31 May 2013

Tacoma City Marathon

Love the shirt and LOVE the personalized bib!!
As the days leading up to the marathon on May 5th kept getting warmer and nicer I was starting to get a little worried- and irritated.  Seems each time I run a marathon we have unseasonably warm weather!  Not much I could do about it though so I just hydrated all week long and made a few tweaks to my race day outfit and was thankful that the race started at 7am (last time it was 9!). 

Our race course.  I live less than a mile from several points on this course!
I decided less was best and really wanted to just wear my shorts under my sparkle skirt but there were not enough pockets to hold all 6 gels so I had to go with my skirtsports skirt with its wonderfully large side pockets.  Dear companies that create clothing for runners- give us pockets!!!  Please and thank you.  Big pockets.  And pockets that ZIP (ahem, Nike that is for you- seriously a running jacket with pockets that don't close?!?).  Anyways...back to the marathon story.  Clothing choices- tank top, skort, sparkle skirt, short socks, hat and shoes.  I carried 6 gels and wore my garmin.  The end- no music, no water and no phone.  I hate fiddling with things lately and wanted to simply run and be as cool as possible.  I had a few moments where I regretted not carrying water, but overall I survived and was glad to not carry a handheld or have something strapped around my waist all morning.

Ready for 26.2!
I woke up around 4:30am which is not far off of my normal 4:45am wake up time for Sunday mornings to get to work so not a huge deal.  I laid in bed and ate a cliff bar and a banana while waking up and then hopped out of bed to get ready.  The plan was to be out the door by 6 at the latest and Will dropped me off at the starting area and took off.  That was weird for me- I had no phone and nobody with me so I headed over to check out the potty line situation and decided I better just get in line- it was sooooo long!!!  Christy got in line right behind me so we chatted the entire time and saw Zach and Steve also.  We finally used the bathroom literally 5 minutes before the race started so we went right over to get ready to run and before we knew it we were off and running!  I barely had time to get nervous I was so distracted waiting in line and talking so that was nice.

I knew I wanted to keep my pace average as close to 10:30 as possible, and I also knew that I was going to struggle as the temperature went up.  I ended up running with Christy for the first 2 miles and then at the water stop just before the bridge I took a bit longer than she did and I let her fade away- she was wanting a much faster time than me and I did not want to hold her back!  Over the bridge I felt strong- I smiled and waved at the photographer and really just tried to absorb the runner energy around me and enjoy my familiar surroundings.  If you have ever run over the Narrows Bridge you know what comes next- nearly 2 miles of uphill running! 

Photo credit: On the Run Events
Smiling on the Narrows Bridge!  Love this photo and
if I had an extra $70 I would buy it.
Mile 1- 10:27
Mile 2- 9:50
Mile 3- 10:16
Mile 4- 10:31
Mile 5- 11:53 (took a gel, water stop plus HILL)
Mile 6- 10:12

Christy and I running through Proctor by Fleet Feet! 
Look at my form- I have been working on that!
Running to Subway!
I tried to keep a nice easy pace since I knew exactly how far I had to go before leveling off again -one of the good things about knowing the course so well I suppose.  I caught back up to Christy just in front of the University of Puget Sound and we ran together again for many miles.  I told her to go on without me if she felt like it but she was ok with my pace and I welcomed the distraction.  We saw and passed Endorphin Dude just before entering the Proctor district and I waved to a few friends and saw my hubby as well.  He took some photos and asked if I needed anything but I was feeling good- this was mile 10 or so.  A few other friends were waiting down the road a bit and I gave them high fives and then we passed one of the local police officers that I know as a customer so I said hi to him as well.  Fun to see people you know while running!  At the halfway point I stopped at the water station and somebody yelled "Hi Tiffany!" and it was another customer of mine volunteering.

