Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Red Rock 50 Mile Race Report

Photo: Greg Lanctot
This morning hurt. This morning was hard. This morning wasn't easy. This morning I went for a five mile recovery hike/run after a nice little weekend of racing up in the Santa Barbara Mountains. This weekend I won the Red Rock 50 mile. I most certainly did not think I would be typing that...I am still a little bit in shock. How could I have possibly done this?? Out of shape, under trained, tired, still healing, and just not ready. These were all of my thoughts as I toed the line on Saturday morning. I could not have possibly picked a tougher 50 mile. Seriously. Over 16,000 feet of ascent & descent. What the F#@$%^&* was I thinking. I packed the brightest light I owned in my drop bag, and had prepared to be out there for at least three days. This race was Zane Grey. This race was Twin Peaks but tougher. This race was bush whacking, technical, rugged back country survival, and I had no business doing it. I was scared shit less when the RD clearly stated at pre-race check in that no one was to start this race if they could not finish. He made it clear that this was extremely tuff, and if you thought you were not capable of it to not even start(yes I sware this is what he said). Right before we took off I quickly gave Jesse a kiss, and wished him luck as well as this would be his "first 50 mile race". If you have not picked up on this yet: Ultra Runners are flippin retards. Just complete tards.We have zero common sense, and just do stupid shit...at least those of us who have the heart to...ha! So begins my recap of my race on Saturday:

Right off the bat I linked up with the amazingly talented and sweet Maggie Beach. She is in training mode for the Brazil 135. She needed this race as it was brutal, and good training for what she has to accomplish in January in Brazil(go sista!!). It was great for me as I just wanted to survive, and finish in one piece. This was my first race back since my hip injury and surgery, and the goal was to stay alive. Throw myself directly back into the rat race, and just nut up as my son would say. Cannot believe I just typed that...

Miles 0-12:
Shit. Crap. Technical. Rocky. Lots and lots of climbing. Three miles of pavement??!! WTF Luis?? That's not really a trail, over grown, itchy, where is the trail, yes Maggie I hike every climb, stop running the climbs Maggie, How is my Jesse doing?, God these INKnBURN shorts are comfy, is this climb for real to the mile 12 aid station, would anyone notice if I crawled, wow now this is some great downhill running, god I love technical trails, wow what views, this is epic, my legs are feeling better, salt, Gel, Salt, drink, more Nuun, thank you La Sportiva for gripping this gnarly shit, are we even close to this damn aid station??!!, Steve Harvey helped Luis create this course....
This was a pretty interesting 12 miles for me. I felt good, but really, really ran/hiked mellow. There wasn't any easy part to it except the fist mile. It was beautiful. Some of the most beautiful trails ever, but just rugged and tough terrain. You either were going straight up or straight down. Lots of tough downhill in this section. I give this section a 4 out of 5 for technical terrain, and a 3 out of 5 for climbing. This course was an out and back so all I kept thinking was all that downhill was going to be uphill climbing in the last 10 miles of the race. Awesome. I had now officially decided I would be out here for four days. I got into the first aid station at mile 12 and filled up my two handhelds, and my 35oz pack. I moved as quick as I could, and also pounded some extra water while they filled my bottles. In and out in 2 mins. Perfect., and it's still only Saturday. 

Miles 12-20
Climbing, a million rocks in shoes, getting hot, can't wait to see Faye and mama Wickland at the mile 20 aid station, tons of rolling single track, maggie just dropped me, just caught Maggie, more climbing, my earlobes hurt, who's idea was this, god I hate Ultra's, God I hate Luis, man this 3,000 foot climb is just relentless, Maggie stop running, is Jesse ok?, gel, eat, cliff blocks, salt, drink, drink, hike faster, Maggie stop running the climbs next to me, my goodness this is hard, Yep I am gonna die, god I am so in love with my Jesse; such a lucky girl, come on legs, keep it moving, hike like you mean it, miss you Scotty Mills, God that other person is such a tool, please just go away, thank god for my friends...ok sorry bad tangent..lots of stuff was going through my head!
Be prepared to climb a ton from miles 12-20. My guess is it was about 6,000 feet of gain in this section. I give this section a four out of five for both technical and climbing.

