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Turkey Trot 2018 race report.

Twice in the past I have run the Turkey Trot 5 days after running a tough 50k trail run. This would be the first time I attempted to run the Turkey Trot 4 days after completing an Ironman. But this would be my FIFTEENTH contiguous Turkey Trot, so I couldn't not do it! And Karen would be in town to run it with me. AND so would Tristan and Ryan! So we all lined up together to earn our Thanksgiving meals.

Turkey Trot 2018

And it was fun. My legs felt better than I would have figured they would have. Certainly they felt better all week than they had the days leading up to Thanksgiving when I'd done the Wild Hare 50k. I'm glad that we were running with Ryan and Tristan. Karen would have pulled us MUCH faster, and I would have probably had to let her go, but Tristan and Ryan kept our pace more manageable, and I was able to chat and enjoy the run.

We did end up doing a progressive pace run (not hard to do on that course, since the hills are all in the first 3 miles). By the last mile, Karen and I pulled ahead a bit, and Sharon ended up joining us for the last mile. She had ALSO just done an Ironman, so I dubbed us Team Ironman Idiots. I was breathing pretty hard for that last mile.

After we crossed the bridge, Karen noticed we had lost Ryan and Tristan, and I said we had to wait so they could all cross together. So we pulled over in the finish chute and just sat there on the other side of the finish line waiting. I'm sure people thought we were strange. But once they caught up, we joined hands and all crossed together.

It was a fun run, great weather, and a good last speed workout before Tristan's first half marathon next week in San Antonio!

Also the slowest Turkey Trot I've run for a long time, but I'm so glad to have done it for fun, and not gotten caught up in trying to run it fast, to the detriment of my recovering body.

10:18, 9:59, 9:37, 9:17, 9:04 (and a 16:40 pace for the last 0.07, as we stood in the finish chute). Nice progression!

Results: Results: 49:22 (9:52/mile)


2004: 52:24 (10:29/mile)
2005: 52:45 (10:33/mile)
2006: 47:54 (9:35/mile)
2007: 44:35 (8:55/mile)
2008: 39:48 (7:58/mile) (suspect it was short)
2009: 40:59 (8:10/mile)
2010: 36:35 (8:05/mile according to official time) (definitely short)
2011: 40:29 (8:06/mile)
2012: 38:58 (7:48/mile)
2013: 39:45 (7:57/mile)
2014: 43:51 (8:46/mile)
2015: 42:41 (8:32/mile)
2016: 44:19 (8:52/mile)
2017: 45:18 (9:04/mile)

I seem to be moving in the wrong direction, but maybe someday I'll race the Turkey Trot for time again, and bring my time back down! For now, I'm very happy with my decisions.
happy running

20th Anniversary European Bike Adventure Part 2: Initial Decisions

When planning any vacation or trip, you always begin with a somewhat overwhelming number of choices to be made. Once you start making those, though, each decision collapses down the subsequent decisions further and further until eventually it becomes manageable. Well, I hope, anyway. We're not quite there yet. Or even close.

But the FIRST and arguably most important decision we had to make was what kind of bike tour to take.

There are options on both extremes:

- On one side, you can book a tour through a bike tour company. They provide a bike, they figure out your lodging for each day, they give you a route, they provide support in case something goes mechanically wrong, and they have a van you can hop in at any time if you get tired and just want to be transported for a few miles or all the way to the end of that day's route.

- On the other extreme, you can be entirely self-sufficient. Bring your own bike, haul all your gear, carry a tent and sleeping bag, set up camp each night, make your own route which can change at your whim, and just generally rough it.

There were things that we found appealing about both of those options, but we didn't really want to do an organized tour, because we wanted to do our own thing, we had a definite desired start and end point, and didn't really want to end up tied to a group. But we also didn't really think we were ready to carry the amount of stuff you need to do a camping tour, with the tent, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, cooking gear, food, etc. We'd love to do that eventually! Just.. baby steps.

