Friday, December 30, 2016

Christmas in Denver (Friday Five Edition)

Before I get into my Friday Five, I wanted to take a quick moment to share my sadness for Carrie Fisher and her mother Debbie Reynolds.   Carrie Fisher is best known for her role as Princess Leia in Star Wars.  She was a princess but could kick some ass.  Princess Leia was a role model for girls before the Lora Crofts or Katniss Everdeen.  She was a Princess that did more then wait for her Prince to save her.  Carrie Fisher was also an advocate for those with mental illness.  May she rest in peace.

So it's been a busy week.  We spent Christmas with family in Denver and had a good time.  I grew up here but moved to Virginia when I was 12. I've only been back once and that was 20 years ago. So I only remember a few things. But as we go around town I am getting flashbacks.  Here are five things that we did.

1. On Friday we went to the History Colorado Museum. It was a very fun museum to visit. They had a special exhibit about awkward family photos. You know those pictures you have on the wall which you wish you could hide in the attic so company would never see?  A bunch of those that just make you laugh.

They also had a bunch of things about Colorado that reminded me of my childhood. Like the Barrel Man. He would wear this barrel and hat (and nothing else). On a $10 bet Tim McKernan was supposed to get on TV. To do this he wore this outfit and won. He then continued to do this for every game for 30 years. No matter how cold.

2. We went to dinner at Casa Bonita. 


This place I totally remembered and it hasn't changed a bit. This place is a Mexican restaurant that has a tons of entertainment. They have shows like gun fights, magic shows, and diving.  


If you have never been there, it's kinda hard to describe.  South Park had done an episode about it that captures it pretty well.  I think it was the one thing I remembered best from my childhood in Denver.

3. I did a 10 mile run through downtown Denver.  I started at the Coors Field, the ballpark for the Rockies.

I then headed down to the 16th Street Mall which is about 1 1/4 miles long.

I then headed down to City Park, which is a very big park that includes the Zoo, Denver Museum of Nature and Science, and even a golf course.  


I didn't realize it during my run, but the high school that my dad graduated from was right across the street from the park.  And then I headed back the same way back to Coors Field. 

4. On Christmas Day we ventured out in wind gusts of 70-75 MPH and went to Black Hawk.  It's a place where there are a ton of casinos.  We hung out and I lost money, my Aunt won and then we ate free at their all you can eat buffet.

5. We ventured into the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, which I had ran by a couple of days before.  I didn't think I had been there before, but there were a few things that I remembered.  The outside of the IMAX.  The growling sabertooth donation display.

The animal dioramas.

I didn't remember the exhibit, but they had a really cool dinosaur exhibit. 

Bonus - I know it's only Friday Five, not Friday Six, but I wanted to add the last place we went.  The Old Spaghetti Factory.  It is another restaurant that has not changed a bit since I was last there 30 years ago.

Did you go anywhere for Christmas?  Have you ever been to Denver?  Do you try to run when on vacation to see different sights?

I'm linking up with Fairytales and Fitness and Running on Happy for Friday Five 2.0

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!!

I don't have a weekly wrap up today. I just wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy Hanukkah!!

I'll have more of my Christmas recap in later posts. Till then I hope everyone enjoys the holidays!!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Surf-n-Santa 5 Miler Recap (Friday Five Edition)

I always have a hard time this time of year because I don't like the cold and I hate these short days.  Two days ago, on Wednesday, was the Winter Solstice.  My dad always said that the Winter Solstice is his favorite day of the year because the days only get longer from here.  I think of that and can look forward to the cold winter months as I know each day is getting longer and longer.  I hope you enjoyed the shortest day of the year (or longest night - how ever you would like to think about it).  Now on with my recap.

This past Saturday I did the Surf-n-Santa 5 Miler in Virginia Beach.  This was the first time I've done this race.  I was signed up for it last year but the holiday time just got in the way and I deferred it to this year.  I'm kinda glad I did as this year they were trying to break the Guinness Book of World Record of having the most Santas in a race.  Here are five things about the race.

