2013 Salt Lake City Marathon Expo & Race Recap

In a blurry of SkinnyRunner inspiration, I signed up for 2 marathons in one week.  I’ve always wanted to go to Utah (just Google image Utah and you can see why), so months, months I signed up for the SLC Marathon thinking I didn’t really want to do Boston again after feeling pretty miserable about it in 2012.  Then when registration open, I got lost in the excitement and registered for Boston and bam I was signed up for 2 Marathon less than 5 days apart.  At this point as part of a 50 miler training, I’ve run two 20-milers back to back, but this was more difficult than I thought it would be.  Sadly my aspiration of achieving two sub 3:30 marathons in one week did not come true but I still feel fairly proud of myself despite it all.

Anyways from the start.  The multisport event was held Saturday April 20th, 2013 with included:

Bike Tour:  6:00 am
Wheelchair and Hand cycle start:  6:30 am
Marathon start:  7:00 am
Half Marathon start:  7:00 am
Hyundai Hope On Wheels 5K:   7:10 am
Kid’s Marathon:   10:45 am

Tony ran the half and I ran the full marathon.  I don’t remember the exact cost but I believe when we signed up a year ago I paid $60 for full and maybe $40 for half?

SLC Marathon Expo 1

The expo was tiny relatively speaking and I was a little cranky that they did not do race day pick up.  For out of towners, this meant you had to be at SLC on Friday since the race was Saturday at 7AM and that means extra vacay day.  Those days off are precious and I was a little sad to use it for number pick up but flights were cheaper on Friday morning anyways so win some lose some.  Number pick up was easy, the volunteers were friendly, race shirt was cute and you can see Tony loved it enough to wear it for the race.  The vendor booths were small, I saw a running store, Sports Authority, Dick’s sporty goods and very friendly Dannon yogurt people was yummy samples.  We were there around 1PM and most people just got their numbers and bounced.

SLC Marathon Expo 2

The expo and race also had this beautiful banner that SLC runners signed.  I almost choked in tears seeing it.  Sometimes I get cranky in crowds but I really love my running family no matter where they come from!

SLC Marathon Expo 3

Beautiful!

SLC Marathon

Morning was started at 5:30 AM, where we fueled up with peanut butter and bread.  No toaster, so room temperature bread.  Also since we lacked a knife, we refined our skills of using a fork to spread the PB.  Tony was more skilled than me but refused to stay still for the photo.

SLC Marathon 1

Not gonna lie, it was looking pretty grim as the sun has yet to rise and the sky was crying rain.  Also TMI fact but one thing you don’t want to eat the day before a race is sauerkraut no matter how tasty that German restaurant was.  I don’t really regret, but my stomach has had better mornings.

SLC Marathon 3b

The drive to the race was easy.  Since SLC is a long grid and well planned driving city, it was easy to drive over and avoid the closed of streets.  We got there within 15 minutes and chilled in the car.  Parking was literally a 1 minute walk from the starting line.  Pretty impressive on a race that has 5,000 participants.  You could also take the red line light rail train to the start so I think that helped with parking.

SLC Marathon 3c

Bomb squad trucks and helicopters were on petrol at the start and finish lines.  Security was tight but in no way impacted the enjoyed or lack off for my race.  Great job SLC!!

One thing we had trouble finding was corrals but since the race was starting in minutes we poked ourselves into the crowd that happened to be around a 3:45 pace group.  Before the race started, they played Sweet Caroline, which having lived above Fenway park has always made me twitch.  However, I thought it was a beautiful way to honor Boston and their runners.  There was also a 4:09 pace group of Boston Marathoners which I didn’t know until hours after the race; otherwise I would have joined.

SLC Marathon 4

For the first time in ever, Tony and I ran together during a race.  I was still pretty tired from running Boston and my legs felt dead.  Twice between mile 1 and mile 8 I talked about quitting at the half marathon point.  We ran at about 8:12 pace going mostly downhill, probably my slowest starting pace ever.  I think Tony could have run faster but he didn’t want to leave me behind.  At mile 8, the half and full spilt up and as some yelled “Go Boston!” I bit my lip, sucked in my pain and went forward t the road of no return until mile 26.2.

What was holding me back? My hamstrings! I don’t know if it was the heart attack mountains from Boston or the 9 miles of going downhill but my calves and hammies were screaming and threatening to abandon me and leave my quads to fend for themselves.  The cold wet rain was not helping my constricting muscles either.  Finally after mile 10 I took the first of many walk breaks to keep my legs from locking up.

It was also at the moment that it decided to pour!  Before splitting up at mile 8 with Tony, he asked me if I wanted him to take my jacket since I was hot in the beginning and just had it bouncing around my waist.  I did, but after a second though realized I might regret that in the second half of my race when I was going to do some walking.  Yea when the rain got heavier, and I put on my jacket, I was very happy to have it!

SLC Marathon 6

House decorated with ribbons in honor of Boston around the halfway point.  After mile 9 the course got flatter with a few small gradual ups and downs.  The race support and crowd support was great.  The cheering crowd wasn’t as large as say Boston or NY but a lot of residents set up tents and stood outside their homes to cheer.  I expected race support and volunteers to pretty much die down after the half, but the full was treated just as well as the half!  It was raining and cold so who could blame them and when I ran Hyannis, a lot of the aid stations by the time I looped back for the 2nd half was empty.  Almost felt like a trail race.  Each aid table had water, red Powerade (which for some reason in comparison to Gatorade my stomach can tolerate), and a lot of them (maybe all but I’m not sure) had bananas, orange slices, and triberry Gu.  Since I wasn’t running as hard, or maybe I was too cold, I didn’t end up eating anything until I finished, but the triberry Gu did smell really good!

SLC Marathon 7

The last 6-7 miles were a mostly gradual downhill jog to the finish line.  Had it been a clear day, the view of the surrounding mountains would have been gorgeous for the whole race. It was awesome to run and any time someone ran by in Boston Marathon or Boston sports gear, the crowd cheered go Boston! The cops working the traffic and the people STUCK in traffic would honk and cheer and say great job!  It was a great community feel that I don’t think I’ve seen in any other marathon besides Boston.  Also thank goodness, for my legs, but the course did not end up at the same place we started so I did not have to ascend the 9 miles we descended in the beginning.  I would have cried and probably used up the 6.5 hours we had to finish the race, or had Tony pick me up once I got too cold.

SLC Marathon 7b

The food after finishing was lots of yogurts.  Dannon headquarters is located in Utah and they are a huge sponsor.  Also lots of pretzels and bananas and cookies.  I wasn’t really aware of much because I was freezing when I finished but I knew I wanted two bags of cookies because Tony would steal mine.   Tony also told me that after he finished they had delicious ham sandwiches but I didn’t really see any, probably because he must have eaten the whole table.  They had the shiny race blankets but you had to walk over to a tent in the park to get them.

Since the races end at Liberty Park and starts at Legacy Bridge which I think is miles apart, depending on where you park getting to your car can be tricky. From Liberty park there is a shuttle that takes you to a red line station with parking.  From there you can take the red line to Legacy Bridge area, which is what Tony did since he had a while to wait me to finish.  He did say getting back to the car took a while but I think it was worth it to skip the downhill.

SLC Marathon 8

Net Time – 3:56:54

Overall Place – 220/905

Gender Place – 52/370

Tony finished his half in 1:48:47!