Ok so I arrived up at the mile 20 aid station and was so amped to see mama Wickland and Faye. They quickly peeled off my INKnBURN long sleeve tech shirt(we will be launching these early January), and then filled my bottles. I left my pack(big mistake) as I would hit this same aid station again in 12 miles. I would hit another aid station in between at mile 26 so I figured I would be ok? Right? How much climbing could there possible be? I left the mile 20 aid station and caught back up to Maggie. After about a mile and a half of steep downhill running we had to make a small detour to get our race day medals. God Luis is evil. This detour consisted of a 500 foot scramble/climb up a side of a peak. Oh come on!! Up and down we went, and I stashed my medal in my pack. So began the journey of:

Miles 21-32:
All downhill, and then all uphill. Ok screw that. When you are driving on Hwy 101 look over to your right as you pass through Santa Barbara. Then look at the highest peak with the towers up on the mountain. Now run from the top which was the mile 20 aid station to the very bottom near the ocean which was the turn around, but it actually was mile 26.5 cause this race was 52 miles not 50. WTF??!! Luis you suck. I think I said that already...now leave the mile 26.5 aid station, and turn right around and climb like 5,000 feet back up to the mile 32 aid station, but scramble most of your way up because 50% of this descent and ascent is loose scree and rocks. Maggie was great this entire section because we kept each other alive, and just talked and talked. We also saw all the front runners coming back up as we ran down. I got to see Jesse, and he was in first!! OMG!! He looked fresh, amazing, and full of so much energy. He is such a rock star, and he is mine. Love that man for the rest of my life with all my heart. Thank you Lord for stepping into my life, hitting me over the head with a bat, and bringing me the gift of the love of my life. Next I saw my little brother Eric Wickland, and then Mike Swan, Thomas Reiss, and Dan Lenberg. All studs. Super studs. I wish every race could be an out and back. I wish I had half the talent of these boys. About a mile from the top of the climb though I completely ran out of water. Man I needed my little pack. If you run this race never carry less than 60oz of water. Ultra Runners are retarded sometimes. I came into the aid station and actually spent a couple minutes here. I slammed a Guayaki Pure Endurance drink, and even put another one on ice in one of my handhelds with three Nuun tablets. Filled my other handheld with water, and remembered to grab my pack I left. I ate two Hammer gels(after I marry Jesse I am gonna marry the Montana Huckleberry Hammer gel. Just sayin). 

Miles 32.5-40
At this point Maggie and I left the aid station together, and I knew we had four solid miles of VERY technical gnarly downhill running. I turned on my ipod for the first time during the race, and before I knew it I was flying through the trees. At times I was running so fast I could not even drink from my bottles. The only thoughts I had were run like the wind. You actually might finish this thing in the light...you actually might finish...you actually might win...and then everything turned over for me. I was done surviving, and just trying to finish, and decided to see how fast I could actually run this thing. I felt like myself again for the first time in 10 months!!! Zero pain. All I had to do was run like the wind. Run Keira...RUN Keira...RUN. So that's what I did. I ran like I have not ran since my win at AC last Summer. This time though all that was on my mind was how happy I am, how great my life is, and I can't wait to get in the best shape of my life. I pushed and pushed until I reached the last aid station. As I approached the climb up the hill I could see the volunteers. I looked back and hoped I would see Maggie. As far as I could see she was no where. I waited a couple minutes and stretched hoping I would see her as we had really helped each other all day, but no site of her along the ridge. I said a quick prayer she would finish strong, and decided to push hard to the finish. I arrived at the aid station feeling strong and focused on forward relentless motion. 

Miles 40-52.5 

Pictures: Greg Lanctot
Leaving the aid station I was so excited to see my friend Greg Lanctot. He is the team manager for the Quicksilver Ultra Running team, and just super fun!! I nicely asked him how many guys were in front of me(LOL!!! Love you Greg!) and off we went. We quickly caught up to Dan Berger, and the three of us played like little kids on the trails. We laughed, chatted up a storm, and Dan and I were dying laughing over Greg taking pics of us. We decided he was the team Dad, and hoped he would have juice boxes up ahead at the next bend. We climbed a ton together, and once again had to run through the campground on the pavement that I so much hated early on in the race. Be warned this last 12 miles is tough. You climb a crap load, and it just sucks ass. If you can, run this race with a friend cause alone it would have been awful. Above is a cool pic of me and Dan looking all rad, and Jesse around mile 22(I will be happy when Movember is over and he looses the stash!). Ultra Runners are so rad. Seriously we are just radical people. *Most* of us ;-)