1. This was my first 5 mile race.  I had to think about it some while I was running, but I have never done the 5 mile distance.  I've run that distance many times during training, but never as a race.  It's a nice distance.

2. Seeing all of the people dressed up in Santa suits was so much fun.  When I picked up my bib, we were given a one size fits all Santa suit instead of a shirt.  It comes with pants, coat, belt, beard, and hat.  You had to wear all 5 pieces crossing the start line and finish line to be part of the record.  It was weird to see people that were not in a Santa suit, or even in any holiday outfits.  They really stood out.

3. We ran down the Boardwalk and they had festive lights everywhere.  My favorite was the 12 Days of Christmas.  They had all 12 days in different lights.  I wish I took some pictures of them as some of them were really creative.  I just wish they would have started us a little later so when we got to the Boardwalk it would have been a little darker to really enjoy the lights.

4. I really like the J&A Races, especially the shorter ones as they are fun routes.  The route started at the Convention Center and went down to the Boardwalk and then back to the Convention Center.  I liked being on the Boardwalk for as long as we were.  They gave out Ginger Snap cookies and Candy Canes on the course.  They also give some sort of finisher thing at the end of the race.  This race we got gloves.

5.  The weather was unseasonably warm.  It was chilly all day, but a warm front came through in the afternoon.  It was about 50 degrees when we started at 4:30.  I knew to just wear shorts and a light shirt underneath.  I felt bad for those who had long pants and heavier shirts on.  Some were stripping down during the run to their base layer (which is legal for the record as long as they put everything back on before they crossed the finish line).

I think I would do this race again.  I know they won't do the Guinness Record again, but it is a fun race on the Boardwalk.  It's just a pain to drive 2 hours back and forth for the race.

Before I end this post, I wanted to give a shout out to Heather for my Blogger Card Swap. She sent me a very cute card with a fun sticker from #werunsocial and a gift card for Target.  I heart Target. :)  Thanks so much Heather!!

Have you done the Surf-n-Santa race before?  Have you done a 5 miler race, there doesn't seem to be a lot out there?  What is your favorite holiday race?

I'm linking up with Fairytales and Fitness and Running on Happy for Friday Five 2.0

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

2016 Races in Pictures (Tuesdays on the Run Edition)

I don't feel like I did many races this year, but after looking at my pictures I did.  They were all part of challenges.  I also had a huge gap between April and October, which probably is what made it feel like I didn't do many races.  But with all of the challenges, boy did I get a lot of medals.  19 medals for 13 races this year.

At the start of the year I did the Dopey Challenge at Walt Disney World in Florida.  At some point I want to see what I can remember of this race and do a recap.  It was something that I'm glad I did, but it's defiantly a one and done.  4 races in 4 days for 48.6 miles.

I then the weekend after that I turned around and did the Star Wars Light Side Challenge in Disneyland in California.  Yes I'm crazy, but I have to say that the half was the most fun I had in such a long time.  After the half, I had run 7 races in 11 days running 71 miles.

This year was the first year that they did a Star Wars Dark Side Challenge in Walt Disney World in Florida.  If you did both Star War races then you got a special Millennium Falcon medal.  You had me at Millennium.

Most of my summer was focused on training for the Marine Corps Marathon.  That was my goal race of the year.  MCM was the hottest marathon I have ever run and I felt a little disappointed with the conditions, but I was so prod of my 10 minute PR.

Because I signed up for the Richmond Marathon Training Team to train for the MCM I had entry to the Richmond Marathon.  I had decided to make the decision of doing the marathon or half at the expo.  I decided to do the marathon - the second in two weeks.  Plus another PR, 20 minutes faster then MCM.

This past weekend I did my last race of the year.  The Surf-n-Santa 5 Miler.  It was a really fun run with festive lights on the Boardwalk and a Guinness Book of World Records set for the most Santas in a race.

