Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Xterra Snow Valley Trail Run 21K Recap

Last Sunday I ran in the Xterra Snow Valley 21K trail run. I had been looking forward to this race for quite a long time. Last year I was a DNS (did not start) because of a crazy horrible illness and I was in need of some redemption. The course is ran in the Rim Nordic ski area right across the street from the Snow Valley Ski Resort and is an amazing course that is both challenging and beautiful.

The weekend prior to the race, my Brother and I decided we should go and preview the course. I am glad that we did because the course is harder than what we remembered. The course is a 1K loop then followed by 2 laps of a 10K loop. All this at an elevation above 6,700 ft.

The race is only a 1.5 hour drive away, so after I finished eating a light breakfast, my family and I drove up on the morning of the race. We arrived and I was able to pickup my bib and my runner swag bag really quick. There were no lines at registration or at the bathrooms, I love this race because of how easy and quick everything is. After looking around like a lost puppy, I found my Brother and found out that he was dropping down to the 10K race.

Thank you Mrs. Speedypants for coming and cheering me on.
Although it was already fairly warm and looking like it was going to really heat up for the day, I decided that I would be alright with just bringing my handheld water bottle. After a little bit of stretching and preparing I joined the other 21K runners near the starting area to listen to the final instructions from the race director. Then at 8:15am we were off and running.

Nervously standing around waiting for the start of the race.
1K loop - 3:51

This loop is fairly flat and is perfect to start warming up your legs before running up the mountain. I took it easy and just stayed in the middle of the pack.

This must be my "serious" racer face

1st 10K loop - 1:03:39

The first 2 miles is the steepest and I really tried to hold back my pace on this part. Even though I felt like I was going slow I was still passing a few runners, so I forced myself to fast hike certain steep parts to help slow myself down and conserve my energy. The next mile and a half is an easier incline but it still feels tough because your legs are still burning from the previous miles and your lungs are still trying to get used to the altitude. I stuck to a couple runners and the three of us pushed the pace for the rest of the lap, especially on the downhill. I don't think I would have ran so fast down the hill if it weren't for them. As I was in the running zone and watching the ground, the Snow Valley Devil came out from behind a bush and freaked me out. I am surprised that I don't see a huge spike in my heart rate reading.

  Thanks to my Daughter for this pic.

2nd 10K loop - 1:11:36

As I finished the first lap I could hear my wife cheering for me. I really needed that because I was already dreading having to climb back up the mountain. This time going up the mountain I was in complete contrast of the first time up. I was going slow and had to force myself to actually run rather than hike. The other two runners I had been running with were hurting just as much so I decided to break away from them. This really helped me mentally because I really did not want them to catch back up to me. I continued running alone and pushing myself to keep moving. I caught up to a few 10K runners and then to my surprise one of them called out my name. It was my twitter friend Christine @OatmealBowl. We exchanged a few quick pleasantries as I ran by. I kept running hard and as I came to the last half mile I started to hear a runner behind me. I instinctively knew that it was one of the 2 runners I was with earlier. Even though my legs were burning and I was exhausted I summoned all the energy, and strength I had to make a last push for the last half mile. I didn't look back, but I could hear that he was getting closer. I finally came around the final turn and could see the finish. I finished less than 2 seconds ahead of him. I shook his hand and I was glad that the race was over.

Official Time: 2:19:07
Overall Place: 18 out of 64
Age Group Place: 2 out of 5

Woo-hoo! 2nd in my age group.

My Brother ended up with 3rd in his age group for the 10K

I am really happy with how my race turned out. I would have preferred a more even 10K split but I ran strong and was able to really push myself. Every race I have done this year I can see vast improvements in my performance both physically and mentally. I am recovering this week but I already can't wait till my next race.

I really like the Xterra Snow Valley event. Everything is really well done. The swag bag had several goodies, registration is super fast, plenty of actual bathrooms, lots of parking, course is amazing and well marked, aid stations are in perfect spots, and the post race food was great. I am definitely coming back next year.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Trophies, Training, and Lightning

Happy Friday! That means that the weekend is almost here, woot!