The last couple miles are tough. Lots of little ups and downs, and a couple good little climbs. It was getting close to sundown, and I was just so tired. Dan and I would trade places, but for the most part we just ran one right in front of the other and tried to survive. Somewhere in the last mile we caught another guy, and the three of us finished together. I quickly fell into Jesse's arms, and worked hard to hold back the tears. I looked at him and asked him if he won. He smiled and said yes. The most unbelievable thing though is this: He ran this race in 8:40. The next guy behind him was like 9:15. I ran a 10:25. He beat me by an hour and 40 mins. He is super human. A super stud. He was born to run Ultra's, and I am so proud of him. Who runs there first 50 mile and wins? Crushes the course and the competition. Freak of nature that boy, and I love it. This race had so much meaning for me. Why? Heres why: 
*The longest run I had done in the four months leading up to this race was like 25 miles...oh boy..but I survived!
* I did not race the first 32 miles, and actually hiked most of it, and had fun doing so. Enjoy the ride folks
* Life has been so ever changing and tuff this last year for me...but I have won. I have come out on top, and I just rock. I never gave up, and only moved forward. I have come out the winner. Just sayin'
* It assured me what I am good at. I love gnarly tough courses, and thats what I will stick to.
*I cannot wait to go back next year in solid race shape, and friggin tear this course to absolute shreds. Shreds. 

Jesse and I both wore all INKnBURN running apparel. No chafing, tons of awesome little hidden pockets on the shorts and jog bra's for salt and GU's, and just so soft. I wore the Women's Hollywood Dragon shorts and  Jesse ran in the men's running shorts, and they were comfortable, functional, and the best shorts I have ever raced in.Jesse agrees 100%, and loves the length of the men's shorts. He used to run in the shorter length, but says now he would never go back. I will not ever run in any other shorts nor will Jesse. Buy a pair. You will never run in anything else. I promise. I cannot wait for us to launch our compression leg sleeves, long sleeves INKnBURN tech running shirts, and the full line of women's camisoles. So epic!! Below are a ton of pics from my dear friend Jayme Burtis out on the course. He is one of the most talented photographers I know. If you need a photographer use him. He rocks. 

So I guess that's it. I ended up sixth overall, and survived. I won. I cannot believe it. Man life rocks. We spent the rest of the weekend with Tyler having so much fun in Santa Barbara. What a great way to finish the amazing Thanksgiving Holiday. I spent the entire day on Thanksgiving cooking and baking, and then the entire day on Saturday running. How many women can say that? Ha! I love it! Cannot wait to shred in 2012. 

Thank you to Luis Escobar for putting on such an awesome race. Put this on your bucket list friends. So insane. 


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Baby it's cold outside...

Photo: Billy Yang
Last week I read this some where:
Life flies by. Look in the mirror today and ask yourself time and time again if you are doing exactly what you want to be doing, and sharing it with who you wanna to be sharing it with~ I stopped what I was doing walked over to my mirror, and smiled. I then walked out of my bathroom, and headed out the door to work at INKnBURN. I did not ask myself that question. I did not need to. I did not even want to. I knew the answer. I love my life. I wouldn't change a single thing about it. Take a moment to ask yourself the same thing. Do not be afraid of what the answer might be. If we stay put out of fear eventually life will pass us by, and we will be exactly in that unhappy place we were to begin with except the difference is years will have passed. Years you simply cannot get back. Take the leap today, make the changes, and find your happiness. Find someone to share it with, and all will fall into place. Never, ever be afraid to go after your dreams....

This month has been so much fun! On November 12th was my amazing race the Griffith Park Trail Half Marathon. It was so much fun, and a HUGE success. I am overwhelmed by all the love & support the running community has poured out to me over this event, and I already cannot wait until next year. I wanted to send out a huge heartfelt thanks to Mr.Tom Labonge. He is an amazing man, and in my opinion doing an outstanding job as councilman for the city of Los Angeles. He was a huge help in making this race happen, and please if you have some time send his office your love & support for helping us make this race a possibility. Below is a great picture of Mr.Labonge and his office giving me an amazing award for organizing and making this race come to happen. What an honor!!
Race week was such a blast as I actually spent the entire week living at the Magic Castle Hotel to get ready for the race. I ran about 70 miles that week in the Hollywood Hills, and did all kinds of exploration runs connecting up parks like Runyon Canyon up to Mullholland and into Franklin Canyon Park, and then on, and on. I have no problem running pavement to connect up trails, and I love exploring new areas. I love running hills, and I could not believe how steep some of the hills were throughout Hollywood!!! One day I ran for four hours, and about 23 miles. I climbed over 6,200 feet in that run, and that was all within the city limits of Hollywood. No joke people it's a great place to train for hills!! Jesse and Tyler arrived Thursday, and Friday was spent marking the trail, and then hosting race check in & bib pick up at A Runners Circle running store in L.A.

