Friday, September 30, 2011

September Stats (Rewind)

Miles Run - 157.56. My highest mileage month of the year!! Obviously almost a third of that is from my 50 miler. I really do like the RLRF program, even IF it isn't actually making me faster. I think it IS making me stronger.
Races Run - 6 (1 50 miler!, 1 20 miler, 2 half marathons, 3 5ks)
PR's Set - TWO!! Of course my first 50 mile and 20 mile races were PRs since I've never run that distance before.
Minutes of Plank - 120. Yes, I spent TWO HOURS the month of September doing planks. I think I'll stick with 4 minute sessions for next month. It's still tough the last 45 seconds.

October is going to be a CRAZY month:

So yeah. There's that. LotsAndLots of running. But. The good news is that today I was able to run for 3.76 miles without my legs giving out. Do not feel anywhere close to 100%, but feel pretty recovered from my 50 miler. Woot!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Three Things Thursday

You know how after a race you kind of get in a funk? Well. Here is apparently what I do. (Keep in mind, I've run 1/4 mile since my 50 miler).

1. Spinx Runfest Half Marathon - October 29

2. Big Hit Half Marathon - October 30

3. New Years Double - December 31 & January 1

I plan on doing my own "Goofy" - I'm registered to run the 1/2 on New Years Eve and the full on New Years Day.

4. (Bonus) - I am seriously SERIOUSLY considering signing up for a 100 miler in Moab. Someone stop me. Please. I'm going off the deep end :)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

It's been three days. I put on a cute outfit. I tried to run. 3 minutes later I stopped. Guess 50 miles takes longer to recover from than I thought.

PS. I liked the skirt so much I wore it all day. I at least changed my shirt though.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Bear Chase Trail Run 50 Miler (Race Recap)

Lakewood, CO
Sunday, September 25
Ultra Marathon #2
Weather - SUNNY, very slight breeze in the morning, cool temps at start, HOT (mid 80s) at the end

"Never Say Never" - Justin Bieber

**Warning. Super duper long.**

I'm not sure WHAT I was thinking when I signed up for the Bear Chase 50 mile trail race. I mean. I sorta read the website. I sorta glanced at the elevation profile:

I sorta looked at the course profile. I mean. I should have realized what I was doing. But. I often do things without REALLY thinking about it. So. I registered. And other than building my mileage base a teeny tiny bit (I started the RLRF marathon program at the beginning of August), I didn't do ANY specific training. No trail running. No runs longer than 20 miles. And yet. I found myself waking up at 4:50 am on a Sunday morning and heading out to the lake to run FIFTY MILES. Seems unbelievable. I hadn't even been really THAT stressed out about it. Which seems weird. I mean, I remember how worried I was for my first marathon. And my first 50k. But this? I mean, it was just too insane to even think about.

So we left the house at 5:10 am, for the 25-30 minute drive to the lake. We get there in plenty of time, especially since we ended up being able to park like 50 feet from the start/finish area. SCORE!! It was still SUPER dark. A bit windy and chilly, but since it was still dark, we knew it was going to warm up.

Fifteen minutes until the start
We sat in the car and waited until about 6:05 before using the bathroom. Using the port-o-potty in the dark is TERRIFYING. By the time we got back to the car we had to apply our sunscreen and get our drop bags ready. I still wasn't freaking out. Have I mentioned that 50 miles is just not even comprehensible?? We drop our bags, L makes another bathroom stop. And then, we barely have enough time for a few pictures:

Still pretty dark!
We started back of the pack
So. How do you mentally prepare to toe the line of a FIFTY MILE RUN??? Well. You just go... I wanted to start in the back, mainly to pace myself well. I mean, for 50 miles, I do NOT want to tire myself out.

Yes, that is Marshall Ulrich in green. He only did three loops...
We were pretty much in the VERY back, but we settled into a pretty decent pace, following 4-5 other runners. The course was pretty well marked, but if you weren't paying attention, there WERE lots of splits in the course. So it was even more important in the beginning that we were following other runners.

Miles 1-3.2 (36:46)

The course is really nice. Shaded, wide and beaten down trails. This is going to be nice later in the afternoon when it starts to heat up. Even though L and I were running "together," there is a lot of single track, so we can't run side by side. Pretty uneventful first few miles. Feeling good.

Look how clean my shoes still are!