If only it were that easy Bill. (source)

The other day I finally got the trophies that I had ordered. It seems that every time my brothers and I get together, our competitive nature comes out. It's not necessarily on purpose or planned, it just ends up being that way. The three of us only get a chance to get together once or twice a year so I guess it is in our nature to size each other up on those occasions. Whether it is hiking, camping, running, playing board games or video games, etc. We are competing for bragging rights. Because of this I ended up ordering some trophies to commemorate these occasions. It is also because I proved that I was the fastest during the 4th of July 10k race and I of course would have the Champion's trophy for now.

Yes, I am a nerd. I like board games and ordering trophies for myself.

1st place for me.

1st loser for the Spartan for now.

Last place for the Warrior for now.  It was surprisingly easy to find a toilet trophy. haha.

In other news, my next race is the Xterra Snow Valley 21K on the 27th of this month. This event also has a 10K which was actually my very first 10K race I had ever done back in 2012. The course is beautiful but tough. Training has gone really well for this race. I have even included some speed workouts during the week, mostly because my coworkers don't show up and so I turn the Wednesday social run into a speed workout for myself.

A training run on the Pacific Crest Trail

A run to the top of Cougar Crest Trail

A Run at race pace. Obviously the elevation gain is not even close to race conditions.

I was catching up on the Hardrock 100 coverage and learned that the third place finisher, Adam Campbell was struck by lightning during the race. It is hard enough to even finish a 100 mile race let alone get struck by lightning and still podium. That is amazing. Here is the link to an interview he gave after the race:

Have a great weekend everybody!

Monday, July 7, 2014

2014 Apple Valley Firecracker 10k Recap

I hope everyone had a fantastic 4th of July weekend. Last Friday I participated in a local 10k race with my two brothers. It was a race we were really looking forward to for a while because it was going to be the first race the three of us would be able to run together. So after a week of smack talk and our competitiveness building, we were able to finally toe the line and see who would be the best.

Preview of the three of us can be found in the last post.

I apologize for the fuzzy pics. I guess I shouldn't clean the lens with steel wool.

I got to the race start area nice and early. Which gave me plenty of time to register, visit the port-a-potty, and do some nervous stretching while waiting for the race start.

The nervous waiting.

As the time got close to the race start the race director put out a few notes about the course and than at 7:30am he sounded the air horn and we were off. The temperature was already in the 70's so I knew that it was going to be a hot race.

The three of us started off running together and I don't know if it was our adrenaline or excitement but we were running way too fast. After a half mile the Warrior smartly started dropping back. The Spartan kept with me and so I decided to risk keeping up this fast pace and try to beat him mentally. I just kept hiding how bad I was hurting and at about mile 1.5 he dropped back. I celebrated a little inside because my gamble had worked. I slowed the pace a little but I had to keep up the illusion that I was running stronger than I was a little longer.

At about mile 2.5 I stopped to walk through a water station. I grabbed 2 cups of water and I poured one on my head and drank the other. I wanted to look back to see where my Brothers were but I decided against it. If they were close, than I would run faster than I should. If they were far back I might start running slower than what I wanted. So without looking back, I quickly left the aid station and settled into a good pace. 

At about the 4.5 mile mark was the next water station. I was running a good pace but this aid station could not come fast enough. I was starting to regret not bringing my handheld water bottle on this hot day. I again stopped to walk through this water station. My legs were burning and definitely were mad at me for not doing any speed workouts. I again drank and doused myself with some water and was quickly back to running.