Somewhere along mile 20 when I realized it’s all downhill from there I wanted to go for sub 4, I guess whether we run fast or slow, good days or bad, runner’s still have mini goals.  Although there was no one waiting for me at the finish line, my ego was big enough to congratulate myself on my own! Had I skipped Boston and only trained for this course, I would have probably PRed, had the weather been beautiful, I would have PRed more.   I’m not sure when the total lost elevation was since the race doesn’t provide a chart, but all I can say is that what went down, never really came back up.  If I lived within a driving distance, I would definitely run the course again.  It was beautiful and fun even in awful weather.

SLC Marathon Splits

My splits are very inconsistent but then again my Boston ones aren’t any more logical.

I don’t regret running Boston (I ran a 3:26 race), because aside from what happened afterwards, no PR can replace having friends and family you love along the course.  The strangers in SLC were uplifting and got me to run more than walk, but it’s not the same.

2013 TARC Spring Thaw 6 Hour Race

The 2013 TARC Spring Thaw was held on Sunday March 24th.  The race features a 3.5 mile trail loop that you run as often times as you can in 6 hours.  For the second year in a row race director Emily Trespas and all the volunteers put on a fantastic event on trails owned by the Andover Villiage Improvement Society.  The race ran from 9AM-3PM and was capped at 100 people.

Emily also drew this beautiful Yetti stencil we all got. TARC races really are the best!

This was also my first ultra and I was super nervous.  While I know I should be hitting the trails as often as I could to train for my first 50 miler, the winter this year had other things in mind as it kept dumping snow weekend after weekend.  So I’ve been sticking to the roads and happily avoiding the snow-capped jagged rocks and stumps of the trails.

I didn’t know what to expect, I’ve run a TARC race before (last year in Weston) and the trail was much easier than running in the Fells, but I wasn’t sure what was in store in Andover.  Furthermore, mother nature decided to dump 9 inches of snow on Wednesday that barely began to melt until Saturday.  Luckily, by Sunday, only a few inches of snow remained but I was still scared enough avoid absolutely any goals.  I was at a loss of what to expect from myself other than a determination to last 6 hours.

Confession – I have never ran more than 4 hours at a time in my life.  The few times I remember running that long, I remember being exhausted, so I was still at a loss how I was going to last 6 hours running.  However, the goal was clear, keep moving, keep running, keep walking, keep crawling until 6 hours are up!

I woke up at 6:45 excited for the race and eager to test out my new hydration pack!

Yup even before running, my hair looked like a squirrel that was electrocuted. Anyways I got up, got dressed and headed out to meet up with another TARC member who lives near by to drive up to Andover.  She was awesome enough to help me with a ride to getting to the race.  THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!

I skipped breakfast because TARC races always come with food, and my stomach is pretty iron.  When I got to the race, I was greeted with bagels, fruit, gu, pbj sandwiches.  I munched on a sesame seed bagel (big mistake as I was burping sesame seeds for about 7-10 miles), and a few pieces of pbj.

At 8:30 there was a brief meeting and at 9AM we were off.  Unlike Saturday, I positioned myself at the end of the line.  I’m pretty slow and I didn’t want to get in anyone’s way but I also wanted all the runners in front to pack all the snow

(I got this photo from someone on FB but I forgot who, sorry =()

The first 3.5 miles were slow, snowy, crunchy and of course I had my first wipe-out within 30 minutes.  There was a bridge, there was ice and I went down before I even knew what was happening but luckily aside from my pride nothing else was hurt.  The first mile I ran in over 13 minutes as I was getting used to the feel of the snow but by mile 3 I had a nice fast 11:40 minutes per hour pace going.

The beautiful photos I’ll be sharing below were taken by Scott Mason. Amazing how none of the snot dripping off me made it to the photos! In fact, dare I say, I think I’m looking pretty good, maybe not Scott Jurek on the trails good, but you couldn’t even tell that I was terrified of falling with each step.

2013 Spring Thaw Woods

My second lap was stronger and I was dipping into a few 10 minute miles.  I stood strong for about another lap or 2.  I was running, and I wasn’t hitting the adrenaline levels you hit in a road race, but more of a happiness on a different level.  I would say meditative, but I really can’t stand it when people call runs meditative; I’m huffing & puffing so there is nothing meditative about me when I run.  However, I was running the whole time without my headphones and most of the time because I was too slow to be with the wolf pack and too fast to be with the others, I was on my own and I think I liked it.  My main focus was the trail with one step in front of the other and just breathing in the fresh crisp air.  Luckily, all the runners in front of me left footsteps and I followed those without getting lost once.  Had there been no snow, I’m sure I would have gotten turned around at least once per loop.

I hit a wall around mile 19 similar to marathon and questioned about just how far I wanted to go.  Did I really need to run more than 20 miles I asked?  However, after a few pep talks, and snacks from the AID table I ventured back into the woods.  I thought about putting on some music, but resisted and didn’t take out my phone once during the 6 hours.  Probably aside from sleep, this is one of the longest times I’ve been digitally disconnected in a while!  One of the volunteers kindly refueled my camelpak (because I wasn’t sure how to and my brain was dizzy) with Gu Brew which was kinda tasty.  I hate Gatorade and would rather dehydrate and die but the pink Gu Brew was tasty.  Truth is that I didn’t really need my camelpak on this race.  There was an amazing aid table every 3.5 miles, but I love having it.  It was light and I barely noticed it, and any time I wanted a sip of something sweet, it was there to comfort me.

It was also around mile 19 that I also learned to love downhill.  Now the course wasn’t very hilly.  According to my Garmin total elevation gain was 7,627 feet but when you’re running for 6 hours any rise in elevation is a sign for sadness.  On my first lap, every time there was a decline, I would slow down and be terrified of slipping but by my 3rd loop, I was bombing down the hills, well as bombing as you can be at 11 minute miles haha.

Somewhere between loop 6 and 7 I had about 3 more falls on flat muddy surfaces.  You see after a few hours of running, all the snow was stumped into glorious mud.  For at least two of them I have quite the audience behind me.  Most of the trail was turned into a mud bath where both my feet would be taking a swim at least once a loop.  Luckily, no blisters or issues arose.  I guess wearing sock liners worked.

After my 7th loop, I was ready to quit.  It was about 5 hrs 10 Min into the race and I wasn’t sure I could do the last 3.5 miles in 50 minutes. Yet, somehow with the support and more pep talks from fellow TARC members I was talked into going for the 8th loop.  I grabbed a PBJ and was about to enter the woods when I bit my cheek trying to eat my food.  I bit it hard and could taste blood mixed in with jelly!  I was in pain and began to walk wobble back to say I’m not doing another loop.  However, I saw my new friend who I drove up with coming out of the woods and ready for her final loop.  Alright, if she was willing to risk, I figured I have no excuse so in I went, bloody cheek, covered in mud and only perseverance to push me forward and maybe a few thin mint Girl Scouts cookies.

Reji who was volunteering took a photo of the snack table and this showcases probably only 20% of all the food types that were available during the race.  My favorite were PBJs followed by Thin Mints.

Yea picture a short little blonde girl grabbing a bunch of cookies and running into the woods.  That was me!

I finished my last loop at 5:56:52 just barely making the cut.  As soon as I crossed the finish line, my mind couldn’t even gather the strength to form sentences so I just sat down and breathed.

In the end I found out I placed 22 out of 91 so not too shabby for a trail rookie and a girl’s first ultra in a snow filled forest.

