Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Race Recap: Irvine Like Mud Run {Summer of Mud}

Irvine, CA

I love mud runs. I really do - though I've only done Warrior Dash prior, I think they're a blast. I don't take them seriously (because I know I'd get hurt if I did), but they're a great opportunity to just have some fun and laught at yourself in the process. Doug and I (and a friend of ours) signed up for this a few months ago, but in the end it was just Doug and I than ran it. That's okay - all the fun for us! 

Pre-mud fun!
Our wave time was 10:12 am, since we were signed up as a team. The whole race wave system is set up for timed individuals, then timed teams, then untimed individuals and finally untimed teams. There were a ton of people signed up for this and I wasn't sure how the waves would actually work, given how specific the times were. But to my surprise, there were two people at the entry to the start corral to check that you were actually entering the start corral. We realized that, especially for the timed teams, the waves were quite small so you could actually get in and through pretty easily. 

The whole park is pretty awesome - the race starts and finishes into the same plaza that's outlined in trees and shade (and consequently completely taken over!). There are a dozen food trucks, booths, and tables and vendors to go check out. It was quite the race party! 

We didn't look at the race map at all until we saw a large, blown-up version at the start plaza. The course is sold at "approximately a 5K," but the board with this map noted that it was 3.93 miles - and check out those obstacles! 32! Even if they're all small little obstacles, I think I'd count that as a deal! 

Because I cannot obviously remember all 32 in order, I'll tell you this: of 32, I'd say 85% of them were mud, mud pits, or at least muddy water pools to crawl, walk, or swim through. The first three were all mud pits of nearly waist-deep mud water (at least on me, it's waist deep!). By far, the best obstacle was at the top of a hill, where three slides were waiting. These slides are probaby 50 feet long, and the bottom third of the slide drops even more, so you pick up a ton of speed toward the end and are promptly thrusted into a POOL of mud and mud water. Under water, like you've gotta come up gasping for breath... they had volunteers in the pool with inflatables just to help people get out. SO AWESOME.

The lake provides a great background, as the course follows all these off-road trails that are probably super awesome to ride on. However, being that it was June, the lake was rather taunting, as all I wanted to do was jump on. Several reminders told us we weren't allowed. Good thing there were other mud pits to cool off in! 

Second to last obstacle(s). 
Our posted finish time was 1:23:40, and we figure we spent at least 5 minutes in line at the slides, and another net-climbing obstacle towards the finish. So we probably could have done the course in 1:10 even had it not been for all those pesky lines!

Coming through the last mud pit! 
This company does 2 or 3 mud runs down at Irvine Lake throughout the year. I'd love to do one of theirs again, as they were super awesome and a pretty good deal. Apparently, they ran out of race shirts, so if you hadn't picked up your race bib and packets prior, there was a chance you got a shirt from a previous race (that sucks). They also didn't have enough of this race's medals, so there was a secondary version they were giving out instead. We got lots of offers to trade... um, no thanks. 

All in all, a great day! I had just gotten the news about my job the day before, so this was the perfect distraction for me and a great time with Doug! 

Are you a mud run fan? What's your favorite been?

Monday, July 7, 2014

Race Recap: Renegade Trail Race Series #1

Renegade Summer Trail Series #1
June 19 | Tustin, CA

I am so far behind on things (and to think, I'd actually mapped out these next few weeks!), it ain't even funny. But I'm finally catching up and will get back ahead of schedule and where I'm supposed to be. More on that soon. At any rate... trail race #2 finally came and went. If you remember, the race in San Dimas was my first ever trail race - and it was tough. I wasn't totally sold on this trail racing thing.

Spoiler: I'm still not sold.

This race (and the two following in July and August) are all at a regional park down in Orange County. The park has trails, fitness stations and all kinds of things and I could easily tell why its parking lots were insanely crowded - not just for the race! After a little parking chaos, I finally found a spot and made my way to haul butt to check in.

They didn't print our bibs for those of us that had signed up for the entire 4-part series, so we were required to do another paper form and get a non-assigned bib. Better though, for the "inconvience," we were given both a BBQ ticket and a shirt (registration fees came with one or the other). Win!

In the parking frenzy, I left my watch in the trunk of my car. Ah well, no better way than to do a new race (and only my second trail race) than without any idea of what kinda time you're running, right? right.

I really wasn't sure what to expect then, so I just went with it. This June loop and August loop are the same; July's course (this week) is the same loop, just in reverse. It's nice at least get a feel of what you're running!

The first two miles are pretty much staright up - rocky trails though unlike San Dimas, it's not single-track, so I appreciated that fact. I did manage to pass some folks, so it was a nice little confidence boost that I was still moving forward and making progress.

Being that this is a city park and full of trails, trees and is huge, there were tons of people outt riding bikes, walking dogs, and apparently there are some popular horse trails in and around here too. Fun park!

These hills suck. Seriously though. I knew, though, that the last of the hills came at the turnaround, and the last 2.5 home were all flat, if not rolling downwards a little bit. Once I hit the volunteer at the top, and knew that my hills were done, I booked home as much as I was able without pushing too hard.

