30 October 2011

Race for a Soldier Half Marathon Recap

I didn't get my race bib until about 5 minutes before the race started- I was a bit stressed!!
I admit, I have been putting this post off!  I think I got a bit burned out on race recaps :)  So here goes, my 4th half marathon in 5 weekends as a brief recap!

I walked into work around 4pm on Thursday October 13th and one of my regular customers stopped me and asked if I was still planning to volunteer at the Race for a Soldier on Sunday October 16th.  I told him no, that I had received an email that said they already filled all the volunteer spots- so he asked me if I would like to run it instead.  For free!  His girlfriend was registered but had not trained for it properly so would not be using her bib.  I told him I needed to think about it, and I would let him know by the next morning.

You are all thinking "what the heck are you thinking about Ms Half Fanatic?" right?  Well, I had resumed my intense training that week and there was absolutely no way to taper- plus I was playing soccer Friday night!  I had done yoga and spin on Monday, track repeats on Tuesday (7 miles), spin on Wednesday and a tempo run on Thursday (8 miles)!!  Yikes!  Also- I would have to go to WORK after the race was over- at 2pm.  However, after about an hour I realized OF COURSE I would take the opportunity to run.  I would rest on Saturday and keep my pace in my training zone so I wouldn't overdo it.  I was scheduled for 10 miles anyways!

Don't I look thrilled to be waiting in line for the port o potties? 
That lady behind me had no clue what personal space was!  She looks happy
about something though...Oh, and it was NOT that dark outside!
The race began at 8am on Sunday October 16th in Gig Harbor.  This race was set up for a fantastic cause, I won't get into huge detail here but here is the link if you are interested:


I was happy to be a part of this race, that is why I signed up to volunteer originally.  I love races that bring communities together to make a difference in people's lives.  Anyways, now that you have the background- here is the quick recap!

10 minutes before race- and still no bib.  Waiting for Reid to find us!
It was pretty cold out that morning, but no rain!  I guess I fooled the weather gods by only deciding to run 3 days in advance!  I wanted to be patriotic for the race so I knew I would be wearing my star arm sleeves and blue shirt, but couldn't decide on the bottom half.  I ended up selecting my black skirtsports skirt over my Nike combat tights, a combination I had not yet run in but I didn't think there would be a problem (I layer skirts over tights often).  WRONG!!!  The two fabrics did not get along and my skirt slid down the entire race.  I was tempted to just stop and take the tights off but that would have been complicated.  Anyways, lesson learned- never assume an outfit is good for running a half marathon in!!

This was no joke the hilliest half marathon I have ever run.  I felt like I was on a roller coaster for the majority of the race and it honestly never felt flat.  Huge uphills, huge downhills, small and steep, windy and long- you name it and we ran it that day!  We did get to run through an absolutely beautiful housing development with mansion after mansion in it.  I spent quite some time trying to decide which house I would like to buy someday!  The community support and volunteers for this race were the BEST I have ever seen.  They were amazing, cheering us on and encouraging us the whole way.  I loved that part, high fiving little kids and seeing tons of handmade signs made the hills a little more bearable. 

Less than 1/2 mile to go- super focused on passing that guy in the red shorts! 
Did not see Will at all.
Rounding the final corner.  I passed those guys too!
My training plan said to keep my pace around 9:42, so I did my best to keep it close.  Here is the mile breakdown (its been too long for me to remember a lot, bummer!):

Mile 1- 9:24
Mile 2- 9:25
Mile 3- 9:46
Mile 4- 9:24
Mile 5- 10:07 (entirely uphill.  for over a mile.)
Mile 6- 9:50 (still going uphill)
Mile 7- 9:38
Mile 8- 10:07 (couple of short, steep ones here)
Mile 9-  9:27
Mile 10- 9:53
Mile 11- 9:56 (a big downhill, followed by big uphill)
Mile 12- 9:36
Mile 13- 8:25 (I ran this mile for the soldiers.  I was tired but pushed it anyways.  I was focused.)
Mile .1-  7:49  (speed- I am speed LOL)

My finish photo- love what you do, do what you love. 
That smile says it all!
Official chip time -2:05:56
Overall place- 446/936
Female place -178/517
Female age group- 23/76
Pace- 9:37 (pretty close to my target pace of 9:42!)

