Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Kooky Spooky 10K (Race Recap)

Sunday, October 26
Golden, CO
Weather - Sunny and warm


Ariel had been asking to run a 10K for years. I had been very hesitant to let her sign up for one since she doesn't do much, if any, recreational running. She joined me a few times for run club over the last few months, but other than that, no "training" for this race at all.

She was very excited to go to packet pick-up and get her bib, but was a bit disappointed that there was no "expo" to attend. We picked up our stuff the Friday before at a busy Italian restaurant. Not a great choice for dinner time.

Saturday night she got her clothes ready - Flat Ariel is ready to run!


Race Day

My friends Heather and Dan were super excited for Ariel's race and offered to run with us so we could all motivate her. We didn't get up super early since the race was only about 20 minutes from the house and didn't start until 9:30. We got there with about 45 minutes to spare and got some pictures and used the bathroom.



I knew Ariel was nervous about the distance, and to be honest, so was I. The course is a loop course and it is NOT a flat course. It was unseasonably warm and the sun was beating down on us before we even started running. We lined up just in front of all the strollers and I hoped for the best.


The first mile was a gradual downhill, and was the only mile where A was "happy" and feeling well.

Dan and A


I love Heather's "Top Gun" costume!
Not being a seasoned runner, Ariel was drinking a TON of water because it was so hot. This caught up to her as the miles went on and she got a stomach ache, which made for an unpleasant few miles. Her legs were tired, she was getting discouraged, but we did our best to make it fun for her.




Once we got to some downhill, it was a bit easier to motivate her - mainly, because she wanted to pass people. She did really great the last mile or so - even managed a few smiles for the photographer:




When she could finally see the finish line, she was a bit more motivated. She ran most of the last half mile, and the adults held back so that she could cross the finish line ahead of us. L and Hannah came to the finish line, which made A really happy.





I was pretty disappointed that the announcer screwed up Ariel's finish line announcement. All-Out allows you (when registering) to include a "tidbit" for the announcer to say when you cross the line. He was supposed to say Ariel was finishing her first 10K, but didn't announce it. Kind of a bummer! 

Ariel's Officials
Overall - 223/245
Gender - 153/170
Garmin Time - 1:33:32
Garmin Distance - 6.24 miles
Garmin Pace - 14:59
Mile 1 - 10:37
Mile 2 - 13:43
Mile 3 - 18:49
Mile 4 - 17:20
Mile 5 - 15:14
Mile 6 - 14:53
Mile 6.24 - 12:06

We collected our medals and it was already time to head over to the awards and raffles.


I think Dee, the race director (who knows Ariel pretty well), created the special age group just for her. Regardless, she was pumped to win first place (out of one, she says) in her division. Dee made a really big deal out of the award, which was neat.



Thoughts:
  • All-Out really puts on a good event. Ariel has volunteered at 4 races and earned a free entry for a race, and picked this one - which turned out to be a pretty good choice.
  • Very clear communication - both in writing before the event and on the event website,
  • The courses are very well marked. She runs multiple distances and there is pretty much no way you could screw it up. Plenty of aid stations, all well stocked with water, "electrolyte drink" and 2 of the aid stations had Clif gels (although those were probably intended for the half marathoners).
  • The race offers FREE race pictures!! I love free race pictures, and I'm happy that we got a few really good ones.
  • All her races now offer separate medals for all three distances, which is also really cool.
  • As for Ariel and the race itself, I think she was in over her head for the distance. She normally is fine for the first mile or two, so a 5K with minimal to no training is probably her max for now.
  • Overall, it was a pretty fun day, and huge thanks to Dan and Heather for sticking with us on a sunny, hot day. It really made the experience fun for Ariel that her "big friends" were willing to stick with her.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Week in Review (October 14 - October 20)

Tuesday - 2 miles during lunch, another 5.5 after dinner. Neither was terrible.
Wednesday - 2+ miles during lunch, then BodyPump after work. The last few times I have been I have NOT enjoyed the set. The instructor made a "Girl Power" mix that was almost entirely P!nk songs, which was actually pretty fun. Best class I have been to in ages.
Thursday - The day started off poorly great, with Lisa telling me she had made cookies. Then I saw the size of the tupperware containing said cookies. I tried to start with just one. That led to 2, then 10, then more than a dozen... I managed to run 4+ miles during lunch (how I didn't puke on the treadmill is a miracle). Dinner was the family birthday dinner for L. Ran another 6+ - again, no puking is a miracle.

