Posted by: Jen | June 13, 2010

Good things are happening

Hello faithful readers!

Yesterday was the XTERRA Marin Headlands trail run, the last race in the NorCal trail series. They had a half marathon and a 7K option; I chose the shorter distance due to time constraints (the mister and I were off to a family party that afternoon – my BIL lives just about 2 hours away).

The weather was already pushing 75 degrees at 6:30am when I left my house, so I knew it was going to be hot. I arrived with about 45 minutes to spare, picked up my bib/t-shirt, and started applying sunscreen like crazy. SPF 85 on my face (Neutrogena Sheer Sport) and SPF 90 everywhere else (Coppertone Sport Spray). I don’t mess around with the sun – a bout with skin cancer teaches you that lesson, and fast. The spray sunscreen felt sticky and my hair was a mess, but I was ready to run!

The race started and we were off – for two miles uphill. UGH. I ran on the few flat stretches and race-walked the rest. Finally, just shy of the two-mile mark, we started the gradual descent. (An aid station here would have been perfect, but alas, there was none.) I started flying on the downhill portions, using the technique a coach friend taught me for running downhill – don’t lean back. In fact, you want to lean slightly forward, which sounds crazy but it works. You let your legs fly out behind you to kind of balance you and it really works. I was clocking sub-8:00 paces on part of that hill and it felt great! The only bad part was the heat. It was oppressive at times, like a cloak. There were high winds that helped off-set the heat but behind the hill, in certain parts where the wind didn’t reach, the heat was just horrible. My hands swelled up like sausages and I started to lose energy.

I had been smart and brought 20 oz of fluids – water and Gatorade – but I still could have used an aid station for the coldness factor. Drinking warm water just doesn’t do it for me and I didn’t feel at all refreshed. I kept going as best I could; when I couldn’t run, I race-walked. I started making deals with myself, that I’d run a tenth of a mile, then I could walk.

We finally reached the bottom of the hill, and we finished the race on a road leading back to the start area. FINALLY, there was an aid station. At mile 4??? Of a 7K race (which is supposed to be 4.34 miles)?  What’s the point? I gratefully drank a full cup of water and a full cup of Gatorade and kept going. I told myself I’d run until I saw my car, then I could walk. Then I’d run to a truck, and walk. Finally the finish line was in sight – the course was long, so we went farther than 0.34 miles after the aid station – and I dug deep and pulled out what little I had left. I crossed the finish line and stopped my watch.

Actual distance: 4.77 miles (closer to 8K, really)
Time: 57:15
Pace: 12:00 exactly (not bad considering I walked basically half the course)

I got my finisher’s medal and made my way to the food tent, where I helped myself to water and the good food – bananas, oranges, watermelon, and croissants/muffins – and walked around to cool down. I saw a couple of ladies I had been chatting with before the start and talked to them for a few minutes.  Finally I felt recovered enough and made my way to the car to head home. I stretched some more and ate a LUNA protein bar, then headed home… but not without making a quick stop at a scenic overlook to get this photo:

I never get tired of this sight!

All in all, a decent race. I did post a review saying they need an aid station at the halfway point – I had my own fluids, but not everyone did. It could have turned out badly for someone!

In other news: I got a new job! I will be working for the federal government again (for those who don’t know, I was in the military for eight years). My commute will be shorter, my hours set, and I can start going to the gym again and really getting myself back in shape with strength training and regular swimming. I am very excited about this opportunity and having more time for myself again. 🙂 I start on July 6th.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!


You can win some awesome sun protection products at Tall Mom on the Run’s blog by clicking HERE!



  1. Congrats on the run and especially on the new job!!!!

  2. Congrats on the run. It sounds hard core. I’m actually a pretty good downhill runner, and I totally agree with that advice. Just relax and let gravity do the work. Congrats on the new job, too. I hope it gives your life more balance.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: