Thursday, May 31, 2012

May Rewind

Miles Run - 132.72
Races Run - 5 (3 half marathons, 2 marathons)
PR's Set - Zero. Although I ran 2 of my slowest marathons.
Minutes of Plank - 84 (Missed LOTS of days)


Racing is helping me keep a good base. I am having a lot of trouble getting regular miles in during the week. Transitioning back to full time work is taking a toll on me. I really want to get back into "ultra" training mode.


Next race is my Inca Trail marathon. I leave tomorrow for Peru and the race is on the 6th. I put down my initial deposit back in August, 2010. I am ridiculously excited.


Also, I have been putting on some weight lately. I know it is from not changing my eating, but having my miles pretty much cut in half. Cutting out excess and sugars. I think maybe it is helping, I just need to be more consistent.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

(Mostly) Wordless Wednesday


Tonight we ran two miles together at the Runners Roost group run. Tomorrow, she is leaving after her graduation for five weeks to visit her dad. Sad face.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Wyoming Marathon (Race Recap)

Sunday, May 27
Marathon #9
State #4
Laramie, WY
Weather - Extremely windy, chilly, sunny

Normally I would input the race's logo here. This race does not have one. That should give you a bit of insight into the Wyoming Marathon. Anyway. Rewind.

Last year, I registered for the Edinburgh marathon in Scotland. About 4 months ago, I decided I would have to back out of the race because airfare NEVER got any cheaper. So, originally, I had been planning on running THAT race over Memorial Day weekend. As time went on, I was pretty hesitant to add another race to my schedule - what with the high miles I put in training for Moab, and then the blah and lack of training AFTER Moab. However. Grand Valley had gone pretty well, and I wanted some last minute training (altitude and hills) for the Incan Trail marathon... which is only a few weeks away! So I registered for this race only TEN days in advance. Madness.

When I first started talking about this race, L and Ruth were thinking of coming (to run the half). L ended up not being able to get a babysitter and Ruth forgot to register before online registration closed. So I was headed to Laramie to race alone. J offered to come up with A, so we headed out about 7:30 the night before. Even on the drive up it was impossible to miss how WINDY the drive was, especially along I80 - which is where a lot of the course would shadow. We checked into our hotel around 10:30 pm. I pretty much went to bed right away. With a 6 am start time and needing to get my packet still, 4:50 was the wake up time.

Race Day


Apparently I was the only one that slept well. The wind was very loud all night and J and Chopper were up most of the night. Sorry! I had to pack up all my stuff since I wouldn't have time to come back before check out. We headed out the door at 5:15 for the 15 minute drive to the rest area where the race was headquartered. Yes. You heard me right. Rest area. As in, right off the highway.

We pulled in by the rest area where I assumed packets would be. They weren't there and I was told they were at the start line - which was about a 1/4 mile up the hill. J drove me up there, and I waited in line. At the camper (you can see it in the far right of my start line picture). I got my bib and my t-shirt (apparently they use the exact same shirt and medal every year - for $40 I cannot complain).

I then had J drive me back to the bathroom so I could use the REAL bathrooms and fill the bladder of my hydration vest. By the time I was done with that and J took me back to the start line, it was literally less than 5 minutes to the start line. I got out of the car, headed to the back of the pack.

Start Line - This is a all the 1/2, full, and double full marathon runners
There was no gun, there was a flour line in the dirt where we started. I'll go ahead and post the elevation profile now so you can see what I'm talking about:


I was expecting a fairly "easy" first half and a horrible/awful/no good/very bad second half. I didn't want to tire myself out, and the wind was HORRIFYINGLY cold. 95% of the time I run in a tank and skirt. For this race I was wearing my Marathon Maniacs t-shirt, Asics arm sleeves AND an Under Armour jacket. Not to mention ear warmers and gloves. I was still just wearing a Lululemon skirt though. I did comment more than once that I almost wished I had worn pants. Just to give some perspective, it was really THAT cold. The aid stations were supposedly every four miles apart. I wanted to run the whole first half (minus aid stations). If it wouldn't have been so damn windy, I would have enjoyed the course more.



The first aid station was just over 4 miles in. There was no gatorade. There WAS gatorade powder. Having never made my own gatorade, I asked the volunteer how much I should use for my 8 oz handheld. I was told "not that much." I didn't want to spend a whole lot of time on it, so I think I ended up making it too weak. I grabbed a handful of M&Ms and headed out.

