Friday, February 24, 2012

What Was I Thinking? (And a Winner!)

So remember that one time that I signed up to run a 100 mile race? And remember that I posted a super awesome training plan? And remember that towards the end, I was going to have to do some CRAZY LONG RUNS?? Well. This week was MADNESS.

Sunday - Austin Marathon
Monday - No run (I moved it out one day)
Tuesday - 6 miles
Wednesday - 6 miles
Thursday - 24 miles
Friday - 30 miles

I. RAN.  ALL. THAT. All those miles. Everything but the Austin marathon was done on a treadmill. That's a LOT of iTunes. Anyway, I am super proud of myself for completing all that running. Next week is actually my PEAK mileage week. And then... taper. I'm back to 20ish mile weeks. I don't even know what to do with that. My lowest mileage week was about three months ago, at 40. MIND BLOWING.

Anyway... a winner!


And the winner is... Abbi, from Higher Miles! Shoot me an email with your address and I'll mail out the YMX shirt asap! I hope you love it as much as I do!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Austin Marathon (Race Recap)

Sunday, February 19
Marathon #7
Texas Marathon #2
Austin, TX
Weather - Chilly at the start, warm and humid at the finish

Pretty sure the only reason why I signed up for the Austin marathon was timing/location related. Nothing to really race near Colorado in February, and since I have family in Austin, it's not as expensive for me to travel there. And why the full? Well, it fit nicely into my training schedule. Later found out that Kim and Lisa were running (Becca was also supposed to run, but got injured in Phoenix)... and therefore...  GIRL'S WEEKEND WAS PLANNED!

Saturday

Flight out of Denver was uneventful. We met up with Kim and Lisa at the airport, and since Austin's airport is tiny and they are super tall, we found them immediately without any problems. We got a taxi and it $25 later, we arrived at the Embassy Suites. (Thanks, Kim, for booking us such a sweet suite!)

Did I mention that we landed, I noticed it was rainy and chilly? Curse it, Austin, it was supposed to be warmer than this. We spent a few minutes in the room, then walked over to the Parmer Events Center (luckily just down the street) to pick up our packets.

L, Kim, Lisa, Me (Seriously, I am so short!)
We briefly listened to Bart Yasso speak, but then we saw the crazy long lines for packet pick up and decided we should probably just head over there and get our stuff.


Oh, wait. No lines for ME!
It only took a few minutes to get our packets, then we just wandered around the expo. Which, by the way, was super crowded. About 4:00, we start to head out and notice it is pouring rain. Did I mention I didn't even bring a coat?? BRRR. We cowered inside for a few minutes, then braved the rain and headed back to the room until it was time for FREE HAPPY HOUR in the lobby.

I also had some chips/salsa, but didn't want to ruin my appetite
We had reservations for 5:30 at the TGIFriday's down the street, so after slamming a drink, we walked over:

View of the capital from Congress Ave.
Arriving at TGIFriday's, and we got to meet up with another blogger (also a Laura!!) and her husband and daughter. They were running a pasta buffet special, and since I am not picky, that's what I got:

OK, this is just plate one. I had seconds, but about half as much
But wait... we also wanted bread. (We didn't get regular bread sticks because the waitress said they were "fried" - apparently all that meant is they were regular bread sticks. Anyway, this was good too):


And dessert split between me, L, and Lisa:


As always when with other runners, the conversation was all about past races and performances and goals for the current race. The other Laura? SUPER DUPER CRAZY FAST, but planning to run conservatively, Lisa going for a PR, the rest of us pretty much just wanting to finish in respectable times (all while having fun of course). Laura's husband made sure to get a bloggy meet up picture:

L, Lisa, Me, Kim, Laura
We headed back to the room and made sure to get everything ready for the morning. Lisa forgot her Garmin (sad face), but super nice Kim said she would let her borrow hers. What a nice group of runners I have managed to make friends with! I headed to bed around 9:45, and since we weren't planning on heading out until 6:15, I didn't have to get up crazy early.

Race Day


We all managed to get ready and out the door on time. Again. Four females, one room, only taking about 35 minutes to get ready. We are so amazing. One of the nice employees at the front desk took a pre-race picture of the four of us. MATCHY, MATCHY!!

L, Lisa, Kim, Me
Did I mention that even though it had stopped raining that it was still freezing? Stupid me, I forgot half my stuff this trip. I luckily remembered all the super important running related things. But, I forgot extra pants (since I was spending more than one day here), and a throwaway. I was cold. Luckily, on our walk to the start line I managed to accost a city worker into giving me a trash bag. That helped a ton.

