And 2018 is a wrap! The #SRCBrooks Beast B-Teamers Killer B’s L’il Beasts™ have stayed busy in the 2nd half of the year, chugging brews, seeing races get cancelled, handing out pizza at your favorite October trail races on Cougar Mountain, pacing, running 100 milers, racing XC, wearing Brooks shoes & gear, and eating donuts!
Once again thanks to Brooks Running for keeping our children shoe’d and warm! Be on the lookout for the 2019 team!
To kick off my Fall, I decided to run a local favorite, the GOAT Run – except this year I ran in the new 50k distance option. Everything was going smooth and clicking away the miles at a good clip – that is until an out-and-back section toward the end. I had run two miles without seeing any course markings, got worried and turned around too soon. One event led to another and I was ultimately DQ’d for my first time by unintentionally cutting off 0.6 miles of the course. Another lesson learned in doing more pre-course homework!
The rest of Fall was 100% all-in for training and returning back to The North Face 50-Mile Championship for the 2nd time. Along the way, I picked up a win at another coastal, ocean-view ultra at Rainshadow Running’s Oregon Coast 50k. Typically a wet and windy affair, we truly lucked out this year with sunny, blue skies and no wind.
Unfortunately, due to the devastating wildfires and extremely poor air quality, TNF 50 was cancelled on the Tuesday before the race. However, they announced that they would be donating all $30k of prize money and all the event food to the relief fund – so I was happy to hear that news.
Feeling anxious to race, I hopped into a local trail half over on the Grand Ridge Trails across from Tiger Mtn. The next week, I even convinced myself to try a competitive road 10k on Turkey Day, and to my biggest surprise of the year, I somehow raced to a lifetime 10k PR in 31:20. I finally got a flatter, faster course combined with a highly competitive front pack that pulled me along.
One week later, I also wanted to put my 50-mile training block to use and hopped down south to the desert to compete in the McDowell Mountain Frenzy in Arizona. This was the first 50-miler that felt relatively good through the whole thing and had plenty of zip in my legs even after the 50k mark. It was a unique experience to run among the cactus while spotting large spiders and jackrabbits along the trail. I pushed the last few miles to sneak under 7 hours in 6:57:31 for a new PR. The PureGrit 7 was the right decision for this distance and terrain!
I had fun once again volunteering at SRC’s October Cougar race by working the finish line food tent as well as the coldest, yet most epic aid station at the top of gondola for the Crystal Mountain Sky Marathon. Thank you SRC and Brooks Running for the amazing support through the year!
2018 2nd Half of Year race results:
- 1st – Oregon Coast 50k (3:54:03)
- 1st – Grand Ridge Trail Half (1:41:15)
- 3rd – Mukilteo Turkey Trot 10k (31:20 – PR)
- 1st – McDowell Mountain Frenzy 50-Mile (6:57:31 – PR)
After the first 50 mile race of my life this past July, I embraced my recovery. I went on vacation and ate dessert every day. Upon return, Trisha suggested I continue this habit. Now I’m sucking down less running gels, fueling heartier and desserting better.
Labor Day weekend I camped in Mount St. Helen’s Backcountry, waking to run the Backcountry Rise 20 Miler. The trails were novel, breathtaking, and earned me 3rd female in my age group. Something I’ll be back for next year.
Weeks later, I ran the RAVE Green Run 5k, securing 1st in my age group and third female overall.
This year, was my 5th season of Club Cross Country with the Seattle Running Club. I started off feeling disappointed that the transition from ultramarthon racing to XC was tougher than anticipated. But as the season wore on, I gained back my short distance speed. My second XC race earned me a 46 second course personal record (PR) and 9 second XC PR.
At the end of October, I raced the Cougar Mountain Final trail – 7.6 mile race. I surprised myself by rolling my ankle 4 times and still managed to buzz past a lady at the finish. The rain was dumping that day, but I had volunteering to do. So I brushed off the dirt on my legs, layered up and joyfully refilled snacks for the brave 50k racers who faired the nasty weather and course marking interference. There’s nothing that brings more joy than greeting race finishers with a mountain of pizzas, beer, and snacks. I participated in one trail work party this past year–the final one of the season. It was so much fun digging out ditches and walking around with SRC friends that it left me wanting more!
I topped of my racing this year with Club Cross Country Nationals in Spokane, WA. Thanks to (or despite) chilling temperatures, I had my fastest 6k XC race of all time- ticking 6 seconds off! I can’t wait to race cross country with my SRC teammates again next year!
