Tag Archives: Brazen Racing

RACE RECAP – Diablo Trail Adventure Half Marathon

Is a trail half marathon with 2,500 feet of climbing an appropriate long run for a road marathon?  Probably not.

Can I resist a trail half marathon with 2,500 feet of climbing?  NOT REALLY, APPARENTLY.

My Happy Place!

My Happy Place!

It was a stepback week and I had a 13 mile long run scheduled.  Why not get some climbing and downhill running practice with my favorite race presenters: Brazen Racing?

My mantra for this race was “Don’t be dumb; it’s a TRAINING RUN!”  After my thrilling and unexpected AG place at Drag N Fly, I could feel a little competitive frisson.  My strategy was the same as last time: hike the hills, run the flats and downhills.  Keep the running pace easy.  Not difficult to do on this course, right?

That's a lot of hiking.

That’s a lot of hiking.

Because I’ve run the 5K event twice, I was familiar with the first hill.  It’s not long but it’s fairly steep and can really zap your energy.  I promised myself that no matter how many people ill-advisedly surged up the hill, I would not.  But I did.  Whoops.  I didn’t run fast but I did run.  Thankfully, it didn’t have any negative impact.  I enjoyed the downhill that followed, accompanied by an UltraRunner Podcast.  Music makes it hard to keep my pace in check, especially so early in a run.

Off I go in my SWEET glasses.

Off I go in my SWEET glasses.

Another climb with some narrow single-track followed.  I love this kind of running!  The trail got a bit backed up but thankfully everyone wanted to hike/run around the same pace.  This was the first of many times I observed people huffing and puffing “running” while I hiked at exactly the same pace.  I appreciate the pride that comes with running an entire trail race but honestly, I’ll take efficiency over pride.  Especially when the PACE IS IDENTICAL.

Careful where you step!

Careful where you step!

The next five miles were pretty uneventful.  Hiking the hills proved to be a great strategy, as usual.  All that Dailey Method thigh work powered me up, with minimal challenge.  Each time the trail leveled, I was happy to begin trotting again.

I knew that after mile 8, it was all downhill.  I love to run downhill but my right IT band was not loving it.  I took it easy and focused on lifting my inner thighs and hamstrings to support my knee.  Thanks again, Dailey Method!

You're never fully dressed without a smile!  And these sunglasses!

You’re never fully dressed without a smile! And these sunglasses!

When I reached the final miles, I was running far faster than I should have been for a long training run but it just felt so good!  It was also awesome because this course has been my nemisis.  Each time I ran the 5k, I would be so zapped by the hill that I would always stop to walk on the way back, even downhill.  Super frustrating.  NOT YESTERDAY.  I smiled each time I ran through a spot that had kicked my ass in previous years.  This time, with ten miles in between!  I’m getting a lot stronger, physically and mentally.

One challenge during this race was fueling.  I decided not to carry my handheld water bottle because it contributes to asymmetry that causes my IT band issue on the right side.  This was not a good choice because the aid stations were at 1.1, 2.7, and 7.8.  I thought there was one more.  I took my time to drink several cups of water at the second and third stations but it wasn’t enough.  I took far less fuel than I planned (since I didn’t have water to drink it with) and a vague headache showed up around mile 8.  After the race, I made a beeline for Ultima and food.  I had a couple oreos and a LOT of electrolyte drink.  My head hurt so much, I squinched my eyes shut trying to get it to release.  I wandered over to the standings to see if my AG places had come in.  1-4 were already in so I headed home, by way of an enormous Diet Coke and some curly fries.  Very happy, in spite of the headache.

So, I finished with a time of 2:39:47.  Cool!

Wait, wasn’t I psyched to break 3 hours before?

Yes.  I took FIFTEEN MINUTES off my trail half marathon PR.

WHAT?!

There were 500 fewer feet than the other courses but fifteen minutes?!  That is a testament to the mindfulness practice I’ve adopted.  I didn’t have any negative thoughts or fears, even when I knew I was under-fueled.  I stayed present in my body and ran the pace that felt right.  Which was my 5k pace at the end.  Woah.

