Friday, April 29, 2011

Foto Friday

(Because I know it makes Giraffy cringe when I type phonetically...)

None of these pictures are race related, just random shots from the week.

A and her doll, Eva - Matchy, Matchy!
The 80s crimping test project!
A's toy of the week. My old "mouse house" - made by my mother, but houses only bunnies and foxes (yes, they are friends)
P90X results so far... 4 weeks on, 2 weeks off
TGIF!! Good luck to everyone racing this weekend! This is my second week off in a row. I'm losing my mind without racing, especially since there were SO many to choose from.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Three Things Thursday (and then some)

1. My foot/ankle is feeling a lot better. I am continuing the use of the KT tape (today's colors are red/white/blue). Light icing and the Strasburg sock.
2. Training... first is of course the 50k. That is more of a mental game as I haven't added distance to my training. But, I think I have a pretty solid base and I'm sure I can do this.
3. and second is the Great Wall, which is only 2 weeks after the 50k. (It took me a while before I realized that. I must be insane). Anyway, I've been doing the Stairmaster at the gym, ran stairs last Sunday and plan on running more this weekend. That's about the extent of that training. Just in the last few days I've been bombarded with emails from the travel coordinator, which means it is RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER... psyched.
4. My headphones finally stopped working ten minutes into my treadmill run last night at the gym. Which means I ran for an hour with no music. I've never done this. Ever. The good news is that I don't breathe nearly as loud as I think I do, and the workout wasn't as tragic as I dreamed it could be.
5. P90X - I started again this week, and man am I sore. Crazy how just taking a few weeks off when I was sick set my base so far back. As for the Ab Ripper X? I can now do 98% of the reps. For a long time, the mason twists were my biggest struggle. Now? The backward bicycle. I swear it is just too unnatural feeling. Even placing a mirror next to me to watch my legs doesn't help. My mind can't comprehend. Sigh.
6. NYC Marathon... I didn't get in. I shouldn't be surprised. The NYC half was also a lottery and I *did* get into that one. I just realized that running for charity isn't even an option. They all require that you provide a credit card so if you don't raise the required amount they can charge your card. I no longer have credit cards. This is a bummer. I guess I'll try my luck at the lottery next year. (With that said... I am tempted, SUPER tempted, to run the San Francisco FULL marathon instead. Thoughts??)
7. I've added another item to the 50K GIVEAWAY, which means more opportunities to win! Check it out!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The 50K Giveaway!!

It rhymes, therefore it MUST be awesome.

I am super excited for my upcoming 50K. It is my FIRST ultra AND also my first trail run. I'll be running the Greenland Trail 50K... and YAY that L is joining me for it. It's my greatest challenge to date!

With that said. Anyone who follows my blog knows that I am a creature of habit. When I find something that works, I stick with it. That especially goes for...

GEAR I CAN'T RACE WITHOUT

I have a pretty standard race outfit:


From top to bottom:
  • Headband - Coordinated with my outfit... duh!
  • Sunglasses and/or Visor
  • Tank top.... 99.9% of the time (except Kansas), I wear a tank. I get way too hot and sweat too much to wear anything else when I race.
  • Garmin watch - I'm obsessed with mine.
  • Road ID - You can never be too careful
  • Running Skirt - They are comfortable, cute, and practical (Really! They have pockets!)
  • Compression socks - Besides looking awesome, I firmly believe they help to keep my legs fresh
  • Newton Running Shoes - I love these!!
With that said...

I have contacted some of my FAVORITE brands/manufacturers, and I am PSYCHED to announce my latest giveaway:

GEAR I CAN'T RACE WITHOUT

1. Underneath It All

If you have been following my blog for any amount of time, you know that I have been suffering on and off from random foot/ankle pain. Not quite bad enough for me to see a doctor, but annoying. A few races it has affected performance as the throbbing has been quite intense. The regimen for the longest time was just to ice and take it easy. Then I found a sample of a product in a swag bag from a race. KT Tape, which boasts "Perfect for common sports injuries" and "Pain relief and support for Muscles and Joints." Well, that is exactly what I was looking for so I tested it out. NO KIDDING that this tape is the best, hands down. Easy to use and comes in more than a dozen fun colors, this tape has done WONDERS for my ankle pain. How big of a fan am I?


