Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Training Journal 1/7-1/13

Monday, January 7- Sunday, January 13, 2013: This week I traveled to Oahu!  As always, I fell in love with the warmth and humidity. I wouldn't mind it being even hotter and sunnier, but I did come during their "winter" after all.  This week was designed to get my body prepared for the temperature difference from Bellingham (chilly 30s to 50s with rain) to Honolulu (warm/humid high 60s or 70s-80s).  It was also to enjoy a little "pre-H.U.R.T. 100 mile" time in paradise.  I struggled with pain in my big toe/ball of my foot all week.  But it wasn't getting any worse.  Probably worse than the toe/foot this week was a little cold that became very phlemmy/coughy (not really a word, but you get the point) all week making me feel like I was running at altitude.  Most of my runs were slow because of this and the toe pain.
Pausing while running on the Kealia Trail, North Shore.
Monday: Rest day & travel day. Arrived on Oahu, but between the flight, late car rental, and driving up tot he North Shore, night came quickly.
Tuesday: 13 miles. 2 runs.  9 miles on the Kealia trail, 3200 ft climbing, 2.5 hrs/easy, still feeling a cold/have a cough. 4 mile in evening on flat bike path, 32 mins. 
Wednesday: 8 mile run on the Kealia Trail. 2hr, 1700 feet. Took it really easy, still feeling a cold in my lungs, coughing.
Thursday: 7.5 miles on the HURT100 mile course. 2000 ft of climbing, 2 hrs, easy, again still feeling the cold, but it is almost better.  
Friday: 6.5 miles on South of Laie. 1700 ft. climbing, 1hr. 30. Cold almost entirely better, feeling strong today!
Saturday: 15 mile run, 4,500 feet of climbing. 4hrs. Easy pace.  Very hilly. Kealia trail loop.
Sunday: 4 very easy on the beach. 500 feet of climbing. 45 min.

Running Miles: 54
Running Elevation Gain: 13,600 feet
Total Time Running:  13hr. 15 min.
Cross training: Mostly plank exercises.  45 min. Practiced 3 types of plank every day: face down & sideways.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Trail Running Adventure on Oahu

What better way to explore the Hawaiian Island of Oahu than by running on many of its trails and beaches?
Running on one of the numerous steep sections of the Kealia Trail on the North Shore
My trip to the warm sunny island of Oahu began with a week on the North Shore and ended with a week in the bustling beach town of Honolulu to run one of th toughest 100 milers in the country, the H.U.R.T. 100 mile Endurance Run.  H.U.R.T. is an apt name for the race, as it is tough and painful even in terms of trail running races: almost 25,000 feet of climbing on one of the most technical courses in the United States.  The course boasts slippery rocks, mud, and long stretches of roots that make a lattice work of the trail and almost guarantee that you will eventually fall.

 A week on the North Shore just outside of the town of La'ie was the perfect location to relax before my big race.  I ran a few times on the beach out of Malaekahana State park (a great 4 mile run).  The North Shore is home to the famous surfing culture of Hawaii and most famously the town of Haleiwa, where you can find the best surfers in the world enjoying the big waves.  The waves on the North Shore are exciting!  I made sure to find time between trail running to play in the surf.  Since I am a bit better on the trail than in the water, I mostly body surfed.  If you time the waves just right, the wave will carry you right into the shore.
"Tapering" for my race by lounging on the beach
Many of my favorite trail runs are on the North Shore.  Right outside of the small town of La'ie is the La'ie Trail.  The La'ie trail is 6 miles out (12 total) if you run to the summit, or 3.5 miles to the waterfall (7 miles total).  I ran to the waterfall, the last 1/2 mile of which was a slip and slide-rock climbing verticle adventure.  Like so many trails on Oahu, the La'ie trail is narrow, slippery and often covered in rocks, but more importantly magnificently scenic with ridge views of the ocean and the tropical hillsides.  Flowers and the scent of flowers are everywhere, as are the wild Strawberry guava trees.  If you know your fruit, you can eat quite a bit of your way up and down the trails.

Views of the ocean on the first climb of the Kealia trail
Found a passion fruit on the Kealia Trail!

The best fruit was the passion fruit I found just north of Haleiwa on the Kealia Trail.  This is my favorite place to run on the North Shore because it is a pretty dry trail and there is lots of climbing!  The first 1.5 miles climbs 1,500 feet with a view of the ocean almost the entire climb. 
Enjoying the view on the La'ie Trail

Perhaps the most spectacular views on the island are from the Olomana Trail.  The Olomana trail is right outside of Kailua, on the Winward side of the island.  The "run" is really more of a scramble, as you use ropes and hand/foot holds scale many of the rocky parts of the trail after about 1 mile of running.  I only went as far as the first peak (2 miles out), but there are 3 peaks you can climb, all as crazy steep and narrow and shockingly beautiful as the next.  As the trail summits each peak, it becomes more narrow with rocky cliffs on both sides.  Not a good trail for the vertically challenged!
A little bouldering on the Olomana Trail

View from the first peak of the Olomana Trail. You can see the other two peaks in the background of the picture. Pictured: James Varner.

Also taken on the first peak of the Olomana Trail
Narrow ridge running on Olomana Trail!
Honolulu was the last city I explored on my trip.  The Ko'olau Mountain Range, between Honolulu (South Oahu) and Kailua (Winward side), boasts most of the trails near Honolulu.  The H.U.R.T. 100 course runs on the Ko'olau Range, just North of the city. During the day, I enjoyed views of the city, ocean, and forest as the course climbed along the ridges.  The race course was almost entirely uphill or downhill.  There was virtually no flat trail running.  I loved the bamboo forests and the music that came from the wind blowing the shoots into each other.  On a climb, reaching the bamboo meant you were almost at the top of the climb.  This translated to sweet relief from the intensity of climbing in a humid, warm climate. 
Running on the course, the week before the HURT100. Bamboo Forest.
There are many cliffs on the HURT 100 course.