I am thrilled for CIM and even more thrilled for it to be over so I can do some serious goal setting.  Time to level up!

BOOM!

 

 

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Race Recap: Drag N Fly

Well, this may be the most successful and wonderful race I’ve ever run.  BOOM.

No disrespect to my tremendous first marathon experience, but today was also very special.  With the 70.3 off my calendar, I’m free to race whatever the heck I want!  Brazen’s Drag N Fly was right up my alley: challenging elevation with gorgeous views at the top.  Since I’m trained up to half marathon distance, I went for it!  Yesterday, my calves were feeling a little crampy and hips felt slightly achy.  I contemplated dropping back to the 10k this morning and now I’m so glad I didn’t.

Pre-race went smoothly.  Up before dawn, waffle with prosciutto, easy drive, easy parking.  Bib pickup was super quick.  Brazen Racing is just the bomb.  Even the pre-race briefing is funny and fun.  Their organization, food, course marking, and energy are all top notch.  Highly recommended.

So, here’s what we’re dealing with:

My dad told me that the Space Needle is 600 feet.  So, extrapolate...

My dad told me that the Space Needle is 600 feet. So, extrapolate…

My race plan was to hike anything that resembled an incline, run anything that went down, and do my best on the flats (Drag N Fly.  Get it?).  Almost immediately, we faced the first major climb.  The sun was already shining and people were starting to suffer.  I felt really good and pumped, especially when I thought about how satisfying it would be to run back down that sucker at the end!  We were also rewarded with glorious views when we reached the top.

Climbing

View from the top.  Unreal.

View from the top. Unreal.

As we climbed higher and higher, I couldn’t stop looking back behind me.  It still completely blows my mind that I can travel that far and that high ON FOOT.  The novelty of trail running absolutely has not worn off and I was grinning from ear to ear.  Especially once we headed downhill!

Throughout the race, I felt happy and calm.  So weird.  I certainly recognized that the climbs were difficult.  The first three miles were really challenging but I only had a few moments where I was daunted by the distance.  I truly felt happy and overwhelmed with gratitude the entire time.

Brazen is excellent at marking the course with ribbons and flour. In the pre-race briefing, the race director joked that people would still go off course.  Today it was me!  Only for a moment and it was during the first downhill.  I was having so much fun, I missed a weird turn!  It cost me about a minute and made a couple folks laugh.  The race went so well, I wouldn’t change a single thing about it but you better believe I was much more aware of red ribbons for the rest of the run!

It’s hard to give a mile-by-mile report because I was running by feel and not married to hitting specific paces.  Throughout the entire race, I stuck to my strategy of climbing the hills and running the descents.  I was shocked to see 8:50-9:20 consistently on the downhill segments.  I was unconcerned with pace, only vaguely hoping to beat my time from Bear Creek last year.  The only descent that slowed me down was some really technical and steep single track.  I absolutely love that type of running though.  Brain firing, feet finding the perfect place to land.  LOVE IT.

Yes, that's THE TRAIL.

Yes, that’s THE TRAIL.

Before I knew it, it was time to fly down to the finish.  I had fueled well, hydrated well (cold water at the aid stations was heavenly) and had plenty of heart left to get me home.  I had passed many people and hadn’t been passed by anyone.  I also realized that I hadn’t seen any females around my age since the last one I passed.  I had a fleeting thought that maybe the cherry on this delicious sundae would be to place in my AG for the first time.  My trail times are not impressive and it wasn’t my goal so I didn’t take the thought seriously.

Foreshadowing!!!!!

As I cruised into the finish, I tearfully told a volunteer that I was having the best race ever.  It was tough to keep pushing through to the finish but I did with a huge smile.

Happy tears behind those hideous glasses!

Happy tears behind those hideous glasses!  Peace out, hills!!

Came in, walked around and had a delicious IT’S IT.  The true San Francisco treat.  Chatted with some folks and then headed over to see my place.  The results hadn’t been updated but only 1st and 2nd place in my AG had come in.  There was a chance for 3rd!  I didn’t get my hopes up since I’ve been 4th so many times but low and behold……

I FINALLY GOT A MEDAL THAT NOT EVERYONE GOT!  WHAAAAT?!