WHAT I WORE – Because you know you care

  • Target Tech Short Sleeve
  • Adidas Boston Marathon Long Sleeve – Love that thing and that’s why I was doing laundry on a Saturday night before going out to a bar.
  • Calvin Klein Tights – I really should get another pair, but I keep hoping weather will clear up and I won’t have to worry until next year
  • REI Silk Sock Liners – saved my feet every wet run thus far!
  • Adidas athletic socks
  • Camelbak – Didn’t need but loved having and barely noticed
  • Innov-8 Roclite 315 – shoes that kept my toes from getting broken

Looking back I don’t think I would have changed anything about what I did during the race.  None of my gear/clothes had any issues and I was grateful for everything I had on me.  I paced myself to the point that I was actually running all 6 hours.  Other than walking by the aid table, I was fortunate enough to never have to walk on the trails… something I’ve never been able to accomplish in a road race.  I end up taking a walk break at some point even in half marathons!  I made some amazing new trail friends and just had a great Sunday in the woods!

Do you prefer trails or roads?

2013 Malden Rotary Road Race 10K Race Recap

Malden 10K Start Line

Friend, Family & running, does life really get better than that?

The 2013 Malden Rotary Race was held on Saturday March 23rd. There was a 5K option at noon and a 10K option that started at 11:30AM. Registration was $20 or $30 day of the race.

This was my third year running the 10K and my race recap from last year is here.  It was a cold cold day with temperatures barely reaching 40 and a 20MPH cold gust fighting against you.  I woke up around 9AM to a friend showing up to the race start 2 hours early!  Yea you!  Way to ruin my beauty sleep.  Anyways, I grabbed a few swag bags, numbers and headed back home for some breakfast of toast and Trader Joes sunflower butter.  Is it sad that I look forward to weekends so I could gorge myself on Sunflower Butter?  Yup, true story.

Malden 10K Swag

The swag bag features some pretty neat stuff for a race completely organized by a nonprofit charity.  There was a LONG SLEEVE TECHNICAL shirt, something Hyannis Marathon couldn’t provide (yup still complaining about that). A pair of gloves I use for gardening.  Snacks, New England coffee, New England Racing Calender/Schedule and a cute little Patch tote.  There were also some coupons for Marathon Sports and Dick’s sporting store but I don’t shop at either so I didn’t keep.  A tip though, the tech shirts run big ladies, so order a small, since they’re in men’s size.

Malden 10K Shoes

Earlier that week, I made a few purchases and of course couldn’t wait to try out my new shoes.  The red babies on the left are Mizuno Ronin 4, a racing flat.  I ran a few speed miles in them on Thursday on a treadmill but haven’t taken them out on the road yet because the streets were still covered in frozen icy snow.  None the less, I assessed my risks and decided to go with them for race day.

They say don’t try anything new on race day, but I’ve never been a great listener anyways.

We waited in the cold in the confusion that was the starting line for about 10 minutes until finally around 11:40 they decided to start the 10K and I blasted off.

Miles 1, 2, 3 – I don’t know how, but for the first three miles with gradual up and down hills, I somehow kept  a 6:30 pace.  It must have been my stubbornness to try to keep up with my friend Dan.  Around mile 3 I thought I was going to heave up a lung.

Mile 4 – I started slowing down and ran this around a 7:06 minute pace.l I hit some kinda wall and those shoes that felt amazing for the first three miles were starting to make my feet hurt.  My toes felt like they were poking through the mesh.  This was also probably one of the flatter miles.  Can you hit a wall at mile 4? Maybe I wasn’t ready to race a 10K in racing flats on crappy pavement?

Miles 5. 6 – Luckily, I snapped out of my wall of whinness and finished the mile in a 6:50 pace, probably my more comfortable 10K pace. Mile 6 was ran at 6:55 but I think that was because for the final mile we merged with the 5K group and main street, a busy road that had no traffic cut off so you have 400 runners, fast 10kers, merging with walking 5kers and a bunch of pissed off drivers.

Dan, I tried so hard to catch up to you that last mile, I even risked my life more times than I’d like to admit as I jetted in front of moving vehicles but in the end I was 14 seconds too late.

Malden 10K Brother

After I finished I saw Tony, April and Ryan cross the finish line and then ran back about half a mile to finish the race with my brother and Ana.  My brother, above, was running his first 10K and he finished strong!  I was going to run up to take a photo of him finishing but he sprinted ahead when he saw the finish line and I was too slow to make it.

Malden 10K

Tony ran a PR of 48:18!

The girls stuck around and waited for Adrienne and Liz to finish while the boys couldn’t sustain their hunger and went to the Dockside for the free food buffet afterwards of pasta and salad.

Malden 10K Food

There was also a ton of coconut water and muscle milk for some serious refueling to go around.  We chatted, and ate, and chatted, as I awaited the results.

Malden 10K Awards

I was in complete and utter shock when I saw I had 2nd place female.  I could have sworn there were at least 2-3 girls in front of me at least within the first few miles but I guess I must had outran them towards the end.  If you’re wondering what I got, it’s a free pair of Sketchers Performance sneakers.  I’ll share pictures when I receive them.

Total Time : 42:37
Total Place –
19/190
Gender Place –
2nd

Overall, I feel pretty happy but I’m always happy when I run with friends.  Technically its only a 17 second PR. but I think the course runs a little long.  My garmin said 6.3 when I finished, and the wind was brutal.  I don’t know how, but with each turn, the wind was still against you.  All in all, I did over a minute faster than last year’s time of 43:56.  P.S. my first year that I ran, I did a 51:34!

Malden 10K Finish

The whole gang of amazing finishers! April, Liz,Ryan, crackhead, Tony, Adrienne, cheerleader Sara, Dan, Ana, Eugene.

2013 Hyannis Marathon Race Recap

THANK YOU TO ALL THE VOLUNTEERS AT THE HYANNIS MARATHON/HALF MARATHON! IT WAS MISERABLE TO RUN OUT THERE, I CAN ONLY IMAGINE HOW HORRIBLE IT WAS TO STAND THERE. THANK YOU!  YOU GUYS DID GREAT!

I just passed the 20 mile marker and my brain was already shouting, searching, crying for mile 21. What started as a plan to avoid the large puddles has turned into a never ending river fording adventure across a body of water and I don’t even know how to swim!  Every article of clothing is starting to fight against me.  That extra pair of socks I thought were a smart idea were also wet and weighting me down.  My fancy rain-jacket  completely soaked through.  My tights, my socks, my sports bra and everything in between is cutting into my skin with a cold, wet sharpness.  I try to run forward, but I realize my body is refusing to move because it is trembling, no straight out shaking to keep itself warm, and when your muscles are spasming for warmth, getting them to coordinate with your brain to move forward is a challenge that I never knew could exist.  The road is barely closed for all the runners and all I can think at this point is that if I get hit by a car, I won’t be too sad because I can stop trying to run.

But let me start at the beginning, before I thought getting hit by a car was a brilliant solution to being cold, wet, and 6 miles away from the finish line.

The Hyannis Marathon was held on Sunday February 24th 10AM.  There is also a half marathon and a relay.  The marathon registration is $60 and the half is $50.  The price only goes up by $5 to $65 & $55 if you wait last minute.  Compared to Boston Marathon or any Rock n Roll event, the race fee is a steal!  However, you get what you pay for.  NOT MUCH.

