pull pretty far out in front of me, and Katie Desplinter and myself tucked back in a soft pace. I really like Katie. She reminds me SO MUCH of myself four- five years ago in this sport. She is talented, and full of competitive energy. She is extremely articulate(just read her blog), but what i love the most about Katie is she is confident, talented, and makes no excuses for it. She is bold and outspoken, and cross her path and it won't be a good day. I really appreciate all of those qualities. She is young,  fearless,  courageous, and I may even go on a limb here and call her a little dumb sometimes. Please forgive me Katie as I mean that with all due respect. She just runs way to many miles, plays for hours on end with Dom in the mountains, and over trains. She knows it, and could give a shit if you care about it. This was me exactly 4-5 years ago, and I had the time of my life doing so. Getting better in the sport was all I was focused on, and it drove me every second of every day. It was fun, and filled up hours and hours of life moments. Mark my words Katie Desplinter will be winning big races in the mountains in the future. Not so sure about near future, but it will happen. Love this girl, and I cannot wait to watch her fully blossom. Ok so off we went, and we actually hung together for almost the entire first 21 miles. She would pull a little ahead of me on some of the ups, and then I would catch up to her again. We chatted, talked, and I admired watching her float uphill. At times it looked as if she wasn't even giving an effort. She would just be talking away, laughing as I pushed on steep climbs to stay with her. Such talent this little thing is-

I struggled in the first 21 miles tremendously. I am not sure why, and ran the first loop 15 mins slower than my slowest time on the course. My legs just were not feeling it, and for some weird reason I just could not get in my "keira" groove. I literally was 20 mins off my goal split for the first 21 miles, and never once that entire time did I feel good. It was just a suffer fest for me, and my legs felt as heavy as lead. Normally I love this section, and we run this loop a ton during training. I always run it super fast with the boys, but race day was not that way for me. I decided at the mile 11 aid station to just suck it up, and see how I felt at the top of the mountain at mile 21. It was so awesome to see my Jesse at mile 11, and he handed me off fresh bottles, and my Rudy Sunglasses. God I LOVE this man so friggin much. He drives me batshit wild. Love you Jesse!!!

Something else very weird that happened was another woman whom I do not know stayed right on my heels(literally she ran on my heels) for the entire first 21 miles. I didn't talk much with her at all because she was breathing heavy, and really seemed to be pushing it. It was just odd as many, many times I would slow down to hike to get her off my feet, and she would do exactly the same. I would push at my own pace running my own race, and she would be right behind my ear pushing at my pace. Slow down; she'd slow down. Speed up; she'd speed up. I have actually never experienced this before in an Ultra, and a few times pulled off to pea in hopes of dropping her, but my pace was to strong, and I would quickly catch her again. I didn't wanna push it to much the first 21 as I had to hold back in order to survive the 2nd half of this race, but also I was really struggling with energy. Even if I did push it and get ahead of her once again she was there breathing heavy right behind my ear. Eventually I made the hard decision at mile 21 to pull back quite a bit on the big climb and let her go. I just wasn't about to let this woman draft off me anymore, and mentally break me. I knew I needed to get my shit together and turn this race around.

Miles 22-finish: Where my race began-

I got about a 1/2 mile up the main divide, and began to focus better as I was working on one of the bigger climbs of the race. Miles 21.5-23 are on an open & exposed very rocky Fire Road. I dug in, and just decided to put my head down, and get the job done. I still was feeling pretty shitty, and had almost mentally thrown in the towel. I watched Maggie Fade way off into the distance as did this other woman. Suddenly though to my surprise my dear and best friend Pam Everett came flying down the road towards me. She was out that day doing a training run, and was all smiles. She explained she was on her way back to Blue Jay, but could run for a minute with me up the Main Divide. I won't go into detail, but lets just say Pam completely pulled me outta my funk. She reminded me of who I was, and to just not give up. She knows me so well, and it literally took her all but three minutes to say all the right things, and just get me back to the fighter I usually am. Within minutes she was gone, but had turned my entire race around. As I approached the Trabuco aid station I was super excited to see Jesse again! He was having all kinds of fun getting in miles, and cheering all of our friends on at the same time. He helped fill up my bottles, and was very encouraging. I sucked down two Hammer gels, and left this aid station like a bat outta hell. 

