Wednesday, December 26, 2012

So Christmas Is Over...

I find Christmas to be very stressful and busy, and yet it is not even a holiday that we really celebrate. Mainly, I just enjoy the (much needed) time off from work.

Also, I haven't blogged in forever, so here is a quick recap of... well, whenever it was that I posted last.

I finally got my hair cut and colored. First time in at least a year.

It looks different, I promise
A left for Texas on Saturday morning. I didn't get the full story, but I guess she "got to talk into the microphone at church on Christmas Eve" but she 1). Can't remember what she said and 2). It was not scary.

A (left) with her cousin
I really didn't ask for anything for Christmas, but I did get two things I wanted:


And a gift card for Ink N' Burn, which I used to get my "joga" pants ("Jeans" that are athletic pants). FYI, I lived in these all weekend and they were FANTABULOUS.

Not MY butt, although I imagine I look that fabulous in these
Finalized (most of) our costume for Goofy:


(Rumor has it that capes may or may not be involved). It should be assumed/implied that I am RIDICULOUSLY excited for Disney/Goofy weekend. It is going to be the most fun ever.

Also:
  • Frontier has been having the craziest fare sales.
    • Bought airfare for Eugene marathon in April - round trip? $106
    • Bought airfare for Albuquerque half (also in April) - round trip? $46
  • I ran three times over the weekend, and none of them were awful. All of them were run in Brooks Pure Flows. I haven't worn those since my IT band injury, thinking they might have been the cause of my injury. After I determined my injury was likely from lack of training (duh), I decided to give them another chance.
    • After my "confession" post, I have run over 6  miles I think 3 times. It was not the end of the world. However, I cannot seem to figure out HOW I used to run on the treadmill for hours and hours. These runs were pretty boring.
    • It is really really really cold here in Denver. I might try to get one outdoor run in before A gets back. I just hate the cold so very much (12 degrees this morning, brrr).
  • I have only picked out an outfit for ONE day of NY Double... which is next week. I leave on Friday, so really, I need my outfit picked by tomorrow. I *think* I'm supposed to wear a turquoise sparkle skirt one of those days... ?
  • Lululemon has a bunch of crap in there "we made too much" section that I should probably just stop looking at.
  • I know that I have reached my fundraising goal for AFSP/Tinker Bell half. However... our team is still short of its goal, so if you have a few bucks, the donation link is on my side bar, or you can donate here.

And.................. if you have made it this far.................. I am giving away a $15 gift card for Road ID. All you need to do is enter is comment that you would be interested in winning! (The gift card will not cover 100% of a Road ID, but for the basic ones, you will be only paying a couple bucks and shipping). Comment by 11:59 pm MST on January 1, I will announce the winner the next day.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Baker's Dozen Half Marathon (Race Recap)

Saturday, December 15
Hurricane, UT
Half Marathon #72
Utah Half #2
Weather - Upper 30's, Rainy/Windy


I was SO excited when I saw that Fast Cory was going to put on an OFFICIAL race this year. The Baker's Dozen was immediately added to my calendar. Combining sugar/eating and running? Um, hello. That's practically the dream. The race itself, SUPER cheap - $35!! In order to earn your AWESOME medal, you had to eat a sugary treat at the sugar shack at the end of each loop, so a minimum of three items. Sweet.

I lucked out finding a one way flight from Vegas for $60 and cashed out miles for the other flight. Rental car was crazy cheap, and so was hotel. The entire weekend pretty much cost what ONE Rock 'n' Roll entry would. Ahem.

Friday morning I took A to school, stopped at the store on my way to the airport, and still arrived with plenty of time to catch my flight. L had managed to book the earlier flight, so she was waiting a few hours for me in Vegas.

By the time we got the rental car, it was already about 1:30. We immediately went to In N' Out. I know, we normally do that AFTER we run. And then an hour after THAT, we stopped and got munchkins from Dunkin' Donuts. Does that count as a warm up for the race?

The drive was a few hours, and seemed MUCH longer. We arrived at packet pick up right at 5:00. Fast Cory recognized us, and seemed really happy that we came out. We grabbed Ruth's stuff too since she wasn't due in for hours. There is a story here. Maybe we accidentally got into the wrong car in the parking lot and didn't notice right away. Or maybe that didn't happen.

This is the race shirt. HILARIOUS
We decided to get dinner early and go to bed early. Bread bowl from Domino's (not the mac n' cheese, sadly that is discontinued) but Italian sausage marinara. Tasty. L was in bed by 8, I was asleep by 9.

Race Day

Slept GREAT. Woke up at 6:30, got ready, and headed down to get breakfast. Sadly, there was nothing appetizing, so we had to head back upstairs for our bagels. Heading outside and it was raining. Sigh. I'm a bit tired of running in the rain.

We had a hard time getting GPS to work. On our way to the start, there was a BIZARRE procession of police cars and other emergency vehicles. 7 am, and they all had their sirens on. It was like there was a parade or something going on. Only there wasn't. Turns out our directions were NOT right. We got a bit turned around but luckily Cory had included some landmarks in his list of directions and we found the start.

Quick trip to the bathroom, and then we just sat around in the car until the start. Cory had a cool idea for a mandatory pre-race picture (courtesy of Alex Santiago, photographer extraordinaire):


The race just sort of started, and off we went. In addition to our goal to win the title of "Sugar Slayer" (she who eats the most baked goods), I also was running with a 20 oz diet coke. Sounded like the most appealing thing to drink with all that sugar. Yum

Loop 1 - It's pretty chilly, so I am wearing my arm sleeves and gloves. We had started in the back, and since my running has been so awful lately, we obviously were not pushing the pace. The first part of the loop felt uphill for sure. I had to walk early - tight calves AGAIN. So tired of this. We enter a dirt/gravel path and I start to feel a little warm so I take off my gloves. The aid station on the far side of the course is water only - I take a cup and we walk a bit.



