Races

Churchill’s Half Marathon recap 2015

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Without further ado, let’s get on to the topic of the day – Churchill’s half marathon race recap!!  If you’ve been following my blog, I have mentioned that I was running this race with my friend Jamie, who just started running in February and was making this her first half marathon.  I figured I would end my year on a good note after my PR in Columbus last month and give my body some rest.

kid sign

Best sign ever!!

Churchill’s half marathon is a local race which has a long history.  This year was the 48th year and it’s one of the oldest half marathons in the country!  It used to be a Spring race, and two years ago they switched it to Fall, so one year we got to run it as the 46th, and 46.5th year (both Spring and Fall).  It is named after a local runner, who ran the Boston marathon 22 years in a row – Walt Churchill.  Walt doesn’t actually run any more, but he is at the finish line every year handing out medals.  That’s very cool in my book.  He’s also one of the founders of our local running club, Toledo Road Runners.

The race has had several difference course configurations over the years, and this year was the 3rd year for it’s point to point course layout.  That’s pretty unique in terms of race courses too, at least around here.  The super cool thing about this race is it starts at a high school, which very kindly opens up the building for the runners to wait in.  We’re talking a warm building with a plentiful of indoor toilets!!  Race morning doesn’t get much better than that folks.

race start

The morning was a bit chilly to start with, around 35 degrees, but really it was ideal for racing.  In years past Churchill’s always seems to happen on a windy day.  The kind where wind hits you from every direction.  But this year, no wind!!!  Hooray!  They even had pace groups in this race so we decided to position ourselves between the 2:05 and 2:10 pacers.  2:10 was Jamie’s ultimate goal for this race, even though it was her first half marathon, and she especially didn’t want to walk.  I was a little concerned about the walking part of the promise because I had fallen victim to walking quite a bit the last time I ran this course.  It has some hills after mile 10 which are challenging.

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Jamie is in the green. I had to run over to the side so the photographer could get me in the picture!!

We were ahead of our pace for the majority of the course having around a 9:30 pace.  We hit the hills and our pace did slow down a bit, but I knew that would be the case so it was already in the plan.  As we went up each hill I was happy to see Jamie wasn’t complaining, just cruising along.  And for the record, she was a much better “running buddy” than I am to my husband… I complain a lot when the going gets tough!  We made it up the last hill and I gave her a high 5, we were going to make her goals!!

I made a motivational sign for us which was around mile 13.  Hooray for us!!

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If this doesn’t motivate you, I don’t know what will!

We finished with a time of 2:08:42.  Nice!!!!!  I had to laugh at the end when she pulled a “Sydney” on me and sprinted ahead of me at the finish line!  Dude, what is up with that??  haha  Good for her. And that sprint was pretty darn quick too – it totally caught me off guard and I couldn’t keep up with her.  (luckily we ended with the same finish time… or else I would never let her forget that!! LOL!)

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Dang girl, I was not ready for that!!!!

After the finish, we met up with Alan who had a blistering fast time of 1:28.  21st out of 940 runners. Mere seconds away from his PR.  It was a great race day indeed!  The funny thing was that Alan and I got flu shots the day before the race and he wasn’t feeling good after the shot.  He was even considering not running because he was feeling a little off!  (note to self, don’t get flu shots before any major event!)

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We celebrated with a beer… or two.  The finish area had a heated beer tent complete with a band.  It was fun seeing all of our friends there.

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I had a good time running this race as a pacer for my friend.  It gave me some renewed energy in running races by taking away the stress of always worrying about a better time with each race.  It was fun to just soak in the surroundings, listen to the other runners, and I even struck up some conversations with a few of them.

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Q: Is there a race you have ran in for several years in a row?

Q: What is the best race sign you’ve seen?

Q: What temperature do you think is best for running?  Do you like the heat or the cold?

Why it’s not safe at work

This week I’ve been working at an office that I don’t typically work at.  And it’s just not safe to be here!  I mean, let’s talk about yesterday.  It was apples, caramel topping, and pies.  Both pumpkin pie and apple pie!  I could not let the day pass without a sampling of the apple pie.

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Today I tried to be good and avoid any temptations.  But new ones appeared!  A cake, donuts, bagels and other things I tried not to look at.

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And these were located way too close to my desk.

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And somehow they ended up here in front of me!

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Those M&Ms are filled with peanut butter.   Those are my favorite.  Yum!!!  Luckily I will be out of that office after this week, so I’ll just try to resist.

