Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tinker Bell Race Weekend - Saturday

So I managed to wake up in plenty of time to get ready for the Kid's race. Great, since I had passed out before setting an alarm. Oops.

We had a brilliant plan to leave around 6:45, allowing us plenty of time to get through the super secret entrance in Downtown Disney at 7:15, be ready to run at 7:45, run at 8 and be done shortly thereafter. Only.

We left late. It took longer to get there than we thought. The super secret entrance? CROWDED. Super long line - they had to check bags of EVERYONE that was entering. And since these were parents with young kids? Long. Lines. We finally entered the park, I took A and Heather's two oldest kids one way, and she left with Gabs for the 400.

A and Gabs
A with #1

On the start line
So they yell "Go!" and immediately the kid in front of me stops. I try to stop so I don't fall on him, which causes ME to fall and re-skin my knee and drop my phone. In a Kid's race. Brutal. I had some catching up to do as the kids had already taken off. My calves? Aching. IN A KIDS RACE. Finally caught up to the kids and they were running pretty strongly. Until, for some reason, #1 stopped and put A on her back. Meanwhile, I'm yelling "cheater!" (all in good fun). #1 drops A and off they go.

What a ham!

A began to tire out a little more than halfway there. #1 and #2 went on ahead, and obviously I stuck with A. She was doing really well, but I had no idea on pace since I had forgotten to wear my watch. We started to see the signs for the shorter kid's distances, and I finally got her to run again between the markers for the 100 and 200m. She SPRINTED toward the finish:

There was no clock at the end, so no idea on the time. I was figuring around 12-13 minutes. Imagine my surprise when I pulled official times later in the evening to find out that even with a minute or more of walking, she still pulled off a 10:14 mile! So proud of her!

A and #2
Awesome medal!
We grab our bottles of water and food, then head to watch for Heather and Gabs. We didn't know that all the races hadn't started at the same time, and she didn't have her phone to tell us she got tired of waiting and ran sooner with the 200m group. We barely caught sight of her as she ran by, so no pictures :(

By now it was MUCH later than we had planned. We had tons of stuff still to do. We went and had breakfast down the street with some of Heather's extended family. So much fattening and delicious food. I love vacation:

Right after breakfast we headed BACK to the expo. Tried again for goodie bags for Team Sparkle. Out again :( A talked me into getting her the new Minnie Mouse sparkle skirt. Adorable.

After leaving the expo, it was on to the second adventure of the day. Quick stop at the grocery store to pick up goodies for the Ragnar meeting. Oh, what's that you say? Ragnar meeting? Well, I am the only person NOT from SoCal on my team. So they decided to combine a virtual run for Gabs with a Ragnar meeting on Tinker Bell weekend so that I could get a chance to meet everyone. YAY! Everyone was SUPER nice, and NO running was done since it was a billion degrees out. I did, however, eat a cupcake, some cookies, some chips... (catching a theme here?) I also got my pair of Aspaeris Pivot Shorts. Pulled them out of the package and they looked like something A could wear! But, they ARE pretty dang comfortable. If they would have had a pocket, they would have been part of my outfit for the half. There is a picture floating around somewhere of the Ragnar girls, but I don't know who has it. Snagged from Pretty Fittie, a team picture, and I'm ROCKIN' the new Aspaeris shorts! (I'm in the green sparkle skirt, in case you forgot what I look like :D

After the meeting, we still had to get iron on transfers for our outfits (nothing like waiting until the last minute) - which Heather's husband had gotten while we were having our meeting. After a bit of trial and error, our outfits were ready to roll. Then it was time to head to meet our friends for some... PRE RACE EATING. Yep. More food.

Riddle me this. Kid's meal at Red Robin. Includes drink, mac and cheese (with free refills) and a side (could include veggies or salad or fries) for $4.99. An adult version is the same size mac, salad, a teeny piece of bread, NO REFILLS ON MAC and twice the price. Mad. I explain to the waiter that I eat A LOT and expected more for my money. Long story short... I did eat half of Heather's plate, and got a refill of mac. But still. Isn't that wrong?? Shouldn't my serving have been bigger, ESPECIALLY with no refill??? The server had the audacity to say, "Wow. You really DO eat a lot." Good thing I don't get offended easily. Pleasantly surprised when my friend Josh picked up the tab. FOR THE WHOLE TABLE. What a rad guy.

