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Posts Tagged ‘Trail running’

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After months of training the weekend finally arrived that I will run my first 50 mile race on Saturday November 23rd. I had three great months of running in New Mexico with the Santa Fe Striders over the summer, nice trails, great mountains, heat and altitude all rolled into one. I have been in NYC for the past three months, putting in plenty of 20 miles runs, a few 25′s and a 30, tonight I just had a handful of 400m intervals, but almost all on pavement.   The picture above is from the Blue Line Run done a couple weeks before the  NYC marathon and along the same course.

I signed up for the the JFK50 back in April through the urging of my friends Zander and Richard, at least that is how I remembered it, and together we will run it. Zander has run loads of 50s and both Zander and Richard have run over 100 marathons each! Despite their vastly superior experience I think we will be a good match physiologically to run this whole thing together.

I called on many ultra runner experienced friends, Joe, Michelle, Gabrielle,  Hideki, Tim and in the final 8 weeks Coach Owen Anderson. I had used Coach Anderson’s 30 days to a marathon finish plan for both a marathon and a half and PR’d both like crazy so I thought he could be me to the starting line fit and quick footed. Joe, Michelle, Gabrielle, Hideki and Tim provided me with a huge amount of information on eating and their GPS data, this was really crucial. I am not afraid to cover 50 miles, my only concern is making myself eat which is a constant problem. My pack is filled with dates, figs, bars and a couple emergency gels. But the best weapon I have in my back of tricks is my new beard hat!

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This awesome baby was hand crochet by my student Ruth. Yes it is warm, but it also makes me feel all fuzzy and happy inside and that happiness is what is going to carry me across the finish line with a smile!

Top 10 men last year came in between 5:34 and 6:12 and top 10 women 6:12 to 7:32. Many of these are professional sponsored athletes. People have up to 12 hours to complete the race which begins on the
Appalachian Trail and runs for 14 miles, then a gravel/dirt tow path for just over 26 and finally a road. The trail is technical and rocky and of course be slower, but I think they is a good way to start. I want to finish until 10 hours but honestly I have no clue what to expect, I just ran a 1:34 half marathon on September at altitude, but it was also a lot of downhill and on road. So here is to new adventures. Wish me luck!

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My hike for this week was in Taos. I met my ABQ friend Tom in Espanola at 7:00am for the drive up to the Ski Basin. We began at the Gavilan trail #60, it is about 1.5 miles before the ski basin, it is short, only 2.43 miles, but you gain 2,000 ft in those 2 miles from 8,881 feet of elevation to 11,205 feet of elevation. From there we went to Columbine Trail over to Gold Hill, wandered around on top the mountains before coming back down over the Long Trail. My last hike with Tom was a fast 20 milers, this one I am not sure how long it was, but we walked for 8 solid hours which equals about 16 to 17 miles.

After coming back to Abiquiu we ate at the famous El Farolitos in El Rito. I ran into four other friends  and we decided to take a night hike in Plaza Blanca, the Badlands of New Mexico. Walking around Plaza Blanca with only the moonlight was really cool. We took no lights  and wandered around  until about 11:00pm.

The next day I went to Santa Fe to meet up with the running group. I ran on my own Saturday morning extra early because I was helping time a race in town. It was pretty awesome, 217 people showed up, it was free with lots of great prizes. It made me want to race. I met my friend Joan who is in from NYC and we spend the days at galleries.

This morning the gang was running up Santa Fe Baldy, (12,622 ft) a 14 mile out and back run beginning at the Ski Basin. I hiked this last weekend. When I woke up Sunday morning, I felt kind of sad for no particular reason. But perhaps because I only have 26 days left, or because I hardly saw my dogs yesterday or maybe because I really just wanted to do laundry, I did not go. I took the dogs to the park at 6am until 7:30 met a really nice woman there and made a plans for her to bring her dog up to Abiquiu Lake, so it was a nice morning.

Now I feel sad that I missed the run, I just want to do everything. I love being outside and while I miss NYC, I will miss the mountains even more.

