Running with Sasquatch

Sasquatch-Racing-logo-300x300-2Last month, I ran my very first race of the year – The Rattlesnake Ramble. It was an awesome run out at Lake Chabot  in the East Bay. The course was interesting and challenging and the pre- and post-run festivities were upbeat and just plain fun! And really, any run that offers delicious, locally brewed adult beverages after the race is awesome in my book.

At this point, I’ve run enough races to have seen it all (bad, good, and great) and I have to say, I was totally enamored with the good vibes, quirkiness, and fun of the Rattlesnake Ramble. I was so stoked, in fact, that when I read that Sasquatch Racing put out a call for ambassadors, I immediately threw my hat in the ring to be considered. Now, I’m usually not the kind of person to try and sell people on products or companies, but I just loved the vibes of this race so much that I wanted to tell everyone about it! Thankfully, I was given the opportunity to become a Sasquatchador!

Sasquatch Racing puts on a series of races each year, and I’m planning to do them all. Next up is the Sasquatch Scramble on April 17. The race looks awesome! It’s being held out at the gorgeous Redwood Regional Park in the Oakland hills. I’ve hiked in this park before, and I’m really looking forward to running on the trails through the beautiful redwood forest.

The race is going to feature three different courses, 5k/10k/half and will include all of the awesome perks that are standard with a Sasquatch Racing event – technical tee, post-run beverages and snacks, and woodallions for the 5k/10k finishers and medallions for the half-marathoners! The schwag isn’t the only thing that makes Sasquatch Racing events so awesome though. The race also includes a trail treasure hunt and an appearance by Sassy the Sasquatch! After not having scored any of the treasure during the Rattlesnake Ramble, I’m really hoping I have better luck this time.

I’ve signed up to run the 5k course for this race and if you’re a NorCal local, I hope you’ll come out to run it too.  If you want to register, the awesome folks at Sasquatch Racing have offered my readers a $10 discount on the race. Just enter the code SASSY. Don’t wait too long, prices increase on March 31st!

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On (almost) completing my running goal for 2014

If you’ve read this blog from the very beginning (unlikely), you might remember that one of the goals I had set for myself this year was to complete 14 races in 2014. I wanted so badly to smash this goal, for so many reasons. After I had surgery in March, I impatiently waited for my body to heal so that I could get back to running. By May, I was back to it, but had lost so much of my fitness during the healing process, it was almost like starting over from the beginning. I ran my first post-surgery race in June, and I was so SLOW! My legs felt like lead and I felt like I could barely move. I stuck with it though, and by October, I was running 5k races faster than ever before! In the process of completing this arbitrary “14 races” goal, I discovered trail racing, got faster, and gained a TON of self-confidence.

By December, I was two races from completing my goal, when Mother Nature intervened to derail me.The week that I was to run my 13th race, brought the biggest storms that Northern California has seen since the late 90s. My street, along with tons of other roads and freeways in the North Bay flooded, my workplace closed for a day due to flooding, and the course for my 13th race was under standing water. This was on Thursday. By Friday (the day before the race was due to go off), I received an email from the race organizer saying that due to flooding, storm damage, and downed trees, the course was un-passable and the race was being rescheduled to the following weekend (the weekend of my 14th race). After searching in vein for a replacement race somewhere in the Bay Area, feeling incredibly disappointed and upset after not finding a replacement, I accepted that I wasn’t going to complete my “14 in 2014” goal. There was really nothing I could do about it other than get over the feelings of failure and disappointment. I was a little heartened to learn, the following week, that the rescheduled race was completely cancelled due to further flooding and course damage that week.

So, all in all, I ran 13 races in 2014. While I’m still a little disappointed that I didn’t get to run #13, I know that I still achieved something pretty amazing! I am incredibly proud of completing so many races, and beyond amazed that my 5k time improved so much over the course of the year. For the most part, I almost never race for time…I’m just not that competitive, but it’s incredibly satisfying to see that for the first time in my life, I ran a 10 minute/mile pace.

I feel like I’ve learned so much in running all of these races. Since I started running, I’ve never LOVED running. This year, I discovered that I didn’t LOVE it because I don’t love road running, BUT I really do LOVE trail running. I really don’t know why it took me so long to figure this out. I mean, I love hiking and backpacking. It makes since that my love of trails would extend to running. Is it more challenging? YES! In many ways, I’m starting over with trail running in terms of speed and endurance, but it is just so much FUN. One of the other important lessons I’ve taken away from this racing year is how much more I should trust in my ability. When I first set this goal, I honestly wondered if I would be able to physically complete so many races. I hate that I even questioned it. I’ve learned to trust in my body’s ability to carry me toward the things that I want to accomplish.

I had originally planned to do a recap post of every race I completed, but I decided that all of that minutiae would be too boring to document. Suffice to say, I had a blast running every single race. Some were tougher than others, either physically or mentally, but I feel like I learned a TON every time I crossed a finish line. Someone jokingly suggested that I run 15 races in 2015, but I can honestly say that I have no desire to ever race so much in a year again. It was exhausting! Though I felt like I became a better runner over the course of the year, I also felt like I lost a lot by not focusing as much on training rather than racing. While I do have a running related goal for 2015 (more on that soon), it definitely won’t involve running so many races!