Photo credit:  Brian Jennings
Hello Brian, Megan, Maddie and Rydar thanks for the support!
Photo credit:  Brian Jennings
Oh HEY!!  Happy runners still!
Mile 7- 10:46
Mile 8- 10:20
Mile 9- 11:27 (gel, water stop)
Mile 10- 10:38
Mile 11- 10:02
Mile 12- 11:02 (hill- walked a bit)

At that point Christy again headed off and I walked for a minute or two drinking 2 cups of water to chase down my gel I had taken.  I was fueling every 4 miles just like I did in training and my energy level felt good.  My half marathon time was 2:22- I was still hoping to make my 'B' goal of 4:45 at that point but I knew that I had to keep very consistent.  Soon we entered the 5 mile drive loop at Point Defiance which was great because we were shaded from the sun and heat- but terrible because it is so hilly!  I literally could barely WALK up the steepest hill in the world just to get into the park!  I am not even joking, it was straight uphill and everyone was walking it.  At this point I was leap frogging a few other runners and we were in this run/walk/run pattern just trying to keep going.  Just before leaving the park I saw a girl off in the bushes getting sick.  Poor girl.

Leaving 5 mile drive- heading into the inferno aka the waterfront
Mile 13- 11:45 (water stop, gel)
Mile 14- 11:47 (I think this was the giant hill I walked up)
Mile 15- 11:41 (5 mile drive hills)
Mile 16- 11:03
Mile 17- 12:16 (water stop, gel)
Mile 18- 11:13

Chapstick, glorious chapstick!
Mile 18 we left the park and there was my hubby again with my bag of goodies I packed in case I needed anything.  I needed chapstick like nobody's business and had been dreaming about it for a few miles so I slathered that on and headed towards the inferno  waterfront.  I admit at this point I was feeling a bit defeated by the weather and my performance.  I was walking more than running and needed a kick in the butt to get moving.  Zach's wife Anne was on the side of the road and asked if I needed water or some of her iced coffee- I must have looked like hell lol!  I thanked her but said no -walking just felt way too good and then off I went.  We did a small out and back and then I heard from the other side (behind me at this point) Steve yell over to me!  I asked how in the heck I had passed him and apparently he had made a pit stop and I passed him.  Ok, well that meant I wasn't in too horrible of shape, if everyone was still pretty close by so I got my second wind if you can even call it that and I set off with a goal of not letting the 5 hour pacer pass me.

Oh the flat waterfront.  The flat, flat, hot, hot, never ending waterfront.  I was so thirsty I could barely stand it and up ahead I could see a water table.  But nobody was handing out water cups, it was a refill station for those with handhelds!  I was very tempted to just put my head under it but decided I could last until the next station.  I really think I was a bit delirious here- I remember very little except taking my gel around mile 20 and scanning the road for the sight of a water stop!

Finally just after mile 21 there was water so I stood and drank 2 cups like I hadn't had water in days then tried to get myself running again.  My body didn't hurt anywhere really but I just was really hot and I kept getting slightly dizzy if I ran too fast.  For some reason as I was plodding along I kept chanting the lyrics "anything you can do, I can do better.  I can do anything better than you" over and over.  The gel I took at mile 20 wore off quickly and by mile 22 I was feeling like I needed another one already.  Good thing I had thought to grab an extra one from an aid station just in case I needed it.  However it was a powerbar gel in vanilla and it was the nastiest thing ever.  It was super thin in consistency and of course it was hot from being in my pocket so it got all over my hands and when I tasted it it was almost sour.  Yuck, yuck, yuck but I took it anyways knowing I needed the energy. 