The coolest part of all about the race? We did not get a single drop of rain!! It was like the little area of LA where the race was had a good chi cloud around us. It was just the most perfect day ever, and I couldn't have asked for a better event!! Thank you so much to all my amazing sponsors in assisting in making this race such a huge success: A Runners Circle(I love you Joe & Dino!!), INKnBURN, GU, Coca Cola & the team, Guayaki, Subway, Whole Foods West Hollywood, Lucy Spencer Murray & Moms in Motion, & many more! Below are some fun pics from the race!

Race date for next year as of now is Sat Nov 17th, 2012. Leona Valley Trail Races will be moved to Sat Sept 29th, 2012. This will leave the month of October open for another very cool little race I have in the works...but...shhhh...it's still a secret!! ;o)
Things have been going great with my running, but I am still just working on getting back into race shape, and taking plenty of time to let my body heal properly. It's been quite a journey the last 15 weeks just getting better, and teaching my hip to run properly again now it's truly fixed! I cannot believe how amazing and great it feels, but I am just in no rush to start racing before I am ready. We have been doing a ton and ton of just super fun runs with friends, and each other, and for now I am totally ok with that. We headed up to SMM 50k on Sunday, and I was toying with running the 50k. I am running Red Rock 50mile this weekend and Jesse was very worried about me racing a 50k the weekend before a 50 mile. Although I was planning on taking it easy I to realized it was kind of to much. I decided to do the 30k or 18k, and just have fun. Wick went up with us to as all of our friends were gonna be there, and when we got there it was flippin pouring rain. I ran a bit with Elissa Price, but after a soaking wet 8 mile loop I was happy to put dry clothes on, and just get out of the pouring rain. I know it was all for the better cause I really wanna survive Red Rock 50 mile this weekend. It will be the farthest I have ran in four months so my goal is to just finish, and have fun. Myself and Luis Escobar are gonna hang together and just run each other to the finish. His running is light these days so he was happy to volunteer himself to hang with me. Thanks Luis!! It will also be my Jesse's first 50 mile. He of course is not even worried, and is super pumped. Between him and Chris Price I have decided they are not human. Such machines! Below are some random pics of me & Jesse playing together on the trails...

Tons of great stuff happening at INKnBURN to! We just launched our mens running shorts, and are getting ready to launch our running & cycling compression leg sleeves, and long sleeve running tech shirts. The best part about my job? I get to test our new products day in and day out, and so does Jesse. We LOVE having Chris Price on our team now, and Jimmy & Kate testing our amazing products also. Below are some silly pics from our photo shoot last week. Not only does INKnBURN make the best endurance apparel on the planet, but they are the greatest people on the planet to work for. We have such a blast everyday!! 

These two boys...
Heres a funny video of us at the photo shoot:

Cannot wait for Thanksgiving!! I have been baking and cooking non stop, and I love it! I LOVE to cook!! So excited!! I look forward to having a graphic and interesting race recap from Red Rock 50 mile! Below is the last info that Luis the race director sent the entrants...oh boy...
Amigos, are you ready? This course is for real. The course is beautiful and challenging. Please be prepared for a very long day and night of running magic in the Los Padres National Forest. Remember, this event is intended for the advanced, self sufficient distance runner. There will be long sections of remote and lonely backcountry trail with no exit strategy. Be prepared to be responsible for yourself. If you are unsure about the course and or your ability, please do not start this run. 

I AM HAPPY TO STEP OUT OF MY COMFORT LEVEL, AND HAVE A RACE COURSE HAND ME SOME HUMBLE PIE. BRING IT ON LOS PADRES NATIONAL FOREST!! My lord friends please say a prayer for me...LOL...so many from the crew are going up I don't even care how the race ends up. So excited for the raddest weekend ever with everyone!! 

P.S. Congrats to Chris Price for winning yet another race on Sunday at SMM 50k. Yay!! Best of all? His amazing little wife Elissa finished her first 50k on Sunday to. Those that play together stay together. We really do have quite the amazing crew of us all running ultra's now. I never could have imagined...it is so flippin cool!!! LIFE ROCKS!!!!