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Forget Forrest, RUN JEN!!!

33 Posts

RR: Shamrock Marathon

Posted by jenster! Mar 23, 2011

If I had to rank best weekends of my life....this would be in the top  10 without a doubt. I've been grinning from ear to ear all day since  Sunday, and there's no end to the perma-grin in sight


I forgot I had agreed to attend a Military Ball the Friday before Shamrock.The result? I was forced to pack for both a Ball and a Marathon - drive an hour south after work to the ball...then 4 hours north to VA Beach Saturday morning.  I had a blast but drank way too much given the plan  for the rest of the weekend. Woke up with a slight hangover. Bad Jen! It  wasn't a really bad one, but it def made eating a bit difficult. I  forced down some food before my 10am departure to VA Beach.



VA Beach Convention Center - made me nervous because my two Personal Worst Pikermis started here.


The  drive up to VA Beach was uneventful.  I got there a little before 2 and headed straight to the Expo to  be greeted by the beautiful ladies of Runner's World's Loop (Loopsters)! After chatting a bit we tricked a  poor girl into taking pics with a squillion different cameras! Here's  mine:


MJ, Deirdre, Abby, Chris, Me


After  discussing dinner plans, we went on our merry ways. Packet pickup was a  ghost town and took 60 seconds tops. I was really excited to hit the  Expo but it SUCKED! I didn't buy anything. Probably for the best but I  was really disappointed. Boo, Expo! Luckily the really cool race shirt  kinda made up for it.

I love the beach in the off season! Cheap room with a view!!


With  plenty of time to kill before dinner, I debated a shake out run. I know  I needed it after the car ride. Weather was great. But I hadn't eaten  lunch because the hangover suppressed my appetite. I decided to work up  an appetite and loosen up by walking along the main stip. Unfortunately  that didnt happen (well, the loosening up did and I force fed myself  some pretzels) but I did happen to run into Abby and Chris out  for a stroll!

I saw these guys right before spotting the girls.


I made a wish on Zoltar for a good marathon. Figured it worked for Tom Hanks!


Dinner  was filled with great conversation and the lady Loopsters just kept getting lovelier (who would have  thought that possible?). The pasta was about the same quality as the  stuff my run club gives us for a $1 but I scarfed down as much as I  could, thankful I ate A TON on Friday, and filled up on laughter.



After dinner I foam rolled and stretched, while admiring the moon and listening to the waves. It was really relaxing.


I tried to get pics a million different ways....but it was amazing.


Unfortunately  it didnt help me sleep. I havent had prerace sleep trouble in a long,  long time. Not even in the previous 3 marathons. For some reason I  didn't fall asleep until 2 am.


Luckily, I woke up feeling  refreshed. More than refreshed - I felt amazing! Even though I felt  better in the last week, I was still feeling the effects of Bronchitis.  As late as my Monday run earlier in the week\ I had a trace  of gunk in my lungs. Sunday was the first day in almost a month that I  woke up breathing effortlessly. I think this must be how people who live at altitude feel when they get on sea level.


My hotel was kind  enough to serve breakfast early so I was able to get a bagel with PB and  honey, a banana, and a nice cup of coffee before starting my 20 block  walk to the start line. The wind was HORRIBLE. It doesn't help that I'm a  total pansy in harsh elements. I kept hearing conflicting reports on  wind speed, but it was bad. The flags were whipping pretty violently.



Despite  the wind, warm fuzzy feelings began when I saw the Yuengling trucks  unloading the kegs. Then I saw a cute guy in a kilt and thought, "Maybe  the wind isn't so bad?"



Pretty sure that Coors Light van  and Miller truck contained Yuengling


Being  a public beach there were plenty of open restrooms with minimal lines  so I was saved from port-a-potty nonsense. SWEET! Although I never  needed a potty break during the race, I saw plenty along the course with  no lines. Major props to Shamrock.


As the delayed start  approached, the wind seemed to die down. I ended up right next to the  4:30 pace group, my original A Goal before getting sick. My new goal was  to just finish happy. I finished MCM in 5:19 and while I wasn't happy  with the time, I had a good race experience and I could live with  another crappy finish time as long as I enjoyed the race.


However, did I mention I felt FANTASTIC??


Since  there was no 4:45 pace group, I said eff it - I was gonna see how it  felt sticking with the 4:30s. I was gonna try to put as much distance  between me and the 5 hour group as possible...and hope my body held up.


The  4:30 group took off slow and comfortable. It was really congested and I  was happy to be with them, instead of that frantic "get out of my way!"  feeling I usually get at crowded starts. Their first mile was 10:54,  which ended up being a perfect first mile for me before getting into the  groove.


About a half mile into the race, I heard two guys  talking loudly about their lack of training. One guy said his longest  run was one 18 miler. The other guy said his longest was a pikermi. I  laughed and said "someone's in for a long race" to the guy next to me,  which ended up being the best thing I could have possibly done - I did  the rest of the race with him!


His name was Ken, although I only  found that our because of the names on our bibs. It was his 14th  marathon. We both had no real goals other than to have fun. Thanks to  him, the miles flew by. We tried to stay with the 4:30 pace group. Mile  2-4 were 10:18, 10:16, and 9:53 (I saw MJ this mile, she  looked awesome!), after that sub 10, I said I had to slow down. Luckily  Ken slowed with me saying, "I'm not going to win the race and I'm not  going to qualify for Boston." He later told me he qualified and ran in  2007, the year the nor'easter come through.


Despite losing the pace group, Ken and I made pretty good time, Miles 5-7 were 10:15, 10:10, and 10:20.

After  hitting the 7M split (1:13:22), we trotted through Camp Pendleton. This  is always a rough stretch for me in the Rock'n'Roll Pikermis, which I  did in 2009 and 2010. Its always looked like a deserted trailer park to  me. Typically at the RnRs, this is when it starts getting really hot and  I start regretting doing a half marathon on Labor Day Weekend in VA.


What  a difference cooler weather and a new friend make! As we zig zaged  through the camp, we kept hearing a ton of cheering. I thought maybe it  was a cheer squad. Instead the street was lined with young Marines! Ken  said, "eat this up" so I ran through high-fiving and screaming "Thank  you Marines!" Our names were on the bibs so they were able to sream  right back at me. I loved it! Ken compared it to the Wellsey Girls at  Boston. I asked if he got is kiss (He did!). Miles 8, 9, 10 through Camp  Pendleton - 10:33, 10:15, 10:42.


Somewhere around Mile 8 cramps  started forming in my lower calves. This never happened during training  and I hoped they would subside as I pressed on. Instead it went from  slight discomfort to holy crap! by mile 10. I told Ken I might have to  start slowing down if he wanted to press on. He said again that he wasnt  there to win. At this point I really wished he had gone ahead because I  wanted to stop (so glad he didnt). We slowed on the Boardwalk. The wind  was intense but there were pockets of people out cheering.


What  fantastic cheerleaders!! They werent the screaming crowds of MCM, but  they cheered for everyone and their cheers felt genuine. I saw Deirdre (who was injured but came to cheer)  looking hot in her green coat and red hair! Nothing like seeing peeps  you know We also got annoyingly close to the finish line, so we could  see HM peeps walking around with medals and beer. JEALOUS! Despite the  cramping and the wind, Ken and I pressed on (although a bit more slowly.  Miles 11-16 - 10:31, 10:37, 10:47, 10:45, 10:58, 11:19. Half Split was  2:18:33, which is a pretty decent Pikermi time for me.


Around  mile 16 the cramp had grown, traveling up my claves and into my quads. I  was in pain. It didnt feel like injury pain, so I told myself to man  up....but I tried not to think about how much farther we had to go.  My  legs were really lockin up as we turned into a gorgeous tree lined  street. While pretty, this was the longest stretch for me as I wondered  if my pain management skills were good enough to tough it out another 10  miles. Ken needed to use the port-a-potty. He looked way stronger than  me and knew about the cramping. He told me to go a head and he'd catch  up. I finally stopped for a walk/stretch break, trying to find some  relief.

I had hit my wall early, but unlike every other Marathon  so far, I refused to have a pity party. I was still in good spirits. My  new friend was a life saver!.


We took walk/stretch breaks at  every mile marker. By now my hip flexors were hurting, which was also  something that never happened in training but I'm pretty sure it had  something to do with how the cramps in my quads and calves messed up my  form. Ken would ask "are you ready?" about 1-2 min into every walk  break. My head said no every time but my body trotted back into a run  anyway. I would have a lost a ton more time in this stretch if it wasn't  for him. Miles 17-22 were 12:59, 11:35, 11:41, 12:32, 11:55, 12:59.  Mile 18 split 3:17:01.


As we exited the Army post, most of the  people were hurting. Lots of walking. Even more hobbling. Ken said he  always took 2 Motrin at mile 20 and he had 3 if I wanted the extra. At  first I thought no. But as I thought about it, I wasn't dehydrated and I  didn't think I was going to mask anything leading to  injury. I know  you're not supposed to take pills from strangers, but after almost 4  hours together, we were practically married! So, I took it.


Something  awesome started happening - I started feeling better. At mile 24 I felt  better than mile 16. We still took a few walk/stretch breaks but it  wasn't like before. I felt strong again and getting stronger. Miles  23-25 - 12:16, 11:35, 10:55. Around 24 I kept saying "OMG, I feel  fantastic!" It's a miracle no one within earshot slapped me. We were  passing people pretty consistently. Ken mentioned I looked like I was  going to chick him.


We hit mile 25 and Ken asked if I wanted to  go for it. Again my body answered before my brain had a chance to calc  what I had left. I've never even come close to doing this in a marathon.  Heck, its hard for me to hit these kind of paces in a 5k! Mile 26 was 10:07! That's not a typo. 10:07. HOLY COW!!!


As  we hit the boardwalk for the final stretch, there was a "who moved the  finish line" feeling. Gary had been off by .16 pretty much since mile  5...but hadnt gone up in inaccuracy from there. Final distance was  26.48. But the final .48 was 4:17. Thats a 9:01 average. What?? That's  close to my 800m pace when I do intervals. How in the heck did I do that after 26 miles???

People  were screaming "you look strong!" and "nice kick" and I actually  believed them. Ken out sprinted me by far but we were still blowing  through people like speed boats in a sea of canoes. It was a high like  no other. I could relive that moment over and over.


Even though  I'm ecstatic with the finish time...I cannot get over the final mile and  a half. I think even if my finish was 6 hours and I had those last few  miles I would have been happy. But it wasn't 6 hours.


Final time was 4:51:29!! March Marathon Magic!!!!!


With, Ken - My hero! I'm in the finisher' s shirt and he's wearing the technical hat.


Ken  and I hugged. We got our finishers long sleeved shirt and hat, and a  pretty awesome medal. The Lady Loopsters were all there at the end of  the chute.


Everyone  kicked so much butt!! I introduced Ken to the ladies and told him for  the millionth time he needed to get on the Loop. After seeing all the  lovely Loopsters, I think he might be considering it


After  the RnR, my friend and I stopped some volunteer medics walking across  the beach to thank them. They told us that they dont run the RnR because  Shamrock is so much better. Those medics were not liars...and I might  follow their lead! The party was in the biggest tent I've ever seen.  Complete with a band and all the Yuengling I could drink (I only had 3).  I loved that there was no sign that a sold out half marathon and at  least half the sold out marathon had gotten to the party 4 hours before  me. It was still hoppin and the beer was flowing!! Good thing too - beer  helps with jumping pics


The perfect end to a perfect race.

