Saturday, December 29, 2012

QUADZILLA!

I'm awake, contemplating my decision-making skills. The prospect of running 4 marathons in 4 days was mentioned at last year's Winter Triple Winter Triple marathon adventure. Steve Walters suggested it was technically possible to have 4 marathons given the days the holidays would happen.  And here we are. Someone stepped up and added the fourth marathon. Thanks Balanced Athlete of Renton!

I have not run more than 11 miles at any one time since the Seattle Marathon and 4 miles has become quite customary as the holidays drew closer.  How do I prepare for this? Eat more cookies and don't think about it.

Today is Loop The Lake put on by The Balanced Athlete of Renton. We will be running around the southern portion of Lake Washington. We bring our own race numbers but they are providing some aid stations along the way. Cloudy today but not likely to rain on us and it's about 40 degrees. Somehow this Quadzilla should have exceptionally better weather than the one that happened over Thanksgiving weekend. There should be 7 runners who will have run both Quadzillas.

I have no real time goals other than to finish. Of course, 4 hours would be nice but I want to come out of this injury-free and still love running.

Wish me luck! It's time to Run Happy!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

2012 Recap Plus 2013 Goals

Where did the year go?  Each year I age, I find the days and months move along at a faster clip. As a child, I recall waiting endless hours for the next holiday or birthday. Now they sneak up on me and are gone in a flash.

It's that time of year when we examine our lives and wonder what exactly we accomplished and contemplate our goals for the next year. I find I spent a lot of time running, not enough time cleaning, too many pieces of chocolate consumed, tears shed over life passing and memories that still make me laugh out loud.

Non-running major milestones:

  • Older daughter is away at a 4 year college after officially completing Running Start/Homeschooling
  • Younger daughter has begun her Running Start journey
  • Celebrated 22 years of marriage
  • And other stuff that I won't detail here but, you know, we all have a lot of things we don't need to share with the WORLD!
Running milestones:
  • Accepted into the Brooks ID program for 2012 
  • 3300 miles logged for year
  • 1 ultra -  12 Hour Transcendence Run
  • 12 marathons (assuming I complete the Winter Quadzilla!) Currently at 9
  • 1 - 15 mile race Resolution Run
  • 1 DNF (Mountain Marathon) - First Ever!  Mountain Marathon
  • 2 - 10k-s
  • 3 - 5k-s (including one Elite (ha!) 5k Ruston Way Elite 5k 
  • 2 - Half-Marathons
Wins:

Non-wins:
  • Everything else!!
Running/Fitness Goals for 2013:
Represent Brooks ID for a second year! Work hard to get into the 2014 program
Quadzilla!  December 29-January 1st:  4 marathons, 4 days
Get a job (this may have a dramatic effect on my running and goals and family)
Finish 12 hour (I have a mileage goal!)
Potentially sign up for a 50 miler (looking at White River)
Ultra Relay
Specific speed training for a fast marathon (hopefully 2 very specific marathons)
Sub 20 5k
Sub 1:31 half marathon
Sub 3:20 marathon
Incorporate cross-training 2 times weekly
Do not get talked into an Ironman Triathlon!  Not yet.

Non-Running Goals:
Update blog consistently
Declutter house (every year, same goal!)
Be intentional with my relationships
Grow spiritually, daily reading of my Bible Bible Reading Plans

Some of these goals are a little generic right now but once I have my non-running life decisions and commitments set, I can set more specific goals tailored to the time I have available.

As you and I reflect on the year, we need to ask ourselves, "What did I accomplish that will positively impact my family and friends?"  It's easy to get caught up in accomplishing goals that lift ourselves, but truly the most important thing is what can we do to lift up others.

Wishing you a year filled with courageous acts of kindness and love and immeasurable moments of joy and laughter.

Last year I left you with my verse for the year:  "The LORD is my strength adn my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.  Psalm 26:7

This year I leave you with my verse for 2013:

 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.







Thursday, December 20, 2012

12 Hour Transcendence Run - 8/12/12

Sunrise over contaminated Capitol Lake
Still fresh 2 hours into the race.

The event kind of snuck up on me as I had been busy thinking of other races and getting my older daughter ready to go to college in September. My thoughts have been scattered and one day I realized I needed to think about running for 12 hours when my body is used to 4 hours at the most.  Having trained for a 50 miler two years ago, I knew a small bit about the upcoming challenge.

I contacted Suzy Degazon, a fellow Brooks ID athlete and ultra extraordinaire for nutritional advice. My biggest concerns were cramping and eating enough but not too much.  Suzy gave me excellent advice and I promptly ordered Hammer products to support my endeavor.