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Summer 2012 I drove to New Mexico over a 4 day period with dogs in the car.Image

I stopped along the way to look at Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, TXImage

I ran a half marathon trail race called, “Run the Caldera” in the Jemez Mountains. I placed 7th in my AG.Image

I hiked the Truchas Peaks.Image

I hiked Wheeler Mountain the tallest in New Mexico, about 3 times, maybe 4.Image

I built tables for my new studio in Abiquiu, NMImage

I taught a little workshop to good friends in my studio. Image

I climbed my first 14,000 mountain, Sneffles in CO.Image

and my second, La Plata also in CO.

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and my third and fourth Challenger and Kit Carson but I don’t have photos.

I bought 8 tons of pretty dirt for landscaping. Image

I put up 400 feet of fence, both field fence and coyote fence. Image

I went to the Lowrider Car show in Espanola. Image

I did a lot of trail running with the Santa Fe Striders.
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I climbed the Pedernal in Abiquiu and saw a horned toad.Image

 

Then went back to climb it again.

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I watched a lot of storms.

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And I had a really good time!

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Last week during the mountain run with my buddies, one guy said, while laughing “Get ready for your first 2.5 hour 1/2 marathon.” I thought he was joking, how in the world could it take 2.5 hours to run 13 miles?Well today I can tell you.

I was excited to “Run the Caldera”.  In case you don’t know, a Caldera is a collapse of land following a volcanic eruption.

Each year there is a 10k, 1/2 marathon and marathon. The actual race, at least the 1/2 does not go into the Caldera but rather it is run in the mountains, beginning at 7,853 ft and going to 8,857 ft.  I checked out the times from last year, to see who the competition was. The fastest woman was 1:45, the second fastest 2:01. The fastest man 1:39 second fastest man 1:47.  The fastest woman in my age group ran a 2:18. Wow, I thought, this is really slow. I should do okay; my last 1/2 was 1:44 on the road, and so on the trail I figured 2:00 or 2:10. I failed to look up who these people are, only their times.  Boy am I naive.

I scouted the start the day before. It is 63 miles from home and I wanted to make sure I got there on time. It was a beautiful drive that goes through the slightly creepy slightly intriguing Los Alamos. It only took 1.5 hours to get there and was easy to find.

Race morning I woke nauseous and with overactive intestines. I could not eat anything and was most worried about dehydration. I woke several times during the night with a dry mouth but I continued to drink electrolyte water, maybe too much electrolyte water. In the morning I ran the dogs, got dressed and was out the door. I felt better during the drive. I arrived five minutes after the marathon, and had just under an hour to wait for my start. During that time I ate a banana, went to the port-o-john four times and jogged for about ten minutes and did a few drills.

At the line up, everyone stood around casually. The only people to go right to the start line were Los Alamos Cross Country high school boys. We were given directions that we would run on logging roads, over a substantial amount of grassy fields without any trails, up extremely steep inclines of soft sand and rocks and over rivers. He forgot to mention though a field of prairie dog homes with random big holes. I had been forewarned to walk the hill and that I will catch back up to the people who tried to run them, and that was my plan.

I started easy and slow, taking my time. My first mile was very slow, a 9:44 but by mile 4 my overall average was 9:15 as I was able to speed up to 8:00.  I thought if I could average 9:15′s miles give or take I could finish in around 2 hours. Then the big hills started. In the next two miles I climbed just under 1,000′ and was at 8,857′ of elevation. Mile 6 and 7 took me 13:30 and 18:21. The hill was so steep I was almost on my hands and knees. The ground was soft sand filled with rocks. It was a slow going but with awesome views of the mountains. For the next two miles the decent started but my technical downhill running on rocks and soft sand is not good so I was not able to take advantage of it. In mile 10 I went back up 254 feet. And speaking of feet, mine were killing me! I have to buy trail shoes. The bottoms of my feet hurt, my hips hurt, my quads hurt, everything hurt and I was alternating walking and trotting. I met lovely women from Albuquerque. She talked about the trails in ABQ and invited me to come down.  I passed her on the downhills but she later caught up with me on the grassy flats and took off. I could not catch her.