The fuel I brought with me, I ended up needing one more though
Mile 19- 12:27 (get chapstick from Will, need a kick in the butt)
Mile 20- 10:56 (a little mojo returns!)
Mile 21- 12:34 (water- finally water!!)
Mile 22- 13:41 (seriously contemplating a shortcut to the finish line, energy gone)
Mile 23- 12:16
Mile 24- 11:37

I was running, walking, running along and then all of a sudden towards the end of mile 24 the 5 hour pacer caught up to me and passed me.  "Oh hell no" I said to myself and kept right on her heels for about half a mile then I took my last gel, got some water to chase it down and had some lovely little kids pour some over my head.  I had my last mile to run and I immediately passed the 5 hour pacer (they cheered for me- thank you!) and did my best to run a final fastish mile hoping to not see the pacer again!  I saw my mom up ahead and that gave me a little bit of a kick to finish nice and strong, rounded the corner and crossed the line.  Done.  The first words out of my mouth were "can I stop running now?!?" and I was so happy to see my hubby, kiddos and mom! 

Mile 25- 12:54 (5 hour pace caught up to me.  Gee, wonder why?)
Mile 26- 11:08 (take that 5 hour pacer!!  Felt faster than that.  Must have been delirious)
Mile .24- 2:16 for a pace of 9:25 (BAM -take that finish line!)

Best moment EVER!!
"Can I stop running now?"
Oh wait, people are taking pictures, must be cheesy!
I felt pretty good at the end- the last marathon I felt much worse that is for sure.  I never reached the point where running was painful which makes me believe the weather really did slow me down and I would have had a better time if it wasn't nearly 80 degrees out.  I downed a bottle of water, took one bite of pizza which did not taste good to me at all, ate a banana and an orange to get some control over my suddenly plummeting blood sugar and walked around for a few minutes chatting with some friends.  Then we headed home and I showered, put on my comfy clothes and compression calf sleeves and laid down on the couch for a while.  Overall I am proud of myself- I finished the race even though my mind wanted to stop many, many times and I met my "C" goal- under 5 hours.  Marathon number 2- check! 

Post marathon glow.  Ok, maybe that is
dried sweat.  Whatever.
Finally vertical
Final results: 
Time- 4:57:07  
Overall place- 583/888
Female place- 254/426
Age group place- 47/68
Fun fact- this is exactly 44 SECONDS slower than my last marathon.  At least I am consistent!
The bling!  I got the special edition for sporting my half fanatic gear!

26 March 2013

St. Paddy Run Tacoma Recap

I will start this off by saying training for a marathon is time consuming.  I have had to eliminate a few things from my life in the last two months and blogging and reading for fun have taken the hardest hits.  Although I have plenty of time to play Candy Crush it seems.  Anyways- I have been diligently training for my marathon coming up on May 5th, and last Friday I actually popped over 300 miles of running for the year.  I will be trying to get a blog or two up about some of my actual training, but for now I wanted to let you know how my half marathon went!

Our tech shirts- each year they add a character to the shirt design
I did manage to fit a race into this training cycle- last weekend on March 16th I ran the St Paddy Day Half Marathon in Tacoma.  I registered way back on opening day using a volunteer credit I earned so basically this race was free for me.  I also registered Will for it as one of his Christmas presents- (haha, Merry Christmas...now go run!) and many local friends were running it as well.  This was my first race ever as a new runner in 2010 and I have run the 5K the last three years.  This was the first year they added the half marathon to the line up.

Devan made me this little collage. 
I tattoo'd myself up for the race!
Race morning Alyssa arrived at our house around 7am since her boyfriend Paul offered to watch the kids for us since we were suddenly without a babysitter Friday afternoon.  Very brave (and awesome) of him.  He stayed at the house and the three of us headed down to the start line about 10 minutes away.  I had 3 race packets to deliver and I like to be a bit early so we can get organized.  Parking was easy, I found Zoe quickly and gave her 2 of the packets and chatted for a few minutes.  Then we set off to find Steve which wasn't too difficult since he is so tall.  Found lots of friends, took a quick stop in the honey bucket, decided to check my stuff in at the coat check area and then stood there in the cold waiting for the race to start.  Will and Alyssa went to put their stuff in the car then Will handed me the keys to hold- I really didn't have a ton of pockets so I dashed to the coat check and by the time I got back the racers were all lined up and I could not find my friends -they had disappeared into the crowd.  Dang it- I was bummed I didn't get to tell Will good luck!

