All posts filed under: The (Actual) Life of an Ultrarunner

Race Report: Oriflamme 50K, Take Two

I’m not an angry person, and most people remember me by my smile, or so I’ve been told. But Oriflamme 50K–the second time-around–was a miserable experience for me (and because of me.) For those who aren’t familiar with the Oriflamme 50K, it’s a terrific event put on annually by Pinnacle Endurance. The course starts at Sunrise Trailhead in the mountains east of San Diego, then winds along the Pacific Crest Trail for a few miles before dropping down through Oriflamme Canyon and into Anza Borrego Desert. The first time I ran the race, in 2015, I had little idea what to expect. It turned out the early descent at the beginning of the race, the blooming barrel cactus and accompanying sphinx moths on the desert floor, and then the long, grueling climb back to the finish was my ideal race. I placed first female that year, my first ever win at any race, and it’s been special for all those reasons since. This year, when asked what races I wanted to run, the one and …

Orcas 100: Why Not?

Photo credit: Glenn Tachiyama On the ferry ride over between Anacortes, Washington to our destination, Orcas Island, Nick replayed his whys over in his mind. I had a difficult time concealing my giddiness at a trip to Orcas–for one, I had never been but had heard of the island magic; for another, it was the Pacific Northwest and as a proud Pacific Northwesterner, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to smell coastal brine and the cleansing dampness of cedar forests. When Nick asked me my why, my reason for running Orcas 100, I almost laughed. Did I need a reason to run this race? Wasn’t the sheer beauty of the place enough?   “Because it was a chance to take this trip,” I said, my mind still full with images of our night in Seattle, stuffing our faces with seafood bisque and piroshkys and wandering so far and so long our feet were swollen before the race. Even on the drive to the ferry terminal earlier that morning, we had watched trumpeter swans, maybe even a …

Twin Peaks 50: A Twin Race Report

This past weekend, Nick and I ran the Twin Peaks 50/50, an awesome race run by Dirty Feet Productions RD Jessica DeLine. Nick ran Twin Peaks in 2012, but this time I was willing to join in on the fun. Without big expectations for our performances, we set the male and female course records (Nick: 8:56:27 and Jade: 10:32:34), finishing first and fourth overall, respectively. On the drive home, we asked each other some questions about how our races went behind-the-scenes. Here’s what we had to say. Why the Twin Peaks 50?  Nick: A client of mine was asking about the race, and with UTMF not having quite worked out how I’d envisioned, I thought it would be a nice event to end 2016’s ultra-running season with.  Jade: I haven’t run a 50-mile race since Santa Barbara’s Red Rocks 50 two years ago, and was curious about the distance; when Nick mentioned that he was considering running the race, I was interested and decided to jump in as well. Running races together (though I should clarify that …

Cascade Crest 100

As we rounded the corner following the dirt road up to No Name Ridge, the smell of breakfast awakened me from my stupor. “We have to be close to the aid,” I said, imagining thick, sweet pancakes filled with blueberries and chocolate. Breakfast almost sounded too good to be true and I hoped that the aid station was close. Behind us the sunrise had grown from a yellow hue that lightened the night sky and stole the stars to the fiery orange that preceded dawn and turned the clouds lilac. We had spent the last few hours hiking up the ridgeline and after running more than 80 miles of the Cascade Mountains in Washington State, we were now eager to reach the No Name Ridge Aid Station.  “I can see the aid!” I said, noticing the large green tent, the white van, the camping chairs and patient volunteers through the trees. “Ah, yup. Me, too,” Nick replied, equally glad to have arrived. He had gone through lows with me during the early morning hours and had patiently watched as I wolfed …