So we decided to go right in the middle, and do what's called Credit Card Touring. It's most of the elements of the camping option above, only without the camping. You ride on your own from town to town, and when you're done for the day, you find a place to stay in whatever town you're in. You still carry all your gear, but your gear doesn't have to include a tent, sleeping bags, or cooking gear. Depending on the size of the town, we may end up in a hotel, a bed and breakfast, or a hostel. Some bike tourers end up crashed on strangers' couches, but when you combine my misanthropy and Matt's misanthropy, pretty sure there's no circumstance that would allow that sort of scenario to happen. Duolingo definitely has not offered us a "couch surfing" section to prepare us for that happenstance.

And with that decision, many other potential decisions were removed from our list! No need to find a touring company. No need to figure out and procure the lightest, most minimal camping gear.

But now we were faced with the next huge decision: bikes. Do we rent bikes once we arrive? (And risk not finding one that fits me properly..) Do we buy bikes here and ship them over? If we box them up and ship them, since we're riding point to point, how do we get the boxes to our end point to rebox for the trip home? If we buy bikes, what bikes are good for touring? Do they have one that fits me? How do we haul our gear?

And I'll cover that.. next post.
happy running

Capt'n Karl's Muleshoe 30k trail run 2018 race report.

How do these bad ideas come about?

In an attempt to maximize the time I have left to easily do dumb stuff with Karen before she moves to Florida, I've been trying to come up with as many weekend activities as possible. When Tejas Trails posted about the Capt'n Karl's night trail races for 2018, I thought, "Yes! That would be super fun!" Of course, what I really meant was "I love the Pedernales Falls race!" But unfortunately that race was 2 days away, and we already had plans for that weekend.

So what came about INSTEAD was we decided it would be a great idea to do an undertrained 18.6 mile run (neither of us had run any trails since our last 30k trail run 2.5 months ago, and our longest road run since then was 12 or 13 miles), we'd run at night when I have terrible vision, and Karen is possibly the only person with night vision WORSE than me, this would be Karen's first "real" night trail run (she paced for me at Rocky, but that was a much less technical trail, and a shorter distance), and it would be not on my beloved Pedernales Falls course, but instead the one Capt'n Karl's course I was on record as NOT liking, Muleshoe Bend! Oh, and it started at 7:30pm, which is nearly my normal bedtime, and it was 98 degrees. Which actually is fairly cool for one of these races!

What could go wrong?

Our only goal was to get through the whole 30k without injuring ourselves, and we managed to achieve that!

Matt always knows what to say.

It wasn't pretty, though. First it was certainly hot. We started out on a little out and back that we only did the first loop, and it was uphill on the way out, and it was sunny, and at first I was happy that it was fairly open so people could spread out, but that also meant that Karen started out running Karen Speed, and I had to reel her in real quick, so I wasn't dead by the time we even got into the woods.

After that out and back, we headed into the woods for basically the remainder of the run. Which was blissfully shaded and beautiful and also blocked the wind entirely. When it's 98 degrees and terribly humid, that makes for some still, gross air. For 18 miles.

It was "light" outside for maybe 3/4 of the first loop (it was two loops total). Night always falls faster in the woods, but every once in a while, we'd break out of the trees and find the sun again. We kept a pretty good pace while it was light. It was hard, and sometimes we'd get quiet on technical parts or hills, but we just ran and chatted.

It's still light!

Oh, let me dedicate an entire paragraph to my husband Matt. Before the race I was talking about driving back home after the race, tired and in the dark, and he volunteered to come out with us and drive us home. Which I said really wasn't necessary, but he thought it would be fun to come hike around and hang out at the race site, so he chauffeured us out there, and carried our stuff to the start line. Then he proceeded to be at EVERY aid station. Two per loop, plus the start/finish line. Every time we'd go through, there he was, cheering and helping us with whatever we needed. (More on that later.) We'd be running through the woods in the middle of nowhere, and then Suddenly Matt! To sum up: he is the best.

Anyway, once it got darker, things got a lot harder and a lot slower.

Also really pretty, though.

Turns out, Karen can't see well in the dark. And she extra can't see when her headlamp doesn't actually produce much light. It wasn't a huge issue on the first loop, because it was only at the end, and it didn't get super, super, super dark until the last few miles of the loop.

