Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Ocean Shores 1/2 Marathon

On July 10th, I finished my 6th 1/2 marathon in 6 consecutive months.  It graduated me up to two moon status on the Half Fanatics...which everyone dreads because it landed me on Uranus LOL!  This was the last race that my sister-in-law, Andrea, needed to qualify for the Half Fanatics and also my stepson's first 1/2 marathon in over 6 months. 

We chose to go to Ocean Shores the day before and enjoy the beach.  The weather was perfect all weekend so all the kids came down with me and even my father-in-law came down for the day.  I have never been to Ocean Shores on such a warm day. 

The downfall to bringing everyone was that we had to share beds and a room.  It was tight quarters which causes me to get VERY little sleep.  Bryce (my 3 year old) didn't do to well going to bed.  He was up until midnight and finally fell asleep on the floor with my pillow.  I shared my bed with my 12 year old, Ashley, but she moves around a lot in her sleep.  Bryce had several nightmares all night and kept screaming out.  Needless to say, VERY little sleep for me.  I had to be up at 5:30am.

Morning came way to quick!  I arose in the morning and tiptoed around Bryce.  He was laying right in front of the only bathroom door.  I grabbed my clothes and changed in the bathroom as quietly as possible.  I snuck into the living room area and woke up Andrea and Devin.  They also snuck around Bryce and we got out of the room as quickly as possible before waking anyone else up.

We hit the Tully's for water then went to the park to wait for the race to begin.  I ran into a few other Half Fanatics including #10 Bullseye Bob Martin.  Thank goodness we got there early because they actually started the race about 15 minutes early.  The first 1.5 miles of the race were spent weaving through town towards the ocean.  Very flat and nice, open spaces to run in...just the way I like it.  I was hoping for a PR today if all went well.  As soon as we saw the beach ahead I prepared for the worst. 

The beach entrance was loose sand that filled my shoes early.  Big divets made it hard to maneuver through and I spent a lot of the time just trying to bunny hop into the holes that other runners already created.  Once we got to the hard packed sand, running was easier.  Felt almost like a trail run (which reminds me, I need to train with the Dirty Girls more!).  The best sight on the beach was about a mile into it...there was a baby seal sunbathing. 

So, the total distance on the beach was 1.5 miles then back on to the soft, sinking sand until we hit the pavement again.  Too bad for me my stomach was starting to act up so I hit the honeybucket.  I felt my PR slipping away. :(  Back on the pavement, Andrea and I kept running along.  Devin passed us and as far as we could tell, he was in 12th place!  Bullseye Bob high-fived us too.  At the halfway mark, we turned around and started back.  Andrea told me to go ahead. 

The next 1.5 miles were pretty uneventful until... I almost got trampled to death by two young deer!  I am not even exaggerating!  They went hopping across the road like a game of tag only feet from me.  My heart was beating so fast and I couldn't stop shaking.  Oh no, stomach started to act up again.  Must have been the terrible dinner from the night before.  I hit the same honeybucket as before.  When I was waiting in line, Andrea wished me luck and went ahead.

Several minutes later, I was finally back bunny hopping over the sand dunes to get to the ocean.  I wish I lived closer to the beach.  It was very peaceful to see and hear the waves as I ran by.  The seal was still sunbathing on the beach too.  Brought a smile to my face.  It wasn't until I came up to the soft sand again that I finally started walking. 

I was suffering from my usual leg "tingling" so I couldn't feel my right foot/leg.  My stomach was killing me and my mind was starting to give in to it all.  I forced myself to run again and was able to run the for a while.  As I hit the bridge on the home stretch, I finally had to stop and stretch my foot out.  The arch of my right foot was cramping so bad I was almost in tears.  The sand had taken up any spare room in my shoe and it was suffering.  No PR for me :(

I crossed the finish line at 2:15:12.  Not my best, not my worst.  I wish I could take off the time for the honeybuckets.  That would have dropped me down to the 2:10 range, but oh well.  Devin ended up finishing with a PR and 17th place overall!  Andrea got a new PR as well.  I was just happy to finish.  I highly recommend this course to others but be prepared for the sand!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Vancouver USA 1/2 Marathon

Okay, okay...I know I said I would write more often...but I have a good excuse...the sun has finally decided to arrive in Washington and I have been taking full advantage of it!  I have been avoiding my computer and my only connection to the internet is through my phone since I am outside most of the time.  Okay, excuses over.  Here is my recap of the inaugural Vancouver USA Marathon.

Erik and I took the 3+ hour drive down to Vancouver on Friday evening for packet pick-up and to enjoy the expo.  I am so happy we did because we got to meet Bart Yasso who was MCing the race.  He was such an amazing runner to chat with!  A great inspiration :) 
We walked around the expo for a little while and I bought a new hand held water bottle and a magnet for the back of my car that says "13.1 Miles because I'm only HALF crazy".  Yep, that pretty much sums me up :)  We walked around the expo until it closed then went to the park across the street to let Bryce play.  This is also where the start and finish line would be for Sunday.  A little while later, we made the 3+ hour trek home.

Erik had to work so we couldn't head out of town as early as we would have liked.  Once he was finally off work we took off for Lacey to stay at Andrea's house (my sister-in-law).  This is her 2nd race towards becoming a Half Fanatic!  We stopped for dinner at the Adriatic Grill.  If you haven't eaten there, you should!  DEE-LISH!

