Thursday, June 28, 2012

Three (plus one) Things Thursday (in order of excitement level)

1. Sorta Excited - I'm running the Leadville Marathon on Saturday. I'll use that term "running" loosely, because it is yet ANOTHER race at altitude and essentially up a damn mountain. For your viewing pleasure - the elevation profile:

Part two... I'm also running the Copper Mountain 1/2 on Sunday. Did you notice that the title ALSO has mountain in it? I'm likely going to die.

I swear, I must be a sadist. Anyway, so there's that.

2. PRETTY DANG EXCITED - I got a running coach!!! HURRAH! I keep thinking that if I just had someone to tell me what to do, how, and when, then maybe I would be a stronger runner. So I took the plunge and have recruited Duane to help me in training for my NEXT 100 MILE ATTEMPT. What better type of coach than one who has successfully completed a 100 mile race. I've just started receiving information, and I have good news and bad news...

  • Duane did NOT freak out about my race schedule. (Shock!!!)
  • Duane DID, however stress ONE race that I should eliminate from my schedule... Sorry Kim and Lisa, looks like Utah is going to be a no-go for me. (My major running problem is #runalltheraces - and if this one needs to go so I can bring my "A" game to my next 100, so be it *sniff sniff*)
  • I will have 2 cross training days and at least 1 rest day, depending on the week, I'll have 2. I think that sounds AWESOME.
3. MOFO EXCITED - I have selected my next 100 mile race. I have 10.5 months to get into TOP form and COMPLETE a 100 mile race. I am super duper excited that Duane was able to help me find the perfect race, the Born to Run 100 miler:
  • It falls ON my birthday. I am pretty sure that is a sign right there.
  • There are NO cutoffs on the course - I just have to finish in 30 hours.
  • The course is a loop course - 20 miles, with aid stations approx. every 3 miles. I LOVE THAT.
  • I may have recruited a couple pacers already. I will NOT make the same mistake I did at Moab, where I ran ALONE.
  • The course is tough... 2500' gain PER LOOP, but it is "runnable" and 100% trail. I like that better than slickrock and sand.
  • The finisher rate is higher than Moab. Two women finished last year (out of four) - I like those odds a bit better - especially if I am properly trained.
4. CANNOT CONTAIN MYSELF EXCITED!!!! - ARIEL WILL BE HOME IN TEN DAYS. TEN DAYS. TEN DAYS. I miss having her around, I sort of "forget" how much we do together until she isn't here. I hope I can squeeze in a weekend of camping when she gets back.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Happy Birthday... Run 100 Miles?

Nothing has been decided yet. But I'm impressed by anyone that releases that ^ as the official map. I certainly can't draw a steer that well.

New 100 mile course on my radar... and it just so happens to FALL ON MY BIRTHDAY.

Decisions... decisions...

(Mostly) Wordless Wednesday

I'm in green, friend is white:

So. There's that.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Pro Compression Socks

I first heard about Pro Compression when I did SoCal Ragnar back in April - they were awesome enough to sponsor our team. The first pair of socks I got from them? YELLOW. No one else makes yellow compression socks!!

They are launching a new program where they will release special "sock of the month" colors of their marathon style. Want to try them in... ELECTRIC ORANGE?

I personally cannot WAIT to try them. I love orange! In addition to the new color, if you order before July 10, you can save 40% off the $50 sticker price AND get free shipping. Only $30?? You need these! Use the code SOM610 when purchasing the marathon electric orange socks.

Seriously though, these socks are amazing. (And the colors are pretty awesome too).

From their website:

Experience maximum benefit with the Marathon full-length, graduated compression sock. Compression technology helps improve blood flow, resulting in better, more consistent performance with less fatigue and faster, more efficient recovery. In addition to improving vascular performance, Marathon compression socks provide support to critical muscles and tendons, helping reduce inflammation and soreness.

Put it all together for the perfect sock for endurance, recovery and travel.