One fun event I need to share this week is that we ran a night time 5K.  It was hosted at one of our local metroparks and it was timed with the full moon happening.  But, it was too cloudy to see the moon, so we were in total darkness!  Well, darkness except for our headlamps and glow sticks.  I’ve never run in the complete darkness like that, so that was a lot of fun.  My daughter was my running buddy and she didn’t let me slack.  Official time, 26:40.  Whew!  That even included a stop along the way to investigate what Sydney thought was a cat… but turns out it was a raccoon.  I was just happy we didn’t fall down on the trails!!

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Back at home we are getting all geared up for Halloween.  We tried to encourage our kitten to make new friends, but she was having nothing to do with that idea!!

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Q:  What is your favorite M&M variety?

Q:  Are you good at resisting treats?

I’m not at all!!  That’s why I try not to be around them.

Q:  Have you ever run a race in total darkness?

 

Running friends who are speedier than you!

I forgot to put this picture in my last blog post.  It’s me and some running girlfriends, enjoying a celebration drink and burger after the Columbus marathon.

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They are a great group of people whom I met through my husband’s running connections.  One from our hometown, but the others are friends of each other and live in different parts of the country.  It’s fun because they always get together at some key races – Columbus being one, and Boston being another.

The ages/abilities range from first time half marathoner at 55 yrs old, to 2nd place age group winner (!!!) in the half at 36 yrs old.  Some are seasoned veterans at running ultras, and others are just getting back into running again from some time off.  A running bond among us all though.

One difference though – our speed.  As you probably know, they position the runners in corrals based on estimated finish time, so hopefully everything flows well during the race.  Corral A fastest, corral D slowest.  When we were heading to the corrals at the start of the race on Sunday morning with a group of these friends, we were trying to figure out where we were going.  We saw the signs for the different corrals and some of them headed in different directions.  In helping out our group find it’s way, one of the girls said – “We’re in A.  We need to go this way.  Even Lisa is in A.”  As soon as that comment came out of her mouth I could tell that she realized it sounded condescending.  Then she corrected and said “We’re all in corral A.”

Now I know she didn’t purposely mean to say that I’m clearly the slowest runner out of that group… which I was.  And that wasn’t meant as an insult (which it really kinda was!).  And hopefully it wasn’t meant to be “hey, even pokey Lisa is in A!” (which it did sound like!!)  But it does show the difference in the group that I hang with.  The group has some pretty talented runners, who run paces I can only dream of running some day.  It is what it is.  I’m good with what I’ve got, and where I’m going.

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I don’t post that to brag, but heck, look at that – I got 15th place out of 545 runners in my age group!  Sure, it’s not 2nd place like my friend, but it’s leaps and bound from where I was in my age group at my first half marathon in Columbus – 105 out of 552 runners!

So here’s to getting out there and doing your best, no matter what your pace.  Even if you are the back of the pack at the race, or your friends 🙂  Kudos to you for getting out there and being awesome!

Had to share my ONLY decent looking race photo.  Too bad I am blurry (maybe I am super speedy after all!).

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And a funny confession from my husband… “When you see my race pictures, you’ll see me with another woman.  The photographer told us to stand together for a picture, so we did!”.

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Hilarious!!!

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Q: Do you make an effort to get any good race pictures?  Does it work??

I really do try.  But, not so much.

Q: Are you one of the speedier runners of your group, middle, or back of the pack?

Sometimes I’m the speedier runner.  I enjoy running with everyone!

Q:  Do you think I should be jealous that my husband got a picture with another girl… or just be envious that she also finished the full in 3:07 and still looks awesome?!!   haha!

Columbus half marathon recap 2015

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Columbus race weekend started out on Saturday with a quick zip through the expo to pick up our bibs.  I did protest the speed at which we were cruising through there and I made Alan get a picture at the “finish line” with me.

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At bib pickup, I was super excited that my name was on the box for the bibs!  The volunteer was amazed that I knew my bib was the last in the box.  I felt it only fair to tell him that we weren’t psychic, just highly observant.

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After the expo we met friends at Bravo for our pre-race pasta dinner.  My lasagna was huge, and I ate a ton of bread.  Carb loading done, check!

