This weekend I had a plethora of running activities to keep my family busy. So get ready for a fairly lengthy entry.
Part 1: Helen Klein Ultra Classic (30K, 50K, 50 miler) - Saturday
I chose to do the 30K which technically is not really an “ultra” per se but whatever. A 30K distance should be 18.1 miles right? Notice I said “should be” . . . well, according to my Garmin I ran 20 miles on Saturday. But let’s start at the beginning shall we?
I started off my morning with my new ritual of ¼ cup of coffee, Gluten Freeda’s Banana Maple with Flax Oatmeal and coconut water. The race required 30+ minutes of driving and unfortunately I did not leave myself enough time. I ended up drinking my coconut water in the car which brought me to the race with a few only a few minutes to spare. I had to park, get my packet information and then head to the starting line. No time to stop and find a bathroom at all. Whoops. The Helen Klein Ultra Classic is a pretty well known race here in Sacramento. Norm Klein is the race director and Helen Klein is his wife who still runs and I believe is in her 70s. She is fantastic and Norm is a spitfire. This was my first ever Helen Klein race and I loved every minute.
It was still dark when we started. Norm, who is also in his 70s, had us all walk as a group through the woods to the “starting line” which consisted of a chalk drawn line in the dirt. No chips. No fancy timing mechanisms. No bull horn! Just Norm saying ‘ready set go’ after counting down. Gotta love it.
My goal was initially to take this as a training run for the marathon. From the start I had pee from all that coconut water I consumed and decided that on the turn-around I’d find a restroom. The race started with 2 miles of hilly trails and then dumps you out on the bike trail for what is basically an out and back run only to have you finish on the same hilly 2 miles of trails at the end. The big fancy turn-around really was an old man sitting in a lawn chair on the bike path reading a newspaper with a paper plate sign that said “30K turn-around.” I kid you not. I actually passed the guy not realizing he was the marker. Luckily I only made it about 10 feet before I realized that. Whew!
Well when I turned around someone running in the opposite direction informed me that I was the 3rd female overall. What? How? Ugh. Of course with that in my brain now, I couldn’t stop to use a restroom. I would lose my place! My “easy training run” immediately turned into a “race” and I just motored. I wanted 3rd female (or better) and if my memory was correct, I would be first in my age group.
Needless to say I ran hard but I ran well. I felt fantastic stomach wise. I had a little ankle pain but overall felt fantastic. I thought I would dread the hilly trail run at the finish but it was actually so nice to get off the pavement and back onto some trails and the weather was fantastic so I had nothing to complain about. I crossed the finish line and Norm immediately asked me how old I was. He presented me with a “trophy” for being first in my age group and as it turns out I was third female overall. It was a fun race and I felt great. Norm Klein was such a nice man with a great sarcastic sense of humor. I might have to consider this race again next year!
Part 2: Apple Hill Harvest Run 3.5 miles – Sunday
This is the first year Vans and I have ever done the Apple Hill Harvest Run. It takes place well over an hour from our house and therefore we’ve never been inclined to drive that far only to race and fight the parking/traffic madness that is Apple Hill.
Something changed this year though as I ended up signing Vans up to run the 3.5 mile race (timed) and myself and the Peanut for the 3.5 mile race (untimed). I figured it would give Vans a chance to race since he is always pushing the jogging stroller while I am racing and I thought the Peanut and I would have a great time walking and it would be a great recovery from the previous day’s 20 miler.
The madness was apparent on Sunday morning. Hundreds of cars trying to park and get to the race but the weather was glorious. Apple Hill is in Camino which is higher elevation than Sacramento and way more hilly than Sacramento. The hills were the first thing Vans noticed as we were driving in. The second was that we had to park so far away and walk up and down a big hill just to get to the starting area!
While Vans went to the front of the pack to get good positioning, I decided to be politically correct and go to the back of the pack where the stroller people are supposed to go. Big mistake. The walkers were even too slow for me! The competitive side of me took over and I started bobbing and weaving myself through the crowd until I was running and running fairly well. My goal was not to walk much and to keep running. The Peanut was kicking back having a blast in the jogger while “momma” was dodging and weaving various runners who were either 1. Giving me looks of disgust because I was passing them with a jogger or 2. Shouting “way to go momma!” as I passed. Ah well. I was having fun and I felt great so I just kept running.
As it turns out, the Peanut and I finished first stroller over-all and our time was not too shabby! We only finished about 5 minutes after Vans who by the way, finished 4th in his age group! Way to go honey! The Peanut enjoyed an afternoon of climbing and running at the playground near the race finish. What a perfect weekend all around. I love my running family.