First aid station!

Aspen trees
I'll try to keep my complaining about the cold and the wind to a minimum. The first four miles had gone really well. About mile 5.5, there was a decent sized hill, and I walked for the first time. So did just about everyone else. We also had left the "protection" of the trees. We had entered an area that was WIDE open, and the wind was coming from pretty much every angle. Or so it felt. Except from the back. I have never experienced such crazy wind! Rumor has it that over the course of the morning, gusts were averaging mid 30s and peaked in the low 70s. I don't know that for sure, but I believe it. The half marathon turn around was not an aid station, just a small gallon of water and a trash bag. I dumped my GU trash and headed out.

The next three miles were on the paved frontage road of I80.


This was the second best feeling part of the race for me, and I ran the entire section from roughly mile 7-10. Aid stations were supposed to be 4 miles apart, so I kept waiting, and waiting, and waiting... Finally when we turned off the paved road at mile TEN, there was an aid station. I asked if there were any bathrooms on the course. Volunteer says no. Uh. That is really sucky. An entire marathon with NO bathrooms? Made my gatorade, took some M&Ms and headed out - just in time for the lead marathon runner to be heading past. 10K ahead of me. Ha.

This section was back on dirt roads. Another mile in and I can't hold it anymore. I find a rock... We are running through another tree/rocky area. There are a lot of people camping. The wind actually seems to be at my back, and with the slight downhill, I'm feeling pretty good at this point. I finally warm up a bit and take off my jacket around mile 12.4 and tie it around my waist. Leave on the sleeves and gloves though. Hurrah to be at the halfway point!

Marathon turn around
Same deal with gatorade and candy, then head back, after putting my jacket into my hydration vest. Already leaving the aid station, and I come across the first hill of the second half:


As you could see from the elevation profile, the entire second half is uphill (except about a 1-1.5 mile section between maybe mile 19.5 and 21). The course was REALLY pretty. But again, the WIND made it really hard to enjoy. I walked a TON the second half. In addition to the inclines, it is really difficult to run against the wind. It's also hard to breathe at 8000+ elevation in extreme wind. So I did some sort of run walk (with more jogging and walking than running) and took a lot of pictures.





My the time I got to mile 15, the two miles of hills had already taken a toll on me. I was exhausted. Middle aid station and I filled up and headed back to the three miles of paved roads. This section the wind was coming from the north (and we were running west?). To describe how windy it was - while I was running, my leg that was off the ground would get pushed by the wind into my leg that was on the ground, nearly knocking me down. Just messing with my form so I didn't trip myself took a TON of energy. I ran probably 1/2 of this section overall. I passed a few people, but I wasn't really feeling good. Had there been no wind, this section would have been cake. Cross back under I80 and head into last 6.55 of the course. Half marathon turnaround is gone, and I get to enjoy the ONLY downhill section of the second half.




My best guess was that the last four miles would be the worst. Around mile 21.5 I finally warmed up a bit and took off my sleeves, gloves and ear warmers and put them in my bag. Almost everyone was walking these sections of the course. I had a mini goal of going sub 5:30 on this course, so I still tried to run sections when possible. Even "speed walking" against the wind and I was getting close to 18 minute miles (normally should be 14-15 minute miles). Chatted with some Marathon Maniacs about this years New Years Double and then I took off. Just over 3 miles to go in 45 minutes... I'd have to run some of it. Took more pictures too.




Hills at the end of the course are the worst.
Giant hill - 1 mile to go

Giant hill - 1/2 mile to go
With a half mile to go, I have 10 minutes to meet my time goal. I am still walking and I don't care. I have had enough of the wind. My shoes are full of gravel/dirt and the hills are SO HARD to walk. In addition to the wind, the road is very graded, so it is not even flat to run on. I should have taken a picture of the last hill leading up to the finish line... but I was over it. I jogged the last... 50 feet maybe and ran through the "chute." First race ever where there were no bananas. There were packaged muffins, danish and cinnamon rolls. Even better. I grabbed a cinnamon roll and a gatorade and headed immediately to the car.

Crossing the line - A is right behind me (notice the volunteer in ski hat & jacket)
Holy. Crap.