Pink, Light Blue & Silver!
I contacted KT Tape and they are donating a roll, in a color of your choice. Visit their website to check out all the colors, find out more product information and view application videos.

2. Holding Back

Nothing is more annoying to me than little pieces of hair in my face when I am working out. I'm happy I discovered awesome headbands to hold it all in place. Who knew they came in SO many colors and designs? By far, my favorite brand of bands is Razzy Roo. If you are looking for unique designs, and prompt and personal customer service, this is the headband for you!! I first tested out a Razzy Roo headband for the Thunder Road half marathon I ran last December. Look how awesome the band is:


I was a bit worried about washing them, but I have washed ALL of them, including the glitter bands. Put them in a regular cycle in the washing machine and then air dry! I adore these bands! I have since acquired quite the collection of them. Honestly, you can get one for just about every situation you can imagine:


I contacted Razzy Roo, and the winner of the giveaway may chose any headband of their choice (and there are a lot of them!) Visit their website to check out all the options!

3. Run Like a Girl

I started wearing running skirts shortly after I saw a girl wearing one at a race two years ago. It never occurred to me to shop the internet looking for different brands, so I settled for the one I found at my local sporting goods store. It was the only one I had for ages. Then when I started this journey to run 50 half marathons in 50 states, I encountered an entirely different group of runners and bloggers. These ladies ran in STYLE! And so the obsession began... literally.

I am a colorful person, so when I came across Running Skirts, I fell in love. All the choices in colors and patterns? The first skirt I bought from them was from their "Princess" line. I was on a mission to find a yellowish/gold skirt that would match my new Half Fanatics top. Immediately I was hooked. I started racing in these awesome skirts and coordinating awesome outfits:

Boston Half Marathon (October 2010)
Athens Classic Marathon (October 2010)
Mississippi Blues Half Marathon (January 2011)
NYC Half Marathon (March 2011)
My collection has gotten... rather large:


I contacted the lovely ladies at Running Skirts, and they are offering a free ultra swift skirt since this is all about my first ultra! They come in a lot of fun colors, and have an extra third pocket in the back. I ran wearing the black ultra skirt (linked above) when I ran the Martian half marathon in Detroit last month. That third pocket was great for holding the keys to my rental car! I love the "freedom" of running in a skirt. I find the pockets very useful for my iPod, GU, and extra piece of gum. Best part is... NO CHAFING!!

So, if you have always been wanting to try a skirt, now is the time!! Visit the Running Skirts website and pick your favorite color available in the ultra swift skirts!

4. Being Safe

One of the most important items that I run with when I am not at the gym is my Road ID. Be safe when you run. Wear a Road ID that has all your emergency contact information, you never know what could to happen. I have had mine for about a year, and honestly, I don't even notice it when I wear it (well, except for my awesome tan line). Road ID has agreed to contribute a Wrist ID Sport to the winner, color of their choice. I personally like the yellow:


Visit their website and check out the colors that are available. (PS, if you don't win this contest and don't currently have one, they are a great investment. I have had a link to them on my sidebar for about a year now).

Other prizes TBD but I wanted to get the ball rolling on this one!

Entries accepted until 4:00 MST, May 5. Winner will be announced shortly after.

ENTRIES (you MUST enter these all as separate comments or you will only be given one entry). Check out the requirements. I am giving all of you LOTS of chances to win.

**Guys, I apologize for the girly giveaway! Don't be discouraged! You should still enter and you could be the best husband/boyfriend/friend for your favorite lady!**

1. Become a follower of my blog, or let me know if you already are. REQUIRED
2. Follow KT Tape on Facebook
3. Follow Razzy Roo on Facebook
4. Follow Running Skirts on Facebook
5. Visit KT Tape's website and pick YOUR favorite color of tape
6. Visit Razzy Roo's website and pick YOUR favorite band
7. Visit Running Skirts's website and pick your favorite color of ultra swift skirt
8. I love a good race. Post the official website for YOUR favorite race.
9. I love an underdog! I want to hear (briefly) about your greatest challenge with running.
10. What are the three items YOU can't race without?
11. Link this giveaway on a sidebar of your blog OR as a blog entry.
12. Follow Road ID on Facebook
13. Visit Road ID website and tell me YOUR favorite color of the Wrist ID sport

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Stay Tuned!

