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Race Re-Cap: Berry Creek Falls 25K….DONE!

Good morning from Starbucks! I really tried to sleep in today, grand visions of seeing 8:00 am on my phone when I opened my eyes and I saw 5:40 am. Sleeping in is not on my pink hat’s agenda, ever. That just gives me a jump start on my recovery day, remember, I told you I was going to run the Berry Creek Falls 25K, yesterday? Yesssir, I did it!

Here is the nitty gritty on the day, spoiler alert I was up at 3:45 am making coffee and eggs. One of the big things I was trying to stay on top of yesterday was fueling and that meant pre race, during race and post race. Knowing that I can’t eat a lot, that early (who can??) I was going to eat in two parts. I had a cup of coffee and two eggs with a little soy cheese sprinkled in for good measure. I LOVE cheese, but it doesn’t love me and I try to avoid dairy, although last week somehow some Swiss made it into my fridge and it’s now out of my fridge.

I headed over to Sarah’s house to meet up with her, Sharon and Briana to car pool up to Big Basin State Park, which is about an hour and 45 minutes from here. It’s really nice to have friends that not only get up at ooo’dark30 to run but actually want to! For being so early, you would think we’d be sleepy, but it was non stop chatting and laughing on the way up.  I finished part 2 of breakfast – which was a gluten free hamburger bun (Trader Joe’s was out of their gf bagels) and a little peanut butter with flax and chia seeds. We got to the park early, which is good. That gives us plenty of time to use the little runners’ room, make sure we have everything we need and check in. Speaking of checking in….I asked AGAIN about the time cut off and the Race Director looked me and asked if I was the one that wrote in. Sigh….that was me, yes, because I was a nervous wreck. He assured me that I had nothing to worry about and I would be fine, just keep moving. Which seemed to be the focus for me, just keep moving. My coach and I had been emailing, she was giving me suggestions, tips, motivating words and encouragement, she seriously is the best. Michelle told me the same thing, just keep moving and have fun. With only one aid station on the course – at the start/finish, I wouldn’t have a lot social time, which was good.

We lined up at the start a few minutes before 8, to watch the kids’ race, which had a field of one. When you’re as fast as the little guy that was there, you intimidate the competition! He was maybe 3 years old and cute as can be, running with a smile from ear to ear as we cheered him on. I see a gold medal in his future!

Briana and I lined up on the left side of the road to start, while Sarah and Sharon lined up on the right. The 25K was the 15K and 10K loop, Briana ran the 15K and….she came in 2nd!! This girl runs and takes on hills like speed bumps. I told her she is like Pac-Man out there as she eats them for breakfast!

Here we are at the start, we look pretty professional don't you think?
Here we are at the start, we look pretty professional don’t you think?

And we were off! Here’s the thing, I thought that the 15K loop was what we ran two weeks ago when we were there for a training run. Wrong! We started a little further down the road and the loop was actually most of what we did, but backwards. Now, I’m a social runner, it helps keep me entertained, making new friends and keeping my mind busy. All good things! I talked with two ladies that were talking about the Big Sur Marathon, I was a #runabler and told them to sign up for the lottery, it’s open until Tuesday. You can’t run if you don’t play! Plodding along after they left me, I saw Jerry and we chatted a bit. I didn’t know him before the race, but he was running happy and having fun. As we got to the falls, he asked if I wanted a photo, but I had to keep my pink hat moving and promised to see him later on. My pace was conservative in the beginning, listening to my body and fueling was going well. I also brought along some S-Caps in case it was really hot out there. Between my Skratch Labs chews and lemon/lime electrolytes in my water, I was doing a good job of this. Always be over prepared is my motto and I’m glad I was so that I had no reason to get into the bonk zone. That was Coach’s other advice, stay ahead of nutrition, once you get irritable and grouchy, that’s where you are. She also reminded me, if you can’t see the crest of a hill, you walk it. This worked really well, I ran much more than I thought I would in the beginning, middle and end.

The end of the 15K was a down hill shoot to the check point and aid station, which had a lot of roots and rocks to navigate. I picked up the pace as I knew I was closer and was starting to hear people and cars. That was a motivation to get my booty there, knowing that the girls were waiting for me. Crossing the bridge and heading up a small hill, I was greeted with cheers and updates! “Guess who podiumed???” “There is a tree down, be careful on the 10K” as I was grabbing dixie cups of Tailwind, congratulating Ms. Podium and got my rear in gear. I was in and out, in under a minute, yelling back to the girls and thinking, the next time I’m there I’ll be done! Taking a quick look at my watch (I didn’t use it for GPS, because the signal is not good out there and I didn’t want to get caught up on pace. Running by feel is good for me, less pressure) and saw that I had been out for 2 hours and 37 minutes. This was good, it meant that I was rockin’ and rollin’ as much as I could on the course, focused and staying in a positive frame of mind.

The 10K loop greeted me with climbing, a tree down that I had to hoist myself over and more climbing. I will say that Coast Trail Runs does a great job of marking the course, which is especially good when you’re tired and ready to be done. Between the orange and pink ribbons to designate which course you’re on, the polka dotted ribbon to signal a turn is coming up and blue if you went the wrong way, it was full proof. I didn’t realize that the 10K course was going to have sections with sand and in direct sunlight. We had a little of that for the 15K, but I thought that was done and over. Wrong. To say I was on a mission for the 10K was an understatement. I had fuel left in the tank and I was ready to cross the finish. Making the loop and heading back to the crew waiting for me, I ran into Jerry again. He had come across a lady who was on the 10K with NO water and NO fuel. He was giving her his water and I offered up extra gels that I had with me and he was talking to her, to make sure she would drink due to her dehydration. I gave him a quick hug, assured him he was on track and kept going.

I came up to the aid station again, took a right this time and headed over the bridge that we crossed at the beginning, the most beautiful site was in front of me: THE FINISH LINE. I was so happy to see the girls waiting for me and knowing that I did it. I finished with 35 minutes to spare and my first official trail race was in the books! The Race Director came over to hug me and shake my hand, he even said, “See, you had nothing to worry about!”. Guess I didn’t have to email him, post on the message board and ask at the start about the cut off, did I?

We finished strong, happy and smiling!!
We finished strong, happy and smiling!!

Post race, we headed over to Los Gatos to enjoy a lunch of pizza at Blue Line and goodies from Icing on the Cake, an incredible bakery I had heard about a while ago. We stop whenever we’re in the area and not only do they  have indulgent goodies, but also offer vegan, gluten free, allergen free, etc. I may have also done some retail therapy at Lucy. New pants and a top came home with me, can’t beat a good sale!

The most incredible peanut butter cookie EVER! Two peanut butter cookies, with peanut butter cream in between and half dipped in chocolate. I love peanut butter, it's a food group and my pink hat was quite happy!
The most incredible peanut butter cookie EVER! Two peanut butter cookies, with peanut butter cream in between and half dipped in chocolate. I love peanut butter, it’s a food group and my pink hat was quite happy!

Today I woke up feeling fabulous, my legs felt so good that had I not known, I wouldn’t have thought I ran a trail race yesterday. My focus today, is going to be recovery! I *may* go to spin, have a massage scheduled and then I’m heading to Refuge. Refuge is a recovery oasis! They have dry & wet saunas, hot & cold pools and relaxation areas by fire pits.

There you go, that’s the skinny on my first trail race! Next up on the calendar is the Toro Park 30K August 29, 2015. What does your calendar look like?

How do you recover?

Do you have a favorite post race treat?


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