Heather's husband leaves with the kiddo's and we check into the Crowne Plaza across the parking lot. Heather's Priceline steal of $69... between 4 of us. What a deal! Beer in the hotel bar. Well, I actually had 2, which is usually more than I think I should have, but we were having such a good time, I really couldn't resist.

And head to bed around 10... early wake up call. You know, it IS Disney.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Tinker Bell Race Weekend - Friday

Since I was bringing A with me again, I decided to get there a bit earlier on Friday so that we could do some non running/race related things.

EARLY flight out of Denver. Nothing of any interest happened at the airport. Although. If you pack an entire suitcase filled with nothing but 26 boxes of Girl Scout cookies, security is a BIT suspicious. FYI. Arrived in Orange County around 9:30 am. A friend of mine picked us up at the airport. We hung out a bit, enjoyed lunch at Chipotle, then headed to the beach to kill time until Heather got off work so we could hit up the expo.

Within minutes, A was covered in mud and wet up to her thighs. BUT. She was having fun.

Things were going very well until she got swarmed by ladybugs and had a meltdown. Yes. Ladybugs. Apparently, they are terrifying. Luckily, by the time I had A cleaned up, Heather had managed to find us at Huntington Beach. Quick stop to drop off luggage and A at her house, then we were off, KID FREE to the expo.

oooooh yeah! (Thanks, Heather)
Like most Disney races, it was chaotic and crowded, although nowhere NEAR as bad as I remember from Disneyland. Practically experts after just doing this same packet pick up a few months ago, we knew exactly where to go to get all our stuff. Had to re-print waivers since I left them in my suitcase, and it still only took a few minutes to get my bib and A's bib for the kid's race.

We walked through the expo. Disappointed that Sparkle Skirts were already out of goodie bags :( Picked up a new pair of race legs and an AWESOME wrist wallet. Why a wrist wallet, you ask? Well. Sparkle skirts, sadly, do not have pockets. I don't always like to wear a race belt since they seem to sit on me funny and I spend a lot of time adjusting. So I got the wrist wallet thing to hold GU and other small items. Spoiler: It was FANTASTIC during my race.

Manage to get in and out in well under an hour, AND only spending about $28. Score!! I honestly can't remember what else we did, although I *do* remember that Heather made some bad ass lasagna. I ate a TON, as it was probably some of the best lasagna I've ever had. We discussed our plans for the kid's races in the morning, and although I had every intention of staying up later, I managed to fall asleep about 4 minutes into an episode of "Castle" around 10:15. Apparently, I was exhausted.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Three Products to Try This Winter

1. Yellowman Winter Flower Long sleeve Tri-Pocket Jersey

How much do I love this top??? TONS. (And this is the color I have!)

  • UPF 50+
  • Three pockets in the back - deep enough to hold a water bottle (although I wouldn't/couldn't run with one, but good for cycling or walking)
  • MadKool fabric - 92% polyester, 8% spandex
OMG. So I was lucky enough to win one of these bad boys through Twitter (if you aren't already following them... DO - @WearYMX). It came JUST IN TIME for my 20 miler Fat Ass run last weekend. I know I'm a tank top wearer, but due to the weather, I figured what better way than to test out a shirt than on a 4ish hour trail run?

I. Am. In. Love. Attractive and fitted, this shirt has it all. I was kept warm, yet it wicked and even cooled me down when it got warmer. No idea how that works, but I'm telling you. The 4 hours I wore this shirt CHANGED me. I will wear this on my longer trail runs and know that I can toss my iPod and keys in the back and go for a run and I will be comfortable. Highly recommend this product. Also - check out their website as they are running a special 72 hour sale on one item for $25... Wear Yellowman

(I was not asked to review this product, but since I liked it so much, I wanted to).

2. Athleta Headwinds Jacket

Um. This jacket is no longer on Athleta's website... which is a TOTAL BUMMER, because it could quite possibly be the best jacket I've ever had. I purchased mine on Black Friday during their sale- in an awesome red color (with silver accents and black lining).