I have something planned to celebrate my FIRST ultra marathon.

Yep. You heard me correctly. Next Saturday I will embark on my first 50k trail race. It's gonna be intense.

But, possibly more importantly, there is something in it for all my lovely devoted followers.

:D

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Great Wall of Westminster...

... or, how I spent Easter morning.

The Stairs
The Great Wall of China marathon is just around the corner. We have about a month to prepare ourselves. What better way to do that than to run up and down a lot of stairs... a lot of times?

It's tough to find time to do these things. L works all the time, and we have the kids with us. Luckily, we saw these stairs from the trail we used to run last summer. Adjacent to a huge soccer field and playground, we have something for the kids to do while we run.

So. Easter morning. Low 40s. Overcast. Perfect time to run stairs. 98 steps total.

What were the kids doing??



And how relieved am I to be done??


We did 19 sets of stairs. That totals 3,724 total steps run.


The pace is ridiculous, and we only did the stairs for about 35 minutes, just under 2 miles overall. I was sweating like CRAZY. Stairs are NO joke.

China? Will be challenging. I'm ready.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Flashback Friday

Because sometimes it's soothing to laugh at yourself.

I've been feeling really BLAH for a while. So when I'm feeling blah, I like to pull out old pictures of myself to put things in perspective:

Labor Day 2003 - Disney World
Yep. I feel better already.

(PS, I thought I looked goooooooood at the time)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Three Things Thursday

Huh, what? How did it get to be Thursday already?

1. This weekend. I have no race. What am I going to do with myself??? I don't even know what to do if I'm not racing. Well... L and I have big plans to do some intense Great Wall of China training. Think stairs, and lots of them. Happy Easter :D

2. Have I mentioned I have that 50K coming up in just a few weeks?  And that just 4 days after that I'm off for Birthday of Awesome take three?? Think a cruise (second time out with my favorite boy band!) and China? I probably won't ever be able to top this one... (PS, I'm turning 33 and accepting gifts)

3. I am OVER this weather. I just want to be able to wear a skirt and flip flops. It's mid-end of April. Is it REALLY that much to ask?? There is not a single day in the 10 day forecast where will be out of the low to mid 50s. TIRED OF THIS.

Happy running!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tuesday Tidbits

1. I have the next few weekends free of racing. I'm already going through withdrawals. I'm eyeballing this local race - Mt. Carbon Half Marathon. It's cheap for a half. And it could be good conditioning for...

2. I haven't mentioned it lately. A few months ago I signed up for my first ultra. A 50k at altitude. I kinda think I'm in denial. I haven't done any longer distance training. Should be... interesting. Yeah. Less than three weeks away.


3. In addition to the 50k... I have the Great Wall of China coming up only two weeks after THAT. (Not to mention the cruise I will be on in between the two). ::blink:: Times like this I am REALLY missing having a job. It was NICE being able to sign up for things like this.

4. On the job front... Came home from Kansas to a letter from the State of Colorado Unemployment Benefit Administration. They are demanding repayment of all the unemployment I received January-Mid March. No explanation given, only "hearing officer reversal," with a demand I put my payment of $3,115 in the mail immediately. Sigh. I haven't been on an interview in probably 6 weeks. The longer I'm out of work, the harder it's going to be for me to get hired. Ugh.

5. Always love race pictures. Here are some of the pictures from the race that nearly killed me in New Hampshire a few weeks ago, the Great Bay Half Marathon:





6. What is UP with jean sizing lately? I know I am not any smaller than I have ever been. I recently picked up some jeans with a 26" waist, and I can STILL take them on and off without unbuttoning. Not to mention the problem of me being SO short (a 29" or 30" inseam is a must), I cannot seem to find something flattering. Beyond frustrating.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Horsetooth Half Marathon (Race Recap)

Fort Collins, CO
Sunday, April 17
Half Marathon #32
Colorado Half Marathon #4
Weather - Sunny, Warm (upper 40s), Windy (later in race)


My friend Rose that L and I stayed with in Washington DC had plans to be in Colorado for the weekend. She is also planning on doing a half in all the states, but on a longer timeline. She asked if we would be interested in running the Horsetooth Half Marathon with her in Fort Collins. L decided not to do it after looking at the elevation profile. I, meanwhile, had signed up without even thinking about that. (More on this later :D )

Anyway, my friends had arrived late Thursday night, but we hadn't met up yet since had just done the whole Kansas craziness. Rose's husband does martial arts and had a fight on Saturday night in Denver. We had gotten back to late to attend, and they were planning on staying at our house when they were done.