In the last mile I promised myself I would only run, no walking. But when faced with another 105 foot uphill I walked. I just couldn’t take it. Then I looked at my watch. In 4 minutes it would be two hours and thirty minutes. I had about a half mile to go. I had to do it. I picked up the pace, I passed two people, then I passed another guy, suddenly I saw the little house on the opposite side of the start, I ran faster. A guy hobbling on the trail stepped aside. A crowd cheered and a guy yelled,” that is the way to finish it. ” He must be talking to me, I thought.  I pushed harder. My legs got going, I passed 5 people, and I saw the clock and finished with 30 seconds to spare. My lungs felt like they had stuck together. I crossed the finish line and had the same feeling I had when I fell off a tire swing flat on my back as a kid and got the wind knocked out of me. Luckily it only lasted a couple seconds and I was handed my shiny new metal. My fastest pace on the last mile was 6:39.

The final results are not posted but I know was lower than 24th woman and beyond 4 in my age group. There are a lot of super athletes and ultra runners there. A woman who ran the 2004 Olympic marathon trials won the marathon.  Once I know the full results I will post them along with the pictures.

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First this is not my photo nor was it taken today but it is a photo of Deception Peak.

I was up at 5:30 this morning, too excited to sleep and eager to get to Santa Fe where I was meeting the Striders for my first high elevation mountain trail run of the year.  I was a nervous on my drive, we were starting at over 10,000 feet and running to 12,400. I had no idea what I would feel like since I have only been at elevation 3 days and that was 6,000 feet.

It was great to see the friends from last summer, Jim, Eric, Miriam, Gabe, Caroline, and make three new friends, Maryann Max and Andy. The start of the trail is super hard, straight up from 10,238 feet to 12,409 in about three miles. It was super rocky, there were boulder fields and quite a bit of snow. There was nothing that resembled running, it was purely hiking. I will post the splits at the end, but it took 1 hour and 18 minutes to go 3 miles and I was in the front group.

The Winsor Trail is a steep climb that takes you to the boundary lines of the Pecos Wilderness, where you turn and go up Raven’s Ridge Trail. It is an unmaintained trails with several high and low points along the way. At times we lost the trail, had to scramble over rocks but the views were spectacular!

When we got to the peak  it was about 30 degrees, it was 46 when we started. The wind was intense and we huddled behind some rocks for a couple minutes to take in the views. But the wind and cold were outrageous and we hit the trail to Tesuque Peak which is the site of a hard core half marathon. Once off Tesuque Peak it is all downhill for 5. 5 miles. I felt fantastic. I felt really strong today. In talking with Gabe he too said he was nervous about today, but that the club had been training for 8 weeks working up to this height. I think some people did not have a very good day,  the cold plus elevation was pretty heavy. But I loved it and I felt terrific.

On the way down Maryann took the lead. She is  fast. Last year she outright won the Caldera Marathon. I was being cautious at first staying with the group but then just let go. I kept Maryann in my sights for most of the 5 miles. I stopped twice to tie my shoes thinking someone would come up behind me but no one did and I lost her.  I reached the bottom of the Alpine Vista Trail and was just energized.

I did not take any water or food with me. I was the only one who didn’t but I also did not need it. We ran a total of 9 miles and it took 2 hours. The last bit felt fast, but controlled and strong. After checking my GPS I ran pretty much the pace I ran in the Brooklyn 1/2 marathon which is pretty freakin’ great on a rocky dirt access  road between 12,000′ feet and 10,000. For fun I wore my heart rate monitor. I will post the rate because I have an 18:00 mile where my HR was 162 and I have a 7:30 mile where it is basically the same!

Maryann and Max  planned a 20 mile day because they have a marathon coming up in a couple weeks. They ran their final 10 on the road that goes back  to Santa Fe.