Turn the corner, and we run. I am ecstatic that the back half of the course is flat/downhill. Excellent. Bathroom first and then we arrive at the sugar shack for our first treats. We eat. And eat. And eat. See the big plate in the middle? We each devour 7 of those bad boys. Our goal was to eat as much of the non-frosted goods as possible. Favorite snack this round was the snicker doodles. Yum.


While at the aid station, we meet up with the previous years winner. Since there is a separate men/women's division, we feel confident in discussing our strategy.

Loop 2 - The diet coke is FANTASTIC. As soon as we leave, we are wondering if we should have done more. We both feel "fine." I have to walk a bit again on the gradual uphill. Not too keen on the dirt section, the ground is really soft. We are running behind a big group of runners that sounds like they are having the time of their lives. It's fun :D Quick walk through the aid station and then again, run the entire back half.
Molly's Nipple
By the time we get to the sugar shack at the end of our first half of the race, there is nothing left that isn't frosted or huge. We try to eat a half a donut. I vaguely recall donuts just sort of dissolving in my mouth. NO. THIS WAS NOT THE CASE. I swear it was like chewing dough. Wasted so much time on ONE item. Had a total of 5 items the second time around, for a total of 12. The volunteers look horrified as we keep stuffing our faces. Favorite of this round? The red velvet cookies with cream cheese frosting.

Loop 3 - It has "warmed up" now to 40 degrees. However, it is now raining. Brrr. I was actually not really complaining, at least it was not windy! Heading into the dirt section and the volunteer offers us a beanie. How nice! I have to stop and use the bathroom at the water station. Overall, I still am feeling fine. Run the back section, and pass the big group right as we are heading into the sugar shack for the last time. We ask the volunteers if we are still in the lead. WE ARE NOT. What????? I had eaten a couple more treats, bringing me to 15. Only to find out the lead female was at 21. 21??? I don't think I want to stand there in the cold rain for another few minutes and eat frosting covered THICK cookies or powdered donuts. We have failed. I slam the rest of my diet coke, give L my gloves, pull down the arm sleeves over my hands and head out for the last loop.

Loop 4 - 41 degrees. It does not FEEL like it is 41 degrees. L says, "I am not complaining, but this might be the coldest I have ever been." It WAS pretty cold. The rain is turning into snow, and the gutters are filling up. Having flashbacks of CIM. Quick cup of water, but we really just want to be done. SO COLD! We are trying to catch up to the big group, but it appears they also just want to be done. We are probably less than a quarter of a mile from the finish and the rain/snow stops and the sun starts to come out. Ha. Figures.

Bib #39
Official Time - 2:56:32
Gender Place - 48/50 (lol)
Division Place - 27/28
MapMyRun Time - 2:56:43
MapMyRun Distance - 13.34 miles
MapMyRun Pace - 13:15
Fastest Mile - 10:42 pace (mile 13!)
Slowest Mile - 27:10 (Mile 4 - LOL!!!)

Can you tell where the sugar shack miles were?? lol!!
We get our AWESOME MEDALS. Cory thanks us for coming to visit, hooks us up with some awesome water bottles and gift cards for Road ID, we took some pictures, then we had to (of course) head out so that we could shower before heading back to Vegas to catch our flight.

Maybe my favorite medal yet
15 marks for 15 baked goods
Ruth, L, Me Post Race
L and Me
We arrived at the hotel with plenty of time to take scalding hot showers to warm up, pack, and headed out right at noon. We stopped twice on the drive back to Vegas to get gas and to eat lunch. Yes. We shared a medium all meat pizza from Godfather's. Clearly, my stomach is broken.

Arrive in Vegas with about 3 hours before our flight, so we walked around the outlet mall for a bit, then headed to the airport. Played the penny slots until I lost my $8, then I got MORE food. (WTF, me). The mac n' cheese proved to be too much, and I actually couldn't finish. Phew. Maybe I *am* human after all.

Flight back to Denver, uneventful.

Thoughts:
  • Small races are the BEST.
  • Fast Cory puts on one hell of a race. The shirt was awesome. The medal was awesome. The four loop course was actually really great. (Yes, even though we got lapped. Frequently).
  • I will likely run this one again. Only next time, I will do better. I can't believe I was out eaten. I'm ashamed.
  • The sugar shack miles took roughly 73 MINUTES. That's insane. Even assuming we would have run 12-13 minute miles, taking 35ish minutes off my time would have been a GREAT time for me. So I'm pleased, especially since my last mile was sub 11.
  • I think I will run with diet coke again. That was pretty amazing.
  • Theme races are super fun. Some of the costumes were REALLY creative.
  • I ran in the Glycerins for the first time. They felt a bit heavy at the end, but for the first time in ages, my feet did not hurt after a race. So that was good.
  • My IT band was a bit wonky, but it held up.
  • Did I mention this was pretty much the most fun race ever?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Time to Come Clean


In earlier posts, I hinted at just how little I have been training.

CONFESSION

It is even WORSE than I imagined. So, my training for Moab went into taper towards the end of February, maybe the very beginning of March. Moab was on March 25. I went back through Dailymile (and I absolutely DO log all my runs). The verdict is... depressing.