Well, by the time we had gotten back from Kansas, we were EXHAUSTED. I stayed up and watched a movie with A, and then finally decided I would nap until they got to our house (they were expecting to be late, like midnight-ish). I asked J to wake me up if I missed their text. They arrived later than they thought, around 12:45. We made quick plans to be out the door by 6:30-6:45 (they had driven up to pick up our packets the day before so that was one less thing to worry about), and I headed back to bed.

6:00 came SUPER early. I was still really tired, and I was sluggish getting ready. I had decided to keep my ankle taped for this race to see if that would help, so it was wrapped and compression socked the night before. We had a breakfast of PB and bagel before heading out the door (A was going to spend the day with Grandpa). Rose and I headed up on the hour long drive to Fort Collins.

The drive went well until we got about a mile from the start line at Hughes stadium. They only had one entrance open, and there was a lot of traffic. We were able to get in and parked about 18 minutes before the race was supposed to start. Enough time to grab gear, apply sunscreen, and stop to use the bathroom.

Now. About that elevation profile.

Yep. That's a 9.2% grade you see there...
So if I wasn't already crazy enough to be doing yet ANOTHER back to back, Rose had managed to pick one of the hardest looking courses I have ever seen. According to the race website, it is rated as one of the hardest half marathon courses in the country. Goody :D

I mean, look at the back of the race shirt! 
We had over to the start line, and see these awesome people dressed like... (we assume) Playboy bunnies! We aren't sure where the dude was planning on attaching his race number. I never saw them on the course. They must have been fast.


Crazy start line
Me and Rose at the start
They had said that they were going to delay the start of the race 10 minutes. Not sure what the reason was, but people started surging forward sooner than that. Rumor is that the elites started just a few minutes earlier. We crossed the line only about 5 minutes late.

The most hilarious thing said on the race website is to "take it easy the first two miles." I'm sorry, but I have no intentions of trying to sprint up those two monster hills in the beginning. Haha. Right off the bat, we are starting a pretty descent ascent:


I am definitely taking it easy, and moving at a slower pace than I have EVER had to run. Especially at the beginning. Here is a view of the first monster hill. I am already taking my first walk break. My Garmin says .54 miles and I'm just over 6 minutes in. Crazy. This first part is going to take FOREVER.


Luckily the first hill pretty much stops right after going around that corner. The course flattens out just a bit, and we end up at the start of the first descent on to the flat section of the road, one of the dams for the reservoir. I can see the downhill is going to be a great change, but had a take a quick picture of the sign:


Cruising down the hill, and straight ahead, you can see the 9.2% grade hill known as "Monster Mountain." Looks tragic, doesn't it? Keep in mind that we are also more than a mile above sea level. This, my friends, is tough.


Running across the dam, with a nice view of the reservoir. To my right there is a nice view of Fort Collins and northern farm country, but I didn't get a picture of that. My legs are feeling surprisingly good, and no pain from my ankle at this point. I know that I'm barely a mile in, and the course is going to get a lot worse before it gets better.


Right from the base of the monster hill, I can tell I am going to be doing a lot of walking. The "run/jog" pace I have at the base? Around 12:30 min mile. Honestly, not worth the exertion to try to run the whole thing. I turn around to get a picture of the reservoir behind us. Yep. You can almost everyone is walking:


And in front of me? The same thing. I'm only about 1/3 of the way up the hill. The madness continues around the corner.

About 2 miles in, and we are finally done with the two biggest/longest inclines of the race. The first aid station is not until mile 2.5. I am HOT. The sun is beating down and I am already sweating like crazy. I had to stop at the aid station to also fill up my water bottle. There are only 4 aid stations on this course, and I can tell I am going to need more fuel than that.