My little good luck charm I have worn the last 3 year's to the race. 
It is for my missing runner buddy Cynthia who loves butterflies.
I lined up just behind the 2:10 pacer, my ultimate goal was to finish under 2:10 so I figured that would be a good place to start.  The first mile is pretty fast since it is a downhill slope- after about 5 minutes I caught a glimpse of Alyssa's sparkle skirt ahead of me so I sped up to catch her.  We ran together the rest of the race, so I am glad I found her so quickly!  I passed the 2:10 pacer to catch Alyssa and we never saw him again the rest of the race.  There was a turn around with an out-and-back after mile 1 so I did see Will also and give him a high five as we passed which made me feel better.  The miles just ticked by pretty quickly after that.  My foot started falling asleep so I stopped quickly at the first water stop to loosen my laces on my left foot which helped.  I took a gel around mile 6, just before heading up the huge hill towards Pearl Street at the end of Ruston Way. 

Mile 1~ 9:15- downhill, found Alyssa, warming up
Mile 2~ 9:17- uphill, found Will and gave a high five
Mile 3~ 9:30- getting into the groove, my foot is falling asleep
Mile 4~ 9:53- over the overpass, quick water stop and loosen my laces
Mile 5~ 9:24- flat waterfront, foot comes back to life
Mile 6~ 9:33- take energy gel, water stop, rain starts, dreading the big hill
Mile 7~ 10:20- the big hill, rain stops

It also started raining about that time- it rained for about 3 minutes and it kind of felt good since I was warm.  The weather was pretty awesome overall- the temperature was mild, there was a bit of wind and the rain held off except for those couple of minutes!  Back to the hill.  We jogged/walked/jogged up that thing then headed off into the hilly neighborhood in Ruston.  I was thinking "it must be flat now" before every turn- only to face another hill.  Ugh.  Finally we were heading back down the massive hill onto the waterfront.  The lovely flat waterfront.  I took one more gel, one last cup of water and was ready to finish this race!  Over the overpass, then up Schuster Parkway, knowing the final mile is all uphill was mentally tough.  I caught sight of Steve after the overpass and in my mind I was hoping to pass him- it gave me a focus and something to think about besides being tired.  Finally, in the last half mile as we were running up the hill we passed him!  A quick moment of walking to catch our breath near the top of the hill and then we headed into the finish line.  That hill is pure evil. 

Mile 8~ 10:01- more hills with each turn, head back down big hill, water stop
Mile 9~ 9:31- aaaahhhh- the flat waterfront again
Mile 10~ 9:31- water stop, take a gel
Mile 11~ 9:47- over the overpass again, catch sight of Steve
Mile 12~ 9:51- just running to catch Steve and finish the race, tired legs
Mile 13~ 10:09- the UPHILL finish, pass Steve, then cross the line.  Done!

Just after finishing, still a little dazed!
I think this is my favorite medal ever.  It even
stands up on its own so you can display it!  Genius!
We grabbed our amazing finisher medal's and some water then chatted with Steve for a few minutes.  He races nearly every single weekend and recently earned his marathon maniac status.  We met last year when he ran Ragnar with us and I have seen him at a couple of races since then (Defiance 30K and Seattle Half).  We found Paul who had brought the kids down to the race for us so I could relieve him of his child watching duties.  Then we waited for Will to finish- I figured he would be in around 2:30 and sure enough- right at 2:29 he came up the hill for his big finish.  I was glad we could get a few pictures of him because literally 30 seconds before he finished a gust of wind knocked over several things including the photographer's stuff.  No finish photo for him!  Interestingly enough, this happened at the High Speed Pursuit race in Boise last year- the timing equipment was blown over just before he finished. 