495 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: running, marathon, shamrock
Very Late Post.

I came down with Bronchitis in Feb at the height of Shamrock Training. Running was hard...but I attempted 2 races in one day (March 5) anyway.


Round 1: Cary Distance Festival 10k


My  last 3 10ks time are 61:49, 61:43, and 61:10 (PR). So annoying when all  I want is under an hour! Prior to coming down with bronchitis I was  confident in being able to PR at this 10k. Once I got sick, I wasnt sure  if I'd be able to run it at all


After a week and a half of no  running and a round of antibiotics I felt ok. Not 100% but well enough  to try running again. I did a 4 mile run Thursday to try out my new  Saucony Kinvaras (LOVE THEM). Possibly I got over confident because  Friday I did an hour of weight lifting and a 5.5 mile run. The pace on  both runs were really easy...although it felt harder than normal.


The  morning of the race I felt sore and fatigued. Half my mind said, "Rest.  You're sick. Think about the marathon." The other half said "Do you  know how many miles you've missed already? You're fine. Grow a pair!"


I  felt better after coffee...and somehow managed a 9:22 for the first  mile. Mile 2 was mostly uphill at 9:56. I thought for a second I could  snag my PR if I could just try to hold on.



My body  revolted. I started to feel like I was running through glue. I would  have quit if I wasnt in a town with such confusing infrastructure*. I  started to get mad at myself. It didnt help that at this point a woman  passed me and said "Mile 3 already? These are flying by. My training  must be paying off." I'm normally a chatty person but I didnt say a  word. I dont even think I smiled. I might have grunted.


I  volunteered at this race last year as a course monitor. There wasnt much  traffic and I was sandwiched at the bottom of two hills. So I screamed  and blew a whistle cheered until I lost my voice. This year the  intersection featured an old man, sitting in a car, reading a paper. I  was a little disappointed in my legacy.


Being an awesome volunteer at the race last year with a frined

In  the end I didn't quit, and did consistent 10:45s (which is about my GMP) for the remainder of the race. Finished in a disappointing 1:05:44.  I hate being sick


*I'm normally great with directions  but the streets there literally go in circles. They have streets that  intersect more than once!! Cary supposedly stands for Containment Area  for Relocated Yankees. Go figure.

Round 2: Green Run 8k


I  never planned on doing this race. While super fun and associated with  my Monday running club, the race is put on by the timing company that  always screws up my time (they were 3 for 3 on no start time - finish  time only). Add no response to emails and you get a company I avoid.


Well,  being a hateful person, I added a comment to a thread on the RW forums  about their screwed up timing at the Myrtle Beach Marathon. Someone saw  it and offered me a complimentary bib, saying they had upgraded their  equipment and wanted me to give them another chance. Guess being a  whiner finally paid off.


This  race is very festive. The logo is a leprechaun running with a pint of  green beer. People dress up (you know I love costumed runners!!) and you  get a free beer after the run. Not only is it green for St Patty's's also green as in environmentally friendly.


I  didn't want to be tempted to try to race this one. I knew I'd fail and  be mad at I did the next best thing and ran with a friend  (Yes there are people slower than me!). I knew my friend Julie's PR and I  was confident I could at least help her beat it. Not much to say about  this race** other than it was a win-win - I got an easy 5 miles in...and  she got her PR.


My fav "costumes"...but it loked really hard to run with


After  the run I waited in a beer line FOREVER and then met up with a girl from Runner's World's Loop!! We talked and talked until  the temperature dropped. I better be seeing more of that girl (and her adorable new puppy!)

Not a good pic of either of us...but it's proof it happened!


M was wearing blue instead of green, since the UNC/Duke game was that night. She was def out of place, check out the start video


I was feeling more normal later in the week. Just in time for taper But  I was really glad illness didnt keep me down and out longer and I had positive thoughts on Shamrock.


**I FINALLY got a chip time! Way to go Precision Race!!!! I'll stop adding quotes around Precision now

393 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: 10k, marathon_training, 8k

RR: Krispy Kreme Challenge

Posted by jenster! Feb 9, 2011

To be an official Krispy Kreme Challenger you must: Run 2 miles, eat a dozen donuts, run back. In and hour. Do not Puke.


Runner's World had an article in the Feb 2011 issue on this race and most of the online commentswere along the lines of "what a horrible idea," "That doesn't sound like fun," "I suck at life," blah blah blah...


I'm glad the party poopers stayed far away...because this race was OSOM! It has a reputation for awesome costumes. Think Bay to Breakers except donuts instead of booze and no naked people.


What they dont tell you is there's 3 different registration options:



I'm a pansy so I opted to be a Casual Runner and since I love running in costume, I dressed up as a cop (apparently the donut loving cop isn't a huge stereotype anymore. People didnt find the humor in it - esp the cops I said thanks to along the course).



Between Challengers and Casual Runners the 7,500 slots filled up in early January and ended up raising $100,000 for UNC Children's Hospital. Costumes, Great Cause, Running....Who could ask for anything more?


We all forgot to ask for a dry morning! Race day was around 35 and it was pouring rain. Not cute donut-like sprinkles. Cats and dogs rain! I thought about staying in bed but I wanted to wear my outfit. I'm such a girl.


I parked and sat in my car, hoping the rain would subside. I didn't so about 20 minutes to gun time I headed out. At first I didnt see many costumes and I started to get upset at all these boring people. Of course, I was wearing a trashbag over my outfit and they were probably wondering why the weirdo girl was running with a cop hat.


The corrals were packed and I squeezed smack in the middle. It was actually pretty warm in there with all those bodies. Slowly, I started seeing more costumes and I felt better about humanity. My plan was to run for was a cutback week anyway and it was a guaranteed donut run PR.

Super crowded start - You can see Forrest at the end.


Finally the gun went off, and we started flying down the street. Another thing they dont really advertise is that the first half of the race is downhill. While it's not much of an elevation gain, 2 miles of uphill after donut time is a cruel joke. Mile 1 - 9:01


KK elevation.JPG

As the crowd spread I saw more and more costumes. Luigi passed me but I never saw Mario. I saw Forrest Gump and sadly, my first though was "Why would a guy run in khakis?" I felt really dumb for missing that one. It was still raining, but I was warming up and started to slowly rip off my trash bag. Mile 2 - 9:09.


Once the Garmin hit 2 miles I could smell the sugar. I knew we were about a quarter mile away from the KK store so I dont know why they keep saying it's a 4 mile run. Everyone came to a dead stop upon reaching the KK waiting to be handed their donuts.


Being donut exempt, I walked along the outside and through the parking lot taking pics. Every water station I approached was out of water, which must have sucked for the people eating. Water, water everywhere but not a drop to drink.





I got my box of donuts, figuring I'd eat a couple. But one bite confirmed they were hard, stale, and I tossed it in the dumpster along with my trash bag poncho. Unfortunately I also managed to lose a glove



Turning out of the KK parking lot, Challengers had to show their empty boxes and pass a scanner for their split. This is when it got interesting. I saw a lot of people running out with their mouths still full of donuts and really hoped they wouldnt puke in front of me. Luckily they didnt. Highlight of the race: Some kids stood on the sidewalk with a box of donuts offering runners one more. I laughed about that for the rest of the weekend. I didn't stop the Garmin while I took pics and videos of the parking lot so Mile 3 includes the break - 11:34.


A man in an orange convict jump suit came up behind me, asked me to be easy on him because he really likes donuts so I chased him about half a mile. The run/walkers still going towards the KK found this amusing and cheered me on, which was motivating going up hill. Mile 4 - 9:34.



Despite the cold, rainy morning, there were a ton of spectators and the crowd really helped. I was feelin the incline (again, I need more hill repeats) but I kept hearing "go lady cop!" more and more as I got towards the finish. Then I heard my first and last name but I was so used to people cheering for me it didnt register until it was too late to see. Last .6 - 5:07.


There was still no water to be seen at the finish. Maybe I didn't go down far enough because I wanted to go back to see who called my name. I found my friend Morgan, who was waiting for her husband to finish. I stayed there for about 10 minutes, until I felt like I was getting hypothermia. I'm really glad I did because that's how I saw the best consumes.


My favorite was watching these guys cross the finish. They Bangled Pumped with their canes up in the air like an X (I wish my hands weren't frozen so I could get a pic). Luckily the local news photographer is a little more on the ball.



They got tons of good pics


Of course my "Precision" Timing chip failed to give me a chip time. Luckily I didnt care about the time for this race, I just wonder why these things never scan me at the start. The company refuses to answer my emails (I sent 1 to the race director and 1 to the timing company after the Turkey Trot) so I have no idea if it's my issue or theirs. They have me finishing in 50:34, with gun time equal to chip time. Garmin says 44:26. It must have been on auto pause because it def didnt take me 6 min to cross the start. However, I know it took me longer than 0 seconds. Boooo!


Despite the timing issue I'd def do this race again next year. Who's in?

485 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: running

RR: Little River Trail 10 Miler

Posted by jenster! Jan 19, 2011

Woohoo! My first Trail Race! New Year's Goals are already getting crossed off! Hitting  the trails was a big, scary goal for 2011. I survived!! It was harder  than I thought, and there were times I really wished I was on a road,  but I loved it. I can't wait to do another! Some highlights:

  • Hands  down the most well organized non-mega race I've been to. There were  zero glitches and fabulous communication. There was none of that  pre-race stress I normally feel when information is missing before road  races.
  • It was super green. The race allowed you to purchase  carbon offsets, they had prizes for the best carpool (based on #people,  MPG of car, etc), requests for people to carry hand-helds, recycling  Nazis to make sure waste was in the correct bin, compostable containers,  etc.
  • OMG what nice, laid back people!! I felt like I was at  summer camp (not math camp...but the one summer I got to go to a camp  for non-asians) and everything was fun and games. I'm probably  stero-typing but I really hope not. Maybe more trails will make me into a  nice person too??


I really couldn't have asked for a  better day. The weather was crisp - high 20s/low 30s and sunny, which  was a bit cold to stand around in but quite comfortable once we got  moving. I ran into my friend Chris, her friend Erin, and Erin's husband just  before the re-race pep-talk. Poor Chris wasn't feelin well but I  think we all knew she'd kick some major butt.



The  first half mile was on the road leading into the park and then we  entered the trails. There was more snow that I expected. My area got  snow around Christmas but while the rest of NC had snowstorms earlier in  the week, we had gotten nothing but freezing rain and ice.  After the  first mile I lost track of the number of time I slipped and almost fell.  Somewhere in mile 2 I slipped on some ice coming down a hill..flat on  my butt.