Miles 23.5-28.5
This section is ran on the Trabuco trail, and descends into Holy Jim Canyon. It's 5 solid miles of extremely technical, rocky, rugged down hill mountain running. To me it's what trail running is all about. Every inch of it is VERY technical, and I give this section a 5 out of 5 for gnarliness. You drop over 3,500 feet into the canyon, and if you fall anywhere on this trail you are done. I turned up my tunes, and quickly dropped into a very fast downhill clip. My goal was to cover this 5 miles in 35 mins. I ended up running it pretty close to that, and felt great once i arrived at the Holy Jim aid station/mile 28.5. Baz helped me fill my bottles, and I quickly tried to get outta there fast as I had arrived right when Maggie and the 2nd place woman were leaving. I had to stop to use the bathroom. I found a spot in the bushes, and took care of my business. I also chugged a Guayaki Yerba Mate shot, and regained my focus. Love these energy shots!! 

Miles 28.5-37
I left here feeling amazing. The next section is a beast, and I was ready to bring this race back into my corner. It's the biggest climb of the race. Like big giant thousands of feet Mountain climbing. This was the climb to the summit of Santiago. It's just brutal, and what I LOVE to do. I dug in; switch back after switch back. I turned my music up, and just pushed. I looked at my watch, and was very focused on covering the last 30 miles in 5:40. It has a little over 9,000 feet of gain, but I knew I could do it if I pushed hard enough. I kept thinking about how much time I had lost in the first 21 miles, and how it was impossible to make that 20 minutes up. I adjusted my goals at this point, and decided the #1 focus was to just try and get in under 9 hours and go for the win. As I started to approach the top of the Holy Jim Canyon Trail into Bear Springs Canyon I could see Maggie and the 2nd place woman moving up the trail. Maggie was her awesome, sweet, and cheerful self as was the other woman. We all pushed on ahead together, but just a little ways ahead I broke away. At this point it became a race for me without a doubt. I knew if i dropped into my top power hiking pace neither of these women would be able to hold on. Before long I was alone, and fighting. I started to see all the front guys on my way up as they were heading down from the Summit. I had missed Chris Price as he was to far out in front, but it was awesome to see Dom, Jorge, Wick, Fabrice, and Tommy. They were all so encouraging, and looked amazing. I am in such awe of all of these guys. Honestly they are all so amazing. Once at the summit I became even more focused, and was determined to not loose this race. Suddenly I could feel all the speed work that Jimmy has been having me do come into play. I was flying like the wind, and felt very strong.

Summit-Finish-Miles 37-50.5 
Ok so nothing about this section is pleasant. It's ran on 100% open, exposed Fire Road with big rolling climbs, and many sections have pleasant little fly's and bugs that love to bite. This entire section sucks. Bad. Mentally it can break you. I simply refused to let it, and used everything Jimmy has taught me in the last few weeks to my advantage. I ran a ton in this section, and really pushed the pace on the rolling or flatter sections. Eventually I could see the Trabuco/Main Divide aid station, and at this point knew I only had about two miles to the finish. I decided to not even stop here, and blew a kiss to Deb Ocasta, and mumbled to George Velasco that I hated that Main divide section and powered on. The last two miles of this race are broken up into two parts. 1.7 miles of running downhill on the Main divide, and then a half mile of pavement(UGH!), and a bit of single track to the finish. As I approached the last bit of this course I felt amazing. I had given everything I could, and was stoked to be done!! Snuck in just under 9 hours, and ended up with the win. The 2nd & 3rd place women were right behind me. On the mens side Chris Price won, and crushed it. He also broke the course record. Very impressive talent that guy is. Next was Dominic Grossman, Eric Wickland, Fabrice Hardell, Jorge Pacheco, & Tom Neilson. 
Below are a whole bunch of cool pics from the race. I wore all INKnBURN apparel, and of course ran extremely comfortable the entire time. Absolutely the best running clothes on the earth!!! 


I highly recommend this race. It's very well organized, has great aid stations, a well marked course, and an incredible finish line party. Steve Harvey and his crew do a fabulous job. Thanks again Steve for everything!! Saturday night was spent celebrating with my awesome son Tyler, and my man. We had so much fun. Love these boys with all my heart. They are my life, and I am so lucky and blessed to have them both. 

So my schedule has changed a little bit in the last few weeks. I was invited to come up and race Lake Sonoma 50 mile, so Zane Grey is off the list. Tons of friends and family in the Ultra Community will be there, and I cannot wait. I am bummed about not doing Zane Grey, but I will get out there one of these years. I would never pass up an invite from John Medinger to hang out all weekend with everyone. SO EXCITED!! Tyler and I are gonna go up together, and take a nice little weekend vacation. Should be a super fun trip, and I hope to run a decent race. Not really to focused on this race though. Just all good fun, and good training for AC100. 

So I guess thats it for now. Another race under the belt. Life just keeps on flying by. Crazy! On,on,on with life my friends!! 

