Sunday, September 22, 2013

Running with Olympians (Sort of)

Going into the Xterra Trail RunNational Championships this weekend in Ogden, Utah, I felt the fittest I have felt so far this season. My workout around Lake Padden on Wednesday showed promise that my strength and speed is starting to come around. I gained a lot of experience from my previous races in California and Park City in regards to racing longer distances and at altitude, respectively, so I knew there would be no surprises for the course that waited at the Snowbasin Ski Resort. With all of those factors under my belt, I was excited to race.

We arrived at Snowbasin Friday at lunchtime with the intention of running the second half of the course. My knee was feeling a bit cranky so I made a smart decision to take the day off. Luckily I have Tad to act as my eyes and legs, and so while I waited in the car and ate all of the snacks I brought for the weekend, he ran the last 9 miles of the course. Saturday we were able to run the first 4 miles together and so I had a pretty good idea of what I was getting into before I lined up this morning.

Me and my buddy, Brad.
Lindsey Anderson, defending champion and course record holder, was returning to the race this year. As a local runner she has the advantage of living and training at altitude. There is also the little fact that she competed for the USA in the steeplechase at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Liz Stephen from Vermont was the runner-up in 2011 and also returning this year. There is also the little fact that she competed for the USA in cross country skiing at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. I knew they were going to be hard to run with.

The race was off to the sound of a gun that sounded more like a canon. Before heading up the trail, they had us run a "victory" lap around the parking lot to spread out the field. People took off like it was the 5th Avenue Mile. As soon as I started the climb at a half mile, I knew I was at 6,000 feet and I accepted that I would be sucking air for the next 13 miles.

Liz took it out very hard and Lindsey just hung on. By the mile, they were out of site. I passed Tad just after the mile and he informed me that there was no woman in site behind me and, "Good job".  Because he wasn't screaming in my ear to catch the leaders like he usually does, I knew that Liz and Lindsey were long gone and never to be seen again. Today I will be running for third place.

A Hurtin' Pup
I settled into running with the men and just ran my own race. I knew there was $400 on the line so I wanted to be sure to keep my spot. I felt as though I kept pushing and never let up for the entire race. I know this because I was breathing too hard to open a GU. Fortunately, I didn't need it today.

Lindsey ended up defending her title with Liz close behind. They both crushed the previous course record. My finishing time of 1:39:59 was solid based on last year's results.

Liz, Lindsey, Maria

Thank you to the Xterra race directors- you all had a huge weekend of events to pull off and you did so superbly. I look forward to returning to Snowbasin next year. Thank you to Inov-8 for my Roclite 268's- they are my go-to shoe, ready for any terrain and distance. Thank you to the kind spectator at 3.5 miles who told me that my running was beautiful- you made my day.

Top 3 Men & Women

After the race, it was fun to have a chance to hang out and catch up with fellow Washingtonian, Joe Gray as we waited for the awards. Rest up, Joe- you've had a great year!

Me and my Camera Man

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Review: Inov-8 Base Elite™ 130 LS

Yesterday I got a surprise in the mail from Inov-8: the Base Elite™ 130LS, the Base Elite™ 140 LSZ and the Race Elite™ 160 3QTR.

I tried out the Base Elite™ 130 LS during my warm-up this morning. The fit was so comfortable that I wanted to workout in it, but the day's warming temperatures forced me to save it for another day. It will be perfect for winter racing which will be here before you know it. 

Though I spend 90% of my training time on the trails, the reflective detailing provides more visibility for road crossings, especially now that it is getting dark much earlier. The main body of the shirt has UPF 50+ protection and the mesh parts under the arms have UPF 20+ protection which will be great for training runs on mountain ridges above treeline when I am unprotected from the sun.  

In my opinion, the best part about all three of these pieces is that they are all made specifically for women. I would feel good wearing them whether I am warming up, working out, running errands or traveling. 

Base Elite™ 140 LSZ & Race Elite™ 160 3QTR.
(I will review after some quality time in them.)

Pretty sharp lookin'!

All three items are already packed up in my suit case ready for the Xterra Trail Running National Championship this weekend in Ogden, Utah. And at only 5.5 ounces or less, that leaves a lot of room for the 6 pair of shoes that I am taking. 

Friday, September 6, 2013

Lake Padden Trail Half Marathon

The morning of Saturday, October 19th will be the 3rd running of the Lake Padden Trail Half Marathon in Bellingham, Washington. The course is a delightful mix of single-track horse trails that are steep, technical and challenging -to say the least - and the wide, fast, rolling trail that circumnavigates the lake.

The Lake Padden Trail Half Marathon epitomizes what the community of Bellingham is about: Good people coming together to do something good for themselves all while helping the wellbeing of others. All of the race proceeds will go to benefit Rebound of Whatcom County, a local charity that brings hope and healing to kids and families whose childhoods have been tainted by abuse, poverty and neglect.

Packet pick-up will be held at the Book Fare Café in Village Books in the heart of downtown Fairhaven on Friday evening. I will be there at 5:30pm to give a presentation on my two greatest passions: running and nutrition. So come on over after work, get your race number, mingle with your fellow competitors and join me on what it means to live a wholesome life through diet and lifestyle.

Saturday evening after you clean up and get a nap, join us for the post-race party at Poppe’s 360 Pub. They will be offering an extended Happy Hour with food and drink specials from 4:00-8:00pm on their heated deck.  If that is not enticing enough, live music will be played by the bluegrass band, The Pine Hearts- hailing from Olympia, WA- until 8:00pm.

Hurry! Registration closes on Wednesday, October 16th at 11:59pm and there is NO day of race registration. If you are a sponsored runner interested in competing, complimentary lodging will be offered to you at the Lakeway Inn. Please contact me or race director Al Coyle at

For more information and to register or volunteer, visit the Lake Padden Trail Half Web site or the Facebook page.

See you on the starting line!