So what is up for next year?  I'm doing both Star Wars Challenges and that's all I have signed up for in 2017.  I have thoughts on other races, but with the limbo of the job, I don't want to plan any more big trips just yet.  Now that I am back in touch with some of the family, I have already been offered places to stay in MD.  Maybe I will do the King Crab Challenge.  Or maybe the Triple Dare Challenge with the J&A races in Virginia Beach.  Who knows, I have a feeling that 2017 will be a bit of spontaneity when it comes to races.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

First Week of Freedom (Weekly Wrap-up Edition)

So this was my first week of no work.  Honestly it has been great.  I've had so much to do this week that I was so glad that I didn't need to go to work on top of everything.  I got all my Christmas shopping done.  All the wrapping done.  Saw Rouge One twice (yes, I'm a Star Wars geek).   I even got my hair cut. 

When I run my midweek runs, 3 or 4 miles, I like to play a game.  Sort of my way of doing speed work.  I run the first mile however I feel.  I don't slow down if I feel I'm going too fast and I don't speed up if I feel like I'm going slow.  Then the second mile has to be faster then the first and then the third has to be faster then the second and the forth faster then the third.  To throw in some fun, I don't look at my pace on my watch, I try to do it by feel.  I need a name for this game.

I was able to get all of my midweek runs in.  Monday I got up early, even though I didn't have to go to work.  I wanted to get out before it started to rain, plus I had an early PT appointment.  The news said that the rain would start around 7, so I was right on time to get out there and back before it started to rain.  Then as I walked out the door, the news changed it's mind and said it would start about 6.  I was out 10 minutes before it started to drizzle then it started to rain 10 minutes after that.  I stuck it out and ran one of my fastest runs in a very long while.  I just wanted to get done and out of the rain.  I really don't mind running in the rain, but when it's cold out I hate it.  I wouldn't have gone out if it started before I ran, but since I was out there already I might as well finish it.  Monday I won my game.

Wednesday was a really good run.  I didn't win my game but I was even faster then Monday without trying.  I couldn't believe that I had two runs this week that were amazingly fast.  Not only that, but no real aches or pains, well for me.

Thursday night I was able to go and see the opening of Rouge One.  I really liked it and loved how it fit right into A New Hope.


Friday I really didn't want to go for my run.  It was 22 degrees and COLD.  It took me awhile to get out the door but I was glad I did.  I missed the last mile to beat my game, but even a faster then the other two runs this week.  Woot!  Then I went to see Rouge One in 3D in the afternoon.  I think both 2D and 3D were great.  Loved the movie so much I came home and watched A New Hope to really see how it all fit in together.

Saturday I got my hair cut.  I didn't think it needed it as I'm back and forth on if I want to keep it short or grow it out.  I made my hairdresser pick and she said I should grow it back out.  Though I think she is a bit biased on long hair.  I really didn't care one way or the other and I trust her with my locks.  But the way she trimmed it up made it look really nice and made me realize how much it needed a cut.  Maybe to be washed as well (I only wash it every 2-3 weeks, yes you read that right). 

Then I headed to Virginia Beach for the Surf-n-Santa 5 miler.  I really wasn't looking forward to this race as I was tired and really didn't want to drive all the way to Virginia Beach.  But I went cause the race was trying to beat a Guinness Book of World Records for the most Santas in a race.  I thought being part of that would be fun, no matter my mood.  I'll have more on it in my recap, but Spoiler Alert! - we beat the record (pending Guinness Book of World Records verification).


Then I had dinner with Lacey.  We went to a local place and had these really good Tuna Nachos and crab puffs.  I would have never thought about putting Tuna on Nachos and they were so good.  It was really good to catch up with Lacey as we haven't seen each other in ages.  Then I drove all the way home and showered and hit the hay.

Did you see Rouge One yet?  Do you run in the rain (even if it's cold)?  Have you done the Surf-n-Santa?

Linking up with Holly and Tricia's Weekly Wrap Up.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

MCM 2016 VLOG (Tuesdays on the Run Edition)

I know it's been way over a month since MCM but I finally got around to putting this vlog from the trip together. 