Friday, March 23, 2012

Life Balance & Your Health

View from a recent Mt.Baldy run

"Masochistic Equilibrium"
You are not your past actions.
You are not your past failures.
You are not how others at one time treated you.
You are only who you think you are right now in this moment. You are only what you do in the future.

The concept? “Masochistic equilibrium.” - Love the post from below that i found inspiration from: ifindkarma.com~

When I first heard these words, I immediately wondered what they meant. I found out they represent a truly important psychological theory—one which clearly explains how and why sometimes a person’s comfort zone might actually be to stay in discomfort.
It’s like this: As a child you learned habits on love and happiness from your parents. If you learned that love comes with yelling and insults, then being in a relationship with too much peace and too many compliments might actually inspire anxiety. Snagging an abundance of joy might also trigger you to self-sabotage your happiness in order to maintain that “masochistic equilibrium” which you learned in your childhood. Or you might simply choose scenarios from the get-go which bring you lower levels of love and bliss. Many women I know do exactly this. The opposite end of the spectrum is growing up in a family where nothing was ever talked about, and happiness was always a surface thing. Zero communication, and everything was always perfect. In return as an adult you are afraid to ever leave a comfort zone or dare to step out of that "surface" happiness. It's better to look happy to everyone else then to disrupt the marriage, and actually find true love. 
How do I break this cycle you ask? Simply recognize it. Thats right. Own it, and then write it down. Remember anything is changeable and can be fixed. Anything. For me it has been finding, and settling down with the love of my life. The man of my dreams. The most amazing partner on earth. Most definitely my soul mate, and the person I will spend every morning waking up to until we leave this earth. This took a ton of icky life lessons, and patience. I had to get through 34 years of living without him, and learning to love myself first before the laws of destiny would bring us together. In essence that most definitely is how we will all find our true love. It's not until we truly love & respect ourselves,that we can in return find the right partner. I want you to think how much you love your child, mom, or even beloved pets. Now ask yourself if you give yourself that much love. Are you as kind to yourself? Until then we will just be on this planet with the "wrong" person. Take time in your life to "love" yourself. It will change your whole path: I promise. 
Something else I am hugely motivated by is health and nutrition. I have been overloaded with emails form so many of you asking me to help you get on the right path nutritionally. For me it's one of my deep rooted life passions, and I am honored and happy to share with you one of my biggest health *secrets*. A large daily dose of RAW Cocoa. Thats right folks: RAW CHocolate. No not a dark chocolate bar with toxic Soy Lechitin(PLEASE stop eating Soy; please). Pure, raw, unprocessed alkaline free Chocolate. Why you ask? Here are the pure, 100% true facts about the Cocoa bean, and what most doctors do not want you knowing:
*It is the highest antioxidant in the world. Period. 
15 times more antioxidants than blueberries
20 times more antioxidants than green tea
30 times more antioxidants than red wine
It is the #1 raw food on this planet with the HIGHEST content of all of these minerals: MAGNESIUM, IRON, MAGANESE, CHROMIUM, CALCIUM, PHOSPHORUS, COPPER, & ZINC. It is also incredibly great mood lifter, a natural anti-depressant, and great for the sex drive. You can never have to much of it, and I ingest it daily by the tablespoons. Here is the best recipe on earth, and something that should replace coffee, tea, and be a morning ritual!!!! Most of the ingredients below can be found at Trader Joe's or Whole Foods. I drink this concoction EVERY morning. 
Recipe: Three tablespoons of ground up organic RAW Cocoa powder, dash of raw cinnamon and nutmeg, boiling water, 1/2 cup of cold Coconut milk, and a tablespoon of RAW agave nectar. Mix all together, and enjoy! 

 I thought I would leave you with some fun pics of a great run Chandra and I did at Mt.Baldy. I have been a running maniac lately, and just having a blast!!! I am so flipping excited for Old Goats 50 mile this weekend. This race has an extremely special place in my heart. Extremely. This race was the first race I ever won. It meant the world to me, and I will always hold that day very special in my heart. I am in a different place now, and am just so excited to run those beautiful trails, and spend the day with all my friends. Steve Harvey does a great job @ Old Goats as the RD, and it's gonna be a blast!! My brother Wick will also be racing, and I cannot wait to see how he does. Hopefully him and the rest of the wolf pack(Eric Wickland, Chris Price) will still be at the finish when I get in(could be awhile!). Love those boys with all my heart! 

On, On, On with life my friends!!!! 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Why I run....

The awesomeness of Pedro Matinez enjoying the trails at Ray Miller 50mile!