My only training runs over 6 miles:

April
4/8 - 11.88 miles (outside)
4/10 - 6.25 miles (outside)
4/30 - 6.38 miles (treadmill)
May
5/16 - 6.32 miles (treadmill)
5/23 - 6.00 miles (treadmill)
September
9/15 - 7.20 miles (outside)
October
10/6 - 6.66 miles (outside)

So in EIGHT months, I have only run over 6 miles SEVEN times. And in the last 5.5 months? Only twice.

And, if you noticed, only ONE double digit run, and that was over 8 months ago. That's ridiculous!!

Basically, the point of this is:

WTF. NO WONDER WHY RUNNING MARATHONS REALLY SUCKS LATELY.

Oh, hey. Maybe I should run more.

Friday, December 7, 2012

November Recap

Miles Run - 77.60 - That's now 3 months this year I've run less than 100. Thanks to ultra training in the first part of the year, I will still likely run more than last year.
Races "Run" - 3 (1 10k, 1 half marathon, 1 marathon)
Current Ailments - Nothing substantial, I guess. My ankles have been hurting, my IT band is on/off, but nowhere NEAR as bad as it was over the summer. Calves still tight. Still tired.
Obsession - Coffee. Lisa sent me a sampler of K-cups and I am in heaven. So far, the golden french toast, gingerbread and white chocolate mint are my favorites. (Thank you, LJ, this has made me super happy all week!)
Looking forward to - The Baker's Dozen half marathon!!!! I haven't been this excited about a race in a while! Even if my running sucks, the thought of overdosing on sugar has me PUMPED.

Thanks, everyone, for the kind comments regarding my last whiny post about losing my mojo. All of you are right... I likely need a "break" of some kind and I also just need to suck it up and TRAIN if I don't want to be miserable during long runs/races. As for the suggestions of "something new" - I have for the last few months been participating in something called Monday Night Chaos - essentially random circuit training, which is different every single week. It is FREAKING HARD. Every class I finish, it feels like I've never worked out in my life. I LOVE IT! Unfortunately, it is only one day a week.

There was one comment in particular about the "surprising lack of fanfare" after completing my 50 state quest. LOL! I agree. I mean, that was a BIG goal, and that is why I started this blog. But... I guess maybe I figured people would get tired of hearing about it, etc., and... it WAS sort of a letdown. I met my goal... and there was nothing really at the end. I don't even know if that makes sense. Anyway, maybe L and I need to have a party or something.

But you know what DID help my running funk a bit??? Getting this GIGANTIC PIECE OF AWESOME in the mail last night!!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Running Mojo

Remember that one time I lost my running mojo? Yeah, it has happened more than once. But this time? It has been MONTHS.

As is the norm for me, I'm typically signed up for billions of races. I have only signed up for 2 or 3 in the last 5 months.

Running has NOT been fun. Not in training. Not in racing. Not to say that I have not had fun AT a race. I just have not had fun with the whole running part.

I don't know what to do. It's weird to me to think that I have to "force" running. I mean, I only started running years ago to lose weight. At some point I've begun to tolerate it, if not actually like it. There is no liking right now. I dread training. I dread racing. And I am fairly certain that my negativity is affecting my running and making it just as bad (if not worse) than I've imagined.
  • I've obviously had an actual for real injury.
    • IT band isn't 100% cured, but is tolerable.
    • After CIM, my ankles HURT. They feel either sprained or bruised.
  • My training is down about 50% from where it's consistently been for the last 3 years.
  • I have done ZERO double digit training runs since Moab. So... since February?
    • Related - I bet I've done less than 10 runs that were longer than 5 or 6 miles since that same time.
    • Most of my training runs are 4 miles or less. And even those 4 miles are rarely (if ever) completed without walking at some point.
  • My pace is off SIGNIFICANTLY (think in the region of 2-3ish minutes per mile)
  • I'm TIRED. Like all the time. It doesn't matter if I take days off from "running" or the gym. It doesn't matter if I get 8 hours of sleep. I feel like I am exhausted all the time.
    • I probably AM drinking more coffee
    • My diet has NOT changed in any significant way
  • I have put on about 10 pounds since I was training full force for Moab. Even running more to lose those 10 pounds hasn't been a motivator.
    • Skirts that didn't chafe are now chafing
    • Arm sleeves that didn't chafe are now chafing
  •  I feel like I really want to run trails... but don't know who to run with, as I'm not very comfortable navigating them alone.
  • I've thought about going back to running with that run group, but I was having a hard time keeping up BEFORE I was in this funk. I can't think of anything more depressing than driving for a half hour to be DFL in a "group" run where I'm by myself and don't really know anyone.
    • Related: Same run group has a race team. I thought maybe it would be fun to apply for that. Then I saw the VERY FIRST REQUIREMENT - "Be a top performer in the sport both at the age group and overall level" So..... NEVERMIND ON THAT
  • And... to add insult to injury. My running coach just sorta dropped me after Palo Duro. Just never heard from him again.
Well. I could go on and on and on and on. I have excuse after excuse. The long of the short of it is... the CONCEPT or running and racing still sounds fun. But I have lost ALL motivation to actually train to do anything. I do not WANT to get on the treadmill. I do not WANT to get bundled up to go for a run in 20 degree weather by myself. I do not WANT to suffer miserably through YET ANOTHER marathon because I am stupidly under-trained.

All of us have been in a funk at one time or another.... however, it's been over four months now, and I'm ready to get out. Or stop running altogether.

Suggestions? Comments? Criticism?