I did a couple of chores in Santa Fe and drove the 50 miles back to  Abiquiu when I  realized I was starving. It was now 3pm and I only had one piece of bread with coconut oil and black strap molasses at 6:00am. Unfortunately the dogs got into the refrigerator and ate about $100 of food so I went to Bodes convenience store just 6 miles up the road and got a BBQ pull pork sandwich AND a ground beef, cheese and chilli burrito and ate them both! Yes I ate a pile of meat and about 3 pounds of food and boy was it just what I needed. I could go run again.

Splits
Average Pace with average HR
1  18:36           63
2  27:25           137
3  25:12           138
4  12:00           136
5   8:00            147
6   8:21            154
7   7:48            160
8   7:42            159
9   7:36            161
9.5 7:30           102 (monitor fell down)

For comparison my HR average for a 9:00 mile is 145-150 at sea level and 7:00 pace is 170  give or take.

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 I woke up this morning and said to myself, “I am not running the marathon.”

This is not totally out of the blue. I have been contemplating it the last couple of weeks because frankly I have no fire in my belly to run it. The idea may have started  back in May when I was awarded a slot at the Venice Biennale to run on the Allora & Calzadilla “Track and Field” sculpture in the American Pavillion.

My time is immediately after the marathon. I spend the past two weeks trying to find the best flight,  it looked like I would run the marathon, rest 4 hours and  on an 11 hour flight, have one day of rest then run 4 times a day for the next 8 days.  I can hear the sighs. Then last Saturday I ran one of my worst 1/2 marathon on history waking up the next morning with a stuffed up head and hacking cough that I still have.

And there were still  unanswered question. Why is it that every run I do I feel like I am fighting my body? For any of you that follow this blog you know I started asking this question back July when I was  in New Mexico. I had a theory that all my runs in NM were all anaerobic. So does that mean I short-changed my aerobic fitness? Could I be overtrained even though I was running under 30 miles a week?  Maybe I a undertrained because I never did runs over 13 miles – but those miles were at 13,000 feet? So I ran more once I got back to NYC, 230 mile in the last month and I still feel like I am fighting my body,  I am not tired or sore but I am cranky with major anger issues.  This calls for expert help.

I called Coach Roy Benson. I very sadly learned he has retired from personal coaching but we could still chit chat on the phone and meet up at the Millrose Games! Coach is a smart one all right and boy will I miss him. He asked me how long was I running in NM before it got easier? “What do you mean? It was suppose to get easier?” If I wasn’t such a numb skull I would have called him before I went to NM to train. Apparently I should have thrown away my watch and ran  really slow, working only aerobically until my body got used to the high altitude. Only then should I start to push the pace. A good indication of that would be the ability to run at a mile pace 30 seconds slower than what I run at sea level for an extended period of time.(that is the calculated physiological difference at 7200 feet)  For example before I left NYC an easy long run would be 15 miles at  8:45 – 9:00 pace. There if I trained right what would feel easy would be 9:30′s for 15 miles. Yea, I didn’t do it that way. I pushed every single run as hard as I could. What a dork.

Coach said, “Hilary you know the answer to this, throw away the watch and only slow jogging for the rest of the month. You have an obligation in Venice and you can’t show up all broken. Only jogging! And if a few weeks from now you get the idea to start running harder, call me, I will put you back in place.” Gosh Coach, I am really going to miss your sternness.

I need someone like that in my life every day! “Hilary you cannot marshal a race and run a race that happens at the same time! Hilary you cannot write a review for an exhibition that you have to go see the same day you are running a 20 milers and have friends in from the Netherlands that you are taking to dinner and still spend 3 hours walking your dogs!” In my mind I think, “oh that is so fun yes I want to do it, and that would be fun too I want to do it” and so on and so on. I don’t overbook myself because I think I am super woman. I overbook, overrun, over everything  because I think it will be fun. And it always is, but stressful because too much fun is not fun.

Back to Venice. I booked my ticket to fly out on Saturday Nov. 5th  and by  4pm Sunday I will be  wearing the USA Olympic Uniform and running onto a WWII tank. I just might pee myself with excitement.