It felt like being a kid when you fall in the middle of  a game - it didn't hurt and you're not embarrassed so you pop up and  get right back in. It's good I had that mentality because I fell two  more times! I walked a lot...but there were times the ups and downs were  so steep that I had to pull on trees to stay upright (esp on this part  when I was scared of falling in the rivier). There were also times the  mashed down leaves seemed to disappear and I had to stare at the ground  like a freakin' Magic Eye for the path to appear. To top it off, I was  completely alone except for a lady who decided to use me as a pacer for  the last 4 miles. Who the heck would want to use me as a pacer??


This lady.


She  was nice enough as a shadow, I guess...and I didn't fall at all in  front of her. It felt weird talking to someone without ever seeing her  face. But we chatted the past few miles. I was wearing tights so I hope  she wasn't staring at my butt. I never heard her fall so I guess not.


It  felt good to enter the sunny, open space at the end of the trails. I  finished way later than expected - 2:12, which is my flat HM time. I def  need more hill work and I'd love to practice on the trails some more. Chris and her friends stayed and waited in the cold...even though  I'm sure they were thinking "where the heck is she?? I'm cold" for  about  25 min. Thanks guys!!


I think I should be dizzy from all the switchbacks


Turns  out someone really did fall in the river during the 7k so I guess my  first trail experience could have been a lot worse. I'm ready to get  back out there and do it again! How can you resist races that look like  this?? Just don't fall in the river.


368 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: trail_running, 10_miler

RR: Thunder Road HM

Posted by jenster! Dec 26, 2010

Most friends know I'm spending most of my time on the Runner's World Loop now. I was going to write a separate report for Active, but obviously I didn't get around to it. So, sorry that this post is geared towards the RW community (def check them out...these people are hilarious) but other than a cut and paste I just wont get around to it


Half Marathon#10 in 2010 was awesome. I had a pseudo goal of beating last year's time of 2:17:05 but I  also knew I'd be happy with any time as long as I had fun. Pulling yourself out of a sideways car and running 13.1 miles 2 weeks later makes you grateful just to run for the joy of running.


Gotta love a race with a NASCAR theme


Traffic  sucked on the way to Charlotte from Raleigh, but thanks to my new Prius  I only used about 2 gallons of gas getting there (SWEET!). Thankfully  the Expo was open until 9 so my 8pm arrival wasnt a problem. The gear  whore in me put on her blinders and I was in and out of the Expo in a  snap. Sweet! As I left, I saw the finish line was really  pretty.



After  packet pick up I started calling my host, Mr. Zoom...whose phone was  going straight to voicemail, which was full. After the MCM debacle in  which it took me half a lifetime to eat, I decided to have dinner alone  first, then figure out where I was sleeping.


Noodles and Co was my friend!

While  eating, I put out an alert to all my Charlotte friends to find Mr Zoom.  He turned up at a happy hour with his phone accidentally on airplane  mode. SMART! So I did was any normal girl would do the night before a  Pikermi...I met him at the bar for a few cold ones


I only had 2...cant say the same for Zoom

The  6am wake up was harsh...but I had laid out everything I needed the  night before. Including: Senior Runner, Mark Remy, and Coffee Cat!  Unfortunately, Coffee Cat doesn't share his coffee so we had to stop at  Dunkin' Donuts on the way. I wish getting to the race was uneventful  since Mr Zoom lives about 1.5 miles from the start (if it was warmer I  would have walked/ran) but pulling into the tight parking garage, I  popped the curb. My window was still down from grabbing the ticket so a  guy nicely pointed out I lost a hub cap. WOW, that's what a half Asian  girl old white guy witnessing her inability to drive. Luckily  it's plastic and my tire was fine...but super embarrassing for the  Jenster.


Once safely in a parking spot, I began to fill my empty  Nathan HPL bladder with some G2. I was careful not to spill, but was  feeling wetness in my lap. HUH? oh, I forgot to connect the tube at the  bottom. I AM THE SMARTEST WOMAN ALIVE! Luckily I was wearing capri  tights so it dried quickly. The bad news was I had soggy TRF pants on  and I still had to go to the bathroom


Coffee Cat said he  wanted nothing to do with the race - he didnt even want to cheer.  Instead, he said he wanted to stay in the car and watch the hub cap. He  also said something about selling it on eBay if I came back with no  chafing or finishing chute puke.


What a jerk.


The  Convention Center (and its bathrooms) was open and full of pre-race  warmth so once inside I texted CLTrunner hoping for a meetup. SR kept me  company while we waited...and waited...and waited.


Finally  I got in line for the restroom. SR was a little nervous hanging out in  the hall by himself, so he promised to cover his eyes if I'd take him  where no SR has been before...

Yes, I asked a total stranger to take this pic.


SR  and I went back to waiting, and ran into Mark Remy! Who knew he'd be at  a random race in Charlotte? Apparently he really wanted to run with SR.  Good thing I spilled all that was gonna be a crowded back pack!


People  were starting to head down to the start, so Mark and I practiced our  best race pic faces so we're bring our A game to the photographers.

Yes, people stared at me when I took this....but people would stare at you too if you were this pretty, DUH!


Getting  to the start was pretty congested. School groups meeting up to run the  5k almost completely blocked the path to the start line. I missed the  National Anthem. I missed the "Ladies and Gentlemen, Start Your  Engines!" NASCAR touch they did last year. Nope...all I saw was a lot of  people moving and a wall of humans blocking my way. Boo!


Before  I could pout, Andre the Giant showed up and bull dozed his way though  (Everybody move!!) and I drafted him in...about 4 min behind the clock. I  felt good the first mile, which is down hill, and used that time to  pray to the Goddess of Mercy...thanking her for keeping me safe during  my car accident and asking her to allow me to take on some of Gumbo  sister's pain, if she was in any. While I dont know if it helped Gumbo's  sister, I was def feeling it once the hills hit!


There's not too  much to say about the actual race. The rolling hills, while decent,  weren't the soul crushers of my last Pikermi. Even though it was obvious  I wouldn't come close to PR, I was making decent time and it was one of  those races in which the miles flew by...I swear I was hitting the  markers every 5 minutes. It must have been some SR magic. Crossed the  finish in 2:18:24. I think I could have pushed it a bit more given how  good I felt (no sign of puke!) at the end and the complete lack of  soreness after the race. But even though my time was slower, I much  happier with this year's race over 2009, in which I almost broke down  crying (it was my first run in sub freezing temps ever and I was totally  under-dressed).

Frozzen in 2009!


No  post race medal pic of myself, but I did take one of SR (We lost Mark  around the full/half split...I dont think he's retired from marathons  and that totally explains why he's sore). SR got a little G2 on his head but overall I think he looks pretty good post race.

Yes, people stared at me taking this too...because SR is so awesome!


Post  Race celebration included waking upp Zoom, popping the hubcap back on  and inspecting tire, all you can eat sushi buffet, nap time, Santa bar  crawl, Christmas house party, birthday house party, then back to bars.  Oh yes, it was probably best left off the internet


Special  thanks to SR, Mark Remy, and Gumbo's sister for running with me. And I  guess I'll thank Coffee Cat for not selling my hubcap on eBay.

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Jingle Bell 5k

Posted by jenster! Dec 8, 2010

Lazy week ended with a busy day on Saturday!


Other than the 8 mile run to pick up my rental car, I didn't do much last week. I was more sore from the accident than I wanted to admit...and while I felt ok (as in I'm glad I dont  have family near by who would've dragged me to the doctor) my HR was  high at even an easy pace. I scrapped everything but a 3 mile run, a 1  mile swim, and the Jingle Bell 5k.


I dont find 5ks fun. Ever. So  It was annoying to settle for a fun run 5k but that's what I had to do.  Sleep had been non-existent in the days leading up to the race. My car  was declared a total loss on Thursday and my insurance would only pay  for my rental through the weekend (and that's with an extension).  Luckily I have an awesome boss and some extra vacation time so I spent  Friday desperately car shopping. My friends kept saying, "how fun!" but  it is super stressful when you NEED a car in pretty much a day!


My  very pregnant friend (twins due in a month) hosted a holiday happy hour  Friday night so even though all I wanted to do was go to bed once I  left the dealership, I made an appearance (I didn't drink anything -  though a beer might have helped me sleep). Gotta say hello to the  babies!!


Knocking on the belly to get the babies to wake up


Sleepless  night #4 meant a slow morning. By the time I picked up my chip and  started to look for the start line, I saw a bunch of people running in  the same direction blowing right by me. CRAP! I was asking people if  there was a start mat but of course no one was paying attention. Luckily  there was a start mat but by the time i got to the start EVERYONE  including the walkers had already gone. No time to locate  satalites...time to go!


Yay for Santa Socks!


Standard  out and back course was all uphill in the first half and all down in  the second. I blew by all the walkers and started making my way through  the runners. Luckily it was a wide course so I didn't have to weave too  much. Garmin finally kicked in but I didn't know how much it was off.  Mile 1 -11:17 (probably 1.1 since total was 3.00). It was still really  annoying to see a number that high when my avg heart rate was 183.



First attempt at the pic above...shows I was too tired to match

Mile  2 seemed to last forever, as it always does in a 5k so I amused my self  checking out people's costumes. There were plenty of santas, elves, and  even some snowmen. I need to go to races with my camera more often.  Mile 2 10:02.



I stalked cute snow woman to get this


I  was really fatigued going into mile 3. Even though it was downhill, it  felt like such an effort. Heart rate was still high and I tried not to  look at my pace when I checked it. Luckily that number is so freakin  small on the 305 that it takes all my concentration just to see it, so I  dont even notice pace in my peripheral.


As we turned the corner  there was Santa cheering us on. I screamed THANK YOU SANTA!! and  managed a 9:13 in the final mile. Time was 30:32....No real 5k PR this  year though I only did 2 so I shouldn't complain.


What kind of shoes does Santa use??

The  after party was how I picture old southern Christmas parties. The race  was at an all-girl boarding school....aka you normally have to poop  monry to be let into the gates. Chistmas music and coffee for everyone!


Little kids playing in leaves made me really happy

After  the race I showered and then finished the paperwork to pick up my car. I  ended up with a Prius. It's super cute. I'll post pics once the dealer  finishes adding the junk I wanted on it. It drives really different than  a normal car (esp when you have a lead foot like me) but 50 mpg is  really appealing.


In case that day wasn't eventful enough I had  to go to a toga party for some friends deploying to Afghanistan. The  party lasted until 6am....but I think I took a nap on the couch for a  good 2 to 3 hours of it (did I fall asleep or did I pass out??). Being  dressed in a bed sheet came in handy!




Runs so far this week have went well so I am hoping for a good Pikermi on  Saturday.No goals...I'm just hoping to survive it.

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Sadly, I was stuck in NC for Thanksgiving since I had to work on Black Friday (Parents and bro in Seattle, sister in Buffalo) so I consoled myself by signing up for 3 Turkey Trots - A half marathon, an 8k, and a 5k. And no family to make me fat (Chinese moms will argue with you when you say you're full). What a win-win. Unfotunately, Bambi's big sister thought I needed to stop at 2 Trots (Bad car accident an hour before the 5k). This is probably good because 3 Reports in one post sounded good last week...but not so fun right now.


Saturday Nov 20 -Pinehurst Turkey Trot HM


You really cant beat a half marathon for $30 - esp when you get the chance to run with a friend. Cary is so much fun to run with! We did the first 15 of Nashville together and then she came to Raleigh to do Komen in a tutu. So it was my turn to come down to her home turf.


