Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Freeze Your Cookies Off #2 (Race Recap)

Sunday, February 12
Denver, CO
Half Marathon #160
Weather - Overcast, a little cold

After the first FYCO race we figured we didn't need to arrive quite so early. We still had to stop at Joann on the way to pick up more ribbon, but we were the first to arrive again, maybe around 10:45. We entered the same lot that we had used the first time and unloaded everything, only to have someone from the church inform us that we couldn't park in the lot. There were plenty of other spots in the main lot, so we just directed everyone there instead. Thankfully, that was the only glitch in our day.

People seemed to recognize that checking in and picking out their cookies only took a few minutes so it seemed the bulk of the people arrived with 15 or so minutes until the start.

One of the runners asked in advance if people would be willing to wear hearts in support of Jackson, a little boy that needs heart surgery. Of course everyone was happy to show their support!
I headed to the bathroom with about 10 minutes to go, made a last minute call for people to check in and before I knew it, time for the pre-race picture (our biggest race of the series!)

We started a minute or two late and again, I was in the back with Colfax. Heather planned on running faster so it was just us.

During the first mile I was concerned that my legs would be too tired to run well, but things actually went pretty well during the first half. I kinda wished I had brought music with me, I didn't know in advance I would be running alone. 

We had rain/snow in the forecast the night before, but luckily it did not amount to anything and the trails were in PERFECT condition. I didn't find a single spot that was icy, muddy, or even wet. Hurray!
Gloomy like this pretty much the whole day
I dropped Colfax off with Maureen, who had gotten Eric to volunteer with her at the turnaround and headed back.
Melissa got this shot of me and Colfax
I felt fine until maybe mile 9 or 10 and then I really started feeling fatigued and took a lot more walk breaks. The only "goal" I had was to break 2:40 (which on a course that is a .25 mile long is pretty "decent" considering my pace the last few years). Somewhere around mile 11 I took a drink out of my handheld and forgot to close the top and all my Nuun spilled out, so that was pretty annoying and I of course became the thirstiest ever.

It took everything in me to run to the finish - this picture actually makes it look like I have some energy left, lol.
Not quite as many people stuck around at the finish, but it was also about 20 degrees colder than the first race, so not entirely unexpected.
We did these fun finish lines so people felt like they were "breaking the tape"
I ate the donut that A had saved for me and we cheered in the remaining runners.
Colfax got a medal for running the first half in two races - he looks pleased!
No wonder people were asking me which one of us is taller... (the back of my medal is customized with "Best Mom")
Garmin Time - 2:38:18
Garmin Distance - 13.35 miles
Garmin Pace - 11:51
Mile 1 - 11:35
Mile 2 - 12:01
Mile 3 - 11:35
Mile 4 - 11:46
Mile 5 - 11:26
Mile 6 - 11:16
Mile 7 - 12:41
Mile 8 - 11:34
Mile 9 - 11:37
Mile 10 - 12:05
Mile 11 - 12:01
Mile 12 - 12:06
Mile 13 - 12:13
Mile 13.35 - 12:22

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Surf City Half Marathon (Race Recap)

Sunday, February 5
Huntington Beach, CA
Half marathon #159
Weather - overcast
The Wednesday before the race I suddenly came down with one of those terrible colds. You know, the ones where it feels like your head might explode, hot/cold flashes, tons of congestion and insomnia (even though I was exhausted).

We arrived in SoCal the day before the race and I still hadn't gotten any quality sleep and still felt like crap. Heather had purchased the VIP package again, so when we went to the expo we again parked super close to the entrance. Last year I remember it being super crowded and stuffy. Well, it was still super crowded, but thanks to it being overcast and colder, it wasn't was miserable as last year. I didn't buy anything, but there were tons of vendors. We managed to run into Dave and Stacy at the expo - how crazy is that?