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After falling asleep at 10pm at our hotel, the 4:45 am wakeup alarm was actually tolerable!  I didn’t feel tired, but excited about the upcoming race.  We were on the road at 5:45 am to our downtown parking spot and didn’t run into any traffic.  Note to self, do this again next year!!  We were even the first people at our prerace meeting spot at the YMCA, which was open to all runners.  A nice warm place to meet up, complete with clean, flushing toilets!!  I dressed for the weather – which as 29 degrees at the start.  Brrr!  I planned on keeping my arm warmers on for the whole race, so I wore a nice Brooks pair.  We also both had some warm throw away items –  a hat, sweatpants and sweat shirt.

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With that headband I look like I could tell your future!!

After bag check we headed into the corrals.  It was super well organized and I didn’t feel rushed like I have in years past.  Ironically I ended up standing next to a guy who had a Glass City Marathon Ambassador shirt on!  Technically he wasn’t an ambassador, but he had been helping out at the expo for GCM which was why he had the shirt.  He took our picture!

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Would have been a great picture… if that shadow wasn’t in my face!! #shortpeopleproblems

I positioned myself near the 3:35 marathon pace group, but before the 1:50 half pace group.  Soon the AC/DC music cranked (Thunderstruck natch.  Followed by some Springsteen,  Born to Run), and the race started at 7:30 as the fireworks went off.  I only inhaled a little bit of smoke and firework residue!!

Miles 1 – 2, 8:23, 8:13

Columbus isn’t “hilly” but it does have a few long uphills and downhills.  My first two miles were a bit slower than my goal pace for sure.  It was crowded and I wasn’t up to speed quite yet.  So here’s the thing that threw me off a little.  My official pace last year was 8:16, which seemed highly do-able.  However, looking at my Garmin data the race was actually 13.2 miles, which translated into a 8:11 pace. Sure, 5 seconds a mile doesn’t sound like much, but really, it is!  To get a new PR I figured I would just try to keep my paces with 8:0x per mile.  So far, race paces not looking so good!

Miles 3-6 7:57, 8:02, 8:01, 8:02

Yahoo, we’re hitting the downhills now!  Not all downhill, but some downhill and just getting into my race groove now.  Enjoyed seeing these paces on my watch.

Mile 7 –  8:26

This mile had the double whammy of an uphill, and I was taking a GU.  I hate taking GU when I run.  I loose track of my focus (running fast!).

Miles 8, 9, 10 –  8:02, 8:08, 8:07

Back on track again!  I was enjoying this race for the most part and was super pleased these fast miles were comfortably hard for me.  But right about now I was actually thinking it would be good to stop.  For some reason I always want to stop when there’s only 3 miles left!!

Miles 11, 12 – 8:25, 8:25

Uh oh, pace slipping a bit here.  Some uphill to blame, but also taking another GU righ.  Curses!  Not sure if I’m making a PR at this point, but knowing for sure I’m not hitting a super PR of 1:45.

Mile 13… 13.1  7:52, 7:44

Dang – one more mile to go!  Good thing it’s mostly downhill at this point.  Pedal to the medal!!  Now is not really the time to pick up a minute or two, but hey, worth a try!  Flying into the finish (but really, to the spectators, I’m sure it wasn’t flying!!).

Finish:  1:47:50  A new PR!  woohoo!!

After getting my medal and food, and posing for pictures, I went and hit the PR gong.  That’s another good thing about finishing the half early – no lines at the PR gong!  I was 15th place out of 545 runners in my age group.  I’m pretty excited about that accomplishment.

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Here comes Alan (on the left), cruising in from the marathon.

While waiting for Alan to finish, I met up with a friend and we cheered all of the runners in at mile 13 (almost mile 26).  Since you could personalize your bib, we yelled out people’s names as they passed us.  I’d like to think it was encouraging since some of them actually went faster or started running at that point.  Others just gave us wild confused looks and tried to pretend they knew who we were!  Good times!!  Alan came in at 3:07… not quite the sub 3 hr that he was hoping for.  But he had a really good effort until around mile 18 when he had some bad GI issues.  😦  Ugh.  Still, with all of that misery, this was his 2nd fastest marathon, so that’s reason for celebration!

I would say the scariest part of the race was afterwards when I couldn’t find Alan!  I waited for him at the Athlete’s exit, but we missed each other.  We never discussed a meeting plan, and I walked all over the place looking for him.  I was starting to wonder if he was in the medical tent, and I found out he was worrying the same about me!  Turns out he went to the family meeting area and I never thought of that.  Duh.  So happy to finally find him after an hour or so of looking!!

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Yes we did wear our medals to lunch! Hey, you gotta get some use out of them.

We met our friends again post race for burgers and beers.  It was a lot of fun, but maybe the best part was being able to wear my “Boston gear” and fitting in with the rest of the group since they are all Boston veterans.

