The #SRCBrooks Beast B-Teamers Killer B’s L’il Beasts™ wrapped up 2017 in typical style. We had a Marathon Olympic Trials qualifier, jaunts up the mountains of Iceland, local marathon titles, and the typical batch of CRs from Keith Laverty!
Once again thanks to Brooks Running for keeping our beautiful kids shoe’d and warm! Stay tuned for the announcing of our brand-new team for 2018!
Image: MarathonFoto (we think)
The second half of the season started with a focused 14 week training for the Berlin Marathon. For a tune-up race, I ran a traditional local competitive half marathon–Labor Day Half–in preparing for the Berlin Marathon. My training went pretty well and this race was a confidence boost. I finished first in 1:16, but unfortunately the course was half mile short so I couldn’t claim a half marathon PR.
Berlin is famous for good racing conditions but this year we weren’t as lucky. It rained pretty hard before and during the race. Accounting for the long trip and last minute low back injury, I finished in 2:48:30 (29th female) which was one step forward. Although I had a ~2mins PR, I believe I am in 2:45 shape, so what was next?
I decided give CIM another try and shoot for under 2:45. I didn’t give myself any break, post-Berlin. Directly into 8 weeks of condensed training for CIM. With a good race conduction, consistent training, and a little bit of luck (finally), I did it with a time of 2:42:50 and I qualified for the Olympic trials.
I am not a U.S. citizen and running for China still means more obstacles to overcome, but i believe in it. Thanks to all my Chinese and American friends to support me along the journey! 2018 we are looking forward for more to come…
The second half of 2017, I was singularly focused on Run Iceland, the 5-stage, 110K trail race that doubled as Thorin’s and my honeymoon. My goal was not lofty: I wanted to finish without injury and to really focus on enjoying each day’s journey by not constantly measuring my race performance by my typical standards. Iceland made the latter goal extraordinarily easy. The landscape is beautifully rugged, oftentimes otherworldly, and the trails take you through it all: along glaciers, beside waterfalls, up grassy bluffs, across black sand beaches, through rivers and above crater lakes. It was stunning and running in that country was pure joy. Day Two’s Mountain Stage became the favorite run I have ever done. A 2,500′ climb rewarded us with views of the sea and the Vatnajokull glacier. Despite being a poor climber, I couldn’t stop smiling on the single-track traverse and the descent. By the end of the 110K, I had completed my first-ever marathon, made friends with athletes from ten countries, and fallen completely in love with staged races. My RunIceland necessities: the Cascadia jacket, Cascadia GTX, Huma gels. Thank you, Brooks and SRC for a runtastic 2017.
Image: Takao Suzuki
2017 finished up much better than it started. I’m finally in a place where I can take care of myself, which means my fitness is progressing.
Baker Lake 50k is a PNW classic I’ve wanted to do for awhile, but my work schedule didn’t allow for it. I finally got the opportunity to take part and it was great! It’s a fun race. I love out-and-back courses because you get to see everyone and cheer them all on. I enjoyed that to the fullest. I also felt continued mental progress in this race – being able to stay positive and focused rather than go into the downward, negative mental spiral I sometimes can get into during races. Fun to experience both mental and physical fitness improve! (Shoes: Brooks Mazama)
PNTF was a blast! I’m finally old enough to run both the masters and open races! I’ve been excited about this prospect for a few years now. On the day, it was snowing and cold and I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to handle running two races within 20 minutes (or a little less), especially because I wasn’t used to racing such a short distance. I had so much fun racing and being there for my team! It was by far not my best or fastest racing on that course, but I ran steady for both and was able to help my team. It actually felt strange not lining up again on the start line for the men’s race (but I’m really glad I didn’t have to do another 10k on top of the 12k I had already done!). (Shoes: Brooks Mach 17 Spikeless)
The Regional XC championships were in Portland and the weather turned out to be pretty decent. Again, I felt out of my realm at such a short distance (and only one opportunity to race this time), but tried to get and stay uncomfortable the whole time. I placed well here, but was frustrated to find out too late in the race that the next masters woman wasn’t much ahead of me. Since we ran with the open women at the same time, it was difficult to tell (even though masters wear numbers on their backs showing their age group) because there were so many bodies in close proximity. I was still happy with my consistent, uncomfortable effort and could tell I felt significantly better than I did at the PNTF races. (Shoes: Brooks Mach 17 Spikeless)
I did not expect to win the Seattle Marathon. The new course is hillier than before and the purpose of the race for me was to get a road marathon under my belt since it had been 2.5 years since I last ran one. Around mile 14 is when I got competitive. I was told that I had significantly moved up on the 1st and 2nd place women, so I knew I had a chance. It was fun running down the women ahead of me and keeping the woman behind me at bay. I didn’t know I would win until I crossed the finish line in first. It was a very cool experience to win again after 6 years and especially as a masters runner. (Shoes: Brooks Asteria)
Representing my club and Brooks this year has been a real treat. I do my best to be a great ambassador for both and appreciate their continued support of me.