Race Day

I woke up earlier than I planned, but the good news is that I SLEPT. I still didn't feel great, but sooo much better. Heather G. arrived just before 7 and we headed over to the start. It is SO nice staying at a place so close to the start line and then the VIP parking is just the cherry on top. Heather G. and I planned on "running" together (she was also recovering from a cold), teammate Heather actually planned on "racing," and Maureen was going to be walking the half. Obligatory team picture before Heather headed to the start and the rest of us used the bathroom line again.
Maureen had gotten permission to start in an earlier wave and I agreed to start with Heather in her wave. The race start is pretty congested, but the signage was easy enough to figure out and we started about 15 minutes after the gun. David, my coach, had told us to listen for a "shout out" at the start - and I heard it! Pretty cool to hear your name and your team in a crowd of tens of thousands of runners.
Start line pic, only one I apparently took during the whole race
The plan was to run when we felt like and walk when we felt like - so nothing scientific. I was breathing better, but the general fatigue from being sick for 5 days had sent in and I was just really fatigued. We caught up to Maureen around the first mile and talked with her for a minute before getting back into running.

The things I remembered about this course was that there were tons of aid stations and and it was pretty much flat. We walked all the aid stations and Heather stopped to use the bathroom around mile 3 - which is about where we saw the other Heather for the first time. I was going to stop too, but the lines were a bit long so I figured I would wait. We walked a bit in the hilly section in the neighborhood.

We were both feeling "okay-ish" and were passing the time by catching up. Somewhere around mile 6 we encountered the weirdest crazy person on the course. I was passing him on the right and he was flinging his arms around and almost smacked me. I was like "oh shit!" and then he proceeded to curse at me and yell "you're in my perimeter!" Strangest thing that has ever happened to me in a road race - especially one of this size. He also said - "just wait until I pass you at mile 9" - spoiler, he did not catch us.
Perimeter guy - I did look at your bib number... Interesting that there are no results listed for that bib number...
Caught up to Stacy around mile 7 (?) - she was walking the marathon.
And this is why I normally wear sunglasses
I stopped and used the bathroom too at some point since there wasn't a line, but I don't remember when/where. Coming up the last hill at mile 10 I got to hit a gong, which actually did revive me a bit. We had a really good last mile, running the fastest split of the day.

Luckily, we weren't running the marathon - I would have been pretty upset with only oranges and bananas in the finish area. We met up with Heather in the beer line, got our long sleeves out of the car and then went back into the beer garden. A second team picture to include Lisa and Jandy, who ran the full.
Heather, Me, Jandy, Lisa, Maureen
Bib #10916
Official Time - 2:38:03
Official 5K - 38:08 (lol)
Official 10K - 1:16:13
Official 10M - 2:00:52
Overall Place - 6613/10305
Gender Place - 3473/6138
Division Place - 558/916
Garmin Time - 2:38:06
Garmin Distance - 13.24 miles
Garmin Pace - 11:56
Mile 1 - 11:15
Mile 2 - 11:56
Mile 3 - 13:26 (bathroom)
Mile 4 - 12:23
Mile 5 - 11:45
Mile 6 - 12:05 (bathroom?)
Mile 7 - 11:14
Mile 8 - 12:05
Mile 9 - 11:46
Mile 10 - 11:44
Mile 11 - 12:45
Mile 12 - 11:41
Mile 13 - 10:53
Mile 13.2ish - 9:45 (see, I had SOMETHING left)

Thoughts:

  • Lots of people really love this race. I can't say that I feel the same way. I mean, it's very well organized and there is a lot of "energy," but it is kinda blah.
  • Shirt - long sleeve and gender specific. However, I don't love the fit and I'll be donating. Arms are too short and tight.
  • Medal is big - overall fantastic.
Picture stolen from Heather
  • The price tag is high - $134 signing up in November. The VIP package, obviously substantially higher. 
  • Would I run again? Well, the other ladies are already about talking about coming back next year so we can be legacy runners... so maybe.
We took a picture of all of us in our finisher shirts after we showered.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Freeze Your Cookies Off #1 (Race Recap)

Sunday, January 29
Denver, CO
Half marathon #158
Weather - Warm, sunny

Months ago, a few of us brainstormed and came up with the "Freeze Your Cookies Off" race series. A grassroots half marathon series to 1). get some longer miles in during winter months and 2). to help A offload more Girl Scout cookies (by including two boxes with each registration).

We had the assistance of race director Bill Morton (who organizes Runs With Scissors that I ran in 2014), Daniel (who did the timing) and Ang and Maureen for volunteers. Months of planning and emailing and messaging and finally, the day was here for the first race in the series!

