Sunday, December 1, 2013

Planking Through The New Year...

Come on...I know you want to!

A friend of mine started a holiday running streak on Thanksgiving day! How awesome! I would love to do this, but I know it's just not going to happen with the hours I work. I know some of you can do the 4am run without a problem, but I just can't. Not when sometimes I do a 3 or 4 day 12 on 12 off stretches. However, I wanted to commit to doing SOMETHING each day so Plank-A-Day Challenge it is!

Today I started & decided to see what I could do. I did 1:30 & then Thing 2 made me laugh & I lost it. It's a good starting point though. I am going to try to hold it just a little longer every day & then on New Years Day I will see how long I can hold it.

There are a bunch of plans out there for beginners if you are just starting. This one looks pretty good:

Good form is important. I found this picture on Google images so I don't have to subject you to a picture of me doing this beside a pile of unfolded laundry.

If you'd like to join in, the more the merrier! And in case you were wondering, I'll be running too! Just not every day. I'm taking this "off season" to work on making my easy pace a little faster. Today I ran 7.5 at an avg pace of 9:48 (which includes the BIGA$$ mile long hill I've committed to running instead of my normal walking up it to get home).  A solid core is going to help me here!

Happy December! Let the holiday crazies begin!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Pie & Glove 5K

This morning the family & I got up early to run the local 5K. This took a lot of willpower as the temperature this morning was -12C (10F), windy and fresh snow on the ground. It was seriously cold. My mother opted to stay home...I think she was the smart one! Nonetheless, the 4 of us were not deterred! Off we went! We arrived early as we had not pre-registered, quickly got our bibs and headed back to the car to wait in the warmth. That was when I realized that in the scramble to layer on adequate amounts of clothes, I had forgotten my Garmin! Akk! I wasn't too worried because I had my phone and I thought I could use my Nike+ app. Unfortunately, I went out on a warmup mile and only just got to the start on time (I'm pretty sure this is the ONLY time this race has started when it was supposed to!) and I didn't get it set up in time. 

Oh well, time to get running, run by feel and hope for the best. Honestly, I did not feel like I was running fast. I thought I might be in the 9's but really had no idea. In fact, I was pretty sure I was having a sucky run and I'd be lucky to finish under 30. I didn't feel like I was trying very hard and it felt mostly like a tempo training run. 

It was an out and back, so of course I saw Thing 1 & his friends first & had to laugh because the brain trust was shirtless in short shorts! What a crew! They were in about 20th place and clipping along. Next I saw Thing 2, who was sensibly in a touque, sweatshirt and long pants....he was maybe a minute behind his brother. Then SD was just behind Thing 2. As for me, I just kept trucking along. The wind was picking up after the turnaround and mostly I just wanted to get to the finish. I wasn't passing anyone, but wasn't being passed much either. Just the occasional college kid. 

Despite the storm that visited the Northeast the past couple days the streets were pretty clear. Just The side street the race started and finished at was slippery packed snow and ice. I didn't really have much of a kick at the end. I felt a bit queasy coming over the final bridge and then I was just trying not to fall or turn an ankle on the slippery finish stretch. Turns out there was a clock at the finish but I didn't see it because people were standing in front of it. When I found the family I had no idea what I ran. 

They all did well, but Thing 2 did the best because he won a pie for coming in 2nd in his age group! Yay! 

Finally, they started posting results, but the times kept getting higher and higher and I couldn't find my name. Ugg. Thought my chip was broken. Then, just before awards they posted revised sheets and I finally found my name:

26:12!!!!! (That's a 2 second PR, folks!)
12th in my AG

All I can say is Hmmmmm....Garmin free? Not at all what I expected. 

Hope you all had a Happy Thanksgiving:)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Red Baron Half Marathon Race Report...

Red Baron Half Marathon 2013
PR by 8 minutes 24 seconds
8:51 pace!!!

I am still on cloud nine about this race! It still seems surreal that I was able to run that almost seems like it wasn't me running that day...I keep asking myself how it happened because I do not run that fast except in a 5K on a good day and even then I am dying at the finish.  Here's now impossible became reality...
Gotta love kids who don't go change when they realize we all all dressed the same!

I had been looking forward to this race all summer/fall.  Although I never said it out loud, this was the race where I thought I could go sub-2....or crash and burn in glorious style...which is why I kept it to myself.  I knew there would be no middle ground here. I felt strong after the Wineglass, recovered with little fanfare and went right into the Toronto Waterfront Half 2 weeks ago.  This was just plain fun, but it was also a huge confidence booster because it was so easy and relaxed.  I had the distance training in and just ran easy after Wineglass trying to go into this as healthy and strong as possible.  Running fit I was...immune system fit I was not.  I have had some kind of virus since before Wineglass that has come and gone and last week got so bad I went to the doc for a strep and mono screen...both negative so great, no antibiotics...need to let it run its course.  So though I felt ok, I was not 100% confident that my body could supply the run my heart wanted. But, Hey, I'm a runner so a sore throat isn't going to stop me & off to the starting line I went :)  

Sunday was cool and sunny, hovering in the low-30's with a bit of wind.  I almost went with tights and a jacket but thought if I was running well I'd be too hot.  So it was bra-top to keep the core warm, long sleeve shirt, skirt, long socks, mitts & headband.  It was the perfect combination for me.  This is the 4th time I've run Red Baron.  It's a small local race (345 finishers) with minimal amenities.  In fact, I was quite surprised to receive a long sleeve tech shirt this year! Usually, it's a cotton nightmare that I automatically give to one of the kids.  It's a gun start without any chip timing so I started my Garmin as I crossed the start line.  

