Sunday, May 10, 2015

Pittsburgh half marathon

Last weekend I ran the Pittsburgh half marathon. Last year I ran it with Megan and because neither of us properly trained for race day it was not my fastest time. It was pretty miserable to tell the truth. Miserable because of training not a miserable race. 

So I'm  back to tackle the race again. This time I have been running. I completed a half two weeks prior to Pittsburgh so I felt pretty good heading into this race. I also knew this was not going to be a pr day either. Pittsburgh is not the flattest place to run. The half is not bad but the hills in the last half can beat you up a bit. 

On Saturday i woke up and headed to Pittsburgh with my mom to pick up my bib. It was her first real expo. I didn't shop like I normally would because I felt like mom wanted to make it a pretty quick trip. I picked up my bib and quickly shopped some venders. 

I thought mom would get the entire Pittsburgh marathon in the photo, I thought wrong.  

We then got my bib and headed home, but not before we stopped at an Italian bakery. 

I think I should stopped at more bakeries after packet pickups. It's a great way to carb load. 

I made it an early night because my plan was to leave moms house at 4am to arrive in Pittsburgh before 5:30 to find parking. The race didn't start until 7 am but I didn't know how the traffic getting there would be. Since I was getting up so early and I didn't want to wake everyone, I basically slept in my race outfit. All I had to do in the morning was wake up, throw my shirt on, brush my teeth and grab my bag as I walked out the door. I had my bagel pre-toasted to eat after I parked. As I was driving to Pittsburgh it suddenly dawned on me that I forgot my handheld in the frig. Ugh. Luckily there was a Sheetz gas station on the way so I pulled in a bought some Swedish fish. Looks like my run with be powered by Swedish fish. 

Turns out I could have slept in a bit. No traffic at all. No parking problems. I pulled in and took a little nap. 

Just like last year there was no real lines at the portapotties. 

I quickly checked my bag and was on the lookout for people I knew running. My stepdad laughed when I said I may run into people I know. He thinks it's too big of a race for that. Well how wrong he is. 

I turn the corner and I see Trisha and Dottie!  I played basketball and was in the same grade as Trisha's older sister, Stacy. So I grew up with Trisha running around at our basketball games. Dottie is their mom. I ran into them when I ran in Erie too. As we were chatting we were talking about seeing some of the same people at races even though you don't really know them. Dottie shows me a pic of shirtless man (who should keep his shirt on). She always sees him. Then they told me about trumpet guy. DC has the damn juggler and Pittsburgh has the damn trumpeter.  He plays the trumpet as he runs. Yeah he sounds annoying.

We all wished each other good luck and headed to our corals. It was going to be a warm day and I was already wishing I had packed my tank top. We finally headed off and within the first two miles I got passed by the damn trumpeter!  He IS annoying like the damn juggler!  He looks to be in his fifties or sixties and he blows the damn trumpet the entire race!  Now he would be even more annoying if he played entire songs, but I just heard him blow the trumpet as he ran past me. Who knows maybe he plays entire songs later in the race. 

I was feeling pretty good until I hit station square area. The hills were doing me in. I started walking up the hilly parts around mile 9 or so. On one hill there was a man handing out entire cans of beer!  He had some land shark when I went by. If he would have had small cups I might if taken some, but not an entire can! Lol.   The last bridge sucked the life out of me. It was up a hill followed by turn left and head up a mountain.  

Yes you are seeing the 80's come alive behind me. 

I was hating life!  I was hot and I just wanted to get these last two miles over with. Oh did I mention the ass cramp I had from mile ten on?  Yeah that was fun!  My hamstrings were a bit tight which I'm guessing led to the ass cramp. Fun times I tell you!  The last .75 or so was downhill and I just gave it all I had. I felt like I was flying as I was passing people. I've seen the finishers video..guess I wasn't flying like I thought I was. I finished in my normal time. My watch told me I had my fastest 5 and 10k ever. So if the hills hadn't killed me towards the end, who knows maybe I would have had a new pr. 

I got my medal and the all important smiley face cookie and headed to get my bag. 

I then felt like I was going to be sick. They heat was messing with me for sure. I layed down in the grass and didn't feel much better so I headed off to find some shade. I ended up finding a wonderful park bench in the shade. I layed down and closed my eyes for a bit. The man a few benches down, who was not a runner, looked at me like I was crazy. The runners on other benches didn't bat an eye at the homeless runner girl napping on the bench. 

It was a great race. Now I must walk a mile back to my car. Why does it feel like the car is so far away after you run 13.1?  I found my car and headed back to moms house.  I was going to stop and eat something but I knew I stunk and I really wanted a shower. So I decided to pickup my favorite pizza and take it back to moms for lunch. 

Yum!  Although I will say the Pepsi doesn't really hit the spot like a cold coke. 