Pinehurst is home to some really nice golf courses, nestled in the sandhills region of NC. I knew there'd be hills but the total elevation change of the course didnt look too scary - sandhills schmandhills!!


The website said the race started at 8:30 so my friend Jamie (of Run for the Booty and Crystal Coast fame) and I left her house in time to pick up my packet and for her to do race day registration. Unfortunately, the race had sold out of bibs and chips but they were offering people a chance to pay $15, sign a waiver, and run anyway. Pretty cool in my book.


What wasn't cool - 2 port-a-potties at the start! WTF!!! 1,500 people at a sold out race and you give us 2 port-a-potties? This race had a HM, 10k, and a 5k...why are there fewer restrooms than races?? BAD!! While in the longest line in America, I met a grandma in a 2010 NYC marathon shirt who was saying she just ran her 78th Marathon. Not only had this lady ran NYC, she told another girl that she had ran the Richmond marathon the week prior, and she was running an Ultra the next weekend. AND if that wasn't enough - she said she had the month of Nov off work because she broke her collar bone. Then I heard her say "NYC is an easy course. Richmond is difficult. This is a really hard half" WHAAAAAA? This is not want I want to hear from someone who seems super human. It really didnt look that hard on the chart. Maybe she's gotten her races confused?


I found Cary and regurgitated what Super Granny said. I told her I had no time goals other than have fun. She confessed she hadnt ran >10k since the summer and she just wanted to be under 2:30. So, we agreed to stick together the whole race. The start was congested and there was no start mat...but what do you expect for $30? We settled into a comfortable pace and chatted away. The first mile was a small, steady incline but not bad followed by a flat mile 2. Maybe Grandma really got her races confused?


The steep hill in mile 3 made me cry a little but after that the rolling hills were quite manageable. However, when you're having fun talking to someone you dont see often, its easy to not notice you're going down more than up. We hit 10k in 1:04 and we both feelin great. We were going around a lake, which was gorgeous. I wish I had taken my camera on the run. Life was good.




Mile 7 was the start of my death march. They were the kind of hills that suck the life out of you, the kind that make you wish you were dead so you dont have to run anymore. Cary, who lives in the area and is a much better hill runner than me, def kept my mood up as we tackled them. If I had been alone I might have resorted to a pity party. We were slowing down a lot. There were some down hills but they were steep and provided little break. Right around mile 9.5 I wanted to roll over on the ground but Cary pushed me through it.


Finally at mile 11 everything was good in the world again. I was feeling a lot better. At this point we were passing walkers, and since the roads werent closed I stayed about 2 ft in front to make sure there was room on the side of the road for everyone but I kept turning to make sure she was there and to talk to her.


Going through the major intersection, in which cops had stopped traffic, I saw cars full of the hottest boys ever. Pinehurts is home of some PGA golf tournaments and is close to Ft. Bragg so we have preppie golf boys and BA Special Ops boys. Although now I question if I had on Pikermi Goggles, I thought the boys were almost hot enough to quit the race for. But we kept going, Cary's married so I think it was an easier decision for her.


I guess the hotties gave me quite a boost because I noticed I surged more ahead of Cary than I wanted. Rounding the corner to the finish I slowed down, determined to run in together, Which we did - me at 2:22:13 and her 2:22:14. We both made out goals - I had fun (minus the whole wanting to die thing) and Cary got her sub 2:30.



Woo hoo we're alive!!



Back in the car with Jamie. For those who dont believe I'm the saltiest sweater ever - look around my eyes!


We stayed around the finish, watched the awards ceremony (they gave out Turkeys to the over all winners!), and headed for the post race meal - Yeungling and Buffalo Chicken Dip. MMMMMMMMMmmmmmmmmmmmmm.



Turkey to the winners!



Following Snowman's post race diet!

11/25 Ridgewood Turkey Trot 8k


This was my frist race shorter than 13.1 in forever and I was looking forward to it. I'll keep this one short! The designated picture taker/cheerleader forgot her camera so I have no pictures anyway. BORING!


This race is always super crowded - about 3,000 people. Amazingly, I found my friend Julie, her sister Katie, and our picture taker/babysitter Shannon without the help of cell phones adn we chatted until the airhorn went off. Last year there was a white chalk line but I saw there was chip timing this year so I calmly waited for the crowd to pass though the start. BIG MISTAKE! The course is a lollipop and the first mile and a half are downhill, the two miles in the lolli are rolling hills, followed by 1.5 uphill. It's hard to come up with a plan so I ran based on heart rate. Mile 1 was uneventful except for the fast that it's my fastest documented mile ever - 8:53. I have never seen a sub 9 mm ever...who cares if this was downhill!! Mile 2 was still cruisin at 9:17, as we entered a cute neighborhood with awesome spectators. There's something so motivating about seeing kids and grandparents out cheering in their pajamas.


The lollipop went in the opposite direction as last year so instead of lots of down hills with a few steep ups, we got a could steep downs with a lot of up. Mile 3 -9:46. The next mile was by far the worst - a long hill and no little ones in PJs slowed me even more to a 10:29. I knew the remainder of the race was up hill so I just tried to maintain. I knew I wasn't going to PR after the horrible mile 4 and by then my heart rate was up to 181 so I was just trying not to die. Mile 5- 10:01. The course measured Over 5 miles on the USATF website so I'm not sure why they dont call it a 5 miler. However, my time for 5.03 according to Gary the Garmin - 48:40.


After the race I caught up with Shannon and waited for Julie and Katie to roll in. Shannon had been watching Katie's daughter, who had made her mom a "GO MOM!" sign, but was so busy playing had no interest in cheering for mom. Thats a 4 year-old for you!


As if they just wanted to spoil my race, the timing company, which offers "Real time results" showed my time as 50:36. When I got to my car I was they had texted me the same time. I figured they hadn't adjusted for chip time vs gun time. I did a race with this company in March in which the chip didn't activate at the start, resulting in a 3 min time difference and figured there was no way I'd get a dud twice. Guess again!!! I've emailed the RD and the timing company asking what I'm doing wrong and asking them to update my time in the results.NO RESPONSE yet.


I've done 19 timed races this year with 3 time chip failures....with 2/3 with this company. Considering I've only done 2 of their races I'm EXTREMELY unhappy...especially considering there's a less costly recreational division. ARG! At least I know I can rule out doing the Myrtle Beach Marathon in Feb, because the same company is slated to time that race too. If you see a race timed by "Precision" Race - RUN AWAY AND FIND ANOTHER RACE! They suck!

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RR: Marine Corps Marathon

Posted by jenster! Nov 3, 2010

The first race report I can remember was for the Marine Corps Marathon and I knew even before I was done reading it - I have to do this race! My instincts were right!


I signed up for MCM the day registration opened. I didn't even bother to see if anyone would do it with me. Most of my runner friends have made it clear they have no desire to do a full marathon and I wasn't going to let being alone stop me. Halloween is my favorite holiday, I love dressing up, and I figured if I couldn't go out I'd at least run in costume. A few months later my friend, and Pikermi Pro, Tiffany mentioned she wanted to come with me and do the 10k. Sweet!


I was congested, achy, and with a sore throat starting Wednesday of race week. My coworkers were telling me to go home but I kept saying I wasnt sick in an effort to convince myself I wasn't. I even told a friend "I'm not sick - I just can't stand too long without wanting to pass out." Yeah, I really thought that made sense at the time. By Saturday I was feeling better...but whether I really did or just conviced myself I did was questionable.


Tiff and I made great time driving up to DC and even got checked into the hotel early Saturday afternoon. While on the Metro, I was happy thinking I'd be in time for the 3pm Loopster (the Runner's World Comunity) meeting. The Metro got more and more crowded as we approached the convention center. I knew the Fear/Sanity rallies were going on, but I originally thought the city was big enough for two major events and we'd be far from that action. WRONG. Always nice having a stranger's butt in your face while in a moving vehicle. Esp if the person attached to the butt is carrying a sign that says "This is a sign." Obviously she was on Team Sanity.


Coming into the convention center I scanned the area for the Loopster meet up information booth. I'm not the most observant person in the world, but I saw nothing. It was only 2 so I figured we'd be out of the Expo in time to look again. The Expo was crowded yet organized. I have to say I'm disappointed with the shirt. It's a thick cotton mock turtleneck. This girl doesn't do mock turtlenecks. I wont even be sleeping in that puppy.


The shirt wasn't a big deal because I planned to buy one of those nice Brooks MCM jackets only to find out they sold out earlier in the morning except for one XS. I tried it on and cursed my ***** for preventing my purchase. The jacket barely zipped over the girls and they were not happy about the restriction. Tiffany later said that she saw a lot of those jackets worn by people running the 10k. Grrrrrr.


Since I had budgeted the jacket money anyway, I got a hat, a shirt, a headband, and a pair of shorts...all for less than I would have spend on the jacket. Too bad it took a lot more time. It was 4:30 before we thought about exiting the Expo. Opps.


At that point Tiff and I met up with her brother-in-law's roommate who was down from Boston to run the race. None of us had eaten lunch yet (yes, very bad idea) so obviously that was the next mission. We headed to an Italian spot in Chinatown (makes sense, right) right around the same time the rally people decided it was dinner time too. The 10 min wait, which was thought was too good to be true but figured small 3 some vs large party advantage, turned to 40...and when we were finally let in to the restaurant, it was some German cafeteria sytle made to order pasta place. We waited in another line that didn't move for 20 min before giving up to try another restaurant. Even Ruby Tuesdays  had a 2 hour wait. OMG. At this point all I had ate that day was a bagel. Tiffany and I started eating everything in our Expo bags trying to get calories. I knew going back towards the hotel would be no good. We were staying in Crystal City, with the rest of the we hopped the overly crowded Metro to Dupont Cirle.  By the time we ate dinner, it was almost 8pm. Crap. I knew I didnt eat enough calories for even a Pikermi but eating more that late would only make me sluggish. This was going to be an interesting race.


Wake up was at 5am. Race morning routine included applying more self tanner, put on my dress, and the Tiff did my hair. This was my first race ever in costume and I was so excited to run a freakin marathon as Snooki. After a quick pic Tiff and I said out good-byes at the Metro, since the 10k started at the same time as the marathon but in a totally different part of DC.





The walk from the Pentagon to the Runner's Village seemed to take forever. I wasn't seeing many costumed runners and I quietly cursed them for being boring. It's freakin Halloween! Porta Potty lines didn't look too bad...but it was the slowest moving line in America!




Luckily it was easy and quick to check my bag and I quickly made my way to the start in time to hear the cannon go off. WOW there was a lot of people. I tried to find the right corral but Marines were yelling at runners to get on the other side of the dividers. I ended up in one of the last corrals next to a group of guys who looked and smelled like they just left the Jack Daniels distillery. Of course, the costume attracted attention and one started telling me he was Italian. Darnit! I dont really love guidos you weirdo. I pushed my way up through the crowd to get away from them.