Nice view of the reservoir
The next hill comes around mile 3.5. I have to walk quite a bit on this one also, but do a walk/run based on the cones in the middle of the road. I try to walk for two and jog for two. I actually end up passing a few people doing this.
AWESOME downhill!
My legs are actually feeling pretty good on the downhill, but I am trying not to go TOO fast, as that usually makes my quads ache.


We are only running along the reservoir for the first 4.5 miles or so of the course. Then we have another nice downhill before arriving at the second aid station, around mile 4.8. The course flattens out a bit, and we are running on a nice country road. There are even a few people spectating way out here! Crazy! I am running a pretty good split, and coming up at one hour I am VERY pleased to see that my pace for the first hour averaged about 5.6 mph. Crazy considering how much I had to walk with those hills!!

The course loops to head back into the city, and that's about when the wind started to pick up. Not crazy wind like we had in Kansas, but enough wind that I kept checking to make sure I hadn't lost my headband. We are running through cute farm country, and then we come up on mile 7 and yet ANOTHER hill. More walking, and get to the top and this is where I start thinking... "It's all downhill from here." I had forgotten that there was another small hill before mile 8, but considering what I had just been through, it was shorter and a small enough grade that I actually ran the whole thing. NOW for the "downhill." Not sure of what the temperature was at this point, but I was hot. My hair was SO wet that I had to take it out of my ponytail and wring it out. GROSS! (I actually did this a few times later in the race too).

The next aid station didn't come until about mile 8.6 and I definitely needed it! I had been feeling pretty good up until this point, but I was starting to feel fatigued. My ankle was still feeling ok, which was definitely a good sign.

Coming up on mile 9
We crossed a super long wooden bridge, then ran past a place called "Butterfly Woods." Which was weird because there weren't really any trees. Or butterflies. And more farm country.


The course LOOKED flat, but it actually felt mildly uphill (even though it wasn't) and felt harder than I imagined it would.  We started running on a cement path through some open space and I was taking brief (maybe 45 second long) walk breaks at the mile markers. I was pretty surprised by how hard this course was at this section. Maybe I was expecting the slight decline to feel easier.

Another walk break at mile 10. The course is uninteresting at this point. The open space becomes wooded on one side and an industrial junkyard on the other. I'm expecting the next aid station to be at mile 11 so I decide to save my walk break until I get there. It is actually closer to mile 11.4 and I stop a bit longer to refill my water bottle. I imagined briefly I'd run to the end since I was barely 1.5 miles away. But it still felt hard, and I still felt a little tired. So even though I was aiming for a sub 2:15 (yes, you see that right) I walked a bit at the mile 12 marker.

I decided to push the last mile the best I could, and as usual, I was pretty psyched to see the marker at mile 13. I was pretty happy with my finish crossing the line!

Official Time - 2:15:23
Official Pace - 10:20
Overall - 913/1443
Division - 61/129
Garmin Time - 2:15:22
Garmin Distance - 13.16 miles
Garmin Pace - 10:17
Mile 1 - 12:26
Mile 2 - 11:54
Mile 3 - 9:54
Mile 4 - 9:45
Mile 5 - 10:22
Mile 6 - 8:58 (Cruisin!!!)
Mile 7 - 10:17
Mile 8 - 9:51
Mile 9 - 9:52
Mile 10 - 10:05
Mile 11 - 10:03
Mile 12 - 10:19
Mile 13 - 9:58
Mile 13.1 - 8:23


**Of note. I actually did not have to stop and use the bathroom this time. LOL**

I walked through, got my water and pint glass (AWESOME!) and waited at the finish line for Rose. She is from DC, which is about 0 elevation, and I knew this course would be tough for her. She looked good crossing the line!


The wind had really picked up and it had cooled off a bit. But we still wanted our post race food, catered by Texas Roadhouse!
TASTY!
And since the finish line was at the New Belguim brewery, there was beer too (in my new pint glass!)


The drive home felt SUPER long. I was tired, that's for sure. Picked up A at my parents house, then headed back to the house for some much earned relaxing. Did I mention that Rose's husband is an AWESOME cook?? Look what he made us for dinner:

Kabobs!
So ends another crazy race weekend.

