race report: Halloween Halfathon {2012}

This morning started before most people were headed home from the bars.. I got up at 2:15 .. I drank coffee, ate a plain bagel, took a shower, got dressed, drank more coffee, packed a to-go cup of coffee, packed another bagel and hit the road at 3:45.

It’s supposed to be a 2hr drive to Ft. Desoto from my house.. but apparently there isn’t a whole lot of traffic at that time of the morning {and I drive fast} so I arrived at 5:15.  — I’d much rather arrive early then be stressing out over traffic and parking. I’m quite content to sit in my car, listen to the radio, and have free reign over the port-o-potties.

Nothing exciting happened pre-race, like last year – I’d link the recap, but it doesn’t work since the great blog-apocalypse of 2012. Jenny & I went out for a few warm up laps about 6:45 (and stuck to well lit areas so I wouldn’t bust myself up). The National Anthem was sung, and we were off at 7:05.

My original plan was to try & PR, but the forecast wasn’t exactly ideal so I scrapped those plans and decided to just enjoy the first half of the season – not worry about my time.

The first few miles were windy, and gave us a little taste of what the last few miles of the course would be like. I attempted drafting a guy in the first few miles, but he was kind of all over the place with his pace so I gave up and passed him. Sometime in between miles 2 – 3 I lost Jenny –

I was feeling good, so I just went with it. Eventually we got out of the wind and had a nice tail wind from miles 3.5 – the turn around which is somewhere between 8 & 9 (I think).

corridor of hell

I don’t know why some areas were worse for wind than others, but around mile 10ish we hit a headwind that practically blew me backwards. It was all I could do to keep moving forward. I stopped to walk twice – I just couldn’t take it. The wind was just….brutal.

A super nice (& tall) gentleman told me to tuck in behind him! YAY! I’m not sure how far we ran like that, but it was fabulous. I could still feel the wind, but it wasn’t quite as bad. Eventually we got out of the wind and the guy told me that I should lean forward a little bit and I would be able to run through the wind better.. So in the next wind tunnel I leaned forward slightly and I was able to tackle the wind a little better. Somewhere between 11 & 12 we hit an awesome wall and I said, very loudly, “Oh shit.”   Nice draft guy laughed and said, “yeah..”

Thankfully that tunnel didn’t last long and I was able to maintain an okay pace. I picked it up the last mile and finished feeling really strong.

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I have my watch set so that I can’t see my overall time, so I had no idea where I actually was in relation to my PR. When I rounded the last corner I saw that I had already passed my PR, but not by much – I was stoked! I didn’t come out to race, but ended up having a {mostly} fantastic race.

Results:
Gun time: 1:47:37
Chip time: 1:47:23
AG: 2/56
Female: 13/365
OA: 76/627

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big one is my AG award, smaller one is the finishers medal. LOVE them! So pretty, so shiny!

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Despite the wind I really enjoyed this race – It was the first race of our season and I felt really strong. I never felt tired – I was over the wind, but I never wanted to just quit.

My knees felt good, no IT band pain. Overall a really terrific race.

Fuel: I ate a bagel when I got up this morning, around 2:30.. I ate a few bites of another bagel in the car around 5:45.

I brought 2 gels on the course, but I dropped one at mile 4 – I could have stopped to pick it up, but I didn’t feel like it. I took my only gel at mile 4.5 …. The course offers gatorade (barf), water & oranges (barf). I took water at 4.5, 6.5 & 8.5(ish) .. small sips – It wasn’t hot, and I never felt thirsty.

As always Chris Lauber threw down an awesome event! So organized, and well run. Looking forward to the Holiday Half on December 9th!

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Next stop: 5:30pm traffic out of D.C

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Our original plan was to leave D.C around 330ish – but then we found out we could park in the Hyatt parking lot until 6, so we decided to see everything we wanted to see and we’d leave whenever, just as long as we were out of the parking lot by 6.

We rushed through the Holocaust Museum – not because we were short on time, but because by time we got to the Holocaust Museum, we were done. Running 8 miles, then walking who knows how many more had pushed us over the edge of done-dom.

Unfortunately, leaving so late meant we’d sit in traffic on & off for the next several hours. It’s approximately 2 hours from D.C to Newport News – we managed to make it a 4hr trip, go us!
We finally checked into the Marriott (City Center) around 9ish . We changed into our swimsuits and hit the hot tub – the glorious hot tub. We were hoping the Hyatt in DC would have a hot tub, but no such luck! I couldn’t wait to soak my tired legs!

Our hotel was about 5 minutes from the race start, and we had an 8am start time so this meant we got to “sleep in” a little. We got up at 5:30, and headed to starbucks for breakfast & coffee. I think one of the most challenging things about traveling for a race is pre-race breakfast. Usually, I pack my own toaster, but that would have taken up to much room in my suitcase.  The starbucks opened at 6, so we ate a bagel, drank some coffee, then headed over to the race to pick up our bibs.

This was a super small race. I think there were about 100 people in the 8k. I was a little anxious because I had some weird tightness in my left ankle (I rolled my ankle while we were running around DC on friday and it had felt off ever since). I was also anxious because, how the heck do you pace an 8k?  My current 5k PR is a 23:02, which is a 7:24. I was thinking I’d shoot for a 7:30 – That sounded reasonable (sort of). On top of my ankle, and not knowing how to pace, my legs were exhausted. I was exhausted. and it was humid as heck. yuck

We lined up towards the front & at 8:10 we were off – The first mile was a struggle. My legs felt like lead, despite doing a short warm up run. I was struggling to hold a 7:45, so I thought a 7:30 was definitely not going to happen. Then, out of no where, my legs woke up and I passed 2 girls going up a hill. I swear I felt my legs come alive, it was the most bizarre feeling. They were like, “Hey, hey girl, here we are, let’s do this.”