Keeps me warm, yet vents me when I get hot (how??). Nice looking and fitted. Not too tight at the waist line - I was able to wear it OVER a fuel belt without it being too tight/annoying. Long enough sleeves that I can use the thumb holes without feeling like my arms are being ripped off. Outside ZIPPERED pockets - great so I don't lose stuff. AND inside pockets too. Plus, the accenting is ALL REFLECTIVE, so it is perfect to wear at dusk/evening. This is an awesome jacket - I hope Athleta brings it back. It is perfect for me!

3. Aspaeris Pivot Shorts - Dual Sensory Compression

As part of the SoCal Ragnar team I'm on, I'm officially SPONSORED to wear these for at least one leg. I CANNOT WAIT TO TRY THESE. I like sparkle skirts, but what I DON'T like is that the UA "compression" shorts I have been wearing are not at ALL compression-y. They constantly ride up and I spend half the race pulling them done.

The Aspaeris pivot shorts "guide your muscles into proper position, thereby improving your pivot performance which helps prevent ACL and hip injuries" SCORE. Anything that can help prevent me to get injured is something I want to try. They also wick away moisture so that odor-causing bacteria is eliminating. Obviously something I'll need if I'm spending a few days in a van with people I don't know :-/

So... something special about these... if you need some compression shorts, they are offering a 50% off discount (courtesy of our team) - use the code "cooleronline" and save a TON!! So check them out!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Southside Fatass 20 Miler ("Race" Recap)

Not really a race, but an organized group run with distances where you record your own time. There IS a winner, but totally unofficial.

So the other day, I'm on Facebook, and one of my friends asked - "anyone want to run 20 miles on Saturday?" Well. I did want to run 20ish. Actually, I had 24 on schedule. So I asked for more information. She told me about the Southside Fatass run. Lucky for me, it was taking place only about 20 minutes from  my house. On a day I was supposed to do a long run anyway. With available distances ranging from 15 miles to 50K, I was pretty sure it would be a nice change from the treadmill.

Yes. You heard me right. After 9 weeks of doing my double digit runs on the treadmill, I decided to take it outside.

Date: January 21
Time: 7 am

I was warned that I shouldn't be late, or I would miss getting a map. I was very concerned about getting that map since I have only run a teeny tiny section of the trails. And THAT was about 2 years ago. Two other girls needed to use the bathroom, so I went with them - and we informed the group we would be back for the start. Had some nice conversation, the women had actually done the relay of the 100 miler I'll be doing in a few months. One is running the Leadville 100 this year!

Anyway, we are heading back to the start, the sun is coming up:

And then we see the runners heading toward us. They started without us :( Which meant... no map for me! OH NO!!! It looked like they were running fast. Not really surprising since Boulder is known for super freaky fast runners. I ended up at the tail end of the pack and spoke with the organizer. She said she would get a map for me and ran off. Unfortunately... she never came back. Lucky for me, I latched on to apparently the only other average runner. And yay for me that she turned out to be AWESOME. She gave me her map, and said she was familiar enough with the trails that she probably wouldn't need it. And she was super great company. I never ONCE turned on my iPod. And for pretty much the only time EVER, the miles seriously did fly by. I didn't really look at my watch, and actually enjoyed most of my run.

This IS pretty nice to look at
So it IS January. Luckily most of the trails were pretty clear. Only a few sections were icy and about a mile was decently muddy.  But for the most part we had some pretty runnable trails. I was doing really well until we had to cross the highway - maybe somewhere around 4 miles. Right after we crossed, there was a downhill section. I tripped over a rock, flailed awkwardly and was not able to catch myself from falling. Face plant. Skinned my knee. But at least I didn't rip my running tights or my jacket. And at least I (narrowly) missed the cow poop. Jumped up, and kept going.

I had chosen a VERY unconventional (for me) outfit for running. My new YMX Winter flower long sleeve jersey and my Athleta Headwinds jacket. PERFECT. As you know,  I am 99% of the time a tank top wearer. But. 27 degrees. Windy. January. I didn't want to take a chance.