At the halfway point, we refilled our water, our nutrition (mostly), and switched out headlamps. We'd each brought two, one for each loop, so we'd be sure to have plenty of battery life.

The second loop was not quite as idyllic as the first. We'd learned exactly how technical the course was, and we were both super paranoid to run through it completely in the dark. And since our goal was only to remain uninjured, and we did not care at all about time, we were super cautious and walked anything that made us nervous. Which meant anything rocky, anything ledgey, anything where we couldn't see it well, anything where there was a dropoff that we might plummet over.. and that's a lot of the course, it turns out! Somehow the course got a lot more rocky the second loop. We were pretty sure there were NightRocks, that only appear when the sun goes down.

As a not helpful bonus, Karen's headlamp, even the new one, continued to be too dark for her to really see. She was staying as close to me as was safe, but still couldn't really see rocks and other obstacles well. That meant she had her first fall. And then several more. They were "good" falls. No broken skin, no blood, caught herself each time. But it was understandably incredibly frustrating, for both of us (me because I couldn't come up with a way to help it not happen, so I felt guilty, and her.. for obvious reasons).

Blissfully cold water at the aid stations. I told Karen I just wanted one of those water barrels and a couch. That's all I wanted in the world.

The next time we saw Matt at an aid station, I asked if we could use his headlamp, which is a much more expensive, fancy, brighter (and heavier) headlamp, and he graciously handed it over to Karen. And it made a huge difference! Suddenly she could see what was in front of her, and she didn't fall at all after that! Of course, it also turned out that this head lamp randomly turned itself off. If Karen stepped hard, it would just shut off. At first I would turn back each time and turn it back on (because I knew how this headlamp worked already, and she hadn't ever seen it in the light), but eventually it was happening so often that she figured out how to turn it back on each time. So our joy over having bright light was diminished by having that bright light randomly go away.

So the NEXT time we saw Matt, we asked him if he knew why this was happening (he didn't, but later he found out there was some corrosion that was causing it), and he ended up giving Karen his OTHER headlamp, which was just as bright, but didn't suffer from random offages.

Which would have been great, except now MY headlamp was fading. Even though I'd just replaced the batteries, and it had only been on for 1.5 hours or so, it was getting darker and darker. In the last few miles, I really couldn't see in front of me. And I was leading! Awkward. So now that Karen could actually see and felt more confident running through some parts we'd walked earlier, now *I* couldn't see, and still had to walk the sketchy parts. We were a delightful comedy of errors.

And just because we didn't fall doesn't mean we weren't beating the crap out of ourselves out there. We tripped over so many rocks and flew forward, but caught ourselves. Anyone who's done that while running before knows that that can be nearly as painful as actually falling, because the muscles you use to stabilize and catch yourself get stretched and abused terribly. I think my left hamstring is half an inch longer than it should be now, after a particularly bad almost-fall. (Alas it didn't make me any taller.)

So to sum up: we had bruised toes, pulled muscles, muscle cramps, severe dehydration, not enough nutrition, blacklung from the trail dust, were completely drenched in sweat, and couldn't see where we were going maybe 70% of the time.

Blurry finish line!

At the end I was like, "But.. it was sorta still fun, right? Right, Karen?!"

I'm pretty sure she still had fun. I'm not sure I'm allowed to suggest fun activities anymore, though.

happy running

20th Anniversary European Bike Adventure Part 1: The Introduction

I don't remember the exact date that Matt presented this idea to me, but thanks to the magic of facebook (and persistence in searching through the unsearchable facebook), I can tell you that we first announced this idea to the world (well.. facebook) on October 16, 2015.

Matt posted "Time for us to start saving some vacation time." and this photo.


Matt has spent the last few years learning Dutch, then Danish, then Swedish, (then brushing back up on his high school German), then Norwegian via duolingo. As he's done that, he's learned more about the related countries, their cultures, looked at photos, scrolled around the countries on google maps, and generally fallen in love with the whole giant area. When he told me he wanted to go ride bikes somewhere over there sometime, I said, "Hrm. Sure!"

