Oxy Invite, Highway 1 and Santa Barbara

It’s been a really exciting week, from driving Highway 1 between Monterey and Santa Barbara, touring Santa Barbara on a cruiser bike, and the Oxy Invite on Saturday. We are at our last hotel stop now, G has arrived, and it seems like my normal life is returning.

Oxy Invite 2015
The Oxy Invite was held on May 9th as a warm up to the Hoka One One meet May 14th and a last chance qualifier for the D3 Colleges. Coach Ross and I decided it would be a good meet to get some speed back in my legs before the 1500 at the Hoka One One meet. I was going to run the 800; a wee bit of a jump in speed from the 5000m one week earlier.

The plan was to ‘train through’ this meet; meaning no taper. I had my planned day off the Thursday but did a long run on Friday with my usual strides and warm up. The race was later in the day on Saturday so I got up had my usual coffee hit and did a lovely shakeout run.

We headed over the track as a clan, all of us running the 800m (we had picked up Celia’s boyfriend Dan and their friend Geoff after Stanford). I did not know what to expect when I got there. From Google Maps I could see that Occidental College was this small College located in north-west LA.

The track is a strange shape and has really long corners, which makes for some faster distance races. You come around the final turn and the finish line is so close! I did my usual warm up and thought about the process leading up to the race; trusting what I had been doing I headed to the start line.

The plan had been to go in 60high/61 low. There was a girl in my heat, Shannon Leinert, that had run a 58s in the opening lap weeks before at the Triton open so I planned to go out just a few metres behind her. In the first lap I got a little boxed in. Shannon was out ahead but didn’t go out quite as fast. She went through in 60-mid and I came in around 62.3.

The chase was on! I focused in on her and started to try to close the gap. With 200 to go I had made up about 3/4’s of a second. I really tried to pick up the pace and closed in on Shannon’s shoulder with about 80m to go. We battled hard over the last straight away. With about 20m to go Shannon put in a surge that I couldn’t quite catch. It made for some very exciting racing and my fastest 800m ever! I ran a 2:03.36 just behind Shannon’s 2:02.96.

I was ecstatic. I was smiling ear to ear. Hard work and perseverance pay off. Along with loving what you do everyday. I had some intervals to do after the race and a long cool down. It made for a very satisfying Saturday evening.

Highway 1 
IMG_6256If you ever have the opportunity to drive Highway 1 take it. Highway one follows the coast line of California. It’s not your fastest drive, but it will be one of the most breathtaking drives you ever take. Much of it is on the sea cliffs and overlooks the ocean. There were definitely some nail-biting moments in Gary the rental car; he certainly doesn’t corner like my car back home!

I needed an extra day after Payton Jordan to let me body recover before headingIMG_6263 out on Highway 1. Celia, Dan and Geoff headed out on the Sunday in another car and I spent much of that day recovering after my ride. After a tempo workout Monday morning I loaded up the car to head down to Santa Barbara.

I have posted a bunch of pictures at the end of this post. There aren’t really any words to describe what the Highway 1 drive is like. If you’re in California or looking for an adventure than Highway 1 is a must. From Big Sur to the Redwoods, the ocean and the sea lions, it is a breathtaking landscape that reminds you of the pure awesomeness of nature.

Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara is a coastal town located about one and a half hours north-west ofIMG_6356 LA. It is cute and quaint and a perfect place to get some solid training in. It has great food, great coffee and is super easy to get around. We had rented this lovely little house through Air BnB and it came with fun cruiser bikes. I have a soft spot for cruiser bikes and love the opportunity to go ride around on them.

I had a planned day off on the Thursday and took the cruiser for a tour around Santa Barbara anIMG_6344d over to the Four Seasons Biltmore Hotel. The vistas are incredible and there are some lovely gardens that line the sea cliffs. Unfortunately there are also oil platforms, which spoil not only the beach sand but the views.

I also had the opportunity to do one of my favourite things, beach run. FridayIMG_6298 morning before we headed out to Pasadena I got up early to run along the beach front. There is something about the sand and water lapping that I find so peaceful and rewarding on a run. After a stop at the delicious Handlebar Coffee shop I was packing up with Celia and Dan to head east to Pasadena.

Next up is the final meet of the trip, the Hoka One One 1500m race. I’m so excited to be reunited with my teammate Gabriela for some training, some fun outings, and of course our silly antics.

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