Miles 1-5: Rolling hills + 1 big-a$$ hill
Around mile 2
I went out with the pack and slowly settled into the middle.  To go sub-2 I needed to hold a 9:09 pace.  I knew it would be hard in the initial 5 miles because of the hills but I wanted to get as close as I could before having to make it up on the downhill. It was a fast start but I was just going with what felt comfortable and because I knew the course inside out, felt that I needed to get these hard miles in at at least 9:20 or it was going to be too hard to make up even on a downhill course.  The first 2 miles were good.  I was dreading coming around the curve at mile 2 hoping that this year I wouldn't see a bleeding and broken SD. I didn't, thank goodness, and headed into the hard climb in mile 3.  I just trucked up that hill steadily and turned the corner into the mile 3 water station.  I was happy with 9:19 and hoped I could keep it close through 5.  The hills just keep coming on this stretch until you turn a corner and see the big a$$ hill that seems to go on for ever.  I know from past experience, it's much easier if you don't look at it and just concentrate on the little piece of pavement in front of me.  I got to the top and got some water and cheers from some of the XC kids at the water station.  I knew then that I was heading into the downhill strong.  I turned the corner and started down.

Miles 6-10: Downhill

Mile 6 was a dream...after that hill, I just felt like I was flying! Around mile 6, I saw this guy with this great sign, and I told him so....then when I was a few strides past him I realized he looked familiar.  I thought he looked like Couch to Ironwoman's husband Mike but I couldn't stop to check.  The 10K was marked and I looked at my read 55:30's...that is a new PR for me! Just before the 7 mile water station (THANK YOU race organizers for adding this used to be a LONG way from 5-9 with nothing!) I had a GU.  My legs were starting to hurt a bit but I figured I'd come more than half way, I'm just going to go for it and hold on as long as I possibly can.  It was like I was in a dream and this crazy woman was running really fast for me! But wait, no, it was actually me! When I got to the 9 mile mark, I knew I could PR.  When I got to the 10 mile mark, I saw that it WAS Jamie & Mike from Couch to Ironwoman!  I shouted out to them and they cheered me on! I wanted to shout "I think I'm going sub-2"....but even then I didn't want to say it out loud! Superstitious runners! LOL!
Jamie & Mike (mile 2)...didn't see them here, but I sure noticed that sign!

Miles 11-13.1: Flat
8:55/9:16/9:08/7:25 (for the .17 at the end that my Garmin captured for the course distance)

Mile 11 flattened out and started to get windy.  I pulled my sleeves down again and thought to myself that I am NOT going to let the wheels fall off here like I did last year.  I concentrated on swinging my arms and lifting my legs.  We made the turn into Denison Park to mile 12.  I was slower but the headwind was stronger.  In mile 12 a young girl came up beside me and tried to pass me.  All I could think was that I wasn't going to make this easy for her and surged ahead, I caught her, she caught me and then we matched stride for stride right up to the final turn onto the bridge.  She was great and as we made the turn I knew I couldn't hold onto her anymore and she was gone past me.  I climbed the bridge, made the loop under it and saw Jamie and my family as I came out from under it into the home stretch to the finish cheering for me! I was SO happy, I knew I was not only going sub-2, but I was CRUSHING it! I was like a crazy person flying into the finish!  It was my best racing moment! I've always been happy to finish a race, but I felt like I was really racing this one! I can definitely say that I gave it my all and worked the whole time to bring this one home. It was AWESOME!
After the race...I think I am a little happy!

And now, as if that isn't enough to be ecstatic about, here is the rest of the family story....

Thing 1 came in 12th overall and 2nd in his AG with a 1:28:13 finish!
Best pain face ever!

Thing 2 completed his 1st Half Marathon in an unbelievable 1:34:52

SD got to run with Thing 2 as he happily chatted away for 15km and was legitimately beaten out at the finish by him by 2 seconds!  

Running together, making it look easy! Mile 10!

Afterwards, I was sore like never before.  My body still hates me, but it was totally worth it!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

I DID IT!!!!!!

This is what pure joy looks like!


PR by 9 minutes

1:56:38....Oh Yeah!

Knowing I'm going to do it @ The Red Baron Half Marathon!!!!

