Half Marathon Training Week 6 – My First Trail Race

19 Jun

Poking around for smaller races to integrate into my half marathon training, I came across the Canyon Meadow Trail Run, located in  nearby Redwood Regional Park.  I was scheduled for 8 miles that day, so neither the 5 mile race nor the half marathon fit very well.  The run looked like lots of fun, and a good introduction to trail racing, so I signed up for the five miler and figured I could just keep going for three more miles after the finish line.  (I was tempted to sign up for the half marathon and just hike the last five miles, but Dave convinced me it probably wasn’t the best idea.)

I thought about taking a camera along to capture some scenery, but decided against it that morning.  I kind of wish I had though, the trails were absolutely gorgeous!

Let’s talk about elevation for a second…

Having never run a trail race, or any hilly race for that matter, I didn’t know exactly what to expect.  I had read a few race reports from the previous year that talked about the giant hill at the beginning, and the race director warned us to walk it and save our energy for the rest of the run, so walk we did!  It was pretty brutal, even for a hike – almost a 400 foot gain in half a mile!  Once at the top, we were on a fire trail on top of a ridge, with rolling hills.  I ran the smaller ones, and hiked the steeper or longer ones.  My first mile was the slowest by far, clocking in at 16:52.

The runners doing the other (longer) distances shared the trail with us until about halfway, where the five mile runners turned off on another trail.  This trail descended into a shady canyon and a wide, leaf-covered path wound along a stream for most of the second half.  It was much more solitary and very quiet, except for a few groups of hikers.  The first two big drops were pretty difficult on the ol’ legs, but after that it was a nice, easy jog into the finish line.  About a half mile out, I passed a campsite where a few adults and toddlers were starting their day.  One lady called out my number as I approached, and the kids jumped and cheered.  As I passed, another lady said “You’re an inspiration to all of us!”  I don’t know if she said it because I’m a lady runner, or because I’m a bigger lady runner, or if she was saying it to everyone that passed, or maybe I looked like death at that point and she sensed I needed a little motivation, but it touched me so much.

My Garmin recorded the distance as 4.92 miles, and my time as 1:05:51.  My official time (gun time, no chips) was 1:06:22.  I came in 62nd out of 87 overall, and 7th out of 12 in my age group.  That’s almost the top half!  I was really happy with how I did in my first trail race, and very pleased with how the race went.  Every time I began to worry that I might be off course, I passed one of the pink flags that reassured me I was going the right way.  I definitely hope to participate in many more races put on by Coastal Trail Runs.

(The photographer got a shot of me at the finish line, but it is AWFUL.  I was trying out a new sports bra, and let’s just say it wasn’t holding up its end of the bargain.  Also, I looked like death, as I do at the end of most races…)

After finishing, I grabbed a handful of peanut butter filled pretzels and some water.  My original plan was to find a trail and do an out and back to make up the remaining three miles, but at that point in time I wanted nothing more to do with hills for the rest of the day.  So, I decided to drive to the marina (my usual weekend spot, almost a 30 minute drive from where I was), eating a gel on the way.  I headed out for three more miles, and immediately felt some pain on the outside of my left leg, above the knee.  After a half mile, I stopped to stretch and check it out; I couldn’t decide if it was the kind of pain you can run through, or the kind that’s telling you to stop.  I decided to keep going, telling myself I could turn around after a mile if I needed to.  The pain subsided a bit, and I ended up going 3.1 miles, a 5K, since the earlier distance was 4.9.  I knew that I probably shouldn’t have pushed to go the whole distance, but I really didn’t want to skip from 7 miles right to 9 for my long runs.

The next morning, my leg was SO SORE.  It hurt to walk, and it hurt really badly to walk downhill or downstairs.  It felt like muscular pain, and I knew all I could really do was rest and ice and wait to see.  The next day it felt substantially better, and I could walk with little pain.  Lesson learned:  take it easy on those downhills!  I think it was the steep one between 2.75 and 3 miles that did me in.