I FINALLY GOT A MEDAL THAT NOT EVERYONE GOT! WHAAAAT?!

SUPER STOKED.  There are several reasons why this is not an impressive accomplishment but F*CK THAT.  I’m thrilled.  This was a huge goal of mine and it’s both unbelievable and completely perfect that it happened after running this perfectly executed EPIC race.

Celebrated with Chairman Bao, a lovely lengthening Dailey Method class, Ici Ice Cream and then an unexpected salumi date night with my handsome husband at Adesso.

So basically, best day ever.

 

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Race Recap – Nitro Turkey 5k

The alternate title of this race is:

OVER IT.

2013 was a phenomenal year of racing.  I met all of my goals: PR’ing every distance and completing several new ones including triathlon and a full marathon.  Aaaaaaaand, I’m DONE.  The Diablo trail 5k was tough because I was sick but what was so distressing about that race was that I felt like I had no inner fire or fight.

I initially registered for the Nitro Turkey 10k expecting it to be my last opportunity to PR that distance.  When I got my PR at Let’s Go 510, I was still very excited for Nitro because I would get the first part of an UNBELIEVABLE DOUBLE TURKEY CHALLENGE CONNECTOR MEDAL.  And I am a complete blingwhore.  I also looked forward to like thinking about gratitude and whatever on Thanksgiving.  I guess…

I woke up feeling ambivalent.  With my wedding and a very important audition nearing, I am under quite a bit of pressure.  As I drove out to Point Pinole, I attempted to pump myself up with fun music but also contemplated dropping down to the 5k.  It’s a holiday!  I’ve worked hard this year!  It’s not a super punk move, right?  Right?

Last time I ran at Pt. Pinole (in the summer!) it was FREEZING so I layered up.  To my delight, the weather was perfect when I arrived.  Brisk but absolutely comfortable.  This was one of the most popular Brazen events of the year so there were tons of people, including kids doing their own trot.  Super cute.  I love Brazen.  As you know.

I picked up my bib, slunk over to the distance change booth, felt like a punk for about 4 seconds, and then got over it.  As soon as I turned on my charged Garmin and got the “low battery alert” (HOW AND WHY DOES THIS HAPPEN), I felt like I had made the right choice.  This clearly was not my day.

Where's Shauna? She's in neon orange looking down at her malfunctioning f*cking watch.

Where’s Shauna? She’s in neon orange looking down at her malfunctioning f*cking watch.

Not much to report about the race itself.  Point Pinole is beautiful but I didn’t really care.  With no Garmin to curb my start line enthusiasm, I started too fast.  As much as I told myself that “this is what a 5k is supposed to feel like!” I was not a happy girl.  My tummy felt off and to get my heart rate down, I took a few walk breaks.  That voice inside me that usually that screams “DON’T WALK!  KEEP FIGHTING!!!” murmured “go ahead and walk.  Who gives a shit?  It’s a holiday?  You apparently can’t run 3 miles even though you ran a marathon this year.  Ah well…”  

As I approached the finish, I kicked it in and ran down some sweet couple celebrating Thanksgiving.  I apparently had about 4 seconds of competitive drive that I chose to cash in at that moment.  Because I’m nice like that.

Happy!  To be done.

Happy! To be done.

Part of me is a bit concerned that I’m burned out but I truly think I’m just done with this amazing year.  I also didn’t have a race plan which seems to be essential for me.  Yes, it’s a fun run and yes, I would love to run more by feel but I should recognize that having at least a vague plan gets my head around the race.  Looks like every race really does teach you something, even a turkey trot!

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Official Time: 31:54 (not a personal worst.  Woo!), AG: 9/52, Overall: 115/591

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

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Race Recap – Let’s Go 510!

Things I love:

Racing!

PR-ing!

Oakland!

Soooo…..yesterday morning was pretty awesome!

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Hella, Hella, Hella!