The next 4 miles were relatively uneventful. The two girls I passed never caught up with me (phew) and I only got passed by one guy. There was a girl ahead of me who got a cramp in the last mile – for some reason I didn’t try very hard to pass her – I should have. She got 2nd overall, and I got 3rd. darnit. …. Jenny crossed a few minutes after me and said her watch showed the course was short – I checked my watch, and it also showed a short course. The 8k is 4.97 miles, but our watches showed 4.88 & 4.87 – It’s to much of a coincidence that we both cut the course short by almost the same exact distance – It’s not a certified course, and I really don’t care – I’m just pointing it out in advance so when you see my splits you aren’t like WTF, that’s not even 4.97 miles, jerk.

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I’m aware that the elevation isn’t really all that impressive. But I run at 0ft elevation, with a 4ft elevation change…and that is because the driveways are elevated around here… That last hill was a bit of a doozy – It was fun going down, but when I got to the top I had to slow down and catch my breath.
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Cue::: I’m sexy and I know it::
(note: I didn’t run in my compression socks – I had them in the car and put them on after the race)

I won’t bore you with the post-race details: showered,checked out of our hotel, ate lunch w/ Jenny’s cousin, then hit the road to Outer Banks.


NPN to OBX collage

Outer Banks, NC

We’re FINALLY here!

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We arrived in Outer Banks sometime Saturday afternoon – I truly don’t know what time it was – We headed straight to the expo to pick up our race packets. I was also in search of a hat. There was 100% chance of rain predicted for Sunday, and I didn’t pack a hat.

Of course, they sold the last hat literally a few seconds before we asked if they had any hats.

We walked around the expo for a few minutes, but didn’t really see anything that we couldn’t live without, so we left and headed to check into our third, and final hotel.

We were incredibly spoiled this trip – We didn’t pay for the Hyatt or the Marriott due to some very gracious people in our lives – so when we got to the Quality Inn it was kind of like, ehhhh.  (we paid for the Quality Inn..which is why it was not as fancy as the other 2 hotels)..The one great thing about the hotel: They had coffee machines in the lobby that were accessible 24/7.. oh, and I guess the 2nd great thing was that the hotel was on the beach !! We didn’t have a beach view room, but we could see the beach when we walked out into the hall – good enough, and significantly cheaper than ocean view.

We put our swimsuits on and headed for the beach for a little time in the sun. It was pretty windy on the beach, but tolerable. It was SO nice to be out of the car, and just relaxing. The whole trip was go, go, go, go, go, go – we really needed a little bit of downtime to just chill out.

OBX collage

If you notice that beach buggy in the 1st row, middle picture ; we rode in that!!!! The guy saw me taking a picture, and he came back down and said, “the penalty for taking picture of my buggy is that you have to go for a ride.”

I practically jumped in the back of that beach buggy! What a fun ride!
The first picture, first row, is me & jenny sitting in the back of the buggy.

We didn’t stay on the beach for more than an hour – the wind was getting cold and we needed to figure out where we wanted to go for dinner – another downside of travelling for a race (and changing hotels 3 times in 3 cities)…eating out for every single meal. ugh. I was dying for some home made food by time I got home – (I don’t know how Chris eats out 3 meals a day, 5 days a week – what a bummer.)

We headed down to Nags Head for dinner at Stone Oven Pizza – It was mediocre at best. I got the Zesty Garden Pizza – it was fine. Nothing to brag about – I doubt that I’d make a point to go back to Stone Oven, but it served it’s purpose. The best part of dinner was meeting up with a friend that I graduated with. Her family came to Outer Banks for the weekend, so we made plans to have dinner together. It was fun to take a little trip down memory lane, and reminisce about all the horrible math classes we had to endure.

After dinner we made a stop at TJ maxx so I could find a hat then headed back to the hotel to crash.

Up next: Flying Pirate Half Marathon Recap.

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Florida Beach Halfathon recap (#7)

or we could have titled this: proof that things happen in 3’s

 

This morning I ran half-marathon number 7 since October 31st. AKA: The 6th consecutive half-marathon in 6 months for my half-fanatic membership.

It started out like any other race morning..and then… it changed. Jenny & I left her house around 4:50 for a 5:30 arrival. Upon leaving Jenny’s neighborhood, Jenny thought she should play chicken w/ a rock. Let’s just say the rock won, and we left Jenny’s car sitting on the side of the road with a very flat tire. — We were both driving so Jenny hopped into my car, wished her car good luck, and we sped off to Ft. Desoto.

We arrived super early and were able to grab our timing chips really quickly, head to the porto-potties, and then relax in the car for a while before heading out for a warm up. On our way back to the car, jenny tripped over an extension cord. This is really not all that exciting except that it was the 2nd almost bad thing to happen. you know what they say, “things happen in 3’s.”

We went out for a short warm up around 6:45; The parking lot is really dark which is fine, except when we went to cross the parking lot, I totally spaced out and forgot that there would be parking curbs. I promptly ate concrete. I got a nice wound on both hands, right hand is worse, of course. A cut on my right ankle & right elbow.. all before the race started. that was # 3.  – I should have known then that today was not going to be my day. Should have packed it up and headed home, or at least gone to the beach.

but no. we proceeded on.

At 7am the gun went off and the beginning of my last half-marathon of the season started. The first few miles of a half are always the scariest. I never want to go out to fast, but going out to slow can hurt my time just as much. I’m pretty sure that I went out to fast today. 8:04. oops.

I needed to maintain an 8:06 to PR today so it really wasn’t such a stretch to have an 8:04 mile, but I really didn’t need it to be the first mile.