The idea was planted, then announced to the world, and then mostly put on hold. We had too much going on, too many plans coming up in the foreseeable future. But Matt kept looking at routes and searching google for other people taking such trips, and we both knew it was going to happen eventually. And then we thought, "Well, what better way to celebrate our upcoming 20th anniversary than to go ride bikes across some countries together?!" I mean, we'll either end up that much closer, or divorced in the middle of a herd of reindeer.

And so we had chosen a year: 2019. And after some searching on the best time to ride through that region of the world we had a rough time period: late May/early June.

Which is still 11 months away. But this is going to happen, people. We have begun planning, and have even begun purchasing.

Since we've spent so much time reading other peoples' blogs and watching their videos, I figured I'd document the whole process of our trip for others to enjoy if they are so inclined. In the next few months, I'll post about what kind of touring we're going to do and how we came to that decision, what bikes we're going to use and how we came to THAT decision, gear decisions we've already made, and ones we still need to make, where exactly we're going (no longer exactly matches google maps image above), how we'll get to each place, and any other decisions we make or need to make.

We're super, super excited about this trip, but also a little overwhelmed. We're going to be able to reduce that overwhelming feeling a lot in the next 11 months, but ultimately there's going to be some aspect of The Unknown on this trip, and that's part of the fun and adventure!

Also I was PROMISED reindeer.
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Texas 4000 2018 ride report.

I think this might be the first time I've done the Texas 4000 ride! Maybe. Not sure. Can't remember. I think it used to be elsewhere, but this year it was in Lampasas. Karen was out of town doing swimrun with Trista, and CC was in Houston, so I asked Matt to come out with me and do the 50 miler, and he consented. I told Karen I could try to add mileage on at the end or something, but she said instead I'd do the 50 miler and a 4 mile run off the bike. Sounded innocent enough.

The ride was.. mostly good. Much less wind than we had at Real Ale. Fewer hills than at Real Ale, though there were definitely hills (more rollers than the steep or really long hills at RA). But the main difference in the negative direction was the terrible roads for the Texas 4000. There were basically two sections of maybe 5 miles each (maybe) that weren't terrible, demoralizing chipseal, and the rest was just awful. Hard on the hands, hard on the average pace, hard on the motivation. I told Matt those Texas 4000 kids are gonna be riding this thinking "What have I gotten myself into?!" Hopefully they don't have 4000 miles of chipseal.

Otherwise it was pretty good. Great for the first 30 miles. Matt and I rode and chatted and had fun. Then Matt's back seized up, and between that and his hands being in pain from not being able to ever be aero because of his back, and those roads being terrible, he really suffered. I stayed with him for a while, but then pulled ahead of him at some point. I knew he was suffering, and probably didn't really want company to witness that, plus I still had to run off the bike (and it was HOT and sunny already), so I just rode in by myself.

I transitioned relatively quickly to the run, and then took off on the route I'd mapped out ahead of time. 2 miles out, 2 miles back. No problem.

The first mile was not really a problem. A little stop and start, because it went through historic downtown Lampasas, and I was crossing some biggish cross streets. Then a turn onto 6th street, where I'd spend the rest of the Out. Things went okay until I crossed the highway, and then there was a giant hill in front of me. I considered turning down a side street, but I KNEW this route would get me my distance, and I didn't know where the other streets went, so up I went. About halfway. Then I stopped my watch and stepped into someone's shaded yard and just tried to breathe. I considered turning around and going back. I felt BAD. The heat was just terrible, and trying to run up a steep hill in it was making me light headed. And I really had to pee. But finally I decided I'd try to do the whole 4 miles. So I started my watch again, but walked. At least I was making forward progress.

Well, I'll try not to draw this out TOO much. There were two more hills after that, each worse than the last. I really should have turned on the elevation feature when I mapped it out. I had good intentions, but I ended up walking part of each hill. Each direction, since I had to run back up those hills on the way back (it wasn't uphill on the way out, downhill back, each hill was a hump). Two more times during the run (so 3 total) I came to a complete stop in a yard where there was shade, and just talked myself through it. I was MISERABLE. And had to pee so bad I almost wet myself at one point.