In case you'd like to read the recaps from the MCM weekend:

I really wish I would have made a few more videos through the weekend, but I put in pictures instead.  Also there is part of it that is really weird cause I moved the phone from horizontal to vertical and I guess you are not supposed to do that.  I tried to fix as best I can, but there is still a part that looks weird.  This is the first time I tried to do it and I hope you like it.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Last Week of Routine (Weekly Wrap-up Edition)

I've been having a hard time starting this post.  Not sure why.  I'm training for a half in January, but I'm not really following any plan.  Just trying to keep my fitness and runs up from the Richmond Marathon last month.  So why am I having a hard time wrapping up my week?  Again, not sure why, but I'm just going to see what happens as I type.

Monday and Wednesday I got in a 4 mile run.  It has started to get chilly and feeling a little like winter.  I'm getting used to running in the cold now and have very little hesitation anymore.  The run was good and I was glad I was out there.

Friday got a lot colder.  My first run colder then freezing.  I think I bundled up well for the 4 miles and even needed to take off my gloves at mile 3.  Again, another good run this week.

I missed my run on Saturday cause we drove up to Maryland to make Christmas cookies with family.  We haven't seen most of the extended family for a long time.  My great uncle died over the summer and that was the first time in years that we saw anyone.  The funny thing about that funeral is that most everyone was not sure who everyone was in the family.

On my mom's side my great grandmother came to this country from Lithuania when she was a teenager.

My Great-Grandmother is the one in the middle

She had four children and it seems that most of us kept to our own families.  So we all were not sure who was who and it was a bit of a relief that we were not the only ones that were not sure.  After a lot of discussion we asked to be invited when they made Crusdes (Lithuanian Christmas cookies).

The four siblings, my grandmother is on the left

So we went up Saturday to see everyone and make cookies.  It was a lot of fun to catch up with everyone.  The cookies are a lot of fun to make.  The dough is made the night before and everyone brings their batches.  Then the dough is rolled out and cut into strips with a slit in the middle.  They are then twisted in the middle to make them really fun.  Then we fry them.


Like the typical setup, the women were in the kitchen rolling, cutting, and twisting, while the guys were in the garage with the fryers.  I wanted to try and catch up with everyone, so I went back and forth and did a bit of all the jobs.  I wish I would have taken pictures while I was there.  I'm bad a that when I'm in the middle of having fun.

I made up my long run on Sunday.  I ran 8 miles and it was a hard run at the end.  I started the run and the temperatures said it was 40 with a wind chill of 35.  The first 5 miles were good and I felt warm with what I was wearing.  Took off my hat and gloves and enjoyed being outside.  After the fifth mile things started to get cold again.  Like really cold.  The hat and gloves were put back on.  And I started to hate the run cause I was so cold.  I was glad to be done with the run though.  I did see this great decoration.


So the week is over and I'm about to start a new chapter of my life.  I have tons of things that I will be doing this week, plus a lot of things that need to get done before Christmas.  It is nice not to worry about work while I try to get all of this done.

Linking up with Holly and Tricia's Weekly Wrap Up.

Friday, December 9, 2016

What's Next? (Friday Five Edition)

So today is my last day at work.  I have vacation that I'm using till the end of the year and then that's it.  So a lot of my thoughts are on what will I be doing next.  I have 7 months of severance so there are a lot of things up in the air right now.

1. Job hunting - I get this question often.  And really, right now, most companies are not hiring because of the end of the year, holidays, and budgets.  I have done a great deal of networking the last couple of months and will start up again in January.

2. Traveling - While I don't want to spend too much money on vacations, this is a perfect time go do some traveling.  I already had a couple things on the schedule and I'm trying to decide if I want to do anything else.  The only problem is that all my friends still have jobs, so it will be a little harder to find someone to do something spur of the moment.

3. Cleaning - I have to admit I'm a bit of a pack rat.  It doesn't help that I have very little storage in my house.  So I want to use some of this time to just purge and get rid of things out of my house that I really don't need.  Hopefully I can stay motivated and get a good amount done.