Lisa is SUPER goofy

Aren't you loving my trash bag? It's about 5 min to the start (stolen from Kim)
Kim, L and I had plans of lining up with the 4:25 pace group and running together as long as it made sense. After some stretching, Lisa ran ahead to get closer to the front since she was going for a PR. We found our sign, and pretty much a minute later we were getting ready to cross the line.

Stolen from Kim's recap :D

Holy cow, what a crowded start! There were tons of people and the goal (for me), was to run easy. I hadn't looked at the elevation profile in advance, but discovered that the course was really hilly.


So, plan to run easy, take it easy on the uphill, cruise the downhills and walk the water stations. Easy. Well. I was freezing. L managed to find a pair of fuzzy gloves on the course. AWESOME!! I kept them on for a few miles, but man, my hands were cooking in those suckers! The hills started about mile 2, and I lost Kim and L at the second aid station around mile 3. That was ok. If I was only running the half, I might have tried to chase them, but it was way too early for crazy things.

I kept having to jump on the sidewalks to get around people. The course was congested, and people were just stopping in the middle of the road to walk or stretch. C'mon people, you know better than that. TO THE RIGHT, TO THE RIGHT!!!

Around mile 5?
Somewhere around mile 5, I caught up with L, although I never did see Kim again. We ran together until about mile 8, and then I had to stop and use the bathroom again. I had to wait about 2 minutes, but since it was NOT a false alarm, it was well worth the wait.

Mile 8.5ish
Easily one of the best aid stations was the Livestrong one around mile 9. What a cheerful group of people! My hands were still freezing, and at some point I picked up a new pair of gloves and ran with them for another 4 miles or so. The course split a bit earlier than I thought, and again, I was a bit sad I had to head to the left:


I caught back up to L around mile 11. Which surprised me. I didn't think I would catch her again after my long stop. We ran together until the hills started again somewhere after the halfway point. Overall, I wasn't super crazy about the course. It was all road, and it wasn't anything spectacular to look at. UNTIL... mile 15 or so, when I was lucky enough to run behind LMFAO (well, not the real LMFAO, but they were super fun and energetic and got tons of cheering from the crowds which helped me out a ton).



I'll say that there were some pretty crazy hills on this course. I wouldn't call them "gentle" or "rolling" - some of them were seriously like roller coaster hills. Proud to say that I didn't walk up ANY of them. Although, I think I would have been screwed if there weren't 25 aid stations on the course! I stopped again to use the bathroom at mile 20, but at least this time I didn't have to wait. Two different places in the second half had beer, I stopped at both. Thanks, random citizens! I also had to run about a half mile between miles 23 & 24 with my eyes closed. My eyes were STINGING with sunscreen/salty sweat. Gross.

I think this is about mile 25 - near UT
Kim and Lisa had gone back to the hotel to shower and change and were planning on meeting us at the finish. Kim got this shot of me somewhere in the last half mile. I was so focused on not walking up the stupid hills at the very end that I never even saw them!



Somehow managed to finish the race without collapsing, but that was the longest chute EVER, and my legs were DONE.



Finishing area 
Cool race app on my phone
I texted Lisa to let them know I was done, and they said as soon as they saw L cross they would head over to the finish area. I hugged a tree until I found L, and then we again, found Lisa and Kim very easily in the crowd. (Have I mentioned how TALL they both are?)

Thoughts on the race:
  • Pretty organized, although they might benefit from doing a bit of a staggered start in the beginning to ease congestion
  • Course very well marked
  • LOVED the billion aid stations, although they were super long and spread out, and it was hard to toss a cup without it landing on a volunteer. I also probably should NOT have had Gatorade at every single aid station because I think that contributed to my stomach angst.
  • With a course this size, they might have benefited from a couple more potties at the aid stations. Almost all of them had decent sized lines
  • NO GELS ON THE COURSE??? WTF. That was not cool. Luckily I am a BYOG, but still... A race that costs over $100 should provide this
  • Crowd support was AWESOME.
  • Liked the app on my iPhone. I could track other runners very easily, as well as look at maps, etc. Neat.
  • Liked the race shirt and the medal.
Bib #3419
Official Time - 4:30:29
Official Pace - 10:19
Official 5K - 31:21
Official 5M - 51:17
Official 10M - 1:44:32
Official 13.1M - 2:17:43
Official 20M - 3:29:27
Overall Place - 2143/3881
Gender Place - 614/1429
Division Place - 110/237
Garmin Time - 4:30:29
Garmin Distance - 26.36 miles
Garmin Pace - 10:16
Mile 1 - 10:03
Mile 2 - 10:09
Mile 3 - 9:39
Mile 4 - 10:53
Mile 5 - 10:02
Mile 6 - 10:33
Mile 7 - 9:50
Mile 8 - 9:42
Mile 9 - 12:10 (bathroom)
Mile 10 - 10:31
Mile 11 - 10:48
Mile 12 - 10:40
Mile 13 - 10:37
Mile 14 - 10:22
Mile 15 - 10:11
Mile 16 - 10:05
Mile 17 - 10:37
Mile 18 - 9:50
Mile 19 - 10:24
Mile 20 - 10:52 (bathroom)
Mile 21 - 9:44
Mile 22 - 9:41
Mile 23 - 10:03
Mile 24 - 9:52
Mile 25 - 9:33
Mile 26 - 10:05
Mile 26.2ish - 9:09