When I finally got done with the hilly part and got back downtown, I decided to stop at a portapotty on the sidewalk. I knew it would be gross and hot, but I thought maybe it would make me more comfortable. I ran up, stopped my watch, set down my bottle on the ground, walked in, closed the door, tried to lock the door, and it was so hot, so smelly, so terrible, that I kinda wobbled a little as I tried to even get the door locked. I knew this was a bad idea, so I stepped back out, picked up my bottle, and started running again. (I now realize even after I got back to the car, I never peed; not until we got back to Austin.)

There were no more hills, but I was just dead at this point. I considered walking on this flat part. I did make my final full stop during this flat section. Just to be in the shade for a second. And to tell myself that I was proud of myself for doing the full 4. And that I was almost done. Then I made myself start walking rather than stopping. Just for a few seconds before I started running again. I wanted to be able to keep walking if I'm ever in a race feeling so miserable, not just stop. Walking at least makes forward progress.

I finally made it back to the car, and had to run slightly past to get to 4 (you bet your ass I was getting my full 4 after all that). Then I walked to the shade in the yard we were parked in front of, and just sat there breathing while Matt came out to make sure I was okay. And told me it was 97 degrees.

So yeah. I did my 50+4 (actually 48+4, but I wasn't willing to circle the neighborhood to get 2 more miles). And it was terrible. And I'm proud of myself.

My run splits were 9:06, 10:05, 10:40, 9:57. So yeah. Started out okay. Then slowly fell apart. Then sorta pulled it back together. I hope to never need to use the memory of that experience during a race with similar weather.
happy running

Real Ale 2018 ride report.

Since we're doing such a late-season (November) race, we really just started formally tri training, which means we missed all of the early season rides. (Well, Cecilia didn't, since she did the MS150, but Karen and I did). Our first opportunity was Real Ale, which is a hell of a ride to start with. Especially when the longest outdoor ride you've done was 11 miles at the Rookie, and the longest you've been on your bike was 75 minutes on the trainer. Once we decided to do Real Ale, we figured we'd do 65 max, 50 if it was really windy or we just weren't feeling it. At that point we had one weekend to try to cram for that ride, and we went out and did 45 miles on Parmer. And it was as painful as jumping from 11 miles to 45 should be. But at least it wasn't jumping from 11 miles to 65.

Matt decided to join us, and Ryan was threatening to. Cecilia was busy, so she couldn't make it. Then it turned out Ryan was busy, and Meredith joined us. She was sanely only doing the 50 miler, though.

And it was hard. It's still really hilly out there. I've done basically no hills. The first few, my legs were just fine, but my cardio and breathing were out of control. After maybe 4 long, steep hills, my legs got in on the complaining action, as well. It was.. a long ride. It was also windy, which started as a painful headwind, and then moved to a painful crosswind. There were times where it was just unsafe to be in the aerobars, especially on those downhills. A lot of people said they were almost taken out by crosswinds.

Matt had been told that we were doing 50-65, but evidently thought we had decided 50 (probably because Meredith was sure she was doing 50), so he was expecting 50. And was even more undertrained than me. His ride was a lot harder than ours. He ended up riding basically from 30-65 without stopping, because he was afraid his body would revolt if he stopped.

After Meredith peeled off at the 50 mile turnoff, the rest of us basically split apart. I couldn't stay with Karen on the hills, so she'd pull ahead. She'd wait at aid stations, and we'd wait to make sure Matt was okay, then we'd start up again when Matt went by, and then we'd split apart again.

It wasn't fast. It wasn't pretty. But I've now got a very hilly 65 mile ride under my belt. There aren't that many charity rides left until Fall starts, so now it'll be a lot of Parmer or the trainer.

Once we got done riding, Karen and I went for a 2 mile run off the bike. The day had started overcast, for probably 2-3 hours. Eventually, though, the sun came out, and it was out in full force for the run. And they haven't magically built pleasant places to run since I last ran from the brewery, so we ran up the highway, like normal. And it was miserable, like normal. But we got it done. Then we drank beer and ate gourmet grilled cheese.
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The Rookie 2018 race report.