Our medal
Remember my buddy Jason from Ragnar?  He ran as well!
We didn't get to hang around the finish line area for too long but it looked like a fun party!  We said hi to a few friends we ran into and headed home so I could rest a bit before work.  In case you were wondering, working 4 hours after finishing a half marathon is not a great way to recover, especially when you stand up the entire time you work!

What?  I was hungry!
Me and my adoring fans.  Ok fine, my daughter and two of her friends.  They came straight from a
sleepover party to cheer me on!
But in the end I am glad I ran, it was a well organized and fun race with beautiful scenery and a wonderful cause as well.  No more races for me though- until Vegas!!!!

15 October 2011

North County Wine Run Half Marathon Recap

Ready for my 3rd half marathon in 13 days!
When Will decided he wanted to run his first half marathon this fall I handed him the huge "wish list" of races I wanted to do and let him choose the one he liked best.  He selected the North County Wine Run down in Battleground, WA (near Vancouver, WA) on October 1st.  It looked like a beautiful course and we both enjoy wine so it seemed like the perfect choice to me!
The Rusty Grape Vineyard
We headed down the freeway the day before the race and arrived at our hotel room in the early afternoon.  We had prepaid for a dinner at the Heisen House Vineyard at 6pm where we could also pick up our packet and listen to some live jazz music.  I had some lasagna and Will had the pesto pasta and we each enjoyed a glass of merlot while relaxing at the vineyard.  After a little while we headed back to our hotel to get all of our "stuff" prepared for the morning.  One nice thing about this race was that it started at 10am- much later than most races so we could get a little bit more sleep!
Relaxing with some wine.  The band is playing in the background.
Will enjoying his glass of wine.  The Heisen House vineyard was really nice.
I had been watching the weather report and it was supposed to start raining by 7am of course!  I had been spoiled the last two races by being home so I could make last minute outfit adjustments if necessary- this time I just had what I brought.  I had intentionally left my tall socks home because I was going to wear my arm sleeves and I didn't want to be too warm.  We pinned on our race bibs, put the timing chips on our shoes and went to bed around 10:30 or 11pm. 
This was the first time I had alcohol the night before a race.  Yes, it was just a glass of
wine- but I am a light weight!
Our alarm went off around 7am and we headed down to the hotel breakfast.  Normally I don't get too adventurous with my food before a race, but I am getting really tired of Cliff Bars and the PB&J sandwiches I typically eat so I thought I would at least check out the options.  I had a small cup of coffee, a small glass of orange juice and a bagel with peanut butter and jelly.  Not too shabby for a hotel breakfast- they had waffles, yogurt, donuts, cereal and a few other things but I am not brave enough to eat those things just yet.  Stick with what you know right?

We headed back to the room and got ourselves ready and packed up since we would need to check out of the hotel before leaving for the race.  Since we didn't really know the area very well we gave ourselves plenty of time and left our room at 8am.  We had to park at a school and then shuttle down to the starting area at the Rusty Grape Vineyard.  Well, there was barely any traffic and we only had to wait a few minutes for the shuttle so we ended up at the starting line really early- better than a little late though right?
Killing time before the race
There were a lot of booths and vendors at the vineyard which was nice.  The running skirts booth had their new fall colors in so I got to see them in person- still can't make up my mind which pattern I like best though!  They were playing music and we had a chance to wander around the vineyard and take a few pictures.  It was rather chilly but the rain was holding off so that was awesome!  We waited until the last minute to check our belongings (including my warm jacket!) and get in line for one last pit stop before the race.  Will didn't seem too nervous for his first ever half marathon, and I was feeling pretty good too- more excited than nervous I think.

Soon enough we were all herded down to the start line, the national anthem was sung and the countdown started.  And just like that we were off running down the road!  We were being passed a lot in the first mile and I had to just tell myself that it didn't matter- I was running this race with Will and to just calm down and help him settle into a good pace.  I didn't want to end up pushing him too fast early on and make his first half marathon a miserable experience! 