  • Full-length, graduated compression design for maximum blood flow
  • Non-slip design, even after hours on your feet
  • Lightweight construction for incredible feel
  • Blended materials provide maximum comfort and support
  • Moisture control keeps you dry during your biggest efforts
  • Made in USA
They come in three different sizes, which is a HUGE benefit to me since I have tiny feet. Most other brands don't really work for me because the socks are too big. So hurry and pick up a pair of these - limited supply!

Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon (Race Recap)

Sunday, June 24
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Half Marathon #63
Province #1
Half Marathon Country #3 (!!)
Weather - Mostly overcast, mild, perfect

Obviously it seemed like a brilliant idea to run the Scotiabank Vancouver half marathon. Sort of an unspoken part of our ultimate racing goals are to also hit up all the provinces. It's pretty expensive to fly directly into Canada, but since we were already pretty close, it made sense. Never mind that we would have been running a FULL marathon the day before. Details.

It looked like 140 miles to Vancouver. About 2.5 hours, but we had to allow time to get across the border, and since I haven’t been to Canada since I was a kid, we had NO clue how long that might take. L was driving, and I’ll admit that once we got on the highway, I dozed off a bit. I really tried hard not to, but I was EXHAUSTED. We stopped in Mt. Vernon and got Starbucks, and that really did help me to wake up a bit. I saw that there was a Lululemon outlet and I really hoped that we would have time to stop there on the way back. The drive to the border was uneventful, but the highway signs were advertising a SEVENTY minute wait. Ouch. The waiting was pretty long, although I think we “cruised” through in 45 minutes.

Pretty cool Canadian flag!
"The Best Place on Earth"
I turned on the Garmin at the border, only to discover that apparently my Garmin only knows New Brunswick, which is obviously NOT where we were. I quickly used my phone to take screenshots of directions to the hotel and race in the morning. Without an international plan on our phones, those would have to be turned off too. The directions worked great and there was minimal traffic into Vancouver. However, we couldn’t seem to find anywhere to pick up something for dinner. It was about 8:00, and we didn’t want to go off our main road in fear of not being able to find our way back with no map. We lucked out and found a place called “Big Daddy’s Pizza” that had lasagna for $4.99. Got our food to go, then headed back to the hotel, which we managed to get to without getting lost.

Don't worry, L is driving
We managed to get behind some tourists with no clue who took forever to check in. We finally get our room, and have dinner.

Courtyard of the Days Inn
L goes to bed right after. Meanwhile, I’m still trying to figure out how on earth I’m going to get all my new stuff back to Colorado. So I’m trying to pack as much as I can, also while trying to get my stuff ready for morning. My shoes are still drenched from the rain in Seattle, so I make the (obviously brilliant) decision to race in my new purple Pure Flows. I figure, what’s the worse that can happen? I have Pure Flows at home that I ran 6 miles in the first day I got them, so I didn’t think there would be much of a break in period. Pleased with my decision, I finally made it to bed around 10. I felt mildly “broken” and sore, and nervously fell asleep.

Race Day

I woke up more than once. Apparently, this far north it gets light EARLY. 4 something in the morning and I was sure I had overslept. In reality, we got up around 5:25, and got ready to go. We weren’t sure when checkout was, and on our way out, we stopped at the office but no one was there. Oh well…

We managed to find our way to the start with no trouble, although upon arriving we found out that there was no free parking. And we had no Canadian money. We stopped in a metered spot (requires payment 7 days a week…) and picked up our bibs. Then we found a parking garage across the street that took credit cards for then TEN DOLLAR parking. Grrrrrr. It was pretty chilly out, so we decided we would sit in the car until 7, a half hour before the race started. We were on the second level of the garage, and the stairs down… mildly painful. Major sore are was inner thighs. Ouch. The line for the bathrooms was the most insane thing I’ve ever seen, probably 200-300 people. No kidding! At least the line moved pretty quickly, and I think we were only about 5 minutes late starting.