We were "blessed" to have some warmer weather, and it is CRAZY to be running in short sleeves and a tee in January and still feel warm. Anyway, we had planned on the races all starting at noon, because we were expecting colder temperatures, and wanted to give people the chance to go to church first.

We arrived at the start area at 10:30, which was plenty of time to set up a canopy and table and and wait for people to arrive. Bill had secured a private parking lot at the church which would prevent us from having to run across the parking lot to get to the trail, PLUS, we were given permission to use the bathrooms inside.

The first runner arrived around 11 and we started the process of checking in and handing out cookies. While I have assisted with registration and check in before, definitely a new respect for it when there are only two of you, even though the race was super small (I think we had about 20 runners). We sent the volunteers (Mo and Ang) to the aid station at the turnaround and it was decided that I would run with Colfax for the first half of the race.

Just before the race started we took a group picture, which was fun, and right at noon we headed out to the trail. The Highline Canal is a 70ish mile long dirt multi-use trail that I have run a handful of times in the past. Heather, Colfax and I headed out for what I hoped would be a nice, long run.
The trail was unfortunately a lot more icy than I expected. Even with it being almost 60 degrees, there were areas that were shaded enough that it was crazy icy - and with it being warmer, the areas where the sun was hitting was melting that ice and making it muddy.


We stopped about a half hour in to give Colfax some water. I could tell it was going to be a long day. The first runner, Brandon (the local Hoka rep) was the first runner we saw coming back, when we were about 4.5 miles out. When we got closer to maybe 6 miles, we saw a group of runners who told us the volunteers were not at the turn around. WHAT. OH SHIT. I immediately call them and they say that they ARE set up at the Highline and Orchard. And yet every single person coming back said no one was there. Luckily I had an extra water bottle on me and I was able to fill some people's bottles and had some snacks on me... I called Ang back and she said, no, we are set up on Highline and Orchard. WHAT.

Turns out (which I didn't know, and SHOULD have known), that there are THREE places where Orchard and the Highline Canal cross. Damn it!!!!! Luckily, I was able to ping our location to Maureen and Ang and they packed up and met up with us at the correct spot so I could hand off Colfax. There were still a handful of runners out that were able to get the aid they needed, but I was HORRIFIED that this had happened. Maureen and Ang were also super upset and once we confirmed the last runner was headed their way they packed up and did an impromptu aid station a few miles from the finish.
Due to the aid station fiasco, we had a mile that took us almost a half hour and our 3ish hour finish time was very unimpressive. Most of the runners were still hanging around at the finish and thankfully, they were all very understanding about the situation. I was apologizing right and left, but everyone assured me that they were fine. Ugh. At least for the next one, we know for sure the right place to go, and we have secured a traffic cone for a turnaround so no one runs long.

Definitely a learning experience!

Garmin time - 3:02:56
Official time - 3:02:52
Garmin distance - 13.34 miles (we knew it would be long, simply because of where the aid station would have to be placed)
Mile 1 - 11:55
Mile 2 - 12:54
Mile 3 - 12:25
Mile 4 - 11:42
Mile 5 - 12:46
Mile 6 - 12:21
Mile 7 - 27:44 (aid station nonsense)
Mile 8 - 12:31
Mile 9 - 12:27
Mile 10 - 12:19
Mile 11 - 12:48
Mile 12 - 13:41
Mile 13 - 13:05
Mile 13.34 - 12:35
This is what the "medal" looked like
Thoughts:
  • I've been super unmotivated ever since I got back from Arizona. I had not run longer than 7-8 miles all month, and it showed. I had barely been running ANYTHING. So distance-wise, this was tough. I'm also used to running in early morning or at sunset, and it's been on average about 40 degrees cooler. So the temps were warmer than I'm used to.
  • I am still bummed about the aid station not being where it should have been. I can't really blame it on anyone, we should have gone out and marked it or something - chalk it up to being SUPER inexperienced.
  • Our entry fee was $18. That included snacks/drinks at the start (and aid station for those that were able to get to it), 2 boxes of Girl Scout cookies per person and a handmade medal. All proceeds from this first event are being donated to Girls on the Run.