4. Classes - Our severance package includes some money to use for training.  We have two years to use it and it doesn't have to be IT specific.  So I'm looking around to what might be useful to my career and more importantly, what might be fun.

5. Relaxing - December and most of January probably won't be the best time for me to have a lot of time to relax as I have so much going on.  But it will be nice not to have to worry about work on top of everything.  So I'm hoping to get some reading done, binge some TV shows, and cuddling with the kitties.

Have you had some extended time off before?  What did you do with your time?

I'm linking up with Fairytales and Fitness and Running on Happy for Friday Five 2.0

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Back in the Saddle Again (Weekly Wrap-up Edition)

Between tapper, races, recovery, and Thanksgiving, I have not had a regular routine since mid-October.  This week, my goal was to get back to my normal schedule.

Monday I was able to get a 3 mile in before work.  It was in the mid-30's and cold.  I'm still trying to remember how to dress for the colder weather.  I didn't do too bad, just cold arms and legs, so my core was a good temperature and that's what matters.

Tuesday I made it to the gym.  It was a really good workout.

Wednesday when I got up for my run it was in the mid 60's.  Yes a 30 degree temperature change in two days.  That's Virginia for you.  I woke up just a tad hung over, but I knew no matter how bad the run would be, I would feel better.  It ended up being a pretty good run considering.

Thursday I made it to the gym for a second time in the week.  The first I've done that in a few weeks.

Friday the temperature was back down to freezing.  Yes another 30 degree temperature change in two days.  I dressed a bit better, so I'm starting to remember.  I ended up doing 5 miles because I would be out of town over the weekend and wasn't sure if I would get a long run in.  I wanted to do 6 miles, but that's hard to do before work for me.

I tried to do a 3 mile run on the treadmill at the hotel.  First trying to get into the fitness center was complicated.  Apparently there was a key scanner on the other side of the door that was camouflaged.  The treadmill itself was probably the cheapest that I've seen.  There really wasn't a shelf to put my iPad on.  It wasn't really big enough for a magazine.  I did the quick start and it still had the numbers from the run before.  Stop/clear did nothing.  I had to pull that emergency tab off to reset the numbers.  Once I got going it took forever for it to speed up to the number on the treadmill.  It took awhile to find the right speed cause the change was so slow.  I finally found a good speed and got a little over a mile in and my iPad slipped and hit the emergency stop and everything came to a complete stop.  It took awhile to get back to a good speed again and 2 minutes later my iPad slipped again.  I was so sick of this stupid treadmill that I just gave up.  Not worth the aggravation.

Going forward routine is going to be hard for me.  I'm not good getting my runs in if my routine is not there and my last day of work is Friday, so out the door goes my routine.  If I'm not getting up for work or meeting people I usually hang out too long and then I change my mind on going.  I'm also out of town all the weekends in December so trying to get my long run in on the weekend will be a challenge.  Might be good that I don't have work, so that I an do a long run during the week.  We will see what the next few weeks bring.

How do you keep up with training without a routine?  Does your weather get all funky like in Virginia in the fall?  What is the worst treadmill experience that you have had?

Linking up with Holly and Tricia's Weekly Wrap Up.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

SPC Turkey Waddle 5k Recap (Tuesdays on the Run Edition)

On Thanksgiving I ran a 5k Turkey Trot.  We only have a couple in our area this year, a 10k and this 5k.  I've done the 10k before, but it's really hilly and full of very fast runners.  The 5k that I did was very laid back with only one steep hill.

I was not planning on doing a Turkey Trot this year, but a friend of mine who is starting to get back into running really wanted to.  So I said I would go with her.  She felt like the 10k would be too much for her, so we oped for the 5k.  This is the first year that I have done this particular race and I found it a lot of fun.

The cost of this race was $10 and all proceeds go to the Food Bank.  We got to the church and went to check in.  There were no timing chips or even bibs.  From what I understand the whole $10 went directly to the Food Bank, so they saved the money on buying bibs. 