Closest I've come to not hating running? A brief mile or so during that trail half marathon I did last month:

Monday, December 3, 2012

California International Marathon (Race Recap)

Sunday, December 2
Marathon #16 (Wow. I had no idea I'd done this many)
California Marathon #2
Sacramento, CA
Weather - Monsoon/Windy


The Monsoon California International Marathon (CIM) was on my radar as soon as I saw the results of all the people who ran last year and qualified for the Olympic trials. It is supposed to be a fast and pretty course. And usually, the weather is fantastic. I registered for this back in July, before the beginning of the end of my running injury free and enjoying myself (SFM). I roped my BFF Heather into joining me.

Starting about a week before the race, I start seeing panicky tweets about the weather. It's supposed to rain like crazy, flood watches, etc. I mean, I've had pretty good luck with no truly terrible weather during a race, so I headed to Sacramento assuming everything would work itself out.

Saturday

My flight out of Denver was not delayed. I flew Frontier and paid the $6 to watch tv, watching the newest Batman movie. Which, unfortunately, was longer than the flight, so I have no idea how it ended. Landed on time. Sacramento's airport is GREAT. Outlets EVERYWHERE. I found Heather's gate, and only had to wait about 45 minutes for her to land. Grabbed a salted caramel latte from Sbux, then headed outside. Apparently, Heather had booked the BEST HOTEL EVER. We paid practically nothing, and we were able to get picked up and shuttled to the hotel. They also shuttled us downtown for the expo. WHAT?? (A++ to the Hawthorn Suites).

We checked in and sat around until 1, when we were taken to the convention center. EASIEST EXPO EVER. No lines for ANYTHING. Nothing too exciting at the expo, and we were STARVING, so we walked a few block to the Firestone Pub and got something to eat. And by something, I mean, the giantest pretzel ever in the universe.


In addition to being giant, it was the best tasting thing ever. While we were eating, it started raining. I'm not sure if I can call it a "downpour" yet, but it was substantial. We had some time to kill and didn't think heading back to the hotel was worth the time, so we braved the elements and wandered around Sacramento:

This water is mid/upper calf deep
Hrm. And it had not even been raining that long. Heather had actually looked at the course profile and said that the puddle I was standing in was pretty much mile 26 on the course. EXCELLENT. Also, my boots were fairly "water resistant" as my feet weren't saturated after this.

We found a weird "mall" and wandered in and out of stores trying to find festive holiday knee socks for Heather. I'm guessing California has boycotted these, as we checked a dozen or so stores and found NOTHING. Well, except for Nutcracker socks, but Heather finds them DISTURBING and refused to get them.

Random Sacramento Alley Art
We discovered there was a Lululemon nearby and walked there in hopes of seeing the new "Chase Me" print. Turns out it was the smallest store ever and there was practically no product to even look at. Thankfully, we got the message that people were already at the bloggy meet up at a pizza place and we headed over. I finally FINALLY got to meet Average A - the very FIRST running blog I ever started reading. And there were some of my friends from Colorado there, and Reneigh, one of my favorite runner friends ever.

Heather, Reneigh, Me
The girls of the bloggy meet up (Pic from cisforcourtney)
The pizza was DELICIOUS, and I had a couple of beers. I swear, it felt like the middle of the night when we left. In actuality, I think it was 6:45? We got picked back up by our awesome shuttle service (after FAILING MISERABLY TO FIND DONUT HOLES). TV, outfits ready, in bed by... 9:30?

Race Day

Turns out the forecast was NO JOKE. First thing I did after my alarm went off (at 4:26) was to look out the window. I believe the adjective I used was "marshy" to describe the parking lot.

It wasn't raining THAT badly when we headed to the lobby to catch the shuttle. Grabbed a cheese danish and got on the bus at 5:15. We got about halfway to Folsom when the monsoon began. And the howling winds picked up. Thankfully, we were allowed to stay on the bus as long as we wanted. Which, turned out to be... about 10 minutes before the gun went off. I'll admit that there was some talk about maybe NOT getting off the bus. It did NOT look pleasant outside.

Obviously, we are not quitters and eventually got off the bus. Pretty sure my feet were soaked within 60 seconds. Since it was about 6 minutes before the race started, there was no line at the bathrooms. (Which, by the way, there were a JILLION of). Bag drop was easy, and we followed the herd. I vaguely remember hearing the Star Spangled Banner, but did not hear a gun.

Start
And then we go...

Neither of us was wearing a watch, but I started mapmyrun on my phone (in it's Ziploc bag) and off we went. Um. It was rainy. And windy. The raindrops felt like bullets and HURT. Within about a minute, one got in my eye and I swear it knocked my contact lens RIGHT OUT OF MY EYE (Related: 24+ hours later, I still have no idea if my contact is in my brain or not). Solution to the rain bullets in the eye? Not looking up.

Rainiest/Windiest EVER
First mile was fine, and the fastest of the day, 10:47. Pretty psyched, no calf issues off the bat. A mile or two in and we saw the 4:45 pacer. I certainly have no business running that fast. We decided to just go with it. The rain sucked, but it wasn't THAT BAD. It really wasn't. I mean, it was unpleasant, but since it wasn't that cold, it was not the worst ever.

Mile 3, the insoles of my Newtons start scrunching up. I have to keep stopping them to flatten so they don't bunch up under my feet. Finally, after a few miles, I just take them out altogether. Um. Something happened, we ran, and then, early on, my brain broke.

Around the first relay checkpoint (mile 5.9), the rain kicks into high gear. I have never experienced anything like it. It was the rainiest rain ever. The end. The intersections were flooded:

Heather's Famous Picture
I wish I could say I was exaggerating when I say the water was probably 6 inches deep. I'm sure I wasn't. It was crazy. Even more crazy, was there were SPECTATORS out in this. Yes, even in the above picture, there were people out CHEERING FOR US. Spectators are the best.