This is the "wash room" line - it goes all the way to the light, then to the left and down MORE. Insane!
The announcer called the course one of the “most scenic” – so I had high hopes for a pretty course, even if it was painful and horrible for me. First steps… hmmm, this isn’t too bad! I hesitatingly told L that this didn’t seem like it was going to be too awful. Thankfully. The beginning of the course was not that interesting. It was on street and it was VERY crowded (thanks to us starting late). We had to dodge a bit, but really, we were keeping a good pace, definitely faster than we had the day before. The air was chilly but not cold – perfect running weather. I loved that the course was in km and that every single km was marked. I felt like I was making a TON of progress. First aid station was at 3km, and that’s when we saw the leaders heading back (the most boring part of the course – an out and back on a highway).

Somewhere in the first km or two
4km ALREADY???
The next aid station was at 6km, and I was still feeling ok, but the “back” was a gradual uphill and I was already starting to feel more aches and pains in my legs. Luckily we hit a really pretty downhill area, along the bay. Reminded me a bit of the pretty park area we had run in Seattle. I was enjoying this part!

We kept going back and forth with this old guy that must have had a billion keys or coins in the back of his zippered shirt. MOST ANNOYING SOUND EVER. Anyway, we were maintaining a great pace, and I was feeling pretty good. However, I did have to stop around 14km to use the bathroom. L had really freaked me out with a description of the course and the elevation profile that she had found on their website, but I really didn’t think it was that bad. Ran by what looked like the Lululemon corporate office – dang, can’t stop! We got to see a lot of the bay and harbor, and Vancouver looked really pretty amidst the clouds.

Lululemon Corporate??

I was doing great until we hit the bridge. I think it must’ve been around 18km. It was a pretty long gradual uphill and my legs were so tight. I stopped briefly to take a couple of pictures, which helped to loosen my muscles a bit. Then we were rewarded with a nice downhill. We really started to push the pace when we got past 19km. We passed the noisy guy with the keys and really pushed for the finish. I hate when I do that too early, because as usual, I get close to the finish and my legs just lock up and want to stop. L didn’t finish that much ahead of me, and we crossed the line just over 2:18. By no means one of my better times, but considering we ran a marathon yesterday, I’m perfectly ok with it. Our marathon splits yesterday were 2:29/3:01ish so 2:18 was pretty fast, comparatively.

Much steeper than it looks...

My shoes look AMAZING

We grabbed some cookies (oatmeal raisin and chocolate chip) and a Gatorade recovery, took a quick picture, then we had to find the shuttle to get back to the start line. We found it with no problems, and there wasn’t a wait. There was, however, a TON of traffic, and it took probably 40 minutes to get back to the car. 

We ran over that bridge back there!

Bib #3547
Official Time - 2:18:07
Official Pace - 6:33/km
Official 10km - 1:04:35
Overall Place - 3032/3838
Gender Place - 1579/2182
Division Place - 262/356
Garmin Time - 2:18:09
Garmin Distance 13.20 miles
Garmin Pace - 10:28
Mile 1 - 10:17
Mile 2 - 10:13
Mile 3 - 9:59
Mile 4 - 11:03
Mile 5 - 10:16
Mile 6 - 10:16
Mile 7 - 10:25
Mile 8 - 10:06
Mile 9 - 12:05 (bathroom)
Mile 10 - 10:17
Mile 11 - 10:32
Mile 12 - 11:05 (bridge)
Mile 13 - 9:35
Mile 13.1ish - 10:01

Reversing our directions and we did NOT get lost. We stopped at a Safeway with a Starbucks (turns out it was a mall) and even managed to find a dollar store that was open where we were quickly able to get our Canadian souvenirs. SCORE! Heading back to the hotel, we are hoping checkout was noon.