Miles 3.2-7.8 (55:18)

First lap there is only fluid at the aid station. No big deal. The course is "green" so since I only have one small bottle on my belt so I had purchased a hydrapouch for my electrolyte drink. This thing was AMAZING. I am notorious for messing with my belt and it just clipped right on and I swear I never even noticed it was there. Grabbed my drinks and off we went. So. Where is this major elevation change? A few ups and downs, but we haven't encountered anything yet. Not too long after we get passed by the super fast 50k'ers. This was tough, on the single track we had to jump off the path. One girl fell... I stopped to make sure she was ok, she said she was. And off we went. We leave the nice tree covered path and enter the first of the barren wasteland... We see a ginormous mountain. And what looks to be... people on it. Yep. There it is... We run to the base and then we are walking. It is steep. The insane super crazy fast people waste their energy and run up it, we walk. Some conversation with a random guy who has also run Greenland. We agree this section of the course is similar to the crazy hairpin uphill around the 4 mile mark of Greenland. We make it to the top... and REALLY narrow & rocky single track with a slight downhill. Literally you would fall down the side of the mountain with one wrong move. Hard to go fast. Get to the base and and we enter a tree covered area by the golf course. I misread the sign about the river crossing. (This is when reading course profiles might be helpful. The sign said "Three River Crossings" - I read it as "Three Rivers Crossing") There is a nice cool breeze I would describe as "cave wind." We run by the golf course, up a small incline and then down a steep, wide, rocky decline. We then arrive at the river crossing. At the time I thought it was THE river crossing, turns out it was the FIRST river crossing. Deeper than we thought:

Toward the middle it was upper calf deep
Squish, squish. We are in another wooded area, wider path. Then we come across a second river crossing. Huh. That was unexpected. This one was not as deep. 

Crossing #2

More running through the woods, a pretty muddy section and then... ANOTHER river crossing. I'd argue the third was the deepest. 

Crossing #3

We come out of the water, a short run and then hairpin turn onto pretty much the only paved section of the course. Golf course on the left, houses on the right. Jog all the way up to the second aid station at Fox Hollow.

Miles 7.8-10.1 (31:47)

Use the port-o-potty. It is placed on a hill and I almost fall in. Terrifying. Dump the sand/gravel out of my shoes. Use some hand sanitizer and grab a handful of skittles (oops, thought they were M&Ms and a pretzel, refill my bottle and head out. A wide open space of skinny single track. One pretty big hill fairly close to the aid station, and then lots of little uphills and rocky downhills. The downhills are really hard, I feel like my ankle keeps rolling. Then along a creek and I'm running off to the side of the trail, discovering it is easier to run in the longer grass. Keeping a good pace.

Go around the bend and see a skinny trail along the road and the next aid station.

Mile 10.1-12.5 (29:58)

Grab more food and fluids and then head out, we cannot believe we have only covered 10 miles. This is insanity. We are still with a decent sized group of people and then we make a 180 and see... YET.ANOTHER.HILL. Blech!!! This hill is steep. No attempt at jogging/running up this. And of course... what goes up, must come down. Skinny, rutted single track down the back side. Through a wide open barren wasteland, another 180 turn, down a wider trail. Back up (again), and then a turn, across a footpath and a few zig zags. Gradual downhill, and then... we are at the street! HUGE downhill, around the parking lot, past the boat ramp, through the parking lot and athlete village and...

I think I'm saying, holy crap, we are only done with ONE??
...we cross the line for loop #1.

Loop 1 - 2:33:43

Mile 12.5-15.7 (40:01)

Stop at the bag drop. Grab more gels and a new piece of gum. Reapply sunscreen. Get more food/fuel, and then off we go. We are pretty much alone this time around. We start running, and after a few minutes, we wonder if we went the right way... We come across the right path, but yeah, we went the long way. Oops. L starts running a bit faster.

I stop to take a quick picture, and by then L is really too far ahead. I can't comfortably chase her on the trail. She is not turning around to make sure I'm behind her. She waits for me at the aid station, where yadda yadda, we refuel.

Mile 15.7-20.3 (59:45)

The course is not closed and there are other people out and about. I come across some horses (yes, horses) and then turn a corner and she is gone. She is so far ahead of me that I can't see her :( I keep going, but at a comfortable pace. I use this time to make sure I get a shot of the mountain that we have to run up:

See it in the distance? I promise, it's huge. Probably two minutes after I take this picture I trip over a loose rock and fall. Into horse shit. Yeah. Not something I ever thought I would say mid race. Sucks even worse because I don't want to contaminate any of my stuff. So no water, no wiping the sweat off my face. Just grumbling about how dirty and smelly and gross I am now. And I'm not even halfway through the second loop...