As a person with flat feet and bunions, support shoes are my friends.
My long run trail shoe of choice: Brooks Adrenaline ASR 14 (No longer available).
Long run road shoe of choice: Brooks Adrenaline GTS 18 & 19.
Cross Country racing shoe: Brooks Cascadia 13.
What’s next? Dialing in my speed to chase down a Boston Qualifying time!
- January 12th- Bridle Trails 5 mile
- January 19th- Redmond Rain Run Half Marathon
- February 3rd- West Seattle Beach Run
- March 16th- Chuckanut 50k (Round 2!)
- April 28th- Blooms to Brews Marathon
- Summer 2019- Cougar Mountain Trail Run Series
- July 28th- Jack & Jill Downhill Marathon
- September 7th- Backcountry Rise
- Fall 2019- Club Cross Country Season
The second half of this year continued along the theme of highs and lows. I was looking to redeem myself after a disappointing performance at the White River 50 (low), and took out my frustration on the Cougar Mountain 50k; winning and shaving about 10 minutes off of the course record (high). With that confidence boost, I prepared to test my speed against the fast boys at The North Face 50 Mile, which was then canceled due to poor air quality (low). But I went down to the bay anyway and had a really good donut (high). Since then I have been focusing on the upcoming Bandera 100k in January and will attempt to score a Golden Ticket to the 2019 Western States 100.
The beginning of my second half of 2018 was all about gearing up for an FKT attempt on the easternWashington Columbia Plateau Trail in mid-September. With a star crew I attempted the 130 mile trail but failed leaving 29 miles for another day. The trail has about 70 miles of insanely difficult large ballast rock to run on. One of the most unpleasant surfaces the feet can ever experience. I’ll be back though…I’ll be back. The next three weeks after my CPT FKT attempt was all about rest and recovery. After way too much eating post my FKT attempt, I had a couple of races to finish out the year: the SRC Cougar 19.5 mile race in late October earned me 2 nd place in the age category. My last race of the season was a ½ Marathon with Northwest Trail Runs at the beautiful Redmond Watershed that I used for 100 mile training more than anything. That last race earned me a pure middle of the pack placing with a 2 nd place age category (oh if only they recognized that!). Next up…a couple of 100 milers on the horizon for the first half of 2019 and another bigger than big FKT recon in Canada (stay tuned for that
In August I was hit by a car while riding my bicycle home from work. I (luckily) walked away from the incident, but with a broken wrist, tons of road rash and a pretty messed up body. After a couple months of doing zippo, I was out of shape, bored and ready to get back to things. Sadly 2 months off killed my fitness and I felt but a shade of my former self. Now a couple months later, I am happy to say that I am healthy and starting to resemble a fit runner again. I am focusing on strength and training a lot in Hardstyle Russian Kettlebell. I am planning on racing again in the new year, want to focus on mountain and adventure races. A strong body and mind is needed. I look forward to repping SRC everywhere I go.
I raced the USATF 50k Trail National Championships in New Hampshire in August. The course was tough and long (33-34 miles) and the day was crazy humid. The hardest part, besides the penultimate couple of miles, was the transition from running on smooth road to technical trail. My brain took a long time to make the switch, but once it did, my legs were going! It has been awhile since I’ve travelled across the country to race and I learned more about how to better approach that in the future. All-in-all it was a fine day as I finished 8th overall (women) and won my first national championship, taking the masters title. Helping to illustrate the depth and class of the women in the field this year, the top 13 women bested the previous course record! The first national championship title for the PureGrit 7s!
In early September I ran the Owyhigh Lakes Loop, a 34-ish mile route at Mt. Rainier National Park which is a part of the Ultrapedestrian Wilderness Challenge. My goal was to get the FKT (fastest known time) for the route. Starting on the Eastside Trail at the Steven’s Canyon entrance and heading clockwise, I felt strong and positive about the effort I could put out.
Unfortunately, despite having a map and having looked into all the details thoroughly ahead of time, I missed a right turn about a half mile into the route. My attention drawn to my left by a shiny sign, I simply did not see the trail to my right. This added 2.6 hilly miles and at least 30 minutes (including stopping to figure out where the heck I was) to the route and killed my mental momentum regarding my FKT attempt. I considered starting over and had I truly realized how close to the start the missed turn was, I probably would have started over. In the moment I felt compelled to continue on and so I did. For the next several hours, due to the missed turn and added miles (and time), I ran with a tension in my body and mind that didn’t serve me well. That said, I was able to enjoy the beauty of the places I traversed. It was a wonderful weather day, despite some smoke lingering in the air from the fires.
