Monday, May 30, 2011

Run It Forward, Bridge 2 Bridge

Despite still being sick and being on antibiotics, I was signed up for yet another race.  Erik and I ran the Run It Forward Bridge 2 Bridge run in Bremerton on May 28th (which also happened to be Erik's birthday). 

Erik had went out the day before and bought us matching tech shirts...aww cute.  The only downfall to the cute shirts were that they were both tank tops, not the best thing on a chilly Saturday morning in the Pacific Northwest.  I still chose to wear the tank along with my running skirt.  I knew that I would get warm once the race started so I threw on a lightweight jacket and hoped for the best.

We got to packet pickup really early and went over to Starbucks to enjoy some coffee and heat before the race.  We had a lot of fun chatting with the barista and another runner at the bar.  I recognized the shirt the runner was wearing as a You Go Girl shirt from last year's race.  We talked about our plans for this year's races. 

At race start we were all herded like sheep to the meeting spot under the ferry terminal.  Good thing we followed, I would have never looked under there for the start of the race.  The Bremerton High School football coach and the Bremerton mayor said some nice opening comments then they sounded the whistle.  We began the run by going through the new tunnel.  It's very beautiful in there...but the GPS doesn't work AT ALL!    As we came out of the tunnel, we made a sharp 90 degree turn onto Burwell. 

On Washington, the runners started to spread out.  Thank goodness!  The sidewalks here were all in disarray.  I was averaging a good pace for the first mile but knew I wouldn't be able to keep it the whole way through.  My throat was starting to swell up.  We crossed over the Manette Bridge and made the turn towards the first big hill.  Average pace: 9'05"/mile

At the Bremerton YMCA, I had to finally stop and take my jacket off.  I also pulled a cough drop out of my pocket and enjoyed some relief on my throat.  Erik was kind enough to walk with me through this pit stop.  I told him to keep going but he insisted on waiting for me.  Up, up, up the long steady hill...slow and steady.  I kept telling myself, "This is what you train for!  This is where others stop and you can gain on them!"  It was true.  I passed others that had slowed to a walk.  I may not have been going very fast but it was faster than walking.  Average pace: 9'25"/mile

I finally convinced Erik to keep running his pace because I knew I was struggling.  He kept going and looked great!  This was his first race in months and he felt good.  As I approached the Warren Avenue Bridge, I knew there was one last hill to conquer.  My throat was so swollen at this point despite the cough drop and I was really struggling to breathe.  I took the hill in intervals.  I would run light post to light post, then walk light post to light post.  This was the last time I saw Erik until the end of the race.  Average pace: 9'50"/mile

Once I got onto Warren Bridge...I ran!  It was a wonderful downhill grade with a nice breeze.  The cough drop was finally doing it's job and I had an airway.  I cruised along and headed towards the home stretch.  As I made the turn towards Evergreen State Park, I passed a father and daughter.  The daughter was only 9 years old and she looked so upset that she was walking.  I encouraged her as I ran by and she started to pick up the pace. 

One last hill to get up then it was back onto the bad sidewalks of Washington and back to the ferry terminal.  I kept telling myself, "Finish strong!  You can rest when it's over!"  My body must have been listening because I ran with everything I had.  I could see the race clock and it was counting towards 40 minutes.  I wanted to finish in under 40 so I ran!  As I crossed the finish line, my average pace on my GPS said 7'33"/mile. 

The race clock said I had finished at 39'54".  I wonder what it will be like to run a race healthy again?  I know I have more in me and I hated having to walk in a 4.4 mile race.  On the plus side, That is just over 5 minutes more than my very first ever 5K so...  I can't complain too much.  To be able to run almost 1.5 miles more in almost the same time shows progress.  That is what really matters to me. 

Erik finished the race 4th in his age group and 33rd overall.  I finished 7th or 8th in my age group and 49th overall.  I'm sure if Erik wouldn't have stayed with me in the beginning he would have easily been in the top 3 in his age group but he is a great husband who is always thinking of others first.  Next year, I plan on being healthy and kicking this race's butt!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Capital City 1/2 Marathon

I just realized it's been a while since my last post...sorry.

Here is a recap on yesterday's race!

To start off with, my 3 year old has been tremendously sick over the last week.  He had double ear infections and 103.9 temperature.  He was also kind enough to share his nasty cold with his momma before this race.  Friday evening I felt the crud coming on so I knew I was pretty much doomed.

Saturday, my sister-in-law Andrea, came and picked me up and we went to the expo to pick up our racing bibs.  The tech shirts that they handed out are by far my favorite shirts I have received from a race yet.  Red, long sleeved with thumb holes, 1/4 zip tech shirts...AWESOME!  Also, the bag that they came in was a great reusable runners bag.  It's the race's 30th anniversary so they had nice giveaways.  At the expo, I also scored some wonderful new Brooks Adrenaline GTS shoes for $20!  Another bonus :)

That evening, I started my new pre-race ritual...coconut water.  I kept hearing how wonderful it was, tried it last week and loved it.  So I drank a coconut water, carb loaded (like always), took some cold medicine, and went to bed early.  I didn't sleep well because I wasn't able to breathe well but oh well, I never sleep well before a race day.

