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.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

I would like to wish everyone a very happy Thanksgiving! Here are a few things I'm thankful for.

1. My parents - They are people that would do anything for me if I needed. I know at some point soon  things are gonna change and they will rely on me more then I would rely on them. They deserve what ever I can do for them.

2. My friends - While I don't have a huge circle of friends they are very close. Again they are people that would do anything for me and I'd do the same.

3. A great running community- Near and far have I met some wonderful people that enjoy running as I do. They don't think I'm crazy for running Dopey or two marathons in two weeks. Most would encourage some would even do the same. And some I've never met in person but know we would have a great time if we ever met.

4. My cats - Yes I'm one of those crazy cat ladies. No matter what I look like or how I feel they are there for snuggles. They always put a smile on my face.

5. My body - While it not in the best of shape it allows me to do crazy thing like run two marathons in two weeks, and all of the training that goes with it.

I hope that everyone had a great Thanksgiving and ate lots of great food!

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

Sunday, November 20, 2016

MCM Recap Part 2 - Finally! (Weekly Wrap-up Edition)

Since I didn't really do anything this past week I thought I'd wrap up my MCM recap.

In case you missed previous posts from the MCM weekend:

So I left off by making the first course cutoff by 50 minutes.  This was very exciting, plus we were entering the mall area where all of the fun monuments and museums are.  Right after the Gauntlet we rounded to the other side of the Washington Monument.  Can't get enough of seeing this thing. :)

Then we came up to the new African American Museum.  I knew it right away by it's unique architecture.  It's one place I want to visit soon.

By this time I was 10 miles from the finish line.  My nausea had passed and I was feeling much better.  My left knee and IT Band were acting up every now and again, but nothing that hindered me at all.  And the temperature was hitting about 70 degrees at this point.  I was starting to feel the heat and kept trying to roll my short sleeves up.  One just would not stay up and it was very annoying cause I was getting warm.

We rounded to the tip of the mall where the Capital is.

The crowds and marines were so much fun in this area.

As I turned the corner of the mall and started heading back to the Washington Monument, I saw Candace.  She was walking with someone that she had met at a previous race.  I stopped and walked with them a little bit.  Her friend was having some cramping issues so Candace was going to stick with her for awhile.  I said good-bye and headed off with my walk/runs again.

We came back down the other side of the mall and saw the Washington Monument again.  I knew we were about to turn to the area where I would Beat the Bridge.  I was almost to a point where I knew I would finish the race no matter what.

As I turned the corner toward the 14th Street Bridge I saw a huge group of people.  They had a fire hydrant open so the water was spraying the runners.  It was nice to get some relief from the heat by being doused in water.

Right past the water was the marker where I officially needed to Beat the Bridge.  I needed to be there by 1:15 PM and I hit it by 12:33 PM.  I felt like I had crossed the finish line. I was so excited.

Then there were people with "Free Hugs" on their shits.  They were from the Free Hugs Project which was started by Ken Nwadike who after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing wanted to run in 2014 but did not qualify.  He went there anyway to cheer people on with a Free Hugs t-shirt and sign.  I hugged everyone that had a shirt on and the last guy actually picked me up and hugged me.  I'm not the type of girl that guys pick up, so it did surprise me.  After the Beating of the Bridge and all the hugs I was on the top of the world.

And for the last time, we saw the Jefferson Memorial as we got onto the 14th Street Bridge.

People talk a lot about the Walking Dead on the 14th Street Bridge and man were they right.  I don't think I saw one person running.  At this point I did take a break and did walk about half of the bridge.  I wanted to reflect on what I just did, and really wanted a little break.  We passed into Virginia and I knew we were on the backside of the race.

Like many people have reported, the bridge is like a mile or more long.  There also are not any spectators.  I did see a couple of EMS 4x4 vehicles pass with people on stretchers that were being brought to the finish line for one reason or another.  I'm assuming most were heat related.

We turned off of the bridge and headed into the Pentagon parking lot.  And then ran around it.  Out in the sun.  No shade.  No spectators.  So boring.  It was getting into the mid-70's at this point.  The sun was finally fully out.  And I was dragging.  I was still pushing my walk/runs cause I knew if I kept pushing I would be done, and possibly a PR.

As I was exiting the Pentagon parking lot I saw Candace and her friend on the other side.  They looked good.  And then I was heading into Crystal City.  There were a lot more spectators at this point, but I was getting miserable because of the heat.

It seemed that one of the water stops had run out of cups as they were out there pouring water into water bottles and just giving out the gallon jugs to people. They were also offering to dump water over your head or neck if you wanted.  I took them up on that.  I made sure that my water bottles were full at each water station just cause I was drinking that much.

Crystal City was another out and back.  And the longest of the out and backs that we had done all day.  One of the spectators was giving out ice.  I grabbed some and rubbed it on my face. I put what was left down the back of my shirt.  As I moved on I wished I grabbed more ice to put down my shirt.

This out and back kept going on and on.  When we finally reached the end, they had one of those fans that blew mist out.  Another nice touch on such a hot day.  At each water station I would have someone dump water on the back of my neck.  I was so hot but I kept pushing cause I knew I would be done quicker if I kept my walk/runs up.  I would skip a run every so often just for a break.

We made our way out of Crystal City and headed our way to the back side of the Pentagon.  We were getting close and I kept pushing.  I knew if I hit all my running I would PR.  So I kept pushing when all I wanted to do was stop.  You can tell I was struggling as I stopped taking pictures.  Not that there was a lot of exciting stuff to see after you crossed the bridge.

Right before the 26 mile marker were the famous marines out in just their boxers.  I had heard of them but had completely forgotten about them as I was so focused on the finish.  All I have to say is Yummy!