The whole weekend is actually a whole grand fiasco with a small fun run Friday, pasta dinner, with some local greatness (BILL RODGERS & GREG MEYER), and a whole giant disorganized (from what I hear) expo.  Tony and I decided to skip out on the expo and the pasta dinner because at $17 per person, I can eat better than that.  If you sign up for the Malden 5K/10K you get a pasta dinner for free but you’re downgraded to local greatness like me and Tony =).

Pre-Race Food & Logistics

Instead of attending the expo, or any of the pre-race events, I spent the weekend packing, worrying and reloading my email.  There was serious threats that with the snow and wind factor (50 MPH) the race was going to be canceled.  The race organizers told us to wait until 4PM Saturday until they would have the final word from the town police about whether we may (not can) run in this weather.  Not gonna lie, a small part of me that has never run in the rain EVER, was hoping for a cancellation, and I know all of Tony was hoping for a cancellation because he doesn’t appreciate the thrill of running many miles like I do.  Luckily, the race was to go on!

Scuba Liana was ready for her 26.2 mile swim.  I spent the rest of evening, packing, repacking, three wardrobe changes in picking out an outfit.  I briefing looked for some cheap lodging, failed and decided Tony should love me enough to wake up early to drive, instead of forking over the dough for a hotel.  Luckily he did!

We woke up at 7AM with a goal of being out the door by 7:30 knowing we’re always a little late.  The drive to Hyannis took about 90 minutes and was relatively traffic free due to horrible weather and it being a Sunday morning.

Fuel – We fueled up on Dunkin toasted almond coffee, Munchkins (for me) and a cream cheese bagel (for Tony).  About 30 minutes before the race, I shoved a piece of toast down my throat because I decided maybe I should have something besides caffeine and sugar in my stomach.

Parking – We actually had no idea where to park, but then again, I have never ran a race where parking wasn’t confusing.  Luckily one of the volunteers flagged us into a spot and then warned that we have a 10 minute walk in the rain to the starting line/bib number pick up.  Good thing I had my fashionable trashbag with me.

Number Pick-Up – Even though half the runners that signed up didn’t show up, number pick up was a wreck.  First there’s two buildings, between the convention center and the hotel, we had no idea where to go to grab our numbers.  There was no sign or anything on the door entrance to remotely assist you.  Luckily, with enough asking.

Swag bag – The swag bag is utter CRAP! Please save yourself the cost and sweatshop labor and don’t hand me a giant over-sized cotton t-shirt when I’m running a half marathon or a marathon.  I rather get nothing at all, then this waste of energy, and resources that will just clutter more landfills.   You’re using valuable volunteers’ time to hand out garbage and that upsets me.  It’s something that always bothers me about races sponsored by Marathon Sports, a local running store chain.  You’re a running store that hopes people will spend their hard earned money on running appropriate clothes and gear, why are you handing out chemically colored cotton giant shirts?

THE MARATHON – I won’t break this race into a mile by mile analysis because really there were three parts to this race, the good, the horrible & the I contemplated death finale.

Miles 1-15 – This part of the race went great, well as great as running in cold rain can feel.  The wind was relatively low.  The course seemed relatively flat, but to be fair I wasn’t really paying attention to the rolling hills.  I had one mission, that was to run, try to avoid major puddles, keep running and finish this race.  All pacing strategy was out the window because I just wanted to be done before the weather got worse.  I made a last minute decision to ditch my long sleeve shirt and just wear a short sleeve shirt under my rain jacket.  At these miles, that seemed like a great idea.  My Garmin was saying I was at 7:07 pace and I wondered if it was broken but kept going.  Around 13.1 mile, my Garmin still claimed I was running a 7:11 pace which would have killed my previous PR.  I waved to the finish line and got ready for my second loop.

The marathon course repeats the half marathon course twice to make up the miles.  As I passed the finish line at mile 13, I questioned myself if I was really going to  go for the full.  My mind said go half, but yet my legs went forward and began the second circle.  Mile 14 & 15 I still felt great and really believed I was going to crush this.

Miles 16-20 – It was around mile 16 that I realized that the small puddles I was avoiding have now consumed the whole path.  The rain was not planning on stopping any time soon and the wind was beginning to pick up.  These too would have been miserable miles had I not chatted with another girl running around a similar pace as me.  The chat distracted me for a few miles but overall I still felt pretty good despite the horrible wetness and coldness.

Mile 20-26 – Around mile 20, the rain turned into a downpour and the wind became bone chilling.  I don’t know if the weather changed drastically, if I hit a wall, or I’ve been so soaked that my clothes were no longer retaining any of my warmth no matter how hard I tried to run.  In a normal marathon, when you get exhausted or want a break, you can slow down and take a little walk, this is not an option when its raining and cold.  The slower I got, the wetter and colder I felt.  A catch-22 that was creating my own personal hell.  I tried to look at the runners around me to see if anyone else felt as miserable as me, and failed.  They all looked so strong, so graceful, and not a bit broken by the weather.  I questioned why I was so mentally weak but then reminded myself there was no where else to go.  It’s either call 911 or keep running.  My pride was all that was left to push me… or maybe I’ve become delirious from the cold and wetness.

The finish – I don’t know how, but after an hour or more of suffering, I saw the finish line.  I was still cold, wet & miserable but I gave a kick and sprinted forward.  I may not be number 1 or even an age group winner but at that point, no one else was going to pass me to the finish line!  As I crossed the finish line, I started crying, literally.  I have never cried at a race before, not even at my first marathon when I was training for a sub 4 hour and ended up with 3:25.  I was so happy to finished, that I couldn’t contain myself with emotion.

2013 Hyannis Marathon

Post – Marathon – As I slowly limped my way inside, I couldn’t stop shaking and I couldn’t find Tony who had my dry clothes..  A girl let me borrow her cell phone because mine was acting up. Everything felt confusing, I even tried looking for a medic station or something because I knew that since I was inside, I shouldn’t be shaking so hard.  Tony finally found me, helped me take of my drenched jacket, and I left to the bathroom to change.  Of course the line was super long as usual even post race so I just changed by the sinks.  I’m not sure if there was post race food, there might have been, but I felt so angry, and so cold that we just left and stopped by Mary Lou’s for coffee instead.  Tony said there was soup and bananas, donuts after he finished the half.  There might have been some stuff left, but who knows, ,my mind was gone at this point.

Post Hyannis Marathon

Yup, that’s the look for a girl who swam 26.2 miles for a chocolate mint coffee and a slice of bread.  Good thing I grabbed a loaf of bread to the car this morning before heading out!

And if you’re wondering what that lovely mark on my forehead is… that’s the markings of my cap that I wore during the race.  The lesser of my battle wounds from that day.

Pros & Cons of Running Hyannis Marathon – I don’t regret running Hyannis Marathon, and I’m glad I stuck through for the full despite the weather.  It was challenging and despite how miserable I felt, I feel a pride in knowing that I survived.  That being said I will probably not sign up for this race again alone.  The race is relatively cheap, the course is relatively flat and I think in nicer weather could be scenic.  However, there’s a lot about the race organization that angered me.  Aside from the cotton t-shirt, I cannot express how angry I am that the roads were not even partially closed.  There were almost 3,000 runners that ran, but from what the race announcers said almost 5,000 people registered (I guess 2,000 of them decided to sleep in and cut their losses).  To have that many people run and not even close a lane of a road was dangerous and unpleasant.  I can do that on my own, without someone charging me a fee to be timed.  We were literally running in something that was less than the shoulder of a road, where all the rain gutter was being drained to on a highway.  Pretty much running in a sewer.  Probably worse road course I ever ran.  I’ve ran Lowell where the road isn’t fully closed but they at least leave a full lane for us to run on.