So. More "running" happened. But also, lots of complaining. My feet hurt. So I put the insoles back in around the halfway point. Heather stopped to use the bathroom, and since I was going slower than slow, I told her to catch up to me. The second half went on FOREVER. We had a 24 mile split around mile 18. That might have been when I stopped to use the bathroom and the line was the slowest moving EVER.

Then, something funny happened around mile 20. THE SUN CAME OUT. I didn't feel like taking any pictures, but Heather got some good ones off a bridge if you want to check out her recap here. When we finally got to LOOK at the course, it was really pretty. I took this around mile 23(?).


I'll spare everyone the whining and complaining. I'll just say my feet hurt. A lot. And there was a lot of walking.

We were going slow enough that we had to worry about sweepers. WTF :(

Anyway, we finished, and the medal is pretty glorious:


Bib #8802
Official Time - 5:57:52 (yes, slower than MCM)
Pace - 13:48 (ouch)
Overall - 5886/6496
Division - 452/502
Phone died before we finished, so I guess course measured long for me
Get our pictures done at the finish line, and then we grab a pancake (tasty) and cookies (even better) and then get our drop bags. Sadly, the monsoon didn't miss our drop bags and our nice dry clothes were no longer dry.

We were hoping to eat downtown, but since it took us SO long to finish, everywhere was packed. Instead, we got a Sbux and got picked up by our shuttle. Changed in the bathroom of the hotel lobby, where I discovered that I did, indeed, get crotch chafing again. Owie.

Lunch at Denny's on the corner, and then shuttle to the airport. I had a beer and Heather and I split the tastiest Nutella cheesecake:


We managed to run into Faster Bunny while we were people watching, then I had to catch my flight. Thankfully, it was on time. Landed EARLY, and got home at 10:45.

Yet another crazy race weekend, complete.

Thoughts:
  • We were pretty apprehensive about the logistics of the race. Turns out, no big deal. Everything was really well organized and smooth. (I heard later that because of the rain/wind some tree branches downed some power lines and some of the busses had to be re-routed, causing some people to miss the start.
  • Running in the rain, while not the most fun ever, was also not nearly as traumatic as I expected. Even with all my dumb shoe issues and inches and inches of standing water and bullet rain, I got ZERO blisters on my feet. Hurrah! However, my jacket is NOT waterproof/water resistant. It is, however, absorbent. It weighed about 8 pounds when I took it off when the sun came out.
  • Related: My phone and camera were both fine. Even in a monsoon, apparently a Ziploc bag will keep them dry and secure.
  • My ankles HURT. Like REALLY hurt. Bad. I am concerned I really injured myself by running insole-less. It felt "ok" at the time, but this morning it hurts to even touch. Inside, both ankles, below the bone, both feet. Ouchie. 
  • Our costumes were the best. I have never HAD so many comments about them. Maybe there is a picture of us on the Internet Machine, neither of us thought to get a picture.
  • Running with Heather is fun.
  • Related: Heather is the best. I feel like the crappiest friend ever for jacking up this race. She really didn't need to stick with me, but I'm glad she did. I'm a bit sad she wasted her awesome marathon training.
  • My mental game is gone. My IT Band injury July/August caused me to become a more cautious runner. I've been running WAY less and WAY slower, and it shows. My training is suffering, and I haven't been enjoying racing. ESPECIALLY not the marathon distance.
  • I have ZERO plans to register for another marathon. (Of course, I'm currently registered for a few, and I'll give them a go).

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Three Things Thursday

1. So I'm "running" CIM this weekend.

Excellent.

I am having flashbacks from MCM.

2. I am sneaking in a race in 2 weeks, the "Baker's Dozen" half marathon, put on my ultra hero, Fast Cory.

I won't spoil the surprise by posting a picture of the medal. IT IS THE MOST AWESOME MEDAL EVER.

3. I want this. I want this. I want this. I want this.

Source
J says "where would you wear that??" I say, "WHERE WOULDN'T I WEAR THAT?" Ink n' Burn has outdone itself. This is the coolest running shirt EVER.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Redline Turkey Day 10K (Race Recap)

Thursday, November 22
Broomfield, CO
Weather - Mostly sunny, WINDY (warm at start, cool at finish)


The Redline Turkey Day 10k is the only road race I have signed up for since I decided I hate running and my IT Band has been acting up. It was "only" a 10k, and the course literally runs right by my old house in Broomfield (literally - my house was one house beyond the mile 2 marker AND is apparently for sale again). I was enticed to register early for being one of the first 1,000 to register and getting FREE arm sleeves.

Redline is one of the most disorganized companies I've ever known to put on a race. For example, this is an excerpt from the email I got the NIGHT before the race:

"Shirt and Armwarmer pickup - It is fun to be a race director! You never know what is going to pop up and inevitably, something always does. There is always a lot of excitement around the unique designs of our race tee's on our popular Redline Gear. I flew to LA on Monday and drove back the shipment of shirts for the event, thinking that the delivery was the only problem with our factory's shipment. Upon opening the cartons we realized the factory failed to print the designs on our shirts. So you get a brand new Redline colored tech tee, that has never been on the market, but you don't get to use it as a conversation starter about the cool design and race advertised on it. I am more upset than you are, believe me. The other surprise was the exclusion of the much anticipate release of our totally unique arm warmer that we are introducing as a gift to the first 1000. Those will ship on DECEMBER 3."

W.T.F. For freakin' real. I registered for this at least a month ago? L started seeing advertisements for this months ago. This is the FIFTH year? How does this guy continue to be a race director? (For more of his blunders, you can read about this race.)