The last 6.5 miles were brutal for me. I thought I had fewer miles left to traverse than were actually left. I also had looked at the map to see that the trail would cross paths with plenty of creeks only to find all of them to be bone dry (or water too far off the trail for me to be able to reach). I was parched the last 70 minutes or more and hearing water off in the distance was mental torture in the moment. Upon finishing and touching the “Eastside Trail” sign at which I had started, I immediately turned around and sprinted to the water fountain and drank and drank and drank.
Despite adding on mileage and time early on, I still ran the women’s FKT and the second fastest time overall for that route (at least at that time, I don’t know if that has changed). Big thanks to my friend, Ryan Parker, for driving and being there for me before and, especially, after. Probably also the first FKT for the PureGrit 7s!
The rest of the fall was spent focusing on running cross country with my SRC teammates!
In October I ran the Emerald City XC Open and WWU Classic. Switching from racing for 6-plus hours to 6k was a big swing in pace, intensity, mental focus, and well, just about everything! Having these two races with my teammates helped prepare me for the important races at the end of the season.
In early November I race the PNTF (Pacific Northwest Track & Field) XC association championship races. The masters race was first, where I finished 2nd woman to my teammate and longtime friend, Marlene. About 25 minutes later, I ran the open race, finishing as the #2 woman for our open team. It was fun to race both races again this year and to help my team. I learned a lot from this experience and was excited to take that knowledge forward to the upcoming Regionals race and, especially, to Nationals in Spokane where I would be racing twice again.
The Saturday after Thanksgiving was the Regional race. The masters and open runners all race at the same time, so I got to count for both, yet only race once – whew! I finished as the #2 masters and open woman for SRC. Unfortunately, less than two minutes into the race, I took a step and immediately felt pain in my left hamstring. Unsure as to whether I could finish, I tried to stay calm and assess the situation as I was running. It was painful and I couldn’t run normally, but it only got worse to a certain point and then plateaued, so I felt all right finishing the race. I took three days off, got worked on, and, fortunately, was able to get back to running fairly quickly.
December was XC Club Nationals in Spokane! It was cold, with temps in the mid-to-upper 20s for the masters race and the low-30s for the open race. I raced in tights to help preserve my hamstring, which was a good call as I still felt cold for the first half of the masters race. With about 2.5 hours between races, I did my best to stay warm, eat and drink enough (but not too much), and overall put my body in the best place possible going into the open race. I did a fairly good job with that, but definitely would have preferred the races only being 25 minutes apart like they were at the PNTF championships. I finished 15th overall for masters and #2 for our team. In the open race I was our #3 scorer.
It was a blast running with my SRC teammates this XC season! I love racing, but racing with a team can be so much more fun and with awesome teammates like mine, it’s easy to feel motivated to give your all every race.
I had a nice three day weekend at the beginning of August training for the Cascade Crest 100. This is an event I put on every year. We had about thirty people come out and run 15 to 70 miles of the race course. There was some smoke in the air, but it was better than the Seattle area.
I was very fortunate to have the time this summer to run around Mt. St. Helen’s. It had been a few years since I did this. I love how the trail is so diverse.
Cascade Crest 100
About 60 miles in my stomach went south, and I got sick. This is nothing new, it happens almost every year. It usually only lasts a few hours or less. Unfortunately this year, it continued all night. This was my 13th finish in a row. I think maybe this year I will just shoot for finishing the entire 100 miles and not worry at the time.
Pacing at Teanaway Country 100
In September I paced a friend at the TC100. Pacing can be a stressful thing for me to do. I did my best to slow her down when she was going to fast and to speed her up when she was going to slow. I told many jokes and said EAT about 100 times.
The rest of my year I’ve been struggling with ankle issues. It sucks getting old!
I have just thoroughly enjoyed representing SRCBrooks at all of my races. From the deep lush woods of Washington to the dry desert of Nevada, I have experienced so many awesome events and people, it’s been great to expand my running repertoire. It’s difficult to pinpoint any one race in particular as my favorite because they all have their endearing qualities, even the ones that kick my butt lol.