Wickedly Fast Half Marathon (Race Recap)

Olathe, KS
Saturday, April 16
Half Marathon #31
State #27/50
Weather - Upper 20s, Overcast, WINDY, very cold


I heard about the Oz Marathon and Wickedly Fast Half races through a friend. I just HAD to do this one. I've always loved the Wizard of Oz! So... off to Kansas we were going. Originally the plan was for my Dad and A to drive out with me. L can't miss any more work, so she was planning on flying out after work and riding with us on the way back. However, my Dad got stuck out of town and wouldn't be back in time to go with me. So, I planned on driving out alone. Nine hours. In the car. By myself. Blah. I wasn't looking forward to it. But, I put on my Tin Man Julius shirt, and headed out after dropping A off at school.


I fill up the car down the street and then off I go. I get about 30 minutes away from the house when I see a road sign that says "I-70 closed from Limon to Kansas, call 511 for more info." Problem. I-70 is the only highway that runs through Kansas. I call 511 and the road was closed because of snow in Kansas. No alternate route given. No estimate for when the road might be open. Great. I have an hour to figure out what to do before I get to Limon. I send L a message asking her to go to the CDOT website to figure out an alternative. She sends a message that I can take I-80. I respond with "What? Where? How?" Then I get a second message "I don't think I'm coming."

You know how we always have drama with our travels? Well, L was in charge of booking her own plane ticket and for some reason booked a one way ticket to Omaha, NE... not Kansas City like she should have. Ooops. She didn't realize it in the MONTH that had passed since she got the ticket. Not when she got the boarding pass. Only realized it when she started looking at a map. So now we have TWO problems. A road closure for me, and trying to get L on a correct flight. Sigh.

So L gets on the phone, discovers that there is no flights on Southwest, so she cancels her ticket. She then says "Southwest doesn't even going to Kansas. They only go to Kansas City, MO." Oy. My dad tells her not to re-book, because if the road doesn't open, there is no way I'm getting there. I arrive in Limon (97 miles away from home), and the highway is definitely closed. Damn. Most of the cars are waiting in the truck stop right off the side of the road, but I follow the signs for the business loop thinking I need to get as far as possible. I stop to use the bathroom and try to decide what I'm going to do... I stay on the business loop and see a sign for I-70... wait!! CDOT is there literally just now opening the road blocks. YES!!! I'm the third car to get on the highway. This is what the road looks like after just re-opening:


I keep driving, looking for all this snow that kept the road closed. This was the most I ever saw, and it wasn't until we got almost all the way to the border:


After L realized I would actually be able to get to Kansas, she went ahead and booked a ticket on Frontier. She was lucky to have gotten a flight out less than 12 hours in advance!
Leaving Colorado!
Welcome to Kansas
I keep on driving and shortly after noon I'm  starting to get hungry. I stopped in Colby to get some lunch. I wanted to start my carb load, so I stopped at Pizza Hut thinking I could get some pasta. This was an original style Pizza Hut still! No menu, no value meals, just pizza and a buffet. I glanced at the buffet and saw there was some pasta, so for $5.95 I got a salad, pasta, and a few pieces of pizza. Yum! Get outside and the wind seems to have picked up. I don't quite need gas yet, so I keep going.

I stop about an hour down the road. It is so windy outside I can barely open the car door. Insane winds!! I went inside to use the bathroom and some truckers were talking about winds topping 70 mph! The weather channel didn't record anything that high though:


My only entertainment is my iPod and all the weird billboards. Did you know that I-70 is the Main Street of Kansas? Did you know that the world's largest prairie dog is in Kansas? And a six legged steer?
Boring Drive!
After getting gas I didn't stop at all. Just kept going. I realize I might actually have time to get to packet pick up before it closes at 7:00. It is still super windy on the drive, and then it started to rain. Man. The weather is just MISERABLE! I pull into the Bass Pro Shop for packet pick up with 12 minutes to spare. I'm awesome.