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Q: How do you pace yourself for a race?  Do you use the pacer on your watch or find a pace group?

I tried to keep the 3:35 pace group in my sight, but eventually I lost them.  Funny how they stay on consistent pace like that….

Q: Do you believe in Race Day Magic?

Oh yes I do!!

Q: Do you ever wear your medal after a race?

I typically take mine to work and let everyone check it out.  If they want to or not.  haha!

TRRC Fall Officers Bash

This week we went to the Fall Officers Bash, which is the Fall event for our local Toledo Roadrunners Club.  The TRRC is a great value for our running family.  They host several free and cheap 5K’s for members, have monthly newsletters, discounts on bigger races, and have a great Fall meeting which is 50% running and 50% social get together!  It’s their monthly meeting, but also a 5K with dinner.   Yep, all of that for only $8 for our whole family to attend!  I like deals 🙂

The 5K was also Sydney’s first opportunity to test out her XC training at a 5K.  She hasn’t raced one since summer I think.  The first time she ran this course it was measured incorrectly and it ended up being 3.62 miles.  Oops.  Kinda funny something like that would happen at a running club’s race!  It wasn’t quite so humorous for my daughter who was only 8 years old at the time.  Her pace was 10:53 a mile.  This year, she had a smoking fast pace of 7:37 a mile, for 23:43!  Glad I wasn’t her running buddy because I would not have been able to keep up with that pace!

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Zachary was my running buddy and he also has run this course before, with around a 28:00 finish time as his previous best time.  This year he finished in 26:03!!  He didn’t even complain once during the race.  I was impressed!  At mile 3 he told he was going to sprint to the finish.  I let him go.  No way I’m sprinting fast and hurting myself before the race on Sunday!  You GO kid!!

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We ended the night with pizza, lasagne, salad, beer (for the adults!) and lots of cookies.

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I was quite surprised when they told us the kids got a fleece jacket for running that night.  Nice!!  They also got tech shirts for winning in their age group, and the adults got socks.  Socks are always a great gift for runners!

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I’m spending the rest of my day getting ready for my trip to Columbus tomorrow for the marathon (it’s the half for me!).  First, a quick trip to the church rummage sale to find some throw away clothes for the race!!  It’s supposed to be a chilly morning we need to layer up.  I got a sweatshirt and a hat.  I’ll be styling 🙂 Hmmm, now that I look at my picture I see some soccer cleats I could have needed too!  And what about those snow boots…  So much stuff, so little time to shop.

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Q: Are you a member of a running club?

Q: Do you ever run with your friends at races or pace anyone?

Q: Best post race food – pizza or lasagne?  Or just beer and cookies?

Q: Are you a thrift store / garage sale/ bargain hunter?

 I just love finding deals.  No better deal than a 50 cent shirt!!

Erie Marathon race recap

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So, I have a secret.  Did you know that running a marathon is not my favorite thing to do?  I know, not the best way to start out a race recap, but it’s something that needs to be known.  I LOVE running.  I do love racing.  And I LOVE half marathons and shorter distances.  But marathons, they’re not really my thing.  I just don’t think it’s a distance that I excel at.  So why do I keep running them?  I often wonder that myself.  Up until last year I ran them as a means to achieve a goal – to run the Boston marathon.  It was never my goal initially.  I just ran one for the heck of it, since I’d seen my husband do it so many times.  But after he thought I might be able to qualify, it became a passion of mine.

After qualifying and running Boston 2015, I thought I’d stop running them.  They are just soooooo exhausting! (I guess that’s why Pheidippides died after his run to Athens. But I digress…)  I love training for them, and having a plan and a daily goal, but without something at the end, a training plan seems a bit pointless, so I signed up for the Erie marathon again.  Erie is quite honestly the perfect race for qualifying for Boston.  It is the flatest race I have ever seen.  It’s mostly shaded and a state park, so you know it’s scenic!

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But when I found out the Erie was not going to qualify for 2 years like it has a few times in the past, I was bummed.  I pretty much thought “what’s the point of running it now?”.  It had a great appeal to me when it could qualify me for 2017, but now, it was kind of missing something.

We got to Erie on Saturday, with just an hour left at packet pickup, and the pre-race pasta dinner that we had signed up for.  It was our 23rd wedding anniversary, so it was our special night, even if it was cold and raining a lot!!