My most recent escapade was running 2 marathons in 8 days in Hawaii because hey, why not, it was Hawaii. It was absolutely amazing, to say the least. Such a unique experience, one of the reasons it was on my Bucket List. My “training” for that was running the SEATTLE Quadzuki over the Thanksgiving weekend. That was also a Bucket List item for me and I had an amazing time doing it! I won it for the women so that was a huge accomplishment for me as well.
It seems like I’m on a mission to continue experiencing my “Bucket List” runs/races. Having been in strong recovery from an eating disorder for over 7 years now, it’s wonderful to see my dreams coming true and actually making these fantasies a reality. I have never felt so strong and so determined to continue to inspire others in recovery as I do now. That is the sole reason I run and share my story. If I can give hope to even just one person who is suffering then I consider it a success. Through the ups and downs of this past year I have learned that the higher purpose is a great driver and therefore should always be at the forefront. That is my motivation and why I will keep running and challenging myself to try new things even when I doubt myself. Because you don’t know until you try, and I now have a plethora of great stories!
- Biggest Race: Honolulu International Marathon: 889/32,000
- Most Halfs at once: Quadzuki- 4 halfs, 4 days: 1st place female.
- Longest running event: Road Ragnar: 35 miles.
- Best PR: Beat the Blerch.
- Toughest Half: Seattle Half
Well, the second half of the year didn’t go entirely according to plan race-wise, what with a DNF and a couple missed races I had hoped to run. However, I filled the void in every way I could devise, from volunteering for the WTA along the South Fork of the Skokomish (trail maintenance) and the SRC at the Cougar Mountain 50k (Squak aid station), to extending my adventures to include running an FKT and being a pacer. In all, it was a memorable year.
Hurricane-Hayden 100K–FKT, August 4
I’d been contemplating a 100 mile FKT attempt in my favorite place in the world: Olympic National Park, but instead I settled for 100k, more specifically an epic 64-mile loop starting at Hurricane Ridge in the north and venturing south to Hayden Pass and the heart of the park, linking 7 mountain passes in all (Obstruction Point, Grand, Cameron, Lost, Hayden, Dodger Point, Hurricane Ridge), resulting in over 18,000 ft. in gain. What a day! Here’s a picture of a young buck I encountered on top of Grand Pass. I tell ya, he seemed to appreciate the views even more than me.
For more deets on the route and its challenges, visit the following link: https://fastestknowntime.com/fkt/isaiah-hemmen-hurricane-hayden-100k-loop-wa-2018-08-04
Wasatch 100–DNF, September 7
The race I was looking forward to all year: Wasatch, one of the first 100 milers, dating back to 1979, traces the crest of the Wasatch range south from Kaysville to Heber City, UT. With 26,000 ft. of gain and comparable loss, much of it on rocky and technical terrain, and at altitude no less, the race is a beast! As a sea-leveler, I was most intimidated by the altitude, given that runners spend a great deal of time between 8-9,000 ft. and top out above 10,000 ft. Yikes! Hard to spend time that high in the PNW. So, rather than wing it by showing up the day of and hoping for the best, I planned a Idaho-Utah road trip around the event and managed to spend 2 nights at 5,000 ft., 3 nights at 6,500 ft., 3 nights at 10,500 ft., then 2 nights back down to 4,000 ft., followed by 2 nights up at 7,500 ft. This amounted to nearly 2 weeks at elevation–all during my taper–which allowed me to acclimate gradually without incurring much additional stress to the system. Other than some inexplicable stomach pain (more on that later), I felt prepared, I felt primed. So, come race day, I charged from the start, straight up the initial 4,400 ft. climb (in the first 5 miles!), and felt good–in roughly 12th place–until I didn’t. At mile 8, my stomach dropped and symptoms only spiraled from there, exacerbated by the heat, which climbed to 96. First, I couldn’t eat; then, I couldn’t intake fluid–only lose it. My stomach felt like a knot of poison. I pushed on, through sheer determination, to Lamb’s Canyon just shy of half-way, and dropped. No mind-over-matter magic was possible in this one; something was off–very off. Turns out I had contracted Giardia thanks to drinking out of the Elwha River (my filter failed) during my FKT attempt a month prior. Talk about disappointment. Then again, I had spent two blissful and unforgettable weeks on the road with my family, so I could only bitch and moan and pity myself so much. But mark my words, revenge will be mine!