We stopped to use the bathroom around mile 7. First aid station at mile 8. Yes, there were aid stations. The organizers husband ran a "mobile" aid station. Waited for the last people to arrive then headed to the second point down the trail. I downed a 1/4 PBJ sandwich, small cup of coke, a few pretzels and some animal crackers. (Did I mention this event was FREE???)

Hope (the woman I was running with) and I were having a great time talking, and we finally encountered the first section we really couldn't run. It was steep single track, lots of mud and ice. Neither of us fell. Bonus. After scraping mud out of the soles of shoes, we continued on. Second aid station at mile 11. We beat the van there by a couple of minutes. Refueled - this time with a chocolate chunk rice krispie treat, some chips and M&Ms. We added another runner who only wanted to run the end, and headed out again.

She turned out to be MUCH slower than we were. We talked and "ran" (her jog was my brisk walk pace) for about a mile, then when she slowed to a walk, we went on without her.

It's hard to see, but in the picture below on the hill there is a big animal. We could not determine if it was a wolf or coyote. Luckily he never came close enough for us to find out.

We had a nice section of fairly flat and downhill. Then we turned and the wind picked back up. I took off my jacket around 10:30, tying it around my waist. That was not as annoying as I thought it would be either.

Since Hope knew where she was going and was only running 20, I decided to scrap my extra miles and finish up the run with her. Even with over 20 minutes of stopping and standing around (between the bathroom stop and aid stations), we still maintained a pretty decent pace.

She is training for her first 50k in May (the same one I ran last year!) and we plan to do another run together this spring.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Three Things Thursday

Year #2 of entry... C'mon!!!
2. I pulled out my KT tape and wrapped up my left calf and right knee for my run at the gym this morning. Truly amazing how much better I felt today than I did on Sunday. Part 2 of my workout? My headphones shorted out with about 2 miles left of my run. For those keeping track, that is two pairs in FIVE days. WTH??? I'm apparently headphones jinxed :(

3. I started classes on Tuesday. This semester I am taking about law enforcement, called "Policing America" and "Criminal Justice Research Methods." They sound a lot more difficult than the classes I took in the fall. I needed two books. At the bookstore they were roughly $287+tax. There should really be some sort of regulation on textbook pricing. I find that FREAKING OUTRAGEOUS. I got them shipped to me off Amazon for the "bargain" of $172.28.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tough Chik Tuesday

If you haven't heard, I'm part of an awesome group of ladies - Team Tough Chik

I like the idea of "Tough Chik Tuesday" - so here we go.

So I had a craptastic race on Sunday. I had 5 miles on schedule yesterday. YEAH.FREAKING.RIGHT. I normally would "tough it out." However. I have a LOT on my plate over the next few months and the last thing I need is to get sidelined with an injury. So I moved the 5 miles to today. And they still sorta sucked, but I got them done. I have a few longish runs left to run this week. So where does the tough part come in? I'm debating about a last-minute-sorta-marathon-ultraish trail run on Saturday.


What is it? It's called the Southside Fatass 50K. A FREE 50K. Other distances available are 15, 20, 25 or 28 miles. Two aid stations, but mostly self supported. It's supposed to be mid 50's on Saturday. I have 20 miles on schedule... Maybe I'll do this instead of yet another treadmill run?

I honestly think part of my "weakness" lately has been the lack of varied training. I haven't been training hills. I haven't been running outside.

My legs are sore, but at this point I'm hesitant to call it an actual injury. I've iced and stretched and definitely feel better.

So. My question to you. TOUGH OR STUPID???

Monday, January 16, 2012

Rock 'n' Roll Arizona (Race Recap)

Phoenix, AZ
Sunday, January 15
Half Marathon #53
Arizona Half #2
Weather - Overcast, perfect for running

Since we have already raced in Arizona, Rock 'n' Roll Arizona ended up on our schedule only to fill a period of non-racing. Obviously one of the things I dislike about the Rock 'n' Roll series is that 1). They force you to pick up your OWN packet (NO EXCEPTIONS) and you have to do it at the expo 2). They close the expo at 5:00 pm on Saturdays. For people who are traveling, they essentially have to waste an entire extra day just to get there in time for the expo. It's stressful and annoying. Instead of being able to take an early afternoon flight, we had to be gone by noon, landing by 2:00 to give us time to get out of the airport and to the Phoenix convention center.