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I got my race outfit ready that night, and per pre-race tradition, we watched “Run, Fatboy, Run“.  That is one movie I will never tire of!  The perfect humor to take off pre-race jitters.

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I actually got some good sleep before the race.  We had to get up at 4:45am, because it was recommended we be at the park at 5:45am.  Sadly the mini fridge in our room was turned down too cold and the milk I brought for my Frosted Mini Wheats was actually an icy slush!  Yes, I like a heaping full bowl of fiber before a big race!  It keeps me full and works for me.  Don’t judge 🙂

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Parking on Presque Isle is a challenge, but the race does a great job of getting every one in efficiently.  Unfortunately the rain caused one of the parking lots to flood so they lost a large number of parking spots.  We sat in a long line of traffic until 6:40 when we finally found a parking spot.  Luckily a lot of people were still finding parking spots and the race was delayed 17 mins, because I was still in the port-a-potty when the race should have started!  But soon enough the gun went off and we were racing!

I have been training for a 3:51 finish, but I typically have a pretty strong fade at the end, so we decided that we’d try for a 3:50 finish, and run an 8:40 pace for as long as I could and that would still give me some cushion for a PR (my finish last year was my PR, 3:53:27 8:54 pace).  I thought that sounded good, and for quite a few miles we had the 3:45 pace group in our sight.

The weather was great – a little windy (not really an issue), and temps in the 50’s!  I don’t think I ever thought it was hot or I was too warm at all during the race.  Immediately as I started the race my car key came loose from being tied tight in my shoelaces and I spent the next 26 miles running with a key flopping and scratching my Achilles occasionally when the other foot got too close!  I was not about to stop and take the time to fix it.

But then it happened.  Around mile 14 I started wishing I was done.  Around mile 16 my pace started to drop.  It was too soon for this crap to be happening!  Around mile 20 my pace was getting pretty bad, around 9:20.  Ouch.  And double ouch, my glutes were now feeling like they were on fire!!  Alan knew I was struggling and kept it positive, but also honest, as he reported when my 3:50 finish was no longer going to happen.  Well, that was OK, I knew that.

Around mile 22 I think Alan told me that I needed to keep it up, and if I did, I would still get a BQ, and probably a PR too!  But I had to work harder.  And I think that was about that time I also informed him that I didn’t even care if I finished in 4 hours, I just wanted to be done.  Haha!  Glad that Alan knows I am just getting down on myself and I really would care.

When it came down to the last two miles, he told me that I really needed to push it or I wasn’t going to get a PR.  I knew it.  I was completely aware of it.  I could see my overall pace slipped from 8:40 early on, to something much closer to 8:50 now.  No cushion left.  And no fuel left in me!  I was so tired, cranky, and engulfed in pain.  I really did try my hardest, but there was nothing left.  We had a friend there who took this picture of us around mile 26… funny because we actually look pretty good!  And laughing like we were having a good time!  I was thinking – “oh good God, just let the finish line be around this corner!!  I am going to die!!!!!”

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But here’s the view from the back.  Felt and looked like my feet weighed 100 pounds!  (hey, but look at that great calf definition!)

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Finally, the finish line was in sight!  We finished in 3:53:56.  A BQ, but 30 seconds slower than last year.  Waaaaaaaaa.  I honestly didn’t know if I should be happy or sad.   But one thing for sure, I had given it my all and I couldn’t stand one more second on my legs.  Two volunteers helped me through the finish chute and I sucked down some chocolate milk.

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I immediately went to lay down in the shade.  Alan was having a great time watching my lips turn purple and me shake while I tried to open my milk container!  Please, just take me back to the hotel – now!!!!  It hurts to move my legs!!

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What’s wrong with you? I’m feeling fine!!

So there you have it.  It was a good race, other than the fact I couldn’t finish strong and really wish I could have went faster somewhere in the race to better my time.

I’ve had a few moments of sadness and regret that I didn’t do something differently to get me to my goal.  But in the end, any day that I finish a marathon AND get a BQ is a pretty great day and I’m proud of my accomplishment 🙂  Now I just need to cross my fingers and hope that the cut off time is similar or less than last year so I will get in to Boston 2016.

I’ve got it all

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If I’ve learned anything from running Boston this year, it’s that you can never be too prepared!!  Or overpacked!  So, this time I’ll be ready for it all.  2 pairs of shorts (not sure which to wear yet), 2 tank tops (ditto), capris, 2 t-shirts (in case it’s chilly), bunch of GUs, pins, gloves, undies, hat, throw away shirts…. you get the picture. (yep, there it is!!)