It took 25 min to reach the start but I finally made it! The first 3 miles were a lot hillier than I anticipated but I stayed on pace. Unfortunately staying on pace meant weaving. A lot of weaving. Way more weaving than a smart person would do. By mile 6 I was getting fatigued but the crowds and excitement pushed me through. Georgetown was amazing! The "GO SNOOKI" screams and fist pumps really pumped me up. As we pulled out of Georgetown, I was tired - way more tired than I would be at that point of a Pikermi. I started getting upset. I dont really remember much of the course from mile 10 to the half way point. I was having a pity party in my head and thinking about quitting. Really? Another bad marathon? I'm sticking to Pikermis. I hate marathons.



Even with the crowds, I was in a crummy mood


Around the half way point a man came next to me and said, "I cant wait to tell my daughter I ran with Snooki." We chatted for a half mile before he took was only then I saw his shirt was covered with pink ribbons and "In memory of my wife, Aimee." The emotion that swept over me thinking about that nice man and his daughter snapped me out of my funk. I dont know his name, but I owe the rest of the race to him. I started having fun!


The rest of the race was a blur of smiles and fist pumps. I dont know how I possibly had a pity party earlier. Once I looked around, there were people running with prosthetic limbs, groups with 80+ lbs ruck sacks, people running with the pic of their child/spouse/friend and KIA date on their shirts, and huge American flags. Not to mention all the  monuments. Everywhere you looked there was motivation and inspiration.







Ray had been carrying the flag, and this couple stopped to share his burden


I took tons of pics and I'm super happy I ran with my camera. Running by the monuments was awesome! The costume also helped too. Tiff and I managed to see each other around mile 18...and that excitement carried me 2 miles to the bridge. I've never had someone cheer for me mid race, and I always though people were lying when they said it gave them a boost that lasted miles. You guys aren't lying!




WA monument.JPG

All smiles by the Washington Monument


The bridge was lonely and windy. I walked almost all of it. For the first time ever I wasn't upset about walking during a race. Most people seemed to be walking this stretch and it was over in no time. You heard the screams coming from Crystal City before you were off the Bridge. It was like the course came alive again and I resumed running. It hurt a lot at this point but I decided to fake it. I ran like it didnt hurt and forced myself into good form. People seemed to notice screaming "Looking strong Snooki!" The wind in this stretch seemed worse than the bridge and was knocking down some of the large flags that lined the course, which was super congested. I was forced to weave around people (and a few falling flags). It hurt too much to alter my stride so I wasted energy moving around them.


It was lonely leaving Crystal City and heading back towards the Pentagon. There were very little crowds and the course widened a lot. With 2 miles left I knew I had it. I moved myself a long my thanking every Marine I saw, something I tried to do for most of the race. The 26 mile marker seemed surreal and the hill behind it looked like a monster. I questioned my ability to run up it but, again, this race is full of inspiration. At the bottom of the hill on the inside corner of the turn was a man with no legs, screaming his heart out, demanding that we finish strong and get our butts up that hill. I had no choice but to charge up it to the finish. The emotion was intense and I choked back tears during the final stretch. I've never cried during or after a race before.



Crying and smiling up the hill


My time was 5:19:30, which was way over what I predicted based on my training. I'm still very proud of this race. The pictures on Marathon Foto show me smiling and happy. How many people can say they ran the last half of a marathon with a smile on their face? More importantly, how many people can say the did a marathon in a dress and their poof lasted 26.2 miles?



With Tiffany post race

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I've been a bad girl.


When it comes to the bandit debate I've always gone with the notion that race bandits are cheap, space-stealin', moochin' S.O.B.s so it's embarrassing to say I bandited my first race. In my defense I was there to support my friend so I was more of a mobile cheerleader, I ran with my Nathan HPL so I never took anything from the course, we started in the back and were never in a crowd, it wasn't a closed course, and I did not take a medal (even though they were seriously the coolest medals I've ever seen) or cross the finish line.


It was my friend Ellie's first half marathon. She's an amazing woman and a core member of my trainwreck running club.  I paced her in a 5k in April and she ran a PR, which led to an invitation to pace her in the Pikermi. I declined at first because I had already signed up for the Marine Corps Marathon, which is only 7 days later and I didn't think I'd recover in time. As summer turned to fall and I started getting stronger and recovering faster, I took the plunge, only to find out race registration had increased to $100. I would have paid $50 or $60. Maybe even $75...but $100 for a small race (only 2,600 finishers) on it's inaugural event is a bit ridiculous to me...esp since I was just a mobile spectator. So, I did it - I bandited.


I met up with Ellie and her sister in Myrtle Beach for dinner Saturday night. Ellie's sister has a condo there and they're Italian so they already know all the good pasta places. I should have gotten a pic of my whole wheat linguine with chicken, roasted garlic, and sundried tomatoes but it was sooo yummy I was too busy inhaling it!


My bedtime was 10:30, which is probably a Saturday night record for me. Luckily I resisted temptation to stay up - Ellie's an early bird and woke me up at 5 am! She's lucky I love her!



We're Pikermi Pumped!!!


The race began in the parking lot of Medieval Times in the shadow of the Freestyle Music Park, a failed attempt at a theme park. The abandoned park reminded me of a zombie movie. I love zombie movies. What better way to get in the mood to run?


The Medieval Times people came out bright and early to send us off. I've never been to one of the shows, so it was interesting to see the fights so close. There were sparks coming from the swords...they must train a lot!



Princess and the Queen


Corral entertainment


Thanks royal pooper scooper for cleaning off our course!


After the royal pooper scooper got the horse sh*t off the course (no joke) Bart Yasso was there to send us off. They didn't have a waved start and we started in the 13:00-14:00 min mile corral (aka LAST) so the first half mile was slow until the crowd thinned out. My garmin died around the first mile but luckily we had been running long enough to make sure the pace felt right (better it die there than at MCM).



Running into the sunrise around mile 2


The first 10 miles was pretty boring other than the sunrise. They announced that the field was 70% women and the course took us through 2 different mall parking lots....I wonder if they wanted to make sure we knew where the shopping was?


Around mile 9 the sun was higher in the sky and we were running towards it. There was very little shade and it was heating up fast. This was when I had to pick up the cheerleader. All along the course I was yelling at silent spectators and trying to make it as much fun as possible but during this stretch I switched to encouraging mode.



She's lookin good at mile 7!


Ellie did really well the first 11 miles. Although we had some times in mind to shoot for (gotta beat a certain co-worker), all along Ellie's main goal was to finish. A little after mile 10 the ocean came into view. I swear I never get tired of seeing the ocean. However this stretch took us down long streets with run down hotels. We crossed the 11 mile marker at 2:30 and I was hoping to keep her on pace for sub 3 for the remainder of the race but she was hurting. My loveable girl had turned grumpy on me and even threatened to throw me under a car (with love folks, with love)!!



"Cross the line and I'll throw you under a  car"




We came up on this poor woman, who looked totally locked up. She looked like she was in serious pain and she had two friend basically carrying her the last 2 miles. I told Ellie I'd carry her if I had to but the scene had encouraged her to run again.



I'm in pain just lookin at her!


Finishers were on the course now but none seemed to be cheering. I yelled congratulations and got lots of "you're almost there!" Boo. Runners should know better than to say that at mile 11.5 of a Pikermi. Some weren't wearing their medals because they said it was too heavy. When I finally saw one - OMG that suck is huge!


The final stretch seemed to last forever because you hit mile 12 on the street paralel to the finish line, could see the finish, and hear the announcer....but had to go a half mile out and loop back around. Beyond mean! Worst of all because of the wind, buildings, and winding path you quickly lost all hints of the finish for the final mile. Seriously, even at mile 13 I couldn't see nor hear it! Ellie was having a really hard time then. She almost broke down saying, "what did I think I could do this?" HUH? I quickly reminded her she had already done it - she's basically on her victory lap and how proud I was.



Demoralizing, winding path


I left Ellie at the entrance to the boardwalk and ran around in the sand to catch up. I had hoped to get a pic of her crossing the finish but had to settle for the post medal pic.



Awesome has a magnet on the back and is also a bottle opener!


I'm beyond proud of my amazing friend, who's now an official Pikermi Princess. Final time was 3:04 and she looked great at the end. I'm so happy I got to be part of her special day. In all, the race was really well organized and I will most likely sign up for real (early) for 2011, esp if the medals remain that cool (I'm not really a medal whore, I've donated one medal and my fav half ever didnt offer a medal...but I seriously wanted one of those!). I dont think I'll bandit another course again. It was sad to run a race and not cross the finish. And I still feel a bit guilty for it (I know it's a hot spot for some people so if it offended you I'm sorry!).


Post race celebration at Margaritaville (burger and beer!). Time to rest up for MCM (yes, I'm registered ) this Sunday!!!

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Woohoo I'm not a liar! I've blamed every bad run this summer on the heat (and tequila) so I was slightly scared of a horrible half in near perfect temps, which would mean having nothing to blame but my own suckiness. But I didn't suck! So I will continue with the blame game


My friend Jamie decided last minute to run with me. She's in the Army and it seems all of my military friends are in such shape that they can wing a half with no special training. It's amazing to me that something that something I have to constantly work at is just a very small part of their jobs. Major props to the peeps in uniform for doing what you do.


Jamie and I had a very fun Friday night (got my partying in!) and a very full Saturday (she dragged me to a baby shower) so we didn't get to Greenville until after packet pickup. I was really hoping to get everything the day before the race because I wanted to get a 20 miler in on race day. I booked a hotel exactly 3 miles from the start to make it easy - run there and run back from the race. Running to the start is pretty much the only way I'll run before a race. So, we asked for a 5:30 wake up call to give us enough time to run there.


My pre-race dinner consisted of some Tums. Not a usual choice but we ate a lot of food at the shower (I was tempted to hijack the prego lady's maternity pants for a comfy car ride). I stuck to foods I knew I'd run well on but in an effort to avoid eating the cookies and cakes (I'm very sensitive to sugar) I probably ate my weight in pita chips and pretzels. Eating dinner would have just left me feeling heavy in the morning. I made a smart choice.


The morning greeted us with rain. Hard rain. I looked at Jamie and said I'd run the race in the rain but I wasn't showing up wet. We got a late check-out (1 pm) so I had plenty of time to do the extra miles after the race. Probably for the best that we drove because we got lost. I had no idea it's be so hard to find a football stadium on a college campus. We had to stop and ask some cops for direction, who immediately started to heckle us for being the reason they were up early, out in the rain, of their day off. I made sure to thank ever single cop I saw that day. We finally pulled in to the lot around 7am. By then the rain had lightened up a bit and it looked like it would clear up for the race.


I scanned the "crowd" looking for Shaun and Jaclynn (Two people from the Runner's World Loop - yes I cheat on Active). I knew Shaun was going to wear his yellow Team Pikermi Shirt and Jaclynn would be in some bright sneakers. Holy crap, I guess it was yellow shirt day! I saw so many guys in yellow shirts I wanted to give them all yellow cards for being distracting and annoying. On top of that I kept seeing bright sneakers..but when I looked up they were attached to dudes. Arg!


The race was small (less than 250 people) so I waited for people to line up and finally saw them near the front. We quickly said hi before I went back to the slow people section. I wish we had been able to say more but it was about a min before gun time and I was getting the stink eye from the fast people trying to size each other up. Silly rabbits! I dont want to get run over; I know better than to start in front of you!