I have more to say on running in the rain, but I’ll save that for another time as this post is long enough.  Instead the most important part of this, my results:

Overall Place Finish Time Pace Division Name Division Place Division Size Gender Place
91 3:34:25 8:11 F1829 7 43 13

Boston 2014 by 34 seconds!  I’ll take it!

Mizuno with Cat

And just as my shoes dry up, so are the horrible memories and just two days later as I finish writing this, I think to myself it wasn’t that bad, can’t wait for my next one!

Cape Cod Frozen (Half) FatAss 25k Race Report

Cape Cod Frozen Fat Ass Race Recap

My goal for 2013 is to run more trails.  The unfortunate part about it is that I’m terrible at it.  I grew up in NYC, concrete and roads I get, dirt paths and rocks… might as well be Mars to me.  However when a friend mentioned The Cape Cod Frozen Fat Ass a free casual trail race along the beach with a bunch of ultra marathoners (my fellow running addicts who are able to run further than me), I couldn’t help but get excited.

The race actually consists of two official distances 25K (HalfAss) and 50K (FatAss) and then everything in between! Unfortunately getting to the race involved a 4:30 wake up with a 90-100 minute drive.  Luckily I got to go with a fellow running addicted friend so after some coffee (Thank you!) and rubbing of my eyelids, the drive down was actually fun!

The race is put on annually by the Cape Cod Ultra Running society, and being a free race and all, is very informal.  There was a little mix up in start time (some place posted 7:30AM even though it should have been 7AM) so we didn’t get to start until 7:30.  Waiting in 18 degree weather isn’t pleasant.  Luckily they had a little room where we got to pick up numbers (yup we got numbers!) and a pot luck table.  I made whole wheat pumpkin bread which could have used more sugar (I ran out of sugar haha while making it).  Luckily there were plenty of chocolate, cookies, muffins, pretzels, boiled potatoes, bananas and orange slices and anything else you can dream off.  The race organizers also provided a hot and delicious clam chowder and turkey soup!  You can tell I was too busy stuffing my face when I forget to take food photos.

Anyways at 7:33 after some shaking and debating of wind direction we were off!

Cape Cod Frozen Fat Ass Start

The course is a figure 8 that consists of a 5ish mile loop and a 10ish mile loop.  I saw ish because it’s not precise but in total adds up to 15.5 miles for a 25K.  If you do the 50K you get to do the loop twice!

Cape Cod Fatass 25K 8

The first 2.5 miles are on the beach and it took me a good mile to figure out a style.  Do I run on the rocky part of the sand, the softer dunes of dry sand to the left or the wet packed sand from the low tide to the right.  From the scatter of runners, I could tell that everyone else was trying out different approaches.  After a few struggles, I found a good steady comfortable pace of about 8:30 minute miles to the right on the wet sand.  Sadly that sand also had some rocks to work with every once in a while to keep me alert

Cape Cod Fatass 25K 7Half way through the 5 mile loop we made a turn and got to run on a more packed dirt trail behind the sand dunes.  That was a lot more pleasant.  I was eyeballing another runner in an orange jacket who looked like he knew the trail to make sure I didn’t get lost.  The race was well-marked and easy to follow but I have a great history of getting lost no matter what so the orange jacket was my light.  At this point I was on an average of 8:50 minute miles and I realized I was ahead of most of the pack.  Than again I was only running half the distance.

Cape Cod Fatass 25K 3

The 10 mile second loop was just as beautiful and unique as the first 5 mile loop.  Notice anything weird?  I’m not wearing any headphones!! The trail and the experience was too exciting and fun that I didn’t need to distract myself with music or podcasts.

I lost my guy in the orange jacket as he ran ahead of me and was constantly paranoid that I was lost. Although there really was just one trail there, I would have had to work really hard to get lost.

Cape Cod Fatass 25K 4

Did I mention how beautiful it was?  I kept following the tracks of faster runners way ahead of me to reassure myself I wasn’t lost.
Cape Cod Fatass 25K 6 Running within the sand dunes continued for about 5-6 miles.  Some parts felt like running in molasses as the sand was soft and tried to hold me.  The harder I pushed, the slower I ran.  Eventually I learned to try to run lightly as I can to avoid sinking but mostly I just learned to be patient as those parts took a while

Cape Cod Fatass 25K 5

Other parts had hard frozen sand and I had to avoid some ice patches.  I was feeling pretty good when around 10 miles I had a good 9 minute pace going.

Cape Cod Frozen Fat Ass Last Four Miles

And then the last 4-5 miles started.   If you go on the race website, it clearly states This is not a race for wussies. The last 4-5 miles in rocky soft sand with wind against you reminded me when I was happy to only have to do this once.  When my Garmee beeped 13.1 miles, at 1:59 I think i mentally checked out (after patting myself on the back for getting a sub 2 half on the beach).  Last 2.5 miles I was skipping from side to not being about to make up my mind of where/how/why to run this stretch.  My ankles kept rolling over the little pebbles.  I was cursing like a sailor every minute of it!

Photo: 25k complete

And then before I knew it, the misery was over.  I was crossing the finish line of a guy taking my time with a clipboard.  Garmee told me I was at 2:26 in 15.79 miles and 9:17 pace.  I was content with that.  While I was glad to be done with my 25K, I still had 5 more miles to run for my 20 miler this week.  I thought about doing the first loop again but my knees felt shaky and I decided to run around my familiar road territory instead.  That worked for about 3 miles until I got bored bumped into Katharina and did 2 more miles on the 10 mile trail loop with her.    Running on a scenic trail with a friend was a lot more fun than doing circles on the road alone.

Cape Cod Fatass 25K

I had mild regrets about not running the 50K but I got over it pretty fast when I was stuffing my face with soup and inside Katharina’s warm car.  Overall this race was fantastic.  I met a bunch of awesome people, got to run on the beach in the middle of New England winter and just had a fabulous time.  I can’t wait for next year!  I may not be an ultra runner yet but I am fully in love with the community.

Derry, NH Boston Prep 16 Miler – Race Report

Boston Prep 16 Miler Race Recap

Derry Boston Prep 16 Miler

The Derry Boston Prep 16 miler was held on Sunday, January 27th, 2013 at 10AM.  Race fee was $45 and went up to $55 one week before the race.  I picked up my number at 9:30AM and by then two out of the three parking lots were full.  The first think you will notice upon walking into the gym full of runners is that this is the real deal.  This isn’t the I just want to get in shape and try out running type of crowd.  These are lean fit machines.  These are runners and they are ready to race and race hard.  When they call this the Boston Prep, it really is.  Most people I noticed have ran Boston in the past (or at least own a 2009-2012 Boston Marathon Windbreaker jacket) and from short conversations are training for just another Boston Marathon.

It was cold and a little windy.  Weather was at 16 degrees with wind at 14 mph, windchill around 2 degrees.  I wore everything I mentioned in the winter layers post since I knew what to expect from Saturday’s similar weather.

Greater Derry Track Club

The course is known to be one of the hilliest and most challenging courses in New England for the distance.  I’m not completely sure I would agree.  Maybe I’m in much better shape now but I found the Gloucester Half Marathon I did in May 2012 much hillier and more difficult for me.  The hills weren’t as steep as Derry but they were constantly rolling.  The difficult part about Derry is that there’s a large number of steep downhills and those do a number on your knees.  There are two major steep uphill.  One smacks you around mile 5 while the other keeps punching you between mile 10.5 to mile 13.  The great news?  After your finish your half marathon distance of 13.1, it’s easy cruising from there!