Teanaway County 100–Pacer, September 15
8 days post-Wasatch, and 6 days into my Giardia-curing course of antibiotics, I got a call from a buddy to pace him at the Teanaway Country 100, RD Brian Morrison’s sadistic dream come to fruition: 28,000 ft. of absurdly steep trails in the Teanaway country south of the Enchantments. To hear tell, Brian has upped it to nearly 31,000 ft. for 2019. Luckily, the trails are so spectacular and the volunteers are so enthusiastic that you can’t help but push on. Excited to see my friend, chomping at the bit to capitalize on my fitness, and determined to have a last epic hurrah on the trails before work began anew and fall degraded into winter, I forgot my stomach woes and went long, pacing the last 50 miles from Standup. Much of this was in the dark, but we made light of it.
Side note: My vote for ultrarunning performance of the year is Brandon Benefield’s staggering 20 hour time on this course. Somehow, he managed to run a great deal of the long and technical climbs, separating himself from a stout second place by over 3 hours! An absolutely superhuman feat.
Carkeek 6 Hour–2nd place overall (1st masters), October 27
Loops, anyone? We’ve all run loops before, but I suspect few of us have been so (un)fortunate as to run loops like these. Admittedly, I was initially intrigued by the format of this race, based on time rather than distance, and comprised of lots of small loops. After all, that meant I could just relax to the zen of repetition, and I would never get lost because the course was simple. Of course, what’s the first thing that happens? I get lost. Only briefly. 6 hours and 18.5 laps later–and feeling loopy–I finished with 35.28 miles and nearly 9,000 ft. of gain. Not sure I’ll ever do that again, but I’m happy to have done it once.
Although my knee injury has yet to heal, since August I have been able to participate in a couple short races, volunteer at the final Cougar Mountain race of the season, and join the ‘Northern’ contingent of Seattle Running Club for an evening run. It was great to run Cross Country with the team at Emerald City Open, serve food at the last Cougar Mountain race of the year, cheer for Masters’ and Open racers at PNTF Regionals, explore Maple Leaf Reservoir with Ellen, and run a Turkey Trot in Park City, UT with my brother. Winter brings new opportunity for cross training, and I hope to begin seriously hitting the trails soon after the New Year begins! As always, lots of love and happy holidays to this wonderful community!
The second half of the year was filled with many ups and downs, but I am quite happy with how it ended. After placing second at the Lake Union 10k, I knew that I still had some fitness, despite the fact that most of my time training time was being spent on the bike. My first XC race was the PLU Invite, where I placed third after running a 26:02. This was an official XC PR, so I was really happy to start the season on such a high note. My next race of the season was the local work 5k. I went out crazy fast (4:38?) but ended up running a 5k PR of 15:08 and winning the race. My next race was only a day later, this time the ECO XC race at Woodland Park. I was feeling great going into the race, although I knew how challenging the course was, and wasn’t sure how my legs would hold up on day 2 of back to back races. It certainly did not disappoint, and I ended up placing 8th running a 26:43, a personal best for the brutal hills of Woodland Park. Despite feeling like the season was going to be my best yet, I ended up straining my calf at a workout the following Wednesday. 3 hard, fast efforts in just 6 days was clearly too much for me, and I had to take off a few weeks. I had to skip the Dawg Dash 10k, WWU’s 10k invite, and PNTF. Going in to Thanksgiving break I wasn’t sure I was going to even be able to do a turkey trot for fun, but when Thursday actually rolled around, I was feeling surprisingly good. I showed up to the Seattle Turkey Trot in Ballard, and was able to take the win running a 15:03, on a very downhill course. I was out of town for Regionals, and I was trying to focus all my energy on staying healthy for nationals.
USATF Club Nationals was a fantastic race. Other than being obviously long, it was a firm-packed, gently rolling golf course that was plenty wide for the 450+ runners. The men’s open 10k was an afternoon race; it was scheduled to start at 1:30. I tried to eat a big breakfast, but I failed to do so and ended up snacking on Evan’s granola for a while around lunch time. There were many bets made over how fast I would go out, and I tried my best to cruise through around 5:00, despite feeling like the entire field was ahead of me. According to my watch, I split 15:33 for the first 5k, and 15:59 for the second. My official time was 32:45, and I placed 142 overall and 4th on the team. While I technically didn’t accomplish my goal of breaking 32:00 in the 10k, I think I would have easily done it on a course that was actually 10km. Going into the holidays I’m ready to take some time off, then start training for the Eugene Marathon in April.