Tag Archive | racing

First Trail Race

Even though I had planned to run this race, it took me until earlier this week to actually commit to running in the Knickerbocker Canyon Trail Race.  This was my first race of the season and my first trail race since I decided to become a trail runner this year.   I’ve only run two 5k trail races in the past and high school cross country races, many, many moons ago.  So, I was feeling very nervous going into the race.  I was nervous because I didn’t know the course, I didn’t know how to pace myself on the terrain, I didn’t know my competition (turns out I did know my competitor), and I knew there was one heck of a climb (I like challenges)!  Even with all that doubt, I chose to run this.

2013-03-24 Knickebocker Trail Race

I arrived with enough time to warm up and empty my bladder about 20 times (I was really nervous!)  It was pretty cold with a slight breeze.  I wasn’t sure if I should wear leggings or shorts.  I opted for shorts and was glad.  I arrived with 3 layers on top and could only peel off 1 layer before the race started.  It usually takes me a mile or 2 to warm up and I don’t like being cold so I chose to keep the long sleeves on and then tie them around my waist.  I know, not the best, but it worked.

I spoke with another gal and quickly figured out that I still had the competitive edge that I was hoping to tame this year.  I don’t think there’s a chance of taming it!  Anyway, she was recovering from an injury and was out there to have, “fun.”  She admitted that this was a hard concept for her.  Yep, I completely understood.  I thought about it and decided the truth is that I love running.  I have fun during my training runs.  But, something changes when I sign up for a race.  I don’t race for, “fun.”  That entry bib is my ticket to the pain train.  I am going to leave it all out on the course.  And chances are, it’s not going to feel good.  I work hard and that’s how I race.

We started and I was shocked at the pace. I looked at my watch and we were flying at a 7ish pace.  Ok, I can hang with this, but it’s fast.  I knew that we were going to go fast the first 3.5 miles and then basically jike (jog/hike) the climb for a mile and then work hard the last 2+ miles to the end.  What I didn’t know is how fast we were going to descend.  I was pleasantly surprised at how fast my legs could maneuver the trail.  We were quickly hopping over rocks, avoiding ditches, crossing low streams, staying clear of horse poop, and more.  I was amazed at the pace we kept while doing all of this.

2013-03-24 Knickebocker Trail Race 3

The one aid station for the 10k was at the bottom of the descent right before we started to climb.  I quickly grabbed a cup of water and I was on my way.  I had been the second woman up until that point.  However, I finished drinking and left first.  For about 5 minutes I was in the lead.  When we hit the start of the steep, steep climb, my competitor passed me.  I tried to catch her, but she was fast on the hills.  These hills were almost unwalkable.  During the ascent of “Training Hill” also known as K2, we climbed 1000 feet in a mile…….no joke!  This is definitely the steepest hill I have ever attempted to run.  We were all walking (shuffling, jogging) it the fastest we could, trying to get a few running steps in on each of the 5 little plateaus. Just in case you don’t believe me, here is an elevation map.

2013-03-24 Knickebocker Trail Race 2

By the time I reached the top, my legs felt like jello.  I knew I needed to stay strong for the last 2+ miles, but I needed to watch my step even more closely.  My legs were not responding to the rocks, roots, etc. as quickly as before.  I didn’t want to trip.

I rounded a corner and realized we were close to the finish line.  I could see the gal in front of me, but I couldn’t catch her.  She finished about 1 minute in front of me.   I feel like I gave it my all and I had fun while working my butt off!

Here are the results:

top 10

2013-03-24 Knickebocker Trail Race 4

full results:


The course was very well marked and I was able to find my way out!  I was impressed with the after race food spread they provided us with.  I will definitely race another event organized by Inside Trail Racing.  It just happens that their next race is in Folsom next month.  I look forward to it!


Got Pre-race Jitters?