Shivering with Sharon
My training consisted of my normal marathon mileage, finishing the Ragnar Relay and Tacoma Narrows Half Marathon. Nothing at this point could prepare me for running 12 hours so I just needed to focus on nutrition and running at a consistent, comfortable pace.

Erik, Sharon and I ready to tackle the day.
Jeff and I checked into a hotel in Olympia after getting my race packet. The elevator was right out of Tower of Terror!  I ziplock bagged hourly nutrition/supplements (Anti-Fatigue, Race Caps, Salt caps) as well as prepared individual bottles of Hammer Perpetuem drinks. My cooler was super organized and I had a plan to consume one bottle an hour along with hourly supplements based on Suzy's advice.

6:00 a.m. race start and we arrived about 5:45, enough time to greet my friends and start shivering in the cool morning air.  It will be impossible for me to describe 12 hours of running without boring you to tears so I will condense my memories as much as possible.

The morning hours were cool but comfortable. A few hours into the race and the sun was up and the heat was impossible to avoid. Shade was non-existent or few and far between depending on the time of day. I kept a comfortable pace around the lake, about 9:30 or so. It was difficult to tell who was in front or behind you after awhile. I felt comfortable and was taking in my nutrition like clock-work. Jeff went back to the hotel and came back to run a couple loops with me after 10:00 and then returned to the hotel, showered, checked out, went to the store before returning later. It's amazing how many things can be done in 12 hours!

It was HOT! By the end of the day, I believe it was recorded close to 90 degrees. I had a bandana and was filling it with ice to wrap around my neck. I had thrown ice in my cap but soon found I had a brain freeze and needed to dump it. One of our first tries putting ice in the bandana wasn't very successful as Jeff kept spinning the ice right out.  Andy Fritz used this to keep him distracted during his race.  Here's his race report.

I started taking in watermelon, pretzels, salted potatoes in addition to my own nutrition. At one point, I had Rachael, the race director, feed me a potato because my hands were filthy and I didn't want to stop to wash my hands first. My stomach was causing problems and I had to stop in the bathroom a number of times during the race. After 2:00 I began dousing my head under the water faucet each loop which helped cool me for the first quarter of each loop. I truly never felt bad at any point during the race despite the heat and bathroom issues which I will not elaborate.

As I passed the aid station later in the day, Monte Pascal was doing the Electric Slide. I was missing out on some serious fun! I found out sometime during the day that I was the second female but that she had stopped at some point. My husband, Jeff, informed me that if I just kept going, I should be able to tie or pass her mileage. The hours and order of events are a bit blurry but I can tell you that Jenni did start running again but somehow I did pass and stay in front of her mileage the rest of the day. I don't know her story but she ran 64 miles.

At one point, I stopped at the aid station and was rummaging through my cooler, not able to remember what I was looking for. About a minute went by before I remembered that I had to pee. That's what I was looking for!  My brain was a little fuzzy.  Jeff had been cheering me on each loop, all the while roasting in the sun and drinking beer. I asked him to run with me the last hour of the day not knowing he had been drinking!  I remember passing the 50 mile mark and getting lots of cheers at the aid station those last few hours.

Being told I met the 100k mark was amazing! Since my Garmin had died, I lost track of miles but felt sure I was one loop ahead of what was being reported. Betsy came running up the trail towards me when I had time for one more loop and told me that I was one more loop ahead of what I was told previously. If I hurried (ha!), I could tie the one guy who was ahead of me in miles.  I knew I had time for one more loop but two would require a 5k pace and there was no way I could do that!  I ran that last loop with a joyful feeling in my heart. I couldn't believe I had actually kept going for 12 hours and was going to come in as the first woman.

I crossed the finish line with Jeff by my side, finishing 67.05 miles in 11:52.  The first place male finished 2 minutes earlier with one lap ahead of me, 68.75 miles. I heard a rumor that he had actually stopped, found a place to lay down and was told that a "girl" was going to tie his mileage if he didn't get up and do one more lap. I don't know the whole story on that but found it humorous and good for him for getting up!

I was good for about 2 minutes of standing before my legs decided they were done and I found a place to lie on the ground. Without help, I might still be there. I made my way carefully over to a recovery tent and put my feet in ice water.  How is it possible to feel good for so long and as soon as I stop, everything wakes up to yell at me?

I knew I needed to eat but could barely get anything down without gagging. The awards were presented and Jeff made his way back to our vehicle to drive it to the finish line. I waited and the recovery area was nearly deserted by the time he returned.