Amsterdam: Where to Run in the City of Canals, Weed & Poffertjes

Amsterdam probably doesn’t come to mind when you think about running; if you’re confined to a city, then surely one where bikes outnumber people nearly 2 to 1, coffeeshops (not what you think they are) are found on every corner, and tourists flock to some of the best museums doesn’t come to mind. Nick and I recently spent two weeks in Amsterdam, enjoying everything from Indonesian food  to wandering the Red Light District, but we still made time to run. Luckily, if you’re willing to rent a bike or jog your way around a few bikes, then Amsterdam can be a great place to run. Here’s our list of the best places to get off of your bike and onto your own two feet: 1. Westerpark Located directly west of the city center and adjacent to the bustling, boutique-filled Haarlemerstraat, Westerpark is home to a variety of festivals throughout the summer and one of the more convenient parks to access from the city center. More than 4 miles of trail, both paved and unpaved, skirt …

Holcomb Valley Trail Run: My 33-Mile Race Report

In preparation for Cascade Crest 100 at the end of August, I’ve started incorporating higher volumes in my weekly training. While I was looking forward to a long solo run this weekend in San Diego, the appeal of running with others in Big Bear was too strong. So, like any sane person, I signed up for the race five days before and with a whole lot of mileage on my legs. After several weekends of travel, Nick and I opted to sleep at home the night before the race and set our alarms early to knock out the drive. By 3:45 a.m. we were stumbling around our apartment, pouring hot tea and scooping our still-sleeping dog, Cashew, out of the bed and into the Subaru. Nick drove, as usual. I’m lucky in that we’re both good drivers, and luckier still that Nick offered to drive so I could doze off as we wound our way up to Big Bear. By 7 a.m. we had arrived; I went to pick up my bib as Nick chatted …

Zion 100: My First Hundred or Close Enough

I never thought I’d be here. In fact, I promised my mom when I started dating Nick that I would never do these types of races. By “these types” of races, that meant anything over a half-marathon. I’m a trustworthy person, but I broke that promise. I ran a bunch of 50Ks, R2R2R, a gnarly 50-mile race in Santa Barbara and then this: Zion 100. I think the idea situated itself in my head after crewing Nick at San Diego 100, the first 100-mile race I had ever experienced. It was 2 a.m., I was tired of crewing since 6 a.m. the morning before, and I fell asleep on the floor of the Old Al Bahr shrine, sharing a pillow with an older man who I hoped wouldn’t wake up and tell me to move. Nick came in shortly after. I congratulated him, then fell back asleep on the floor, completely exhausted. Never mind the fact that the Nick was the one who had just run 100 miles. Still, as tired as he was, he drove us …

Muir Energy Gels: Review

  Nick and I have made a tradition of visiting our local San Diego Farmer’s Markets when we’re around on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Besides picking up fresh fruit and vegetables (and meat and eggs and herbs) for the week, we have our favorite booths for lunch (African cuisine for Nick and a veggie bowl with toasted pecans for me). A few weeks ago, we were strolling through the Hillcrest Farmer’s Market, our lunches in hand, when we noticed a booth selling energy gels. The Situation: As someone who prefers real, whole foods in all aspects of my life, I’ve struggled with powdered supplements and overly-sweet and hyper-caffeinated gels during runs and races. In the past I’ve done my training runs on toasted Ezekial cinnamon-raisin bread with coconut oil or banana-egg pancakes I’ve made the night before. These work fine for me, but are certainly not convenient nor preferable during races. So, we headed over to the Muir Energy booth to see if there was another option. Ian, the owner and founder of Muir Energy Gels, began explaining …

The (Actual) Life of an Ultrarunner: Household Chores

The last time I wrote about trail running and relationships (see Trail Runner’s “Married to Ultrarunning” here), I didn’t understand how a couple, whether married and living together or not, could manage the balance between training and racing. But, that was almost two years ago, and since that time I’ve run a few ultras and crewed for bigger races (and equally impressive wins and places for Nick). I think I understand what it takes. That, and I now live with Nick. In those two years, I’ve heard every cliched response possible, from “I don’t even drive that far!” to “I can’t even run to my fridge.” Of the possible options, “You have amazing endurance” is one of the few positive replies–but not entirely true. This post will aim to prove that endurance on the trail doesn’t always correspond to endurance at home…specifically when we’re talking household chores. Nick is an amazing athlete (and the love of my life), but that doesn’t mean that his skills on the trail translate to daily chores. Like, at all. Without further …