Will coming up to the finish after that monster hill!
So proud of this guy- he just finished his 4th half marathon!
Overall, this was a fun race and I would do it again for sure.  It is hilly but hello- it is Tacoma.  Can't avoid hills around here!  I wasn't sure what to expect for my finish time- I have been intentionally running at a slower pace for marathon training.  I am pretty happy with my 2:06:05 finish time!  That is an average pace of 9:37 which is about a full minute faster per mile than I have been training at for my long runs.  Thanks Tacoma City Marathon Association for another fantastic race!     

25 January 2013

Warm Enough, But Not Too Hot

I have been meaning to sit and write out a blog for over a month now, and since I am procrastinating on heading out for my 13 mile training run I figure now is a great time to catch back up!  I finished out 2012 with 850 miles of running which I was pretty happy with considering I never set a specific goal.  I am now onto my 4th year as a runner and I am finding it harder and harder to remember a time in my life where I DIDN'T run several times each week.  It is just something I do now without really thinking about it. 

I was out on my long run last weekend and I got to thinking about how normal it is for me to go on a long run every weekend- and then I thought about how most people think that is far from normal.  How running 10 or more miles on a Saturday morning in 27 degree temperatures is actually weird to some people.  But it has been part of my week for several years now and it seems perfectly normal to me as I sit and ponder how many layers I need to be 'warm enough, but not too hot' as I head out the door.  

So what are my grand plans moving forward into 2013?  Well, currently I am signed up for the St. Paddy's Day  half marathon in Tacoma on March 16th.  Last year I placed 4th in my age group in the 5K after training really hard using the Run Less, Run Faster training guide.  It also was freezing cold and slightly snowing on race day- hope that doesn't happen again!  I love this race because the start line is about 10 minutes from my house and it has a fun holiday theme.  Will and Alyssa are signed up to run the half with me and I know there are a few other friends signed up as well for the other distances.  Are you signed up?  Tell me, tell me!  Thinking about running your first 5K?  This is a great one, in fact it was my first race EVER way back in 2010. 

Jaime, me and Cynthia
St Paddy Day 5K run 2010- our first race ever! 
And there was sunshine- hoping for that again this year!
I may have also decided to attempt the M word again.  Yes, it is true I signed up for the Tacoma City Marathon on May 5th.  AAAAHHHHH!!!  It will be nearly 2 years between marathons for me.  I think I am ready.  Well, not yet- but on May 5th I had better be ready!  I decided to use the Finish It plan from the book Train Like a Mother.  You can buy your own copy HERE from Amazon or check out some information from Sarah and Dimity HERE at Another Mother Runner.  I just love these two ladies, I have met them a couple of times and they are just amazing.  I listen to their podcast when I run on the treadmill and I own both of their books, I follow them on twitter and on facebook- they just make me laugh and offer tons of encouragement and advice to their fellow mother runners.  Ok, enough about my complete obsession with Sarah and Dimity...moving on...

The book I am using for my training plan
The training plan I am following is 20 weeks long.  I didn't realize that until I did the math but I was a couple of weeks behind so I jumped in at week 3 of the training plan and am currently finishing up week 6.  It has been going really well so far, it took me a couple of weeks to really build up my training base again since I really slacked off the last couple of months.  But I am going to hit a 100 mile month for January and I feel great!  I am hoping to blog 2-3 times a week so that I can look back on my marathon training and see what I did and how my training was.  Anyone else out there training for a marathon?  Which one?  I decided on a local one this time because it is so much easier (and cheaper) in many ways.  I just hope that on race day I am not bored running the same roads that I trained on.  I will find out soon enough!

This is what my workout plan looks like. 
I am about to head out the door for the 13 mile long run in week 6. 
I will do a training update on Monday- I better hit the pavement before I lose my motivation.  The good news is that it is 42 degrees out and not raining- but that could change any second.  So I need to go figure out my layers with the ultimate goal of being warm enough, but not too hot.  Happy running!