Flat barren part of the loop right before we head up the mountain, and there is this sign. I find it amusing:

I see L coming up from the middle of the base headed toward the mountain. Turns out she started chasing some random people out for a morning run and went the wrong way. Oops.

Head up the mountain AGAIN and take this shot of the lake:

Notice that there is not ONE cloud in the sky? Yeah. It was HOT. So we struggle up the hill, scary single track along the side of the mountain and back down again.

I have like 4 pictures along this section but I'm not heel striking in this one...
Get to the sign announcing the riverS crossing and no cool "cave wind" this time. Boo. The river crossings were even BETTER this time around. Got to clean up my arm and legs from some of the dirt and horse shit. Exit the woods, head back up the paved path and arrive at Fox Hollow.

Miles 20.3-22.6 (36:27)

Use the bathroom again. Almost fall in again. Dump the sand/gravel out of my shoes again. Refuel again. (Sensing a pattern?) Off we go... it's getting INSANELY hot. Melting. Still some people on the trail. Hot. Tired. Feeling ok, but man, this is taking forever. If I could actually look off the path without fear of tripping and falling, it would be a nice view:

Mile 22.6-25 (34:12)

L stops to use the bathroom, I refuel and hang out to wait for her. A guy sits down on the medical cot and says he is quitting. I think he is joking, he was ahead of us. Nope, he is not kidding, he is done. The volunteers have already arranged for him to take the short cut back to the start. Hmmm. We walk off together and are still with a small group of runners. Up that other stupid gigantic hill. Scary, skinny, painful single track down the backside. Hot, hot, hot through the barren wasteland. Up that hill, around the corner, across the bridge, yadda, yadda, yadda... L runs off ahead of me, I can't/won't chase her.

But look! Still smiling after 25 miles!
Cross the line, still feel... as good as can be expected.

Loop 2 - 2:50:21

Halfway done
Miles 25-28.2 (45:24)

Grab more gels. Grab new gum. Reapply sunscreen. Refuel. Blah blah blah. Start off again. Yep, we had taken a wrong turn the last loop. We laugh about how we got confused. Course is pretty well marked, we should have been paying more attention. We run past a group of cyclists waiting on a picnic bench. They are trying to be inspirational telling us we have already run a marathon so we are halfway there. Yeah, yeah. Best part was the little toddler with them. The kid kept yelling "you guys are nuts!" Hilarious. L stops to use the bathroom. I tell her I'll keep going (walking) and she can catch up. I use the opportunity to "tweet" for the first time ever in a race...

There are a group of people ahead of us. Wow. We thought we were alone on the course. Yay for people!!

Still appreciating the scenery. Sort of. It's shaded but the sun is coming through the trees and it is DAMN HOT. Roasting. L is running ahead of me again a bit. Where on earth is she getting all this energy? I'm tired. Two of the women in front of us stop to use the bathroom. I have a little bit left in me, so I'm determined to run as fast/far as I can while still in the shade.

Trees on one side, empty space on the other... I kept expecting some of the 3-4 people we passed to come running past us, but it never happened. Caught up to a girl "jogging" (more like walking with jogging arms), and passed her right before the Pelican Point aid station.

Miles 28.2-32.8 (1:10:29)

By the time we are refueling the "jogging" girl is coming up. She tries to cut a corner around the aid station. They make her turn around and go around. Heh. I ask what time the cutoff is to start the last loop. They say they don't know. Off we go. Woman chases us down to tell us it's 3:00. O.M.G... is this EVER going to end? I'm so tired. HOW ARE WE GOING TO MAKE THE CUTOFF? WE ARE GETTING SLOWER. L still running ahead of me a bit. Not fast enough so I can't stay with her. Through the last of the wooded area, back in the barren, to the base of the stupid, stupid, huge mountain. !!!!! Up we (slowly) go. Another first. I send super whiny texts to J about how tired I am. By the time we get to the top, start jogging, we are getting passed by more of the 50 milers. Hard to jump out of the way with a cliff on one side and a mountain on the other. HOT. Run out of water this loop. SO THIRSTY.

Come to the river crossings. Man. This is awesome. I love these. Exit the wooded area, take off my shoes halfway up the path. My feet feel AWESOME with no shoes on. I decide to walk in just my socks until the Fox Hollow station.