We had a few friends from Colorado that had flown down a few days earlier, and they were nice enough to pick us up at the airport and take us to the expo. Saved us SO MUCH STRESS. As my long-time readers know, I don't really do well when I'm under a time crunch and trying to find somewhere I haven't been before. Like most big races, the expo was held downtown and we had to pay $12 for parking. But (roll eyes) the expo was free and open to the public!

We normally do not have time to do anything at an expo but pick up our stuff and go. This time... we actually wandered around for about an hour. It was really nice and stress-free! Got my bib, a pretty decent race shirt. Picked up some new AWESOME BANDS from Razzy Roo, tried on some shoes, looked at some apparel, but really was able to get out without having spent really anything at all.

Colorado Runners
Our friends dropped us off at our hotel near the airport aLoft. Have any of you stayed there? What a fun hotel!

Imagine our luck that right next to the hotel was a Ruby Tuesday's. We weren't going to starve to death after all! L from Because I Can and her friend, B, had arrived earlier in the day. They had gone to the wrong aLoft on the other side of town. Oops. While we were waiting for them, we went ahead and got some dinner.

L and B finally arrived and we hung out in the room, watching the Broncos get massacred and talking. My L was exhausting from having worked the night before, so the rest of us went down to the lobby to down a few more carbs before heading to bed.

Should I have stopped at one??
We headed to bed around 9:30 since we were going to be out the door by 6:00 am. I, however, barely slept at all. The pillows were super tiny, one of the sets of blinds was left partially up and I couldn't find the cable in the dark to close them, and messing with the thermostat it was either too hot, or too cold. I never got comfortable. Alarm went off at 5:27 and I felt like I hadn't slept at all.

B and L were already experts at the light rail, so we met her two Ragnar friends and heading to the station shortly after 6:00 am. Arrived with no problems at the starting area, although I realized I had forgotten my sunglasses. At least I had brought a visor this time though. We had fun taking pictures and walking around, and even ran into our friends from CO on our way to the bathrooms.

Left to right: Me, B, L, my L
Me, B, L, my L

Colorado Runners
Due to our matching outfits, it appears people thought we knew everything about the race. We had quite a few people asking us where the corrals were, bathrooms, etc. And, we somehow got video-interviewed. Um, maybe I'll come across where that film is someday. I'm sure I sounded like an idiot. We cycled through the bathroom lines twice, then headed to corral 5 with about 20 minutes to the start.

Corral 5!
The race was supposed to start at 7:30. It was delayed for some reason we weren't ever told of. And our corral was delayed even further because we had to wait for a light rail train to cross. That was a little annoying. So we all planned on running "together" (with the exception of the other L, she is crazy fast). So me, B, L, and Ruth (from CO) started out. Pretty much immediately I felt like crap. My legs were tight. I was having the calf cramping again. It was getting pretty painful and before we even hit the first mile, everyone ran off without me (sniff, sniff). Shortly after the first mile, I encountered my next problem. My feet fell asleep. Both of them. I know that it is not the shoes, I have been racing in these shoes since the Rock 'n' Roll Denver marathon last September. I wear my running shoes very loose, and I don't even tie/untie them. The numbness was very painful and annoying, couple that with the calf tightening and it was a miserable time. I walked much longer than usual through the aid stations, and the numbness would let up a little, and come back full force as soon as I started running again. At the second aid station I noticed I had blood all over my right thumb. Don't even know what happened there, but as soon as I noticed it, it hurt. I was definitely having a pity party in my head. I've been spoiled running with L the last few months. I was having a hard time and it would have been nice to have someone to complain to.

Next problem. My iPod quit working just past mile 4. Sigh. I have run without music only a handful of times, and only ONCE during a race, and that was my terrible "naked" 5K I ran last fall. So now I am in pain, running alone, AND I don't even have any music. With NINE miles to go :(

The course was nice though:

I stopped a few times to stretch my legs, loosened my laces sooooo much that if I loosened them any more they wouldn't even be tied. NOTHING HELPED. Other than that race I ran in New Hampshire, I have never struggled so much during a race. This was so mentally defeating for me. I know what I am capable of, and my stupid body was just NOT cooperating. The few times L has run without music, she said she kept herself entertained by listening to conversations other people were having. Only. NO ONE WAS TALKING. I could hear people's music blaring through their headphones, but it was a quiet race. And for a Rock 'n'  Roll race, there were only a handful of bands. So awful.