My body hates me already, but it was totally worth it!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon Race Review

Finishing Together! 21.1km Done!
Sunday, I enjoyed the #STWM Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon.  I jogged it, I ran my slowest half time ever...I was basically a tourist taking a ton of crazy pictures & wasn't even tired at the end....and I had the BEST time ever! A couple months ago, an opportunity arose that gave my crazy-busy SIL an actual free/non-work travel weekend that worked for both of us & she asked me if I'd run with her as she attempted her 1st half-marathon.  I was THRILLED at the prospect and we signed up right away! What an honour to help her do this thing!

Separate finish chutes for Half & Full Marathoners
I drove up to Toronto on Friday, making wicked good time (and if you have ever hit the traffic of the Niagara-Toronto corridor, you can appreciate my satisfaction in sailing through it ;)). I got to her place & chilled with the nephews until it was time to go carb-load (Wine is carb loading, right???). (In case you didn't notice, this is part girl-weekend/part family visit).  Normally, about this point I'd tell you all about the expo, however, my BIL was in full-service mode here and not only was he our chauffeur all weekend, but he went and picked up our race kits on Friday for us! So we went dress shopping instead before my nephews birthday party. Full disclosure here: I had never been to a Chuck E. Cheese's before....It is the loudest place on earth! Oh my! But the kiddo's had fun and there was cake, and I love cake.  Yup, pre-race carbs consisted of wine and can be done.

Nathan Philips Square-Start and Finish area

No we aren't sisters, but we feel like it
An early night and I had a pretty good sleep.  C, not so much...but I think that is normal before your first big race.  We were up bright and early and out the door by 6:45.  My BIL was nice enough to get up and drive us to the start.  We left early because we didn't know what traffic would be like with such a big race.  Turns out, there was hardly any and we were plenty early.  It was a little cold waiting for the 8:45 start but we finally made it. The bag check was right in Nathan Philips Square and well organized.  We checked our race issued clear bags around 8ish with no wait and very friendly volunteers.  Already this race feels like a big city well-oiled machine.  Because the start and finish were in the same location, it was nice to be able to scout out the finish area, see where the family meeting area (nicely organized by alphabetized flags) was and you already knew where your bag was going to be. Very nice. There were 5 running corrals and 1 walking corral. We were purple, the last running corral. These are EXCITED people! It was projected times of 2:25 and slower for the half and 4:40 and slower for the full.  Everyone was chatting, excited and nervous! It was neat having everyone start together, but I will say that the half-marathon bibs were much more predominant than the full marathon bibs. One marathoner took a picture of my Wineglass marathon shirt because she loved it so much! We did kind of look like a running ad for WGM! C wore her DNS shirt from a couple years ago too. There were 27000 runners in downtown Toronto on this morning.  9000 for the 5K (that would start before us down on the waterfront and make their way to the common finish), 12000 half marathoners & 6000 full marathoners.  That's a LOT of people! Like triple the population of my town! If that wasn't enough....I saw Kenyans & Ethiopians warming up! At a pace that I couldn't run if I was on fire! It was very cool! Honestly, I think this race is growing on an international scale and is going to turn into the NYC of Canada.  If it sounds appealing to you, I'd think about putting it on your race calendar sooner rather than later.  I can see it getting to lottery entry before too long.

The coveted Blue Track
The waves started at 8:45 and went every 5 minutes.  It was several waves before we even turned the corner and I could see the start in the distance! It took about 20 minutes to reach the start and we were off! We went at a nice easy pace and enjoyed the excitement of the start.  I am navigationally challenged, so I only know roughly where we were, but we started in the northern downtown area by Queen's Park and then went through the University of Toronto campus area.  I had to whip my phone out here for a very bad picture of the UofT Varsity Blues Track for Thing 1.  This is the track he dreams of running on, and will be applying to UofT this month! A Blue track for the Blues...tres cool!

Toronto Waterfront
C & the Inukshuk we passed
We then made our way south towards the waterfront.  The crowds never really thinned out, but neither did the crowd support.  There were people lining the streets the whole way. I had my music turned on, but I wasn't really hearing it and eventually just turned it off and enjoyed the crowds and bands/music along the course.  The water stations were every 2.5km which was a good spacing.  Well stocked with Gatorade and water....and with so many people, the ground was a paper cup wasteland by the time we got to the water stations.  The Gu stations were actually sticky underfoot! We hit the 10km mark around 1:11 and C's side cramp was finally gone.  That is hard right out of the gate, but she didn't stop or walk, she just worked through it nice and steady.  She was doing so well!  It was starting to get a little harder here for her but she had 3 amazing things to look forward to in the next 4km....seeing her husband & 2 kiddo's! We saw them at the High Park cheering area around the 11km mark and it really boosted her spirits & kept those legs strong! We ran along the waterfront from around Ontario Place to just past High Park and then looped back so we saw them again around 13.5km or so.  They were cheering like crazy and it was awesome!  As we were heading back along the waterfront it was SO beautiful.  It really was a pretty perfect running day weatherwise, and it was in a perfect setting.  The boats and sunshine on the water were amazing! In this stretch we had to go up 2 hills.  They weren't huge but they were long enough to make you question whether you could get to the top.  Basically, I ran in front of C and told her to just look at my back & shoes and follow me. We didn't walk and we got up those inclines nice and steady.  At about 15km, she had a huge cramp in her hip that we stopped to stretch out for a moment, but it was only for a few seconds, then we were off again.

