Canyon Meadow Shenanigans…and a PR!

Yesterday I ran the Canyon Meadow 50k at Redwood Regional Park in Oakland. As you all know, I don’t do the typical race reports, since I don’t want to spend the time rehashing every mile. However, here’s a summary of what I can remember.

The day started off well. It was overcast, but not too cold. The last time I ran this course was March 17. During that race, it had threatened to rain the entire day, and while it never ended up raining, the whole course (save for the paved roads) was covered in mud up to a foot deep. Not fun nor easy to run in. This time however, the weather was dry and the course was 99% mud free. This mad a HUGE difference in the runnability (I love making up words) of the course.

Since I was familiar with the course, I knew how hard to push myself. There were a few long climbs, but mostly it was rolling hills which meant that I was able to run almost the entire time. Like many Coastal Trail Runs, this course was 2 large loops (13.1 miles each) and one smaller loop (5 miles). After running the first loop at about 2:36, I knew I was going to beat my previous time on this course which was 7:25. I also was fairly certain that I would get a new 50k PR. This made me very excited; I have been training harder lately and have been working on my climbing and my speed. Given that this was one of the easier courses I’ve done, I knew it’d be ok to push myself. The weather was sunny, I was hydrating and eating well, and overall feeling great.

So push myself I did. It wasn’t an all-out race effort, since I wanted to limit my recovery time, but I did feel comfortable running fast. In fact, I found myself flying down the descents. I was really enjoying these downhills, not a care in the world. Until…….SMACK! Bit the dust. My first thought after falling was Oh gosh, I hope I’m not hurt because I sure as heck want this PR. Thankfully, I fall like a ninja and managed to roll in just the right way that I did not get cut nor did I bruise any important body part. This occurred a little more than halfway through the course (at around mile 18) so I continued on, covered in dirt. The one annoyance I had with this fall was that I got so dirty. The dirt mixed with my sweat and before I knew it I had mud aaaall over myself. Not cute.

Towards the end of the second big loop, I was passed by a couple. They looked so fresh and great! I hate being passed, especially since I pace myself so well, but I had to hand it to them for looking so strong towards the end of the race.

After completing the second big loop, I set off for the last five miles. All 3 loops started by climbing a big hill. As I hiked up the hill, I saw the same couple up ahead. They kept looking back at me, and I’m guessing they had a little competitive spirit in them. I closed the distance, but was a little hesitant to pass them. There’s nothing more annoying than leap-frogging with someone towards the end of the race. I don’t like the unnecessary competition, but I found it hard to ignore. Finally, I decided to pass them and told myself that the only thing I cared about was my PR and not about how many people I passed/passed me along the way.

4.5 miles into the loop and I’d passed the couple, 2 more women, and a guy. I figured it was smooth sailing from here on out. I felt great, my legs felt fresh, and I was running at an 8:30 mile pace. With confidence, I sped up a little and enjoyed the breeze blowing through my hair and…..BAM!!!! I fell again. This time a little more spectacularly. I had to look around to make sure I still had my sunglasses on my head. And I had an audience. The way this family rushed towards me made me realize that the fall looked bad. I assessed myself: strained neck, probably pulled butt muscle, but no cuts or sharp pains. Still good to go. “Are you ok? Do you need any help?” they asked. “Nah,” I said, “I’m fine. Not the first time I’ve done this today. I’m almost done anyways!” and I ran off, not wanting to be passed right before the finish.

Needless to say, it was an eventful day in many ways. I finished with a PR of 6:13. It was also the first time I finished a 50k within the first half of the group! So now I can consider myself a front-of-the-middle-of-the-packer.

Since I’m not so great at incorporating pictures into the story, here are a few to end this post.

Dirty legs:

Scratched Garmin (distance/time is off because I started it late):

Glorious race photo:

And a photo from Napa Valley Marathon to prove that I don’t always look like a doofus when I run:

Any readers PR this weekend? :)

The Perfect Run

Have you ever had a run or a race that was just perfect? When everything fell into place, and you felt so good and healthy and fast, and everything seemed right with the world.

Well, that was the OPPOSITE of today.

I was planning on doing a 15-20 mile run on the mountain near my house. I made it less than halfway to the peak before I felt like I was going to vomit. I usually don’t have trouble mentally pushing myself, but this time I thought that maybe my body needed a break for some reason.