Why this is a perfect Boston training running – Boston is a mostly downhill course with a mean hill at mile 21, Derry is mostly a downhill course with a nasty hill at mile 11.  Derry is perfect practice for training how to take a beating to your knees on a downhill before running against a steep hill.

The video below is a drive view of the race course.  Add some snow to the side and single digit temperature and you’re almost there.

Personal Race Experience

Derry 16 Miler Garmin Report

Miles 1 – The bathroom line was long and by the time I made it to the starting line the race has started and I had to struggle to get through the mass group of people to a better pace for myself.  My stupid Garmin refused to find a signal as well. I was running strong but I wasn’t getting anywhere due to all the people and kept hoping from side to side trying to get through.

Miles 2,3,4 – 7:41, 7:23, 7:40 A mile later my Garmin woke up, and I have come to the middle of the pack, a faster more open group of runners.  It was downhill and I was trying to run as slow and comfortable as possible.  I didn’t have a lot of trust of how far or fast my legs could carry me on what should have been a recovery run.  However, with the downhill miles I was at an average 7:30 Pace. Amazing how you find energy to run so much faster when you’re in a group vs. alone.

Miles 5, 6, 7 – 8:19, 7:44, 7:40 There was a hill around mile 5, I also remember it suddenly getting really cold as we ran in a shaded part of the course. I saw the clock say something like 40 minutes and since I started the race late I think I was still at a 7:43 average pace.  Official results say I was at 39:21 or 7:53 pace at 5 miles.

Miles 8, 9, 10 – 7:44, 7:52, 8:29 I remember these miles just feeling comfortable until I needed to pee.  I knew there was a porta potty at mile 10.  I saw a sign in regards to it in mile 10 and yet I somehow missed it and ran past it. You can also tell where the hill started… yup. Mile 10 was crossed at 1:18:29, 7:51 pace.

Miles 11, 12, 13 – 8:32, 8:51, 7:47 Starting at 10.5 Miles, it was hills, up and a little down, to more up up, to down.  Surprisingly I was able to keep running through most of the hills  I didn’t say it was fast running, but there was some running.  I walked a little when my quads were burning but for the most part I tried to shuffle up the hill.  Also hills, and a desire to pee is not too comfortable.  I think I debated the merits of peeing at the side of the road in front of my fellow runners, however, after the great show of community support and race volunteers, I couldn’t bring myself to be that disrespectful regardless of how desperate my need was growing.  At this point with the hills, my average pace was 8:00 according to the Garmin. Official results say I crossed the 13.1 barrier at 1:44:27, 7:59 pace.

Miles 14, 15, 16 – 7:46, 7:20, 7:02 These were a blast.  I knew the hills were over and I gunned it down the road.  I ran the last 3 miles in about 20 minutes.  I was surprised that with all the miles this weekend, and the hills, I still had so much kick left.  I guess that’s what happens when you pace your race instead of gunning down until you slowly burn out.  The only frustrating part was that the last 2 miles were on a main road that wasn’t fully closed.  It was a mash of runners and cars and it was a little hard to run my heart out while watching my back for a heart.  After crossing the finish line I kept running because peeing my pants was not how I wanted to remember this race.

Total Time 2:05:36
Total Pace 7:52
Total Place 141/556

Post Race Fuel – This was probably the most food I have seen available after a race.  There was no finishing medal but the availability of food to refuel on more than made up for the lack of bling.

Derry Boston Prep 16 Miler Free Food

To recap everything that was available for consumption because every runner is a secret fatty – pizza, nachos, salsa, cheese spinach dip, chilli, chicken soup, tomato soup, yogurt, yogurt drinking sticks (gogurt), pretzels with yogurt sauce, hot chocolate and probably more things I missed.  This is one race that you will have to work really hard to leave hungry.  When one of the volunteers asked me if I needed a tray, I was a little confused but as you can see from above, I made full use of that “Tray.”

Overall great race, great crowd, great course, and great food!

2012 Salem Wild Turkey 5 Mile Run Race Recap

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tony and I woke up at 6:15 AM today to drive up to Salem to run the annual Wild Turkey 5 Mile Run.  Race fee was $22 that benefits the Boys and Girls club of greater Salem and first 1,250 registrants got a pretty slick long sleeve tech shirt.  I registered Tony and I 40 people too late to get one but I saw people run in them and I was slightly jealous.

We met my friend Dan at race start who grabbed our packets for us.  They had race day pick up starting at 7AM but I think you could get there at 7:30 and be fine if you can find a parking spot.  Race was suppose to start 8AM but started around 8:07.  No big deal except no one knew where the race start was until like 8:01AM.

I saw this pair dressed as butcher and turkey that made my day.  Other than that I think due to weather no one really dressed up…

The race was relatively flat with a few small bumps of up and down.  It was pretty good weather for running in light tights, about 43 degrees with mild winds.  The route had some nice little ocean view and I think we ran through a park.

I started strong around 6:20 pace which usually isn’t too wrecking for me in a 5 mile race. My approach in shorter races to go all out and by the time you feel like dying the race is over.  However, within two miles I felt dead… I know my endurance was down from my 3 week running break while I was in Spain but that shouldn’t effect my speed too much. Maybe it was because I was stupid and ran speedwork last night of about 4.75 miles at 7PM, not a large amount of miles for me but maybe I’ll use that as an excuse.

 DSC_0082
Photo source

I look in pain in that photo and I have to admit I am in pain.  That banana I ate 30 minute before was not tasting too well anymore.

Since I started running marathons (okay mostly half marathons), I haven’t been taking shorter distances seriously but when I checked the results after the race I found out I came in 4th in my age group.  I never won age group award (other than Malden 10K where only like 100 people run) and it would have been cool to win in a race that had 1,800 registered runners. I did run a 6:55 paced 10K just a month ago.  I know I sound spoiled complaining but this blog has always been about being honest even if the rest of the world things I’m crazy.  Luckily, disappointing results only motivate me to run another race and try harder.

Anyways here are the results …

 DSC_0228
Photo source

Total Time 35:33
Pace 7:07
Age Group Place – 4th in F25-29
Gender Place – ~14th, I tried to manually count so I could be wrong
Total Place – 98/1,609 who finished

My friend Dan ran 34:25 and Tony ran 39:46 and hasn’t ran since Newport Half (October 14)

And my friend Ryan ran a 46:51

and because running isn’t enough, Tony and I bagged 14 bags and a barrel of yardwaste and leaves.  Yup… that’s only a month worth!

And now I’m ready for some turkey sides and lots of pie… I’m bring mine that I ordered from CS!  Can’t wait to dig in.

 

How was your Thanksgiving?

Doing any Black Friday deals?

2012 Newport Unitedhealthcare Half Marathon Recap

The Amica half marathon took place October 14th.  I think registration was $55 for the half and $85 for the full when we signed up.  I’m sure it was slightly lower a few months before and higher closer to the date.   originally signed up for the marathon but pansied out due to a crappy run, busy work schedule and being whiny and switched last minute to the half.

United Healthcare Half Marathon

I think technically the half is called United Healthcare and the full was Amica but I keep hearing them being used interchangeably so if I mix them up, know I’m talking about the same thing.