Just finished! 
With our #1 fan
Only 6km to go and we start heading off the waterfront back towards the finish.  The full marathoners split from Half just before the 20km mark and went on through some pretty culturally diverse and unique areas of the city.  It looks like a very nice (and flat) second half.  Our pace slowed a bit but we were still running. No walking for us! We did stop to stretch at 20km for just a second then we went strong into the homestretch.  I was so excited and proud of C! She had no real time goal (except she thought she would be around the 3 hour mark) but she wanted to finish without having walked at all.  The crowds were amazing and the last half km, while slightly uphill, was marked out in 100 meter intervals, which made staying focused on finishing that much easier.  We just went sign to sign.  When we turned the corner and finally saw the finish line, C grabbed my hand and we finished side by side crazy happy! I was so proud of C for doing this! She met her goal of finishing without stopping! And the best part was just after we finished we heard the shouts of congratulations from BIL & the kiddo's and she & BIL were happily chatting about how she came in just where she thought she would, I had to interrupt and tell them that the time they saw on the clock was from the first wave & her time was actually 2:35! It was awesome to see her face when she realized she had run 20 minutes faster than she originally thought!  Loved it! Thank you Garmin! And Thank You, C, for allowing me the privilege of being your cheerleader, drill sergeant, goofball running partner! It was amazing!
Nice tech T (Full had blue long sleeve)

And yes, I am definitely putting this on my running calendar for the full.  Overall, I prefer a smaller race, but for a big race, this is definitely a well oiled machine.  Can't really think of anything that was bad about it. Post race, they kept you moving down the block, first stop was medals...and they are one of the nicest I've ever gotten....I REALLY want the big gold full marathon one now.  Then you continued on through the food station.  No stopping though.  They gave you a bag first and you filled it with bagels, bananas, yogurt and kept moving.  Once we made it back to the square there was ample milling around space, booths and entertainment.

Overall, A+ race.

Nice heavy detailed medal (full was gold & bigger)
And if you want to see a couple of crazies finishing the race, check us out here: (click the finish clip) Race video of 10KM and Finish

Monday, October 7, 2013

Wineglass Marathon 2013 Race Report...

Wineglass Marathon 2013

 Well Marathon #5 is in the bag & I couldn't have asked for a better feeling race than this one.  There is something very special about running your hometown marathon...especially when that hometown is very small.  I am sure the tourists out-numbered the locals here the past few days! I have a confession...I almost didn't register for this one.  I actually thought "well I've run it twice, maybe I should find a different fall race". So glad I didn't!

About to board the bus for the start
How do you like THAT outfit?!?
Wineglass Marathon is a family event.  I ran the full, SD ran the half, and Thing 1 & Thing 2 were at the Mile 24 water station.  Thing 1 was actually in charge of it! The alarm went off at 5:10 and SD and I were up for our coffee and bagels & were out the door by 6:15. Since we have both run this before, we have found the easiest thing to do is to drive to the finish line (about 10 min), park the car there & take the buses to the start.  This is a great free feature of this race.  There was a bit of a line for the half buses, but I got the last seat on one leaving for the full start and was off right away & the sun rose as we made the 26.2 mile drive from Corning, NY out to Bath, NY. The starting area was well organized.  There were ample port a potties, a sheltered waiting area with chairs, water & bib pickup.  I chatted with a few of my Ragnar ladies, said Hi to Bart Yasso, checked my bag on the UPS truck (Clear bags only...which seems to be the new post-Boston standard) & headed for the back of the start line.  It was overcast but 64F with 90% humidity at the start.

Miles 1-5: 10:13/10:20/10:27/10:22/10:31
Downhill, Flat, Uphill 
The gun went off & I stood still.  With around 2400 runners, it took 6 minutes to cross the starting mat.  Soon enough we were off. I started with a couple Ragnar ladies, but they were soon ahead of me.  That's fine, I wanted to run my own race.  This whole race, I just wanted 2 things: to make sure I didn't go out too fast & just run what felt comfortable for me.  As a result, I really didn't look at my Garmin too much.  I had my 5 mile 'beat Oprah' splits on my arm & I checked my watch a every couple miles or so if I noticed my watch beep, but mostly just ran to feel.  I wanted so much not to have a race with a section where I wanted to die or stop.  In that respect I succeeded.  This was a smooth race....I guess some-what turtle-like...slow & steady.  I positioned myself between the 4:30 & 4:40 pacers. I soon lost sight of the 4:30 guy & I hoped the 4:40 wouldn't catch up! The first mile is a little downhill, then it flattens out before you do a long slow climb from miles 4-5.  Crowds lined almost this whole section and then thinned out as we climbed the hill exiting the city of Bath to country roads.  I just tried to run easy and loose & find my place in the crowd.  I skipped the first water station too. Pretty sure I can run 5K without needing water!