Another early race day for us.  Up at 4:45am to be out the door by 5:30am.  Even from Lacey it was still a 2 hour ride to Vancouver.  Erik, Andrea, and I hit the usual Starbucks stop for our black coffees and a bite to eat on the ride down.  Once in Vancouver, we found close parking and went into the Hilton for a much needed potty break.  We started chatting with other excited runners about the race, our past favorite and least favorite races, and just general chit chat.  It turns out that one of the girls I was talking to you is running the Ragnar Relay team that I am an alternate for (Hi Lizzie!).

Race start:
It was a pretty warm morning out before the race had even began.  We inched our way into the starting corral and wished each other luck.  As Bart sounded the beginning of the race we all started towards the start line.  Warning:  What I am about to write may offend some people!  Let me preface by saying I have no problem with walkers doing these events, however, there is a certain etiquette that if you plan to walk from the beginning...PLEASE line up in the back of the pack!  My only pet peeve with this race was that there was a large group of walkers (I'm talking 50-100 people) lined up at the front line of the race and when the gun sounded many runners had to wiggle and weave around them to get into the open.  The first 2 miles of the race were in the heart of town and having the obstacles of dodging walkers on top of it added to even greater congestion at the start of the race.

Okay, back to my recap.  1 mile into the race, Andrea and I were already sweating.  It was pretty humid out and even though I was in a skirt I was still feeling the heat.  We had also agreed to try and run together as long as possible today but not hold one another back.  If one of us needed to back off then the other runner was free to go.  We maintained a nice speed over the next few miles.  I was attempting to go for a sub-2 half marathon yet again.  Stay tuned to see what happens :)

At around mile 3 I got a "I'm #3" from Tony Phillippi as he went flying by me.  I know I say it all the time but I love being a Half Fanatic!  It's such a great group of runners who always take time to chat with one another even during a race.  Andrea was saying she didn't think she could keep my pace but I convinced her to try to go to at least mile 5 before we walked.  She agreed to hang in there. 

Over the next 1 1/2 miles, we would joke around that every time our bodies wanted to tell us to walk, it always looked like there was a nice downhill grade ahead and we should just run through it.  Andrea was a real trooper! 

At around mile 4.5 Andrea finally had to back off of the pace I was going.  I wished her luck and told her I would see her later.  I told myself that I could take a mini walk break at the 10k marker.  Lucky for me the 10k marker was up the only hill of the course!  As always, a fellow runner cheered me up the hill.  She saud the magic words, "You are almost there!" as I took my little walk break which made me want to run up the hill!  I only walked twice here for the 2 plateaus but ran up the actual hill, YEAH ME!

At the very top of the hill was a much needed water stop.  I grabbed my water, played hopscotch over the train tracks and ran as fast as I could down the longest hill of the whole course.  I felt like I was flying!  The next couple of miles were beautiful.  The course took us out along the river and cool breeze felt wonderful on the humid morning.  My next goal was to run until I hit mile 10.  I was still pacing a sub-2!

At mile 10.5, I did take that walk break.  It was very brief but just what I needed to regain my legs.  I forgot to mention that my right leg from my knee down had been numb/asleep.  This little walk break allowed me to rotate my ankle around and get a little feeling back in my foot.  It stung every time I took a step while it had that numb feeling.  I finally fell off my pace.  At this point I was set to finish around 2:02-2:03, which is still a PR.

What is it about those last 2 miles lately?  They seem to just murder me!  At mile 11.5-11.7 my mind look over and convinced my legs that they had had enough.  I had to alternate run/walk breaks for a while and gather my mojo.  At mile 12 the worst thing happened.  As I was turning a corner a volunteer yelled, "Only one more hill to go!"  My mind yelled back, "WHAT?!?!"  I was pretty sure that with the numb feeling in my leg and the humidity rising rapidly that there was no way I could finish at the pace I was going.  I gave in and had to do the run/walk alternating pattern for the next mile.  I would rather finish healthy then to hurt myself for a PR.

As I ran in town towards the finish line, my Nike+GPS told me I had hit the 13.1 mile marker.  I looked around and couldn't find it anywhere!  Oh man, either my calibration was off or their's was.  I'm going to say it was theirs because my GPS matched all the other mile markers and Erik's Garmin and Nike +GPS also finished with the same mileage as mine :(  As I approached the real finish line, I could see and hear Bart congratulating runners.  I gave the camera my best double peace sign and willed my legs to carry me to the end. 

Who would have guessed what happened next?  By looking at the picture above you wouldn't be able to guess I was totally exhausted and fatigued, right?  Well, I crossed the finish line and grabbed my water.  As I started going towards the girl handing out medals my stomach started to act up.  The poor girl kept trying to put the medal around my neck but I finally took it from her hand and walked as fast as I could towards the side of the road.  That's when the humidity took it's toll...I began vomiting all over.  Ughhh!  How embarrassing.  A guy runner came over to me and asked if I need the aid car.  I said no.  Then he asked if he could help.  I said, "Can you open my water please?"  I washed myself off with the water, thanked him and headed towards the crowd to find Erik. 

Andrea finished about 9 minutes after me for a new PR!  Erik (in his first 1/2 since injury) didn't get a PR but finished with an amazing 2:02:01.  As for me, here are my stats: 

Chip Time: 2:08:32
Age Place: 37/142
Overall Place: 516/1418
Sex Place Overall: 201/912
So that means according to the chip time I missed my PR by 32 seconds. On the plus side: mine and my husband's GPS's showed that the mileage was off by .16 miles...I guess I will secretly count it as a PR =D

Here are my splits per mile as well:

1        9:44               9'44"/mi

The best part after a half marathon, the beer garden!