Expo & Swag Bag

The expo was held the day before and was open til 7PM! I was super excited about it being open late due to my history of missing number pick-up when RnR expos close before 5PM.  So if you drive up after work, it’s a pain to get there in time.

The expo was small, I think they had a local running retailer there, I think powerbar stand was there and Vermont Cabot cheese samples which were my favorite.  I often wonder if I’m judged when I go up and get 5 samples.  There wasn’t anyone else there so I’ll write it of as okay!

The Course and Race

The course for the half is truly one of the most beautiful courses that I have ever ran.  I don’t think I ever ran a race on the east coast that gave so much both historical street and ocean view access to the runners.  Great job!

I woke up around an hour before start time.  I wasn’t expecting much from my body so I think I ate one of those go lean bars or something with protein and sugar.  Not my smartest prerace fuel but with rain in the forecast I was feeling quite negative.

The shuttle buses were super easy as we were staying only a few minutes from shuttle bus area and we got to the starting line about 15 minutes early.  Just enough time to use the porta pottys… except the lines were super long and after standing and not moving for 10 minutes I gave up and decided maybe I’ll just run fast enough to hold it in.

Yup those are the bathroom lines!

Doesn’t Tony look excited?

The weather grew more and more ominous as race start was delayed.  Finally 15 minutes later we were given the okay to go!

From the beginning, Tony ditched me and decided he wanted nothing to do with the 7min pace corral.  What can I say, I had great ambitions.

I had Runkeeper couch set to 7:15 but my splits ended up as follows –

mi Pace (min/mi) Elevation (ft)
1 7:01 66
2 6:42 -44
3 7:15 14
4 7:11 -33
5 7:29 0
6 7:28 -1
7 7:40 1
8 7:23 0
9 7:19 13
10 7:45 -16
11 7:47 36
12 8:12 30
13 7:32 -65

Most of the miles went by okay.  My favorite and least favorite were miles 6-8 that were along the super windy ocean drive that took no prisoners   Miles 7 the wind went against you that I thought I was going to kneel over but by mile 8 we switched directions and the wind pushed me forward in glorious strength.

Mile 12 was a tough one for me.  My legs felt dead, I took a short walk break and found a safety pin in my shoe!   I don’t know how I ran 12 miles with a safety pin in my shoe but I guess the cold blocked it all out.  It was a good mile to walk through as the last mile went through the rows mansions and fancy houses.

The last half mile was filled with people cheering, including my own friends and I knew walking was simply not allowed.  I shuffled my way forward and when I saw the clock was at 1:37 I knew that if I just pushed hard enough I could have a slight PR.

The Results!

Total Time 1:38:08
Pace 7:30
Place 166/3346 overall 28/1993 female 14/621 Age group

Tufts 10K Race Recap

First, I have a bad confession to make, when I first read about the Tufts 10K, I really didn’t think I would enjoy running with 8,000 women.  I have traumatic experience of catty women growing up and being relative tomboyish I haven’t always been a “girl power!” type of girl.  However, I was proven utterly and complete wrong.  It was amazing!

I was running with 8,000 amazing, strong, healthy, accomplished women and the best part was that I wasn’t shoved aside, knocked into, or grossed out by any man grunt and sneers like I usually am in Boston 5k/10ks.  Nothing personal men, I’m sure most of you are awesome courteous runners but something about running brings your caveman out sometimes.

Logistics

Number Pick Up was super easy and I picked mine up on Friday at CitySports.  In it came a LunaBar, some coupons/ads, and a pretty awesome long sleeve tech shirt.  Last year it was cotton so I was super excited that they leveled-up to something I could use for those chilly fall morning runs.

The Course

The route was great, starts in the Boston Public Gardens, goes up Beacon street up a slight incline for the Mass Ave bridge and then up and down the Charles River on the Cambridge side.  It wasn’t perfectly flat but it’s about as flat as Boston will get.

My Favorite Part?

The men in tuxes at water station 5!! Yes, men should always just serve women 😉

Tufts 10K Race Report

I was coming from work at an extended lunch break for this run so I was a little nervous about playing it last minute to the starting line.  The race had some cool yoga and warm-ups but sadly I had to miss those.

The only thing cooler than blurry bathroom self portraits are elevator ones!

I was very grateful to find Robin at the starting line.  Actually she found me because little sleep + lots of coffes + no glasses = blind Liana.  How blind?  I almost missed Joan Benoit Samuelson standing right in front of me!

In case you want some impressive statistics, Joan was the first-ever women’s Olympic marathon champion. Benoit Samuelson still holds the fastest times for an American woman at the Chicago Marathon and the Olympic Marathon. Her time at the Boston Marathon was the fastest time by an American woman at that race for 28 years!

Yea, I tried to run with her but about half a mile in I was coughing and gasping as I couldn’t keep up with a 6 min pace!

My original plan however was to try to keep up with Robin. The girl who just crushed her half Ironman, has a speedy record with her training runs being faster than my PRs.  My mind equated keeping up with Robin = PR.  I too lost her in the dust somewhere around 2.5 miles.

Regardless of falling into the dust of two amazing fast women I have to say I’m pretty proud of my own results

Miles 1 – 6:23 – The gun went off and I was blazing with adrenaline

Miles 2 – 6:43 – To be fair this was where the incline to the Mass Ave Bridge began

Mile 3 – 6:53 – Okay I was starting to get a little sad for not being able to keep up my speed

Mile 4 – 7:07 – I always have an inner battle mid race of any distance

Mile 5 – 7:05 – Okay so maybe my internal battle lasted 2 miles

Mile 6 – 6:57 – Men in tuxes serving water really pumped me up!

Mile 6.2 – I messed up my runkeeper but I kicked all the way to the finish line for a grand PR of:

42:54

112th person to cross the finish line out of 8,000 and 52nd out of 1,187 in my age (20-29) division,  PR CENTRAL!

As for Robin, she ran a 41:52 without even looking remotely tired when I found her at the finish line.  My other friend Ana ran her FIRST 10K at 1:03:00!  Not bad for someone who barely trained.  I wish I had time to catch up with her but after finding Tony and   my other friend Adrienne, I had to jet back to work!

The Outfit – Because you need an outfit to PR

Reebok sponsored me and a few other FitFluential ambassadors for the Tufts 10K.  In addition to allowing us to run this fun race, they outfitted us in style! A few weeks before we received Seamless Capri Tights and the Play Dry Short Sleeved Top that I have to admit I have worn religiously with each laundry cycle leading up to the 10K.  True confession again: I’m cheap and most of my running tops are tech shirts I get through races or Target sale workout clothes.  Those work but OMG the Reebok shirt is just soo soft and I love the V-neck!  I’ve been searching for V-neck running tops but the few I purchased have always scratched up my skin. As for the Capri Tights, well it’s been love ever since!  I’ve been wearing them for my recent AM pre-work runs when the sun hasn’t fully risen yet and they’re great as the weather shifts from chilly fall to sunny warm. They’re soft and even though I was a little too dressed up for the sunny weather, they dried up my sweat pretty quickly.  And they make my butt look pretty good.