Miles 32.8-35.1 (32:12)

I have to sit on the cot to put on my shoes. They seem concerned. I ask what happens if we don't make the cutoff. Told that if we don't cross the line by 3 we will be pulled off the course. OMG. NO WAY. I HAVE NOT BEEN RUNNING ALL DAY TO GET PULLED OFF THE COURSE. I suck it up and start to run. L is struggling. She tells me her knee pain is back and that it feels like it is going to explode. I tell her we have like 57 minutes to go or we will have done this all in vain, and what does she want to do. She wants to keep going. So we keep going... as best we can. By the way, the song "Friday" by Rebecca Black is an AWESOME race song (although I have the Glee version). Totally pumped me up.

It is at LEAST a billion degrees out. Maybe more. I have never been so hot and thirsty and tired in my life. Super super super super SUPER happy to see the next aid station.

Miles 35.1-37.5 (32:38)

The volunteers are super nice at the aid station. I am super grumpy because I don't think we have enough time to get back to the start. They cheer us on and tell us they "know we can do it." Annoyed. Refuel and head out. Stupid hill, skinny single track, 180, wider trail. We come across two men that are STRUGGLING. One is sorta trying to jog, the other has literally given up. He is stopping after the 3rd lap. I'm disoriented, have no clue how far until the start area. We have 12 minutes. J is texting asking if we have made it to the start area yet. Do not respond. Irritated. Volunteers from the last aid station come by on a bike and tell us we can do it, we have a mile to go.

WTH. I can't run a 10 minute mile right now!! I'm about ready to cry. I cannot believe we are not going to make it. Screaming. Then, all of a sudden I see the street. I have never been so happy. Come down the bottom of the street and start heading toward the boat ramp... and J jumps out. OMG! He has never come to a race! Gives me the boost I need (and a kiss) and off I go. We cross with literally, less than 5 minutes to spare.

Loop 3 - 3:00:45

3/4 of the way done... barely made the cutoff!
Miles 37.5-40.7 (58:40)

Immediately mixed feelings. I mean, I would have been pissed if I would have missed the cutoff. But I'm so tired and now I still have another loop to go. Grab GU, gum, cake Icy Hot on my thighs, apply MORE sunscreen. Refuel, and we walk off... Literally, we are walking. My legs hurt SO freaking bad. Unsure I will ever be able to run another step. We probably walked about a mile. Try to jog here and there, make it maybe a tenth of a mile and then stop again. How are we going to do this??? The best part of the last loop is commenting on how "this is the last time I will see you ____." insert TONS of profanity. I was kind of looking forward to the aid station more than usual because L's boyfriend had volunteered. We hadn't gotten a picture of the two of us yet, and I was going to have him take one.

Realize that just keeping moving isn't going to be enough. We can't even walk a pace fast enough to finish in 3.5 hours. Running by now is literally torture. My legs ache. No one is behind us. We are pretty sure we are the last ones that made the cutoff. Blech. Do not see L's boyfriend at the aid station.

Miles 40.7-45.3 (1:14:43)

Cannot take any more of this heat. I think I am going to faint. Pretty sure I am not eating enough, but been so stressed with the cutoff times that I don't have time to eat, much less chew anything. All of a sudden, we see L's boyfriend monitoring one of the major turns. SUPER quick picture (hurry, we need to make the cutoff!)

We really were out there. Really!!
Get to the wasteland before the mountain and we actually see someone at the peak. Maybe we aren't so far behind after all. We need to make up some time after all the walking at the beginning of the loop. We actually jog the whole side of the mountain and downhill to the sign for the crossing. Mostly to a run/walk, the best we can. The river crossings are freaking amazing, and when I get to the paved section I walk without my shoes again. Seriously. Feet never felt so good.

Miles 45.3-47.6 (41:05)

Hear the volunteers - "Yay, the twins are here!" (We don't correct them). I ask at the aid station what happens if we don't cross before the "course closure" at 6:30. She says it will be a DNF. I am devastated. We have come SO far. I know we only have like 5 miles to go, but I really don't think I can do it. I grab a half a banana, and we do an even more pitiful run/walk then before. This time I am texting with Heather. Thank you Heather! It really helped motivate me to run for the bling (seriously, I'm not being sarcastic). L then tells me she hates me and wants to choke me. I don't really blame her. I'm pretty miserable too. If I had the energy to do the jig when I saw the last aid station, I probably would have done it. Too weak.