Thankfully we start when the sun is still down, so we have about 3 miles that aren’t in the sun. (It wouldn’t hurt my feelings if we started at 6:00 or 6:30.)  I knew pretty quickly that this wasn’t going to be my race. I just wasn’t feeling it. I was struggling to get my breathing under control, and I just felt off.

At mile 5 I started cramping and it was pretty much game over at that point.

I’m lying. There was no thumbs up this far into the game. This is somewhere around mile 9ish.

There is no point in doing a mile by mile recap. Believe me when I say it was not fun. I felt horrible. The cramp stretched across the top of my abdomen and would come & go. When it hit me it would take my breath away. I stopped to walk and/or lift my hands over my head more times than I want to talk about. I tried to hang on, but by mile 10 I was over it.

I just wanted to be done. I was hurting, but I felt at peace about the fact that I would not be PR’ing. I had a really great race season. So what if this race didn’t go like I wanted it to?

I also think I’m feeling a little bit of burn out. I love running, but I’m ready to have a clear calendar. I realize we still have the Flying Pirate Half, but that’s a month away, and we are running for fun.

I crossed the finish line in 1:48:55. I’m fine with my time. It’s not a PR, but I don’t care.

 

I’m glad to have no races on my calendar for at least a month. (I’m going to try really hard to avoid signing up for any races between now & April)

 

We hung around for a few hours afterwards listening to the awards ceremonies for the 5k & the halfathon. We were most interested in the awards for the athletes that were eligible for the series championship awards. Unfortunately there were some discrepancies so we weren’t able to find the results out today. Crossing my fingers for early this week. There is a teeny tiny chance that I could place in the top 3 in my AG. a small small small chance. We’ll see.

We received an extra medal today for completing all 4 races in the Halfathon series! SOOOOO PRETTY!! I’m seriously in LOVE with both medals from the half today. They are awesome!

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OMG. The ribbon. I LOVE the ribbon! It’s amazing! The detail behind the starfish is Ft.Desoto.

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see? so neat!

Then there is the amazing medal for completing the series:

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AND THEN on Saturday at packet pickup we found out that we would be receiving a special shirt for completing the series!! Oh man, so exciting!

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Race Recap: Gasparilla 5k 2012

 

Several months ago I asked my sister, Shelly, if she wanted to sign up for a 5k? She said she wanted to, but wasn’t sure about it.

I knew Gasparilla was coming up- the good thing about Gasparilla is that it’s a huge race, and that there are runners of every kind. Fast, slow, walkers, there is somewhere for everyone out on Bayshore.

We registered for the race, and the countdown began. Shelly did Iron girl last April, and her time was 54 minutes – her goal for Gasparilla was to break 54 minutes.

After I finished the 15k I ran back to my hotel, changed into some fresh clothes/socks and ran back to the starting area for the 5k.


me, shelly, emily & cara

it was packed. packed is an understatement. It was chaos. There were people everywhere.

This year the race organizers “implemented” a wave system.. Well, I think they tried. It may have worked if you were towards the start of the race, but we were towards the back and it was pretty much a free for all back there.

The elite runners started at 9:30, and our “wave” started about 20 minutes later. This was so crazy to me. I’ve never been in a 5k this huge.

Shelly’s plan was to try and run as much as she could, but she managed to come down with a sinus infection on Friday afternoon, which pretty much derailed any plan of running more than walking.

It worked out, we ran when we could, and kept up a fast paced walk when we couldn’t run. I felt confident that we could break her time goal of sub 54min.

The first water stop came at 1.5 miles, and would you believe that they were out of cups. I am so disappointed in the Run Tampa Bay organization. This is a 35 year old race. We’d known for at least 10 days that the weather was going to be reaching the mid 80’s. There is really no excuse for running out of cups. There just isn’t.

Thankfully, I had brought a water bottle along because I knew it was hot. I gave my water bottle to Shelly and one of the volunteers at the water stop filled it up for her.

There were 3 water stops in the 5k, and only the very last one had cups.

Horribly disappointed in Run Tampa Bay.

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don’t judge my non-matching outfit.

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It’s hard to be encouraging and not be annoying. I think there is a fine line, and I don’t know where it is. I didn’t want to sound to cheesy, but I really wanted Shelly to know how proud I was of her.


I am legit trying not to cry in this picture. Words cannot express how proud I was of Shelly.

We crossed the finish line in 50:03 !!  4 minutes faster than her last 5k!! AWESOME! I was thrilled!!

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When I got home from Tampa I left a comment on the Run Tampa Bay’s facebook about the lack of cups during the 5k.

I got some crappy generic response

Jena, sorry for the inconvenience! We hope you enjoyed the race anyway! We’ve passed on your feedback for future planning.

I wasn’t impressed with the response. No ownership of the problem, just a  we’ll think about more cups next year.

Maybe I’m expecting to much. I’ve seen smaller races run out of cups. But a big race like this?

whatever.it’s over, and I wouldn’t do the 5k again next year.

 

I’m off to obsess over my trip to DC with Jenny!

Clearwater Halfathon (#5)

Can someone please explain to me WHY it was so blasted hot today? Doesn’t mother nature know I had a half-marathon to run today? I checked the weather last night & discovered that it would be about 60 with 99% humidity at race time. uh. yay?

I dressed appropriately in shorts & a tank top…on January 22nd…. it just doesn’t seem right, even for Florida. Last year at this race, it was freezing. Literally, freezing.


Last year the Strider’s volunteering at water stop 4, 6 & 9.


This year at the same water stop. a little bit of a difference in apparel.

