Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Friday, December 7, 2007

High Desert Ultra 50K: Last Race of the year

Our Trail running year unfortunately has come to an end. But Tanya and I can't think of any better way to end the year then to run the friendliest Ultra around; the High Desert Ultra in Ridgecrest, CA. This race was my first Ultra marathon, so I feel an attachment to it. We decided to drive up the morning of the race this year. Our friend and Training partner Jeannette Ewing picked us up at an early 4am. Ridgecrest is about a 2 hour drive, with the race starting at 7am this would give us plenty of time to get there. We arrived at the Cerro Coso Community College right at 6am the outside temperature was 29 degrees (Brrrr), the walkers where just leaving from the starting line. For those who wish to walk the course they are allowed the opportunity to get an early start. Nice I think.

(Tanya and Jeannette just before the start)
We picked up our bib number and goodie bag, and ran in those familiar faces we see all the time. It was like a big Ultra Reunion. What we just love about the Ultra world is the family atmosphere, some times you forget names but never the faces.
The run started right on time at 7:00am with a chilly temperature of 30 degrees, I guess I was not brave enough to run in shorts as many others did.

( Ultra friends: Leigh,Jeannette,Shannon,Kathleen)
The morning was so beautiful, you could see the desert landscape, and the surrounding mountains for miles and miles and miles. Jeannette and I ran together, while Tanya hung back for much of the race talking and walking with old and new friends. But she always seems to be able to make up time and distance very quickly :) So Jeanette and I got into a slow but early rhythm, our goal was to finish strong and try to go under 6 hours and 30 minutes.
( A desert raven saying hello to the runners)
As the miles passed and we ventured farther into the desert, the rock formations became more abundant and just interesting to look at. I believe that millions of years ago this area must have been a sea due to the rounded shapes of the rocks. But I'm not a geologists :)

(Me and Tanya hanging out with the ROCKS)
As the morning turned to afternoon the temperature began to rise, and we started stripping layers, but it was a perfect day for running. There was no other place I would rather be.
Jeannette and I began to pick up the pace after the halfway point and our plan was working. We where passing people and making up time. Way to go Jeannette, she was on her way to setting a new PR! As we approached the finish line, with about a 1/4 of a mile to go, who was right behind us? Tanya! she knows how to close and finish a race, it was good to see her and we all finished together.

(The 3 amigo's another race and year done 2008 here we come)

We missed our goal of 6 hours and 30 minutes; but we gave it a good shot finishing in 6 hours and 37 minutes. A new 50K PR for Jeannette! Way to Go!

After crossing the finish line we grabbed a slice of Pizza and I looked for the KEG but the beer was all gone :( Guess I have to run faster next year :) We took a nice hot shower, chatted with friends and then hit the road. 2007 was a great year, and the High Desert 50K was a great way to finish it. Thinking of stepping up to the ultra distance, then the High Desert Ultra is the race for you! I'll see you all there next year!

Monday, November 26, 2007

SB9T's Race Report

Tanya and I traveled north to Santa Barbara this past weekend to run the Santa Barbara 9 trail endurance run. As I mentioned in a previous post Tanya ran this race last year, she explained to me it was a challenge. A challenge? it was more like a test of will, fortitude, credence, and throw in "peace in the middle east".

When we arrived at the start/finish area we began seeing the usual So. Cal. ultra suspects: Andy, Kirk ,George ,Xy, Deb ,Fred, Dina. But seeing Gary and Pam Hiliard made my day! Man Gary looks great, he is getting his strength back, and just seeing and talking to him was an inspiration.

After the RD (Luis E) made final announcements we where ready to get started, Tanya and I decided to run the entire race together today. Sometimes we do our own thing, but staying together makes for an enjoyable day, not only do we keep each others company, we feed off one another: this keeps us rolling especially in those latter miles.

The race starts with about a .25 mile uphill climb on pavement before you reach the trail, so we decided to hang back and walk this section. Save those legs and much needed glycogen. At the trail head was Gary H. giving high fives as we hit the dirt. We headed downhill then across a river bed each of which are full of uneven ground and rocks. If this first section was a glimpse of what was ahead I knew I was in for a long day! But I thought to myself there is no other place I would rather be, running a new trail in a beautiful place on a fantastic day. I said out loud "This is the day that the Lord had made let us rejoice and be glad in it".