Since Ray Miller, and then moving into our new house  I have been a very busy girl-to say the least! Ray Miller flew by, and was a huge success! What an amazing day out on the trails, and congrats to all the finishers! I cannot believe Leona Divide is just around the corner. In the midst of it all I still manage to train. The difference is though training is not a chore for me anymore. I am never stressed about making it to an early run or making sure I get in the miles. I do enough stressing at my "jobs".  Nope; running is all fun now. I never worry about a certain schedule, getting in enough miles at a certain garmin speed, nor do I even wear a garmin. I have designated flat fast mileage days, and just really push out of my comfort zone, and the rest are playing on the trails days. I always enjoy my runs now to the utmost degree, and cannot wait to get outside and play almost every day. I run with people that are slower then me, faster then me, and maybe even the same pace. I really don't care as long as I am out with friends. I know my days running with Wick are gonna be faster workouts, and I keep those runs to 25 miles or shorter. With Pammy we run all morning on the trails, and just play and play at a relaxed pace. My long runs are always with friends, and are just hours of fun! Because of Jimmy Dean I have learned to utilize my runs as "me time". Quality training not quantity, and also always being thankful I can get out and run. It's not ever supposed to be stressful. Your time out on the trails should never be serious. Trail running is a gift, and it's our adult time to play. It should never be about anything but that. We all have enough stress in our real life responsibilities. Don't make your hobby your second job. I assure you it will take all the joy out of it. If it's not fun anymore I promise you are doing it wrong~

Yesterday was amazing. Pammy and I set out for an early morning trail run. We knew we wanted to run for about 3+ hours, and always have a blast just playing on the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park Trails. The sunrise and orange sky were beautiful. When we first started out the wind was chilly, and I was happy to have my gloves. We started at a fast pace, and I was amazed at how strong Pam was running so close after Ray Miller. We then hopped on the steep stair step trail, and crossed Laguna Canyon Road into LCWP. Pam quickly said lets go up Willow and run water tank please. Of course! I am always open to any route. As we climbed and climbed up Willow I barely noticed the chill in the air. Pam mentioned it was still so cold, but I kept focusing on the sweat that was beading on my forehead. As we crept to the top we went left, and ran a few miles or so before coming to a junction where we went right . As we ran a bit longer we both looked over the deep canyon, and noticed a steep single track trail coming off an area we refer to as boat canyon. This is a steep fire road we have run a zillion times, and most definitely this single track was new...very new. I told her I knew of a private trail a bit ahead we could cut through and run through a neighborhood so as to get over to Boat Canyon quicker, and so on we went. Once at Boat Canyon Fire Road we hiked up, and struggled at first to find this new secret trail we had spotted...before long though I spotted it on the right just coming out near a tree. This was heaven as we ran and ran exploring this new trail. We ran into a girl hiking who explained Mountain Bikers had just rebuilt this old trail, and it went for a few miles into the Canyon, and then eventually back up to the top side of the Canyon. UNREAL! On we went, and just laughed and played on this new discovery. The sun was shining down on us, but the coastal air was crisp. I still had my long sleeve INKnBURN tech shirt on, and really never got to warm. The day was perfect, and at the top of the canyon we knew we better head back as we had now been running for 2+ hours. We hopped down another single track that takes you back down to Laguna Canyon Road, crossed over, then hiked up a super steep single track trail back up to the back side of top of the world. It felt so good to sweat. To feel the outside air blowing on my face, and just start my morning hearing the sounds of waking birds, and soaking in life's little natural gifts. To me it's the sole reason and purpose for life. Enjoying what God has given us to have for free. Yesterdays amazing day of fun cost me nothing, and it was a full three hours of bliss. I never once worried about running fast, or what my splits were for the second half of the run. On the steep climbs I hiked, and on the downs we flew. I zipped home after my run, hopped a shower, took eight "Recover-Eas", and then gulped down some fresh juice I made in my juicer. My favorite right now is Carrot, Kale, Pear, Pineapple, Celery, and lime...Yummy!!

For me running is my blessing. I love that I see sunrises that most will never get to see. I love feeling early morning wind on the back of my neck, and spotting deer on the trails. Last week Wick and I ran in Aliso Wood Canyons, and actually came across two coyotes(not  So-Cal ones!), and three deer. Both sets of animals acted like they didn't even care we were close to them, and just stood and stared at us. We also saw a hawk, and a ton of squirrels. I joked that it was the Wood Canyon Zoo, and it's mornings like those that make me so thankful I trail run. I get outside most mornings or afternoons, and just play. When I am not playing I work very hard so it all balances. Take a moment and make sure you have balance. Find a great group of people or a couple friends to get out and train with. It makes running so much more fun, and it's even better when your life partner does it with you!! My favorite thing in the world is running with my Jesse, and I am sure many, many of my running friends who have partners that share there passions would agree. What a blessing it is to share such a gift with the one you love!!!! 