We were able to hang out inside and even use real bathrooms before the race began.  The weather was in the upper 40's and overcast.  It sprinkled a little on our way there, but the ran stayed away for the race.

As we were directed to the start line, it looked like several hundred people were out to run this.  They made some announcements but we couldn't hear any of them because no one would be quiet.  It was very irritating.  Because this was put on by a church they did say a prayer and it only got a little more quiet during that.  This was the only really irritating part of the race as it just seemed that everyone was being very rude to the announcer. 

And then we were off....

My friend stayed with me for a very short time.  She was always a couple steps in front of me looking back and I told her several times to go on without me.  It was funny as I was doing that a guy next to me was telling his wife to go on without him.  It turned out that my friend kept the wife as a pacer.  I ended up losing the husband at some point.

The first mile went through some nice neighborhoods and I kept up a good pace.  In fact my first mile was just a little over 12 minutes.  Really fast for me.  By mile 2.5 I knew going out that fast was a huge mistake as my IT band was starting to hurt me. 

We ended up running next to part of a lake.  At that point it was a trail and then sand.  The lake was beautiful.  When we finished near the lake we had to go up some stairs and then up a really steep hill. 

By the time that I got to the third mile my IT band really hurt, so I ended up walking most of the last mile.  There were a bunch of families near me and the kids would run fast ahead and get tired and the parents would slowly catch up.  There were also a lot of dogs out for the 5k.  So cute.

Then end of the course turned onto the grass of the church.  I decided to run the last bit of it out to have a strong finish. 

Overall I would do this race again.  It was a fun atmosphere and the course was nice in some great neighborhoods.  They even raised over $8k to Feedmore Central Virgina Foodbank and Shalom Farms this year.

Did you do a Turkey Trot this year? 

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Richmond Marathon Recap - Finally! (Weekly Wrap-up Edition)

I had another week of very little work outs.  I ran a couple of times, including a Turkey Trot, and went to the gym once.  I really need to get back on a good schedule.  Not a very exciting week, so I'll give you a more exciting (and a little long) recap. :)

So two weeks after I ran the MCM, I had decided to run Richmond.  Because I was signed up for the Marathon Training Team, I have entry to the marathon.  I wasn't sure if I would drop down to the half, or run my second marathon in two weeks.  I had gone back and forth on what I would do for the two weeks.  Come the week of the expo, I was leaning more towards the marathon and when I went to the expo, my decision was made to run the marathon.

So let's start off with the expo.  This race hosts the marathon, half marathon and an 8k.  I've done the half and 8k but this was the first time I would run this marathon.  The expo was the same as always.  We usually go to the expo on Thursday night and then go out to dinner.  This year was the same.  We went to the expo after work on Thursday and bib pickup was easy as usual.  The expo seems crowded and hot, but really there are no lines for anything.

I picked up my bib with no wait.  Went to the official merchandise area and decided that I wanted to get a marathon shirt since this probably is the only time I do that distance.

I walked through part of the expo to pick up my race shirt.  I do hate how the official shirts are so far away from bib pick up as I'm always afraid to put down my bib and lose it.  We get a bag with the shirt, but till then we just carry around the bib on its own.

I walked around a little waiting for my friends.  While I waited they had beer samples.  I don't mind if I do.  A couple of my friends showed up and we went on a lookout for cheap gloves that we could throw out.  We headed out and went for a very fun pasta dinner.

On Friday I decided to go check out the talk by Bart Yasso.  Both Bart and Don Garber were there to talk logistics of the race.  While I knew most of it, it was nice to hear it all again.  Both are fun speakers and people asked Bart a bunch of questions and I heard some of the same stories he shared at MCM.

I even got a picture with Bart Yasso.

Race day...

I met up with my running friends at one of the hotels.  The Richmond Marathon has been known as "American's Friendliest Marathon".  I didn't know this, but Bart Yasso said this of the Richmond Marathon because of the nice hotel and businesses that open up their doors before the marathon to keep us warm and let us use their bathrooms.  I did see Bart Yasso as I walked to the hotel and said hello again.  My friends and I hung out in the hotel and used the bathroom a couple of times and I ate my Honey Stinger Waffle.  Then we headed out.  They all were doing the half and I was the only one to do the full so we parted ways as each race has it's own start line.