Monday, January 9, 2017

RMRR Trophy Series - Twin Lakes 10k (Race Recap)

Sunday, January 8
Weather - Chilly, cloudy

A week out from Across the Years and I again decided it was a great idea to run a 10K with Rocky Mountain Road Runners. A was finally back from Texas and Maureen was planning on walking the 5K. A decided she would rather walk with Maureen than run.

With the handicap start, I would be starting 2:50 after the gun. I had the same plan as last year when I ran - start slow, and hopefully not have a terrible time. I was coming off a high mileage weekend and had run a fairly hilly (and icy/snowy) 7 miles the day before with Runners Edge, so my expectations were not very high.

There was only only person starting at my same time:
This cracks me up. We are dressed for two very different forecasts.
I was taking it very easy and caught up to Ang (also walking) pretty early on. I started passing the "faster" walkers around .75 miles in and caught up to A and Maureen around .85 or .9 miles in (they were walking pretty quick!) and A got a few pictures of me from Maureen's phone.

I was perfectly comfortable in my thin long sleeve top and skirt, the only part of me that was cold were my toes! They didn't warm up until probably 2 miles in. I was feeling pretty good on the outbound part of the course, but I remembered from last year that it was a gradual downhill on the way out. I took a very brief walk break after turning around at the only aid station - long enough only to take a drink of nice, cold, ice water.
I continued with the plan to "push through" the tired legs, and it appeared to be working. I did start to have some pain in my right ankle (STILL!) even though I had taped it before the run, but I didn't notice my gait being off and figured I would run through it if I could. I was finally starting to get passed by runners, although I'm pretty happy it didn't happen until the second half of my race!
Remembering how much I struggled once I hit mile 5, I held back a bit and took it super easy on the small underpass hills. Rob passed me around mile 5.5 and his enthusiasm helped me get through my desire to walk. FINALLY, I could see the loop around to the finish. I passed Ang shortly before the bridge and then did my best to hang until I was through the shoot.

Didn't see A and Maureen at the finish, I assumed that was because they were taking Colfax for a walk. Got some pictures with teammates, stuck around for awards (none for me this time!) and then went to Torchy's with A and Maureen. A very fun morning, and INCREDIBLY pleased that I made it through the entire run without a walk break (outside of the aid station).

Of COURSE all the shadows are on MY face
Maureen, A and Ang - mid-race
Garmin time - 1:08:12
Garmin distance - 6.31 miles
Garmin pace - 10:48 (?!?!)
Mile 1 - 11:01
Mile 2 - 10:46
Mile 3 - 10:34
Mile 4 - 10:46
Mile 5 - 10:56
Mile 6 - 10:54
Mile 6.31 - 10:25

Thoughts:

  • These races are so fun and so inexpensive! I always have a good time at them - very happy I tried them out last year!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Across the Years (Race Recap)

Glendale, AZ
Friday, December 30 - Sunday, January 1
Ultra marathon #21
Weather - Pleasant day 1, then #alltherain

Packing

In a moment of insanity (and ok, thriftiness) I booked my outbound flight on Frontier. With all the drama over Christmas about people having missed and incredibly delayed flights, I was really stressed out. I was also a bit panicky about the baggage rules. I studied the "personal item" information pretty carefully and decided that I could totally pack everything I needed into that so I wouldn't have to pay for a carry-on. See?


Thursday

Went to work in the morning. Headed out to the airport around lunch time. The lines at security were not very long and I was at the gate in plenty of time. I was incredibly amazed that the plane was there on time, we boarded on-time and we departed on time. However, it's been a LONG time since I flew Frontier. The seats are completely different. No more TV's on the back. No cushioning and the tiniest "tray tables" ever. I'm a tiny person and I hated this. It was so uncomfortable. However, I only paid $18.10 for the flight, and at least it was short, so there's that. Arrived a few minutes early and took the shuttle to pick up my rental car. Like last year I had to keep checking for a reasonable rate. Knowing I'm only driving about 50 miles total, I hate paying a ton for it, but know I need the heater for nighttime. Not as inexpensive as last year, but booked a piece of crap car (Chevy Spark) for the whole weekend for $83. Again, like last year, I stopped at In-n-Out for dinner, then headed to the local Wal-Mart for dessert (cheesecake) and beer. Arrived at the race and got my tent assignment. It seemed warmer than last year, which was nice. However, unlike last year I didn't have a sleeping bag/pillow. I did have a space blanket, but that didn't seem enough for me to actually fall asleep. So... Groundhog Day, try to sleep in the tiniest/most uncomfortable vehicle ever. Sigh.