The next morning I woke up at 5:30am.  The rain was already pouring down (quite the difference from the day before which was 65-70 degrees and sunny).  This was going to be my first race in the rain...and did I mention I was totally sick?!?  I changed my plans on my attire.  Originally, I was going to wear my Half Fanatics shirt and a running skirt.  Instead, I wore my Half Fanatics shirt, capris, a jacket and a hat (which thankfully Erik brought for me at last minute).  I had two pieces of toast, more coconut water and we were off to the race.

I knew going into this race that it was very doubtful that I was going to PR.  I decided early that since I was sick my only goal was to just finish.  I made a deal with Andrea that I would pace her and run with her through her second half marathon (she is also on her way to becoming a Half Fanatic).  I told her that I was there to support her and if she needed to stop, we would stop...if she wanted to run, we would run. 

The lines for the honey buckets before the race were actually wrapped around the street corner so I didn't get my pre-race potty break :(  We agreed that we would hit a honeybucket during the race.  Since I wasn't attempting to PR, I was fine with that agreement.

It was a crowded race start.  The totals showed 1200+ people ran the 1/2 marathon.  I know to most that isn't a lot but for this race the pack never seemed to separate.  Andrea and I started the race with a nice pace.  Nothing to hard.  We were also soaked within minutes from the rain and the other runners splashing water up from the puddles. Average pace: 10'20"/mile. 

Mile 2-3 was the first hill that we came across.  It was a steady, gradual, uphill climb that went on for almost 3 miles total.  We along with many of the runners were laughing about the fact that we were swimming upstream and that this race should really be called a triathlon.  We expected bikes to waiting at the finish line. :)  The one downfall to this whole race was this leg of it.  The portion of the road was open to traffic and people were driving like maniacs.  Not cool man.  Average pace: 10'02"/mile and 9'58"/mile

Mile 4-5 We finally stopped for the honeybucket.  Too bad many of the runners had the same idea!  That little detour took 3 minutes of our time.  Darn!  Still running well and breathing well.  My sinuses finally opened up and I could breath easier than I had the first 5 miles.  Average pace: 10'03"/mile and 14'07"/mile.

Mile 6  Lack of oxygen started setting in (or so Andrea likes to refer to it).  We really started laughing and having fun at this point.  I was running with my iPod on speaker so Andrea and I were rocking out to my "beer/drinking" songs.  We got passed by the 3 lead marathon runners.  Did I mention they were on mile 19 at this point and we were on mile 6.5?  There were lots of cowbells for the next 7 miles and every time we ran by someone with one, Andrea and I would yell out, "We need more cowbell!"  Average pace: 10'17"/mile

Miles 7-9 Still plugging along.  Laughing, puddle jumping, and almost no walking!  Bring on the cowbell!  I really enjoyed running with Andrea.  She is a lot like me in the fact that we enjoy the race.  We take time to thank the volunteers, spectators, and just enjoy the sights.  People were standing out in the rain cheering us on and we would always take the time to say thanks as we ran by.  Erik was amazing through the last half of the race as well.  He joined us at around mile 8.5 and paced us and encouraged us for the remaining miles.  Average paces: 10'38"/mile, 10'29"/mile, and 10'14"/mile.

Mile 10...Grrr...the final hill.  This one took it's toll on us.  We alternated between walking and running up it.  The rain was still coming down but the wind had picked up on this portion of the course and it was not a lot of fun.  Average pace: 10'47"/mile

Mile 11 Fatigue started to set in for us.  The support of the crowd and Erik were so helpful and it really helped push us through.  Average pace: 10'37"/mile

Mile 12 My stupid cold gave me the vomiting feeling.  Stupid post-nasal drip.  Had to walk for a moment but otherwise I was good to go.  Average pace: 10'17"/mile

Mile 13  I was so happy to finish still standing!  We were laughing at a couple of funny things going to the finish line.  There was a woman standing outside her house with her own "volunteer" table set up with a sign and dixie cups that said "Ice Cold Beer"...AWESOME!  As we approached the finish line there was an ambulance waiting with it's doors wide open, which I exclaimed, "Oh good, my ride is here!" Andrea started to slow down a little and I told her, "Come on girl, you got this!  Don't stop now!"  She sped up and finished side by side with me.  It was great!  Andrea had friends waiting at the end of the race with signs up and my father-in-law even showed up to cheer us on!  Average pace: 10'14"/mile

So there you have it.  Another race in the books.  That was #4 for the year.  Sick or not...I am still a smiling runner. =D

I love my amazing family!