Miles 47.6-50 (32:32)

We thank the volunteers. They tell us we look pretty damn good for having run over 47 miles. Thanks. We feel... as good as can be expected? We actually had made pretty good time the last loop, and I was "mostly" confident that as long as we jogged at least half of the last section that we would be able to finish in the time limit. Up stupid gigantic hill, down steep single track. The sun is FINALLY behind a cloud (gee, thanks) and the diminished blinding sun helps a bit. I finally start to think... holy shit. I am going to ACTUALLY RUN 50 MILES. L is ahead of me and I make sure to tell her that I have nothing left and ask her to make sure not to leave me in the dust so we can cross together. I see the street and sorta tear up. OMG.

We feel like we are running really fast. We can hear the announcer (yay, there are still PEOPLE AT THE FINISH LINE!!) We jokingly ask the last course volunteer if there is a shortcut... no, not if we want to run the full 50. Fine. Around the boat ramp, through the lot... and thanks to L's boyfriend, here is a video of us "running" to the finish:

Loop 4 - 3:27:23

Official Time - 11:52:20
Overall Place - 53/80 (Only 54 finishers, 26 DNF)
Division Place - 13/14 (Includes DNFs)
Gender Place - 16/22 (Includes DNFs)
Lap 1- 2:33:43
Lap 2 - 2:50:21
Lap 3 - 3:00:45
Lap 4 - 3:27:23

I hit the lap button on my iPhone. Collected my GINORMOUS medal. All while making the comment... "I may never run again." I was psyched to see that there was still BEER!!! The guy gave me two :) I had J take a finish line picture of me and L:

Yep. I can SMILE when I am done running FIFTY. FREAKING. MILES.

So. What are my thoughts? Well. This was by FAR the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. Even while I was running, the thought of actually RUNNING 50 miles seemed impossible. I don't know if I just never thought I would be able to do it. I don't know if I thought that if I just tackled a little bit at a time that I "might" do it. But we did it. We finished with 7:40 to spare for an official time. There was still one runner behind us, and she is still listed in the results and got a medal, even though she finished almost 15 minutes after the cutoff. 100 people were originally registered. Only 80 started. And only 54 finished. I think that makes me pretty damn awesome.

The volunteers on this course were AMAZING. Always running to meet us to ask if we needed anything, always being supportive. Definitely couldn't have done so well without them! And the course itself? I'll admit, tough, but pretty amazing. I might be back next year... but maybe just for the 50k...

I recognized someone I friended off Facebook, and we chatted for a few minutes before we headed off to pick up the kids.

FYI. I can barely move. But I promise... I'll be running again. Soon.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Final Five About the Fifty

1. Very last (I promise) run before the race. A munchkin mile with A:

Check out her new running shoes!
2. My toe has been HURTING the last day or so. After self-diagnosing through Google (don't we ALL do this?) I am pretty sure I have an ingrown toenail. I tried to do some "fixing" myself. Man. It's gonna suck if this doesn't magically heal itself.

Yes, I know I need a pedicure.
3. I was finalizing my playlist. 135 songs won't even come CLOSE to covering the whole race, but better than nothing. Doesn't it seem like it would take FOREVER to listen to that many songs?? My pump song of the race?

4. I pick up my packet in like 2 hours. TwoHours.

5. The bling is AMAZING.

The one on the left? The 50 mile one? Yeah. I'll be getting one. (I hope)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Buffalo Wild Wings 5k (Race Recap)

Westminster, CO
Wednesday, September 21
Weather - Overcast, WINDY, RAIN

My last run before the 50 miler this weekend was a scheduled 3 miles at marathon pace (which according to my RLRF program is 10:42). Then over the weekend when I was exchanging shoes (yet again), I saw a poster advertising this FREE 5k at the running store. Well. Who can pass up FREE? I haven't run a 5k without A since probably January, and I was hoping to find out if RLRF was making a difference or not. So. After working out all the logistics, we (me, L and R) decided to run.

I had to leave in the middle of A's dance class in order to get there on time. No worries, I didn't abandon her, my mom showed up to watch the rest of the class and take her to their house for dinner. Have I mentioned that my parents are pretty awesome?