Did you notice I had a SIGNIFICANT negative split??? 2:17:43 for first half and 2:11:xx for second half?? That's INSANE.

I'M A WINNER!!!
We walked back to the hotel and showered, then we walked to get lunch. Man, I love going to Texas because I get to eat... WHATABURGER!


L had to leave for the airport, and I had plans to meet up with my family, so we spent a few more minutes chatting in the room, before we parted ways. My brother in law picked me and L up at the hotel. We dropped her at the airport, then I head up to north Austin to spend about 24 hours with my family.

After having a delicious dinner of rib eye and potatoes, my best friend/sister in law, (also a) Lisa took me to the bar. I planned on having one beer:


But apparently had some shots too.

MONDAY

I woke up Monday feeling VERY sick. Lisa felt badly for buying me too many drinks (although I should have just stopped drinking) and took me to get a pedicure!


And then Texican food! (Cheese enchiladas from Fuzzy's!)


We also went shopping at Lulu, and they had a BIG sale. Apparently everyone else in Austin is the same size as me, because there was NOTHING in my size. Bummer.

Picked up a salad at Whole Foods for the plane, and then had some time to kill because my flight was delayed. Long story short. Salad was the best ever, arrived only a little late in Denver. As a side note, I lived in my Aspaeris shorts after the race and am not at ALL sore. Magic shorts???

Austin race weekend a success.

I've been fighting a cold the last few weeks, and it hit me full force last night. I can breathe mostly ok, but congested and have now completely lost my voice. I have 6 miles on schedule for today (because I skipped yesterday). So unmotivated.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Random Things

1. A friend of mine offered to help me out with RnR NoLA. Since the flights were INSANE to/from directly into NoLA (seriously, $420???), I am going to be flying in and out of Baton Rouge (about an hour away). My friend has generously offered to transport me to/from the airport. AWESOME. I am, however, still looking for a roommate for the night of the race. I mean, I *can* get my own room, but I'd love to split the cost with someone. (HINT, HINT - anyone mind sharing a room with me? Pretty please - email me, tweet me, etc - if you can help out at all, I would really appreciate it!). Long story short, I ***WILL*** be in NoLA and would love to meet up if at all possible.

2. I'm running the Austin marathon this weekend. I never in my life thought I would be running a marathon as a training run. Well, I am. Maybe that's why I'm not really nervous for this one? I mean, I just ran 20 miles yesterday. For real. (Taper? What's that?)
3. I am entering the last MONTH of training for my 100 miler. After this weekend I have two weeks of insanity (back to back crazy runs 24+30 and 25+30 - insert googly eyes) - and then taper. WTH. Where did the time go?? I started training in November... Seriously, anyone want to pace me?? I have a few volunteers, but the more the merrier.

*As an aside. The boyfriend thought the 100 was this weekend. He was relieved when I told him it wasn't until next month. He thought I was too calm. He is also worried that I could break my leg at say, mile 70, and then demand to finish anyway. He's probably right. I would.*

4. So thanks to the recommendations of Fast Cory (my 100 miler HERO), I ordered a Nathan Hydration vest - which YAY, comes in a pretty color just for the ladies. I was going to do a 14 mile run in them this week, but then I almost got hypothermia. I tested it out for TWO miles, and think it was glorious. My friend asked if I thought it would be awesome after 100 miles. I said I didn't think ANYTHING would be awesome after that long...