Friday



Got about 12 minutes of sleep. (Well, maybe an hour here and there, but nothing to brag about). The race was scheduled to start at 9:00. I went to the food tent and got some french toast, part of a quesadilla and coffee. As I was getting dressed, I noticed I already had a small blood blister on one of my toes. Yippee! Went to the medical tent to see if there was anything I could/should do with it, and it was recommended that I leave it alone. Ok then. Picked up my bib, and it's time to go...

We started out running clockwise. Having run the race before, I had no plans of "racing." I took a walk break at least once every loop, hoping to save my legs. Within a few hours, I was already feeling pretty terrible. Back in the beginning of November, I rolled my right ankle and it was screaming at me. I also felt that I was developing blisters on my right pinkie toe and possibly my right heel. So basically, my whole right side was... wrong. I recognized many of the same people from last year, which was fun.



The only food I think I did NOT have.
Storm is rolling in...

What's not really fun? Running around in circles... I know, I know, what was I thinking? Anyway, I was feeling pretty terrible very early on, which doesn't bode well for a very long day. I was super disgruntled to not hit my 50 miles in 12 hours. I was not happy when it started to rain. I was also INCREDIBLY upset when I went to change into my warmer clothes for night and discover that my tent was flooded!! The rain flap wasn't attached on one side and pretty much everything got soaked. DAMN IT!! I had to gather up all my stuff and bring it to the car. I sat in the car for a bit (I think I was at mile 46) to get dry and to try to nap. DID NOT WORK.

Saturday

Didn't even pretend to try to get any real sleep. Any time I went to the car I would set my alarm for about a half hour. If I was still awake after 10-15 minutes I went back out. It was so muddy from the earlier rain, and my feet were really screaming at me now. I did not do much running. I know in an event like this that even walking and continuing to keep moving makes a huge difference. I really had a pretty terrible night. Unlike last year, however, I didn't have any issues actually being cold when I was out. In fact, one of the only things I brought with me that I never used were my gloves!
By the time the sun came up I was so blah. I decided to start my day off with one of my beers and some pumpkin pie. I walked a LOT. The most interesting part of the day was watching the course get squeegeed!
Yep, this guy is using a squeegee to get standing water/mud off the course!
That helped a lot, and the course did dry out quite a bit. By late afternoon I was at about 83 miles. However, I was moving SO DAMN SLOW. I couldn't even believe how long it was taking me at this point.
#allthemud
There was more rain in the forecast, so I went to the car to change clothes again and hoped for a quick nap before heading out for my second night. The biggest catastrophe of the day was when I headed back out. I got to the timing mat on the opposite side of the course and didn't beep. I looked down and realized I didn't have my chip on. OH NO. A few other runners convinced me it was fine and if I just talked to the timing people they would give me credit for the lap. Got back to the start and they said that was fine. I went back to the car to get my chip and COULD NOT FIND IT. I looked for about 15 minutes - throwing things around - remember, everything I have is now in the car because of the flooded tent. In hysterics, I go to the timing tent and tell them I lost the chip. They get me another one to use and warn me I'll have to pay $75 for the other one if I can't find it. I head back out and I'm looking everywhere... there is only a small section of the course where it COULD be, because I had done only half a loop before realizing it was gone. NOTHING. It was getting dark, so I figured now that I have calmed down a bit that I will go look one more time in the car. I mean really, where could it have gone??? Then I see it. I had put it around the emergency brake, for safe-keeping. Son of a... I turn that timing chip back in and off I go. Geez.
Hooray for pizza!!!! Another few hours and my feet are just pissed. I decide to go for my spare pair in hopes that I feel a little better. Just before 8 pm and I'm finally at mile 90. And then the longest night ever. Because of all the mud and my aching feet, I was barely moving at a 20 minute mile pace. Around 9 and the rain started again. Man, I can't catch a break!! Ugh. Lots of complaining and resting and just suffering to get it done. Right around midnight I headed out for my "last" loop. My "A" goal had been to beat last year, with 116+ miles. I was perfectly ok with stopping at just over 100 miles.