I got there about 5:45, with the race scheduled to start at 6. I had stopped by earlier for minor details, and found out that all we had to do was sign a waiver. So I wasn't expected anything complicated. L and R were running late and the sky was getting angry. I signed the waiver, and got my bib. The most important aspects of this race? The shoe store sponsoring the race was giving away a pair of shoes to the person that could guess their finishing time and come closest to running it. So that meant no watch. Ok... no big deal. And no phone... ok... so no pictures. No big deal, I've run the Big Dry Creek trail probably a hundred times. Then I was told that also meant NO iPods... not even a shuffle. WTH? Damn. I didn't find out the specifics until after I guessed my time (28:44).

L and R finally showed up like 2 minutes to 6. Apparently punctuality not such a big deal for this race as we did a group picture out front and probably headed out around 6:10. Not sure on that, you know, with no time-keeping device. Bleh. There weren't that many of us, so I figured the odds of ONE of us winning shoes (or one of the promised raffle prizes) was going to be pretty good.

We line up at a chalk start line, a few quick instructions so people didn't get lost, and off we go. L and R BOLTED. I figured I'd just... I dunno, run? Well. I have run without a watch or treadmill or phone? Never. Not once. I have always had something that could tell me how fast I am going and how far I've gone. This was NEW territory and I didn't like it. I also didn't like the no music. I've run without music... like twice. Apparently when I try to race fast, without music or a watch, I start out too fast, burn out, and breathe really hard.

Yeah. So the weather. It started raining right when we started, on and off, it wasn't that bad. But the wind... pretty severe. So I make it what I estimate maybe a mile and I'm freakin exhausted. I take the first of... 7? 8? walk breaks. Disaster. L is barely within sight. I see R headed toward me, looking strong. I am chasing a run/walker. At the turnaround I realize there are only 4-5 people behind me. Not good. Man, I am so tired. Have no clue what I'm doing. This sucks.

So then I realize that I'm not that far from the end and I force myself to run the rest. I cross the chalk line and time is given as 30:27. Well. Disappointing, but honestly I figured with all the walking that it would be much worse. And it is NOT my slowest time, so there's that. L had already left to go pick up the kids, since we were already behind schedule.

We wait for rhe last people to finish. Wind picks up and it starts POURING. It is like WINTER. I am freezing in my tank and skirt. R's teeth are chattering. It's about a 1/4 mile walk back to the store, and we are just standing around waiting for the results. Raffle of four prizes... none of us win. Shoe prize? Nope, we were all WAY off. The winner? Only 3 seconds off! Crazy!

Me - 30:27
L - 26:28 (If I could have stuck with her, it would have been 30 second PR for me)
R - 21:54 (WTH?? He guessed 26:00... even HE was shocked at his pace. Awesome!)

New plan. Find a "real" 5k and actually race.

And why was it called Buffalo Wild Wings 5k? They were offering free appetizers after the race (which, sadly, I skipped)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

(Mostly) Wordless Wednesday (Skirts)

I need an intervention...

NEW LINE!!!! Even more adorable in person...
Picture does not do it justice.. I apparently have 42 skirts. That's a lot. (and a running dress not included)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Two Picture Tuesday

I honestly never buy race pictures. They are SO expensive. But... Running Guru sorta rocks because they will let you buy a digitial picture for only 99 cents. I'm ok with that. So... here are the two finish line pictures of A at the Panerathon 5k we ran on Sunday. LOVE.THESE.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Panerathon 5k (Race Recap)

Westminster, CO
Sunday, September 18
A's 3rd 5k
Weather - Warm, Sunny

This was a spur of the moment decision to run this race. I knew A was going to be upset that I was going to be gone for the weekend (we haven't traveled sans kids since mid July), so I asked her if she wanted to run the Panerathon 5k with me, and of course she said yes. I had never run the 5k course, but I had run the 10k in 2008 and 2009.

Emergency was that A wanted to matchy matchy, BUT she wanted to wear a sparkle skirt... Luckily the gals at Team Sparkle got me my turquoise skirt in just a couple of days. A picked out our shirts and socks. What a fashionista!

The race is SUPER close to home, and is super accessible and family/dog friendly. Not the best course if you are looking to PR, but an overall good time. We got there just in time to see the kid's race, which H was doing (A had done that in 2009 and 2010). For one of the first times, there was no falling. Yay!