Here are my thoughts about my run-fail and what might have gone wrong:

-Three 40+ mile weeks in a row. Not a lot for most ultrarunners, but the highest mileage I’ve ever done. I do fairly well on low mileage, but I’ve been trying ramp it up and peak at 50-60 miles a week in June. Maybe it’s time for a “rest” week, and then push hard for another 3 weeks.

-Not eating enough/eating too much/eating the wrong things. I have stomach issues, but usually just push through. Now, since I’m more active than ever, I should probably pay more attention to what I eat and how it makes me feel. While I felt nauseous going up the mountain, I felt light-headed and weak on the way down. So something with my fueling isn’t right.

-Weather and hydration. Today is a hot day. Not superhot, but warmer than the last few times I ran long. Maybe I need to hydrate better before leaving? I’ve never seemed to have a problem with heat before, but there’s a first time for everything, and it’s important to consider all the possibilities.

Bad luck shoes. I wore the Mountain Masochist 2’s today. They’re from Montrail, and SO COMFORTABLE! They were great on the downhills and felt awesome on my feet–pillowy but with good ground feedback. A little big, but I’m thinking of ordering a smaller pair since they might be the shoes I wear in Tahoe. However, they have bad juju. The last time I had a run-fail at the mountain, I was wearing these shoes. In fact, I’ve only worn them twice, and both times were not good. I’m conflicted, because I love the shoes! So my mission is to break the bad juju curse. Or order a smaller, less bad-lucky pair.

Maybe I should have sucked it up and did 15 miles?? I don’t know. Sometimes I push myself too hard and it ends up hurting me in the long run. (<—haha. accidental pun.) Sidelined for a month with an easily preventable injury. Ran a 50K while sick and stayed sick for a month. You get the picture.

This sums up my run:

So I’m going to chalk it up to the world conspiring against me. Tomorrow will be a rest day, and Saturday it’s back in the saddle again.

Time to turn that frown upside-down!!!!!!!!!




Cinderella 50K

Disclaimer: I don’t do “race reports” in the typical sense. I don’t always remember details and definitely don’t take a lot of pictures when I’m running a race. This is just a summary of some random thoughts regarding this day. It is by no means thorough, but hopefully a little informative and a little entertaining :)

This weekend I ran the Cinderella 50K which took place at Joaquin Miller Park in Oakland.  It was a beautiful day and a beautiful course. The 50K course consisted of 3 loops: two 13.1 mile loops and one 4.8 mile loop. Loop courses are great but also suck at the same time. They’re great because you know you’ll have access to the bathroom before and twice during your race. No need to get poison ivy on your bum because you couldn’t hold it 7 hours. But loop courses suck because after each loop, other people are finishing. After the first loop, all the half marathoners drop off. “Woohoo!! Time for some BEER!” they yell. After the second loop, the marathoners finish. “Dang that was a long time to be out there!” they say, as you see them plop down in relief. And after the third loop, the five miles that take longer than any five miles you know, you are so relieved to be done! But no one else is there to celebrate with you.

Fortunately, Tony and his sister were there to pick me up at the finish so they cheered me on. There were also some marathoners who I had met on the course (and forgot their names! but they were super nice) who remembered my name and cheered me on the last few yards. It’s cool when people hang around after their race to cheer for us stragglers. (Or to enjoy a well earned beer. But at least they were there!)

Overall the course was pretty great. It was under shade for about 75% of the time which was good, since the temperature was in the 80s for most of the day. There were a few steep, steep climbs in the first two loops, but in general the course was very runnable. The bummer for me was that at the end of all 3 loops, there was a pretty rocky and steep downhill section. If you know me, you know I’m prone to falling. Fortunately, I’ve stayed upright for my last 3 ultra trail races so I take it as a good sign. But I’m still unsteady and not too confident on the downhills. I keep picturing my face meeting the rocks at an intense speed. And the moment I begin to feel confident and relax is the moment I stumble and almost trip. Reality check.

This race was a training run for me and it served its purpose well. I got the miles in for the week and got to practice a lot climbing and descending on some technical parts of the trail. Next up I will be participating in a training run for the Western States 100. I am NOT running the race, but the training runs are open to anyone. The Western States 100 is one of the most popular 100 mile trail races in the world. It’s one of the first ever 100 mile races and it’s been hyped up by many ultrarunning-celebs, most notably Dean Karnazes. Despite this, it still seems like a cool race. It has a lot of climbs and a LOT of descents. The race puts on a weekend of training runs which allows entrants and non-entrants to experience the course. I figure it will be a great experience for me to run a challenging course (or at least 30 miles of it) and rub elbows with some more experienced ultrarunners.  I will need all the training I can get to conquer TRT.