Bib #158
Official Time - 5:27:53
Overall Place - 43/76
Gender Place - 15/29
Garmin Time - 5:27:39
Garmin Distance - 26.14 miles
Garmin Pace - 12:32
Mile 1 - 10:43
Mile 2 - 10:38
Mile 3 - 10:53
Mile 4 - 10:57
Mile 5 - 12:39
Mile 6 - 14:05
Mile 7 - 14:12
Mile 8 - 10:46
Mile 9 - 10:31
Mile 10 - 11:32
Mile 11 - 12:22 ("bathroom")
Mile 12 - 10:39
Mile 13 - 10:17
Mile 14 - 15:26
Mile 15 - 13:48
Mile 16 - 14:37
Mile 17 - 14:20
Mile 18 - 11:42
Mile 19 - 12:38
Mile 20 - 12:04
Mile 21 - 10:51
Mile 22 - 13:41
Mile 23 - 13:54
Mile 24 - 13:43
Mile 25 - 14:00
Mile 26 - 14:34
Mile 25.14 - 16:10 (haaaaaaa)



Post race pictures by the super awesome Lincoln Memorial. (This is a REST AREA...)

Lincoln Monument 

Then I immediately went to the bathroom and changed into my Aspaeris magic pants and street clothes. No time to shower. Again. Then we headed back down to Denver, stopping at Wendy's for lunch. I had a baconator. A double baconator. The "double" was not intentional, I think the guy was new and just screwed up. Anyway. Thoughts on this race.

Bad:

  • Their website is hosted by Angelfire. Lots of pop up ads and some browsers will not even open the site.
  • Very little information on their page.
  • Misleading that aid stations are 4 miles apart. 4 to 10 is NOT 4 miles, no matter what type of math you are doing.
  • THE DAMN WIND. Apparently it is ALWAYS windy for this, so keep that in mind. Also, wear more than you think you should. This wind is "take your breath away, chill you to the bone" cold at times.
Good:
  • One of the least expensive races I've ever run. Everything I needed at an aid station, plus extras (like chips and candy and granola bars that you normally wouldn't see unless you were running an ultra).
  • "Green" - no cups, no litter
  • Ok shirt, unique medal
  • Beautiful GORGEOUS scenery.
  • Challenging terrain. Yes, I list this as a "good" part of the course.
By no stretch of the imagination was this an easy course. Since I had no real goals going into it, I was not disappointed. Just wish it wouldn't have been so windy! (How many times did I mention wind even though I said I wouldn't??)

Sunday, May 27, 2012

24 hours of awesome!

A is leaving next week for a month in Texas with her dad. With the holiday weekend, it's the perfect time (and FINALLY) some decent weather to do some fun stuff. Here's what we crammed into 24 hours:

Amusement Park

Bumper Cars
A with two friends from Girl Scouts
Roller coaster!
Carousel
Group Run - I have been racing so much I haven't been able to go to the Runner's Roost group runs since April. This time I brought A, and we ran together for 2 miles:



"Hike" - A was a bit tired after the run, but wanted to go for a hike. I took her on a gravel trail I've run a few times. We walked a few miles before she got tired.




Pool - Our morning exhausted her, so she took a two hour nap. Then we were off to the pool. First weekend of the season it was open! I apparently took no pictures other than this random one of a super crazy curly hair on her head. I know. I'm weird.


All in all, it was a great day. We had a nice dinner at Applebee's, and then we drove up (with J and Chopper) to Laramie, WY for the Wyoming marathon - race recap coming soon.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

(Mostly) Wordless Wednesday

This one's for you LJ...


I had never actually TRIED a Larabar. L tried one and didn't like it, so I assumed I wouldn't. Well. I'm reducing sugars and other unnecessary junk from my food, and tried the Key Lime Pie today. OMG. Delicious. So... no more free larabars for you!!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Superhero Half Marathon (Race Recap)

Sunday, May 20
Morristown, NJ
Half Marathon #62
State #48
Weather - Sunny and hot


Left with very few choices when it came to a New Jersey race, we managed to come across this smaller race, heading into its third year. The superhero half marathon? How could we not?? This was a race we were REALLY looking forward to. My original outfit was picked out before Halloween. So yes, we planned REALLY far in advance for this one. We settled on Wonder Woman "costumes" and had everything completely planned more than 6 months in advance. As we got closer to the date, we somehow managed to talk Elizabeth into joining us (YAY).