Dang I am feeling so happy I am going out for a little jog with my dog.

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I learned some good lesson yesterday while running the Alpine Vista Trail at the Santa Fe Ski Basin. The trail starts at 9,988 feet and goes continuously  to 12,024 in just 5.83 miles. That is a 6.6% grade.

I started out what I thought was very conservative knowing our high elevation and that the mountain only went up, no switchbacks or leveling off.  One of the guys and I took the lead of our group and we were all alone. At about a mile and a half I said “man, racing up this must be brutal.” There is a race in October called the Big Tesuque Trail Run.  He replied, “we are at race pace.” I looked at my garmin and said, “we are running 13:00 miles.” He said, “yes that is race pace going up.” And this is from a guy who is lightning fast. I looked up results from last year, the male winner was Mike Ehrmantraut – 1:25:40 (7:19 pace) his marathon pace three months previously was 6:06, not a PB, but to give you an idea. Lead woman was Rachel Earley – 1:31:28. The two slowest people ran 3:30 and 4:47 and they were 80 and 82 years old respectively!
A person can haul ass going back down the mountain, that is if they did not stupidly wear minimalist  shoes. Lesson No. 1. I wore my much loved New Balance Minimus but the rocks tore through my soles bruising my feel and sending tears to my eyes on more than a few occasions, so my downhill was slow and cautious with the exception of the last 1/2 mile when one of the women who blew me away on the downhill came back to help me out.  It was smooth at this point and we ran 7:30′s to the finish. Note to self, buy good sturdy trail shoes.
But here is the lesson I did not expect. As I was trotting up the mountain, my first partner took off and left me, one of the guys that had previously not been in sight came up behind me and actually walked by me. Huh? While I take the “I think I can” cho-cho train attitude and kept chugging along, Jim does a walk/run combo. He alternates about every minute or so.  When it is super steep or hugely loose rock gravel he walks. So I joined him. Heck if he was going to walk by my trotting I was going to try his method. It was awesome. Because we walked, my legs and hips got stretched out and when we ran, we  ran, not just shuffled. My time for the last two and most difficult miles was a whole minute per mile faster.  I was faster walk/ running than  trotting. So how does this effect HR training paces? Interestingly my heart rate fluctuated between 153 and 158, there was no large dip because we alternated so quickly and walked on the toughest areas.  That kept me right around my 80% MHR, which is  a bit harder than I need to run for  aerobic endurance, to metabolize fat, build capillary density, and facilitate more blood and gas transport. The real beauty of these tough runs is that while my mileage is low, especially for marathon season training,  my time spent running is good.  Last week’s run was over 3 hours and this weeks over 2 hours, so I am getting the time in and I feel that I am  greatly reducing my chance of injury by running short distances on the mountain rather was long, 18+ miles on the road.
I followed up my run with coffee and a brownie from the Chocolate Maven in SF and met my friend Lisa for a hike in La Bajada, NM to check out some petroglyphs. Here is a link to a meet-up groups photos. We hiked on our own, but being in direct 99 degree sun in the middle of the afternoon took it’s toll and we were out of them in under 3 hours but it was extraordinary.

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Run up Santa Fe Baldy, 12,622

I planned to hike with the Sierra Club today but at the last minute decided to trail run with the Santa Fe Striders. Both groups were doing the same mountain, Santa Fe Baldy, 12,622 ft. It would be my first trail run with the group and I was excited.

The morning was cool and overcast, 12 of us met at Fort Marcy Rec Center in Santa Fe and car pooled to the Santa Fe Ski Basin. The elevation at the ski basin is 10,083. We ran Winsor Trail which starts out very steep  climbing 600 feet in the first 1/2 mile and 926 ft in a full mile before dropping down. There were two steam crossings and several switchbacks that leads to  a trail junction at 11,000, 4.5 miles from the Ski Basin. The total distance from beginning to the top of Baldy is 6.5 miles. My Garmin recorded 4,617 ft of total elevation gain.