Miles 6-10: 10:42/10:12/10:25/10:20/10:30:
One hill, Flat
As you make your way up and out of Bath towards Savona, you run a long county road & I wish I had a picture of the long line of runners out in front of me for as far as I could see. Normally, if I see one runner when I am out, it is an event!  So to see so many runners in my area is pretty cool!  For some reason, I hate to train hills and tend to avoid them, but during a race, I seem to be able to just power up them steadily and ride the downhill with fast legs.  This is where I started to steadily pass people. I took my first Gu at the 10K mark & was feeling pretty good.  It was good timing and as it kicked in I arrived in Savona at the 9.1 mile to what felt like the entire town at one intersection!  This is a great spectator course because you can drive on and off the highway to 4 super easy viewing points.  Savona is the first big one.  Just before you get there too you can see the highway and all the cars are tooting their horns as they drive by. Cool! Through Savona, hang a right and you have just 4 miles to the half way point along a flat farm lined road.  I just ran steady, hit every aid station, and soaked up the atmosphere.  I was feeling good.  It was still overcast, but it was humid. I could feel the salt on my face.  I knew I'd need the Hammer Endurolytes I'd packed.

Miles 11-15: 10:36/10:43/10:54/10:46/10:42:
Flat, Last Hill, Downhill, Flat 
The numbers are weird.  I 'felt' like I was running strong, and I was.  I was running a comfortable pace and passing people steadily.  I had dropped several of the people that had been running around me in the last stretch and really was in a good state of mind.  Miles 14-20 are normally the hardest for me, but I was ok mentally and physically.  My body felt good.  Just the normal tired, nothing crazy.  I had taken my endurolyte capsules at the half along with another Gu.  I think, in hindsight, what had happened was that the majority of runners are early morning runners....people who thrive in cold conditions.  I, on the other hand, because I only run on my days off, generally don't get out there until about 10am.  I have run in plenty of humidity.  Not always well, but I've done it for most of the training cycle.  So, while it was still overcast around at 10-11am, the temps were into the low 70's and the humidity was sucking the life out of alot of runners.  I saw people sobbing in the medical tent at the half way point.  Apparently the race organizers sent a bus out to collect several people who called it a day at the half.  So a ton of people were struggling which made my slower paces above feel fast because I was still passing people.  I wasn't looking at my watch so didn't realize my splits were getting higher.  Maybe if I'd looked I could have pushed it a bit more in this section, but maybe if I'd done that, the last 11 miles would have been a suckfest.  I think I just ran what was right for me. Around mile 14 you hit the last hill. It's not long, but suffice it to say that when I bike this section I drop into my granny gear.  Again, I just plodded steadily up it passing walkers.  Yes, I was starting to encounter ALOT of walkers.  I hit every aid station and started taking both Gatorade and water.  I wasn't dehydrated but I was sweating alot and wanted to be safe.  So far, So good.

Mile 23
Miles 16-20: 10:32/10:24/10:45/10:57/10:23:
This was a miracle. Not kidding.  To have those splits on 16-20 was like a gift from God.  Usually this is my personal sufferfest.  Something hurts or my brain gets the better of me.  Not this time.  I have biked every inch of these roads and know them by heart.  Again, just slow and steady.  No bursts of speed.  Just running what felt good.  By mile 19, as we entered Coopers Plains, it was hot & the sun came out.  I had my last Gu, some Gatorade and water here & enthusiastically turned the corner to head into my neighbourhood.

Miles 21-26.2 (26.35 by my Garmin): 10:56/10:57/10:53/10:43/10:59/10:03/3:20 (9:39pace)
Mile 24
Honestly, I'm looking at these paces now and they seem slow to me.  I've run some faster miles on this course in the past but overall a much steadier race. Plus, though it was close on mile 25, I managed to keep every single mile under 11! It was like the walking dead through this section.  People filled the mile 21 medical tent.  It was so hot and humid this section.  It was starting to hit the 80's through this section.  The best part of this section was that I was seeing people I knew all along it & they were all cheering for me!  It really does help! I saw SD at 20.5, then friend after friend after that.  One fellow XC Mom saw me and ran a section of the bike path with me to see how I was doing...there was so much support and it was lending me wings.  As I cruised through the Mile 24 water station I got huge cheers from the hoard of about 30 XC kids there, including my own.  Thing 2 ran me through it and said he didn't recognize me at first because he was looking for my distinct 'marathon waddle' and I didn't have it.  Felt pretty good to be told I looked pretty good from him.  All the running pictures you see here are from friends who saw me along the course and sent them to me last night.  Such a great running community we live in!

