Thursday, October 28, 2010

Three Things Thursday - Marathon Edition

1. I made it!! I'm in Greece! (Fiascos to be described in detail later)
2. Last run tomorrow - easy 30 minutes. After that, next time I run is THE race. Course inspection and packet pick up on Saturday.
3. Marathon on Sunday!! I am so ridiculously excited. I've already met a ton of nice people, and for a lot of them this is also their first marathon.

Monday, October 25, 2010

It's Time!!! Marathon Week & Giveaway Winner!!

So I'm catching up on my blogging today and I realize... I'm going to be on a plane to Greece in less than two days. HUH??? Yep, that's right... the marathon is this weekend. THIS WEEKEND???

*thunk*

So after a half marathon in freeeeeezing Alaska over the weekend, yesterday was a rest day, and tonight was my LAST pre-race treadmill hill program.

I absolutely adore preppy pink!!
Guh!! What a terrible program ::swoon:
Happy to be done
So I posted on Facebook that my original pair of Newtons were being retired. I got them end of July(ish) so I estimate I have at least 400 miles on them. I had ordered a second pair, put them on, and wore them to the gym tonight. Last time they needed virtually no breaking in. Almost immediately they hurt my feet. I managed to get through my workout, but when I got home, I compared the shoes. THEY ARE NOT THE SAME!!! Curse it. Now I have to drive up to Boulder to see if they have changed the style in the last two months and try to get a pair that does not hurt the back of my heel. (Seriously, look how much taller the heel is on the newer ones on the right). I'm just happy I didn't hurt my foot or get a big blister or something. Guh. That'll teach me to wait so long to break in new shoes.

Old on left, New on right
Oh... and as for the marathon countdown????

Crap. That's soon.
And what you are all anxiously waiting for...



Giveaway Winner....



The winner of the Zensah running bra giveaway is... Kadie from "There She Runs" - please contact me with your address and which color/size you would like so I can get this sent out to you. YAY!!

Zombie Half Marathon - Anchorage, Alaska (Race Recap)

Saturday, October 23
Anchorage, Alaska
Half Marathon State - 13/50
Temperature - 29 degrees, partly cloudy


ooooooh yeaaaaah!! Well, I have always wanted to go to Alaska. And so have my parents. But driving there is not an option, and flying there in the summer is EXPENSIVE. So, I was psyched when I found out about the Zombie Half Marathon - held late October (just at the beginning of off season). I had been planning my outfit for months. Just needed the weather to cooperate.

The event this year added an ultra and a marathon option (both relays??) - which started at 8:00, but the half marathon had a late start at 10:00 (since it doesn't even get light until around 9:00, it made sense). We had REALLY lucked out with the weather this trip. The forecast for the week was rain or snow every day. And yet... no moisture at all! I was pretty psyched when I saw the forecast for race day and saw it might even be SUNNY! The most important part of the race? The makeup!!

A wanted the "scary eyes" but had me wash it off almost immediately
An hour until the start, and brrrr

Me and L at the start. Yes, it is REALLY cold - the car said 29 degrees
The course was a point to point, and if we didn't have our dad driving us to the start line, I'm not really sure how the transportation would have been coordinated. The start line was at the turnaround point for the ultra and the marathon, which remember, had started at 8:00. So while we were all in line for the potties, there were runners going by who had already been racing a few hours. No timing chips on this race, and the start line, was just kind of... there.

This is about 5 minutes to start. That orange cone? The "start"

Me and L a few minutes to go time (she was too wimpy for zombie make up!)

Getting last minute race instructions form the head Zombie
If I haven't made it clear, it was FREAKIN COLD. I bought a special beanie and gloves that I had every intention of tossing on the course after I got too hot. I never took the hat off, and the gloves were on and off throughout the day.

The race just sort of started. We didn't want to be TOO close to the front since we weren't really sure where the course was going, but without timing chips we didn't want to be in the back either. The race started out FAST... and was pretty chaotic because you had to watch for "zombies" coming toward you (remember, the ultra and marathoners). I had promised myself I wouldn't pace based off my watch again, but would run on feel. These Alaskans? FAST. I almost felt like I was going out too fast, but it was so cold that I just wanted to get the blood pumping so I would warm up. I found a good pace, and settled in. I was glad to have my fuel belt as we found there would only be two aid stations on the course.

This is a small race - capped at 500 runners (and it DID sell out). The first few miles were pretty crowded while people were finding their pace. The course was all on paved trail, and honestly, there wasn't too much to look at for a lot of the course. Until you got to some of the mountain and lake scenery.

About mile 3.5
Around mile 3.5
I had taken my gloves off right before the aide station at mile 4. I actually saw L in front of me still, she looked to be only a few minutes ahead of me... glanced at my watch, I was pacing pretty fast. But I still felt good.

In lieu of spectators, there was chalk art:

Hahaha... I'll try not to!


Possibly around mile 6?

Cutest mile markers ever!!
Second aid station was just after mile 8. Still feeling good! My hands were getting a little cold, so I put the gloves back on. But then, just before mile 9, I saw MOOSE on the side of the trail. Not more than 10 or 15 feet away! I had to rip the gloves off and stopped dead in my tracks to get this picture (had to! Only wildlife I actually saw!)