We arrive to our room at 11:42 with the phone ringing. They want to know if we are staying another night. Turns out checkout was 11:00. Oops. We shower super quick and are out just after 12:00. Our plan is to get across the border and eat in Mt. Vernon. Turns out we ended up on the business loop instead of the highway and it took FOREVER to get to the border (seriously, over an hour). The wait was about 25 minutes, and by the time we got to the Five Guys in Mt. Vernon, it was already 2:30. No time to stop at the Lulu outlet L

Ever eaten at Five Guys? Turns out it is the best food ever. And it was actually more than we could eat. Who knew? Thankfully, the traffic in Seattle was pretty minimal, and we dropped off the car around 3:45. L’s flight was at 5:45, but mine was not until 7:00. I spent my time participating in #runchat on Twitter, and my flight actually left on time. I was flying Frontier and actually paid the $6 for tv, although I dozed off about an hour into the flight. What’s up with me sleeping on flights lately?? Crazy. We landed a few minutes early (shock) and then I headed to get my car. It was at least eleventy billion degrees outside (80??) and it was almost 11:00. SO HOT compared to the 50s and 60s we enjoyed over the weekend. I was actually the first person dropped off at my car (score!) and even with a quick stop for food on my way home, I got there around midnight.

I managed to cram all my stuff into THAT ^
What. A. Weekend.

I’m so glad that I was invited along to the bloggy event and that I got the invite to the Brooks/ event. It was great to see everyone again. Can’t wait until whatever is planned next year! (I vote something OTHER than RnR…)

Monday, June 25, 2012

Rock 'n' Roll Seattle Marathon (Race Recap)

Saturday, June 23
Marathon #11
State #5
Seattle, WA
Weather - Mild at the start, sunny and hot mid race, FREEZING COLD RAIN at the end

8 months of planning for what was to be the most epic event of my summer... the Rock 'n' Roll Seattle marathon!

L booked us pretty close to the start (less than a mile), so thankfully we would not need to deal with taking public transportation or trying to drive to the start. However, obviously we were not going to be done in enough time to come back to the room to shower before we would need to check out. So we had to pack everything up before we left for the race. We headed down to the lobby, and since they were already serving breakfast we peeked in to see what they had. I chose a cinnamon roll as pre-race food. It was the best tasting thing EVER. Heather, you really missed out. Then, I luckily had the brilliant idea to check with Ronda (staying in the hotel directly behind us) to see if we could leave our stuff in her room since she was staying an additional night. Heather sent her a text, and she didn’t mind and we ran our stuff up.

We all walked over to the start together and didn’t get lost. We managed to NOT miss the big bloggy picture at 6:30 (shocking, since I almost always miss the group pictures). 

So much awesome in one picture! (This might also be from Tricia)
Heather, Kim, Me (Thanks, S!)
Then we parted ways as most of the half marathoners were starting in corral 11, and we were going to start in Heather’s corral, 24. We had been given the Brooks potty passes at the event the night before. I would never actually pay for these, but wow. I will admit, I was impressed. They have trailers with 5 flushing toilets and a sink. I LOVE WASHING MY HANDS! They also had available things like q-tips, Vaseline, lotion, hairspray, rubber bands, etc. Outside there were guys with trays of gum, mints and GU. AWESOME.

The tuxedo shirts were a nice touch
We headed over to our corral to meet up with Lesley and Tricia. Took some pre-race pictures, and then spent about a half hour after the gun went off moving up. Slowly. Then it was time to go.

Me, Heather, Ronda, Lesley, Tricia
It was forever before we even SAW the start line
Heather was running her first marathon, and I’m not sure whether she asked, if I volunteered, or what, but I planned on sticking with her the whole time. I was not really optimistic with how the race was going to go. I haven’t been running that much over the last month. Between work, the heat, travel, and the Peruvian jungle plague that I contracted, I just haven’t been in the best shape lately. I had warned her in advance that if she needed to take off and go on without me, I would understand – I didn’t want to hold her back and wreck her first marathon!