All in all a great day to run!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

H2O zone

This past weekend I volunteered at the George Washington Parkway ten miler. All of the water peeps met up at 6:30 a.m. to get our water stop ready for a bunch of runners 

We were expecting just a few runners to stop and drink the best water on the course. Now don't ask the folks at mile 8 if they have the best water because they will lie to you and say their water is the best. It is obviously not the best since mile 6 has the best H2O around!

I had some people that I was watching out for. Some run club friends were running along with Megan.  I was on the look out for the damn juggler too. The last time I worked this exact water stop I saw him juggle by. I was telling some of the people about the juggler. Jen has never seen the damn juggler and asked if I would point him out when he juggles by. Of course I would. 

We quickly filled all of the cups and waited for our first thirsty runner. We didn't have to wait too long. Soon we were passing out water like champs. I cheered on the runners as I kept an eye open for the damn juggler. 

Soon Megan run up and said hi as she enjoyed some refreshing water. Still no damn juggler. After a large portion of the runners left we got word from a runner that an ambulance was needed for a runner 50 yards away. The runner said it looked like a heart attack. Luckily we had a police officer right across from our water stop blocking a road. He quickly put the call in for help and then sprinted over to help the runner. In short time I heard that the man was talking and looked much better. Did he have a heart attack?  Who knows. But one thing is certain that there were two ambulances at the scene pretty quickly.  Not a great ending to the day. I haven't heard anything but I'm guessing that the man was all right. At least I'm hoping he is alright. 

We cleaned up the area and before we knew it the crew was pulling up ready to collect all of our stuff. 

I headed to the finish to meet up with Megan. The finish area was crazy so we decided to head over to crystal city for some pizza. Yum!  You can beat ending the running day with two slices of pizza. 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Petersburg half marathon

Last week Megan, Jen and I headed to Richmond to run the inaugural Petersburg half marathon. We stopped to eat near my house trying to give 95 a chance to die down on a Friday night. Not sure if it helped or not. We got into our hotel around 9. Packet pickup was the morning of the race so we had no reason to hurry to get to the hotel. When we made it to the hotel we grabbed a cookie.

We may need the carbs in that cookie the next day!  One should always properly carb load with a cookie prior to running a half marathon. 

We got up early and headed to the race. The race was capped at 2,000 runners so we knew packet pickup should be fine. I wanted to get there before the morning fireworks!  Fireworks and did I mention a civil war re-enactment!  Fireworks and muskets being shot at us! It really can't get much better than that. 

We started out on a bit of cobblestone road and quickly turned and ran on pavement. I don't really enjoy running on cobblestone. Jen and I were running together. At the beginning we ran into Sandy from run club. 

Sandy ended up falling in a small uncovered hole on the road. She had some scraped hands and knees but assured us that she was fine and we should go on.  Soon we ended up in the battlefield area. I could hear the battle taking place and I was getting excited!  To pass the time I thought it would be great to give Jen, who is from Canada, some civil war history. I showed her interesting spots like the tree that gen Lee planted in hopes of taking a group selfie. Yes selfies have been around for awhile. I showed her where the troups stopped to have a round of golf and play corn hole. They often carried a lot of yard games from place to place to pass the time. If nothing else Jen is much more knowledgable about the civil war time period. 

We had to stop to get a picture with my people, the Yankees! The confederate soldier being shot at was not to happy to hear that some of us were rooting for the union!  The battlefield area had some hills but I'm proud to say we ran through them!  

Jen's leg was not feeling great. I'm thinking I must have passed my aches along to her. I was feeling great!  No leg pain at all!  I'm hoping that I've seen the last of the leg/knee pain for awhile. So around mile 8 we started some run/walking. 

I noticed that we created a lot of traffic backups. Some of the locals were not happy with us.  One lady was yelling at one of the police officers and demanding the name of his supervisor. I guess next year they will be better prepared to stay away from where the runners are running. 

We ended up running in some areas that had a lot of old broken down homes.   People were out on their porch probably wondering what is up with these crazy runners!  They were all very friendly. I thought the old homes would be beautiful if someone had the money to fix them up. You could tell that they were beautiful homes back in the day. 

I found my next service! 

The day was hot!  Running through the town was great but it didn't offer up much shade.  Sandy ended up passing us in the last mile and a half. Both Jen and I were done with the heat and running. I was wishing that I packed a tank top. Ugh. 

We finished!  It is always great to cross that finish line.  

You're missing the nice ribbons hanging from the medal. It was an awesome medal!

Pancakes and beer after the race. Megan finished before us and got beer and pizza. 

It was a very well organized race, especially for a first race!  

We headed back to the hotel to shower and then find some local food. 

We got some bbq. 

It was very good. 