What an uneventful start! Either there was nothing to announce it or I wasn't paying attention. People just started running. Personally I think all races should start with a confetti cannon...but nothing?? Boo. I suggest they invest in an air horn or a cap gun or a whistle.


I settled into what I thought was a comfortable pace. I was trying not to look at the Garmin too much but I hit mile 1 in 9:39. That's about 8k pace for me. Crap. I slowed and tried to find someone to pace me. Luckily a man in a kilt got the job. As I ran behind him, I amused myself by wondering if he was wearing anything under his kilt (Perhaps some Lashevans??). This is a great strategy - Mile 2 popped up on me in 10:12, right where I wanted to be. By mile 3 kilt man was slowing down. I was sad to pass him but mile 3 was my slowest of the race - 10:28. DARN you Kilted man!


Without the kilt I focused on thanking all the volunteers and police people. I also shamed quiet spectators into cheering by clapping and shouting good morning to them. I love cheering for strangers at races. I think it'd be really boring just standing there waiting for a familiar face. Loud and obnoxious mile 4 9:59. At mile 5 I saw a guy standing on the sidelines in the famous blue and yellow Boston jacket. I saw the BAA logo and, still in my loud and obnoxious mood, screamed "WOOHOO BOSTON BAD A**!!" He seemed either embarrassed or annoyed...but why would you wear a BAA jacket to a race unless you wanted people to notice? I thought about how weird that guy was and how if I ever get one of those jackets I'd never take it off. Mile 5 - 9:56.


The next mile was lonely. I saw hardly any spectators and I was alone for most of it. On top of that I could really feel the wind against me in this direction. I tried not to focus on pace and just try to catch up to the people in front of me. I kept hearing a train whistle and I thought about the Buffalo Marathon and how people got stopped by the train in the middle of that race. Gee, how much would that suck. The course made a sharp left...and guess what I see a quarter mile ahead?? Yup, a train! And a bunch of runners waiting at the flashing barrier. I kept running towards it, fighting the urge to slow down, hoping that I'd see the end to to train soon. No such luck. The garmin autopaused and I used the time to eat a gel.  It seemed like an eternity but it was actually about a minute that I stood there waiting. Others looked like they waited a lot longer.




Once the train passed we hit the mile 6 water station. Not including the wait mile 6 took me 10:23. I was determined to not let the train incident bother me and in the end I think the rest might have done more good than harm. There were a ton of people around me again and it def helped push me along. Mile 7 - 10:10.


By then I was FINALLY passing people. I felt really good - like I could run all day (which was good considering I had a lot more to run after the race - but I tried not to think about that). The course started to have more spectators as we headed back into downtown. Mile 8 - 10:07. I was back in loud and obnoxious mode but this time the spectators played along. People would ask me how I was doing and laughed when I said "wonderful!" or "fabulous!" but I really did feel that good. Mile 9 - 10:06.


As we got back on East Carolina's campus I was running down a lot of people who had passed me in the beginning. I like running on college campuses and it always makes me wish I was a runner in college. Mile 10 - 10:11. With only a 5k left I started thinking about the rest of the training run I had ahead of me. I was in a good position to PR (PR is 2:13:17) but what was more important? PR or 20 miler for MCM? Mile 11 snuck up on me as I thought more - 10:12.


In the end, I decided to go for the 20 miler. I havent had one yet this training cycle and I was running out of time to get in the big runs. I had more time to find a PR Pikermi (preferably one without trains!) Mile 12 - 9:58. The last mile brought us up an incline and wound through the staidum parking lot. It reminded me of Cary doing laps in the parking lot of LT field after the Country Music Marathon got shut down. Mile 13 9:59. Finally rounding the last corner I let loose and averaged a 8:38 for the last .2 (Garmin was a bit off) but that's SUPER fast for me. Clock said 2:14:09 when I crossed. Garmin said 2:12:56 with only 1:05 for paused time. Unfortunately it looks like the chip didn't register me at the start because my clock time and chip time are the same. Boo. Third time this year I've had a timing issue (twice with no start time and once with no time at all - the latter is the WORST!)


Jamie was waiting for me at the end. She rocked it with a 2:01. Shaun had mentioned the possibility of pics after the race but it was still wet, cold, and windy and I didnt expect them to stick around so Jamie and I took some pics in the parking lot.





After picture time we noticed a woman down on the ground at the end of our parking row, which was around the 13 mile mark. It looked like a spectator was helping her but she wasn't moving or trying to sit up. So I took off running back to the finish to grab a medic while Jamie, who's in the Special Operations Combat Medic course ran over to the lady. People were cheering for me as I ran though the finish again. Only this time I was yelling for a medic. I was completely freaked out but people didn't seem to care. None of the finish line volunteers moved so I ran over to the tent where I had picked up my bib. One of the volunteers called someone...but I was really disappointed. What kind of half marathon doesn't have a medic - esp at the finish? The company puts on a lot of races. I'll def be writing to the race director on this one.


I met back up with Jamie, who said the woman helping the fallen runner was a nurse and had it under control. The whole thing shook me up and I went back to the hotel to refuel before heading back out.


I ended up doing 6.5 miles in the drizzle and it felt great! 19.7 miles according to Gary in 3:31:29, which is the fastest I've ever done 20 (I'm rounding up on this one!). Only the way back, we passed through the famous Farmville and I had to take a pic for all those people who annoy my facebook asking me to milk their cows or whatever.




One more 20 mile planned before taper. I hope it goes half as well as this one did. Woohoo on a good race!!! I really needed this. Pikermi #10 was the charm

532 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: training, running, marathon, half_marathon

RR: Anna's Angels 10 miler

Posted by jenster! Sep 28, 2010

My last two races and a string of horrible summer training runs had beat up my confidence to an ultimate low. I signed up for this race as a training run to both boost my spirits and get in a decent 18 miler. I've never done a 10 mile race before so instant PR! Given my better half marathon times, I figured sub 1:40 was doable - but not if I wanted to finish off the training run so I settled for a goal of 1:45-1:50 with 3 miles before and 5 after. I had everything planned out and was determined to make it work.


Let me just remind everyone who doesn't know - I HATE SUNDAY RACES! I swear they only exist to ruin a weekend. I wish all races were Saturday. I'm a Jekyll and Hyde when it comes to the battle over my weekends - Runner Girl vs Party Girl. We peacefully coexist for Saturday races and long runs because PG is tired from a long week of work and doesn't mind staying in Friday night. So, RG can run early, take a nap, and leave PG to a full Saturday night on the town and a Sunday rest day to recover. Sunday races and runs are a totally different story!


So, PG was already upset over the Sunday race. And then came the kicker - My friend Kacie who's been in Spain for the last 3 years was back and wanted to go out. PG promised RG an early night with a 2 beers max. PG is a liar (but we all knew that).


Life has a funny way of testing your determination because Kacie and I met up with a guy I call the Patron Fairy. Every time you see him he's handing you a Patron shot. So, it was a long night including at least 5 shots of tequila. We shut down the bars. I passed out around 3 am.



Only pic of the night...and you can barely see the little spanish girl who wooed me out (or the Patron Fairy behind my head). Yes, we're the plaid shirt mafia.


My alarm went off a 6:15 and I knew the second my foot hit the ground I wasnt 22 anymore. On top of that, I knew I was an idiot who deserved every ache and wave of nausea. I took a BC powder, chugged a Gatorade, and axed the prerace run in the hopes that everything would subside in an hour. I laid in bed trying not to die for another hour before getting dressed. Although I was feeling better, the idea of breakfast still didn't sound good so I grabbed a banana hoping it'd be more appealing in the car. It wasn't but I forced it down. It was gonna be a long morning!


My friend Ellie was doing this race too but I didn't have the energy to try to find her - just getting my chip and not throwing up took all of my focus and energy. In my zombie-like state everything took forever and I made it back to the start a few seconds before the start. The 10 miler and the 5k started at the same time. A few hundred kids sprinting by you screaming while your head is imploding is the best way to start a race! However, I deserved it. The first mile was a net uphill and I started to have my doubts on doing the whole race but the crowd kept me going. By the second mile we split from the 5k, but a sweet down hill pushed me along. I was feeling better by mile 3 and started to think I could finish pretty decently until the hills seemed to just get way worse.


The race was small so people were very spread out. I knew I needed to stay focused on external factors so I didnt retreat in my head. If I didnt then I'd just think about how tired and bad I felt. We were running through the Research Triangle Park area, which is nothing but campuses of large companies. Think wide roads to accommodate weekday traffic but ghost town on a Sunday and nothing to look at but lanscaped trees and signs announcing you're at the entrance to the IBM or some other corporate America compound. BORING!!!!


I resorted to running for effort rather than pace and my spits reveal every change in elevation, however I felt good for the first time all day and that's all that mattered. I smiled, cheered for volunteers, and thanked cops. Everything was great until mile 8 when the fact that I only ate a banana that morning and didnt bring a gel (it was in my car!) caught up with me. I crashed pretty hard on a steep hill and walked up it. How cruel my body is - my hangover had subsided but now I was bonking.


The final water station was like an oasis. Gatorade! To top it off, it was manned by the Alumni Association of Indiana University (That's where I went!). Seriously, I wasn't dreaming. There's hardly any Hoosiers in ACC country and here's my peeps in red handing out a caloric beverage. Talk about OSOM!! It was the kick in the butt I needed to kick out the rest of the race. 1:49:29 - made goal #1!


On to goal #2.


I knew Ellie would be somewhere back there so I grabbed a bottle of water, found some calories, and set back against the course to find her. We ran into each other around mile 9. She was doing great but obviously ready to be done. We ran/walked the last mile together with me yelling at her to get up the last hill at the finish (Really, dont race directors know it's evil to put a finish on top of a hill??). She beat her goal by 3 minutes and is def ready for her first Pikermi on 10/24. That's my girl!!


AA 10 2.JPG

Me yelling at Ellie to get up the hill!!


After the race I went home to take care of a blister. It was huge and full of blood!? I've never had one of those and I was really grossed out (I didn't take a pic - that's how grossed out I was). I took care of it like a normal blister (googled later that's a no-no) and changed my shoes before setting off to complete the rest of my run. I probably should have ate more or took a gel but that was the least of my worries - it started to rain. I love running in the rain! However, this was a downpour similar to the Country Music Marathon in which my shoes weighed 80 lbs each. I toughed it out and maintained a pretty decent pace considering the circumstances. Goal #2 done!


I'm pretty happy I got the best of both worlds over weekend. I might have been able to do better had I not gone out...but I dont think missing such a fun night would have been worth a few min off the race time. Nope, both RG and PG were happy...and spent the rest of Sunday napping in compression socks. Let's hope I feel this good after this Sunday's Pikermi +7!!

428 Views 3 Comments Permalink Tags: updates, training, cheering, 10_miler

The RnR VA Beach will always stand out as the race that infected me with the running bug. One boring May morning in 2009 plopped a marketing email into my work inbox. Beach? Sold! My friends and I formed a group and signed up. Although we rarely trained together directly, we shared tips and encouragement.


