Monday, August 20, 2012

Mount Disappointment 33 mile trail run

It is 4am on a Saturday morning, already the mercury is 75 F, I meet 3 other friends as we car pool together to Mount Wilson the race begins at 6.30am and we have to pick up our numbers and prepare our supplies for at least 7 hours of challenging trails.
Early hours of the morning we pose under the finish line banner
45 mins before race briefing Hope & I see Andy who just finished AC100 a few weeks ago!

With my race number 6 pinned onto my running skirt, I check my water, perpetuem and Hammer gels, I have two ginger chews, Endurolytes and Ocean Potion sun screen, I feel ready, I spray my feet with Kool n Fit spray and head to the start of the race.
Gary Hilliard Race Director
At 6.15am, Gary caught the attention of all 114 runners he kept the race briefing short but fun as well as serious at the same time. Its going to be HOT. Hydrate, drink HEED, the course for 2012 had been changed and included Mount Disappointment, aid stations every 5 miles!  After the horrible station fire of 2010 the land scape was recovering but still a lot of charred trees, after calling all active and retired service men and women to the front the race began........
After a few miles on Asphalt down hill, we turned left onto Eaton Saddle
I started out on a slow steady jog down the Mount Wilson road it seemed forever before turning onto Eaton saddle, I was expecting to go downhill as in years past but was greeted with a wide fire road (My kind of trail) and to my delight ran through the Mueller tunnel and continued uphill to Markum Saddle, even though early morning I was already drenched in sweat with the humidity but enjoyed the up hill.
Single track.....
After Markum Saddle the trail headed to Mnt Disappointment so called as when it was first discovered by USGS surveyors in 1894, with elevation of 5,960 feet it was believed to be the highest peak, it earned its name Disappointment when the surveyors reached the summit for their next point only to discover San Gabriel Peak a half mile away was 167 feet higher! Gary made sure all runners past both these peaks!

The saying what goes up must come down and my joy of climbing was soon replaced as we started down hill on a single track with loose soil, I felt like a fish out of water as I gingerly navigated the twisting down hill my Brooks Cascadias were blushing with embarrassment at how slowly I was going!  I was so grateful to see asphalt even if it was only for a few feet before arriving at Red Box aid station, I cannot even tell you how many runners past me and left me eating their dust!

5.7 miles and Red Box aid station happy to see good friends there and needed the Hammer Heed
A wide fire road was the beginning of my next journey and it had the potential of being quad busting, as it was nearly all downhill for the next 5 miles and little or no shade. I jogged down and looked at the amazing scenery to detract from the task of down hill running.
Passing a creek I soaked my hat and washed my face
The whole run after West Fork aid station which was mile 10.7 would continue with just amazing scenery, well kept trails thanks to the work Gary had done with other trail runners (note to self to do this next year too)  The up hills were truly brutal but to me the down hill were worse! The sun was just beating down I thought I was drinking enough and took Hammer gels and endurolytes at the stops, As I ran to Newcomb aid station which crests the climb I decided to fill up my water only to discover it was not that empty, I put in ice, and could not believe there was a wide fire road for the downhill I thought woo hoo 14.7 miles nearly half way finished! the down hill did not last for long and as I crossed the San Gabriel river which was the lowest elevation of the entire run, I stopped and submerged my face into the cooling water, as now the challenge begins 7 miles of up hill, no shade and did I mention up hill, in the far distance I could make out other runners they seemed so far away and high up the mountain side! I decided to keep jogging and smiling, I began passing other runners and other runners passed me! It was like running in a furnace, an oasis appeared offering Popsicles, probably not the smartest thing to put into my poorly abused body, and I also took in Hammer gel and endurolytes 
Its HOT!!!! 2 miles from Short cut all smiles before I hit my low spot!

 2 miles to Short cut, I was so close, I urged my self to keep moving forward, my stomach was not feeling great and felt lethargic and nauseated, I knew I was in trouble, I started to walk the uphill and tried to eat a hammer bar I chugged down water and was so grateful to see the aid station at mile 23 I could easily have quit right there and then!
Not my fave photo captured by my friend Rainer at Short Cut, but I was hurting, felt weak vomited and had stomach issues that quite honestly I do not believe I actually continued but did because of the amazing volunteers!
Just 10 miles left all I had to do realistically was run down the historic silver moccasin trail, follow the dried up river bed, negotiate the rocky trail and get to West Fork, I decided it prudent to walk this section of single track down hill for two reasons, one, I am no mountain goat and two, I needed to get a few calories into my body and re hydrate. 
Not sure why I am smiling maybe because I had puked and used the toilet paper I had packed, as the mountain in the distance is my final destination! I just thought it would be easier to smile and focus on the now!!
The downhill trail was sketchy and running was out of the question, as soon as I approached the dried up river bed the skill needed was not to pop an ankle joint, keep up right and focused, and sure enough before long I was entering the final aid station.
I had smiles all round it was as if I was getting a second wind!! It was great to see the Sierra Madre search and rescue team, not so great to see them having to use their skills.
I only had 5.3 miles of trails left before going through the finish line banner I joked a little with the volunteers and actually needed my back pack filling with water, I took a perpetuem tab and headed off with a spring in my step to the Gabrielino Trail, I followed this beautiful trail for a few miles before getting onto the Kenyon Devore trail, which boasted 1910 feet of elevation gain in 3.1 miles!
The Gabrielino Trail
I passed quite a few other runners on my way to Mount Wilson, I just wanted to finish, I would shout out words of encouragement and tell them to keep moving forward, it was hot and the heat and humidity was showing on ALL our faces, I truly thought I would never see that finish line even though I covered the final 5.3 miles in 1.30 hrs, it seemed like an eternity, especially when you could see the towers and still had more up hill single track switch backs to run!
so near yet so far!
Finally I was on the home stretch ever so nice of Gary to put in a few extra feet of climbing to the finish line banner for all the other runners who had finished to see you suffer! I had the biggest smile I was SO super happy to have conquered and even though my time was over an hour and 45 minutes more than I aimed at I was one happy camper.
nothing Disappointing about the finish line or the medal!