The forecast for Erie looks pretty good right now.  Let’s hope it doesn’t change!  This week the forecast has gone from pretty warm (78) to really rainy.

forecast

Tomorrow it’s off to see my daughter run at a huge XC meet (and she’s running varsity for her team!!!).  Then off to Erie.  Enjoy romantic pre-race pasta dinner with Alan (it’s our 23rd wedding anniversary on Saturday!).  Hopefully we’ll see a few friends.  Get a good night’s sleep and then IT’S ON!!

See you on the other side!!  🙂

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Q:  Do you get the pre-race jitters?

I sure have in the past day!!

Q: If it’s sunny, do you wear a hat/visor or sunglasses?

I’m not even taking sunglasses.  The course is mostly shaded, and quite beautiful because it’s a state park.  I’ll take a few pictures for you!

Super volunteers and rainy race day

While I’m enjoying (?) my last week of tapering for the Erie marathon, I’m finding other ways to pass my early morning hours.  Like volunteering at the local half marathon & 5K!  Packet pickup opened at 6:30am, but we needed to arrive at 6:00am for setup, and with a half hour drive time, that meant an extra early wakeup at 5am for me and the kids.  Why does an early weekend wakeup seem so tragic when it doesn’t involve me running!

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As we drove to the race we got a spectacular lightning show off in the distance.  Uh oh.  I didn’t plan on their being any rain involved.  Guess we might not be needing those sunglasses I brought along.  We got our instructions and waited for the runners to arrive.

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Luckily I only had one unhappy person who didn’t get the size shirt they ordered.  It gives me a whole new perspective on the t-shirt pickup, because I *always* have to trade mine in for a different size.  Shirt brands vary so much!

Right before race start, the lightning was close by and it was pouring down rain.  Luckily we had a nice dry shirt to supply my husband with while he waited out the rain!  The race was delayed 45 mins.

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After the rain cleared, the runners were off!  The kids and I got to enjoy a pancake breakfast while the race was going on.  OMG, it was so good!

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Then, we headed out for our next role- course marshals!  Yep, my job can be replaced by a sign.

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We cheered Alan on, and then headed home to get out of wet cold socks.  Yuck!!

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Here’s a fun fact – Alan (and myself sometimes) takes over the counter anti-diarrhea medicine for races, well, just so there are no surprises during the race.  This morning he mistakenly took sleep aid pills, because the boxes looked the same!!  I’m thinking he’s going to be ready for a nap any time now…

Congrats to Alan on his 3rd place age group finish.  The medals were pretty cool – they are actually carved out of wood!  However, they are not very sturdy and I expect most of them to be crushed by gear bags on the way home.  😦

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Take a look at my relaxing, boring running week….

  • Sat – Rest
  • Sun – 4 miles
  • Mon – 3 miles
  • Tues – Rest
  • Weds – 7 miles, dress rehearsal (what the heck AM I going to wear?  No clue yet)
  • Thurs – 3 miles
  • Fri – Rest
  • Sat – Rest
  • Sun – RACE DAY!!!  Big fat marathon day!!!  Go long!  PR!  BQ!  Hey, I don’t ask for much.  Except for some low temps, and NO RAIN!!

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Q:  Have you ever received a “different” race medal?

At a 50K we also received a wooden finishers medal.  It was a slice from a tree, which was fitting since it was a trail race and it looked like a mile marker.

Q: Do you enjoy waking up early on the weekend, or sleeping in?

Even if I’m not running, I like to get up by 7am.  It feels like a productive time for me!  But not 5am, thank you.

Q:  Do you like thunder or lightning better?  

My son asked me this.  Interesting – I like to see the lightning, but he likes to hear the thunder!

 

Mohican 100 Mile Trail Race… as seen by the crew

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It takes a special kind of crazy to want to run 100 miles.  But after being at this event, I get it.  After hearing the stories of so many people who didn’t finish, I get it.  What a goal to achieve, or even attempt!  I’ve learned that the ultra running crowd, especially the trail runners, are a unique and very cool group of people.

We camped right at the campground where the race was being held.  That was quite convenient. Our race weekend started out Friday night with an informative, and encouraging meeting.  They introduced runners that were joining the “1,000 mile”and “2,000 mile” club – people who have finished the race 10 or more times.  Impressive!

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This event had 3 race distances – 100 mile, 50 mile, and the “fun run” of marathon (26.2 miles).  We saw a few people from our area and made a few new friends over some beers.