And Yummy!

And then there it was.  Mile 26!  Two more tenths of a mile!

And then there was that hill.  I heard all about the hill but I didn't expect it to be that steep.  It was a very short hill though.  I walked up it and then the course turns right and it is flat to the end.  I stated running.  And then sprinting.  I put everything I had left into the last feet of the race to the finish line.  I think I might have cried a little or screamed or something as I finished.

Once I crossed the finish line I knew I had a PR, but I wasn't sure by how much.  I hugged a bunch of marines that were there cheering for us after we crossed the finish line.  I had put 150% of myself out on that course and I was a tad emotional.

I looked at the lines to get medals and one marine was waving toward me.  I made my way over to him to get my medal from him.  This was the most special part of the whole race.  To have these men and women there cheering for us after everything they have done for our country.  This is what makes this race so special.

I made my way to the Iwo Jima Memorial to get my picture taken.

I wandered around to find some water and while my left leg was the one that bothered me a little during the race, my right one decided to seize up on me at this point.  I asked one of the marines that was handing out water where the medical tent was and it was all the way the other way.  I headed over and got some ice to put on my leg.  I sat in one of their chairs that was out in the sun.  No shade anywhere in the medical area except for their tent, but that's where the more serious cases were.  But this is where I got my favorite picture of the whole race.

I knew I couldn't leave the Iwo Jima area as I would not be able to get back in and I wanted to wait for Candace to finish.  I had to leave the medical tent area cause I had to find some shade.  I went back to where the marines were giving out the medals and sat on some grass there.  Two seconds later I was told to move that no one could sit in that grassy area.  It was 80 degrees out by now and all I wanted to do was sit in the shade.

I moved back some away from that area close to where someone was sitting and sat again.  Another marine came up to me and told us that we had to move.  I couldn't believe it.  I told her that she would have to help me up and asked if I could go sit by the tree.  She seemed OK with that.  So I finally got to sit in the shade for a little bit.  Someone put their feet up the tree and I thought that was such a good idea and joined her.

Candace finished with her friend and we went to get our pictures taken in front of the Iwo Jima.

It was time to get out of there and figure out where the bag check was and how to get an Uber home.  Candace had to sit for a little bit but I had to keep walking and we headed toward the finish party.  And by finish party I mean a beer truck.

The finish party area was really a disappointment and signs to where things were were not very good.  I saw that they were selling finisher shirts and I knew I wanted one.  The one I wanted was already sold out, but the second one that they had left was nice.  I also got to talk to a nice man with a sexy British accent.  Yum.

Candace had been sitting while I was buying my shirt.  We found each other and had to ask around to where the bag check was.  We of course were one of the last people to pick up our bags.  They asked if we were partying and we were like no, we were running.  I was SO HAPPY to be able to put on my flip flops and get out of my running shoes.

Then was the trick of getting an Uber.  At this point I only had 1% of my battery on my phone and I needed to get my payment info into the app so that I could get someone to us.  As I was doing this we walked over to the Uber meeting place.  I got the Uber placed and waited for the call when he was close.  I was getting so nervous as my battery was going to die at any moment.  We got the call and he was slowly making his way to us as traffic was bad with all the closed streets.

We got picked up and it was so nice to be on the way back to the hotel.  The driver was very nice and fun to talk to.  As this was the first time I used Uber, I was very impressed with the whole process.  Their app has a real time map of where the driver is and how far away they are.  They also give a description of the car and license plate which was very useful since there were a lot of people getting picked up by Uber and Lyft.

So that was MCM for me.  The race was great, but with the heat, it made the race very hard.  I loved the course till we crossed the 14th Street Bridge.  After that there was not a lot of shade or crowd support.  But I knew I left everything I had on the course and I was very happy with my finish.

And with that my official finish was 6:48:48, which is a 10 minute PR from my first marathon at Disney.  Looking at my splits, I'm very happy with my consistency.  The first half I averaged 14:30 and the second half 15:30.  I know it is a positive split but with the heat I think I finished really strong.

Mission Accomplished!

Honestly, I don't know if I would do this race again.  Not just because of the heat, but I'm not wanting to do another marathon for awhile.  I like the marathon, but running a fall marathon is hard on the training in the heat of the summer.  If I were more of a marathon runner, I would defiantly consider doing it again, but there are other marathons I want to do before I do this again.

And thanks to all of the marines!!

If you'd like to watch my vlog from the weekend, click here.

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

Friday, November 18, 2016

Wine and Painting Night (Friday Five Edition)

A couple of weeks ago, some friends and I went to a Wine and Painting Night.  We were looking for a fun girls night and one of my friends suggested it.  She has done it several times and thought we would have fun.  I am not artistic at all, like I can't even do a stick figure.  But I was game to have some fun with friends.  Here are five things about that night.

1. There are several places around here that do a Wine and Painting night.  We chose Spirited Art, which teams up with the wine bar next door.  We had a list of drinks and appetizers that we could order. 

2.  They take us step by step on how to paint the picture.  First we made the blue circle and then added the dark brown circle around.  Then we added the golden circle and the red bottom.  We then blended all the circles together with a golden color.

3.  We then took a break let everything dry.  Then we added the tree and flowers at the bottom of the painting.

4.  I found myself being a perfectionist.  I kept going back to it trying to make it better.  I'm still not 100% happy with it and I'm not sure if I ever will be.

Can you tell which one is mine and which is the original?

5.  I really want to do this again.  While I have no artistic talent, it was a ton of fun!!  I don't think my final painting turned out pretty good.

And we had a great girls night.

Have you ever done a painting night?  Are you artistic at all?  What do you like to on girls night out?

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