At the end, you're greeted with a BBQ and a great park environment. Tons of families came to cheer on their runners, and they were camped out with blankets, towels, and were clearly here just to hang! Hopefully for the next one I can convince someone to come hang out in the park while I run and be my cheerleader too. :)

Not too bad of a finish - something like 7th or 8th in my age group out of 13. I'll take it! Bring on the second race of this series - it's this Thursday! Hopefully this hill hiking I've been doing with mom and Molly so much lately will pay off and I can hill the hills this time around!

Are you a trail fan? Why or why not?

Friday, July 4, 2014

A Non-Peachtree Recap + Giveaway Winner!

Happy 4th of July!

Well, for the first time since I started running, I didn't have a race on July 4. The last two years, I've done the epicly amazing Peachtree Road Race (10K) in Atlanta and am finding myself desperately missing it this year. As many a Georgia runner will tell you, you weren't considered a Georgia runner until you ran Peachtree at least once. Lucky for me, I got to run it twice... and never under my own name!

Friends after finishing the 2012 Peachtree.
This  morning, I wanted to go up to a local 5K but thought better of it and decided I'd run on my own around the city. I figured I could still at least get dressed up, represent the red, white and blue, and have my own fun. And I did. But it was hot and it got gross quick, even though I was out the door before 7:30. I'm going to start having to get up quite earlier to get through these next few weeks... June gloom is over.

I figured 4 miles for the Fourth was appropriate - but man, they were not easy!

The end of my day will look like this, filled with all the patriotic desserts I can stuff my face with - complete with fireworks and all the corresponding patriotic fun:

Yummm... I cannot wait!

In other exciting news, I get to finally pass on the super exciting prize of running Nike Women's San Francisco Half Marathon with Team in Training.

Congratulations Alex! I'll be emailing you this weekend to confirm and sending you all the information you need to know! I hope you have a BLAST and can't wait to here all about it!

What are you doing for the Fourth? Have a wonderful and safe celebration!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

June Recap


June's monthly mileage was about 58 miles - I know for a fact that I missed logging a run somewhere, but even with 58, I'm pretty satisfied. If you look at the last few months, I'm finally on the upswing - and figures that's heading into summer even! So if I can stick on this pattern and keep putting in the miles each month, I'm happy. There is definitely work to be done, but you gotta start somewhere, yes?

Total run mileage: 58
Highest weekly run mileage: 
# Runs: 20
# Rest days: 9
# Cross-training workouts: 3 walk/hikes with mom and Molly! 
# Races: 3
     - Fontana Days Half | Recap
    -  Renegade Series #1 | Recap later this week!
    - Irvine Mud Run | Recap later this week!

Favorite run: Last weekend, Doug and I did the Irvine Lake Mud Run. I know some people's thoughts towards them, but frankly.. they're fun. They're a good time. And truly for kicks and giggles, so why not? I could never take them as seriously as some folks (I'm a little accident prone) but they're fun. It was just the two of us that did this one, but we have a whole group of us doing another one in August up in the mountains. 

I've done Warrior Dash once before, and while that's in that "mud run" category, WD couldn't even compare to this one. This was just under 4 miles and had 32 (YES, 32!) obstacles throughout. Kid you not, I'd say 25 of those were mudpits or mudpools - including a 50-foot slide into a 9-foot mud pool. So awesome. The course is all run on an off-roading trail, so you know it's climbs and turns - and a good time. This rocked. The same company does several mud runs at Irvine Lake each year, and I think I'd jump on another one of theirs for sure!

Most hardcore run:  I struggled if this was my favorite run or most hardcore run - and I think it wins both (but we're gonna go with hardcore). Fontana was the hardest thing I've ever done and now, almost a month later, I still find it unbelievable that I was able to push that hard. 

I'm a sub-2er. I did it. And heck, at that, I blasted past sub-2! I still give (mostly) full credit to Michael, who won't take much of it, but whatever. I've never had a pacer (a personal one at that) who pushed me beyond what I even thought I was capable of. So now I sit at a 1:56 half marathon PR and wonder what on earth is supposed to come next! 

A little lovin' from the F3 folks. <3

Current obsession: The World Cup! Need I say more? #ibelievethatwewillwin 

Current song: Because, duh. And it's been the halftime song at nearly every World Cup game these last few weeks and it's awesome.

Current need: I'll keep this short. See below under Current Goal.

Current triumph: Sub-2. Enough said! :)

Current goal: Well. Here I lay it all out there for you. June was also rough as towards the end of the month, I was laid off. I'm going on day 11 of funemployment and I feel like the most unproductive member of society right now. I'm disappointed, obviously, and frustrated and upset, but frankly, that won't get me anywhere and won't help me move forward. That being said... new goal... get a job! 

What are your biggest accomplishments from this month? Goals for July?

PS! Don't forget to enter the giveaway for a team spot with TNT for the Nike San Francisco Women's Half Marathon! Closes tonight at midnight!