Back to the race:: I met up with Jenny around 6am – after I got scammed into paying $5 for parking (what the heck?) I had planned ahead of time where I wanted to park, I’ve parked in this same lot for two other events and never had to pay. This morning I saw a sign outside the lot that had a 5 on it.. I thought it meant Lot 5 .. there was no $$ sign. Had there been I wouldn’t have turned in there. Oh well. Lesson learned. Don’t park in that lot. I was just trying to avoid the crowd that would be parked down in Coachman park.

Anyhow, I met up with Jenny, and we hung around the start until it was our time to head over to the start line.

When we decided to do this half-marathon we decided that it would be a no-pressure race for us. This was half-marathon number 5 for me (since October) & 4 for Jenny (plus she ran a marathon in October). We decided we would just enjoy the race, and not take it to seriously. Plus, there were 2 massive bridges that we had to go over, then back over again, so it wasn’t going to be a PR course no matter what.

I brought my camera with me to take some picture since we weren’t to worried about our time. Uhm, it’s quite hard to take a non-blurry picture while running. Honestly I have no idea how all these other bloggers do it? Don’t worry, I don’t plan on making this a habit – I just thought it would be fun today.

The gun went off, and we were tackling our first hill out of Coachman park. We didn’t really pay attention to where we were standing in relation to the starting line so we got trapped behind some slower runners. We bobbed & weaved for a minute and then we were clear and able to run our own pace. Two turns later and we were tackling our first causeway, the Memorial Causeway. If you’ve been to Clearwater, this is the main causeway that goes from Downtown Clearwater into Clearwater beach. It’s a beast.

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blurry picture # 1. you’re welcome.

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the views really are awesome from the top of the bridge.

From Memorial Causeway we shot around the round-a-bout onto S. Gulfview Blvd. We hung a right onto Gulf Blvd, and this is where we started to climb the 2nd bridge, the Sand Key Park bridge! This bridge is a beast. It’s a pretty gnarly incline for about 1/4 mile. Then, it’s a ridiculous down hill for a 1/4 mile. down hills are not my friend, neither are up hills.

We zipped on through Sand Key Park, but before we entered the park we saw 58 screaming Suncoast Striders!! It was so much fun to get to run by them and grab a water from one of my friends. It’s hilarious to have your own cheering section! That must be what celebrities feel like; people screaming your name!? Fun times!


hmmm, yes, that is Mike in the cheerleading outfit! I didn’t even notice he was in a skirt until I saw the pictures.

right after this water stop we turned right into Sand Key Park. I LOVE Sand Key Park, # 1 we got married there, # 2, it’s just beautiful. I had to make a bathroom stop in Sand Key. I knew at the start line that I was going to have to stop, but the gun was about 2 minutes from going off, and there was still a pretty good line at the port-o-potties, so I decided waiting would have to happen, and I’d hit up a bathroom the first chance I got..which was 4 miles later.  (there were other bathrooms before this point, but I didn’t want to run off course to get to them).

Jenny kept running, so when I came out of the bathroom I made a mad dash to catch up with her. I’m sure I looked like a total idiot passing all sorts of people trying to catch up to her.

As we exited Sand Key Park there were our trusty cheerleaders again!

and were off again, take a right out of Sand Key Park and down Gulf Blvd a few miles then a turn around and it’s back to see our friends at mile 9..and then… we hit that darn Sand Key Park causeway again. We stayed strong and ran all the way up that baby!

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I asked Jenny if she wanted to do burpees at the top (They are her fave.heh) but she declined, so we flew down the other side of the bridge, and we were on our way towards the finish line.

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It’s not your eyes, it’s the camera.

At this point it started to get really hot. There is pretty much no shade on the entire course, but what can ya do besides hope for some cloud cover..which we did not have.

I was feeling great and we were keeping a relatively easy pace (for me). I was definitely enjoying the run – I really needed this easy paced, no stress or expectations race. I know that I’m the only one that puts pressure on myself, but I still needed this race to just chill out and remember why I like long(er) distance running.

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We had one final bridge to tackle – We had to run back up the Memorial Causeway and back into Coachman park. I knew that this bridge was going to be a bear, so I put it in a low gear and trucked on up that bridge. Jenny was not having such a fun time on that bridge, but she stuck with it and got it done.

Then we looped down the helix thing that takes you off the bridge and it was just a short jaunt to the finish line. Hallelujah! I needed some water and some shade!

We crossed the finish line in 2:01:56
OA:248/517
AG:12/44
Female: 96/237

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Race Review: Awesome! I’m a huge fan of Chris’ races! This was my 5th race, and I’ll continue to go back for more fun in the sun, and awesome Starfish medals! I don’t know how Chris manages to have put on such a fabulous race, but he does!

I follow Chris on FB and over the last few days he’s been doing facebook updates while he has been getting things ready for the race. Man, that guy is busy! It was a lot of fun to follow along as the Race Director gets ready for the big day!  I’m really looking forward to the March Race, Florida Beach Halfathon; I plan to try for a PR there! 1:49:1X or bust! Winking smile 

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I need a nap. Is 5:30 to early to go bed? to late to take a nap?

Holiday Halfathon–Half Mary #4

It’s Monday night and I barely have the energy to write this race recap. I am plum exhausted from this weekend. Waking up before 5am both Saturday & Sunday is just wrong.

Sunday morning I had a 3:30 wake up call.  I think I hit the snooze button a few times and got up around 4. I think. At this point yesterday morning is pretty hazy. For breakfast I ate two pieces of toast w/ butter and drank a cup of coffee on my car ride down to new port richey.

At 5:20am I rolled into the Target parking lot for a pre-race photo with the running group.

What a cheery bunch of individuals we are:


If you can find me in this picture, you rock.