Then we headed to a cute bakery that some people told Megan to come back for a donut after the race. So that is just what we did. Boy was it good!  I had a Boston creme donut. Probably the best I've ever had. It was very light and not too sweet. 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Cherry blossom 9.39 race

Last Sunday I headed into DC for the cherry blossom ten miler. It was perfect weather AND the cherry blossoms were actually in bloom! This is the sixth time running this race and I think this was the first time I've ran it with blossoms on the trees!  

(Packet pickup at the building museum on Saturday)

Megan, Jen and I headed to the metro bright and early. We met new run club friend Ric at the metro with no problems. As some of you may remember, I do not love this race. It is really crowded and I always end up with the leftover nasty bananas that nobody wants. I head into this year knowing that the food is not that great and the chance of a pr is slim. 

As we are checking our bags we hear that there has been an accident earlier in the morning on the race course and the police have a section blocked while they investigate. Due to this accident they have altered the course between mile 5 to 7.  We later learned that a pedestrian was hit by a motorcycle around 5:45 am and taken to the hospital. From what I have read the person was alive and I have not heard of a cherry blossom race day death, so that is always a good thing. The race director did a great job of rerouting  the course on such short notice. The elite women started on time about an hour after the accident. 

At the time I thought I heard that the race with the reroute was still ten miles. Later I would realize that it was a bit short. Last Tuesday they told us the official distance was 9.38 miles.  I'm thinking everyone pr'd this race since there are not too many 9.38 mile races out there.  

Megan and I headed to the portapotties and then quickly headed to our corals. There was not much of a wait before we were off. I did see that damn juggler before I hit the starting mat. He was dressed as Alex Ovechkin from the Capitals and juggling mini hockey sticks. I wish I had my camera on me to take pictures of the damn juggler. The good news is he never passed me!  

The race was crowded as usual. I kept my head down for most of the race in order to not trip on pot holes. I was feeling pretty good. I had no idea of my pace or mileage because I forgot my garmin  at home.  When I passed a time clock I would then do the math to try and figure my time and miles. It helped keep my mind off of running. At one point we were running an area of DC known as Hains Point, beside the Potomac river, and you just saw row after row of cherry blossom trees. It was very beautiful. At mile 8 I started to hate running. At mile 9, Jen passed me. I just kept trucking hoping to finish under two hours for a pr. 

As we were coming up the final hill towards the Washington monument I spotted brad. He came to cheer on us girls. I love when we have friends cheering us on!  

I finished well under two hours. I then found out it was a shorter course. Jen finished just in front of me and shared her pace number with me. I couldn't be too far off of her pace soooo.

Guess who got a pr and would have gotten a pr for the ten mile course too?  

Yep, this girl!!

This whole training thing and actually running may just work!  

We met up with everyone. 

Brunch turned out to not be very easy. We headed to Eastern Market and encountered a 2.5 hour wait!  We waited a bit then people started to get hangry so people just split up. Megan, Chris and I gave up and headed over to falls church for some yummy French toast. 

All in all it was a great day to run. 

Stay tuned for this weekends recap of the Petersburg half 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Shamrock Half Marathon

So last weekend I ran the Yuengling Shamrock Half Marathon.  I was supposed to run the full marathon, but due to a wonky quad I dropped down to the half.  I think that was a very smart decision.

It was also my friend, Kristi's first full marathon!  She rocked it! 
She was all smiles as she crossed the finishline!  Way to go Kristi!

The morning of the half I was trying out some adhesive to help my KT Tape stick better. 

Where has this stuff been all of my life?  This stuff was awesome!  Normally my Kt Tape does not last more than a run. Many people find that they can keep the tape on for a few days and a few showers. Me, I'm lucky if it stays on for an entire run. Last run this is what the tape looked like. 

It loves to just peel off of me. I follow all of the KT rules like no lotion and use rubbing alcohol on the area prior to the tape. Still the tape hates me. Well this new adhesive works wonders. I put it on Sunday morning and it was still hanging tough on Tuesday. Thank you KT Tape! It actually could have stayed on longer, but I was done with it. 

So back to the morning of the race. I took off early to find parking and meet Kristi's friend Amy before the start.  We were both running the half and in the same corral. I found parking pretty easily. I was going to pay to park ar farm fresh but it was full so I headed to find some free off street parking. 

I parked and headed to bag check. I found Amy and we headed over to our corral to wait for the start. Last year a 16 year old girl died after crossing the finishline. This year her friends and family were back running for her. It was very moving to see them on course. 

Amy was run/walking so we agreed to meet up at the finish. I was secretly hoping for a pr. It was a fast flat course and my last pr came while marathon training. Soon we were off and I was feeling pretty good shooting for a pr. As I was headed through the wooded part of the run we hit a sort of incline. I'm not even sure I could call it a hill. I hate hills and I felt no hatred of this bump. I was laughing to myself because you could tell the va beach runners because they were complaining about the hill. 