Anyway, the race is really close and I know the parking is pretty good, but I did still have to register A for the kid's race, and registration closed at 8:30. So... we dropped the kids off at my parents house at 7:45 and got to the race shortly after 8. Hit up the bathrooms (no line), registered A and picked up shirts (hers fancy and printed, mine not) and then sat in the car until it was time to go.

Apparently, the giant arch was NOT the starting line and we stood in a giant cluster waiting to be told where to start. The race was supposedly chip timed, although we saw no mats and started in the back.

The race is course is almost identical to what I used to run (back in 2007 and 2008) when I was doing my long runs around the neighborhood. I knew it was mostly flat. I was hoping it would be an awesome and glorious race. It was not.

There was no gun or announcement and we ended up in the back of the pack and never moved up. Apparently people in Broomfield are fast (other than me). First water station was around mile 1.4. My old house, as I said, was at mile 2. That was the end of the excitement. Around 2.5 miles in, the course turned north up Zuni, and that is when wind and stupid tired legs kicked in. My pace was NOT fast. I should have been able to run with ease. And yet.

Walked. Got passed. Jogged up a hill. Course turned back to the west and the wind was even worse. Next aid station was at mile 4. More walking.  More getting passed.  The worst of the wind was the last mile. L's awesome turkey hat kept almost blowing off.

Official Time - 1:07:28
Official Place 307/336
Garmin Time - 1:07:29
Mile 1 - 9:52
Mile 2 - 10:46
Mile 3 - 11:31
Mile 4 - 12:40
Mile 5 - 11:21
Mile 6 - 11:22 

Disappointing finish, but awesome outfits.

  • "Turkey" tank. This is the third year we have worn it.
  • Yellow Princess skirt from running skirts (clover socks also from there)
  • Arm Sleeves - Ink n' Burn
  • Hats - Clearance rack at Michael's
The Kid's race was supposed to start at 10:30. We had no idea where that started either. A decided she wanted to wear her awesome shirt, so I had to run back to the car to get it for her.

Razzy Roo Turkey headband
There were a TON of kids, so I told A to line up near the front so she wouldn't get trapped behind all the slow people (like me):


A is freaking fast. She was easily in the first 10 (out of probably 100 kids). Her hat came off too. I should have tried to get a better video of her running. She has a super long stride and it looks so EASY for her. She was one of the first girls across the line. I asked her what it was like to be in the front and she says "like being champion of the kids"


Hannah also ran - success with NO falling (for either kid). They even got awesome ribbons! (Somehow, I think they got a better deal for their $10, than I did for my $32).


After the race there was an insane raffle. Even though the wind picked up it was freezing, we stuck around to the very end. I am sad to report I did NOT win any of the $4500 (CASH) or pies. I might be more sad about no pies.

:(

The rest of Thanksgiving was:
  • Starbucks
  • Jumping at the trampoline center (2 hours for only $5!)
  • Dinner at my parents house
  • Movies - Barbie and Megamind (which, according my blog from last year, we watched then too).
  • Bed at... 8:45?

Monday, November 19, 2012

Route 66 Marathon (Race Recap)

Sunday, November 18
Marathon #15
State #8
Tulsa, OK
Weather - Mostly overcast, (much) warmer than last year, WINDY


I apparently registered for the Route 66 marathon on opening day - January 31. Obviously that was when I was in the middle of being awesome in my ultra training. And what's the big deal with a marathon?


Well. Obviously, a marathon is now VERY intimidating for me, as I've had quite a few now that were NOT great.

Anyway, this was going to be a "first" for me. The first time I would travel to the same out of state race to run another distance. I had picked this for my Oklahoma half because of the huge presence of 50 staters and Marathon Maniacs/Half Fanatics. This race does specific bibs and medals JUST for them. Well of COURSE I want a special medal. Also, by doing the full marathon this year, I could participate in the .3 mile detour to the "Center of the Universe" and get ANOTHER piece of bling - a special coin.

Saturday

Obviously I make travel as complicated as possible. I am super thrifty, so if I can find a deal by picking a weird flight schedule or flying into a random airport, I will.

L did not want to do this race again, but I manged to convince my friend Ruth to join me. We had a 10:35 flight out of Denver to Oklahoma City (much cheaper than flying into Tulsa) and I picked her up in Denver around 8:15 before heading to the airport. Everything took longer than expected and by the time we got to our "gate" it was only about 15 minutes until boarding.

Our flight left on time, and was only about an hour long. Score!! I had booked the hotel in Tulsa and Ruth booked the rental car. Unfortunately her drivers license was expired and she still hadn't received her new one in the mail, and even with the paperwork and her passport, they wouldn't rent to her, which means I got to do the 120ish mile drive to Tulsa.

We had landed around 1 and hoped to pick up some food in Oklahoma City, but there was nowhere tempting by the airport, and before we knew it we were on the toll road to Tulsa, which had ZERO food options.

We didn't end up eating until about 3:30 in the afternoon. Which is WRONG. No one should ever eat that late. We found an Olive Garden and I had a delicious chicken lasagna, bread and salad. Probably ate too much, but we planned on a bigger lunch and a smaller dinner anyway.

From there we headed to the expo and we met up with the Marathon Maniacs (Ruth had to get a wristband to gain access because she wasn't yet a member when she registered). We met up with Lesley, working the Sport Hooks booth. I manged to NOT buy anything, except for an amusing 26.5 sticker - race specific. We did some quick pictures in the free photo booth (I really suck at photo booth pictures) and then we headed out to find the hotel. I managed, once again, to pick a SUPER CLASSY establishment.