Mile 1- 10:28 ~gradual uphill, trying to warmup still
Mile 2- 9:31 ~getting into a good stride, slightly downhill
Mile 3- 10:02 ~first water stop
Mile 4- 9:30 ~this mile was mostly downhill (yay!)

The scenery was really nice, mostly just along some country back roads.  It was nice to see the community support- there were people standing at the end of their driveways cheering us on and little kids giving us high fives.  Around mile 5 we arrived at the Heisen House Vineyard where their was a water stop and we were able to run through the barn which was neat.  Will was doing a great job, his energy was up still and we were running at a good pace.  I had estimated him around a 10:30 pace but we were definitely faster than that!

Mile 5- 10:15 ~was really wishing for a water station here, took my gel
Mile 6- 10:52 ~through the vineyard (grass, a barn, a water stop) which slowed us a bit
Mile 7- 10:32 ~I happily tell Will we are halfway.  I love halfway!
Mile 8- 9:56 ~I realize Will probably needs his shot blocks for energy, I can tell he is slowing down

There were sections along the road where the shoulder was small or non existent so we had to run single file- but mostly we were able to run side by side.  It is nice to have somebody to run with during a race, that's for sure!  We reached the third winery Olequa Cellars around mile 8 or so and there was another water stop.  I made sure Will was taking in his energy chews so he didn't lose his momentum and we were off again.  I told him we would probably finish around 2:15 and that seemed to make him happy- and maybe a bit determined to beat that.  I knew there were some hills ahead of us, but wasn't sure how big they were.  I thought I had remembered the last 2 miles being little or no elevation gain so I told him once we hit mile 11 it was smooth sailing.  I lied- not on purpose though!

Mile 9- 10:38 ~another water stop, and through the other vineyard
Mile 10- 10:00 ~Will's energy is improved, a little bit hilly here
Mile 11- 10:40 ~I am remembering how hard the last 2 miles of MY first half were

We turned a corner and up ahead we saw it at the same time- Mt. Everest at mile 11.5!  I kept my thoughts quiet, feeling bad for giving false hope about there not being any more hills and thinking "holy crap- that is HUGE!".  Will looked at me and said "WHAT IS THAT, I thought you said no more hills!!!"  I told him it was our Everest- and up, up, up we went.  We conquered that hill, but man- what a race killer!  121 feet of elevation gain in .22 miles- pretty much just straight up for a quarter mile.  After we recovered from that it was smooth sailing though- pretty much a slight downhill to the finish line.  With one mile to go Will said to pick up the pace and get it done, so that is what we did!  Finish time 2:12:37!

Mile 12- 10:47 ~hello Mt Everest!
Mile 13- 9:30 ~way to finish strong Will, excellent job!

DONE! finished with his first half marathon!
DONE!  finished with my 7th half marathon!  I think that lady
behind me is jealous of my arm sleeves.
We walked around a bit and grabbed some snacks.  Will made me laugh when he said "if you asked me to do this again next weekend I would say NO!"  We each got a 15 minute massage which felt really good- especially after my 3rd half marathon in 13 days!  I really enjoyed this race, it was well organized and great scenery.  The volunteers were great and the community seemed really supportive.  I would recommend this race to anyone.  It was the perfect 1st half marathon, the perfect 7th half marathon and the perfect 3rd half marathon in 13 days!
Relaxing after the race!
Oh, and it took a few days but Will is ready to run Rock and Roll Las Vegas with me in December!
I love this photo- sprinting to the finish line.  The difference between running your
first half marathon and your seventh!  My hubby was giving it his all, that is for sure! 
Congrats babe- you did it!

03 October 2011

Proof I am Crazy...errr...Fanatical!

Don't you love when they add your name to the race bib?
Well, I did it- I ran 3 half marathons in 13 days to qualify for Half Fanatic status!  I will do a recap of the North County Wine Run Half Marathon soon, but for now here are a few pictures of my husband and I goofing around at the winery the night before the race.
Take #1-Will decides to be a goof

Take #2- Who knew I could open my eyes so wide?  Must have been that glass of Merlot...
Take #3- Excited for our race in the morning!  Will's first half marathon ever, my 7th!