I was able to pick up mine and L's with no trouble. Go to get my shirt and for the third race in a row, they are out of the size that we ordered. We both ordered women's smalls, and the smallest size they had was Men's medium. Which was huge. Nothing annoys me more than when I don't get the right size shirt. I registered over three months in advance... what happened to my shirt??? Did you give it to someone who registered at pick-up? I get a snarky comment from the volunteer that they ran out of the small sizes four hours earlier. WHY DO THEY ASK FOR SHIRT SIZE IF THEY AREN'T ACTUALLY GOING TO SAVE IT FOR YOU?????? So annoying.

I drive to the hotel, and it was only about 10 minutes away. I'm getting hungry for dinner, and head over to... you guessed it, Applebees. When L isn't with me I sit at the bar and eat alone. :D


To make everything more annoying, L's flight was delayed over an hour. So now I have to pick her up between 10:30 and 10:45. At an airport 40 minutes away. Sigh. I go back to the hotel and watch some tv to kill time. I head out around 10:00 to pick L up. It's raining like crazy. I follow all the signs "Kansas City International" and "KCI" and then I start circling passenger pick up. Then I start thinking... I could swear that the airport code started with an M. I look at my Southwest app on my phone, and the code is MCI. Not KCI. So I start freaking out thinking that I am at the wrong airport. I try to find "MCI" on my Garmin, but it doesn't recognize the code. I am getting stressed and cranky. I leave the airport and stop at the gas station. It is confirmed that KCI and MCI are the same. Phew. I was really going to be annoyed if I would have to drive all the way across the city to get her.

Finally find her just before 11:00. 40 minute drive back to the hotel. By the time we are in bed it is after midnight. The race starts at 7, but of course we plan on getting there much earlier than that. Alarms are set for 5:23 am.

We are out the door by 6:00 and drive over to Garmin International where the race begins. The good news is that the rain has stopped. The bad news? It is COLD and super windy. We had plans on meeting up with the other Half Fanatics and marathon maniacs for a group picture, but we were too cold to get out of the car a minute before we had to.

Feels like 28, winds 20 mph+ BRRR
About 6:30 we decided we would have to head over to the bathrooms and start area.

Freezing waiting in line at the bathrooms
We get to the starting area about 10 minutes before the race starts. L doesn't have a throw away, but luckily I had an Old Navy fleece that I was planning on ditching as we started. As we are finding where we wanted to line up, we ran into a friend of ours. She actually noticed us (because of our skirts she says). Crazy part? We met her in Hawaii! She lives in St. Louis area and her daughter was there to run her first half marathon. It's a small world!

I am so absolutely freezing that I actually put on the fleece at the start and decide I'll keep it on for the first mile or so until I warm up. The gun goes off and off we go. Kind of. This was a race that had pace groups. LOTS of pace groups. As far as I could tell by signage they had a pace group for every 10 minutes for marathon, every 5 for half. So of course we got stuck behind huge clusters of pace groups. The first mile was super congested and slow, but at least we were on a main road so it wasn't AS bad as it could have been.

It was so cold and windy. No matter how many ways/times I say that, I will never be able to really describe just how bad it really was. The first few miles I am feeling pretty good. Cold, but good. My legs are feeling ok and my ankle isn't hurting yet. I had decided before the race that I would retire my race shoes and wear the shoes I've been training in (still Newtons but a different model). Not sure if that made a difference or not.

I was expecting the course to be a bit more hilly based on the profile I got at pick-up, but it didn't seem too bad. I just had to keep my head down, keep moving, and hope my visor didn't blow off :D

Mile 2-3 was around the shopping mall. Most interesting/disgusting part of the course was a dead rabbit. Coming around the corner to mile 3, the wind was gusting so strongly that I did a sharp inhale and almost choke on my gum!! I was surprised by the number of people that were actually out cheering us on. It was so miserable out there! Keep on going, past the mall and we go onto a trail before entering the residential part of the course. I was disappointed that I didn't see more people in costume, until I got passed by a dude dressed like Scarecrow. You can't tell, but he is wearing sandals. Looks like they were made of straw:


Just past mile 4 aid stations
Head into the residential areas. I am still cold. I actually still have the fleece on. As you all know, I never ever run in anything but a tank top for a half marathon. I have worn a long sleeve tech tee a handful of times in Colorado racing a 5K, but I always get hot and have the sleeves pulled up by the time I'm a mile or two in. Yet here I am in Kansas, freezing, and wearing a fleece. Not meant to be run in at all.