By Mile 25 I knew I'd have to really kick it in if I was going to PR.  This course has always measured long for me....and let me tell you that when your watch beeps 26.2 and you are not even at the 26 mile marker it is hard! The last 1.35 I gave it everything I had and I'm sure if any cameras had caught me at the beginning of Market St I would have been wearing a giant pain face, but coming down that last stretch you can't help but start to smile. People from one end to the other screaming...I mean SCREAMING...for you! It is awesome! I finished in 4:38:50 and Trail Buddy was right there to congratulate me and give me a hug.  I was initially disappointed that I didn't PR, but that didn't last long.  It was my 2nd best marathon overall & my best showing at the Wineglass.  As I started to look at the results, I realized it was a slow day overall.  People that should have beat me were 15-30 minutes behind me.  I am happy to have performed so well under such adverse conditions.

As for the swag, it is stellar for this race: Reusable bag in lime green, long sleeve tech shirt (gender specific), wineglass and Finger Lakes wine split along with a $10 gift card for a little store I love on Market St (I'll be using SD's too!)

This is not just a is a race weekend! On Friday I met Bart Yasso twice!  What a great guy! First I went to a talk he was giving where he spoke about his 'Life on the Run' as Runner's World CRO (Chief Running Officer...where can I get that job?!)  and then the race organizers brought him to speak to the Cross Country Team at practice! He is such a down to earth and engaging speaker the kids were just brimming with excitement afterwards about meeting "such a cool guy!" And although I did not attend, there was a Saturday evening pasta dinner where Bart spoke and mingled with the crowd.

With Bart Yasso!
This race has so much heart.  The conditions were the most brutal they've ever had and they normally have a 6 hour time limit. But they kept the course open 7 hours and 15 minutes and a biker with the last runner so she could cross the finish line and collect her medal! People that were in restaurants along Market St by that point came out of them and cheered her across the finish line! Now that's a class act!

I highly recommend this race!

SD finishing the half in 1:37 for 3rd in AG

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Marathon #5 DONE!!!!

2nd best marathon ever....& in 80 degree heat!  

More later....


Saturday, October 5, 2013

Marathon 5...Here I Come!

In the morning I toe the line for my 5th marathon & my 3rd Wineglass Marathon. I don't know how this will turn out, but I plan on giving it my all & enjoying the my opinion you can do both! Weather calls for rain, 80 degree heat & humidity....oh well, can't change that so I'll just take what the day gives me & hope I make it past the mile 24 water station where Thing 1 & Thing 2 are volunteering without looking dead ;-D

My plan is to clear a path with this outfit: 

They'll be able to see me coming, eh??? 

Can I break 4:30? I think I'm in better shape this year....and you just never know what will happen on race day!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

My 1st AG Win!!!!

Today I ran the Superhero 5K. 

"Every child needs a hero, but an abused child needs a Superhero"

It's a small local race in its' first year. If you know me, 5K's are really not my thing but Thing 1 was volunteering & it was a good friends charity that was benefitting. Plus I got to break out my Wonder Woman shirt & socks...& who wouldn't LOVE that????  

I started out with an easy 5 miler to warm up. I needed some extra mileage today and I really never get going until the 3rd or 4th mile so I knew going out cold wouldn't work out well at all. It felt good & I managed a comfortable 10:18 pace. Plus I needed to see how the Newtons would feel with some miles on them. 

The Verdict: Awesome! Comfortable, cushioned & no issues whatsoever in the metatarsal area. I am relieved!

I didn't have to wait long for the race to start. Maybe 10 minutes. There was a pretty good crowd. Around 225, i think. 

Ready. Set. Go! And we were off. 

Being that it is XC season and the high schoolers were out of the mix, I lined up close to the front after noting that a lot of folks didn't look like hardcore competitive runners. Not that I am, but I just didn't want to dodge too many at the start. The race was an out and back on a gravel trail. A bit narrow at times but no major issues. A couple girls almost took me out crossing in front of me in the opposite direction to get to the water station but other than that it was fine. I was through the first mile in 8:38!?!? Yes, that's right...8:38. I was a little scared when it beeped and I looked at the split but I was running steady and feeling fine so I just kept going. A few people passed me but by the time we got to around a mile and a quarter, the people that went out hard were paying for it and started to drop back. By the half I was steadily moving up. (I skipped the water station...really not necessary for a 5k but it was getting lots of action nonetheless) Mile 2 went by at 8:47....not bad. I felt pretty good...I was in a groove. I just focused  on the person in front of me and started to reel them in one at a time. Mile 3: 8:38

Then it was a sprint to the finish! Finished the last .1@7:54 pace and crossed the line @ 26:54!

Off my PR by a few seconds but that's ok because it apparently was good enough for a 1st Place Age Group Win!!!

That's NEVER happened to me before! In fact, I thought I was much further back than I was. Turns out I was:

28/225 overall
6th female
& 1st in the 40-49AG

It was definitely a fun run! If this is what 26ish minutes gets a gal, I may have to come back every year!  And yes, my bloggy friends, that IS my victory cape! Lol! Love it!

This is me showing thing 1 my finishing pace...he was amused by his crazy mama ;-D

Saturday, September 21, 2013

I have drunk the koolaid...