The drive home was interesting.  Poor Jeff. He drove while I would occasionally start grunting in pain, my legs throbbed and shooting pains would throw me into spasms of agony.  I wouldn't recommend driving after this kind of race.  When we finally arrived home, I found I could get some food down and the pains subsided to a grumble.  Amazingly enough, I went out for 4 miles the next day and managed a 10:10 pace without pain.

This race is probably my biggest running accomplishment, though not my "fastest". It was definitely a Run Happy day for me.
Ran happy!
When it's this hot, the belly makes an appearance.

Done and still standing...but not for long!  Jeff put in a sold 9 miles throughout the day...powered by beer.  No wonder he's looking so tired.



http://www.guerillarunning.com/Transcendence_12-Hour_Run.html

Here's the first 41 miles before my Garmin died.


Ragnar Relay - Northwest Passage July 21-22, 2012








This is the second time I've run Ragnar Relay, last year was with the Sole Sisters and this year, we changed our name to the C(razy) N(asty) Honey Badgers.  Here's the inspiration for our team name:


Van 2
Here's a summer race report to warm up your winter days.


Ready for my first leg!

Last year I ran leg 7 in van 2. This was the first person to run in van 2. This year I was the 12th runner. I waited for what seemed like forever before I was up for my leg. Sunset would begin on this leg so I was required to wear reflective gear and a headlamp.  10.8 miles and I had a goal of 7:15 to 7:30 miles.  The run was fairly flat and I had maintained a steady sub-7:20 pace until just under 9 miles when I was stuck at a traffic light. I lost my average here and struggled to make up the time until the hand-off. I met Steve DeKoker, my Brooks Running sponsor, before running my first leg.
Leg 1 finished! My only non-Brooks outfit all year.
Needed sparkle and didn't want to alter any of my real racing outfits.




Van 1 was waiting for me and after the hand-off to Kris, we set out to find food!  After some much needed real food, we drove to the van exchange and tried to rest in the parking lot. A constant stream of cars and runners made it difficult to really relax.

2nd leg done!
Much too soon, our van was again on the road again after our first runners made the hand off with van 1. Driving through the night, cheering on our runners and other teams, we finally made it to Whidbey Island. I quietly made my way out of the van as my girls were knocked out all around. Soon I saw Angela running down the road, bracelet slapped on my wrist, and away I went into the upcoming sunrise. My first leg was into sunset and this one was sunrise, meaning I was the only runner required to wear night gear twice.  Wow, I was tired! My pep in my step was missing.  This was a lonely run. I finally found my way to the next hand off and Kris was off and our van could finally go to the hotel room and rest on a real bed!


We split up into a couple rooms and after a quick shower, I snuggled deep in the blankets, expecting to restlessly await our departure. Instead I was being shaken awake that it was time to get ready. I must have fallen asleep literally in the "blink of an eye."  Last year, I didn't sleep at all during the relay.

The other room was fast asleep and we had to rush them to get to our handoff.  Sabrina, leg 7, had a beautiful run ahead of her. This is me running this leg last year:


The day was heating up and when it was time for the final leg of the race, I was in for some serious heat.  It was less than 5 miles but with the heat, some hills and just being exhausted, I found myself not able to keep my pace below a 7:45 average. I threw off my shirt and ran with abandon in my sports bra for much of the leg. With less than a mile to go, Tony Seabolt met me along the road with the team Honeybadger shirt and I slipped it on while running the last uphill.  Crowds were lined up the street and there was my team!  They all started running with me and we made our way under the finish line together! What a relief!

After a short recovery time, shirts exchanged, beer downed, we made our way to the ferry and quickly found out that it's not a good idea to write on paint.  A thoroughly exhausted team made our way home, completely ready to rest and recover. We finished 2nd (almost first!) in our division and received awesome green batons.  I hope I can do this next year, maybe the ULTRA version?




3rd leg! Onward to the finish line.

Phew! Just across the finish line.
Honey Badgers!
http://www.ragnarrelay.com/race/northwestpassage


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Port Orchard Jingle Bell 5k

December 1, 2012
The Jingle Bell Run/Walk is the Arthritis Foundation's nationwide holiday run/walk event, raising both awareness and funds to fight arthritis. Participants are provided with jingle bells to tie to their shoe laces and are encouraged to dress in holiday costumes, making the Jingle Bell Run/Walk a festive holiday event for individuals, families, companies and community teams. The event consists of a 5K Run/Walk and a children's 1K Run With the Elves.
My hometown knows how to have fun!