I dropped off my bag at the UPS trucks.  I have to say that this is the only race that doesn't make you use a clear plastic bag.  I was able to check my backpack.  Then I headed towards the start line.  There also wasn't any security to get to the start line.  There were only 6 corals and of course I was in the last.  There really didn't seem like any structure to the corals so I stood on one of the corners and finished up my water and took a 5 Hour Energy.  I turned everything on and realized that my HR monitor would not stay on.  I know I charged it but it kept going off.  So I would have to run this without my HR monitor.  I wasn't going to run by my HR, but it would have been nice to have it to look back on.  I did run 30 second walk/1 minute run.  And before I knew it, we were off.

I had a throw away sweatshirt on as it was about 38 degrees as we started.  I also had my throw away gloves and a headband ear warmer.  We did a couple of turns and ended up on Broad Street where we could see the half marathoners on the other side of the street.  I kept looking over and I did eventually see my friends.  They didn't see me and they were too far away to yell at.  I wished them a good race to myself.

I was debating on when I should take off my sweatshirt.  It was still a little chilly but I was warming up.  We were in the shade of the buildings and I decided once we moved out of the shade, I'd take it off.  I did finally ditch it and decided that the first bank of port-a-potties I'd have to go.  What I loved about this race is that the first set were 10 long on both sides of the street.  No lines as this is where everyone decides to take a potty break.

The crowds were good.  Our bibs had our names on them and everyone was calling out by name.  I loved that.  Felt like they were all out there for me.  The first few miles went by quickly.  Everything was feeling good.  We made our way onto Grove Street and saw this wreath that was still up from Halloween.

I felt like I had to use the bathroom again.  I have never used the bathroom more then once during a race.  What was going on?  I saw another batch of port-a-potties and stopped.  We headed down to cross the river.  I ran into someone from the training team who is just a tad faster then me.  He was running with a bunch of people from out of town and they sounded like they were having fun.  I also ran into a lady that said that this was her 149th marathon.  I can't even imagine that.  How great.

As we were crossing the bridge about mile 7 I felt like the race was really thinning out.  Like a lot.  There were times that I felt like no one was around me.  I kept looking behind me to see if I was the last one, but there was a handful of people behind me still.  It was like this the rest of the race.  No wonder everyone on the training team was always ahead of me, this race has mostly fast runners.

We crossed the river and ran beside it for awhile.  We have run this road a couple times and I find it so pleasant to have such nice scenery right next to the road.  I felt like I had to go to the bathroom again.  What the heck?  I decided to ignore it to see if it would go away.  Eventually it did.

There was an older gentleman that ran past me and the back of his shirt said that his name was Woody and he was 86 years old.  We will see each other several times throughout the rest of the race.

We made our way away from the river and it seemed like every road was up hill.  Looking at the elevation chart, I was heading into 3 miles of rolling hills where most of them is up.

During the race, the coaches from the training team were all over the course.  They were there to cheer us on and run with us every so often.  At this time, one of the coaches from my team saw me and ran with me a little.  It was nice to chit chat with someone even if it was only for a few hundred feet.  He had said that he had already run about 11 miles back and forth at different spots.  So he was right about at the same mileage as I was without running the course.  I did notice about this time that every so often, even on my walk breaks, I was having a hard time catching my breath.  It wasn't bothersome, it was just weird as this has never happened before.

There were a few more miles till we reached the bridge to cross back over the river.  I heard stories of the wind on this bridge.  Everyone says to keep your gloves cause it will get breezy and cold while crossing the bridge.  I never took my gloves off, so that was no problem.  By this time it probably was in the mid 40's.  Before we turned onto the bridge, I could feel the wind.  I was a little anxious about what it would be like when I finally was on the bridge.

Once I hit the bridge, there really wasn't any breeze.  It was kinda nice out there.  At the end of the bridge, you could hear the after party.  Seriously, I had 10 more miles to go and the after party was so close, right under the bridge.