Anyway, L was also planning on running with us. None of us used our iPods (I KNOW, who knew I would ever be so willing to run without one??) and off we went. The first mile went pretty well. Surprisingly, we didn’t really have that much dodging and we were maintaining a decent pace. This part was a slight downhill (I think), and I was feeling pretty decent. I don’t remember that much of the first five or so miles. It was running through the city, and I was trying to be sure that we weren’t going out too fast (we didn’t) and that we were all running a pace that felt comfortable. I hope I wasn’t annoying, but I kept asking Heather if this was a good pace for her, if she wanted to go faster/slower, etc.

Lesley took this picture somewhere around the first mile

I took off the arm sleeves I had been wearing somewhere after the first aid station. When the sun came out it heated up pretty quickly. We were sticking with our plan of just walking the water stations, and apparently we were all feeling ok.

The first big hill was just before mile 4. L decided to run up it (because she is a badass), and Heather and I walked it. When we go to the top, L said she had passed Ronda. 

See the hill, off in the distance?
Heather immediately took off trying to catch her. The course split shortly after the aid station at roughly mile 5 and we didn’t end up seeing her. 

We head to the right into the woods. Turns out that was going to be the best (pretty much the only good) part of the course. It was a lollipop loop through a really beautiful wooded area near the bay. We were keeping a good pace, and the course was really pretty. We stopped somewhere around mile 7 to use the bathroom. Even with all three of us stopping, it didn’t really take that long. 

Nice view from the port-o-potties
Lots of pretty trees!
Thanks, Heather

There were signs warning about poison oak. I don’t even know what poison oak looks like. They should have had a picture of it on the sign or something. We spent the out part looking for A, who we knew was fast and also running the marathon, but we didn’t see her. Then we looped around and used a REAL bathroom one more time before heading along the bay (Lake Washington?)

This is when the course got rough for me. It was at least eleventy billion degrees once the sun came out. I was SO hot. The aid stations did not seem close enough together. And the water was NASTY tasting... very obviously hose water. Ew. Heather said she was feeling great so I tried to keep my complaining to a minimum. My watch became possessed and started flashing back and forth between different screens without me touching anything. Then trying to get it back on my main screen wouldn’t work, so I had to lock it finally on overall time. This meant I couldn’t really monitor our pace… which is SUPER ANNOYING for me. I know I shouldn’t rely so much on my watch, but…

Anyway, we met back up with the half marathon course just after mile 12. They were the tail end of the pack – all of them were walking. The organizers did a better job of keeping us separated with cones AND yellow tape. Our side was a bit narrow but still wide enough for us to stay together. It was a nice shaded downhill for a bit, until just before mile 14. I’ll argue that is pretty much when the race totally fell apart.

We separated again from the half marathoners, and we had this weird out and back (for distance). Down on the out, and uphill on the back. Then we had to go up the first overpass to cross the bridge. Talk about defeating/awful/horrible. I think this next section was the worst part of any course I have ever run. Ever. About mile 14.5 and we start running across the bridge over the bay. It is the longest bridge in the history of the world. Aid station in the middle around mile 15. Runners are coming towards us at mile 20 and they look hot and miserable. The bridge is obviously not shaded, and it is boring. And long. The longest EVER. I think the end of the bridge was past mile 16. Then we had to go through tunnel #1. I almost immediately lost satellite on my watch. The tunnel was at least cool and shaded. However, the road was very graded, which I HATE running on, and there was a DJ in the tunnel blasting music and it was LOUD. And not very good music.

Once we got out of the tunnel, we were at about mile 17, then we had more freeway to run on until we turned around after the aid station around mile 17.5. That’s pretty much when we started walking. Heather was not thrilled about the graded tunnel, so we walked that. The whole tunnel. Once we exited, we ran the downhill and part of the tunnel until we hit the aid station. Then we walked. And walked. I asked her if she was ok, and she said she was, but that she didn’t really want to run anything unless it was flat or downhill. We ran into Paulette, Oiselle ambassador, and talked with her briefly before she took off. We then got to yet another tunnel. We walked this one also. This one was also about a mile long. (I think? My watch wasn’t working). Aid station right at the end was mile 21.