We arrived at the airport with barely enough time to catch our flight. Until we realized it was delayed 25 minutes. Sigh. Without going into too much detail, it was a pretty annoying flight. I managed to doze off for an hour, which should have made the flight go faster. Only it didn't, because this was like a party bus only NOT FUN. LOUDEST FLIGHT OF MY LIFE. There were kids jumping on seats and screaming. The seat belt light was on and yet half the plane was wandering around. So annoying. We landed and then... no gate available. We were stuck on the tarmac for 30 minutes. Those out of control kids? STILL LOUD. STILL JUMPING ON SEATS. Something is WRONG with those parents.

By the time we get off the plane, poor Elizabeth has already been at the airport for an hour and a half. She had gone ahead and rented the car to save us some time, so we headed right out. We were staying only about 15 minutes from the airport, and we actually didn't get lost. We managed to stumble upon an Applebees on our way there. Coincidence?? I enjoyed my blackened chicken penne, spicy queso, and a chocolate mousse shooter. Delicious. While trying to find somewhere to buy some bottled water, we found a Target. Which happened to be in the same parking lot as our hotel. Again, coincidence? We picked up fluids and Elizabeth got some bagels for the morning, and around 7:00 we went to Ramada to check in.

Even though we made our reservations in December for a room with two queen beds, they were "out." And when L tried to show the guy our reservation confirmation, he just argued with her. Me, being confrontational by nature, asks HOW DO YOU GIVE AWAY A PAID RESERVATION? Only to be told, "I'm not helping YOU." I guess I really irritate people. But really, we paid for this SIX MONTHS AGO. Anyway, I suggest two singles for what we had already paid. Done deal. We head upstairs to get settled, then Elizabeth came over to our room to chat until bed. I love talking running with fellow bloggers/friends. So fun. Before we know it, it is 10:00, and it's time for bed.

Race Day


The race started late (8:30???), so we were able to sleep in until 6:30. I woke up before 6 by the sun and was SURE we had overslept. I was shocked that I still had 45 minutes to sleep. We got ready, headed out, and drove the 15 minutes to the race start. The lots were already getting full, so we parked illegally on the road long enough to get our bibs and commemorative capes. You read that right. A cape. In addition to the most awesome themed race ever, we were attempting to get into the "Guiness Book of World Records" for the most superheroes in one place at one time. So if you were too lazy to get a costume, you could get by with the race cape. Who should we run into while getting our bibs? Rose!! My friend from Greece that we ran with in DC and Baltimore. The only annoying thing about the race was that the race shirts were "first come first serve." They started packet pick up a WEEK ago, and us being from out of state, there was nothing smaller than a men's medium by the time we got there. Again, not sure why we pay and register SIX months in advance if we can't get what we ordered. Anyway. We ran our stuff back to the car, then had to re-park up the street so we wouldn't get a ticket.

We had about an hour until the race started. Most of that was using the bathroom and taking TONS of pictures and looking at all the awesome costumes. As well as wondering what was wrong with the people that were NOT wearing costumes. Not sure why anyone would pick this particular race if they didn't want to partake in the fun.

L, Elizabeth, Me, Rose, Liz
L, Elizabeth, Me
L and I were going to make one last trip to the bathroom, but the lines were way too long. We headed over to the start about 10 minutes early and stood there chatting. We were somewhere in the middle of tons of people:


The race starts and I realize I did NOT start my watch. Crap. By the time I got signal, we were pretty much the last people across the line. Seriously. The course is a double loop and thankfully, much more of it was in the shade than we expected. L had misplaced her iPod, and I offered to join her in silence. My first music-free race EVER. The first mile or so was through a nice residential area.


Batman looked HOT. FULL costume included fake muscles
Around mile 1.8, we entered a really pretty wooded area. The paved bike path was only wide enough for about 3 runners at a time. Turns out that most people running this race were running with other people, and it was congested and crowded and pretty much impossible to pass people. It was almost warmer in this section even though it was shaded because there was pretty much no air movement.


Capes everywhere!
We exited the trail somewhere after mile 3, then we were on the hottest part of the course. No shade at all! Just before we got to mile 4, there was a HUGE hill. L and I were determined to run up it. Most people were walking, even this early in the race. Our reward at the top was an aid station. YAY! We had a flat, slight downhill section, then another decent hill heading toward mile 5. Right before the last aid station there was another pretty steep incline, but it was shorter, and again, a nice aid station at the top.

Annoying thing during this section was the woman with a double stroller that was running. One of the very adamant rules was NO STROLLERS. We called her out on it, and she gave the response was "at the last minute I couldn't get a babysitter." I'm sorry. You just don't run then. This was not the widest course, especially the bike path section. I'll admit, she was a badass, but she should have been disqualified. Anyway. We headed back towards where we started in order to begin our second loop.