We headed up one of the biggest hills of the course.  I've run this a few times and hate it every time.  About this point, I started to feel nauseous.  It wasn't much, but it reminded me of the first 10 miles of MCM.  I hoped that it would go away quickly.

We made our way out onto Main Street and there seemed to be a bit more people out cheering.  It probably was cause they were hanging out at a bar and they were drinking.  That's OK, I was glad for any and all of the people out there cheering for the back of the pack.  They even had this cool drumming group from VCU.

Once we turned onto Boulevard we were on the half marathon course.  I was also so very nauseous.  I kept taking my Gu cause I didn't want to hit the wall hard cause I didn't fuel.  But the Gu made me more sick to my stomach.  Once I started to feel a little better it was time to take another Gu.  I was so excited for the last Gu I had to take.  We would pass a pizza joint and it made me want to puke.  We passed a BBQ place and it made me want to puke.

We made our way through some really nice neighborhoods.  I was so glad there were no more restaurants around to have to smell.  We have run this a lot, not only in marathon training, but for long runs throughout the year.  It was finally getting close to 50 degrees and I started to peal off my gloves and ear warmers.  Every mile during the last 10 miles I would skip one of my running segments every mile to take a break.  I knew if I kept up my pace, I would get a second PR in two weeks.

The course was so space at this time.  We got to one turn and the other two people that were around were not sure if we were supposed to go strait or turn.  We stopped and had to ask a volunteer that really wasn't paying attention to the runners.  That's how few people were still on the course.

I got to the last few turns and knew I was almost there.  The coaches were there and so encouraging as we made it to the hill.  If you haven't seen the end of the Richmond course, the last .2 miles goes strait down hill.

I was so happy to be done.  My legs held up and really didn't have much pain with them.  Crossing the finish line was very emotional for me.  I knew that my stomach would feel better once I stopped and I couldn't believe that I just finished a second marathon in two weeks.  Not only that, I couldn't believe that I made it under 6:30, which was my MCM A goal.  My official time was 6:26:45.

After I crossed the finish line I saw Don Garber, the MTT head coach, and I asked him for a hug.  I needed a hug so bad.  And then I heard that Woody (the 86 year old man that I saw many times on the course) finished right behind me.  I turned around cause I wanted to congratulate him, but he had stopped to talk to a couple people and I was just so tired that I needed to keep moving.

I got my finisher medal, blanket, and hat.  Along with water and snacks.  I couldn't even think about eating, but I did grab a bagel and was able to eventually eat about half of it.

I ended up buying the finisher jacket.  I have the finisher jacket from my first Richmond Half (which was my first half ever), and wanted one of my first (and probably only) Richmond Marathon.   They didn't have my size so they are shipping it to me for free, which was nice.  I just wish it was a full zip, but I love the color.

I started walking up the big hill towards where I remember the bag pickup was and my car.  I was just tired and just wanted to be home.  I was wrong about the bag pick up and ended up having to walk all the way back to the finish line to get my sandals and jacket.  It was probably good that I went back as I saw the PR bell on my way back up the hill to my car.

My breathing at this point had not gotten any better.  It was just like I had walked up 5 flights of stairs. Everything turned out OK, but it was really scary for a while that night.

Overall I was really glad that I had done it.  Except for the nausea (that stopped soon after the race) and the breathing problems after the fact, it was a great race.  The weather was great, the few crowds that stayed out for the back of the pack were wonderful, and the course was not too bad.  I know I felt like I was going up hill the whole time, but there were a few good down hills.  I probably won't do this race again, as I don't see me doing many more marathons.  I'd rather do a new marathon then this again.  I actually would like to do the half again.  Out of the many halves I have done, I've only done this one once.  Also, I'm officially a Marathon Maniac!

Have you done the Richmond Marathon before?  Are you a Marathon Maniac?  Have you ever felt really sick during a race?

Linking up with Holly and Tricia's Weekly Wrap Up.