Getting back to the hard work

A few months ago I tried to post a series of weekly workout recaps. I don’t know if it was just bad timing or a lack of interest on my part, but it really didn’t work out well and they quickly fell to the wayside. I’m at a place now, though, where I think it would be super helpful for me to have something that helps hold me accountable to working out on a daily basis.

Ever since I finished the 21 Day Fix, I’ve had a hard time committing to a daily workout schedule. After a few weekends of traveling, over-indulgence, and not enough exercise though, I’m am ready to get back to it because I felt SO MUCH better when I was regularly working my body. A recent TMJ flare-up has also had me re-evaluating how much stress affects me when I’m not exercising regularly. Starting Monday, I’ll be posting my weekly workouts. I’m excited to get back into the swing of working out regularly. Woo!

Though last week was a total sloth-fest on my part, I did manage to get outside on Saturday morning while I was in Reno for a 3.5 mile trail run through the gorgeous foothills. It was a great way to kick off a weekend of celebrating my niece’s 21st birthday!


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A weekend of ag-tourism and trail running

A couple of weeks ago, I was in Chico, CA to run my first ever trail race and attend one of my favorite NorCal events, the Sierra Oro Passport Weekend. Though I could write a ton about the weekend, I’ll spare ya and keep it fairly brief. Photos are worth a 1,000 words anyway, right?

Passport Weekend is a great ag-tourism event in Butte County. Ag-producers from all over the county open their doors for tastings and tours of their facilities. Producers include everything from wineries to citrus orchards to olive oil producers.  It’s a great opportunity to sample and purchase locally made products that aren’t widely available outside of Butte County.

After a quick coffeneur on Saturday morning, I met up with my parents. Having grown up in wine country, my family is big into wine. Appropriately, we planned to visit the majority of the wineries that were participating in the Passport Weekend. After a bit of discussion, we headed south to the Oroville area. We managed to visit six wineries and an olive oil producer on Saturday alone!

Great eats at Calolea Olive Oil.

Great eats at Calolea Olive Oil.

Morse Family Farms. Wheat beer made with mandarins. Food was good but photographed looking pretty unappetizing.

Morse Family Farms. Wheat beer made with mandarins. Food was good but photographed looking pretty unappetizing.

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Dad and the winery pup.

Dad and the winery pup.

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After getting back to my parent’s home on Saturday night, I was a little worried that drinking wine all day before a quarter-marathon trail race was going to turn out to be a bad, bad idea. When I woke up the next morning, though, I was relieved that I felt great! I was rested and ready to set-off on my first ever trail race.

I only recently started trail-running, and honestly, I knew that the length of this race was going to be a challenge! Running on smooth, flat, paved roads is so SO different (and much less tiring) than running on rocky single track trails. I knew that even though I had run longer distances in road races, it was going to be a lot tougher on the trail. I probably wouldn’t have chosen this race as my first trail-running race experience, but because it’s part of the Chico Running Club’s series, I *had* to complete it. I really want the jacket that comes with completing the 4-run series!

As I lined up at the start, my nervousness grew and I started to worry that I wasn’t going to do well. I told myself that my goal really was to just finish. Before I had another chance to question myself, the horn blew and we were off!

The race began in Hooker Oak Park and wound its way through Upper Bidwell Park along the middle trail. This trail is incredibly rocky and I definitely had to keep my eyes on the ground for fear that I would tumble over one of the large rocks littering the trail. Around mile 2, the sun was starting to beat down. The majority of the Middle Trail is exposed and even though it was October, the day was getting hot! Thankfully, I knew that the route would soon hook us onto the Yahi Trail, a lovely creekside trail with plenty of lush tree cover to provide shade! Halfway through the run, I could feel myself getting tired (probably due to all that wine the day before!) and my pace began to slow down. I pushed on, but by the time the route made it back to the Middle Trail for the final 2 miles of the race, my legs started to feel like lead. I kept on but with about 1.5 miles to go I had to walk for a bit. As I walked back toward Hooker Oak Park, I reached deep and found the motivation and strength to continue running, and as I neared the finish, the cheers and support of other runners, spectators, and my parents kept me going until I crossed the finish line. Definitely a great experience for a first-ever trail run. It was tough but I kept going. By the time I crossed the finish, I felt amazing and incredibly proud of myself! I definitely have the trail running bug now and I’m looking forward to completing a couple of more trail races before the end of the year.

After the race, I headed back out to partake in some more ag-tourism with my parents. We visited several wineries, a nut producer, and even a sun-dried tomato producer. Yum! Unfortunately my phone froze up early on in the day and I missed getting photos at the 5 other stops we visited on Sunday 😦

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All in all, it was a great time spent with my family doing the things that make me happy. I couldn’t ask for a better weekend. Plus, it’s always great to come home with a bunch of new, fun foodstuffs for the pantry.

Wine from Odessey Vineyards, Roney Winery, and LaRocca Vineyards plus locally produced spice blends, lavender jelly, sun dried tomatoes, pickles, and a spicy mustard.

Wine from Odessey Vineyards, Roney Winery, and LaRocca Vineyards plus locally produced spice blends, lavender jelly, sun dried tomatoes, pickles, and a spicy mustard.