FINALLY make it to the halfway point and relay exchange. This was kinda neat:

Shortly after turning the corner, a lady tapped me on the shoulder and told me she reads my blog. I said thank you, but very rudely didn't wish her luck or ask her name. I'm sorry! I was having a really tough race.

Somewhere past halfway
Spent my time people watching (which I normally do anyway) and trying to talk myself out of just giving up and walking. Somehow I was able to keep going, and mile 7.5, I ran into the P.F. Chang dragon! I didn't see any of the people wearing bibs that were running with this, they might have really been doing this JUST FOR FUN:

I had done ZERO research on the course. I didn't know where the aid stations were, I didn't know what the course looked like. At the GU aid station though, I only took three this time :D - all roctanes!

I honestly spent probably 90% of my time bargaining with myself not to give up. I was in pain, cranky, tired, and just not feeling it. Which is really too bad, because this would have been a fun course I think on a better day. I think this balloon made dragon arch was somewhere between mile 8 and 9?

And I just loved the scenery. Ignore the guy in the blue shirt that is probably peeing.

According to L, the last three miles were a gradual downhill.  I was hoping that would help my legs. It didn't really, but I was mentally determined to finish and tried to give it all I had. I think I picked up the pace a little bit, and the last few miles were sort of a blur. I remember the last aid station being 1.6 miles from the finish (sob), but then at the start of the bridge, there was a beer table. YAY! I grabbed a beer and kept going. And then... OMG!! I saw some cheetah skirts and gave it all I had. I managed to catch up to B and L. B was really struggling, she was having trouble with her hip, she said to go on without her. I caught up to L, talked for a minute, then per her norm, she took off. I saw the stadium, which I knew was the finish, and we were in longest chute ever. And I walked. :( I totally walked in the chute. But I saw the clock around the corner, and started running and SOMEHOW finished in a pretty respectable time. Could barely walk after crossing the line, but I finished.

I think this is the finish. My hands look weird.
Me and B
Bib# 25157
Official Time - 2:15:30
Official Pace - 10:21
Official 5K - 31:36
Official 10K - 1:04:06
Official 10 Mile - 1:44:02
Overall Place - 6941/15663
Gender Place - 3348/9505
Division Place - 626/1570
Garmin Time - 2:15:29
Garmin Distance - 13.17 miles
Garmin Pace - 10:17
Mile 1 - 9:38
Mile 2 - 10:49
Mile 3 - 10:04
Mile 4 - 10:21
Mile 5 - 10:31
Mile 6 - 10:27
Mile 7 - 10:05
Mile 8 - 10:38
Mile 9 - 10:31
Mile 10 - 10:34
Mile 11 - 9:35
Mile 12 - 10:38
Mile 13 - 9:57
Mile 13.1ish - 10:12 (totally walked part of this)

I have NEVER experienced such a clusterfuck after a race. It took like 20 minutes to get from the finisher chute to the exit. We didn't even stop for a picture, just grabbed a handful of food on our way out. Being wrangled like cattle and we STILL got separated from each other on the way out. Luckily L and I carry cell phones, and we found each other. POOR signage didn't tell us how to get back to the light rail, but luckily some people helped us out. And then again AT the light rail station, we asked for help so we didn't get lost on the way back. We managed to successfully get where we needed to go. One last picture of the awesome WINNERS:

I am miniature!!
I was in a complete rush/panic because my flight was due to depart at 1:15. We arrived at the hotel at 11:15. Super super fast shower. Then while I was getting ready, I noticed I had a voicemail. My flight had been delayed one hour. Which meant... time  for BURGERS AT CHILI'S!!

Best. Food. Ever. L and I were in different terminals, so we parted ways. My flight ended up being delayed almost another hour. At least I was not sitting next to anyone weird this time, and even managed to fall asleep for a bit.

More pics to follow...

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...