Just as a preface, my pre-marathon routine is to get a new pair of shoes about a month before my marathon and run in them just enough so they are broken in but fresh. I'm coming up on marathon #5 & went and picked up a new pair of Pure Flow 2's exactly like my old pair and the pair before that. Did not anticipate any sort of difficulty. I could NOT have been more wrong! OMG! The shoes nearly crippled me! I am not kidding...the top of my left foot hurt so much after just a couple short runs that I was seriously worried that I might have a fracture. Something on the left shoe was off and the shoe was bending in such a way as to severely bruise the top o my foot. I couldn't even wear my regular nurse shoes at work last week! 

I switched back to my old shoes (that have 500+ miles on them...yikes!) and they felt ok when I tried a short run. In desperation, I headed to Ithaca to the running store to see if thy could help me. I wasn't about to try the same pair again! I spent over an hour trying shoes and doing laps of the commons until I found something I thought might work. But NUTS, I wanted it just a titch bigger. The very patient owner of the store called their other store and they had my size...phew! It is a bit of a ways away but luckily today's XC meet was close to Binghamton so I was able to finally pick up these:
Newton Energy's

Tomorrow I take them for their inaugural run. Please send some good vibes that they still feel good! I'm only 2 weeks out from Wineglass Marathon!!!

So as I was talking to the guy at the store today, he told me that they have had a ton of quality issues with Brooks shoes lately. Like major defects including shoes being of 2 different heights and misshapen toe boxes! Anyone else have a Brooks shoe issue lately? Sounds to me like it could be a huge problem for them. I've been a loyal Brooks buyer since the Pure Flow line came out but I'm afraid I can't risk ruining my feet again. Sorry Brooks, I wish I could trust you, but I just can't.  :(

Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Runner Mindset...

Today I ran 9 miles. A 'quick' 9 miler before I headed off to Thing1&2's first XC meet if the season. It occurs to me, as I revisit my thought process for this run that my view on distances has transformed drastically since I cursed through my first 2 miler 4 years ago. 

Friday night as I lay in bed I considered what I'd run today. I need a long run this weekend but I didn't think I be able to fit in 16 miles before we had to leave. (I refuse to get up earlier than I have to on a workday!). I arrived at 9 miles because I could A) sleep until 6:30
B) run at or around race pace enough miles to feel like I got a good run in but not have dead legs for my 3 hour run tomorrow (I'll let you know how that turns out!). 
C) just long enough to avoid hauling fuel and water
D) home and showered in time to leave by 9:30

Seriously?!? When on earth did my mindset switch so that 9 miles 'isn't tht long' & 'ONLY takes an hour and a half"

The runners's an unexplainable thing! 

Btw, I have also convinced myself I can run a marathon topping out at 17 (crappy) miles. Yeah, ├╝ber cray cray ;-D

Oh and this is what Thing 1 tells me I'm like when he's driving. He's pretty much right. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Tri Dunkirk Race Report...My 1st OLY!!!

Tri Dunkirk
Olympic Distance Triathlon: 1500M/40KM/10KM

I DID IT!!!!!! Sunday, I completed my very 1st Olympic distance Tri! Thanks to Michael for giving me awesome taper advice! It worked! You are Da-Bomb!

So here's how it went down.....

We had to drive to Dunkirk on's only 3 hours away, but that is just a little too far for a same day trip, especially since transition closed at 6:45am.  So after taking Think 1 & Thing 2 to the 5K that they wanted to run on Saturday morning (they did great, btw: 18:25 & 19:31...they are ready for XC season!) we hit the road for Dunkirk.  We checked into our hotel and then hit packet pickup.  Very easy and quick.  It was at the race site so we were able to scope out the water and transition.  We got a tech shirt and some arm/calf sleeves????? Not sure decide.  I'll be honest...Dunkirk is not a very nice town.  And, quite frankly, I think we drove through the hood to get to the race site. We tried to find a nice pasta place, or even an Olive Garden...but all we could find was an Applebee's.  I guess since Dunkirk lies almost exactly in between Buffalo & Erie, all the good chains were there instead.  Wasn't quite brave enough to try the hole in the wall that the hotel clerk suggested...was probably good but not taking any chances the night before a race....especially since we got weird looks carrying our bikes up 3 flights of stairs to our room. (Probably a place with 'Inn' in it's name was not the best choice.)  But I have had HORRIBLE luck booking chain hotels for our last 2 events so I went in another direction this time...oh well....
Loco crammed into B&B room...nice wallpaper ;s

Racked and ready!
We had an early evening and were up at 5am.  It didn't take long to get ready & we were off.  We thought we'd given ourselves enough time to set up transition, but they were REALLY strict about transition closing time.  All the other tri's we've been in, once you were in transition, they really didn't kick you out if you were working. Not here.  We barely got our tires pumped up in time! That was a whole lot of hurry up so we could wait, wait, wait.