Six days post Seattle Marathon, I ran a local 5k that I won last year. My time last year was 20:03, a time that intimidated me this time around. I wasn't sure how I could run that fast but the course was flat and something magical happens at the starting line.  With a late start of 1:30 pm, I had plenty of time to sleep in, check in, warm up. A Christmas party with dancing, contests and games was in full force before the race and I was just trying to stay warm! I wish now I had joined in the dancing because it looked super fun.

Finally it was time to line up. I stepped to the front of the line, a do or die move.  Wearing my long sleeve Brooks ID top, much-needed gloves, capris and my amazing purple Brooks Flows.  

We ran down Bay Street past small local businesses draped in holiday garland. This street would be flooded within a week and close a crossfit gym. I was near the front pack of runners and soon was ahead of all the women but one young teen girl. No mile markers on the course so the only indication of time was at the turnaround. I was at 10:30. A barrage of Christmas trees, Santas and many other festive costumes greeted me on my way to the finish.
Start of the race. I'm in my Brooks gear on the right.


I rounded the last corner and sprinted for the clock, trying to get there before it hit 21 minutes. Headwinds were heavy and just as I was to run under the clock, a gust of wind threw the clock to the ground , barely missing me as I stopped short. I was hoping there was a picture but the moment was missed on film. I have no official chip time as I didn't get to run through the timing system but was given 20:56 on record.

I finished 2nd female and will be sent an engraved award in the mail. I love this race!

Flooded Bay Street. 


Seattle Marathon 2012

Seattle Marathon - First Sunday after Thanksgiving
November 25, 2012
Shout out to Brooks ID athlete Kristen Carter!
2002 Seattle Marathon, 48 marathons earlier. Winning my own race.
My first marathon since July's Light at the End of the Tunnel Marathon (Race report here) and the 12 hour in August that, yes, I still need to share here.  The Seattle Marathon was my second marathon I ran in 2002, finishing in 3:51 and the first Boston Qualifier in 2005. I  have run this race every year since 2002 except for 2009. Fastest time: 3:20 (2007), slowest: 4:05 (2004).

First BQ! 2005
My training began in earnest in October when I was intentional about doing YASSO 800s explained HERE: once a  week, starting with 4 x 800 and finishing up with 9 x 800.  I recruited some friends to meet me at the track and we each ran our own paces but were together, creating a sense of unity in the self-inflicted "good" pain. Every week we would show up, complain and whine about how we weren't ready, but "let's do this!" was said each time and somehow, we could get one more Yasso out of our bodies despite our brains telling us lies about not being able to do one more.

My goal was to complete the 800s in at a 7:00 mile pace or faster. I managed to meet or beat this time almost every time, but missed the mark occasionally. I'd done some long runs just a couple days before speed work a couple of times, challenging myself to make my tired legs run faster. I also added 100 squats to the end of most of my training runs to build up leg strength for the Seattle hills.

The week of the marathon, I ran the 10k Turkey Trot in place of the Yassos Turkey Trot report here.

Race morning arrived and I set off alone, Jeff was working and my daughters stayed home. I found the best $5 parking spot close to the start, the lot empty the 2nd year in a row. I will never reveal where this is! There is free street parking on Sundays but I have never been able to find a spot anywhere close to the start. I also was not running late and had 30 minutes to get to the start line. I opted to wear Brooks Ghost, capris, underarmour with my Maniac running T, gloves with a hand warmer and a head band to keep my ears warm. It was chilly but dry.

Sans Garmin, I used the mile markers and my watch to track time, a method that is good but the GPS system keeps me more informed about my OVERALL pace. Mile markers are notoriously not accurate but I had a pretty good idea of how I was doing. With the National Anthem sung, we were off and running and I quickly found myself behind the 3:20 pace group before mile one.

My goal was to stay in front of the 3:25 group as long as possible and held them off until we crossed over the Mercer Island bridge around mile 7.  Up to that point, I had a consistent pace of about 7:45 per mile. The bridge is one of my favorite sections of the course as it's a long out and back, allowing runners to see nearly everyone in front and behind them.  The front runners moved like gazelles, Uli Steidl leading the pack. Tony Phillipi, Maniac #2 was up at the 3 hour pace group. Lots of friends in passing, many who are finishing their fourth half or full marathon in four days (Quadzuki/Quadzilla).

I lost a minute at mile 8 as I sat down to remove a minuscule but irritating rock from my shoe.  Soon we were entering Seward Park after running a longish stretch along flat Lake Washington.  I did my one and only sprint triathlon here. The half marathon mat was ahead and I saw I could come in just under 1:42, a little faster than last year. This race was feeling a little lonely, even surrounded by so many runners. Many races I end up near friends but today I had to do it alone. No Garmin, Ipod, or conversation distraction.