I responded really well to the training schedule. At the time, I was dating a boy deployed in Iraq and he signed up too. Committing to a race together soon after he returned home seemed to give me a light at the end of the tunnel and kept me in line all summer. Come race day, I bombed it. I haven't felt so horrible about a race since, not even the painful Niagara compares to how bad I felt that race. I spent the last 2 miles plotting my Half Marathon revenge before enjoying the rest of the weekend with my friends.



After the 2009 Expo with Julie and Shannon


One month later that boy broke my heart so badly that I still haven't fully recovered. However, running kept me focused and was my therapy. I kept thinking towards the next goal, rather than looking to the past.


So, VA Beach one year later was a ghost town of memories. The unchanged landmarks and experiences gave me a lot of flashbacks. I guess that explains why I spent so much of this race inside my head.


My friend Julie and I got to VA Beach Expo around 12:30 Saturday. RnR's are so organized and packet pickup went as planned. The Expo was crowded and claustrophobic. I dragged poor Julie through the vendor maze looking for some flip flops I tried on in Nashville, but failed to buy or remember the name. Mission accomplished!! From there we checked into the hotel, changed into our swim suits, and hit the boardwalk!



Leaving the Expo I had to get a pic with the Elite Corral


Lori, Megan, Paul, Don, Katie were all on the beach about 18 blocks from us but as time went on Julie and I decided to grab some lunch. The timing was horrible and the group left to the Expo by the time we got to the area. But the beach was awesome and I soaked up some sun (not sure how smart that is the day before a race - mistake #1) before we headed back to eat dinner.


There was a pizza place next to our hotel and we assumed a pizza resturant would also serve pasta (mistake #2) and I probably ate more cheese than carbs but it was yummy so I cant complain. There was also prime VA Beach townie watching at this place as well as the start or what I can only imagine was apretty good chick fight. Julie and I left before anything went down. I was out pretty quickly and, while I dont always run well, I typically sleep like a champ. Julie wasn't so lucky and was woken up by drunk people returning home from the bars and our next door neighbors either watching the adult channel on top volume or trying to top it. Poor girl. I'm luckly to be a heavy sleeper


The 5 am wake up call was not fun. I ate my clif bar and drank some water, but for some reason forgot my pre-half ritual of a small coffee (mistake #3). We walked the 1.3 miles to the start rather than take a shuttle. The morning was cool, but slightly humid and I had to take off my long sleeved t-shirt shortly into the walk. It def felt a lot cooler than last year.


I was happy to have my bag checked and gone through the port-a-potty line by 6:30, the planned meet up time for the group. However, the meet-up landmark had been moved, and the spot was on the other side of the corrals. I peaked around to see if I could find anyone but no luck. Boo. However, I was pretty confident that I would be able to meet up after the race.


The start was almost identical to last year - A little girl sang the Star Spangled Banner so well it gave me goosebumps. People were tossing beach balls waiting for our corral's turn to go. The only thing missing was the music (there were two guys who sounded like cruise ship directors giving commentary - I thought the music was better) and my friend Shannon, who started in the same corral as me last year. I remembered how nervous she and I were last year and smiled at how calm I was now. This being half #9, I knew I'd beat my last course time. I didn't think I'd be able to pull a PR (I am so much better in the cold) but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't hoping for a pleasant surprise.


The sun was rising as my corral was finally released. We ran straight into it and it was was blinding, even with my hat and sunglasses. I ran with my head down for most of this mile. I wanted to run it soley on feel so I didn't look at my Garmin. I felt like I was at about a 10 min mile but I clocked in at 10:28. Hmmm. This wasn't normal for a race. Mile 2 wasnt much better at 10:39. Followed by mile 3 at 10:49. I didn't get it...I was running training paces and they felt hard.


This continued for the rest of the race. I spent a lot of time in my head. It didnt help that the crowd support is pretty much non-existent from miles 3-10, and even then it seemed that a lot of people just look for their friends/family. Typically in races I'm the annoying one heckling spectators into cheering and thanking volunteers. However, this race I was pretty silent while I prayed for Not authorized to view the specified thread 108540 and thought about last year.


Although I was slow, and pretty frustrated at myself because I knew I was slow, I stuck to running based on effort rather than killing myself for a time. It felt good to stomp on the exact spot I fell apart last year feeling strong, even though I found the Camp Pendleton section of the race to be every bit as depressing and long as I did last year. Technically, this was a training run for the Marine Corps Marathon and if I had really thought of it as training run then I would have been happy with my time. My 10 mile and half splits were almost identical to Nashville. Finished in 2:28:47 - 15 min and 30 secs slower than PR. On the flattest course ever and in decent weather. Oh man was I pissed!


I felt fine at the end although the final sprint felt hard. Pretty much the whole race I felt like I could go farther, just not faster. My Garmin died around mile 9 but I wore my polar HRM  too (I dont like the Garmin's chest strap or the display). My Polar's been really reliable and I saw a disturbing number that my max HR was 205. I've seen my HR go up to 100% before...but never 107%. I was feeling a bit light headed while attempting that push.  My average was 166 (87%), which is way higher than normal for the pace I was if the result of that push is any indication of how my body was responding that day, I guess that explains why I backed off everytime I sped up. Given than another young man died after finishing this race (a 23 year old kid died in the final mile on the boardwalk last year - both men were runners with no known heart issues), I'm glad I didn't push it at the end - although at the time I was mad at myself for not being able to kick out the last mile.



Me, Meg, Lorie, and Katie. Pretty ladies with pretty medals!


Post race I finally got to meet up with the crew! Woohoo! This made it all worth it. Of course everyone was awesome and they kicked some serious butt. I wish I hadn't been soo annoyed with myself at the time and I hope I did a good job hiding my grumpiness!




Julie strolled up a little later, having kicked her time from last year's butt! So proud of her! I chased PacMan down the boardwalk to get this pic



No joke - he ran a 1:50 something in this!





Post shower hang out with Snowman and Megs


In all, I'm a lot more satisfied with this race than I when I finished. It was a training run...and with that I'm ready to tackle the "Monster" Month ahead of me for MCM. Hopefully with cooler weather comes the return of my happy race reports. I miss those a lot!!


Lessons Learned:

  • I really listened to my body rather than be a slave to my Garmin. I should do that more often. I was pretty steady the whole race, with no burnout
  • Slower training paces during a hot summer have a huge effect on race day (duh!)
  • I have to lose weight. When I stopped full marathon training I didnt stop full marathon eating. I'm sure the extra weight effected me
  • I need to get out of my head and enjoy the race - make my own fun.
506 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: half_marathon

Try to Tri

Posted by jenster! Jul 29, 2010

I've taken a break from racing...and since my blog was almost all race reports, there hasnt been much to say.


Running is slowly getting better but I have to admit my cross training has been getting me through my post Niagara funk. Mainly weight lifting and cycling - but swimming is slowly assuming a place in my heart.


My first attempt at a swim was a week before Nashville and I bombed it. I was only breathing on one side, holding my breath and jerking my head up to breathe out and in one stroke, and thinking that kicking and paddling harder and faster was going to do something other than leave me exhausted. I actually had to get adjusted by my chiropractor afterwards, who was surprised I could eff up my neck so much in such a short swim.


Thank goodness for Active Swimming!! The articles and videos are awesome. I'm even willing to go as far as to say the swimming resources are better than the running resources but I have to admit I havent explored the running articles as much as I should. I'm happy to say I'm successfully a bilateral breather.



The section on better breathing and the videos saved me a lot of pain (and chiro co-pays!)


So that leads me to an unexpected milestone - my first attempt at a (sorta) triathlon!! I often run after cycling classes - more to flush out my legs than for any for of mileage gain. So, after a hard spin class...I stopped at a greenway and ran around the lake - 2.2 miles. It was over 90º and humid and I was happy with my easy pace, which was still faster than last year when I always ran on fresh legs, at a harder effort, and in cooler weather. Fully satisfied with my work out, I went home to drink my chocolate milk and play on facebook before my shower.


I felt a wave of jealousy as I saw this on my newsfeed:



Last names removed to protect the innocent


Tri fever washed over. How awesome is that? I wanna do that!!! Then I thought of my brick...and the fact that it was only 8pm. I CAN DO THAT! A bit out of order...but doing three different activities one right after the other is still a tri of sorts. I finished my milk, took a quick shower at the gym, then swam a mile. Whoo hoo!! I felt exhausted afterwards...but it was different than running or cycling for more than 2 hours. I really need to do a real sprint soon.


For some reason being able to do all that renewed my confidence in my abilities. I've been in such a funk since Nashville. Partly the HOT weather, partly my motivation and desire had been subsiding. I feel excited again. I hope it least through VA Beach and MCM training.


A few months ago I thought I could break 2 hours at the VA Beach half this year. I dont think that will happen anymore...but I would be really happy with a sub 10 min mile pace. Since I've done 2 halves in 2:13 I think that's pretty realistic if the weather this year cooperates.

345 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: updates, training, running, cycling, swimming, triathlon

RR: Niagara Marathon

Posted by jenster! Jun 23, 2010

Warning: This report will not be pretty. I often write out my thoughts when I'm full of emotion but unsure how to articulate them. So this is more rambling than a report. Bottom line I'm happy to say I'm a marathoner. But I'm not happy with how I acheived it. So if you're not interested in my self-reflective rambling then my time was 6:07:28 and there's some pics and a video for your viewing pleasure.


On to what goes on in Jenster's head during training!!!


Ever since Nashville the marathon has been a sore subject to me. I seemed to be asked if I've done a full marathon more and more during this period. And out came the story of heat, humidity, rain, wind, lightning, tornadic super cells, closing the course at mile 20, and getting kicked out. I'd been full marathon training for all of 2010 and I was ready to have 26.2 no matter what. I was just ready to say I've done one.


So, I had little respect for the 22.47 miles I actually completed in April. To me, it didn't count. It was little more than an expensive training run with a fraudulent medal. I didn't try to properly recover as if I had gone the extra 3.73 miles, which seems so dumb to me now. I realize now how much I need to respect recovery...even when I think I neither need it nor deserve it.


Since I didnt respect recovery, I wasn't ready for a new training cylce. I skipped and shortened runs. Somehow, I thought my fitness in Nashville on April 24 would translate to Niagara on June 19th and I could maintain it on just one long run of 18 miles and two half marathons. In other words, I only did 3 double digit runs in almost 2 months. However, I had no time related goals for Niagara. My only goal was to finish.


Race Week:


Thunderstorms were in the forecast. While it concerned me, the out and back nature of course told me that as long as I made it 13.1 out...I'd refuse to be kicked out if they closed the course. The race was in Canada and I'm not scared of Mounties. My finish or die attitude grew stronger.


I planned to get to Buffalo the Wednesday before the race to hang out with my super prego sister, who wasn't due until July 19. We planned a girls' weekend while her husband, who's a football coach a University at Buffalo did football camps. While, driving to work on Wednesday morning, she called to say she was in labor and expected to deliver around lunch. Funny how calm and normal sounding she was, as she told to email her husband my itinerary because she obviously couldn't pick me up anymore. Apparently women in my family are blessed with easy deliveries as my sister only pushed for 10 min (the nurses told her not to tell other mothers how easy and quick it was) and she gave birth to a healthy 35 week old baby. I was the first person in the family to hold this precious girl. So, Thursday and Friday I was at the hospital 7am - 9pm and thinking very little about my race other than how glad I was to be in Buffalo! I didn't eat like I was supposed to. I didn't hydrate according to plan.