Here’s the rest of what went down that week:

half marathon training week six
Monday – rest
Tuesday – ran 2 miles
Wednesday – ran 3.5 miles
Thursday –rest
Friday – ran 3 miles
Saturday- rest
Sunday – ran 8 miles

Mileage total for the week – 16.5

Looking back, it seems I skipped all cross training this week, but at least got all my runs in.  Not sure why that happened…

Wednesday, 5/30/12

breakfast – smoothie (strawberries, raspberries, 2 Tbs hemp seeds, 1 Tbs ground flax, cinnamon, 1/2 tsp maple syrup)
AM snack – unsweetened applesauce, coffee with vanilla coconut creamer
lunch – broiled tofu and roasted cabbage over brown rice with dulse flakes & 1 tsp sesame seeds, small chocolate chip cookie
PM snack – salad (leaf lettuce, carrots, bac’uns, tahini dressing), apple
PM snack 2 – 2 dates
PM snack 3 – chocolate sacha inchi blueberry energy bar
dinner – eggplant wrap with spicy tahini sauce, sugar snap peas

exercise – ran 3.5 miles (42 minutes), walked 10 minutes

daily points used:  28
activity points earned:  8
activity points used:  4

Thursday, 5/31/12

breakfast – smoothie (blueberries, banana, almond milk, kale, chocolate hemp protein powder)
AM snack – strawberries, 6 walnuts, coffee with vanilla coconut creamer
lunch – Annie Chun’s Teriyaki Noodle Bowl, sugar snap peas
PM snack – carrot & celery sticks with 4 Tbs hummus
dinner – 16 tortilla chips, salad with pinto beans, tomato, avocado & salsa, 18 oz red wine

daily points used:  28
activity points used:  23

Friday, 6/1/12

breakfast – smoothie (blueberries, banana, almond milk, 1 Tbs ground flax, chocolate hemp protein powder, 1 Tbs carob powder, kale)
AM snack – strawberries, 12 almonds, coffee with vanilla coconut creamer
lunch – tofu fresh spring rolls with peanut sauce, a few bites of stir-fried tofu & veggies with brown rice
PM snack – peach
dinner – rest of the stir-fried tofu & veggies with brown rice, small chocolate chip cookie, 12 oz MGD 64, 12 oz light beer, 8 oz red wine

exercise – ran 3 miles (35 minutes), walked 10 minutes

daily points used:  28
activity points used:  8
weekly points used:  10

Saturday, 6/2/12

breakfast – half a sesame seed sprouted wheat bagel with 2 Tbs better than cream cheese, coffee with hazelnut coconut creamer
AM snack – cherries
AM snack 2 – Chocolate Chip Cherry Tort Larabar
late lunch/early dinner – side salad (baby greens, sunflower seeds, carrot, lemon vinaigrette), tempeh reuben on rye with sauerkraut, Thousand Island & Daiya, sweet potato fries with ketchup
evening – smoothie (strawberries, orange, banana, almond milk), 12 oz red wine

daily points used:  28
weekly points used:  14

Sunday, 6/3/12

breakfast – half a sesame seed sprouted wheat bagel with 2 Tbs better than cream cheese, iced soy latte
between runs – 5 peanut butter filled pretzels, Vega Raspberry Endurance Gel
post run – banana, Vega Recovery Accelerator
lunch – spicy garlic eggplant with 1 cup white rice
dinner – Gardein asada burrito with rice, beans, lettuce, salsa & guacamole, peach, 12 oz red wine

exercise – ran 8 miles (one hour 42 minutes), walked 20 minutes

daily points used:  28
activity points earned:  17
weekly points used:  23


One Response to “Half Marathon Training Week 6 – My First Trail Race”


  1. Half Marathon Training Weeks 7 & 8 – Running in Reno « The Vegan Weight Watcher - June 20, 2012

    […] mentioned in my last post, my left leg was extremely sore on Monday and Tuesday from the trail race I did Sunday, so I took […]

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