Since I didn’t take any pictures of the 50K course, here are some pictures of my outfit this weekend:

Anyone out there going to WS training camp???


A Week in 6 Photos

Please enjoy:

1. There is a certain intersection on my drive home from work that is so beautiful at the right time of the day. The sun sets to the west, and to the east is a view of the bridge leading me to the other side of the bay. Water all over. Love it.


2. Another view I love. :)


3. & 4. We celebrated Mothers’ Day a week early since my mom will be out of town. Tony and I each had things to do so we drove over separately. Of course, we didn’t coordinate, and both brought dessert. Not a bad problem to have. 

5. The last shipment of my giveaway from came it. Shoes, an outfit, and 7 pairs of Drymax socks in my favorite style (lite trail)!!!!! This is on top of all this Clif products, sunglasses, and Udo’s Oil that I received previously. I’m forever grateful for this giveaway: it’s $900 of gear that I couldn’t have bought myself but will definitely use. Thanks again, Bryon Powell!


6. This month is boring so I’m reliving last month’s accomplishments :) Took this photo from the event’s photographer because I was too cheap to buy it. It’s not great quality, so maybe I’ll cave and buy it one day so when I’m 80 years old and still running ultras at a much slower pace, I’ll remember when I was young and spry.


To my family- Mom, Pop, Jason and most of all Tony: I love you all so much. I don’t always show it but I always feel it. I appreciate all that you’ve done for me and am thankful that you love me just the way I am. I am very blessed to have you all in my life.

To everyone reading: Appreciate those you have while you still have them. Live your life like you’ll die tomorrow. You probably won’t die but you definitely won’t regret living life to the fullest. Life is a precious gift–don’t take it for granted.

Volunteering @ Western Pacific

Last Saturday I volunteered at the Western Pacific Marathon/Half/10k/5k. Despite waking up at 5:30 and standing around in the sun for 8 or so hours without pay, I had a BLAST :)

The race took place at the Quarry Lakes in Fremont. It was a beautiful day already at 6 in the morning when I arrived at the park. I was quickly greeted by super friendly and organized race director Jasmin, of Brazen Racing. She assigned me to aid station #1 and introduced me to the other volunteers I’d be working with. We all gathered our gear (water, fruit, tent, first aid, cooler, etc.) and headed over to our spot which would be the first and last aid station for all the distances except for the 5k.

The great thing about this race was the variety. The 5k had a mix of super speedy people, walkers, and kids. (The female winner of the 5k was a 12 year old girl! Her time was 22 minutes I think. So cool!) The marathon had some serious runners as well as people who were there for their first marathon ever. It was also an official Boston Qualifier, so there were pacers throughout the course. (Funny thing though the pacers were always running by themselves…)

Overall, there were 1600 runners on the course so we were pretty busy for the first hour or so after the guns went off. (The start times were staggered in 15 minute increments: marathon, half, 10k, 5k).

That table full of water was refilled like, 5 times! All those water jugs underneath were gone 2 hours later. We had another table filled with all yummy goodies that people hit hard later in the day.

After the starts, we had a nice lull until the 10k, half, and marathoners looped back around. We were about a mile and a half from the finish. It was super entertaining watching people right before the end of their race, no matter the distance. Some people sped by us with determination on their faces (BQers probably). Others stopped, chatted, and hung out with the snacks. Some kept coming back to the table to stuff their faces with gummy bears and M&M’s, probably postponing that last mile and-a-half as long as they could. Overall, everyone was polite and super happy to see us. 

I stared longingly at all the runners all day long. I ended up getting a little antsy and went on an ice cream run with a fellow AS1er. (Aid Station #1er. Duh.) We jogged a mile to the finish, grabbed some IT’SIT’s, and jogged back to our station. Yes, I jogged on that path in those slippers. Yes, my feet were filthy by the end of the day.

All in all it was an awesome day. I love all things running and it was great to be surrounded by runners all day long. I’m often so consumed with my own running and my own training and my own racing that it was good to be a part of someone else’s race day for once. I will definitely do it again and I’m infinitely more thankful to those volunteers who come out and support the races that I run.

Speaking of races, I’m running this race on Saturday as a training run for my upcoming 50 miler. The longest I’ve run since American River 50 is 11 miles, so this race is gonna be a doozy! I’m just hoping to complete it in under 8 hours. And hopefully recover fast enough to be back at it on Monday.

To anyone out there who has volunteered for a race: THANK YOU!!!!!!!