We headed out of Seward Park, back along Lake Washington and aimed for the bridge far in the distance. Lake Washington on our right, runners behind us on our left. We ran along Lake Washington for 6 miles before turning left on Galer to Madison. These are significant because it's the "wall" of mile 20 for many runners AND Galer is a bear of a hill and then Madison slaps you in the face with a half-mile-long gradual uphill. I felt twinges of impending leg cramps and walked/jogged up to mile 21, heel-toeing, trying to keep my muscles from tightening. Painful memories from Discovery Bay Marathon crept into my thinking and I intentionally slowed my pace after the uphill until I was sure I wouldn't be crippled with new cramps.  I think I lost at least a couple minutes during these few miles.  

By mile 23, we had survived the hills along Interlaken Blvd. The finish line is within sight by mile 24 as we saw the Space Needle in the distance.  Mile 25 and I was running hard, so it seemed. We turned right down a big hill on Republican, a quad buster for many runners. I pounded the hill and a German runner yelled, "Go! Go! Go!", as I caught up to him. I told him we could possibly get 3:30 if we pushed hard. The next mile was humorous and unexpected. I suddenly found myself with a German Angel barking orders at me to RUN FASTER! SCHNELL! PUSH! GO! COME ON! SCHNELL!!!!! the whole mile. I actually laughed because it was so funny and ironic. I wanted a 3:30 and wasn't sure I would get it after losing a few minutes from the imminent cramping and rock removal. I knew I'd be close but I'd have to really really really push harder than I wanted to get it.

Last uphill along Mercer left me breathless as I kept up with my German coach/angel. I call him my angel because I wouldn't have run so hard if it weren't for him. I would have missed my goal.  My lungs felt like they were going to explode as we turned left and ran into Memorial Stadium, one of my favorite finish lines. Crowds of cheering spectators lined the field and "Schnell!!!" led the way to the finish. The clock read 3:30:48! Chip time: 3:30:36. I did it! Dankeschön my German friend.

I made my way to the recovery area, was amazed that Pedro finished in 3:35 (4th marathon in 4 days) and found my way back to my vehicle. I would be taking my daughter back to college and was meeting her in a couple of hours at the ferry which gave me time to change clothes, find lunch and return to the finish area to see others meet their goals. I had to make a finish line blanket fort in my SUV and created my own changing room.
Kismet chocolate bar
This was my official 50th marathon completed. Last year, Seattle was my 40th! And the awesome sauce poured on top is that I was the 50th overall woman. I remember my fastest here (3:20), it was my 13th marathon and I was 13th overall. I think this marathon and I have an unexplained kismet relationship. Did you know Kismet is a Finnish chocolate bar?  See? Fate.
Seattle Half-Marathon Video

Wow, I look serious!  

Seattle Marathon Results

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Thoughts on the Run - 12/18/12

"You know you're a runner when..." ____________________________________

One way I know I'M a runner (obviously I run) is that during the run, I think, plan, plot, make lists and have my future novel almost worked out before I finish my last mile.  New runners, those forced to run to warm up for their sport, those being chased, they seem to be stuck thinking about their lungs and a slow burning sensation throughout their body. I remember those days and they come back to me when I've been slacking, or in the intense moments of training or racing. So today, I thought I would share my running thoughts on an easy run.

All bundled up, hooked into my new iphone with music- hallelujah -the first time since my itouch died during a rainy July marathon. I've downloaded some free apps, one of them the Nike+ so I could track my run. Oh yeah, my Garmin is gasping its last breaths of life. I'm pretty sure Santa is bringing me something special!