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We had a traditional pasta dinner for our runner, which was quite interesting because pasta is not usually on our camping menu and we were missing some basic spaghetti cooking items which would have been handy.  Also, we got to use the oven in our camper for the first time for the garlic bread.  All in all, it was delicious!

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The race started at 5 am on Saturday, and unfortunately, so did the rain.  It poured down steady for quite a few hours and didn’t completely stop until around 4pm.  The course, which goes through the Mohican State park was turned into a mud fest.  The trails were full of mud, rocks, water and lots and lots of hills.  Some of the hills actually required climbing “hand over hand”.

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The trail marker sign pointed straight up!

I didn’t join Alan at the race start, but we did get to see him at one of the main aid stations, around 26 miles.  We caught up with him the first time around 11am.  He was looking good!  Each aid station has food and essential medical supplies (band aids, toenail clippers, tape, etc).  Each runner had two drop bag locations about 13 miles apart.  As Alan’s race “support crew”, we didn’t really have any of his supplies but we helped get him anything he needed at the aid station and were there for moral support.

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One of two drop bags for Alan.

We sent him off and then went the next aid station with our ponchos and cow bells to cheer him on again.  This was a surprise for him and it lifted his spirits in the soggy weather.

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Here comes our runner out of the woods!!

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The aid stations were all well stocked, and staffed by helpful volunteers.

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Off he goes, feeling A-OK!

The next time we saw him was around 7 pm.  Dinner time!  Pizza at the aid station for the runners.  Other foods included PB&J sandwiches, salty snacks, sweet treats, drinks and other “runner friendly” food items.  Alan was still looking good after completing 50-some miles and was heading into the most difficult loop.  The next loop would be dark during the night, and especially difficult on tired legs.  He turned on his headlamp and we wished him well because his next anticipated stop here was around 2am, a bit too late to bring the kids out.

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After giving it a little thought, I knew I really wanted to see him in the wee hours and after running 75+ miles he would need some support.  I watched a movie with the kids in the camper, and went to bed around 11pm.  I told the kids that I was going to get up in a few hours and cheer Alan on.  I was prepared – went to bed in my clothes, wearing my contacts and makeup (because a pretty crew member is a helpful crew member!! haha).  At 1:45 am I woke up and headed over to the aid station.  I learned that he passed through the prior aid station around 1:00 am, so I still had a good hour to wait.  At 3:20 am I saw some of the guys who were running around the same pace as him.  3:30 am passed.  4:00 passed.  I was a bit worried.  At 4:40 am a runner came to the aid station and reported “A runner is down.  He twisted his ankle and needs help”.  UGH!  That was Alan.

The first plans were to send a pacer from the previous aid station out to get him.  By 5am we had no report of him being found so I offered to go get  him myself since I had the truck and I could bring him back.  They asked me if I had “gear”.  Uh sure, I have this little flashlight. I got to enjoy a cup of trail mix and a cup of water, which was pretty awesome because the crew and families were not allowed to enjoy the runner’s foods at the aid station.

I drove the truck to the closest point I could find with roads and then had to hit the trails.  If you can imagine, the trail is marked with little orange flags, and large turn signs – and here I am with a little camping flashlight at 5 am running in the woods to find my husband!   I was slipping around in the mud since I only wore my Newtons, which definitely don’t have any grip to them.  I think I went at least a mile, passing a few runners along the way (I was going backwards on the trail).  They all said the “injured runner” was up ahead.  I called out his name along the way, and eventually I got a reply!  Woohoo, I found him!!!

I found him resting on a log rubbing his ankle.  He had made it 73 miles, and couldn’t go anymore on that ankle.  I was a sight for sore eyes 🙂  and a complete surprise.  I helped him up and guided us down through the wood out on to a road that was nearby.  It was very rough for him to go “off trail” through the brush and I could see the pain with every step he took.  I waved down a passing car, which luckily was a woman heading to go get her husband who also did not finish the race.

After we got back to the campground we headed straight to the showers.  People who are running for more than 24 hours really do not have the best odor.  Just saying.  The biggest challenge was getting the compression sleeves off!  I couldn’t do it and we didn’t want to rip any toenails off, so I just cut them off.

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His feet were a big mess.  One swollen ankle, and some heavily blistered feet.  I made these pictures small, so if you’re brave feel free to click on them to really see them.  You’re welcome!