Mountain Run

Yesterday I tackled my mountain run. I call it a mountain run rather than hill repeats because it’s about 3 miles and 2000 ft. to the peak. So I pretty much run/walk up it and jog down. It’s great because there are all sorts of paths before the peak (at about 1500 feet) so I usually don’t summit and just jog along the rolling hills before I go back down. It is GREAT training for descents, and my quads are definitely on fire today. Time to invest in a rolling stick. Anyone wanna buy me one??

I wore these ginormous shoes called the Lone Peak. They are super rugged yet still low to the ground. They were designed with 100 mile races in mind; for the ultra runner who wants a tough trail runner yet still wants to have the flat and roomy feeling of a barefoot-style shoe.

I also wore my supercool AR50 shirt. I actually really don’t like the shirt, but it was laundry day.

Our gorilla is such a weirdo. He insists on wearing protective goggles everywhere.

Here are some view of the bay from my run:

It is such a difficult hike but sooo beautiful. You curse the mountain but love it at the same time. Almost like a Sour Patch kid–first it’s sour, then so sweet :)

Looking forward to more good runs this week!

Back at it

It has been awhile since my last post for two reasons:

1. Running lately has been lame and uneventful. I don’t enjoy writing about how much running sucks, so I’ll keep those posts to a minimum. Hopefully I’ll have better material this week.

2. I went to a bachelorette weekend getaway. All the details to follow. NOT! What happens in Santa Barbara, stays in Santa Barbara.

Except for this picture:

Me and Victoria, the beautiful bachelorette

So today I’m back at it. Back at blogging, and back at work as well.

My work uniform (minus the shoes): the best part of working in a running store. Don't mind the dorky school photos in the background.

I’m working part time at a running store called ZombieRunner. It is a unique store because there’s a coffee bar inside that serves some of the best coffee in the San Francisco Bay Area. No joke. It also caters to trail runners and ultra runners so it has random but necessary products that not many running stores carry. I worked here for a few months in the fall and early this year, and it was what got me into ultra running in the first place. Wearing supercomfy clothes and running shoes daily is just one of the perks of the job.

Side note: I’m mentioning the store because it’s a great place to come for running gear, NOT because I want y’all to come stalk me. So please don’t stalk me. But if you come in to get some running gear and see me, say hi. I’m usually pretty nice.

As for training, last week sucked. I should probably be easier on myself, but I’m bummed that I didn’t get any good runs in. I know my next race is going to require all of my efforts, so I really must get serious about training. Just so I don’t set myself up for disaster, I’m going to give myself small, manageable, weekly goals.

For this week:

1. One long run over 10 miles. Gradually I’d like to do a 20+ mile long run every other week-this’ll probably be during peak training in May and June, with a few 50K races included as long runs.

2. One tempo run. This would be like 6 miles where I’m running at a good effort the whole time. I know, it doesn’t sound specific, but I don’t keep track of my pace very well.

3. One super hilly (like 2,000 ft elevation) run. This might be my long run, but if not, I want to get out there on the mountain sometime this week if even for 6 short miles.

I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to handle those goals this week. Next Sunday or Monday I’ll reassess new goals for the following week.

As for today, I was planning on doing a 6 mile tempo run on the treadmill but instead I’m going to play… softball??? I’m doing a friend a “favor” by subbing in for a female teammate on their coed team. I’m sure after today he’ll never ask me again.


Deep Thoughts

If you read my blog because I’m witty, pretty, and an amazingly mediocre athlete, then skip this post. This one is gonna have some deep, deep life thoughts and might get a little cheesy and emotional.

Just giving ya’ll a heads up.

Have you ever reminisced about a previous time in your life, thinking, “that was when life was perfect….” Could’ve been high school or college, or when you were first married or first fell in love. (For my parents, I’m sure this was the moment I was born and will continue for the rest of their lives. I’m such a gem.) You remember feeling happy every day, having great friends, and making great memories. You might fondly refer to them as glory days. You wish that you could go back and be that version of yourself, and have that life again, if just for a moment.

You all know what I’m talking about right?

Well, I don’t. I’ve never had the feeling that “these days are the best of my life.” I hated high school, and was terribly insecure for the years leading up to it. My first attempt at college was a fail, and set me up for a lot more discouraging moments regarding school. The first time I moved out, it was great! But it was also lonely and scary. And when I finally went back to college, that was great too, but I never moved away and had the typical 4 year experience when most people make great memories.