Thoughts on the run:
Just an 8 miler today. Gonna try to run faster than yesterday. I don't NEED to.
Aw, pretty horses wearing blankets. Don't step on the dead bird. Does that car see me? Get off the white line!
Hi Mr. School bus driver who always gives me the thumbs up!
Wow I'm liking this free playlist..."one mile" says Nike app. Better pace than yesterday.
Feeling good, red scarf flying behind me and I realize I'm dressed like a flag. And my underwear is creeping up. Cars? Attempt the underwear rescue maneuver semi-successfully.
Past two miles and wonder what to make for dinner and it's soccer night oh, and I'm meeting someone to sell something.
I wonder how long I'll keep my hair short and this color (I have entered the mysterious zone where I am not thinking about running just like you don't think about breathing.).
Two and a half miles and I reflect on the school shooting as I run past the fire station with the flag at half-mast.
Loving my new purple Brooks Pure Flows! I'm so excited to find out I will be in the Brooks ID program another year! The Run Happy company.
Wow I'd love to join the running coach program with Fleet Feet but with my job hunt, it's hard to commit until I know when I'm available.
There's my big rock already and I get to turn around. I think I will do push-ups and squats and core when I get home. Yes, definitely!! I feel great! Was it just a year ago that I got all buff doing P90X? I need to start lifting and pushing things again.
Almost home! Already getting dark at 3:40! Hey Austin! Another runner friend braving the cold. It's been railing (rain/hail) for 10 minutes but my face is numb now so I don't care.
Dodge the mailman, school children exiting the bus and wave at drivers who move over from the white line.
Home! Up the driveway and see a little bird trapped in the duck pen. Save bird. Fill bird feeder and go inside to do my workout when I see my daughters watching Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Head into the kitchen to warm my hands, see the baked goodies on the counter and, well, there were biceps curls to my face.

Exciting? What do you think about on the run? Do you make grandiose plans while running only to "forget" them when you get home?



December - Fit or Fat?

As I sat gnawing on a very fat gingerbread man last night, the old cliche, "You are what you eat," echoed through my head. I had even changed my Facebook name to Gingerbread Cantcatchme in honor of the holidays and have started to feel a little Gingy, like in Shrek.  A little spicy attitude coated with frosting.

I've spent December un-training. Do I run? Yeah, but slowly and if I feel like running 3 miles, I do. If it's 11, I will. My weekly mileage is 20 miles lower than my average but I'm am so Gingy with that. I'm loving the time away from constantly planning and training and thinking about my next race. Please, don't anyone tell me about my next set of races. Gingy isn't ready to hear it and has put frosting in her ears.

So my question is, do you take a break in December? Do you continue training, reduce your workouts or bag it altogether?

While you contemplate your fitness or fatness level, I will be working on catching up on my race reports and stuffing myself with fudge.


Saturday, December 8, 2012

Turkey Trot 10k


Holmes Chiropractic has been putting on this ever-growing local race for a few years, now drawing over a thousand runners on Thanksgiving morning. I guess we all feel a need to burn off some excess calories before inhaling our lunches, dinners, desserts, second dinners, and the midnight scavenge in the refrigerator.

I met up with Erik Butler, Sharon's husband, in the warm coffee house as he had picked up my bib for me. I decided to wear my new bright pink Brooks top and black capris, making me an easy target to chase in the race. My Garmin has been dying quite fast lately, even after being fully charged, so I opted to wear my watch and play the "run by effort" strategy.

The 10kers were asked to line up in front of the 5kers and with happy music blasting through speakers, we were sent off down the road to chase fast times, burnt calories or just to create memories with loves ones on Thanksgiving. Last year I ran it in 44:35, fourth female overall.  Without a Garmin, I wouldn't know what pace I ran until I finished.

Downtown Gig Harbor 
I LOVE the first 1 1/2 miles of this race! I ran the 5k one year and it was amazingly flat and beautiful, paralleling the harbor's marina. After 1 1/2 miles, the 10k runners continue on while the 5k runners turn back to the finish. We found ourselves with 2 miles of up and down running which tested my lungs and legs. I wasn't sure what place female I was in but it wasn't the top 3 for sure. Garminless, I did what I could, not knowing how slowly I was going on the ups.  I was passed and I passed others.

About mile 4, we were treated to downhill and flat for most of the way to the finish.  My legs came back to life!  At the 5k turnaround, we merged with walkers and slower runners, but I was mostly able to run it without having to dodge people. It's always fun to see how many friends and family participate in these events and the holidays always bring out the festive outfits to admire. A couple children tried to match me stride for stride until their parents called them back. Future distance runners? Maybe.

I rounded the last corner and heard music and pushed myself through the finish line, 44:49 and 7th female overall. No awards ceremony for this race, just great memories. Holmes Chiropractic uses this race to bring attention to and provide for the local food bank. Runners are asked to bring 2 cans of food with them before or on race day.