We arrived in Madeira beach around 6:20 in plenty of time to gather our timing chips & use the porto-potties a few times. The weather was windy and a little bit chilly. There was a 40% chance of rain in the forecast with cloud coverage for the majority of the day. (two cheers for cloud coverage…I just spelled cloud, like clowd..wow)

The race was set to start at 7:35, but due to some difficulties with a bridge that we were supposed to run across so the race was delayed for about 20 minutes. I didn’t mind the delay – the worst part was the wind. I felt like I was using a lot of energy shivering and jumping up & down trying to stay warm.


I am in that pictures. hidden behind Bob, but I’m in there.

The gun went off around 7:55, and there I was, running my 4th half-marathon since October 30th. It was raining a little and the ground was kind of slick – we saw/heard a lady behind us eat it not long after we stared. Eek! Thankfully the drizzle stopped, and it looked like it had only rained in a concentrated area. The ground was dry after the first mile.

I ran with Tracey & our plan was to run around an 8:35-8:40/avg. I felt I could maintain this even after running a hard half last weekend. The first 4 miles are along Gulf Blvd in Madeira beach. It was pretty humid, and somewhat breezy with lots of cloud cover. (again, spelled cloud like clowd.. need sleep).

I was a little apprehensive about this course because there was one causeway, and two overpass type bridges. As I’ve said, about 6,000x before, I hate any kind of incline.

We hit the first bridge around mile 4 something (I think). It wasn’t to bad. There was a question as to whether or not the bridge would be up or down when we got there. It’s the type of bridge that opens when sailboats, or other big boats need to pass through. There was some mishap with paperwork and the coastguard couldn’t guarantee that the bridge would be closed during the entire race. Thankfully the weather was pretty gross for boating so the bridge remained closed for the duration of the race. 

Maybe I don’t know how to run down hill correctly, but running down is worse than running up or at least equally as bad. It seems like it’s a lot of wear & tear on my quads when I run down hill. Anyone else?

Miles 5, 6 & 7 were pretty uneventful and went by rather quickly. Oh, I put my hair into a bun from a pony tail. I can not stand my hair to be bouncing around and hitting the back of my neck. It drives me crazy.

Somewhere around miles 8ish we saw the Pinellas county legend Larry . You really should click the link and watch the video about Larry. What a cool guy. At first glance he would appear to be a homeless guy running the streets in flip flops. According to the video, Larry is not homeless, and he runs in flip flops because he wants to. Larry has been spotted all over the bay area running in shorts & flip flops.  — This was my 2nd time seeing Larry running along side a race. We also spotted him at the Race for a Cure 10k in St. Pete back in October. Several members of the running group have spotted him through out the years in various places around the Bay just running in his flip flops.

Oh, also around mile 8, while running with Larry the flip flop man, we saw our cheering section screaming very loudly! It was really fun to see them along the trail! I’m not sure if there are any pictures of us as we came through the section, but I think I might have cracked a smile or two. Maybe even a thumbs up. Not sure.

Miles 7 –12.something were spent on the Pinellas Trail. Lots of shade from big trees that lined the trail. There was a good breeze coming through the trail so it was somewhat cool. Along the trail we hit two overpasses. Thankfully they are short climbs so they don’t wreak to much havoc on tired legs. I can’t be sure where the overpasses were. 7.something, and 10.something, maybe.. My brain is seriously mush, and looking at the elevation map doesn’t reveal anything. It’s quite wonky looking.

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The 2nd elevation chart is Tracey’s

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I don’t know what the heck is wrong with my chart. Neither one looks right to me. The course felt completely flat besides the 1 bridge, and 2 over passes…

Around mile 12.something we entered into the park and we went from running on paved trail to a rockish path. I didn’t mind the change, although I heard a few people say that they did not care for it.

I had a little bit of juice left in the tank during that last mile so I put down the hammer and sped toward the finish line.

I enjoyed this race, but I oh-so-ready to see that glorious finish line. Our group was just before the finish line screaming and cheering for us! It’s really fun to have some crowd support there! Once again, I made sure to have a smile on my face, and maybe even some silly faces as I ran past our cheering fans!

Garmin time was 1:52:50
Chip time : 1:52:48
AG: 9/18
OA: 167/737

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I’ll take it!

The most important part of this race for me was to have a good time. I’m learning that I’m not the type of person that feels all rainbows & butterflies when I’m running 13 miles, but I did enjoy the race (as much as one can enjoy 13 miles).

I actually liked the courses – oddly enough I didn’t mind the bridge & overpasses. I think they were a nice challenge and broke up the monotony of flatness. Now, if I was going for a PR, I prefer a flat race, but a race just to have a good time, a few inclines never killed anyone (that I know of).

After all of the Striders crossed the finish line we headed over to the awards ceremony, where a few of our super-duper speedy Striders won some OA awards, and a few AG awards!

After the awards ceremony some of the Striders headed over to the Seminole Family Restaurant for Breakfast/Lunch. I was starving by time we headed to breakfast and I had eggs & grits on the brain.

For breakfast I had X cups of coffee. The number is disclosed.. it was a lot. The waitress brought us our own carafe thing of coffee for our table… To eat I had a giant cheese omelet with 2 bowls of grits & about 6 or 7 pieces of bacon. Please believe that there was almost nothing left. I left a little bit of grits in one of the bowls. I could have eaten more, but for the sake of my poor gut I quit eating before I popped.

I finally made it home around 4pm.. 11 hours later and I finally made it home from half-marathon #4. ….. shortly after I made it home, like around 5, Chris fired up the grill and cooked some steak with a regular potato for him, and a sweet potato for me. I can’t believe that I ate the whole steak and the whole potato, but I did. I weighed myself this morning and I weighed less than I have in a month….. that doesn’t even make sense. I weighed myself just for a laugh – I figured I probably gained a few lbs from all the sodium..