H is sparkly too!
A's VERY FIRST timing chip!
We didn't have long before the race started, but we were parked really close to the starting area, so getting our shirts and running back to the car to drop stuff off and leave our sweatshirts was no big deal. It was 47 degrees on our drive in, but already warming up. (It was actually WARMER temperature-wise in North Dakota... just goes to show you the difference wind and humidity can make).

The 10k was starting at 8:00, and we were starting at 8:05. We were getting in line for the bathrooms when we saw my mom (walking the 5k), and I had her take this picture of us:

We pretty much walked right from the bathroom to the starting line. Even though we were "running," that pace is pretty much a walking pace for a lot of adults, so we started in the back and figured we would work our way up closer as we were running. I just love getting pictures of A in action!

Rocking her Razzy Roo headband and Team Sparkle skirt
We got TONS of compliments on our outfits. The race is mostly women and they just thought it was so cute that we were dressed alike (matchy, matchy), and the sparkles are ALWAYS a big hit.

It was starting to warm up already, and I knew that A had started out a bit too fast. She took a lot more walk breaks than she usually does, but I have to take into consideration the circumstances. It was warmer, she has never raced at elevation, the course was more hilly, and, let's face it, this race NEVER stood a chance as being as fun as a Disney race... But, she still kept a smile on her face! And she was already asking me, "Mom, when can I run a 10k with you?" I told her to ask me again after she turns 6...

The only aid station on the course was about 1.2 miles in, and we stopped and took some water. As we headed back out, we saw the leaders in the 5k already heading back. SPEEDY! That's when the course really got congested. As you can see, the trail is not that wide and we were finally having it be a "two lane road" - and just imagine the strollers and dogs mixed in! Not to mention the people running side by side (GUILTY). The turnaround was in a tunnel (strange), and it's a good thing that I was running with A because there was no volunteer there telling people to turn around, just a sign, and I'm not sure if she would have known what to do. The course isn't QUITE an out and back, so the turnaround was around 1.75 miles in. I know the course REALLY well, since it's the trail  L and I did all our long runs on last summer. I was able to keep A pumped by letting her know where we were. We saw my mom right at this mile marker! A gave her a hug and "bumps" and we headed out.

She was getting tired and walking more, but she was still really energized. We stopped at the water station, and for the way back, it was only about .75  until the finish line. A kept HERSELF pumped by chanting things like "Victory!" with her arms in a V or saying "I'm a champion" or "I'm a winner." Hilarious. When she started to get REALLY tired, she kept grabbing my hand for "energy."

Here she is with less than a half mile to go!

I could tell when we had less than a quarter mile to go, and even though she was definitely exhausted, she really wanted to sprint to the finish line. A woman came out of nowhere and tried to get around us at the beginning of the final stretch. A saw her out of the corner of her eye, turned her head and snarled at her. Probably not nice, but it was hilarious. L got a video of us sprinting toward the finish!

Super pleased with A's performance. Even with all her extra walk breaks, she still got a new personal best! And my watch even measured the course long. Here are her stats (I let her cross JUST before me, so all mine are one place off, and her time is 1 second faster):

Official Time - 43:07
Official Pace - 13:55
Overall Place - 262/380 (WOW!!!)
Gender Place - 163/257
Division Place - 14/20 (12 and under)
Garmin Time - 43:10
Garmin Distance - 3.22 miles
Garmin Pace - 13:24
Mile 1 - 12:07
Mile 2&3 - 29:10 (oops)
Mile 3.1ish - 10:49

Disney spoiled her, and one of the first things she asked was, "Where is my medal?" I told her the satisfaction of being able to run a 5k was her reward. She was ok with that. The best part of this race? The food. Since Panera Bread is the main sponsor, the food ROCKS. Three types of sandwiches, 4 types of pastries, cookies, bagels, apples (you know, if you want to pretend to be healthy). SO GOOD.

After we got done eating, A went for a ride around the parking lot in an old fire truck (no good picture, sorry), and got her face painted (she says it's a puppy):

We hung around the area a bit, Road Runner was having a special sale for race day... 25% off for VIPs. The Pearl Izumi's I had tried seemed SO heavy and bulky that I decided to exchange. Next up (after this weekends race), Nike.

Random picture, thought it was cute
Overall, it was an awesome race, and a pretty much awesome day. We spent the afternoon at an amusement park, enjoying a late summer day of mid 70s.

Week in Review (July 9 - July 15)

Tuesday  (11,560 steps) - Peloton before going to work in the office. Cross training at lunch.  Wednesday  (17,583 steps) - Headed up to Lou...