We settled in and decided to go to Ruby Tuesday's for dinner so that we could hit up the excellent salad bar around 6:30. Lucky for us, there was one just a few miles down the road. They were super slow and inefficient, but we had a great dinner. Salad and some vegetables, and a pumpkin cupcake for dessert.

Mac & Cheese, Cauliflower, Spaghetti Squash
Got everything ready and laid out for race day, lights out at 10:00.

Race Day

Last year, we accidentally (and conveniently) stayed at the Holiday Inn literally ON the start line. This year, I waited too long and we were staying about 15 minutes away. I knew parking was going to be insane near the start (not to mention all the road closures) and with (of course) me booking travel closely, I decided it would make more sense to park closer to the finish line (they are about a mile apart) so that we wouldn't have to mess with shuttles, etc.

Even though the race didn't start until 8:00, we were up at 5:20. Out the door about 6 am, and we were parked by 6:30. NO issues. We didn't get lost, we didn't get stuck on any road closures. We parked about 4-5 blocks from the finish, and about 2/3 of a mile from the start. Ruth was planning on checking a bag, but I still decided to wear a throwaway. I remembered all too clearly how FREEZING it was last year standing around.

We headed to the start, used the bathrooms with no lines, and hung out in the Maniac tent. We did NOT miss the group picture (I have missed almost all of them lately) and still managed to get through the bathroom line twice.

I even circled myself for you (check out all these 50 staters/Maniacs/Fanatics!)
Ruth and I
About 15 minutes before the race and I feel like I need to pee again. We head over to Corral B and use the bathrooms over there and are lined up with about three minutes to gun time. So efficient!

Corral B
We surge to the front and about 12 seconds before I'm supposed to cross the start, and my watch goes into some weird power save mode. WHAT IS THAT??? I swear, this piece of crap Garmin has been nothing but trouble the last few months. I ended up jumping to the side and messing with it, and when the last of my corral started going by I said screw it and started running. I finally got it to work about a quarter of a mile in. Annoying.

The course is flattish for about 2/3 of a mile, and then we have the first big hill. I made it almost to the top before my calves seized. Again. I'm getting really tired of that and wish I could figure out a solution to prevent that.

I really tried hard to remember the course, and I really didn't remember much except for this:
Swan Lake - Between Miles 1 and 2
Thankfully, my calves stopped aching, and I was able to run a bit better. Somewhere around mile 3 we ended up at the school with all the speed bumps. Wish I would have taken a picture of the speed bump signs - I had not only remembered that from last year, but I remembered how MANY there were (7). The course is deceptively hilly, and there seemed to be a lot more ups than downs as we ran through various neighborhoods.



Only picture where I look moderately normal. No idea where this is on course.

I felt pretty good until we entered the neighborhood off of 33rd Place. My IT Band started to ache, and I stopped to stretch. A bike medic made sure to ask if I was ok. Um. I have been better. I felt a bit better after stretching, and then I tackled the only other section I remembered, the out and back on Riverside by the Arkansas River. I took some water and a GU at the mile 9 aid station, and saw Ruth on the other side - she was about 1.5 miles ahead of me at this point. For once, I was feeling pretty good, and I ran the entire stretch without walking until mile 12. That is HUGE as I have not been able to continuously run that far without a break (during a race) in ages. Across from the aid station was this:

Obviously this was not for me, but it made me smile

If I was hurting, I had hoped to have the option of dropping to the half. This race does not allow that, and stopping at 13.1 would have resulted in a disqualification. I felt reasonably well, so I continued on. I saw Dave right after the split and wanted to run to catch him, but then I got distracted...

Beer AND Jell-O Shots???
Blue raspberry (and I had a cup of beer too).
I ended up running/walking with him for about 5 minutes, just to give my legs a break before continuing on. That might have been a mistake. Around mile 14 we run under this cool bridge:



Immediately AFTER the bridge is the first of the big hills in the second half. I ran up most of that, but I think about there is where I really got off my mental game. My ankles started to hurt. BOTH of them, which is new (and annoying). My IT Band was still aching a bit. And it was still REALLY windy.

We ended up in an industrial section and saw this theater:

Eddie Vedder on schedule for two nights!
Ugliest part of the course...
Pink police car
While walking up this section before approaching mile 15, I talked to a Maniac from Brighton (that's the city where I currently hold my (super) speedy 5k PR). The next thing to look forward to was the Center of the Universe detour. I was hoping it was going to be well marked.


And it was!


I was really surprised at the number of people that did NOT do the detour. According to the results, less than half the people took the detour. And I am not entirely sure it was even a full .3 miles additional. What do I know, my watch is junk.

Center of the Universe
Probably the worst picture of me. Ever.
I totally believe this

Getting back on the course meant going up a big overpass. And then things really went downhill. Everyone around me was walking. And so was I. I have never been this sore during a marathon. I mean, MCM was bad, but I wasn't really sore, I was just "tired." This one HURT. I stopped to use the bathroom right before entering the University campus. There was no line, so I figured, why not.

I've put on about 10 pounds in the last year, and my skirt WAS a bit tight. Thanks to the sweat, I almost couldn't get it back on. That took about an extra minute. Who was I kidding, not like I was going for time anyway. The campus was pretty to run on:

University of Tulsa Campus
I don't remember much of the last section of the course. I don't think it was pretty and I think it was really hilly. My watch claims there was only 600ish feet of gain over the whole course. I think that is a lie. It felt WAY worse than that. Anyway, I was back to jogging a bit and walking a lot. I had initially had a goal of 5ish hours (when I hit the half at 2:30). Now I just hoped for a sub 5:30 (sub Seattle). At mile 23ish we entered "Florence Park" and there was a sign advertising it as the "best damn neighborhood in Tulsa" - and it was. They were giving away  MORE beer. They tried to give me a whole can (of PBR), but I asked for just a cup. A full beer is WAY too much to drink during a race.