Fueling: As if this post isn’t long enough, I’ll throw in a few deets about my fueling situation. The last three half-marathons I’ve suffered from abdominal cramping. I haven’t been able to really pinpoint what is causing the cramping, so Sunday morning I opted for toast instead of a bagel.

my thinking was that maybe the bagel is to much, or to heavy for my stomach. maybe I don’t have time to digest it enough before the start of the race. I had a bagel for breakfast before all three previous half-marathons.

I also thought maybe it was a combo of the coffee & bagel, but we all know I’m not going to ditch the pre-race coffee, so the bagel had to go.

I’ve also been wondering if the hammer gels are also part of my cramping problem. Prior to this racing season I used sport beans for my fuel during races. However, I’ve been unable to find them at our local sports authority so I was using shot bloks during training runs. … I discovered that I don’t really care for the texture of shot bloks so I switched to the hammer gels.

The apple-cinnamon gels taste good, but they are thick and kind of hard to get down. Plus, they need to be taken with water, and I have a hard time drinking a lot of water (at one time) during a race. I find that drinking to much at one stop will also give me some cramping.

Since I didn’t have anything besides hammer gels I used them for this half as well. They didn’t give me any problems, but I’m still ordering some sharkie things from running warehouse to try out.

Maybe the bagel was giving me the cramping? I didn’t have any issues during this half-marathon. I drank a little bit of water at all of the stations but two, where I drank gatorade, because it was the only thing I could get my hands on.

 

Okay, for real, I’m done with this post. It took me 2 hours to write this. I should block the internet while I blog. I can’t stop FB stalking, or twitter stalking, or reading blogs while I blog and it makes writing a race recap really difficult.

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This picture screams: Hey, I’m done..I’m dying, but I’m done. yippee!
apparently I forgot to smile while I was throwing my hands in the air like I just don’t care.

by now you know: Brandon 1/2 race report

Remember when Sarah from OUAL ran a “secret” marathon? No? Do you read her blog? You should, you’re seriously missing out if you don’t.

Anyways, after proclaiming to the world that she was going to “SUB4ORDIE” at the Long Beach Marathon, and then not running a SUB4 she decided a secret marathon was in order.

She’s smart, that Sarah. Racing in secret is kind of hard, but kind of fun. After my failed attempt at a 1:50 or better at the Women’s Half, I felt bad/sad/mad.  I needed another race to run, quick. The Striders are running a local half on December 11th, but it’s not a course I’m thrilled about.

Someone mentioned that the Brandon 1/2 was on Dec 4th and that I should check it out. The race is a small race, 330 participants today, and it’s an out-and-back course (my favorite). On Tuesday, a few days after the Women’s Half, I rec’d an e-mail from schwaggle.com offering 51% off the already low price of $35.. $17 for a half? Duh. sign me up.

I’m a super anxious person, and the anxiety over the WHM was almost unbearable. So, I decided that in order to avoid all the pre-race/race day anxiety, I would run this half under the radar.

I told a few friends, Chris & my Mom. This week, leading up the race, I felt great. No pressure, no anxiety, I barely even felt like I was running a 1/2 on Sunday. Quite the difference from the WHM.

Race Day:

Unfortunately Brandon is about 1.5hrs from me, so I had to get up super early (3:30). For breakfast I ate a toasted bagel with butter (mmmm) had a cup of coffee with my bagel, and a 2nd one in the car.

I arrived at 6, picked up my shirt & number, and then just relaxed in my car. Not much to do at 6am, pretty much no one is tweeting, no one is on facebook, and I can only read so many blogs from my iPhone before I start to go cross-eyed.

At 7:01 the gun sounded, and we were off. I told myself that I was just going to run this race like a long run. I wasn’t stressing out over this race.

Next time I should look @ the course map a little closer because I had no idea when a water stop was coming up. I’m not even sure there was any rhyme or reason to the water stops. It felt like they were just scattered sporadically through out the course.

I had no idea there would actually be a causeway on causeway blvd. Huh, who would have thought? The causeway was in the first 1/2 mile of the race and you know what that means on an out-and-back course…that stupid thing would be in the last 1/2 mile as well. bummer dude.

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I made sure not to go out to fast. I didn’t want to crash & burn. I didn’t get caught up in the crowd, I looked at my watch pretty often the first 2 miles to make sure I wasn’t going to fast. It was difficult to watch so many people pass by, but it was probably more difficult for them when I passed them later in the race. I actually did end up passing quite a few people through out miles 5-9. I picked a person ahead of me and then focused on passing them. I know one girl just ran the WHM and I was pretty sure that she started out way to fast. I don’t know her name, so I can’t check her time, but I got ahead of her by quite a bit. There was another female in turquoise spandex shorts that I was behind for quite a few miles, and finally I was able to pick her off. I think she finished just behind me. Picking people off is kind of fun Smile with tongue out

I started really feeling tired around mile 10. I don’t know what it is about miles 9 & 10, but they seem to be a breaking point for me. Thankfully I didn’t fall completely apart. My last 3 miles were slower than the pace I wanted, but I’ll take it. The causeway at 12.something nearly killed me. I think I stopped once, maybe twice on the causeway.. it wasn’t fun.

The course: was boring, but I pretty much knew this going into the race. It’s what I wanted. I wanted a low-key, out & back race course. There was little to no spectators for the majority of the course. As I said before, the water stations were weird. Some of them were set back off the road which left the volunteers running from the table back out to the runners with cups of water. It was strange, but I got water at every station so I guess it works.