Friday - NOTHING... During lunch, L and I went to the Cheesecake Factory for the dairy trifecta (we split a grilled cheese, macaroni and cheese and a slice of cheesecake), then we hit up the RnR expo. Dinner was pizza and a LOT of beer.
Saturday - Without planning it, I was still in bed at almost 10 am. We went to Dunkin' where we tried the Pumpkin Creme Brulee latte. WHICH WAS FANTASTIC. The donut selection was crap, so we had to go to the grocery store for donuts. Lunch was a Mexican Fiesta (hatch green chile enchiladas and beer). Some shopping after lunch, and then MORE PIZZA for dinner. Even with wandering the mall, I barely did 9,000 steps according to FitBit.

Sunday - Up early for RnR Denver - which turned out to be a great lunch. Dunkin' after with another latte and a toasted coconut donut. Lunch of a burger (which WEIRDLY, I was too full to finish). Quick run to Target - and with no line at the pharmacy, Ariel and I got our flu shots. This is only the second time I have gotten one, but since it was "free" and I was there, I figured I might as well.

I'm assuming more couch-sitting, and then dinner with me, L and my older sister for Indian food. The finale of the weekend was a half dozen mini cheesecakes (in fun "Halloween" themed flavors) - L and I *did* split, so it was really only THREE mini? It all sounds like so much when I type it out...
Monday - With Chaos over and no major running planned this week, Heather and I decided to do the new Fitness Blender 5 day challenged for "busy people." Day One was a "HIIT cardio + Butt & Thigh" workout. It was challenging, but not horrible. A reminder of how HARD jumping is :(

Weekly Miles Run - 33.24 miles
Minutes of Cross Training - 30
Minutes of Strength/Stretching- 60

Weekly Gain - 3.0 (118.4)

  • So.... for L's birthday, she wanted to eat all her "favorite things." We had a lot to squeeze into what we deemed "Lost Weekend" - burger, pizza, donuts, enchiladas, cheesecake(s), Indian food, beer...
  • Honestly, I'm actually surprised it wasn't worse. I have been very diligent about the whole "counting calories" business for the last few months, and I did not log ANYTHING starting with the dozen and half cream cheese frosted pumpkin cookies I had for breakfast on Tuesday.
  • After more than one meal I was sweaty, light-headed and pukey feeling. Can't IMAGINE eating like that on a regular basis. It was HARD WORK.
  • #EatAllTheThings - SERIOUSLY...
Everything Else
  • In 5 days, Ariel is doing her first 10K! The race starts late (9:30), and we have unseasonably warm temperatures forecasted - highs near 80! Seems better than the alternative (cold, windy, rainy and/or snowy). 
  • NEXT WEEK, we leave for NYC!!! So excited! I have been waiting for this race/trip for a LONG time. Ariel is excited, I'm excited, going to be SO FUN.
  • Work is horrid, the End.

Rock n' Roll Denver Half Marathon (Race Recap)

Sunday, October 19
Denver, CO
Half Marathon #118
Colorado Half #54
Weather - PERFECT


Expo

I happily work downtown very close to the expo. The Rock n' Roll Denver race has fallen on L's birthday weekend the last few years, so I took an extremely extended lunch so I could take L to lunch at the Cheesecake Factory (for the dairy trifecta) and then get to the expo when it opened at 1:00.

I think this was one of the smallest RnR expos I have attended. There were not that many vendors there, and it was really disappointing how bad the Brooks/RnR section was. I had been hoping to get L a new hoodie and the selection was crap. No bueno (although it did save me some money).

L was trying to figure out where to get her special "5 year runner" stuff (I missed the first year because the half sold out by the time I decided to run, so this was only my 4th year. Sad I'm not a legacy runner), so I headed to the INKnBURN booth, where I still managed to find two shirts I didn't already own, and picked up my custom, limited edition Denver drop bag. Really no other vendors of interest, but we did stop by and visit Cheryl from Razzy Roo. After buying from her since 2010, she finally told me that I was her VERY FIRST online customer :) We picked up a lot of cute hair ties and I got a new Denver Bronco colored Chevron print band.

In and out in less than 40 minutes. The race shirt this year is pretty adorable, although white tech shirts are no good because they are SO SHEER.