Here are some top ways I have learned to stay motivated to get in the miles, and hopefully it will help you get out there and run~
*Make it a top priority. It's just something that 5-6 days a week I do. Everything else comes after I get my run in. No exceptions here, and yes sometimes I work 14 hour days, and still get miles in. No excuses.
* Have great running partners, and if possible a spouse or partner that also shares in this life passion. My life has changed tremendously since my partner is also now a runner, and I could not EVER imagine having it any other way!
* Run on trails if possible. It makes the time go by faster, and the views are much more beautiful!
* Get out when ever you can. Some days I run mornings, and other times it's a late afternoon run with Jesse or Wick. As long as you get outside and play is all that matters.
* Do not turn training into a job. Leave that nonsense to those Tri people. Life is to short to take away the fun out of playing outside.
* Power hiking is also a great way to learn to manage trail running. It will make you a stronger climber. Jesse and I LOVE to hike, and so does my son.
* Eat healthy. Don't drink to often, and my lord if you are smoking-stop. Make nutrition a top priority in your life as we are only here once, and life will be much easier later in life if we take care of ourselves now. Make sure your other half also leads the same lifestyle as you. Those that play together stay together. Be a solid team...not a "how was your day", "have a good day", & goodnight kind of couple. You will be just going through the motions of life if you are living like this, and before long you will have been unhappily married for 10+ years....

So off I go to work now at INKnBURN,  and am always excited for that! I definitely plan on getting out for a later afternoon run somewhere...maybe I will text Wick and see if I can drag him out with me~yep that sounds good to me! 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Keep swimming Nemo...Keep swimming

Photo: Jack Rosenfeld

In the last two years my life has changed dramatically-and I love it. I love the shit out of it. Their was a point though when I was first building my career, ending a relationship that I wasn't meant to be in, and did drastic things. My teenage son has stood by my side, and together we are now finally cresting that mountain top & horizon. Yesterday after an amazing conversation with my coach-and one of my best friends Jimmy Dean Freeman I had an "aha" moment. I explained to him I was so overwhelmed. So busy~tired form Ray Miller~moving into a new house with my Jesse, training~and things are just nuts. He then simply reminded me I was not overwhelmed. I was *lucky*. I was stressing because I had so much to do, and all for the life most would dream of having...job(s) of my dreams...loyal, beautiful rock star of a man of my dreams I have-and things just keep getting better. The most amazing son a mom could ask for(thank you my Tyler for being so wonderful at Ray Miller-running up the trail in the pitch dark with glow sticks to run the last runner in-you are my blessing). He is a product of his amazing father, and one of my best friends; Corey Henninger. I am blessed and so lucky to have the both of them in my life.

So during my crazy and rough "periods" in the last two years I actually felt like I was absolutely broken. Nothing left. So raw and zero strength to pick the pieces up. Lesson after lesson I had to learn......below I found this amazing post, and it fit my life perfectly:

You might think I was having a nervous breakdown of sorts, but I wasn’t. I was practicing an exercise in something I like to call “semi-controlled recklessness.”

When you’re working on building a career or in the midst of a relationship that you’re not truly in love with, the things that you own somehow become a way to justify the life you are living. People work overtime in jobs they hate so that they can purchase a new car that they don’t have time to drive. We move in with our significant other-get married- because we’ve been together for so long and it’s the next logical step, regardless of whether or not the relationship is actually working.
I have a question: Why are we so picky when it comes to the little things in life and yet we stop the sliding scale of what is acceptable when it comes to what’s most important?
“This job sounds like it’s life-sucking—but it’ll pay the bills.”
“We can’t breakup because we’ve been together for so long and leaving now will just mean all those years we spent together were a waste.”

When was the last time you walked into a salon and demanded that the stylist give you a terrible haircut?

Have you ever eaten terrible food at a restaurant and then proceeded to go back there every day to experience the same tasteless food?
We’ll ask the worker at Peet's to remake a drink because it tastes funny or the temperature is slightly off, but we’ll allow ourselves to be overworked and under-loved?? It’s time to move the sliding scale of what is acceptable, to demand for ourselves what we truly want and deserve, not only in our careers, but also in our personal lives.
Realize that failure is not as bad as you think it will be, nor is it the absolute end. And if you need a little reminder, just practice some semi-controlled recklessness.