The Salomon Speedcrosss 3 were great on the slippery, muddy, rooty course.
There are always beautiful flowers to admire on the trails.
H.U.R.T. 100 RACE
In the first 3 miles of the race, I sprained my ankle.  Visions of finishing the race began to vanish as the pain seared up my leg and made me roll on the ground in pain.  Yet.... I could not even comprehend quitting so early in the race, so I continued.  I turned that same ankle 2 more times on the second loop (the course is made up of five 20 mile "loops"), each time falling over and rolling on the ground in agony!  The first sprain had stretched the tendons/ligaments and the ankle was completely unstable. Thanks to a great taping job at Maikiki Aid Station by a talented volunteer and ibuprofen, I was able to finish the race and stay in the competition, finishing 3rd place woman and 15th overall in 28hrs and 35 mins.  My time was good enough for the 8th fastest woman's time ever on the course.  Very few runners even get under 30 hours and the finishing rate is has yet to be more than 44%!  What a beautiful and tough course!
Me and my pacer/crew James Varner before the start of the HURT100
One of the many climbs on the HURT 100 course
Some of the technical root section, pictured, during my last loop of HURT.
Another view of the roots on the HURT 100 course. Picture by Rob Lahoe.
Climbing up a particularly steep section on the HURT 100 course.
Finished the race!! Sitting finally!

The sign is the finish line and all runners must kiss to complete their run.
Me with my 3rd place award (special handmade tea set!) and my pacer/crew extraordinaire James Varner
Me receiving my award for 3rd, next to Hannah Roberts (1st).
Here is my sprained ankle.  Resting on the beach.

For more information on Trail Running on Oahu, get the book: Hikers Guide to Oahu by Stuart M. Ball, Jr.

Also check out my blog posts documenting many of my runs on the island of Oahu:

Best Damn Strawberry Guava Trail in La'ie
Climbing Exponentially on the Kealia Trail
Two Lollipops on the Hau'ula Trail
Part of Peacock
Backwards and Out of Order: HURT 100 Course Preview 
Kamanaiki Ridge Run over Honolulu
Finished the HURT 100

And some more pictures from my trail running adventures on Oahu:
View from the Hau'ula Loop Trail on the North Shore

James running on the Kealia Trail, North Shore

Me running on the Kealia Trail
Me running on the Kamanaiki Trail above Honolulu

Being silly on the Kamanaiki Trail above Honolulu

View from the Kamanaiki Trail above Honolulu
Eating bananas before the HURT 100.

Kamanaiki Ridge Run over Honolulu

The last run on our Oahu trip almost made us miss out flight.  We tried to squeeze it between sleeping in and the airport.  We quite literally went from the run to security at the airport right on to the plane and takeoff.  I personally wouldn't have minded staying on Oahu forever (love the heat/sun) but we have a race to put on this weekend on Orcas Island....

Some pics from the last run in paradise:

The run began up a long steep staircase wedged next to a house and climbed really quickly onto a scenic ridge.
Climbing up through residential area to the ridge.
A rainbow over Honolulu
Some sort of water tower?  It was pretty and colorful!
A little rain, a little sun...on a steep climb.  I took it really easy as my ankle is pretty messed up from spraining it so many times on the HURT100. 

Very steep!

Ridge running with lots of views

Strawberry guava

Monday, January 21, 2013

Finished the HURT100

Now I see what James was doing behind me!
First off... I want to thank my body!  As it complains today and shuffles around like a car accident victim I want to thank everyone for your love and support before, during and after HURT100.  I am completely overwhelmed by your well wishes!  What a journey the race was.  I finished 3rd woman, 15th overall in 28:35.  That's good enough for the 8th fastest women's time ever onthe HURT 100 course.  Interesting facts about the 2013 HURT100 race:
121 starters
68 DNFs
53 finishers
That's 43.8% finish rate.

After spraining my ankle at mile 3, I wasn't sure if I would even complete one full loop.  I could not even comprehend quitting so early in the race, so I continued.  I turned that ankle 2 more times on the second loop, each time falling over and rolling on the ground in agony!  The first sprain had stretched the tendons/ligaments and the ankle was completely unstable. Thanks to a great taping job at Maikiki Aid and ibuprofen, I was able to finish the race and stay in the competition!  What a beautiful and tough course!

Thank you Salomon Running for your support!  Salomon makes some pretty amazing trail shoes that PERFORM on the most technical and muddy trails.  Thank you James Varner and Heather Anderson who crewed me at EVERY aid station that was allowed, except when they paced (that's an aid station every 5-7 miles for 100 miles!  I am humbled by your generosity.

Congrats to my friends who conquered the course. Shout out to--- Gary Robbins for an incredible new course record. If anyone is going to beat your course record, it might as well be yourself!  Congrats on 2nd and a PR to Jason Loutitt.  Thank you Kevin Douglas for letting me chase after you all day (and night)and for giving me the certifiably crazy idea to do the race this year. Hats off to Hannah Roberts, top woman, for making the course look easy having the courage to go for it!  Great job to Mel Bos for a solid comeback after getting off course.  She was able to stay positive and make the best of the situation. Thank you to the HURT crew for letting us all suffer on your course. The race was top notch.

Piece of cake. Who says the course is technical?

Am I done yet?!

Finish line!  Finally sitting

This is my "I've been up for almost 30 hours and ran 100 miles" look.

I was a little incoherent at this point, I think maybe I was trying to interview James about his race. Oh wait... I ran the race.