Moose!!
I knew if I could somehow keep my pace that I would PR, and POSSIBLY even go sub 2. EXCITED!!  I somehow missed the marker for mile 10, and that's about when I started feeling a bit tired. But I was psyched because I started passing people! Around mile 11 I chatted with a woman who was looking GREAT and asked if she had ever run sub 2 and when she said yes so I asked if I could pace off her. She said sure, and to run as fast as possible NOW because there was a "big hill" at the end. I was REALLY not prepared for the size of the hill. I passed her right at the bottom (about mile 12.5) and every single person was walking. I was "jogging" and was struggling. I have never had such a rough hill so close to the end!

Seriously, look at the end of the elevation profile!!
NOTHING in the world more discouraging than being "THIS CLOSE" to a sub 2 hour PR only to have that nonsense right at the end.

My dad got this picture of me heading towad the finish... my form is terrible!
I got to the peak, saw the finish line and "sprinted" and thought that I had done it based on my watch time:

Sub 2???
Alas, when the official results were posted, they had my time at 2:00:01. That's just cruel. But... it's still a 45 second PR. Next time.

Kids watching us finish the race
There was supposed to be a kids "fun run" of 2K - which was to start at noon. So yep, I literally crossed the line, found the kids, and suffered through another 2K... pretty much alone because A took off and I could barely move :D

A psyched and ready to go for her fun run
There was an entry fee of $5 for the kid race, but they got a REAL medal, a water bottle, hat, and other goodies. Totally worth it and A had a blast (it wasn't timed, but she was pretty fast!)

Overall results:

Officical Time: 2:00:01
Garmin Time: 1:59:57
Overall: 160/429 (apparently lots of people didn't finish?)
Female: 72/273 (Wow!!)
Of note: Only a little over 6 min slower than L. So what if she ran a marathon 6 days earlier :D
Pace per Garmin:
Mile 1 - 8:58
Mile 2 - 8:34
Mile 3 - 8:50
Mile 4 - 8:53
Mile 5 - 8:57
Mile 6 - 9:05
Mile 7 - 9:30
Mile 8 - 9:26
Mile 9 - 9:29
Mile 10 - 9:05
Mile 11 - 8:55
Mile 12 - 8:50
Mile 13 - 10:11 (yep, I walked a very small section of the hill, cost me my sub 2 hour)
Mile 13.1: 9:30 (totally drained)

After the race, we headed inside for food. There was supposed to be pizza, but they didn't order enough and we only got a few slices. Feel sorry for the slower runners! At the 2.5 hour mark, everything was gone! The medal is pretty unimpressive, but they were only awarded to the first 350 people over the line.


The race was fun. I've never "dressed up" for a race before. We were probably the most tame runners out there. People weren't just dressed up as zombies, they wore full on Halloween costumes. If you are looking for a lot of spectator support - this is NOT the race for you. I saw MAYBE a few dozen spectators total until we got close to the finish line. Be prepared for cold, and be prepared to be fast if you want the awards and post-race food. Overall, a good race! Glad I picked this one.

After the race, we showered and put the kids down for a nap. We woke them up with about an hour of daylight left so that they could play at a park. We walked along the Coastal Trail again (this was on the course - approximately where the aid station was at mile 4. GORGEOUS!!




A being a total goof ball.
We had dinner and then finished packing and put the kids down for bed - we had a flight leaving at 2 am, so we figured they should sleep a bit.

I'm glad I made time for Alaska, hopefully someday I can come when it is WARMER.

Alaska - Day Five

Even though I was supposed to have the day off from running, I had eaten so much for dinner the night before that I just felt gross. So I got up and went down to the fitness center anyway, figuring I'd do some time on the bike and walking on the treadmill. Figure that's always better than being a sloth :D


Treadmill - Walk with incline

Bike
 Last full day in Alaska with no plans, so we decided to head north and find something to do. The first thing, apparently, was going on a 2 mile hike here:


A thought it was hilarious to run up all the hills

The gorge

Looking down

The Falls


A victorious after running up yet another hill
After we were done with the hike (surprisingly successful even though it was super cold, 2 miles long, and we went with two kids under the age of five), we kept driving north.


And ended up here - in Wasilla. In previous years the Iditarod race has started here, although most years it doesn't get enough snow, so it starts even FURTHER north. This was actually open too, there was a museum (but no dogs). I gotta say, I've never put that much thought into sled dogs before, but they are pretty amazing! And watching footage from the races? Wow!!






Along the Coastal Trail

Behind A is Cook Inlet


 We had some time to kill before the Spaghetti "Zombie" Feed (AKA, Carbo load dinner sponsored by the Anchorage branch of Team in Training. Such a deal! For $10 there was salad, pasta, bread, drinks, dessert (soooo much dessert) and door prizes?? I was surprised only about two dozen people showed up. It was great!

Mmmmmm

Dessert!

A had the sled dog stuffed animal pulling the pack of her other animals. Hilarious.
Early to bed again. For the first (and probably only time), I didn't set an alarm. No doubt the kids would get us up with PLENTY of time for the 10:00 start time for the Zombie Half Marathon!

East-West Half Marathon (Race Recap)

Saturday, June 10 Highlands Ranch, CO Half Marathon #164 Weather - SUNNIEST AND HOTTEST EVER I started watching the forecast about a...