Last year I did the Rookie shortly after doing Ironman Texas. Having just done an Ironman, my body was a little beat up, but in great shape. This year was the exact opposite. This is basically the beginning of my Ironman training. I have a great run and swim base, but no speedwork for a really, really, REALLY long time, and no real work on the bike of any speed to speak of. So I really wasn't expecting much other than to remember where all of my triathlon stuff is.

To make matters worse, I ran a undertrained trail 30k last weekend, and it wasn't until Thursday that I could walk down stairs normally again.

But I love local events and I love the Rookie and I love hanging out with friends, so I headed out to Decker Lake looking forward to fun, not at all stressing about the race itself.

&quot;Triathlon is stupid&quot; was the theme for this race, but it was so much fun getting to hang out and laugh with so many friends. Congratulations to those who raced, and thank you to those who volunteered and cheered!
Swim 300 meters

It was wetsuit legal, but I wanted none of that nonsense. Not for 300m. Not when I'm heavier than I would prefer to be. Not with a wetsuit that I was already afraid last year was going to develop fingerholes.

When it was my wave's turn to line up, I ended up at the back of the wave, talking to Kendra. Heather came up and said we were too far back, but honestly it doesn't matter at all when it's a time trial start. There's going to be people in front of you no matter what. So I just waited my turn, and then they said go, I jogged into the water and dove in. And immediately jostled my goggles such that the right cup was a little out of place and letting a little water in. That's the eye I can see out of. Oops. I decided to just keep swimming and see if I could still see enough to get by, and I was fine the whole swim. I couldn't really see very well, but the buoys are big, and I didn't swim into any walls of people. Just did my swim, trying to stay as focused and strong as possible, since this was the one sport I actually felt okay about, speed-wise.

And it was over super quick, which is what's so wonderful about 300m swims.


I had left my Oofos on the path up to transition, but I learned last year that when I lube my feet up such that I can later run without socks, it means my Oofos are rather dangerous on my foot, especially while running. So as I ran by them, I tried to pick them up so I could carry them up, and didn't plan well, and almost fell over as the crowd watched me. Yaaaay.

Then I ran up the hill to transition, figuring I could put on my shoes if things were super-stickery, but it was fine.

Found my rack with no problem, ditched my goggles and swimcap, grabbed the Gu from my helmet and put it in my back pocket, put on my sunglasses, put on my helmet, grabbed my bike and ran out.

Bike 11.1 miles

I had actually practiced the shoeless mount the day before (having a coach again means I actually do stuff like practice transitions), but there were so many people at the mount line, and not really much room, and people weaving everywhere, so after one rather abortive attempt, I just swung my leg over and pushed off. And then as I rode out to the road and turned the corner, I couldn't get my left foot into my shoe. The velcro was messed up, and I couldn't sort it out. Eventually I did, and then fastened the straps, but gawd, you can really tell when you haven't been riding a bike or doing triathlons. Just a mess.

Drank some water, settled into my aerobars, and rode my bike.

I originally thought Karen's wave started 10 minutes after mine, and figured I'd hold her off for as long as I could. Then I found out she was only 4 minutes behind me, and I figured I'd still try. And she passed me about 3 miles into the bike. So much for THAT motivation.

Otherwise the bike was pretty uneventful. Nobody did anything particularly dumb, nothing particularly noteworthy happened. The hills were all still there, and terrible. I ate my Gu around mile 9. I did a similarly crappy job of my dismount as I had with my mount. This dismount is always awkward, because you go up a hill, so you can't get your feet out of your shoes then, but at the top of the hill you're practically at the dismount line, and there's a speedbump you go over, and everyone is watching you. So I cruised through the crowds at about 5mph, dealing with my shoes, and then hopped off at the dismount line.


I initially went down the wrong row, but realized it pretty quickly, and found my spot on my rack. Racked my bike, ditched my helmet, crammed my shoes on, grabbed my race belt, and ran out. I fumbled a little with my shoes, but otherwise this was a fairly solid T2.

Run 2 miles

Julie had passed me at the end of the bike, and we came out of transition at the same time. She took off running and passed me, and I settled in to see what my legs were willing to do.