Oct 7: Baker Lake 50k – 1st, set masters CR by almost 10 mins
Nov 5: PNTF XC Masters Championships 6k – 3rd and PNTF XC Open Championships 6k – 3rd for the SRC women’s team
Nov 18: Regional XC Championships 6k – 3rd master, 2nd for the SRC women’s open team
Nov 26: Seattle Marathon – 1st, CR (but only b/c it’s a new course)
Image: Takao Suzuki
For the first time since songs like “Party Rock Anthem” by LMFAO were topping Billboard charts, I finally reigned back my race schedule a bit to focus on training – although with bigger distances. I raced four times with a gradual build-up to the hyper-competitive TNF 50-mile in San Francisco.
The first-time event, Backcountry Rise Trail Runs 20-mile, was surprisingly a beast of a course with almost 5,000’ of gain, just north of Mt. St. Helens. The first half of the course was mostly in windy, cold conditions in exposed sections and no avoiding wet overbrush as if going through an automatic car wash. I was able to re-take the lead with only a few miles to go and snag the victory.
The GOAT Run Marathon and Baker Lake 50k races were ideal tune-ups, setting new CRs in both events. It was the strongest I’ve ever felt at the end of a 50k and finished the last 1.5 miles at ~5:35 pace. I wore the Mazama 2 for all three build-up races and it delivered yet again on comfort, grip and speed.
The grand finale of the year went out guns blazing as expected like a XC race with a stacked and deep field. We zoomed through a memorable sunrise, ocean views, plenty of hills with 10,400’ of gain and capped it off by finishing across the Golden Gate Bridge while trying not to take out tourists or photo bombing their photography. I had a bit of a rough patch from mile 25 to 37 but I was able fight back and finish relatively strong over the final two hours in 24th place overall in 7:20 flat. This was another great learning experience to take with me going forward.
For a deeper race analysis, check this link: https://teamrunrun.com/north-face-50-mile-san-francisco-race-report-keith-laverty/?platform=hootsuite
I also volunteered at this year’s Cascade Crest 100 and Cougar Mountain 50k.
Thank you again, Seattle Running Club and Brooks Running!
2017 2nd Half of Year race results:
1st – Backcountry Rise 20-miler (2:50:49 – CR)
1st – GOAT Run Marathon (2:55:38 – CR)
1st – Baker Lake 50k (3:44:46 – CR)
24th – TNF 50-Mile Championship (7:20:00)
Image: Takao Suzuki
My fall started off with a completion of the entire Iron Horse/John Wayne trail that spans over 300 miles from the Idaho/Washington border west to N. Bend. I ran across the state with support from friends and family for an OKT (only known time) of the former railroad line in a record time of 9 days.
After rest from racing (and running!) for a few weeks after the Iron Horse OKT, I was back to the grind and finished out the year with a couple of short races. The first was a post recovery 5 miler at the NWTR annual Reindeer Romp on December 2 nd and came out with a middle of the pack finish. Next was the elusive (to me) and feared 10 km distance in another NWTR race at Seward Park that brought my finish closer to the front of the pack.
As the year closes, my running mileage is finally ramping up so that I may concentrate on ½ marathons as “short distances” and a variety of long distances including 50 km, 50 miles, and 100 km with another OKT attempt thrown in for a weekend in April (stay tuned).
I’ve enjoyed another year on the team with a great group of fellow athletes on the team and look forward to continuing to represent not only Brooks Running but the Seattle Running Club in both tame and crazy running adventures.