So I managed to run close to last year's time without a Garmin. Average was 7:14 even though I felt like I was jogging 10+ minute miles on the uphills.  I stayed around to cheer on some other runners before leaving and made my way back to my house, lungs hurting from the cold air. This was a great race in place of the speedwork I've been doing for the past 2+ months. I worked my way up to 9 x 800s (Yasso 800s) the week prior to this race. My goal was to hit the 800s in 3:30 or faster and I did most of the time.  Next race would be the Seattle Marathon!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Light at the end of the tunnel marathon

July 15, 2012

Quick recap:

Hyak Tunnel
After the marathon, Crystal and I stopped at the start line to capture some pictures
Dark Hyak Tunnel 
Tunnel Entrance
My daughter, Crystal, and I were headed to a college orientation that would start Monday and my marathon was along the way so we made a pit stop at my cousin's house on Saturday. We were treated like royalty and while Crystal slept in Sunday morning, I made my way to the Ole Cedar Mill Mini Storage to catch the bus to the Hyak Tunnel trailhead located on the John Wayne Pioneer Trail.  The ride seemed endless, one of the reasons I don't like riding from the finish to the start of any marathon.

This summer day was perfect for running with temperatures not exceeding 60 or so with rainfall late in the race. The coolness aided many runners to personal best times for the marathon.

The race started along the trail with a short section in the opposite direction and then we turned around and headed for the dark tunnel, headlamps and flashlights en masse. The great thing about the tunnel is that it is flat and the footing was sure. My headlamp's batteries must have been bad because I could barely see more than 2 feet in front of me so when someone began passing me with their Sun lamps, I hung on to their pace for dear life. My lesson for next year is to check my batteries and carry a flashlight.

The light at the end of the tunnel was SO FAR AWAY but we eventually spilled out of it 2 miles later and super volunteers took our lights and made sure they were put in our drop bags.  The course follows the John Wayne Trail.  Here is a map of the course:  Light at the End of the Tunnel Marathon Course

Spectacular views and a net downhill course made this marathon like manna from heaven.  I was warned about the downhill causing quadricep pain but I had no problem with it. I was able to run a few miles the next day.  Much of the race I spent with Mary Hanna, either side by side or leapfrogging.  The time flew by for me and soon I was cruising into the finish line in 3:21:34, first in age group and 7th female overall and 37th overall.  My friend, Lori, crushed the course in 3:07, taking 3rd!
One of the amazing views along the course - hope you're not afraid of heights!

This is on my list of MUST DO AGAIN.

Pedro finished his 100th marathon! 
Bill Barmore congratulating me at the finish,  probably saying, "But Lori still kicked your butt."






Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Running With The Reign 5k

October 27, 2012

Running friend, Sharon Butler, needed a way to fund-raise for her daughter's dance team, and, of course, being a runner, she couldn't help but think of a race.  She set the wheels in motion and with some stutter steps along the way, found herself on race morning with a successful event.

This past week, Sharon and I went for a little jaunt around Dyes Inlet during my daughter's college classes.  Wednesday, I decided to do the same loop again on my own just because I had the time as I waited again for my daughter.  I haven't had many long runs in the past couple of months so I took advantage of the situation. Dyes Inlet Long Run map is here.

For the third week in a row, I have added speed work into my training and completed 6 Yassos (800s at marathon goal pace, 3:20-3:30 per 800 for me).  My legs were dead Friday as I did a short 4 mile run and hoped I left something for the race on Saturday. I wouldn't be worried if it was a trail marathon or something but a 5k meant I needed to have speedy legs!

The morning was dreary, soggy and no end in sight to the rain. A text from my cell phone carrier woke me up at 6:30 am (how rude!) to update me on my account. Crawled out of bed 15 minutes before my alarm - can I cancel a carrier for waking me? I inhaled my coffee and convinced myself I was awake and it was ONLY 3 miles!  I could award myself later with a snuggly kitten nap if I really needed it. .

I layered up in a tank, long sleeve, shorts, warm-up pants, compression socks, gloves and cap.  I stayed toasty inside the junior high until five minutes before the race and then took off all the outer layers. The only other person dressed in so little was the male first place winner.

After a brief huddle under a tent, I lined up at the front and we took off out of the parking lot, splashing all the way. I quickly found myself in 4th place following two teenage boys and an adult guy, who informed me it was 3.4 miles so I should pace myself since I "obviously"intended to race hard (his words).  The course was along mildly rolling roads, ones that I have been running for years. We ran past my uncle and aunt's house, my brother-in-law's house, my in-law's road (why yes, we could possibly own this road!) all surrounded by farm-esque housing. I wonder if anyone noticed the alpacas?

