Sunday, October 30, 2011


I survived the race. However, let me start from the beginning.

Saturday we had a bunch of friends over for our usual Game Night Halloween party. It is just a group of close friends, all with kids and they come over in costume. We provided crafts for them to do and then we had a mock Trick or Treat session in our hallway.

This was actually a really good thing because Jersey Girl discovered that Lil Dude (who is 2) likes to walk INTO a house after he knocks and the door is opened. Now she is prepared for Halloween night.

Every year we get our annual photo .... some kids are missing each year for various reasons, but they are all still super cute and growing fast!




After everyone left and we cleaned up the house I went to bed. It was 8:30 pm and Squeaker had been down since 7 pm. I needed to make up for lost sleep from the night before when both Squeaker and the Peanut woke up.

Squeaker woke up at 10:30 pm, 2 am and 5 am to eat. My alarm went off at 6 am for the race. I felt well rested. After some coffee to get things moving and breakfast of gluten free oatmeal with peanut butter I was ready to leave for the race. I woke Vans to tell him I was leaving (it was about 6:50 am) and that Squeaker would probably be up at 7 am.

The bonus of living closer to Folsom now is that I do not have to leave super early for this race. I easily found a parking spot and sat in my car where it was warm. I needed a moment to mentally prepare myself for this race.

This would be my 6th Lake Natoma Four Bridges Half Marathon, and for some reason I was nervous. I told Vans the night before that I was as nervous for this race as I was the very first time I ever ran it in 2002. Why? I think I had too many expectations for myself and considering my lack of quality training lately, I was afraid I would not finish.

I eventually got out of my car. I had my iPhone with me and my running playlist. I don't normally race with headphones or music but for some reason, with this race I felt like I needed it. I am glad I had it with me.

I made my way to the starting area and ran into one crazy porta potty line.

This stretched on much farther than it shows. 

Another bonus of living closer is that I went before I left the house so no porta potty line for me!

Since the race generally falls on or near Halloween, the Race Directors usually encourage people to dress in costume and will give a prize for the best one. This year, I think this guy's costume was pretty crazy.

Orange man?

He must have been fast in that suit because I never saw him at all during the race. He also must have been pretty darn hot!

I stood talking to a nice guy who worked for Raleys in their corporate office for a long while. It was his first Four Bridges and he was a bit excited. I think I need to go work for Raleys though as he was telling me that at his office, they have an incentive plan where if you work out on your lunch hour, you can reduce your health care premium every year! Sign me up!

Soon it was time for my wave to start. I sort of positioned myself in the middle. Years past I would have been up front but I know that I get caught up in the excitement of the first mile and often start out too fast.

This year I carried my water since I will be carrying my water for CIM. I also had some salt tabs and a few gels with me just in case. The gun went off and the wave started walking. When you hit the chip mat however, things started moving and I was off.

Immediately I felt sore. My back hurt, my hip was sore and I just felt out of sorts. Eventually all that wore off and I felt my groove. I did not turn on my music because I actually like the sounds of a race start because there are lots of people. This race has you run through Old Folsom the first mile or so which is really cute so I kept my music off until I hit the bike trail portion.

The first few miles flew by and I could not wait until the first aid-station. Not because I needed anything but because it was the Fleet Feet aid-station and I knew that I would see some familiar faces.

Sure enough Coach Nikon was the first to spot me and yell and I saw Super Woman and Pigeon and heard a few more cheers. It was just the boost I needed.

 I have to say that I was moving along at a decent pace and felt great. I felt as if I could hold the pace for a while. I think living and running in El Dorado Hills has really made me a stronger up hill runner as every person I passed, was on an up hill portion. There are a lot of rolling hills the first half of the race which I enjoyed.

Once again, anything flat has me struggling. I am guessing speed work and leg turnover is something I need to focus more on if I want to improve on the flat sections (any other advice??).

I was just cruising along feeling great. My stomach felt amazing which is rare for me. It felt so great that I was barely sipping any water for fear of having it give me trouble. The minute I started drinking water I was hit with a few side stitches. I never ever get those but lately, they have been happening more frequently and I am not sure as to why.

Around mile 7 I took a salt tab which I think helped with my side stitch. I also noticed that they have changed the course since I last ran it in 2008. With the new Hazel Bridge construction complete, they had us running a small out and back section before crossing the bridge and they didn't have us running under the bridge they way we had in the past. This threw me for a loop as I was not expecting it and I really did not enjoy the out and back section. I hate seeing runners going in the opposite direction that I am.

Once I crossed Hazel however, things started going south. The other half of this course has a lot more flat sections to it and no matter how hard I tried to speed up, my mile splits just kept getting slower and slower. I finally took a gel at mile 10 thinking maybe that would help but it didn't. I just kept getting slower.

The last mile of this race is notorious for being rough. It is up hill once you cross the foot bridge in Old Folsom. A switch-back up up up past all the spectators will lead you to the finish shoot. An up hill finish is always tough.

I have to say I felt strong on all the up hills except the finish hill. I wasn't dead but I was not as strong as I had been on the up hills earlier in the race.

I crossed the finish and felt a surge of relief that I was done.


I wore my Dylan Flinchum RockOn Foundation shirt for the race. It was perfect.

Here are my mile splits:

Mile 1 8:13
Mile 2 8:05
Mile 3 8:03
Mile 4 8:10
Mile 5 8:04
Mile 6 8:07
Mile 7 8:09
Mile 8 8:23
Mile 9 8:22
Mile 10 8:31
Mile 11 8:23
Mile 12 8:49
Mile 13 9:12 (that darn up hill)
My unofficial Garmin results were 1:50 and a 8:21/mile.

Official results: 1:50 and a 8:25/mile
11th in my age group out of 129
292 out of 1613 women

No matter how hard I tried after mile 9 to run faster, I just couldn't. At times I thought I was picking up the pace only to be passed by a few runners. Those darn flat straight sections get me every time!

When I finished the race I called Vans just to be sure he wasn't secretly trying to surprise me after the race. He wasn't. He had his own challenges at home (Squeaker is teething).

When I arrived home the girls were super excited to see me. Vans too but for a different reason. The Peanut really liked my medal and asked me "Mommy!? Did you WIN?!" Bless her heart.

I may not have won the race but I did win in life. 


  1. the pic at the end! I think those are great splits! Hills at the end always kill me! Great race!!!!!

  2. congrats on a great race! you will ready for CIM! (Yes speedwork helps on flats).

  3. With all the little physical issues and the lack of intense training, finishing 11th out of 129 in your age group is "winning"- and not the Charlie Sheen version either. AP