My Nike time showed 2:18:51 (I never stopped the clock BTW)

The race results showed: 2:20:43
Overall place: 821/1212
Age place: 88/143
Female place: 427/741

P.S....I went to the doctor today.  Yep it's a sinus infection and possible tonsillitis/strep throat.  10 worth of antibiotics for me :)  It was worth it!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Tacoma City Marathon

What a great last minute decision!  I got invited to run on a relay team with the Dirty Girls (a local group who does trail running).  The race was divided between 5 legs that varied between 3.9 and 6 miles.  My leg was leg 2 and it was 4.8 miles long. 

I got up at 4:30am to get ready and go meet my team in Gig Harbor.  I drove to Starbucks for my usual pre-race tradition...bad news, they weren't open!!!  Ugh.  I tried Cutter's go.  I even tried Fred Meyer...same thing.  Apparently, nothing opens by 5:30am in Gig Harbor on a Sunday morning.  I guess I was running the race  with no food or coffee.  Thank goodness my leg was less than 5 miles.

Oh yeah, this was our ride for the race:

We got to the art museum and met up with the rest of the other Dirty Girls Relay Team #1 for a photo shoot.  Alexa Martin wrote a book called "Girl Wonder" and Gateway was taking photos for it. :)  It was a lot of fun to be a part of this wonderful group.  Especially since I really didn't know anyone leading up to today.  They were very kind and greeted me like I had known them forever!

Jina Benson took leg 1.  It was 5.7 miles long.  We stood at the start line and cheered her on as she took off.  As soon as she was out of our sight, we headed to our leg 2 hand off destination.  It was here that we decided to add some warrior paint to ourselves.  Why not?  Let's make this race fun!  As we were standing at the hand off spot, I saw a few people I know come running by and was able to cheer them on.  I saw my online friend Claudia, 4:15 pacer Ginger, several people from the Route 16 crew, and of course tons of Marathon Maniacs and Half Fanatics!  Then around the corner we saw Jina!  We yelled for her and she finished so strong.  She did awesome!  We tagged off and I took off!

My leg was flat and pretty!  I ran along the water on Ruston Way for several miles.  It's funny running in a relay, you have fresh legs so you are able to pass people when they are tired.  It's a good and a bad feeling.  Good because you feel even stronger and you push harder...bad because you know you haven't been running nearly as long as them :)  I was able to pound up the first hill rather quickly passing several men along the way.  The funniest sight here was the police man with the speed gun faced at me!  Also, as I ran along Ruston I had several people calling out, "go Sexy Girl!" becuase of my war paint on my face :)

I was pacing in the high 8 minute miles for the first 4 miles.  Then as I passed through the tunnel something bad happened.  I'm not sure if it was the fumes, the sounds, the motion of the speeding car flying by me, or the fact I hadn't eaten but I got out of the tunnel and started gagging!  Uncontrollably!!!  Ugh, I hate my stomach sometimes.  I continued to walk but it definitely slowed my pace for about 30 seconds to a minute.  Once I was finally able to catch my breath, I started running again.  The final hill was a doozy.  I passed people who were walking up it and turned the corner.  There were my Dirty Girls cheering me on!  I willed my legs to sprint and finished as strong as I could and tagged Gwen so she could take on the 5 mile drive leg though Pt. Defiance. 

I stopped running and tried to catch my breath.  I then realized I had forgotten to stop my watch.  So my GPS said I finished in 44:10.  I think with the gagging and forgetting it really was about a minute less than that.  We didn't have far to drive for the next hand off.  I was able to stretch in the van and enjoy some Gatorade.  At the next hand off we decided to goof-off a little and take some pics.

When Gwen came out of the park she tagged Kjerstin.  We all hopped in the Dirty Van and took off to Cheney Stadium.  It's amazing how much territory we covered!  At Cheney, Nichole was able to get out and stretch.  She did all the driving leading up to this point so she really wanted to focus here.  We were watching the volunteer at the water station struggle to get the cups filled.  There were only 2 volunteers at this stop.  One for the Gatorade and one for the water.  Gwen and I stepped in and helped him fill cups.  Another guy from a relay team also jumped in to help.  Between the 3 of us, we were able to help him get the 3 bottles emptied and fill an entire table with cups of water.

At the final leg, Kjerstin tagged Nichole and we hopped in the Dirty Van to head back into downtown.  Our plan was to finish as a group.  The only rule was that Nichole had to cross the finish line before any of us or else it would register a false time.  We didn't have a lot of time because this leg was only 3.9 miles but we made it in time.  We saw Nichole running hard!  I gave Alexa my jacket and we all finished as a team. :)  It was so much fun!!!

Our Dirty Girls #2 Team finished in a time of 4:02:14 with a pace of 9:15! We came in 4th place of 8 teams!  We also came in 14th of 26 teams. The Dirty Girls #1 Team took home 1st place with a time of 3:33:33!!! Nice job ladies!