The course was different this year, because of rain in the few days before the race. They said it was still 2 miles, and there was still water at mile 1, but I knew nothing else about the course. It still started on the powerline downhill, but evidently since nobody was coming up, it didn't turn around and come back up.

I passed Julie back a little while later, which she said was because I was a trail runner, and I told her I wasn't a trail runner who ever tried to run FAST on trails.

I never really felt GOOD on the run. It's a tough course. You can't see the divets in the grass, and you constantly feel like you're going to turn an ankle. Makes it hard to trust pushing yourself.

I passed some people, some people passed me. We looped around and went into the woods where we usually come out of the woods to the finish line. I ran by the aid station for the first time, not yet at mile 1, and grabbed a cup of water. Looped around some more, by the aid station again, and then there was a dumb hill.

It's not THE dumb hill, the one of the end of Danskin, but it basically led down to the base of that hill. It was a steep downhill, on grass, and then you had to U-turn and run back up the stupid steep uphill. On grass.

It looked tremendously unpleasant from the top, and it proved to, in fact, be tremendously unpleasant. I tried to use the downhill as much as I could, without turning an ankle in one of the many holes. I turned around. Then I started back up. That hill just sucked. Full sun. Grass. Steep. Lots of people were walking, but I was determined to run up with no walking. There was a girl ahead of me that was super solid and I'd been following for a while, and I just tried to hang with her. (She was in my age group, but I was fairly sure that I was nowhere near podium contention, so I wasn't trying to beat her. Just use her energy.)

We went by the aid station one more time, and I really did want water, but I didn't want to deal with.. anything, I just wanted to be done, so I ran by without taking water. We exited the woods as we normally would, and the rest was the old finish line stretch. Well, the last year version, where it's all grass and you don't get on the road. Grr.

I came up behind Sharon, and I told her I'd been using her as my rabbit for a while now, and she should come with me now to the finish line. She stayed with me for a few seconds, then said she could only do what she could, and fell back. I tried to push myself as much as I could, but I felt very rough and awkward.

That last stretch took a thousand years, but I managed to get to the damn finish line, and was done. How in the world can a sub-sprint be so hard?


I really had no idea at all what to expect from my times. I hadn't looked at my watch, and while I was secretly hoping to be somewhat close to an hour, that was really an unrealistic expectation. I ended up ~1:30 slower than last year, which is probably about right.

Swim: 5:42 (1:54HM)
T1: 2:41
Bike: 39:02 (17.2MPH)
T2: 1:27
Run: 17:14 (8:37/M)

Not super impressed with my swim pace, but who knows how far the swim actually was. Plus I didn't wear a wetsuit. Transitions were fine. Nothing to write home about. I'm actually pleased with my bike pace! I've done very little riding, all on the trainer, and definitely no speedwork. I didn't deserve that 17.2mph, but I'll take it. Hopefully that means good things for my cycling when I actually.. cycle? As for the run, that's a significantly slower pace than I have run the Rookie run in the past, but for my current fitness, it's not too shabby. Of course, I also think the run was short, so it WASN'T that fast, but regardless, I felt good about my effort, and I think I have a good base to build on.

I was right about my performance not being podium-worthy, I was 9th in my age group, 6 seconds from 8th because I couldn't pass that girl in front of me.

And right after I crossed the finish line, I found Karen, and we met up with Todd and Cecilia, and we all cheered for Belle as she finished the bike, and then the run, of her first ever triathlon, at age 73. She would have won her age group no matter what, but she turned out to be the only person 70-74 who came out to do their first triathlon that day. Inspirational, and proud to call her my friend.

&quot;Triathlon is stupid&quot; was the theme for this race, but it was so much fun getting to hang out and laugh with so many friends. Congratulations to those who raced, and thank you to those who volunteered and cheered!

And now Ironman training has officially begun!
happy running

The Tangle 30k 2018 race report.