My whole life I’ve been very introverted and introspective. I’ve only come out of my shell in the last few years or so, and sometimes still have to work hard to be social, and to not overanalyze things. I’m afraid of so many things: of being awkward, embarrassed, uncool, unfulfilled, dealing with difficult tasks, taking responsibility, and owning up to my mistakes. The list goes on. For too long I’ve stayed in my “comfort zone” because I’m afraid to commit to a career or say the wrong thing or fail at something. Basically, I’ve been afraid to be an adult. And I’m just starting to gain the confidence that comes with age and maturity.

All of this sounds kind of depressing, but it’s not. In a way, I’m excited that over the past few years I’ve tackled a lot of my insecurities. Tony and I have had similar paths with schooling and finding our careers. We’ve both struggled along the way, and are dealing with the biggest struggle of all at the moment. When we finally decided what we wanted to do in life (teaching for me, firefighting for Tony), life threw us some curveballs. For various reasons, it’ll be a little while longer before we get settled with jobs that make us fulfilled. The reason for all this rambling is because I know that my glory days are yet to come. I’m sad that I can’t reminisce on extremely happy times in my life, but I’m happy that I’ve learned a lot about myself and have become good at living in the moment and accepting live as it comes. I know that life may not be perfect, but I’m getting much better at living it.

So, although I can’t reminisce about better times, I can tell you the moment that my life became infinitely better.

The moment I met this guy:

Ok, SO CHEESY! I’ll be back to my normal self next post :)

Running is LAME :(

Today was NOT a good running day, so I’ve decided that running is super-lame and only super-uncool people do it.


A few reasons why my run sucked:

I got winded really easily. Why does this happen? Some days I find myself losing my breath even when I’m keeping a slow, steady pace. What gives? I don’t get it. I’ve been running for 15 years and I’m in fairly good condition, so why am I getting winded when I’m not even running fast? And how can I train to prevent this from happening?

My knee was kind of hurting. Not throbbing or intense pain, but since I wasn’t feeling too hot in general I decided not to run through this knee pain for the sake of a crappy run. I was a reminder that I cannot take my knees for granted. Tony is in between knee surgeries  and constantly reminds me that I should be thankful for my physical health. I owe it to him and my knees to take better care of myself. SICS (Stretch, Ice, Cross train, Strength train); it’s the new RICE!

My stomach was bugging. Which could have been because I ate some of this yesterday…

"Chicken and Waffle" sandwich: French toast bun, pancake battered chicken breast, bacon, and sweet potater tots

Or because I ate one of these last night…

Tony's has the fruit. Mine has the Fruity Pebbles

Or it could have just been because I was running by this:

Hey Bay, why so stinky??

Don’t mind my fuzzy finger.

Either way, it was a disappointing day “back in training”. I went to the gym and biked for an hour, hoping that would make me feel like I put in work. It didn’t.

So today, it’s back on track with the healthy eating. I’m going out of town this weekend for a bachelorette party, so I’m going to attempt to eat as cleanly as I can until then.

Tomorrow I’m running 10 miles, no matter how long it takes. It’ll either be on the treadmill (with 2-3 episodes of One Tree Hill to keep me company!) or on a steep trail by my house that I haven’t run in months. Easy or hard, but 10 miles either way.

Hope no one else is having a case of the Mondays!!

Are you sick of hearing about AR50 yet?

Because I’m not sick of talking about it! Besides, my life is pretty boring during this recovery week so rather than blog about what I ate, I’ll share some shots of me in action.

My boyfriend Tony likes taking videos on his iphone. The other day we were watching a movie and I started laughing so hard I couldn’t breathe. Tears were coming out of my eyes and I was grabbing my stomach while making these funny gasping noises. Of course Tony got it all on video without my knowing. Fortunately, he’s a certified EMT and I can only hope he would have stopped video-ing to resuscitate me if I had passed out for lack of oxygen.
Anywho, here are some videos from last Saturday.




I’m not sure what order they’re in. They’re kind of boring; I didn’t stop for too long at the aid stations. Tony was telling me there was a cheesy motivational guy at some of the aid stations but I think he was really talking about himself. You can hear him yelling at me in the background.

On another, exciting note, I won an AWESOME giveaway from Bryon Powell at I’ll be getting some Mountain Masochist II’s (shoes), a running outfit from Mountain Hardwear, Clif products, sunglasses from Ryders Eyewear, Drymax socks, and a bottle of Udo’s Oil. I’ll probably post a million photos when the package arrives because I love getting new running gear. This is perfect timing too, seeing as I’m unemployed and training for my next 50M.

Yay for winning!!!