Tanya and I began to get into a rhythm. Together as we trekked up the first climb, as we reached an opening the spectacular view grabbed our attention. Santa Barbara, the Pacific Ocean, and the Channel islands in there fullest. We had to stop and take it in, it was great.

As we approached the road section we caught a small pelaton of runners, which included Kirk, Thomas, and a few others. We exchanged friendly words as we ran down the road to the Gilbrator aid station. The volunteers were great and very motivating, but best of all the station was clean, and the food was great, very organized and helpful to each runner.

As we left the Aid Station, volunteers yelled have fun on the down hill, which we did but they failed to mention the climb on the other side. I began to feel like a big Yo-Yo if you weren't going down hill you were going up hill. My poor back, there was a short section we had to almost crawl through. It was a tunnel made of laid over bamboo trees. I did not like that section to much, but what would a trail race be with-out some adventure. Not to far from this area the air began to smell like a sulphur bath, maybe there was a natural hot spring in the area. Our maybe somebody had to many beans the night before :)

We finally made it to the turn around point(17.9 miles I believe) our time was 4 hours and 55 mins. We felt good about this time. We Fueled up, filled our bladders ate some food and where out of there in about 4 mins. Time to head home. Last year Tanya finished the race in 1 1 hours and 12 mins, so we felt if we could keep this pace she would definitely beat that time, and if we really felt good maybe even run a negative split and go under 10 hours.

Well to make a long story short that negative split did not happen. But we did finish in 10 hours and 27 minutes. A time that we both were very happy with. The course did not get any easier going back, but we finished strong . We passed about 5-6 runners; we where not passed. Not that we are competing against anyone, but we always try to keep it fun and find ways to motivate ourselves to keep "rocking and rolling".

It felt great to make it to the finish line and we didn't even need to use our night lights! Once we crossed the finish line Tanya had a cold bottle of water and I had a cold Coke-cola. Not the healthiest drink, but to me nothing tastes better than and Ice cold Coke after a long run; well maybe and ice cold brew. But because I was driving home I didn't want to go there :) We hung around, cheered in some other runners and then headed back down the 101.

If you are looking for a challenging, and technical run then SB9T's is for you.


Monday, November 19, 2007

Training on Mt Baldy

Ready or Not SB9T here we come, you can't hide

One week to go before Tanya and I travel north to Santa Barbara, Ca to take on the challenge of Santa Barbara 9 Trails. Last year Tanya ran this race, but due to fatigue and injury I sat out. I feel I am up to the challenge this year; and by what Tanya told me it will be a formidable challenge. The miles of this race are 35 but the typical finishing times are more that of a 50 miler, so that information alone says much about the challenge ahead. So in preparation, we ran and hiked Mt. Baldy this past Saturday by way of the Devil's Backbone, then down the Bear Flats trail to the Baldy village for a total of roughly 14 mountain miles.

Hey you Guys LOOK! Mountain bighorn sheep.

We where blessed to get a glimpse of the elusive Mountain sheep that live on the high peaks of the San Gabriel mountains. Many people hike these mountains for years and never see them; but Tanya have seen them on many occasions.
Tanya and Jeanette crossing the infamous "Devil's Backbone" heading towards the Summit.

The Summit was calm today, virtually no wind, and we where high above the fog that covered the valleys below.

The valley below covered in fog or should I say smog where millions are still sleeping, the mountains are so close but most won't ever enjoy their beauty.

A shot of a section of the bear flats trail descending to the Baldy Village, also a beautiful trail, but have steep and rocky sections. Is said to be the most challenging trail in the San Gabriel's. Santa Barbara here we come.


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Bonelli Park Stairs

This past weekend we explored some trails in Bonelli Park, We have run there before but never explored the fire roads and single track trails in and around the lake. We had a great time, the trails are well maintained, and consisted of nice climbs, easy downhills, and flats to get great tempo runs in. I think we will be back often.

Tanya, Jeannette, and I going down, down, down. The stairs at Bonelli Park in San Dimas rival the stairs in Santa Monica. If you look there are so many places to get your work-out on. Stairs are a great way to work the legs and the glutes, and boy do they get the heart rate up!!
" Fitness for Life"

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The Future: 2008

As you can see I have gotten carried away with the countdown timers. Hey, I think they are cool!! We have two more races in store for 2007, but we are planning ahead and looking forward to more fun adventures in 2008.
It's official we are heading back to Huntsville Texas to take on the challenge of the Rocky Raccoon 100 miler, We where not successful there last year we both pulled out at mile 75. We plan on finishing this year :)

This is a short list of possible adventures ahead:

*Rocky Raccoon 100

*Lost Dutchman Marathon

*Los Angeles Marathon

*Grand Canyon Rim to Rim

2008 is going to be great, it will be a year of new challenges and new opportunities.