I was getting pretty hot by now. As awesome as we looked, the shirts are made out of COTTON and did not breathe at all. SO HOT! The course had thinned out quite a bit, and thankfully, it was not nearly as crowded when we entered the bike path the next time. The huge hill was much harder the second time around, but we still did not walk. I got some obnoxious leg cramps after mile 10, but thankfully the downhill fixed it a bit and I didn't have to walk. The stupid woman with the double stroller passed us again(!!) and as much as I wanted to, we weren't fast enough to catch her.

I felt AWESOME the last mile. For once, finally, it felt easy and fun. We spent a while deciding if we were going to do an awesome finishing move. It was more crowded than we expected heading into the finish line, so we decided to just do a leap instead of a cartwheel or jump.

We crossed the line, then grabbed some water before looking for Elizabeth. She had run an awesome race, finishing in around 1:49. Superhero, for sure! We walked back to the car, unable to wait for Rose and Liz to finish because we had to drive back to our hotel, shower, and check out by noon.

Bib #1113
Official Time - 2:14:00
Official Pace - 10:23
Overall Place - 796/1237
Gender Place - 422/730
Divison Place - 137/231
Garmin Time - 2:13:58
Garmin Distance - 13.24 miles
Garmin Pace - 10:07
Mile 1 - 9:20
Mile 2 - 9:58
Mile 3 - 10:05
Mile 4 - 10:46
Mile 5 - 10:17
Mile 6 - 10:01
Mile 7 - 10:02
Mile 8 - 9:54
Mile 9 - 10:18
Mile 10 - 9:55
Mile 11 - 11:11 (11 in 11:11? What are the odds??)
Mile 12 - 10:29
Mile 13 - 9:32
Mile 13.1ish - 8:53

Me and Elizabeth - even our socks have capes!
Finisher ensemble!

We checked out about a minute late, then headed to Smashburger for our post-race burger. It was DELICIOUS.

I should probably admit that I was wearing the cape. I mean, I normally wear the race shirt, but it was so big and frumpy, so I didn't want to. The cape was FUN. And Elizabeth and L were good sports about not being embarrassed. Someone did come up to me and congratulate me on running. Ha.


Elizabeth's flight was a few hours before ours, but we didn't see the point in making two trips, so we decided to just all go together. We were leaving out of different terminals, so we said our goodbyes shortly after dropping off the rental car.

After getting our boarding pass, we realize our flight has already been delayed. Annoying. By the time we get on the plane and get off the ground (we finally depart the gate and there are more than a dozen planes ahead of us), we are an HOUR late.

While playing around on my phone, I see results are already up for the race. Only I can't find mine... I can find Elizabeth's. And L's. But not mine. I send a quick email to the race director, giving my bib number, and saying I started and finished with L, and how could I get an official time? Then I realize:


Yep. I'm an idiot. In the chaos of parking and everything, I put on the WRONG shoe tag. You know, the one with instructions and NOT a timing chip. D'oh. Luckily, I was emailed this morning that they found me in the "back-up" timing system (I'm assuming via finisher picture) and I was given an official time. Lesson learned. 60+ races later and I am *still* not a professional. Oops.

Thoughts on this race:
  • 8:30 is WAY too late a start time. At least an hour earlier would have been fantastic.
  • I think the first come, first serve policy on picking up shirts is ridiculous. If you order based on what people register with, why are those shirts not "saved" for people? This irritates me.
  • The cape was way cool, and only $10. I wore it up until I got on the plane. (True)
  • Aid stations were spaced well, but gatorade at the halfway point would have been great.
  • Crowd support was decent - where the course was accessible.
  • SUPER FUN. I love a themed race. I don't care that I was wearing the hottest shirt in the universe, it was so fun to run in, and it was fun to watch everyone else in their costumes too.
  • Not crazy about the post-race festivities - gatorade and bottled water instead of little cups would have been nice.
  • Enforce the no stroller policy. Way too crowded for strollers.
  • The course is really nice. I barely noticed I didn't have my music.
Overall, this was a great race. I would definitely recommend it!

Week in Review (September 5 - September 11)

Tuesday  (8,856 steps) - Barre with Sasha.  Wednesday  (15,025 steps) - Lakewood Trail Series race 1! We arrived with almost a half hour ...