Regardless of how the race went, holding Audrey Lynn made my trip!



Race Day:


My parents got to Buffalo Friday afternoon. Since my niece was still in the hospital but my sister no longer had a private room, they decided they wanted to drive me to the race (luckily they remembered their passports). I was surprisingly calm that morning and didn't really think much of what I needed to do. It felt like a 5k or even a training run. I still wasn't in race mode - definitely not in marathon mode. I ate a peanut butter sandwich and didn't think to eat the granola bars I packed (which are always a pre-race meal). Border crossing into Canada, traffic, and packet pickup went smoothly and I arrived in time to see the 50k start.


It was a warm day for the area, already 75 at 7am. The humidity was a lot less than NC so I was a bit cocky when the Race Director warned us that when she ran a bit of the course earlier that it was "deceptively hot" out there. Obviously she didn't do the Komen race in Raleigh the weekend that was hot!


The start was super laid back and informal. I didn't feel crowded. We started on grass for about 300 meters until we hit an asphalt greenway trail, which we followed for about a mile before meeting up with the Niagara River. The views were gorgeous. I couldn't help thinking it was out of one of those Dream Run wallpaper/screen savers on Runner's World. I saw a man with two hand held bottles and resisted the urge to yell out "Edward Bottle Hands!"


I could tell something was off in the first mile. It got worse in the second mile. I shrugged it off, thinking that I was just taking a bit to find my groove. I took some water at the 6k aid station (Darn Canada and their metric system!) and wished I had brought the hand held I packed but didnt take. The RD was right - it WAS deceptively hot.


My parents honked as they passed me on the road parallel to the trail and pulled up ahead to snap a few pictures. They went on to see the falls to fill the 5 hour void I said I'd need to finish the race.



Prettiest course ever! Niagara River on my left. Wineries on my right (and my dad looking like a tourist)


Around mile 5 I realized I didn't bring and salt with me (it was in my purse in my parent's car). I'm a very salty and excessive sweater and almost always end up displaying signs of hyponatremia on runs over an hour in which I dont get extra sodium. I purposely get Powerbar gels because they have 200 mg of sodium so I took one then. Close to the 10k mark I got 2 cups of gatorade and realized my mistakea few minutes later. The sugar in the gel and in the regular gatorade began to mess with my system. I was going up a long, steep hill - the only real hill in the race but it's almost 2 miles long and a steep grade - and felt light headed. I slowed to a walk. Better, but still light headed. At the top of the hill I started to run again...but my arms felt heavy and tingly.


It's not a foreign feeling, but I've only experienced it one other time while running. I'm really sensitive to sugar. When I ingest too much too fast, I tend to get light headed and my limbs feel like they are falling asleep. Its happened at work, bars, weddings (mixed drinks and desserts are the worst)...and its usually my cue to drink some water and lay down. During the race, it translated to drink some water and a zombie-like walk. Looking back I think I would have been fine without salt if I hadn't have paniced and overloaded on sugar.


I did a walk/run from mile 7 to the 13.1 turn around. It was more walking than running. It took me 2:47 to reach 13.1 - more than 30 min longer than my last half marathon less than a month ago and almost 20 min longer than it took me to reach the half at Nashville. Even though I had no time goals, it was still rather demoralizing to feel so horrible with so much left.


The light headed feelings started to subside around mile 14 and the sun was playing peekaboo behind clouds, which cooled things off. Even though I was feeling better, I still walked about another mile until I reached an aid station. Most of the Marathoners were long gone so it was mostly me and the 50k people on their way back. It's funny how different people act in an Ultra vs a Marathon. The Ultra people stopped at the stations, chatted with the volunteers and each other as they filled their water bottles and ate Fritos. I decided to follow their leisurely attitude and drank a few cups of water. Another marathoner heard me asking for salt and gave me a salt tablet. Oh, thank you, St. Patty!!!


The sweet lady and I ran/walked together from the aid station. It was so much more enjoyable with her. She was from Ottawa and the mother of 5 kids. Her husband had been driving the kids in a mini van following the course, allowing a portable cheer squad for her. It was great seeing such a close and supportive family.


I started feeling better and was able to run again for the downhill at mile 18. The mini van of kids recognized me and cheered for me even when I wasn't with their mom. Patty caught up with me at the mile 20 aid station, since I took the time to suck salt off some pretzels. It's weird to think that I felt better in the final 10k than I did the whole race but I did. Patty's oldest daughter, who was a cross country runner, got out to run the last 10k with her so it was almost like a group run. They stopped at the 6k station and I left them. My claves and back were seriously cramping by that point, but I welcomed it compared to how I felt the past few hours. I was shuffle running like my shoes were tied together but it was the best I felt physically in a long time.


The turns were marked with pink flags and, being alone, I happened to miss one (CRAP!) but luckily right around the time I realized I was lost I came out on the road and saw where I was supposed to be. Only .1 added. Finally back on the grassy field I was passing finished racers laying in the grass drinking beer. The uneven surface of the grass almost made me fall a few times. My legs were basically Jell-O after 26 miles on asphalt and the divits in the ground were trying to kill me!

I'm repeating "dont fall" over and over in my head


It was an emotional finish for me. My parents were there and everyone cheered as I crossed the finish completely alone. Oh, how I love the race community!!  A little girl ran up and gave me a flower, which I think was more awesome than my medal. My legs started to lock up almost immediately and I stretched as I waited for Patty to cross. She came through a few min later and I screamed her name, which the other people picked up on and also started to cheer her on by name (once again, these people were awesome!)

Post Race:


Many have told me that I toughed it out, didn't give up, and they are proud of me. The fact is I'm not proud about how this race went down. In hindsight I think I should have pulled out. When you feel like you're going to pass out at mile 7, 19 more miles isn't a good idea. I'm lucky it worked out but I dont think I was smart and I think I set a horrible example for anyone looking to do their first marathon. To me, I showed how stubborn I am, not that I'm tough or BA.


The good news:

  • With all the walking I wasn't too sore and was able to see my niece and sample some of Buffalo's finest wings without needing a post race nap
  • Even though I told my parents no more marathons right after the race, I'm thinking with proper training I can do the 50k next summer
  • I'm officially a marathoner !! Now that I have a real Marathon medal, I'll be donating my CMM medal to Medals 4 Mettle, which will give the medal to someone who really deserves it.
  • If that race didn't break my love for running, I think might be a lifer
  • There's really no where to go but PR so look out MCM!!


I spent most of the race inside my head. Probably the biggest mistake of all because there really was so much to enjoy during this race. Since I didn't describe the beautiful course very well, I'll share this video made of pics taken by one of the 50k people. Except for the pics by the Falls (the marathon turned around before the falls), this shows the course I ran and the laid back atmosphere of the race perfectly.

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RR: Susan G Komen 5k

Posted by jenster! Jun 15, 2010

I hate 5ks. With less than a year of racing under my belt, I've done twice as many half marathons as 5ks. However, Susan G Komen isn't just any 5k. It's the largest road race in NC. It was my first race in a tutu!


Allow me to ruin the ending by saying that the race was horrible time wise. I was no match for the heat, hills, and humidity so I didn't put up a fight. However, that made all the difference in the world because other than the time - everything about this race was great!


I didn't get much sleep Friday night and the 5:30 wake up call was brutal enough to get a snooze out of me. While I snooze like a champ for work, running - esp races - almost never gets a snooze. I ate a granola bar, drank some water, and put on my tutu (you know, the usual). Cary and I planned on meeting at the Art Museum and running 2.5 miles on the trail to the start. Man, that girl was prompt! She texted me at 6am on the button! Luckily I was on time (6:03). We admired each other's tutus for a bit and started the jog.
It was already in the 70s but OMG HUMIDITY! I didn't bother to look up the official stats but I've never felt air so thick. Cary and I were both sweating buckets less than a mile into the run. As we approached the start we began seeing other racers doing their warm ups and almost everyone loved the tutu's. We even got a "tres Chic" from a cycler early on the trail who probably had no idea we were dressed up for a race. Normal people run on trails at 6am in tutus, right?


The start was on the campus of Meredith College, which was an explosion of tents. Cary and I had no idea where to go pick up her we started to wander. Cary spotted more people in tutus and pointed them out. Of course it was my Pikermi Princesses!!!

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Yay Tutus! (You can see Cary in the background going to pick up her packet)


Cary and I lined up somewhere towards the middle of the pack. We got tons of compliments on our outfits. Several strangers even asked to take our picture so we're practically famous. The start was pretty uneventful but luckily the air had thinned out some. It was still humid and we were still soaked from the warmup, but at least I didn't feel like I was running through water anymore.  We passed Shannon and Rebecca during the first half mile (both were planning on easy run/walking) so I slapped her little tutu-ed butt and she managed to snap this pic.



Notice Cary's shirt less than a mile in! Oh, and the lack of people dressed up or in pink


I forgot to rest my Garmin so my paces are approx but the first mile was down hill and Cary and I managed a comfortable 9:33 pace. I felt  tired but I thought that pace was manageable. Enter the hills. I'd ran this route before in January. I dont remember the hills being bad but it was 40s when I last saw these beasts. I changed my race plan to just focus on keeping the same effort rather than look at the Garmin for my pace. Cary and I didn't talk much after the first mile but it was really great having her with me. I probably would have stopped more than once if she hadn't been there but we pressed on, loving the occasional "Go Tutus!!" motivation we received from racers and spectators. We ran through several sprinklers and misting machines..but it was so humid the water didn't evaporate so it really didn't do much good. Mile 2 10:16.


Mile 3 was pretty much a blur. I remember a spectator screaming "Last Hill" and "You're almost almost there" around mile 2.5 and screaming back "LIAR!!!" as loud as I could. Cary told me to go ahead and I refused. After all, it was a fun run and I was having more fun with her - even if we could talk more than grumble a few complaints. Plus I needed her - I would have walked a long time ago if I was alone. Mile 3 10:09.


The last .1 was up a hill. I honeslty felt like passing out, even with all the screaming people (the Women's Only race was already lined up to start). Managed a semi decent kick at the end - Finish 31:16.


Cary and I chatted with some of my co-workers as we waited for the rest of the Princesses. I didn't see my friend Julie in the Women's Only start, which only justified my decision not to run that race too. It was way too hot to try to "make up" some miles.



After the race I texted Tobi to meet up. I wish we had a camera to take some pics (I stole all of these from Shannon). We had a good time walking around, looking for the cell phone I was dumb enough to drop (but someone found it and turned it in!!) and walked back to our cars.


Overall, the race was a blast. I highly reccommend dressing up for races. Sure, I would have liked a better time but I wouldn't have pushed myself to go faster in exchange for the fun I had. Jen Van Allen, an editor at Runner's World, said it best: 


"If you don't enjoy it--if you're not willing to forage for joy in even the most painful of moments, then it is a complete and utter waste of time."

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