I kept pace directly behind the adult guy with a 6:50 first mile and 7:14 second mile. Ideally (for me) a sub-7 pace is a pretty good day. Close to 6:30 pace average I'm feeling great. As we approached mile 2, orange shirt adult guy tells me to go for it as I creep past him.  Passing people in races is motivating but also leaves me with an impending sense of urgency to not let them pass me later in the race. I managed to squeak out another 7:14 mile and noted the first two runners ahead weren't gaining any distance on me so they had slowed their original pace. With less than half a mile to go, I gave it one last push and was able to increase my pace to 7:03 over the last .36 miles for the first overall woman's finish.  Not exactly lightning fast but fast enough.

This was a fun race put on in a short amount of time and hopefully it will be back bigger and better next year!  Maybe the "Reign"really will run with us then?


Boing! Boing! Boing! Trying to stay warm.

And we are off!




Sunday, September 2, 2012

Over The Narrows 10 Miler - September 1, 2012



I've run this race since it began in 2010.  It's a local race and has a cheap entry fee so of course I signed up again!  

In the last three weeks since my 12 hour race - yes, I am very behind in race reports - my "training" has consisted of daily runs not exceeding an 8 minute pace.  That was literally when I had a bee circling me and I sped up to get away, and it was downhill.  Other than that fast mile, I've been shuffling at an 8:30-10:00 pace, certainly not speed-training.

Race morning temperature was cool but mild.  I wore my Brooks Pure Connects, shorts and Half-Fanatic shirt.  I still can't figure out what to do with my hair at races since I've gotten it cut short.  I had already picked up my bib the day before so all I needed to do was get to the starting line before 8:00 a.m.

The morning was uneventful (a very good thing on race mornings) and I was at the start by 7:30, enough time to do a quick half mile jog, use the porta-potty and talk with my friends.  We lined up at the invisible start line and with a quick count-down, began our journey to the Narrows Bridge.  Lizzie Lee was next to me and she would go on to smash yet another time and distance personal record.  Amanda Hoskins, a fierce local competitor, took off just in front of me as we made our way down Point Fosdick Drive.

This race is uphill both ways!  I remembered it was hilly but I had forgotten a couple of the more difficult sections.  Selective memories.  As we turned left towards the tunnel by the airport, I had to look down and just think about the 10 feet in front of me and not the monster hill we climbed.  Amanda was the only woman in front of me but I knew my pace was slower than previous years.  I regained my breathing after the tunnel and started picking up my pace again.  I know the flats and downhill sections are my strengths and I try to push those harder when it is a hillier course.  

I've been running with the same couple of guys throughout the race and that helped me to keep my pace.  I tried to focus on being a metronome when I found myself slipping.  The bridge is a gradual incline to the center, decline to the end and then on the the exit to Tacoma with a cruel uphill before the turnaround.  Of course the aid stations at the bridge are at the ends where I can barely breathe let alone drink liquid.  

I made my way back across the bridge and was welcomed and cheered on by so many friends and others who knew me or were thrilled to tell me I was in second place.  The guy running with me asked if I knew EVERYONE in the race.  He was happy to stick with me and benefit from all the cheering.  I am a lucky girl to have so many encouraging people in my life.

Another uphill greeted runners as we exited the bridge back into Gig Harbor and I felt like my legs were rubber.  This wasn't easy to run "fast" again but I knew I needed to get my legs out of the comfort zone if I want to start improving again.  Once at the top of the hill, I knew the next section was mostly flat and down until Point Fosdick.

My goal in the last couple of miles was to just keep my pace and pray no woman was hot on my heels. I  turned around a couple times after that to check but only saw a shirtless person which I assumed was a man.  Thankfully I was right!

Michelle DeNully cheered for me just before the last incline of about 6/10ths of a mile (it seemed so much longer!) and I was thrilled to turn right into the parking lot towards the finish line.  I crossed the line in 1:14:45 and kept my second place female overall.  That is still surprising to me as this is my slowest running on this course.  Here's the irony:

2010: 1:11:35 (5th overall)
2011:  1:13:XX  (3rd overall)
2012:  1:14:35 (2nd overall)

Maybe next year I can win with a 1:16!  The finish line area and awards this year were not nearly as good as the previous two years but with a $15 entry fee and money going towards a good cause, I won't complain.  Hopefully I will run this again next year.



Split
Time
Distance
Avg Pace
Summary1:14:50.210.117:24
16:42.11.006:42
27:12.01.007:12
37:41.31.007:41
47:15.51.007:16
57:21.71.007:22
67:40.51.007:41
77:15.81.007:16
87:55.61.007:56
97:20.11.007:20
107:43.61.007:44
11:42.00.116:06



Michael Hsu capturing me running back across the bridge.

Lizzie Lee, Judy Fisher, Amanda Hoskins, Beverly Schubert and me - all Winners!