Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

This morning, after our coffee, my parents, brother & I took a ride to our cabin. The road is not plowed all of the way, so we parked and walked the rest. Snow was probably at least 2' deep. The trees were frosty & beautiful and it was so serene; it was much so fun to be outside!

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Happy Birthday Dad!!

Happy Birthday to the coolest guy I know! :)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

North Face Challenge Trail Marathon

Andrea after the race--4:58.38
Yesterday I ran the North Face Challenge Trail Marathon in Marin County, CA.  Essentially it's in my "backyard," (or maybe that's "front yard"...) just over the Golden Gate Bridge in the Golden Gate National Recreational Area. Over two days, there were a 50 miler, 50K, Marathon, 1/2 Marathon, 10K and 5K races.  This is a series of races, taking place from May to December, that are run on trails in various parts of the country--Madison; Washington DC; Bear Mountain, NY; Atlanta; and SF. This one is the "championship" race of the series, attracting elite trail & ultra-distance runners from all over the world. The winners (man & woman) of the 50-miler each received $10,000!  Obviously, they let the "common" folks enter too.

Over the past months, I'd been slowly increasing my mileage, but had been doing my training runs on the road.  Since my last trail race was back in June, and my lack of preparation on trails, I was very nervous about the race. It's a very challenging course, with several intense climbs and descents. I made a promise to myself to keep my cool and not get caught up in the race excitement.  It's easy to feed into the other racers' adrenaline and start out too quickly.  I knew I'd never get through the day if I did.  So, I started very conservatively.  I'd run part of the course--one of my absolute favorite places to run--many times, so I knew kind of what to expect. And being the logistical mad-woman that I am, I studied the course map and elevation, almost to memory. The course was open for 8 hours, meaning runners were taken off if they did not finish within that time. I hoped it would not take me that long, but I mentally prepared myself for a long day.

Since it'd rained the night before and a bit before the race began, some parts of the trail (especially the single track sections) were extremely muddy.  Almost "icy."  I took my time on the slippery downhills; I didn't need a mud-covered bum.

To begin the last 6 miles, we were greeted with a 900', 2 mile climb.  Following a rolly up and down, the last 3 miles were pretty much downhill.  At the last aid station at just over 20 miles, I was right under 4 hours.  I really wanted to break 5 hours for my finish time.  Coming into the downhill section, I had just about 30 minutes left on my "clock." I recruited 3 other runners who were near me to pick it up, so we could all finish together, under 5 hours. It was definitely a race to the finish, and very painful. One racer, in particular, wasn't too happy with my "suggestion" and blamed me for his "internal bleeding."  In reality, it might have been the previous 23 miles, and not the final 3....that contributed.  Though, I do think he was exaggerating. But we all finished under 5 hours.  My "friend" even thanked me after the race for pushing him and we had a good laugh about his commentary. My official time was 4:58.38.

I had so much fun & I can't wait to do the next one.