Around mile 7 I stop to use the bathroom. It's starting to become a pretty annoying race ritual. I do always enjoy the short break. I spent the second half of the race thinking "I passed this person earlier." Keep on going. Still feeling good. I am enjoying the neighborhoods that we are running through. Get to mile 9 or 10 and finally my ankle starts to ache a bit. The 2:10 pace group has caught up to me, which is super annoying. I have a general idea of what time I will finish in, but i don't like pace groups. At all. At least they have lost most of their following so it doesn't get that crowded.

The marathon group splits off from the half at the 12 mile marker. We had onto a trail in a park area and head into the last mile.
Just past mile 12
I am still FREEZING. It is still super windy. I cannot believe that I still have my fleece on. I can't believe I never even considered taking it off. I have never been so grateful to have long sleeve EVER!! Stop at the last aid station and the 2:10 pacer passes me. I'm not having that! I keep going and I'm surprised I'm feeling so well this late in the course. Then we get to the last quarter mile or so of the course. We change direction and the wind is even MORE brutal than before. I feel like I am barely moving. I get passed by the pace group in the chute. And I honestly don't care. I just want to be done and get in the car. I see L immediately at the finish line, she was with the other L and B (who made the coolest Dorothy costumes). I grabbed a water, we all did a quick finish line picture, and then headed off to the car.

Official Time - 2:10:53
Official Pace - 10:00
Overall - 450/836
Gender - 219/516
Division - 57/107
Garmin Time - 2:10:56
Garmin Distance - 13.25 miles
Garmin Pace - 9:53
Mile 1 - 9:38
Mile 2 - 9:37
Mile 3 - 9:34
Mile 4 - 9:35
Mile 5 - 10:09
Mile 6 - 9:45
Mile 7 - 9:47
Mile 8 - 11:20 (bathroom)
Mile 9 - 10:02
Mile 10 - 9:37
Mile 11 - 9:55
Mile 12 - 9:23
Mile 13 - 10:00
Mile 13.1 - 10:11
Cool Medal!
We hadn't taken a picture at the start (too cold!) so I had L take one of me when we got back to the hotel:



We take scalding hot showers, and then we are on the road. L is on first shift for driving. We stopped about 30 minutes down the road for Starbucks. We had plans to stop only for lunch, gas and... the OZ MUSEUM!! The museum is in a teeny tiny down called Wambego, about 10 minutes off the highway. We just had to go!

Museum is in a strip mall off the "main street"
With the tin man in the gift shop
The museum itself houses displays of the major characters, and tons of memorabilia from the movie. Also there are tons of collectors items, all things related to Wizard of Oz. It was pretty neat!

Dorothy and Toto
Wicked Witch crushed under Dorothy's house
Hello Kitty as Wizard of Oz!!
Scarecrow
Tin Man
I had this plate set as a kid!
Cowardly Lion

Wicked Witch
Wicked Witch and Monkeys (My favorite!)
Glinda, the good witch
I am the Wizard of Oz!!
We headed out back on the road, now on a mission for lunch. If you have never driven through Kansas, your options are VERY limited. For example, the ONE Starbucks for 300 miles starts getting billboard advertising 100 miles away! Anyway, we were really wanting a burger from Five Guys, but we were starving and had to settle for Sonic. I hadn't been there in ages. Got a bacon cheeseburger on Texas toast and tots. YUM!!!


L kept driving for another hour or so until we got to some little (nearly abandoned looking) gas station where we had to get gas. I decided to drive from there. Ended up driving about another 300 miles (I never want to road trip this far again! lol). We were making pretty good time, and looking to make  our goal of getting back to Denver by 8:00.

The weather was holding up, not nearly as windy as the drive out. We had to stop one more time (somewhere between Burlington and Limon) to get gas. L drove us the rest of the way. We actually got back to the Denver area around 7:15, but made a quick stop for dinner. I had to carb load AGAIN as I had signed up for a local half to run with a friend visiting from out of state.

... TO BE CONTINUED ...

Week in Review (July 11 - July 17)

Tuesday  (10,729 steps) - Barre with Gabi! Thankfully, it didn't feel quite as impossible as last week. Hopefully I have not lost ALL my...