I had thought the course was downhill after mile 24, but I remember at least a few hills after that point. I really didn't push and run it in until about .3 miles to the finish, and I RAAAAAN. I chicked a guy in the chute, and I saw his shadow trying to pass me right before the mat. I was sub 8 that last 10 seconds or so. Woo.

No medal right after, since I had to go to the Maniac tent to get my special one. I did a finisher picture anyway (sans medal) and grabbed a diet pepsi and water and headed over to the special Maniac tent.

Medal and Coin
Bib #3244
Official 26.2 - 5:21:15
Official 26.5 - 5:23:51
Official 10K - 1:10:02
Official 10M - 1:54:15
Official 13.1 - 2:30:13
Official 30K - 3:43:24
Overall Place - 1390/1891
Gender Place - 528/822
Division Place - 87/128
Garmin Time - 5:22:05 (Started it late)
Garmin Distance - 26.47 (Started it late)
Garmin Pace - 12:10
Mile 1- 10:37
Mile 2 - 11:46
Mile 3 - 10:53
Mile 4 - 11:09
Mile 5 - 11:51
Mile 6 - 11:13
Mile 7 - 11:17
Mile 8 - 11:13
Mile 9 - 12:07
Mile 10 - 11:40
Mile 11 - 10:54
Mile 12 - 10:49
Mile 13 - 12:43
Mile 14 - 12:45
Mile 15 - 11:25
Mile 16 - 12:35
Mile 17 - 13:05
Mile 18 - 11:52
Mile 19 - 14:06
Mile 20 - 12:56
Mile 21 - 12:55
Mile 22 - 15:03
Mile 23 - 14:02
Mile 24 - 13:31
Mile 25 - 12:26
Mile 26 - 12:32
Mile 26.47 - 9:59 (ha. sub 10 for a HALF MILE).

I saw Lesley outside and found Ruth inside with no issues. The tent was amazing. Our own beer and fluids and food.

Lesley and I
Ruth and I by the Marathon Maniac (tent of awesome)
We ate and had a beer with Lesley before we headed out. Obviously we had booked a 7:00 flight out of OKC and it was already after 2:00 before we started heading out. We tried to find a Starbucks in Tulsa, but without knowing the city, we tried to go to one in a Mariott and they did not have the mugs Ruth was looking for, so we gave up.

We started to the drive to Tulsa. Uneventful except we were on the toll road with NO stops and I had to pee SO bad. It was a dire situation for a while, but thankfully we made it to the gas station with no incidents.

Returned the rental car around 4:45 and had PLENTY of time to check in, get to our gate (the OKC airport is teeny tiny) and have a luxurious dinner. We found a burger place and ordered cheeseburgers and fries (from the tiniest rude woman EVER) and watched the Broncos game until about 6, when we headed to the gate. Boarded and left on time.

Pretty uneventful, except for the obnoxious kid/parents behind me. I understand that kids cry. I have a kid. I have flown with an inconsolable child. But it is NOT ok to allow your kids to kick the seat in front of you. After 15-20 minutes of being kicked, I stand up and ask the woman to have her toddler (must have been under 2 as she didn't have her own seat) stop kicking my seat. She says "but it will take all my strength to control her." Not, "I'm sorry," just a rude/inconsiderate response. FYI, the kicking and screaming continued until we landed. Thankfully, the flight was only 1:16 long (and YES, I was timing it).

Landed about 5 minutes early, dropped Ruth off, and was home before 9.

Of note:
  • DO THIS RACE if you are a Maniac/Fanatic/50 Stater. It is an awesome atmosphere. The tent before was awesome, the tent after was awesome. LOVED the special bibs and medals.
  • Stats: 3 cups of beer and a Jell-O shot during the race, 2 cups of beer after. Probably the most alcohol I've had during a race, ever.
  • The course (in my opinion) is more difficult than it looks, and definitely save "some" for the hills in the second half.
  • Not entirely sure what the post race FOOD was, but they had soda and energy drinks, so I approve of that.
  • The course next year is changing - new finish line was somewhere over by the Center of the Universe. Not sure if that will make things easier or worse.
  • Aid stations had water and Gatorade - different flavors!! There were 2 GU stations that I counted, but Ruth said there was a third I must have missed.
  • Probably the most un-complicated travel I've done (all things considered)
  • This was still a struggle and SLOW going. My body seems to be rejecting races/running. Thankfully I am not committed to that much more over the next few months, and I'll likely be stepping back from the marathon after Little Rock while I try to get this all under control.
  • I ran with my iPod for the first time in a month.
  • With that said, I didn't HATE this race. It was just harder than I am used to, and my body is pretty beat up right now.
  • The outfit (I've been asked a few times)
    • Top - Ink N' Burn (Hollywood Dragon)
    • Skirt - Lululemon (Back on Track)
    • Socks - Pro Compression
    • Arm Sleeves - YMX
    • Headband - Razzy Roo
  • I wore my flip belt, and for the first time ever, it annoyed me. I don't know if it was because the Ink N' Burn shirts are shorter, or because I had my camera in the front, but I kept having to adjust my shirt. I guess it gave me something to do.

Week in Review (May 16 - May 22)

Tuesday (22,341 steps) - Speed work! We had to drive alllll the way down to Greenwood Village for this one. 1.75 mile w/u 10 x 200m re...