I’m 2 weeks away from my first race of the season (3/24) and I’m already starting to feel nervous.  In fact, it hit me last week.  I wasn’t expecting to feel so nervous so I started to ask myself why am I nervous?  I’m neither a new runner nor a new racer.   So, why do I have the jitters?

2013 nervous

I tend to analyze things (yeah, maybe I over think them) to try to calm my anxiety.  I started to think about all the positives:

  • I am well trained.  (I compared this year’s first 10 weeks of training to last year’s training.  The mileage is almost the same).
  • I can definitely run a 10k distance.
  • I love running.
  • I have been running lots of hills.  (Many more hills this year than last).
  • I have no time expectations since I don’t have much experience with trail running.
  • I am strong.
  • I love challenges!!!

Then, I was negative Nellie and listed all the fears and negative thoughts:

  • I don’t know the course.
  • This race has a tough climb.
  • I don’t know how to pace myself for a trail race.
  • What if I come in last?
  • Maybe I’m just too damn competitive.

I try to remember that I chose trail running this season to have fun and not place any pressure on myself (trying to set PR’s etc).

Comments like this one help me put things into perspective…………

“A race is simply a 100 percent effort. And a good race is one in which we find our correct effort level for that day and then maintain it from start to finish.”

If you’d like to read more about the mental side of racing, here are some great articles:




Do you get nervous before racing?  How do you calm your fears? 

Recap of 2012


I love looking back at all the events that I participated in throughout the year.  I wrote a separate post for each of the running events.  You can find them under the 2012 archives.

As my kids are getting older, I am trying to get them involved in some of the local events.  I love sharing my passion with them!  And, this year my husband and I actually rode in 2 events together.  Usually we have to play tag team, but with the support of family, we were able to get out together.

2012 Sacramento Zoo Zoom 2 (snip it )

Here are the running events that I competed in:

  • The first part of the year I worked on my 5k pace.  These are  the races I ran:
  1. Auburn’s Resolution Run – Jan.
  2. Sacramento Zoo Zoom – April
  3. Folsom’s Run with Nature – May
  4. Kaiser Permanente Women’s Fitness Festival – June
  5. Fab 40’s – July
  • The second half of the year I trained for the marathon.  In addition to the marathon, I was supposed to run a 1/2 marathon in the fall, but I ended up needing the time off.
  1. CIM

Here are the events we participated in as a family:


  1. JDRF’s Walk to Cure Diabetes (2 mile walk).  Natalia won the privilege of cutting the ribbon to start the event!
  2. 2012-10-07 walk to cure diabetes 1Folsom Turkey Trot

2012-11-22 Folsom Turkey Trot5

Here are the cycling events I completed:

2012- Cyclebration

  1. Ride for a Cure……..American Diabetes Association…….my first 100k event.  Thank you Wendy for riding with me!
  2. Cyclebration………100k.  It was great riding with my hubby!  Those hills were sure challenging!
  3. Edible Pedal …….Reno’s Rotary……….Another great ride with my hubby!  The views were gorgeous!


I accomplished quite a bit and had a ton of fun doing it! 

Sacramento Zoo Zoom 5k

I came up with this idea to work towards a 6:30 pace for my 5k.  This was my first attempt.  I was familiar with this course and knew that it was a flat, fast course.  Plus, I would have some good competition at this race.2012 Sacramento Zoo Zoom (snip it)

Here I am at one point in the race.  What I notice about this picture is that I lost my form.  I was heal striking at this point…..ugh!  I have been working hard on my form and when I am training, I am able to keep my form.  But, I notice that when I race, I lose my form.

2012 Sacramento Zoo Zoom 5 (snip it )

Here I am crossing the finish line.

2012 Sacramento Zoo Zoom 6 (snip it )

And, this is so typical of me……What’s my time?  Did I meet my goal?  Well, unfortunately, I did not meet my goal, but I was closer to it (6:42 pace).  No worries, there’s another chance in a few weeks!  After all, if I hit my goal after 1 race, it wouldn’t have been much of a challenge.