I took two gels, but I’m not exactly sure where. I normally take one around 4ish, and another around 8. I think I took the first one somewhere between 4 & 5, and the 2nd one I stupidly took at mile 10. The 8-9mi water stop snuck up on me and I didn’t have time to take the gel before I hit the water stop.

Overall a good race. I’m just not a rainbows & butterflies kind of person during 13.1 miles. I am SUPER DUPER happy with my time !! I’m excited to see a 4 in that second digit spot!

Alright. Enough talking. Here’s the splits:image
and the rest of the deets:
Chip time: 1:49:19
Gun time: 1:49:25

AG: 4/22
Sex: 22/142
OA: 114/330

 

 

Now I can stop fretting over that sub 1:50 time goal, and move on with my life! Not sure what is next up on the calendar. I’m planning a 1/2 in January, I just don’t know which one yet.

I smiled

Happy Thanksgiving

Hope you’ve had a lovely Thanksgiving

We (my friend Sherry & I) started our morning nice & early @ 4:45. I had plans to run the St. Pete Times Turkey Trot (10k). Sherry was also planning on running it but due to some unresolved foot pain she decided not to run. I’m sad my friend couldn’t run, but glad that she still came to hang out.

The SPT races are a pretty big deal in the Clearwater area – I’m not sure how many people were there, but it was a big crowd. The St. Pete Times offers something for everyone. There is a 5k fun run, a 5k competitive run, a 1 mile fun run & the 10k.

I registered for the 10k with hopes of being in the top 125 women, and running a PR. The top 125 women & top 125 men receive neato SPT Turkey Trot coffee mugs!

I lined up near the front of the pack so that I wouldn’t have to weave to much, and hopefully reserve my coffee mug. When the gun went off I was by myself ( No striders) but within a few minutes I found Tracey & David, which was perfect because I knew Tracey wanted a sub 50 race – same as me.

Our first mile was 7:52, ooph. My legs were feeling a little heavy & stiff, so I was worried that I would crash & burn. – The weather was pretty nice, so at least we had that on our side.

SEE, I’m smiling. weeee I looove running

Mile 2 was a little more conservative at 7:56. An 8:02 avg would secure a sub 50 race.

Miles 3 & 4 we slowed down, 8:10 & 8:12. Somewhere in mile 4 or 5 there was a long incline. I feel funny saying there was a hill on a course, because I’ve seen elevation maps of courses that actually have big hills and our elevations look nothing like that. However, for this area, we had a hill, and it didn’t kill me, and I was happy. wheeee

sidenote: our windows are open and I can hear the neighbors screaming at each other. yay thanksgiving family get togethers.

Miles 5 & 6 I found another gear and pushed forward. I felt good. I felt strong. I felt …. happy. whoa. happy, while running? Huh. what a concept that is.

mile 5: 7:59
mile 6:  7:50
.25: 6:55

I squeaked in at 49:44, 99th female and secured my top finisher mug !! woot!

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(it’s okay to be jealous of our Guy Harvey tray table)

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It’s a good sign when 4 out of 6 miles were sub8. That makes me smile!

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I really enjoyed this race – the weather was nice and the course was lovely. We ran through Clearwater, and apparently part of downtown Largo (according to my garmin map). There were a few little bands, and some people hooked up stereo systems in their driveways with music blasting. I’m not a fan of big races with lots of crowds but somehow this race didn’t seem all that crowded – except the start ..somebody was smelly.

I felt focused, and on point. Not a mess like last week. What a difference a good race can make in my attitude, right David? heh.

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Sherry & me eagerly waiting for the Turkey to get done frying. We were super hungry. The boys fished until almost 4pm. eesh.

Are you crazy people going shopping on Black Friday? 

The only place I plan on going is the running store. They are having a sale on shoes, and who doesn’t love a good sale on shoes?However, they open at 10 AM.. you people are crazy going at the ass crack of.. well, you’re just crazy.

support

Holy crap, the weather is amazing here on the West Coast of Florida!

I’m currently laying in bed snuggled under the covers watching netflix on my phone while I peruse the interwebz. What a lovely way to spend the rest of my afternoon.

On Saturday I headed over to Clearwater Beach to meet up with Jenny & Sherry @ Frenchy’s. Frenchy’s is a bar/restaurant right on the beach – sadly, the weather was not awesome on Saturday. It was super windy and pretty cloudy. Bummer. At Frenchy’s I had a very tasty turkey burger with a side of chips and a mint mojito. .. no pictures – cuz that’s not my thing.

The rest of the day was pretty uneventful. We just hung around until we went to pick up our race numbers & shirts. The race we were running is a small event, so there is no expo, just a simple shirt/number pick up. We walked right in & right back out. easy peasy.

For dinner we had whole wheat noodles w/ pasta sauce, grilled chicken, and spinach salad. annnnd a glass of sangria with a side of water. yum! Perfect pre-race meal.

DSC04304Race Day:

We got up at 5am, which is later than I ever get up for races – it was lovely. I live at least an hour from any race. Jenny only lived 30 minutes from the race – glorious. 

For breakfast I had a blueberry bagel (plain) with a cup o’ coffee. Jenny had some pumpkin spice creamer – crap, that stuff is good!

We arrived at the race around 6:40, for a 7:05 race time. It worked out perfectly. This was not a huge race (500 people + or –)  so there weren’t huge lines for the port-o-potties , and getting there at 6:40 also meant we didn’t have to stand around in the cold & wind for to long. It was in the high 50’s at race time, and the wind was blowing between 13 – 15mph (I looked it up).

The horn sounded @ 7:05 and we were off. Our goal was to avg a 9:20 – 9:30 pace. The three of us ran together for the first 3 miles, and then Jenny took off & Sherry I finished the last 10 miles together.