Race Day

Thanks to my blog, I knew we needed to leave the house by 5:30 to get parked and walk the 1.5 or so miles to the start. My dad was doing the 10K and the kids had spent the night at their house, so we picked up my dad and drove down to the lot on Auraria campus, where we have parked in previous years. The start for the 10K was in the opposite direction of our start, so we parted ways with my dad so he could walk up to his starting area.

I was hoping to have a nice, fast race. The course was different this year, and MUCH hillier. In lieu of breakfast, I drank a beer on the walk over to Civic Center park. Don't judge. We cycled through the bathroom lines a few times and headed over to the corrals at 7:18 (the race was supposed to have started at 7:15, but it started late).


L was technically in corral 7, I was in 8. Not sure where we fed in, but I lost her immediately. Only the first mile or so was the same as previous years. We ran towards the Pepsi Center, then up Speer, which I (stupidly) thought was really the only hill:


I was feeling pretty good, but wondering where the aid stations were as I really wanted a water/walk break. We ran over by Sports Authority Field (another hill), and I managed to catch my favorite Team Beef guys:


We then headed down 17th around Sloan Lake. The road was TORN up from construction. Thanks Rock n' Roll for routing us down there. Awesome. The Roost aid station was around mile 4.5 on the south side of the lake, and I saw Carol, Dan, and some other friends from run club. The walk break there helped, and I felt REALLY good running around the lake.

View of downtown from the west side of Sloan Lake
I managed to finally pass Ruth (she had been in my line of sight for about 2 miles) when we got to the aid station at the 10K marker. MORE HILLS.

I think mile 7 was pretty good, and sort of downhill. Still feeling pretty good. Somewhere around mile 8 is when we finally crossed back over into the Denver downtown area. Mile 9 I was cruising, and then hit the (horrible and understaffed) aid station at mile 10, just before a big overpass. I had not taken any unplanned walk breaks and managed to run up the hill, but my legs went numb, and around mile 10.5 I had to walk for about a tenth of a mile to loosen everything up. I felt much better after that and was pretty psyched we had less than 3 miles to go.


Ran through the same ugly warehouse area that we had run during Hot Chocolate, and then we turned down Lincoln (instead of Broadway) for essentially the same chute finish. The split for the marathon was literally at the intersection where my building for work stands, and I was HAPPY to be finishing.


Official Time - 2:12:54 (fastest half in 11 months!)
Official Pace - 10:08
Official 5K - 31:31
Official 10K - 1:03:54
Official 10M - 1:41:17
Overall Place - 3879/8113
Gender Place - 2018/5260
Division Place - 395/950
Garmin Time - 2:12:56
Garmin Distance - 13.19 miles
Garmin Pace - 10:05
Mile 1 - 9:55
Mile 2 - 9:59
Mile 3 - 10:27
Mile 4 - 10:33
Mile 5 - 10:48
Mile 6 - 9:51
Mile 7 - 10:17
Mile 8 - 9:29
Mile 9 - 9:16
Mile 10 - 10:10
Mile 11 - 10:50
Mile 12 - 10:12
Mile 13 - 9:24
Mile 13.1ish - 9:00

Thanks to runner tracking, L knew when I finished and I met her and my dad without any trouble. We got our finisher pictures in front of the Civic Center building. COOL clouds in the picture with the three of us - this is NOT photo shopped!



Thoughts:
  • This was probably the best weather we have ever had for this race. I think it was the only time I wasn't concerned about getting hypothermia walking to the car afterwards.
  • L is a legacy runner, so I of course will run this race again. Not super crazy about the course change, but it wasn't nearly as bad as I had imagined it would be. I think I could run it a bit smarter next year.
  • There was NO GU on the course. I made sure to check every aid station because they were supposed to have Salted Watermelon. NONE. Glad I brought my own.
  • The one aid station around mile 10 was horrible. There were only 3 or 4 volunteers, they didn't have most of the cups filled. L said she was handed an empty cup. Wheee!!
  • There were MAYBE 5 bands on the course. Maybe. And at least 2 of them were actually just speakers playing music, not anything original. Maybe RnR needs to consider changing its name...
  • Really like the shirt, really REALLY like the medal (which doubles as a bottle opener).
  • Other than that, unless you register early, this race probably isn't worth the hassle. There are a TON of people, you have to pay to park on race day, most of the parking is well over a mile away.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Week in Review (October 7 - October 13)

Tuesday - 3ish miles during lunch, 5ish miles at night. Trying to do double runs twice a week until I am done with my next ultra. It's really hard to get double digit runs in during the week.
Wednesday - During lunch I actually did a Fitness Blender video! 2 easy miles at run club with Heather.