5. I tasted the LuluAid and I am obsessed. I am going to have to block their website. I swear I have never seen a company rotate through product so fast in my life. Maybe that's why I'm obsessed... I feel like if I don't get it NOW, it will be gone. (Seriously, isn't this BEAUTIFUL??)


6. Have you entered my giveaway?

7. A didn't have school today, so I took her roller skating. And found out that she learned how to TIE HER OWN SHOES! We've been practicing a while, but I didn't realize she could do it until today. Yay!




Good luck to everyone racing this weekend!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Three Ways To Enter Thursday: Got the Blues? GIVEAWAY

At least a few times in the last month I have rambled ON and ON about how much I love the YMX by Yellowman clothing line. Thanks to a giveaway from my Twitter/Bloggy friend, Dawn, I was able to try a shirt out for free. Since then, I have purchased quite a few shirts on my own. As most of you know, I am SUPER picky about what I wear. And when I find something I love, I do not hesitate to SCREAM FROM THE ROOFTOPS about how great it is. With all that out of the way...

Got the Blues? GIVEAWAY

One of my super duper lucky followers will receive this top:
Front
Back


From ymx website:

MAORI SWIRL SUN TEE
Style No. 20145
This multifunctional long sleeve shirt brings traditional Maori art into a body enhancing elegance. Wear it is a performance base layer or as an everyday fashion piece.icking, odor and wrinkle resistance, SPF 30+ protection and detailed tribal print. 
Fabric: MadKool ® 92% Polyester 8% Spandex
Properties: "UV protection SPF 50+, permanent moisture wicking by yarn, abrasion resistant, soft hand"
Fit: "slim fit, wear one size up for relaxed fit"
Uses: "cycling, BMX"
First things first... I only have this in a size MEDIUM. So... be aware that if you win, that is the size that you will get. If it doesn't fit YOU, maybe one of your super awesome running buddies has always wanted to try one!

How can you win this incredibly fabulous top?? Well... THREE WAYS TO ENTER:

1. Follow my blog (required), thank you :D (If you already follow, remind me please in a comment)
2. Follow YMX on twitter @WearYMX ***and*** tweet a link to this blog post on your feed. Be sure to copy me so I see it ( @squirrelgirl44 )
3. Visit their website and tell me what your favorite shirt is!

The nitty gritty
1. No purchase necessary to win.
2. As much as I love all my bloggy friends, I will only send this to contiguous 48 states since I'm footing the bill for shipping.
3. Blah, blah, blah & yadda, yadda, yadda.

I'll randomly pick a winner via RNG next Friday, February 24. Let's say noon-ish MST.

(I'm going to add that this is obviously not required of anyone, but if the winner adores their top as much as I do, please #spreadthelove about YMX. They would obviously benefit from the respected opinions of other awesome runners).

GOOD LUCK!!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

What's to LOVE About Running??

Happy Valentine's Day!!

Well, in honor of the lovey dovey holiday of Valentine's Day. The things I love about running:

1. The crazy people I have met because of it. I heart the internet and I heart my frunner friends!!

OZ half marathon with L and B
Post DC half marathon with friends I met in Greece
SoCal Ragnar Team 2012!
Team Badass at Tinker Bell half
2. The clothes! (Look what I got today!)

I have tried the LuluAid. And it's fabulous.
Neon NEON orange shirt and jacket? Thanks J! xoxo
3. I like the "alone" time of running. Even if I am running with someone else, I still find I can empty my head a bit. And I like that.

4. The glory!

Vegas half 2010
Tinker Bell half 2012
5. THE BLING:

Lost Dutchman Marathon 2011
Great Wall of China Marathon 2011
6. The challenge. I find a lot of things in life either boring, easy, or easy enough to fake. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS FAKING IN RUNNING. Think you can half-ass train a 50 miler? No. You can't. I like that there is constantly something to strive for. When will I hit my ceiling? I have no clue. I'm crazy like that.

**As an aside**

In a little over two weeks I will have my first DNS. I had been putting off purchasing airfare for RnR NoLA because it was expensive. Well, heads up. It never got any cheaper over the last year. Everyone else booked their airfare weeks ago, and now if I were to try and book the same flights I'm seriously looking at close to $400. That's crazy. So, yes, I have my financial limits. I'm totally bummed because now I'll be a state short of my goal, but man. I cannot justify that much money for a 24 hour turnaround.

Week in Review (April 18 - April 24)

Tuesday  (11,878 steps) - Barre at lunch with Laura. Skipped my scheduled miles. Wednesday  (17,863 steps) - Denver run club! Mo has been...