I was so pleased to be an ambassador for the inaugural Let’s Go 510 10k, a co-production of Represent Running and Brazen Racing.  As an Oakland girl, I love all things green and gold.  I’ve run numerous Brazen races and they’re always fantastic.  Great energy, courses, medals, food, and free photos!  This race was no exception!  Represent Running brought awesome local flavor, excellent organization and some super entertaining signs.  I really hope this becomes an annual event!

Going into the race, I only had one remaining 2013 running goal : a new 10k PR.

Before the marathon, I wasn’t sure how quickly I’d recover so I didn’t have high hopes for getting my PR at this race.  I was comfortable running it for fun and just enjoying the Bay-centric festivities.  Then I had some short, zippy runs this week and began to reconsider.  My old PR was 1:01:38 which is a 9:55 average.  That was definitely beatable but I truly wanted a more substantial PR than skin of my teeth.  At the very least, I wanted to break an hour.  I went into the race with a plan to run two mile progressions:  start at 9:40, run 9:30 for the middle miles, 9:20 for 5 and 6, and finish with a kick.  It was a slightly aggressive plan, especially since I’ve rarely run faster than 9:45 for the last several months of marathon training.  Aggressive race plan?  Taking chances?  Who is this girl??

The race started at 10am.  A little unorthodox but allowed folks to enjoy the horse races after and get some extra sleep before.  I arrived at Golden Gate Fields around 9am to TONS of parking.  Delightful!  I upgraded my cotton shirt to a tech tee for $6 because the color was more A’s-like.  That’s how I do.  Also got a picture of the track we’d be finishing on.

Charge!

Soon it was time to line up and head off!  Up a hill!

How to get warmed up QUICK...

How to get warmed up QUICK…

I started in the front third to avoid weaving between run/walkers.  As usual, the crowd surged past me.  I remember how demoralizing that used to be and now I think it’s hilarious.  If people want to blow all their energy out in the first mile, more power to them!

So smug, right?  Until I looked down at my watch and saw 9:30.  Hmmm… better curb that energy Shauna Beth!  Then I saw 9:21.  I attempted to hold back but was not surprised when the first mile buzzed in at 9:20.  And I wasn’t even warmed up.  For the first time ever, I was going out too fast!

I let my body settle into a rhythm, glancing down at my watch periodically.  I was still seeing 9:30 and then 9:20ish but when the second mile clocked in at 9:12, I knew I needed to seriously pull back.  I wasn’t winded but I was running considerably faster than I planned.  Again, don’t recognize this braver me but I think I like her!

Okay, okay.  A race photo where I actually look like I'm racing.  Ask and you shall receive.

Okay, okay. A race photo where I actually look like I’m racing. Ask and you shall receive.

I slowed down a bit in the 3rd mile due to grabbing water at the aid station.  It was pretty warm out there and from the start, I was thirsty!  For this race, I opted not to bring a handheld water bottle or fuel and just wing it with what was at the aid station.  Yes, I wung it.  No, I have not had a personality-altering stroke.  I figured the worst that could happen was that I bonk!

That's not a bonk face! :D

That’s not a bonk face! 😀

By the halfway point, I was a little tired and very happy.  I focused on my music, being grateful and proud, and my imminent PR.  Knowing that I could slow down and still PR gave me the strength to cruise along at the pace I’d established from the start.  I grabbed water from the mile 5 aid station and decided to push it through the finish.

Wheee!

Wheee!

Remember that hill at the beginning of the race?  It was an up and down so we had to climb it one last time in the last mile.  GAHHHHH.  I chugged up and wasn’t sure if I might lose my pace as a result.  I recovered on the downhill and continued to push it faster.  The last mile was peppered with cute signs,  courtesy of Represent Running.  The one that caught my eye said “Give 100%.  Unless you’re giving blood.”  BAH!  Love it!

They warned us that the surface on the race track would be…..weird.  And squishy.  As I made the final turn onto the track, I felt like I was running on a tempurpedic mattress.  Memory foam at mile 6.1?  Not ideal but with the finish line and a BIG OLE PR in view, I gave every last bit I had.

BOOOOOOOOOM!!!!!

BOOOOOOOOOM!!!!!

Yeah, that would be a 4 minute PR.  

Okay, so there may be something to this whole taking chances thing.  Might be something to look into in 2014…

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