This trail race is just hard! but such a feeling of accomplishment, my time was 8 hours 32 minutes I had hoped to finish in around 7 hours and 15 minutes but was happy to finish up right! Jorge Pachero finished in first place with 5 hours!!!! that was flying on all cylinders!!
 Below is my down load from my Polar RCX5 it was 33 miles,

Thanks Hammer Nutrition!!
 Thank you to Hammer Nutrition, Brooks USA (my Cascadias took a beating at this run!) Rudy Project USA, Polar USA, Kool n Fit spray, Ocean Potion suncare, More importantly Gary Hilliard for a great trail challenge! This was my third time and was just as hard as the first time!

Gary and Pam Hilliard, two great people great Race directors Thank You
Scenery was charred landscape and new growth
Two amazing people Hal and Fred
My friend Rainer volunteered at Short cut

Good to see George out there too

oh my a little shade???

HAM Radio volunteers tracked all the runners.
Andy in green and Vinnie who finished his 8th Mnt Disappointment!
Thank You Hope for letting me car pool with your friends.

Next year this trail run which I think is Southern California most difficult 33 mile trail race will be held in July and the 50 mile option will return too. So trail runners signed up for the AC100 will be able to use it as a training for the AC100 which will be switched to August!!!Great Race, Great Aid stations, Great volunteers. Be Prepared to be HUMBLED!
Thanks for the pic Jimmy

Friday, August 3, 2012

Stress..turning negatives into positives.

So yesterday is officially over, was a long day as I ate myself up over little things that ultimately affected my emotional state which triggered off a low self esteem which in turn affected my training!
 Stress is impossible to avoid. But it can be managed.
there is always light at the end of the tunnel!
Stress....we all have it we all have to deal with it, athletes are no different, while every now and again a good run will alleviate my stress it can also be a negative force.
The race I love most Ultraman Hawaii World Championships is closing in 113 days left and yesterday was a melt down day
POSITIVE I have time to fix and turn this stress into something I can work with!
Chilling out and smiling all help!
 Stress it sneaks up on us in all forms shapes and sizes, with the economy so lousy every one is feeling a little stress in daily lives, mine seem so small in the big picture of things!
How do I train for Ultraman with out getting injured or burn t out? 
Then there is all the stress in the planning of airfares, accommodation, etc etc etc ...
Hoping I can afford the costs this is putting all my eggs into one basket this is the race I love and want to do in 15th may be but I really want to be well prepared.
Then there are the calories I have to eat to keep my body healthy and functioning with the increased training load...that is a personal demon I have to figure out in my own screwed up vision!
There is also the added stress of I do not drive so it is so difficult sometimes to get to races I would like to do and training runs I would like to participate in,
add that to daily life and family etc yup I get stressed out! which seems so small in the BIG scheme of things in the World but they affect my little bubble!
  Managing everyday stress.
 Since there is no way to really get rid of the stress, the best way to combat it is to cut down on stress in other areas! I see training as therapy, but only do a limited training session so I do not burn out or injure myself, a little training 30 mins to an hour a day makes me feel jack a dandy, reduces overall stress. I know I am under stress as I am waking up tired and sometimes in the middle of the night and my eating is a whole other issue!. So I am trying to eat a wholesome healthy diet, keeping a food diary and getting some quality sleep even if it means napping 45 minutes during the afternoon.
Sometimes I go out for a nice training ride and I get stressed over little things which really I should just let go off but they wynd me up! Like a car getting so close to be I almost go into the curb, then there are the road rage drivers which have no regard for people out running or cycling I sometimes wonder if they would be so rude if it was their family member riding or running, but the daily little hassles sometimes can add up if allowed to!
I really am very very lucky to live in Southern California, I miss Puerto Rico but here in So Cal I have excellent training on my door step, there is no need for me really to have to travel 30 miles away to train! If I cannot get to an event it is not big deal as I can go and have an excellent day locally...trails to explore new mountains to climb! It is all good, I get to swim 3 times a week I know it is a pool but I have an excellent group to train with I am not the fastest but at least I can get swimming in!
So in conclusion, I have addressed my stress, and going to work on the areas that need improvement in my life in general and try to be more organized if that is at all possible!

I am lucky I can scuba dive and get to enjoy life 

DO not sweat the little stuff!!! With that said going to go on a run with Hammer and lets do a little de stressing!!
Smile and the WHOLE World will smile with you!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

115 days and counting down begin....

In 115 days I will be in Paradise called Hawaii, my bike and all my racing gear will have arrived safely on Kona via my Triall3sports cases, and I will be beginning my journey of 320 miles circum navigating the Big Island via swim bike and run!

In 115 days I will have prepared enough to humbly accept my fate on the Big Island at my 15th Ultraman Hawaii World Championships.

Today I began my training, swimming and cycling, rest is very important and reducing stress is too.
I am super excited about going to Hawaii and I am going to keep a diary on my mood swings leading up to the event!

Time for a run....