And yes, anyone who knows me well knows that I wear more purple than an elderly lady so my love for the color was no surprise.  Plus #GetAfterIt is Reebok’s new campaign and I was pretty proud to be strutting the mantra for my PR.1

Thank you FitFluential and Reebok for the opportunity to run the Tufts 10K

Montreal Oasis Marathon Recap (RnR Montreal Marathon)

2012 Montreal Marathon

Source

Marathon Oasis & ½ Marathon de Montréal, part of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series took place September 23, 2012.  The day had a marathon, a half marathon, a 10K, a 5K and 1 mile.  I think between the 5 races there was up to 40,000 people and as far as I know all races sold out before September started.  The marathon and half marathon started at one location while the 10K and down started at the 20 mile mark before the finish line. The race fee for the marathon ranged from $90-$150 depending on when you signed up.  I used a coupon code around February and signed up for $60.

The Expo

I think out of the all race expos I’ve been to this was the least exciting one.  The number and shirts pick up was quick and easy and I went around noon on Saturday. The swag bag?  Completely empty.  Not even a crappy weird tuna sample like in Providence.  Maybe other countries aren’t as wasteful as Americans are?  Nope because as I made my way down the expo, I literally had fliers and papers pushed at me.  The expo was set up in a snake path that forced you to go through the whole thing back and forth.  I gave up on the expo after I had to find the bathrooms and was too lazy to walk through the whole damn expo all over again.

The best and worst part of it all was the Brook’s section.  normally I find fun and cool was creepy with this tortured looking lizard thing.

Poor lizard.  On the good side, I got my running gait analyzed and found out I’m a neutral runner!  No wonder chunky shoes always hurt my knees.

The Marathon 

This was my 3rd marathon and was unlike the other two.  I woke up at 7:11, got dressed, ate half a pita that tasted a whole lot better 12 hours ago then it did that morning.  I was also craving peanut butter like a fiend and bread just didn’t taste the same without it.   The race started at the Jacques-Cartier Bridge, a very large and industrial bridge. We left our lodging at 7:30 to try to drive up closer to the starting line.  I felt hungry and my legs felt stiff from walking up hills streets for 12 hours the day before.  Turns out that the start of the path up the bridge started a block off from where we were staying.  So after driving around for 20 minutes we were back where we started.  Brilliance.  I had a mini panic when I thought I had to walk 3KM (almost 2 miles) to the race start.  Luckily I think it was only about a mile walk over the bridge. While walking and worrying I chatted up a few runners.

8:30 came and I was in my corral with a need to pee.  Of course they only had one porta per corral of about 1,000 anxious paranoid runners.  I gave up on being able to pee and decided to trust my ability to hold it in.  8:30, still no start time as a delay was announced.  Suddenly I started to panic as I thought about the 30,000 thousand runners on a bridge that I was keenly aware was suddenly shaking.  Luckily within 5 minutes the official race started!  By 8:40 my corral, #3 was off!

I don’t have any idea what my splits were being the sad garminless runner (whose birthday is coming up in 2 months cough coughtonycough) that I am.  Because I was in Canada I couldn’t use Runnerkeeper like I normally do (stupid  AT&T and their ridiculous international data rates).  Instead my recap and mile by mile replay will be based on my whininess factor.

Miles 1-4 Within the first mile I knew this race was going to be tough.  This run was going to be hard and I’m going to regret every step I took the day before.  Every race that I started before I started with a strong kick.  I haven’t learned how to start slow and finish fast so I go all out.  My first mile was around 8 minutes and I guess my negative feels predetermined how my race went.  The first 4 miles were also incredibly boring and packed even from corral 3.  I felt stuck in a pack that I couldn’t get around.  The first part of the race was on Île Ste-Hélène and around the perimeter of La Rhonde, a bunch of rollercoasters operated by Six Flags.  Running around in repetitive looks of broken concrete and mud got boring real fast.

Miles 5-7 We finally moved to a new little island where we did more repetitive loops.  There was a cool track where I think F1 racing might take place and running that part was fun.  I guess this island compared to the first 4 miles was slightly more fun but still super crowded.

Miles 8-10 were somewhere industrial.  Really RnR?  If I wanted to run through industrial waste runs I could do that in my own neighborhood and it would be free…. Where’s Montreal?  Where;s my scenic route!  I was starting to get cranky and with that my legs sped up and I felt revived.

Miles 10-13 Around Mile 10 was when we finally hit Old Montreal and was probably the best mile of the race!  It was also the mile that I realized 20 MPH winds were blowing against me and that might be why as hard I pushed my legs seemed to not be going as fast as I’m used to.  I spent a good deal of mile 12 and 13 debating on whether I should call it quits and just end the race at the half point.  After all 1:45 half marathon was still respectable.  I debated and debated and as I passed the 13 mile I didn’t make the turn to the finish line.

Miles 14-16 were probably the worst miles of the whole race.  I regretted, desperately regretted not calling it quits at the half way point.  I also didn’t want to walk another marathon like I did at Boston.  My mind screamed at itself in regret.  The wind was going crazy, and my muscles were twitching at every point.  I regretted not wearing my usually Asics for shoes. (Long story short, I forgot that all my shoes were old and crappy so I wore a pair of chunky Saucony I won in a raffle that felt like clown shoes and were rubbing my feet the wrong way.) I regretted not eating enough before the race start.  I regretted walking around.  Mile 14-16 had a lot of walking.  A few people were giving out bananas and I took a few to try to fill up my stomach.

Mile 17-22 I went back to running around what I think might have been 8:30 min pace.  I guess the walking rested my legs a bit so i could run again.  I think the wind wasn’t going completely against me so that helped as well. There was a GU station around mile 20 and I grabbed a strawberry banana one that didn’t completely make me want to vomit.

Mile 23-26 I went back to running 1KM walking 1 minute.  I loved having the KM signs all over the place to break up my running! I also remembered around mile 23 that I still really need to pee!  Could my bladder survive a 5k?  I thought not so I stopped by a portapotty only to be greeted by a sight I don’t want my eyes to see again (I still don’t know how you could explode all over the seat and I hope to never find out).  So I kept on running, what’s another 3 miles on a full bladder anyways.

Mile 26-26.2 I thought I had about half a KM to run when I saw the finish line (I guess the markers were a little bit off).  At this point I gave off a strong kick as I sprinted past 5 people to the finish line!

After finishing, I was so grateful that I didn’t quit at the halfway point.  I guess within seconds amnesia took over all the pain I felt for the past 26 miles.  The angry wind against my face.  The rolling hills miles 13-16.  The lack of scenery for the first 10 miles.  None of that mattered because I was finally done.  I finished something I was doubting for the past 4 hours if I was capable off.

Post Race 

After you finish the race they gave you all your post race food in a bag which I loved.  There was a banana, a small apple, some muffin thing and some orange electrolyte drink.  They were also giving out yogurt that I bypassed.  After I grabbed my medal and food I headed over to the Michelob Ultra tent to get my free booze and hoped Tony would find me there since neither of us had a phone we could use.  (I don’t know how people survived before cell phones!) I ended up not even opening my beer but instead opted for a hot mocha instead.  I was freezing!  The winds were still going as it and I couldn’t find a constant patch of grass with sun in it.

Overall

I’m not really sure I would recommend the full or half marathon to anyone.  I found the first 10 miles not really worth the race fee.  It was packed, repetitive, and industrial.  The second half of the race was more residential but similarly repetitive as we went out and back.  Even for the half marathon I would say this was my least favorite route that I have run.  However, what the race lacked in scenery it made up in crowd support.  The crowd was amazing!  The local people really came out and cheered! Also because our race numbers had our names on it, I would hear them cheer “Liana!  Go Liana!  Don’t give up.”  Or at least that’s what I thought they were saying since it was in French and only part I understood was my name.