As soon as I finished I sat in the warming tent and chatted with some runners, and apparently, I was also just in time to spectate the "underwear beer mile." LOL. And most of these people had been out running for at LEAST 15 hours at this point. Crazy. Around 1:30 I went to the car to "sleep."

Sunday

It POURED all night. I was really happy I stopped when I did, because before I even got situated the rain had started. I dozed on and off until maybe 7:30. I decided to go out and do a lap or two since I had time. I was running pretty good the first loop, stopping to take a picture of how badly the course had flooded during the night.
I got halfway through my second loop and it started pouring again. OH COME ON, HAVEN'T WE HAD ENOUGH? So I ended with a total of about 103 miles. Not anywhere close to my goal, but damn it, I fought really hard through this one. I collected my buckle and then headed to the car to pack up all my stuff.
I guess it doesn't look too bad in the picture. But for real, everything I had was on this seat or the floor
At 10 I went over to the awards ceremony. Unlike last year, they only announced top three for each race. As an aside, had I hit my "A" goal, I would have been on the podium. Ah, maybe next year. I already have runnesia.
Goodbye, shoes! 400+ miles and two 100+ miles races later, these guys were TOAST
Miles 1-10 - 12:43, 12:51, 12:10, 12:18, 12:01, 12:01, 11:45, 12:18, 11:59, 12:46
Miles 11-20 - 15:14, 13:50, 12:39, 12:57, 13:17, 13:35, 15:06, 13:05, 13:11, 17:11
Miles 21-30 - 14:18, 15:32, 15:02, 14:41, 14:31, 15:30, 18:04, 14:54, 14:37, 14:49
Miles 31-40 - 14:29, 14:42, 17:28, 15:02, 14:57, 14:49, 16:34, 17:30, 15:35, 14:49
Miles 41-50 - 15:34, 19:12, 17:59, 15:48, 14:39, 59:28, 19:24, 17:22, 19:11, 18:16
Miles 51-60 - 17:51, 18:28, 1:34:01, 18:29, 17:08, 18:07, 19:03, 25:03, 18:53, 18:04
Miles 61-70 - 23:11, 18:57, 20:16, 2:01:42, 22:59, 20:28, 20:03, 20:00, 1:38:10, 17:39
Miles 71-80 - 15:53, 17:43, 20:49, 1:00:57, 21:33, 20:14, 20:04, 19:38, 20:03, 1:25:41
Miles 81-90 - 18:57, 18:36, 19:38, 20:12, 23:01, 49:24, 23:01, 32:14, 27:34, 30:25
Miles 91-100 - 23:00, 43:54, 21:10, 22:51, 28:30, 20:41, 31:31, 24:20, 28:19, 37:03
Miles 100-103ish - 23:32, 25:36, 25:31, 20:16
I did not stop/pause my watch at all while I was running, until I was finished. The incredibly long split times are when I was in the car trying to rest. I do not have any data from  the last two loops I did in the morning, I had forgotten to put my watch back on.

Stopped at In-n-Out on my way to the airport, dropped off the car, and went to the gate. Plane was on time and landed in Denver on time as well. All in all, the travel aspect was uneventful.

Thoughts

  • As I mentioned above, I ran with my Garmin Fenix 3 and it recorded my entire run. I did not have it on ultra mode this time. Once I realized it could be charged on the run, I would wait until the battery got to about 50% (because I'm paranoid), charge it. It worked perfectly.
  • I still have to say that this is one of the most organized events I have ever run. I love that there is an aid station that I can hit every single mile. The food is phenomenal, I never went hungry! I also like that I don't have to actually carry anything on me. 
  • The race did an excellent job again of ensuring the course was well lit at night. And again, having someone out there to squeegee some of the mud/standing water off the course was amazingly awesome. 
  • I actually got another awesome race picture! I haven't bought it yet, but I will. 
  • Bummed to not have hit my goal, but I worked really hard at this race and I know a lot of people modified their goals because of the weather/course conditions.
  • The only problem this year was with the live tracking. Last year it was spot-on, no issues. This year, there were major delays in the timing on the TVs at the start/finish, and they never did get it resolved this year. Not a huge deal, but I really wanted to know where I was at mileage-wise and with that not available, I had to complete another loop to find out.