I came into this half-marathon knowing that I was there to support my friends and run at whatever pace they wanted to run. I was comfortable with this – what I didn’t anticipate was how difficult that actually was. My legs felt great, and I wanted to run – but that’s not what I was there for.

The wind was rough. We had a headwind for way to many miles. I don’t know how many exactly, maybe 5.5, but 1 mile in a headwind is to much in my opinion.

This is the 3rd time I’ve run this course so I knew what to expect for the course, but the wind was a whole different beast. The other 2 times I’ve run this course there has been some wind which gets worse around mile 7 when the trees taper off, but the coverage comes back and the wind dies down. When we hit the “no tree zone” it was like slamming into a brick wall – the wind hit hard- curse words were flying – it was brutal.

I can’t speak for Sherry, but I think the wind played a part in her mental defeat. It’s hard to be a motivator – I tried to be motivating and not be annoying at the same time, but that’s a pretty hard task. She must have rolled her eyes at me 100x over the course of 10 miles Smile with tongue out  .

At some point she said she wasn’t feeling well – lightheaded,clammy hands.. the works. So we walked. We walked for what seemed like forever – I have no idea how far it actually was, but it was a few minutes. We tried to run again, but her body wasn’t cooperating. It was frustrating for her, to say the least. She trained really hard for this half, and this isn’t how the race had played out in her head for the last few weeks.

It’s really hard to see a friend struggle through a race. 10 miles is a long way to struggle.

We ran/walk for about the last 3 miles of the half – at some point, around mile 11 I think, Sherry told me to just go ahead. Nope. Not doing it. I told her that I didn’t come to race, I came to support, and if that meant I had to walk the last 2 miles of this race then that’s what I would do.. and that’s what we did. We stuck together and saw the damn thing through to the end.

halloween_half
uhm. yah
Not exactly the results that we were hoping for today.

I really like this race course; It’s perfectly flat and nice scenery. It goes along a trail near the beach, so you can see the Gulf for a little ways, then your blocked by trees until it opens up where you can see the Skyway – which is pretty, but horrifying to drive over (I never realized how much I don’t like driving overy very tall/gigantic bridges).

When we finished there were some bananas, and orange left – but no donuts or cookies… bummer, a donut sounded lovely. There was a pasta buffet thing, but hot pasta just doesn’t do it for me after a race so I skipped out on that.

We didn’t stick around for awards, it was cold, and we were hungry. We googled the nearest Cracker Barrel and headed there for a feast! Once again I pigged out – I had chicken biscuits, eggs, hashbrown casserole & coffee. YUM!

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Sherry, Jenny, Me

I won’t ruin Jenny’s fun and tell you how she did. I think she will write a recap – You can read about her race on her blog.

 

I’m having some soreness in my left inguinal (groin) area, so I’ll take Monday and possibly Tuesday off to let that rest. It’s worrying me a little, but I’m hoping it’s nothing a little rest can’t fix.

Tomorrow I have to figure out a training schedule for the next 3.5 weeks until the Women’s Half.

Congrats to all the Striders who ran the Marine Corp Marathon! (super glad I wasn’t in that chilly chilly weather! & Congrats to a friend from high school, Chase, who completed the Miami half-iron man today!

Are we there yet? Race for the Cure 10k

 

This morning I woke up earlier than I even want to talk about. ate breakfast. ran around the house getting my stuff together, then shuffled out the door with my friend.

We met the running group, at a still very ridiculous hour to carpool (play follow the leader) down to St. Pete for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure

7:15am  – pee
7:20 – warm up run
7:35 race time

7:40 – is this over yet?

Mile 1:  I knew pretty much right off the bat this wasn’t going to be my race. My legs felt tight, and I couldn’t catch my breath. great. 5 more miles to go.  8:04 

Mile 1.93 – surely we are at 2, hopefully more. look at garmin. nope. oh damn, this is going to be a long race

Mile 2: Well gee. Thanks for showing up mile 2. 8:21 ( what mile 1 should have been. oops)

Mile 3: I should have signed up for the 5k. Seriously. What was I thinking? Are were there yet? 8:20

Mile 4: Oh. Okay legs. I’m feeling okay now, thanks for showing up. 8:24

mile 4.5 : Legs? Legs? damn. are we there yet?

mile 5: Okay. one point two miles left. we can do this legs. dang, I’m thirsty, I hope there Is some water up here some where.

mile 5.5  yah but are we there yet?  8:09

mile 6: where the heck are you, you stupid finish line? sprint to the finish line, let’s get this party over. 8:13

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Aren’t you glad your not in my head? It was scary in there today. I can say with 98% certainty that if hadn’t of been for Tanya & Christina I would have slowed way down, and maybe walked through water stops.

My brain definitely got in the way.  My thoughts are my biggest problem; I’m constantly questioning whether or not I can maintain a certain pace for X amount of miles. If my legs hurt that really get in my head. It’s frustrating. I wish my brain would just stop talking. (probably how you feel about me? right). don’t answer that.

.

Oh hey sunshine covering up my face.


hallelujah we are finally done.

Final stats:

Time: 51:34
AG: 11/94
Female place: 63/562
OA: 140/740

Not a PR, but still a great time, but I really was super glad when it was over.

We ate breakfast at Cracker Barrel where I ate a ginormous meal of chicken biscuits, grits, hashbrowns & scambled eggs.   Girl don’t play around when she’s hungry. judge away.

After Sherry rolled me out to the car we headed towards Redington Beach so we could get our tan on.


Redington Beach

We only stayed for about 2 hours, but it was long enough for my stomach & chest to get burnt.

 

Sunday bring another early morning wake up call, and a long run. Not sure about the mileage yet. We are saying 10, but we’ll see. We are going to keep it at a good, relaxed pace.

Hopefully I survive.