Thursday - 3 miles during lunch, 5 miles at night.
Friday - Almost 4 during lunch.
Saturday - Up early to go with A's Girl Scout troop to Dinosaur Ridge. After lunch, I took A to see Into the Storm at the cheap theater. It was a pretty cheesy movie, but it was nice to not be watching a cartoon for once.
Sunday - Xterra trail marathon. By the time we got home it was dinner time.
Monday - Nothing.

Weekly Miles Run - 48.52
Minutes of Cross Training - 0
Minutes of Strength/Stretching - 23

Weekly Loss - 0.6 pounds (115.4)

  • Finally, a weekend of #EatAllTheThings
Everything Else 
  • Got the official rejection email from the job I really wanted. Womp.
  • I may be planning a visit to SoCal over Christmas, including running the Holiday Half in San Diego!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Xterra Trail Marathon (Race Recap)

Colorado Springs, CO
Sunday, October 12
Marathon #26
Weather - Perfect at the start. FREEZING, windy and rainy at the finish


Always making good choices, I added the Xterra Trail Marathon at Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado Springs as my last "long run" before the NYC marathon.

We mapped directions to the start and it showed it would take about an hour and 40 minutes to get there. The race didn't start until 8:00, so my dad came over at 5:30 (thanks Dad!) so that we didn't have to wake up the kids to take them over.

There was no traffic and we got to the start area without any problems just after 7:00. It was chilly and I was glad that I had chosen to wear arm sleeves and a tee instead of my usual tank. There was next to no information on the website, but I imagined that a trail race was going to take substantially longer to run than a road race, and with a sketchy forecast, I tried to plan appropriately.

We were able to walk right up to get our bibs. The race is a 2 course loop and I asked if I could decide at the halfway point if I wanted to drop or not. The volunteer stated I had to decide at pick up, so I stuck with my original distance and hoped the weather would hold out.

At the start line

The race actually started a little before 8, and I was one of the last people to cross the start. I knew nothing about the trail itself or the terrain, and I don't enjoy jumping off the trail to let people pass. Due to the large number of people on a fairly narrow trail, there was some bottle-necking in the beginning, which was fine by me. I need to start out slow anyway.

The beautiful blue skies were already starting to disappear with cloud cover. I took all my pictures on the first loop. I only vaguely remember glancing at the elevation profile and thought I remembered there was a decent climb in the first two miles. The trail changed from non-technical and a bit wider to a steeper and more of a single track.




Right off the bat it seemed that the mile markers were off from my watch. When I passed the mile 1 marker, my watch already said 1.16 miles. Not knowing the trail and worrying about the impending bad weather made for a stressful first loop.


The first aid station was about 2 miles up, water only. Then the climb started, with the reward being an aid station at the top of the hill. We then headed onto a loop (about 3 miles), where I finally passed a handful of people. I was able to run most of this section as it wasn't all uphill.



We looped back around to the aid station, down the hill (where I was REALLY able to run), and then veered off to the left for the second half of the first loop.


Even though I ran the course twice, I am already having a hard time remembering what it was LIKE. I recall another fairly runnable section for a mile or so, before we headed up into a fairly rocky and muddy section. This was made more difficult my a HUGE number of pine needles that made for slick conditions. There was an aid station nestled in the woods, but there were a ton of people crowded around the table, complaining that there were no food options, so I kept going without stopping.



My stomach had been feeling off all morning, and I was hoping to be able to make it back to the start to use the bathroom, but about 11 miles in (according to the watch), I had to crouch behind a rock. I felt better immediately and about 10 minutes later arrived at the aid station (which seemed to be FOREVER since the last one). The volunteer said we were at mile 11 (while my watch said 11.8??) There was a weird out and back section, and then back onto the regular trail. Got back to the base of the hill about 3 hours in and saw L. It was cold, but the wind hadn't really picked up yet and it wasn't raining yet. I told L I hoped to see her again in 3 hours.

Interestingly, I was at 13 miles back at the start, so all the markers were just off, and it made me feel better that I wouldn't be running a really long course. The second loop honestly wasn't that bad, although there were very long sections where I saw no one. I was clearly not having as hard a time as some of the other marathoners, as I passed quite a few people on the second loop (according to final results, I'm guessing I passed all but one runner on that second loop, and I passed him at the last aid station of the first loop).