See you all out there.

"Wake Up and Live" B. Marley

Monday, November 5, 2007

JJ100 Race Report

Javelina Jundred was my 4th 100 miler.I'm having more fun by the miles.
After prepping our campsite, we cooked dinner and went to the pre race check-in. While there we exchanged hugs and hellos to all our old and brand-new ultra friends.We just love that.
Time to hit the pillow, A night under the stars and bright full moon light, we slept like babies. Saturday morning 6:00am 132 participants were off to conquer 100 miles, and try to have fun while doing it.
My first lap was over before I knew it, clocking 2:46:30. Much Much to fast.My husband Marc reminded me to slow it down. I did.
The second lap I noticed I wasn't the only one who had slowed the pace down.It started to get a little warm. And I knew what the hot temps do to the body.
Third lap, I settled into a more comfortable pace while fueling and hydrating. This lap,the sun was EXTREMELY hot hot hot. I had to keep my face covered with a damp scarf to keep it from burning. The sun was beating down, man! My husband Marc (always my chief crew when not running himself) supported me at the Headquarters aid station as was the wonderful JJ100 fans and volunteers.
Forth lap, the sun was setting giving us runners who made it through the blistering day cooler night hours. What a beautiful sun set.
Fifth lap I was still feeling pretty strong, but I knew the battle wasn't over. I had to tough it through those wee hours till morning.
Sixth lap was my toughest. After I got a little anxious, I rushed I made a silly mistake. I did not take enough food down, and did not put on my long pants. My little knees fought the chill in the early am hours.. Marc (my pacer at this time) gave me his shirt; which I wrapped around my waist to cover the front of my legs. It really warmed me up.
The Seventh lap and final lap warmed up quickly and I didn't want to be out in the morning heat to long. So we picked up the pace again. Always trying to have fun we took pictures and sang songs which we love to do together. I was able to finish strong.
Thanks to all the volunteers and race fans who cheered me on throughout the entire event.

I Love you all. I look forward to seeing some of you in Santa Barbara and Ridgecrest

Stay Healthy and Fit.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Javelina Hundred Picture Diary

We arrived in Fountain Hills Arizona on Friday October 26, 2007 the afternoon before the race, hence the fountain in Fountain Hills.
Tanya Chill'en at the race headquarters Friday night. The 100 miles will begin a 6am Saturday.

The "Ghost ship" and our campsite where I would be chill'en during the day, acting as Tanya's crew and chef. Ya got to eat a lot while running 100 miles!!

Tanya checking out the starting line 15 minutes before race time! Time to get into the "zone" it will be a long day.An they are off!!
The Sun rises upon this day, beautiful.

The eventual race winner Jorge Pacheco, the guy is pure class. A special runner and a great guy. Michelle Barton the female winner last year. This year she led for many loops, but fell to second this year. But no points lost, she is as awesome as ever. Michael Hayden is on her heels, he was the youngest finisher last year at 17 years old.
Tanya cruising during the midday heat which reached the triple digits. You GO!!

I don't know where she finds all that energy!!

The day is gone and the sun is setting, the temps will be dropping and Tanya will be stomping :)
Bye dear, I'll see you in about 4 hours. she's heading out onto trail again after a short stop that consisted of a shoe change and some warm soup to keep her motor running.

A picture of base camp, and all of the runners, and crews tents.
The sun is almost down, and the coyotes will soon be howling.

Day 2, the heat has affected Tanya's brain. She is playing with cactus!!
Tanya heading out on her final loop, the morning sun has risen fast. She is going to try and beat the heat.

Marc, Honey I did it!, Now come give me a hug.

No way, not until you take a shower!
KIRK!!! You did it man!!! Kirk Fortini finishing his first 100 miler. You are the MAN!!

Aw, she was voted "Miss Congeniality" isn't that special.

Another 100 miler down and many more to run!! thanks for looking and check back later for Tanya's race report.