I was looking for a way to stave off Post-Awesome Depression after SwimRun Lake James, and what better way to do so than to do a severely under-trained trail race?! I poked Karen about it, because this is my Summer of Karen. I have to get in as much Karen time as humanly possible before she moves to Florida in the Fall. Since she'd done the first 30k in the Rogue Trail Series, she was totally on board for the next one, The Tangle. I figured.. I'd done ~13 (non-contiguous) trail miles at Lake James. Then 10 miles the next week, as a nod to recovery. The jump from 10 to 18 seemed pretty steep, so I did 14 road miles with Karen to bridge that gap the week before. And then declared myself totally ready for 18 trail miles!

The good news is our only goal was to stay upright and have fun. Mission largely accomplished!

The race was out at Flat Creek Ranch, which I'd never been to. However it was right next to Pedernales State Park, which I had been to. A couple days before the race, Karen said she'd heard it was supposedly an easier place to run than the Maze had been (Walnut Creek). I didn't tell her that everything I'd read said "beautiful, challenging, and technical", nor did I tell her about Paul T's race report where he turned an ankle out there and couldn't run for weeks. None of that seemed like it would be useful information.

And it WAS (in my opinion) more technical and challenging than Walnut Creek, but it was also beautiful and fun.


It was 3 10k loops. The first loop we just took nice and easy as we figured out the course. Karen and I have completely non-complementary skills when it comes to trail running: she's awesome and fast at the flat, non-technical trails and fields. She has to slow down to not leave me behind on those parts. But she's also very new to trail running and understandably cautious on rocks and technical uphills and downhills, so I had to hang back a bit on some of those, or pull ahead a bit until she caught me on the flat after the hill. Had we been able to combine our skills into a single person? We probably would have won.

Instead we just enjoyed ourselves and laughed and told stories and tried not to fall over.

We stopped at the start/finish aid station after our first loop and refilled our water, grabbed another gel, then headed back to the second loop. I was awfully tired for only being 1/3 done, but still having a grand time.

The second loop we just settled in to enjoy what we already knew. The most exciting part of loop 2 for me was hearing Cow Feeding Time. One cow was SUPER EXCITED about food, and yelling constantly. I was sad we couldn't see them through the trees, but glad we got to hear them.

Otherwise we ran and ate and drank and took salt. And started getting a bit tired. We got less chatty in the last half of the second loop. It was starting to get warmer, and a lot of the rocky uphills were completely unshaded.

This is also where we had our only small mishap, where Karen fell forward slightly on a steep, rocky uphill. Fortunately she just scraped her knee up a little, and it didn't bother her.

As we'd run through one particularly beautiful part of the course on the first loop, we said it was a shame that we didn't have a camera. We decided at the end of the second loop that loop three would be the loop we took the camera with us. A victory loop to just enjoy and not worry about how fast we were going. I was very happy with that news, because I was already approaching the longest run I'd done since Rocky.

As we ran by our stuff to start loop 3, I grabbed my phone and shoved it in my pack pocket. It doesn't really fit there, and it's a pain and not comfortable, but it worked out just fine. We then hit the aid station to refill water, and drink a couple cups of Coke, courtesy of Paul the aid station sommelier.

Then out for our victory loop! We just had fun on that loop. A couple stops for pictures.

The Tangle 30k 2018
Love this picture.

Some videos through the most beautiful parts.

A fake tunnel!

A treacherous bridge.

And then cows! I was so happy to see the cows I ran completely the wrong way, and Karen had to reign me back in to go the right way.


The last few miles were a little rough. It was very warm by this point, and very sunny. We started passing other people doing the 30k who were looking rougher than we were.

The Tangle 30k 2018
Action shot.

It seemed like every time we thought we might be getting close to the end, there'd be another steep, rocky, exposed uphill. But we soldiered through, stayed strong, and got to that finish line once last time!

We are not wearing timing chips here. That's because we crossed, they took our chips, we handed the camera to someone, then we went and crossed again. #fakenews.

It was a lot of fun. I'm so happy that Karen has finally joined the trail world, so we have yet another venue for doing dumb shit together. It's so much fun to run through the woods like kids. And I felt pretty okay at the end, if intensely salty. Including eyelid salt.

Eyelid Salt.

Of course, then I woke up the next morning and my legs reminded me that I had not trained up for those distance. Ow. Sorry, quads and calves.