Trail selfie before the weather hit!
The goal was to just keep moving so that I didn't get caught in horrible weather out in the middle of nowhere. I really cruised down the hill around before the turn to the second half of the course. AND THAT is when the wind really picked up. Seriously out of the blue, the wind started to gust and the temperatures dropped probably 15 degrees. The wind was so strong it was almost blowing my hat off. GREAT. JUST WHAT I WANT TO BE RUNNING IN. I was 5 hours in and hoping that I would be done in the next hour or so. I was definitely getting tired and every hill felt overwhelming.

The aid station in the woods was deserted, so I skipped it again. Somewhere after that aid station, with somewhere between 3.5 and 4 miles to finish is when the rain started. Luckily, it never actually dumped rain, but the drizzle just added to the chill and I put my gloves back on. I was really cautious on the back part of the course with all the rocks and pine needles and mud as I didn't want to slip and injure myself.

Risked pulling out my phone to show the sheet of rain heading towards me
I was SO happy to be at the last aid station! I knew I only had a little over a mile to go, so I really pushed it so I could just get out of the cold. I get back to the bottom and the volunteer tells me to turn right over the bridge and I have just a mile loop to do until I am done.

WHAT
WHAT
WHAT
WHAT????

Why on earth do I have a mile loop to go????? Isn't this supposed to be 13.1 loop TIMES TWO???? Another volunteer says, well it's only about .7 more.

WHAT
THE....

Now I am just ANNOYED. I was not having a spectacular race to begin with, it is cold, it is UNBELIEVABLY windy, it is drizzling, and now, for NO REASON, we have to run another loop? I ended up walking about half of it because I was so agitated.

I headed into the finish, NOTHING was left except for the timing mats and L. I grabbed my medal, said, "LET'S GET OUT OF HERE" and went directly to the car.


Official Time - 6:13:24
Overall Place - 29/41
Gender Place - 5/7
Division Place - 2/3
Garmin Time - 6:13:26
Garmin Distance - 26.67
Miles 1-5 - 12:57, 14:17, 16:37, 15:29, 12:15
Miles 6-10 - 12:12, 11:52, 11:10, 15:31, 15:51
Miles 11-15 - 17:22, 13:18, 13:12, 13:44, 14:41
Miles 16-20 - 17:02, 16:38, 12:13, 11:54, 11:54
Miles 21-26.67 - 12:02, 15:22, 15:19, 16:53, 12:17, 12:27, 13:23

Thoughts:
  • I am SO irritated with this stupid random extra loop at the end of this course. There is NO mention of it anywhere. It is NOT on the weird topographical course map. IT MAKES NO SENSE THE MARATHON WOULD HAVE TO RUN EXTRA, BUT NOT THE HALF MARATHON. DUMB DUMB DUMB.
  • I brought my own gels, and good thing because there was not anything on the course. One aid station may have had bananas, but there were no gels or food.
  • There was also no sports drink or electrolytes on the course. Also glad I had my Nuun.
  • Very friendly volunteers, and so thankful that they braved the elements to be out there. It was NOT a great day for it.
  • The course was very well marked, although L told me that some people got lost and ran LOTS of extra miles. Don't see how.
  • Unisex shirt that is HUGE that I will never wear. I already gave it away so no picture.
  • Unexpected medal as there was no advertisement that we would be getting one.
  • NOTHING AT THE FINISH. Thanks.
  • L got second in her age group and got a separate medal. I also got second in my age group and no special medal. Guess that was just for the half?
  • Maybe my experience would have been better if I would have just stuck with the half. I just get SO AGGRAVATED when a crap is taken down before everyone is finished. One third of the marathon runners were slower than me, and yet it was all gone before I got there.
  • Only two port-o-potties at the start, so lines were pretty long. There were about 200 runners between the half and the full, and there was also a 5K that started 10 minutes after us.
I really hate writing that a race wasn't good, but... this one FOR ME was just NOT. I mean, there is nothing a race director can do to control the weather. I understand that. But I think the weird course should have been clarified. I think that if you advertise an aid station will have Gatorade and GU, then it should have that. And I also think that a finish line should remain up for as long as the course is open.... With that said. Beautiful course, and if you know what you are in for, maybe it would be fine.