We had three groups of people, the super speedy, the middle, and the back. It was interesting because some of the super speedy were further back because the hills were so killer; the front pack was wildly strong and fast. I pretty much ran alone in the middle not seeing another person until we approached mile 3 when I started reeling in a couple of the guys who were not having a very good day.  I should say I did not see another runner. I ran into my Sierra Clubs buddies  a couple of miles in at that was really awesome.

The hills and rocks were taking a toll on everyone. We regrouped at the 4.5 mile marker and everyone turned back except for Eric and I, two people never  made it to the 4.5 mile marker. Eric and I  ran and power hiked to the top. About 200 feet below the summit there was a big herd of cattle. I saw the biggest bull I have ever seen in my life. I could not believe they were  there. Maybe it was a mirage, it was hard work getting up there.  Eric is a superstar runner so it is no issue for him. I think it was kind of him to power walk the huge rocky incline with me because I know he could have gone on. After climbing over about 1/2 mile of boulders  we came to a grassy path  and ran to the summit. From mile 5.5  to 6.5 there was 1279′ of elevation gain. That is some serious climbing.

The views at the top were spectacular.  We took photos, walked around and checked stuff out before heading back down. There were big storm clouds brewing.

I felt on top the world today.  It was a very steep climb but so rewarding. It was slow and to give you reference, my 1/2 marathon road mile splits were  between 7:30 and 8:00. My mountain trail run splits were between 12:00 and 23:40.  I hit 7:00′s and 8:00′s during those miles but that was in  bursts of a short downhill running. Most miles were between 12:00 and 15:00, obviously the 23:00 mile pace was a  power walk, or maybe just a walk.  The total uphill took me 1:51, which is wildly slow but I am super proud of it. The downhill was  faster. Total moving time from beginning to end according to Garmin was  3:18 with an overall time of 3:26 for the full 13 miles. I left my watch on during breaks so I assume that is the discrepancy. I may not be getting in my marathon training mileage but I am certainly getting in the time.

Normally hiking I take a pack with my headlamp, 3 liters of water, snacks, rain jacket, warm jacket, etc. Today I had on a t-shirt, shorts and carried one pint of Gatorade and two gels. Near the end my body felt good but I was out of gas to move any faster.  I ran a 12:00 pace for the last three miles, which unfortunately went back up hill after a downhill. At the finish Jim, the Striders President was there with Gatorade, water, cookies and  salted peanuts, it was awesome. I was so happy. I also loved that I had the whole day ahead of me. We were done at noon and if I was hiking with my Sierra Club buddies, it would have been great fun but we would not have finished before 4:00. The Sierra Club book states it is an 8 hour hike and they are always right on. Sometimes a 3.5 hour run is best way to go and today it really was. I can’t wait until next Sunday.

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I just returned from hiking Wheeler Peak with my buddies Tobin, Robert and Mark. It was a short fast hike, 10 miles rt, with 3000′ of elevation. Wheeler is the highest peak in NM, 13,161′.
It was beautiful out, cool, overcast, and just right for bagging another peak. Carson National Forest  opened for hiking Friday at noon after being closed in June due to forest fires. I immediately emailed the guys to see if they had any plans. At 8:30pm Robert called to say they were hiking Wheeler. I was so excited. Since I had not been in Santa Fe this last week to get groceries, or do my track workout – lazy me,  my refrigerator was empty except for an individual chocolate milk, german seed bread and almond butter. Ah, I figured as long as I had a lot of water I didn’t need any more food. So I packed up an almond butter sandwich, my chocolate milk and set my alarm for 5:30am.
There is a brand new trail to Wheeler that begins by Lake Katherine. 2.5 miles in from the Taos Ski Valley parking lot.  Instead of going straight up the mountain in essentially a line, there is an awesome switchback trail. It is about 3x as long as the other but it takes some of the steepness out of it. We got up there in a couple hours to find some big group who came from the other side.
As we left the thunderstorms moved in and it rained a little but nothing great. I was home by 4:00 and that included stopping to get an oil change for my car and a few tamales.
Tomorrow morning if I can get up at 5:30 again, I will drive to Santa Fe for a 13 mile trail run with the Striders. If I don’t get up I am going to check out a new trail along the Chama River at Abiquiu Lake.