It’s been tradition for the me these past few years to conclude my year of running with self-immolation in the form of cross country. Similar to how lifting large quantities of weight and shaving your chest makes it easier to take your shirt off at the beach or the in-law’s house, running consistently horrific workouts and races all autumn makes it easier to log miles and misery in the spring & summer.
Sadly, if my tale of autumn 2017 running was a book, people would complain loudly about the dissatisfying ending. In short–since the story sucks–I pulled the ol’ hamstring 10 days before the big whiskey-soaked trip to Kentucky for the National Championships in Lexington. I stopped running and crossed my fingers that I’d have enough juice to complete 10 kilometers, and reminded myself that, worst-case scenario, I’d still have a couple sips of Heaven Hill BiB and Stagg Jr with Paul Mannino to keep me warm afterward.
Fast forward to no warmup in sub-freezing temps on race day (not wanting to waste any miles), and mile 2ish later my hamstring tapped out. I was mentally prepared for this to happen, but it was no way to end a year. While I limped back to the start/finish and got made fun of by CNW coaches, I was mentally distracted by watching some of the fastest #bros in the country wrapping up their seasons and by trying to figure out how the hell I was going to spin this conclusion as a positive for my highly-anticipated #SRCBrooks recap.
Proud of my teammates and team, we rallied that night and spent our precious few hours in Lexington……..drinking Buds and Natty Daddys with a bunch of other thin weirdos at an Airb&b house party. I continued my brief trip’s win streak by being roped into a Boat Race with my teamamtes and causing us to lose because I can’t chug ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Images: Paul Mannino
Two days later I had revolting bruises all along the back of my leg, to match the ones on my heart. As I type type this, I’m still chair-ridden and not running. But I will run again, and I will soon hate it again. For now I rest and savor my extra hour every day, occasionally swelling with pride at big-mile runs my friends are doing.
Summer’s still a ways off. This trial will make it all easier when it’s here. (repeat to self)
I wrapped up 2017 with my first international race, the Ben Nevis Ultra, part of Salomon’s Skyline Scotland race series. This was a surprising race in a literal sense. From a length of 100k when I signed up, the course ended up growing to 120k by the time of the start. I was also not expecting knee-high bog, route finding over mountain passes, and minimal support. It was not my greatest race performance, but it was a fantastic adventure involving stunning views of the Scottish highlands and summiting the highest peak in the U.K. I managed to finish 11th overall, though finishing itself was an accomplishment given the +60% drop rate. I have taken the rest of the year off from racing, gearing up towards the Sean O’Brien 100k and IAU 50 Mile Ultra Trail World Championships in 2018.
Along with volunteering at SRC’s trail races, I was fortunate to be able to volunteer at Northwest Trail Runs’ “Moran Constitutional Relay” a great race on Orcas Island. I’m looking forward to another great year of racing and helping with races in 2018!
I have had an absolutely wonderful 2017 year of trail running and racing! It has been truly a dream come true to be sponsored on a renowned running team like SRC, especially one with so many amazing and talented runners.
While I started out a bit rusty and creaky way back in January, I challenged myself to see how many races I could do in the year (30 so far), including ones that deviated from my usual half marathons. I must admit my new favorite is racing back-to-back half’s on weekend mornings in the summer, which I find incredibly fun and is now a staple of my weekend activities whenever possible. This past month in December I even tried a Saturday 35k followed by a Sunday 30k and very pleasantly surprised myself by placing 1st for the women in both, and winning the second overall. And I had a fun challenge running two very different races in the same weekend!
I will say that the Northface Endurance Challenge marathon was by far the most challenging (hence the name) yet most fun marathon I’ve ever run. I was able to both podium finish and PR in my marathon time. The most unique run I was given the opportunity to do this past year was the Grand Canyon and it was beyond stunning.
I was also given the wonderful opportunity of volunteering at multiple SRC races and it was an honor to be there cheering on my teammates, and feeding them Pizza post-race! I always strive to be an outstanding representative of SRC and Brooks, both on the trail and off. I’ve had some outstanding wins as well as some surprising losses, but both prove good ego checks and reminders to never take anything for granted, and to appreciate each and every opportunity. You can look for me and my Brooks Calderas out there on the trails next year! Happy running!