The Swim: 1.5KM  35:40  46/85 overall

I'll be honest, usually I have all the confidence in the world about the swim.  I know it is my strength in triathlon.  Today, however, when I walked to the beach and saw the buoy's WAY out there in Lake Erie, all I could think was "I have to swim that... TWICE?!?" I was a little afraid.  It just looked so very much farther than I had been swimming in practice...and it was getting choppy & I wondered just how deep it was out there.  Plus, everyone around me looked like serious know, the ones that are all tall, ripped & dripping with easy confidence.  I felt out of place. The start took a while, but I have to say it was my favourite swim start yet.  It was done as a time trial start.  We all lined up by bib number and they sent off 2 people every 20 seconds.  The other weird thing was that I was going to have to run in from the beach without sitting in the water getting acclimated. That turned out ok because the water was a beautiful 73F! It turns out a time trial start is glorious! You have tons of free water around you and no one kicking you in the face or swimming over you! I LOVED it! I think a LOT of people had trouble sighting in a straight line, but I didn't.  I wasn't course correcting at all.  The only part that was annoying was that the second buoy was directly in line with the sun so it was hard to see. When it was my turn, I just ran as far as I could and dove in, quickly settling into a steady pace.  One of the things I don't like about triathlon is that if you don't have a watch, you have no idea how much time the swim took.  I decided that I'd wear my old crappy work watch & that worked great for me.  First lap, 16:55 so I swam nearly identical loops. Actually the second was slightly faster, but equaled out on the run across the beach to transition.  The swim was a little conservative because I wasn't sure if trying to kill it would actually kill me in the bike and run.  I am happy with how it turned out and know I can be a little more aggressive next time.

T1: 3:26: I don't know what went wrong.  I was slower than molasses! I just could not get it together and figure out what I was supposed to do in transition! I had a ton of sand on my feet and it just would not come off and when I finally tried to put on my socks, it was awful.  I had trained in bricks with my compression socks on but I never dreamed how hard they'd be to put on damp feet! And I had chosen my tightest fitting ones!  OMG....I barely wrestled into them! Plus I had not factored in the ankle chip...yup, felt that grinding into my ankle the whole bike ride.  Nice abrasions I got....lesson learned I guess.

The Bike: 40KM: 1:35:13  76/85 overall   15.7mph

I felt pretty good on the bike overall.  I had really been hoping to crank at 16mph but I just could not do it.  It was not a horrible bike course, but it was not the 'mostly flat with one big hill before the turnaround'.  It was actually rolling hills the whole time & lots of turns...which was not the terrain I trained for. Still, I clearly need to work on my biking skills.  I was a little worried at one point that I was actually last.  I counted 6 people behind me after the turnaround, but since I was one of the last swim starters, just counting didn't work. I dropped into an easy gear on the last mile and really started in increase my cadence in preparation for the run. Still though, my biking sucks.  I can make it better though.  I didn't get a flat and I didn't's all good.

Oh please let me buy this picture so I can remember my muffintop forever...said no woman ever.
T2:  2:04: I had an awesome transition. Bike racked, helmet off, running shoes on quick, fixed the chip grinding into my ankle and headed for the exit.....and then I realized I forgot to put on my race belt with my number.  Ugg! Had to go back for it as I didn't want to get DQ'd for not having my number on the run.  Probably cost me 20-25 seconds.

The Run: 10K: 1:04:18  66/85 overall, 10:22 pace official (10:08 using garmin distance of 10.2km)

I felt pretty good out on the run.  I was surprised. Really, by the time I got out of transition and on the path, my legs were settled in and I found I was running at a pretty good pace & I figured that I'd just go with what felt good for as long as I could.  I passed SD as I hit my first mile and he was heading home on his last. He looked STRONG! He told me he was close to a PR! Exciting!!! My first 3 miles were: 9:38, 9:57, 9:56.  It was a 2 loop course and at the turnaround I realized that the course was a little long when I hit the 5K mark before I turned.  Both SD and I got about 10.2KM on our Garmin's.  Miles 4,5 & 6 were harder, but I was still able to run at a decent pace: 10:17, 10:32, 10:25 & then 10:11 for the final 'sprint'.  The funniest thing on the run was on the last lap, with about a mile to go for me, I passed an older guy still heading out on his second loop who says to me in all sincerity with a big smile on his face: 'you look more stunning everytime I see you'....made me laugh out loud because I was clearly a hot mess!

I finally crossed that finish line! I felt so tired and happy!  I did it!  This distance definatly challenged me and I love that it did! It feels so good to finish something that was hard and know that all the work I put into training paid off.  Now I have thoughts in my head about going 70.3 bigger.  Big decision though...and now I have to concentrate on getting some miles in for marathon training....4 weeks! Yikes!

And a BIG shout out to SD who killed the course and PR'd with a 2:37:30 (& ran a 5th place overall 45:38 10K+)!  Came 14th overall & didn't even get an AG award! Would have placed 1st or 2nd in every age category....except his :(.....I think he rocks though!