I'm done with you, bridge!
From this point on, we really didn’t run at all. We ran only the downhills, and there wasn’t too much of that. The sky was looking angry, like it was going to storm. I commented that we should maybe run so that we didn’t get caught in the rain, but decided to walk it anyway. 

Century Link Field
I think we finally started to get rained on between miles 22 and 23. And this was NOT just a light drizzle. Well, it started that way, but then it was a true downpour. I was soaked. Heather was done, which I can understand. This was not a great course, and I wasn’t feeling too great either. We still stuck together – I mean, it was going to be raining at the finish line too.

There was another tunnel around mile 25, which was welcome because at least we weren’t getting rained on. We got to the end of the tunnel and it looked to be raining even HARDER on the other side. I knew we only had about ¾ of a mile to go, and I suggested to Heather that we run it in, so we did. We walked up the very cruel hill right at the end, and ran to the finish together. Crossed the line, got our medals and bottles of water then got our mylar blankets. SO COLD. Never been so cold in MY LIFE.

Bib #20202
Official Time - 5:30:34
5K - 34:18
10K - 1:08:55
Half - 2:29:27
17.6 - 3:23:19
20 - 3:57:38
Official Pace - 12:37
Overall - 2621/3089
Gender - 1132/1434
Division - 246/313
Garmin Time - 5:28:11 (watch died about 2 min before we finished)
Garmin distance - 26.5 (again, died about 2 min before we finished)
Garmin pace - 12:23
Mile 1 - 11:14
Mile 2 - 10:16
Mile 3 - 11:13
Mile 4 - 10:43
Mile 5 - 10:36
Mile 6 - 11:55
Mile 7 - 10:50
Mile 8 - 14:00 (bathroom)
Mile 9 - 10:40
Mile 10 - 11:33
Mile 11 - 12:32 (bathroom)
Mile 12 - 11:05
Mile 13 - 10:27
Mile 14 - 11:28
Mile 15 - 11:20
Mile 16 - 11:17
Mile 17 - 13:16
Mile 18 - 10:34
Mile 19 - 15:18
Mile 20 - 11:45
Mile 21 - 24:25 (tunnel screwed up GPS)
Mile 22 - 5:54 (same)
Mile 23 - 14:18
Mile 24 - 14:01
Mile 25 - 17:06
Mile 26 - 15:23
Mile 26.5ish - 10:06

SO happy that we got to run this race together. Other than the rain, I really enjoyed myself. Even though we are BFF’s and both run a ton, this was really the first time that we have ever run together, if you can believe it. For your viewing pleasure, courtesy of, here are a ton of us running:

We saw Lesley and Tricia briefly at the finish, but then parted ways and headed to our separate hotels. Thankfully, Heather has a pretty good sense of direction and we didn’t get lost finding it. However, it DID take us about 20 minutes to walk there. We got even MORE drenched, and the wind had picked up and it was FREEZING. Thankfully we got to Ronda’s room and she was awesome enough to let us shower before heading out. I cannot believe how cold I got in JUNE. I pretty much had hypothermia. My fingers would NOT work. It took a long time to get my socks off as my fingers could NOT grab the sock. And I had to stand under the hot water for a couple of minutes before my hands were thawed enough to undo the rubber bands holding in my braids.

After showering, Heather, L and I headed out to get some lunch. Alma didn’t live too far away, which is where Heather would be going, so we wanted to find a place nearby that had a burger. Briefly getting lost and having a hard time finding somewhere to park, we found a place. With the worst service ever and no French fries. A half hour later, about 3:40 pm, we finally had our lunch. Then we dropped Heather off at Alma’s and L and I began our drive for the second part of the adventure… heading to Canada.

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...