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After cleaning up, he took a long, well deserved rest in the camper.  He was happy with the miles he did complete.  He was in the majority, judging by the race stats:  100 mile mens race – 70 finishers, 84 DNF.  A tough day on a very tough course!  The course had a 32 hour limit, and the fastest guy ran those 100 miles in 17:59!!  The women had 18 100 mile finishers, and 26 DNFs.  I don’t think I would ever be up for a 100 mile race, but we are thinking seriously about coming next year for that “fun run” of the marathon!

Soon I will have Alan give his point of view on the race, so stay tuned for that guest post coming soon!

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Q:  What’s the farthest distance you’ve ever run?

I’ve completed a 50K (31 miles).  Most.pain.ever.

St. Joseph’s 5K and running the hill

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Here’s a proud girl who got to have 3 fun days of equestrian camp.  They had a mock horse show and she won a ribbon for her skills steering her horse.

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Recap of Friday night… remember when my kids ran the Kids Glass City Marathon?  Well, they got a bunch of coupons for free items at Chick-Fil-A.  We don’t go out to eat very often, but we definitely like to take advantage of deals when we get them.  We had a meal for the family (2 kids meals, 2 sandwiches, 2 waffle fries, a milkshake, and a cookie) for only $7.95!  Deal!!  And to top it off, their employees were the most polite, helpful workers we have ever run into.  I even wrote a nice note on the company website to let the manager know!

Saturday morning was my 5K race.  I was really wondering how the race was going to go down.  Running this week made me question if there was something wrong with me and wondered if I could even continuously run 3 miles!  I know, that’s a bit dramatic, but I’ve heard stories of people having serious health issues where they start the same way – “I couldn’t even run a mile anymore…”, so that always freaks me out a bit when I struggle.  Anyhow, back to my story…. The weather was looking pretty rough at race start – another day of high humidity, 94%!  The temperature was a little cooler at 63 degrees.

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I had thought about running a larger race today, but this race was super close to my house and it supported the church that my boss belongs to.  Small race.  Close to home.  Doing good for the community.  All wins!  I think there were only 125 people in the 5K, and a lot of them were kids and families.  When the gun went off I noticed a group of kids sprinting in front of me.  No way these kids were going to last past 1 mile.  I’ve seen this scenario many times.  But after 2 miles those kids were still cruising way ahead of me!  Impressive.

I had only one screen on my Garmin and it showed my distance and my overall pace.  I was hoping to get under 8:00 min miles.  First mile clocked in a 7:55.  Hey, not bad at all, considering this humidity!!  Mile 2 had a surprise – a long stretch up a very steep hill.  Oh man.  That sucked.  My Garmin data showed my pace was as slow as 11:02 at the end of that hill climb.  And equally surprising, I was blasting out a 6:15 pace on the way down that hill!!

The course was scenic, but whose idea was it to run up that hill??

Mile 2 came in at 8:08.  Doing the math, I’m thinking I could be getting a PR at this race  Nice!  Mile 3 was 8:06, and we finished the last 1/2 mile with another climb up a hill to the finish line.  Ugh.  Crossed the finish line red faced,  dripping with sweat, panting, and completely exhausted.  25:08   Not a PR (24:57 last year), but good enough for 2nd in my age group.

Ironically, the first place in my age group went to the girlfriend of my husband’s “race competition”.  We have a lot of races around our town so we get to know who is in our age group and which people are the “competition”.  Looks like I’ve got someone to look out for now too! 😉

Here’s the best part though… apparently my race entry form went into a raffle, which I was unaware of.  As I was waiting for the awards I found out I won the raffle and got a $25 gift certificate to one of the local running shops!  Woooooohoo!   Good day all around.

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After the race I went home I ran 2 more miles with my son.  I came up with a summer running “contest” with the kids to keep them motivated, and to help my daughter get ready for cross country in the Fall.  It’s the “50 mile club” and I promised them some great reward if they could run 50 miles by the time summer starts.  My daughter has already showed signs of competition by telling my husband that she didn’t want her brother to run with them because she wanted to “beat him”!  I wasn’t even trying to get the kids competing against each other, but I guess I can chalk that up to sibling rivalry!!  Gotta love it.

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Q:  Do you have any sibling rivalry in your family?

My brother and I weren’t really into the same things,  so I don’t remember it.  But my Mom might have a different story!

Q: Have you ever won anything at a race?

I came in 3rd place in my age group at the Glass City Marathon last year so I got the hat I’m wearing in the picture above.  Also some arm warmers and a nice bag.

Q: Got any plans for Sunday, or just relaxing like me?