I turned the final corner and could finally see the finish. I could hear Mrs. Speedypants cheering for me and I was able to turn up the pace and finish strong. I got some water and than waited for my Brothers to finish. I really didn't know who would finish next. Soon enough though The Spartan turned the corner and in his style sprinted the last quarter mile at a blistering pace. Than shortly after, The Warrior came around the corner and finished.
That's me!
Captain Speedypants
Official Time: 49:30
Overall Place: 18 out of 82
Age Group Place:  2nd

Spartan had too much energy at the end.
The Spartan
Official Time: 59:52
Overall Place: 31 out of 82
Age Group Place: Did not place

The Warrior finishes slow and steady.
The Warrior
Official Time: 1:00:28
Overall Place: 33 out of 82
Age Group Place: Did not place

I got 2nd in my age group and I finished with a PR!

I am signifying that I was second, have I mentioned before how awkward I am with my pic being taken.

We had a lot of fun racing each other. I am sure I have a target on my back now and I will gladly defend my title. Now, I just have to create a trophy to commemorate the day that I became Champion.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Firecracker 4th of July 10K Competitors

Tomorrow I plan on running a local 10K race. I haven't ran in a 10K since the Bunny Run and I have only done a handful of speed workouts since then. I do have an extra incentive to run really well though because my youngest Brother is visiting this week from Georgia. You may remember him from last year when he ran in my place at last year's Xterra Snow Valley trail race. Tomorrow's race will be a big deal in the Speedypants family in regards to bragging rights. Here is our we line up.

Captain Speedypants
"I might have pooped my pants"

Age: 32
Height: 5'10"
Weight: 190lbs
Advantages- Highest endurance, the most training miles.
Disadvantages- Oldest, heaviest, least amount of natural speed.
Other factors- No speed work in a month, have had an easy week of running and should be rested.

The Warrior
"I don't like people"

Age: 30
Height: 6'0"
Weight: 175lbs
Advantages- Longest legs, great speed.
Disadvantages- Not a lot of training miles recently.
Other factors- Has had speed workouts, really turns it up competitively, lots of natural ability.

The Spartan
"I'm tired"

Age: 22
Height: 5'9"
Weight: 150lbs
Advantages- Lightest, great speed, most natural running ability, youngest.
Disadvantages- Not a lot of training miles recently, training has been in humid Georgia and not dry California.
Other Factors- Great overall fitness, has participated and done well in obstacle races.

 So who will rise to the occasion and perform when it matters most? We will find out tomorrow morning.

Back in our Boy Band days.

Is anyone else participating in a race this weekend?

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

June Recap

June has always been my favorite month of the year. It was the beginning of School Summer break when I was growing up, my birthday is in June, and the weather finally gets warm enough to go swimming. This year it seemed to be a very busy month for me. I ran a tough 15 mile trail race, went on vacation, had my birthday, and I ran for over 100 miles for the month. I did suffer a little with my cross training though as I found myself short on time and motivation for it most days. But that is why I do these recaps, so I can see where I am in my training and what I need to start or continue working on.

June Stats

Total Miles - 107 miles
Longest Run - 15 miles
Total Time - 18:21:26 (hrs: mins: secs)
Elevation Gain - 7,756 ft.

June Races

June 8th - Holcomb Valley Trail Run (recap)

Official Time: 2:37:51
Overall Place: 22 out of 85
Age Group Place: 10 out of 13


I have exceeded 100 miles for a second month in a row which I am proud of. All the other categories for the month were a little lower but I am alright with that. I feel that June was a successful month for me and my running. I haven't chosen a marathon for the end of the year yet. There are just too many great ones out there. I do realize that I will have to pick one soon though so I can make sure I can be ready for the course.

Big Bear Lake, CA

Path I ran during my vacation

All sweaty from a good run

Bolsa Chica Path
At a Dodger game on my birthday

July Plans

I have two races planned for the month of July. I have the Apple Valley Firecracker 10k on July 4th. After that I have the Xterra Snow Valley Trail Run 21k at the end of the month on July 27th.  I really hope that July will be just as awesome as June was.

Stat Total for the Year

Total Miles - 478
Longest Run - 15.9 miles
Total Time - 82:31:42 (hrs: mins: secs)
Elevation Gain - 35,724 ft.

How was your month of June?