I was feeling great.  My legs were feeling good, I wasn't feeling winded, mile seven was looking great for me. You know that great feeling couldn't stuck around for ever. My first leg pain came around mile 8.5. I slowed it down a bit thinking that would help. A mile later I knew today was not going to be a pr day.  Why leg, why?  My run/ walk started around mile ten. The one positive thing about slowing down was I got to enjoy an on course beer stop. I missed the earlier mimosas but I did have one shot of beer. I finished the half right around my average half marathon time. It looks like it just wasn't meant to be for this race. 

I found Amy at bag pick up. With no problem. 

The wind from the ocean was cold after the run. Luckily I had a finishers beach towel to wrap around me along with my bright finishers hat. We then headed to the beer tent to grab one of our four free beers and listen to some bands. 

Runners like to drink beer. Yuengling was a great sponsor of this race. The bands were great too!  

Even Elvis had a great time!  As a side note Elvis needs to not wear his leopard print under Roos when wearing his white Elvis jump suit. Just sayin'.  

We headed out of the tent around one to catch Kristi finish her first full!  She was a rock star!

Other than my leg not holding up this was an awesome race and I may end up attempting this one again next year. 

Saturday, March 21, 2015

The long run that just won't end

Two weeks ago Jen and I headed out for a nice 19 mile run. It was a beautiful day. Temps were in the low 50's. It was perfect day to lace up the running shoes. I had my knee taped up and I was using this long run to see if I could complete the Shamrock full. This was the final test. I have not had a good long run yet. I was hoping this would be the day. I was hoping to see some rainbows and unicorns on the run. 

We started on the same running path that we have previously ran some long runs on. It was going to be an out and back run. I had some knee twinges at the beginning, but it didn't last. Come on unicorns! We headed out and it was a fine run up until around 12 miles then the knee started talking. Goodbye rainbows and unicorns. 

Jen was a good sport and walked the last 4-5 miles. It was a nice day to be out and about. I got 19 miles in just not all of the miles were running.  Ugh. What to do?

Tuesday was run club and I went out on the three mile run. I had a pretty good pace for 2 1/2 miles then I stopped for a stupid red light. 

I went from feeling great and suddenly I was a ninety year old woman hobbling across the street. I did my hobble type of run and then I had to stop for another red light. This light was worse than the previous. Doesn't look like a full is in my future. 

After that Tuesday I scheduled a dr appointment with an orthopedic. I wanted to make sure I wasn't messing up my leg or knee. I got in last Monday. I was pretty lucky to get an appointment so quickly. He assures me that it isn't my knee and I haven't torn anything. He thinks my quad is quitting on me and that is causing my other muscles to pipe up to prevent me from falling.  He also confirmed no full. He wants more shorter runs during the week and build up my long runs again. He also recommends sticking to a half or less.  

After my appointment I decided to bump down to the half.  I basically ran the half without issues for my last long run. I'm going to tape my knee again. This time I'm going to use the extra sticky spray since the Kt tape doesn't really stick that well to me. I ran twice this past week and felt pretty good. Im hoping it carries over to my race tomorrow.  I feel pretty good about tomorrow. I think it helps that I know what the issue is.  It also helps that I do not see snow while running too.  

Friday, March 6, 2015

Need to get past six miles

Last weekend Jen and I ventured out for a run. It has been awhile since we've ran long thanks to a crazy snowy February!  I was supposed to run 18 miles but I figured we could shoot for 12-15 miles. Jen was checking the local running paths to see which path would not kills with ice. Thankfully Run Washington put out a map of trail conditions so that made her job a bit easier. 

When we started out it was really cold. I was worried about my butt freezing off. For whatever reason my butt stayed toasty warm and didn't even have a chip in it. I think that must of been due to decreased winds because I know we have ran in slightly warmer temps and I had serious frozen butt syndrome (sfb for short).  

Who knew that wind could make or break a run!  I also had the perfect layers on for this run. Figures that I get layering in the winter down when we are pretty much done with single/teen temps. Anywhoo...we took off from Jen's and decided we'd aim for 12 miles and if we felt up to it we could tack on some extra miles once we made it back to Jen's place. Turned out to be a great decision. Around mile 6 my knee and quad were starting to kill me. I also am seriously questioning if I can finish my full marathon in March. Yikes!  Now the good news is there was no shooting pain like my last long run, just a lot of uncomfortable tightness. Once again I'm going to foam roll like a champ and see what I can do. We ended up doing 11 miles last week. Not very pretty but two good things came from the run.
1. I did not have s.f.b even though we were in the teens or twenties.
2.  No shooting pain up my leg and knee. Maybe my two weeks of rest helped some.

So this weekend we are going to head out for 19 miles (yikes!). This will be the test for the full. If I can get through this last long run then I should be fine for my marathon, if not I will think about not running or just doing the half, which is not how I wanted to spend that Sunday.