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I won! I won! I won! and not just my age group – 1st female, 5th overall – with men.  Today was the Po’Pay 5k race that took place at  Ohkay Owingeh ( formerly San Juan Pueblo). This race has been going on 30 years and draws mostly runners from the Pueblo and a few Anglos like myself. I do not know historical ratios I am just commenting on today. I only know the largest number of runners so far was 400, today was under 100.  The race marks the Pueblo revolt from the Spanish over 300 years ago.

Pre-race: super organized, a lot of young runners, one girl had on her Foot Locker Cross Country Championship race shirt from 2010. I figured she would fly out of there. There  were a few other really thin lanky young women, high school and college. I figured they would dust me. I checked out the older competition, my age group was 46-65 and I saw one women who may give me a run.

The course was circular and  dirt, my favorite. I brought my cross country flats. I had no idea if this was a road race or trail so I brought both types of racing flats.

I felt good despite a 7 hour hike with a straight up 3000′ climb of Mt. Frazier yesterday. My quads were hard as rocks, but the 12,163 ft mountain filled me with energy and excitement.

We lined up on the orange sprayed line. We were told to take off our hats and glasses and a Tribal Council Member said the prayer. It was fantastic. There was this great rhythm to the prayer and it went on for a long time. I had no idea of course what he was saying but I assumed it was “thank you and let these legs work well.”

The gun when off, I started on the line with 2 other women, and the men. Our rabbit was an ATV. I let the women go ahead of me but about 1/2 mile in I passed one, then a mile in I passed the other. At mile one a very strong women passed me, weighing about 100 pounds and easily moving. She stayed about 20-40 meters in front of me most of the way. The first two miles were up but gradual, only about 100 feet each mile. Then after 2 miles  it started to drop and I worked the downhills, hard. I was gaining on her. Running at elevation is weird, it is way slower and breathing is way more labored, but because it is slow, I have no lactic acid build up, my legs never get heavy they just can’t go fast. I thought, “When should I make my move?” I can catch her but we are over 1 mile to the finish. I do not want to puke at the finish line, I always have dry heaves when I work hard, and I did not want to be outkicked in the last 200 meters which is easy for someone to do to me.

But I need to push. It was the two of us plus an older man, older like me, who obviously runs a lot. I took a chance, I passed her, he pushed hard, I let him pull me a bit then passed him. In passing I verbally prodded him on, “come-one” I wanted him with me, until I would push again. I dug in deep. I hoped that my passing her would psychologically let her drop back but it didn’t she kept pushing. I saw two men about 400 meter from the finish. It was her coach. I thought, “oh god don’t let me fall apart now.” I push and pushed. I heard the people at the finish. I tried to make my legs work as fast as they possibly could, it was only 200 meters, get me into the 6:00 pace please, don’t let her pass me. And there it was, I crossed the finished, first women, they were 10 seconds behind me. No dry heaves, an immediately recovery, then it was as if I didn’t run. Time wise it was the slowest 5k I have ever run. Effort wise  it was the hardest I have worked. It was also really fun because I had to think far beyond, “can I beat her” but I had to make bold decisions and big risks to win. I felt like I really earned it.

Immediately a reporter from the newspaper was there. He interviewed me and I said shinning things about the girl I ran with, The Santa Fe Striders for promoting the race, the excellent quality race. I was told the women I beat was one of the best high school runners to ever come out of the Espanola area. She was a college cross country runner at New Mexico Highlands University.

One of the things I was most thankful for is that the Kenyan’s didn’t show up. They dominated the last Pueblo race – in fact the same man and woman that won, also both won the NYC 1/2 marathon this year. So you know never who is going to show up. But today was my day and for that I am very happy.

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