Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Yosemite Running and Hiking

After I ran the Pass Mountain 50K Trail Race in Arizona, we headed to California. We stayed in our RV at Yosemite National Park. I ran in the mornings and we hiked afterwards. One day we set out for an easy/intermediate hiking day, but after running into a Park intern who told us that we were on the wrong trail, we turned around and headed up another 1,000 feet for a total of about 2,000 feet elevation climb. That meant we not only hiked to Vernal Falls, but to Nevada Falls, too. That was a 9 mile and 6 hour hiking day. It's a good thing that we brought extra food!

Nevada Falls - So Far Away, But Our Destination After All

Vernal Falls

Lower Falls with My Husband
The following photos were taken on my early morning runs of about 4 miles to 9 miles long.

Mirror Lake

El Capitan
I ran through rain, on the icy trails and in the woods long before the crowds were awake. I loved it!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Pass Mountain 50K Trail Race Recap

I crossed the finish line of the Pass Mountain 50K Trail Race in Mesa, Arizona, near Phoenix, on November 12 in about 7:53. I'm the one waving at the start of the race in the photo. It's fun to see runners that I ran and chatted with during the race in that photo.

During the last and longest mile of the race when I really wanted to quit because I was so thirsty and hot and maybe a little sad about my time, I planned out exactly what I'd do when I finished: call my husband who I thought would be at our RV site, get some water (I ran out - the last part took longer than I estimated) and lay down. 

But instead, I hugged my husband who was at the finish line and I chatted with the other finishers. I was really happy to have finished! I cleaned up and we went out to eat in nearby Chandler where I got in a little mall walking, which felt good to my sore muscles.

Getting There: It took my husband and I two days to get to the race start... We drove our RV from Texas to Arizona. Race vacations are the best!

Buc-ees snack stop on the way to Arizona!

Race Goodies: I received the race shirt at packet pick-up. I appreciate it when they offer shirts that are made for women like they did at this race. I've already worn it twice even though the race was only three days ago. Shirts are better than medals! (We didn't get medals, but they gave us finishing glasses.)

Weather: The temperature for race day was about 60-80 - a little warm for a mostly unshaded course. I liked it when I ran in the shade of the mountain in the afternoon. With the breeze, it was much better than running in the sun.

Course: The 50K was a two loop course in the desert. The good thing about that is that I would be familiar with the second loop after running the first half, which meant less chance of getting lost on the trail. I got lost on the first loop. The bad part is that people followed me. The good part is that we all corrected ourselves pretty fast and I didn't get lost on the second loop. Later, when I saw the place where I went off course, I didn't know how I could have gone off-course, but Garmin says I ran 32.1 so maybe I added a mile - not too bad.

Fuel Pre-race: Blueberry bagel and, at the start, a half of a banana. For three days pre-race, I increased my carbohydrates but I just don't see the advantage to that in my race time.

Race shirt and bib and lots of GU gels!

Fuel During the Race: Gu gels about every 30 minutes, some Coke, pickles, oranges and bananas. I ate about 200 calories/45 carbohydrates an hour.

Gear: My Garmin Forerunner 35 GPS Watch battery lasted the whole race so I didn't really need to wear two watches after all! I turned the heart rate monitor off to save the battery and it was only down two bars out of four at the end.

The Not So Great: My race started with a splat! I fell at the 1.05 mile point. Like a fellow runner told me, it's good to get the fall out of the way! (It wasn't a bad fall. I dusted myself off and kept going.) Later, I had a tummy issue at mile 24 and sat on a rock. I really had to make myself get up and move forward, but after a mile, all was well. 

Fire and snacks at the start  - nice!

Overall: This was my 5th ultra, the 3rd 50K I've finished and the hardest course I've ever run. I ran up and around Pass Mountain twice. My favorite part was the first loop when there were more runners near me. I was alone for most of the second loop, but since I train mostly alone - that was okay. I liked seeing the cactus and getting in a nice, long desert run, which is so different from running at home at the park. 

The 3100 feet of climbing and the parts of the rocky trail that I could only walk on was challenging. I had to change my mindset to one of trying to hike as fast as I could instead of running all of it. But I did it and, three days later, I still feel great about finishing that tough course!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Garmin Forerunner 35 GPS Watch Review

After running without a GPS watch for about a year, I caved in and bought one for the 50K Pass Mountain trail race I'm running on November 12 in Arizona. I bought my Garmin Forerunner 35 yesterday morning at The Woodlands Fleet Feet store, charged it up and ran with it at lunch time. There were three things that surprised me about my new watch.

Three Things I Like About My Forerunner 35 GPS Watch
  1. It's easy to read when I'm outside. I was afraid about not being able to read the numbers without reading glasses, but I didn't have any problems. (See photo.)
  2. It's so light-weight that I hardly notice that it's there. Last week, I tried a Garmin Forerunner 310XT, but it was too heavy on my wrist.
  3. I've really missed seeing my mileage while I'm running. After my watch battery died on Christmas morning last year, I've only used the Strava app to track my running. I like it and will continue to use it, but it tells me my mileage and pace only every 1/2 mile. I like seeing exactly how far I've run and how much farther I need to run. Yesterday, I ran fast for 1/4 mile a few times during my 8 mile run.
Saturday is race day! See you on the other side!

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