Sunday, October 19, 2008

Girlfriends Half Marathon

If you read my previous blog post, then you know I headed into this with a little whopper of a cold. It was still a good day. Requisite race report:

Girlfriends Half Marathon
Date: 10/19/2008
Distance: 13.1 miles
Time: 2:30:xx (results not posted yet) = pace of 11:27/mile
*Despite my bitching and moaning about being sick, this ended up being a PR for me. Yeah, I did have an easy time to beat, but it's still a PR.

The race started only about 2 miles from my house, so I slept in until the last possible moment. Then I took a shot of dayquil, drank a cup of theraflu daytime, took a decongestant, and had my Mom (who is in town visiting) drive me there while I drank a cup of coffee. I should mention that I've been fighting off a sinus infection and monster cold for the last week or so...
Me at home before the run --Warmup:
I found Kristin who was parked nearby and climbed into her warm car. But then she had to pee, so then I walked around and shivered talking to friends. Girlfriends Jenn, Jen, Lisa, and Nadine were also running.

A beautiful rendition of the National Anthem was sang by a very talented woman. After that, we lined up at the start line with 1000 ladies, and took off.

The Run:
As usual, I started off a little fast until I fell into a comfortable pace. By mile 3 my outer shirt was covered in snot, and I was getting warm, so I gave it to DeDe. She was a supportive spectator since she's out with an injury (she did recently kick major butt at the Portland Marathon though!). By mile 5 I was hurting pretty badly. Oh, did I mention I did the marathon a week ago and haven't ran since (note the above mentioned killer cold)? Somewhere in here we got to pass runners going the opposite direction from the out-and-back and I got to wave to all my lovely lady friends.
Jenn and Jen (you can barely see her) --Anyway, I chugged along and just listened to tunes on the MP3. But then the batteries went dead. So I struck up conversations with various women until they got grossed out by my constant string of snot rockets.
My Happy Face --At mile 10 my Mom and fiance, Ken, were waiting for hugs and photos. I wasn't expecting them there, so that was a great uplifter. I saw them again right before mile 12.
My Mom walking with me just before mile 12 --
There was one last short hill through a park. After that it was home free to the finish. I crossed the finish line, collected my snot-soaked shirt, and loaded up in the car.
The Finish Line --
Warm Down:
Hot shower, theraflu, and a nap.

Event Comments:
This event really is awesome awesome awesome. 100% of the proceeds go towards breast cancer research. All women in a race is pretty sweet to see. The support is amazing. There are tons of volunteers -- many of whom are men. I hear the post-race activities are worth sticking around for too. So aside from this not being the best day for me personally, the event itself is fantastic!

HUGE CONGRATULATIONS to Kristin who finished her first half marathon!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Another Half Marathon

Tomorrow I get to do the Girlfriends Half Marathon. It's for girls only. 1000 girls actually. 100% of the proceeds go to breast cancer research. And men take care of us all morning -- at the aid stations and at the finish line. Rumor has it that hunky fireman give us necklaces at the end.

I haven't ran since the marathon exactly 2 weeks ago. It's because I got sick (well, and I'm sort of tired of running)...I now have a sinus infection and the makings of pneumonia. But I'm on antibiotics, so I should be in the clear. Armed with lozenges, theraflu, and a wad of kleenex, I'll be at the starting line in the morning. I'll take care not to cough on anyone and to aim my snot loogies away from the ladies. And then I get to go back to bed.

Monday, October 6, 2008

"It Is Never As Bad As It Seems. It Is Never As Good As It Seems."

If you had asked me earlier this year if I would ever run a marathon, separate from an Ironman of course, my response would have been "Hah! Like hell! I'm a triathlete, not a runner." But after finishing the half ironman and continuing my training for Hood-to-Coast, I found myself right on target for the Portland marathon training. After a couple of beers one night, I signed up. My initial thought was "huh, that was dumb." My thought the next morning was "yep, pretty stupid." Indeed, my thought the evening before the race, as I was methodically filling fuel belt bottles with GE and stuffing GU into nooks and crannies of my gear, was "shoot, this was the silliest idea ever." But I trained anyway. Sort of. My plan was to poll fellow runners each Monday morning to see what their week looked like. I would pick what sounded the best to me (read: the shortest) and do that. Whatever, it worked. I finished. And I finished pretty darn happy too! Here is my race report:

2008 Portland Marathon (that's 26.2 miles, in case you didn't know)

I ate an English muffin w/ PB&J, drank some coffee, posed for a picture, and then kissed my sweetie-pie goodbye before heading downtown with Jeff, Natalie, and Tom W. Once there, we hit the porta-potty line and then continued to hydrate. I stood with the 5:30 pace group for a bit, then moved up to the 5:00 pace group. After thinking about it, I moved back to the 5:30 pace group. And then back to the 5:00 pace group, but towards the back of it.

Warm up:
Walking back and forth between pace groups while neurotically trying to decide where to seed myself. Oh, and I saw Jenn, DeDe, and Lisa from the club. What a treat to see them before the run!

The run:
It took about 10 minutes to cross the starting line. That was frustrating because we would start moving, and then stop. Then we would move again and get all excited. And then stop. Once we crossed the start line, there was quite a bit of room to move around. The only exception was when a couple of nordic walkers busted through and runners tripped all over their wildly flung trekking poles.

Miles 1-4 were super easy. But I had to pee. I finally came up on a set of potties that didn't have a line. Ah, relief. 1 minute 42 seconds of relief. I caught back up to the 5:00 pace group and cruised on until mile 7.5, where my support crew was waiting for me. Ken (fiance) took photos, Desi (best friend) ran with me for a couple of miles, and Steve (Desi's boyfriend) cheered. I LOVED LOVED LOVED having them out there!
I ended up ahead of the 5:00 pace group for awhile. As I was coming up on mile 12, a haunted voice popped into my head. "It is never as bad as it seems. And it as never as good as it seems." The latter part of the quote is what was getting to me. I felt SO GOOD. And then, like clockwork, and mile 15 the air was let out of my tires. I was going too fast to sustain for 26.2 miles. And the 5:00 pace group got a new leader with fresh legs and started running close to 10-11 minute miles. I let them go ahead.
Mile 16 has the infamous climb up to the St. Johns bridge. It's beautiful in here, so I focused on the scenery and smell of the forest, rather than the climb. I walked 1:00, ran 1:00. Over and over again. I was passing people the entire way, so that was a confidence builder. Finally...I was on top and at mile 17. Woohoo!

I was expecting the gang to be on the other side of the bridge around mile 18. I needed refueling and just a moral boost. They weren't there, so I looked for them at mile 19. Nope. Mile 20. Uh uh. Oh crap. I needed my Gu and GE. I started cramping. I got down on myself for being so slow. Then a song came on my MP3 that brought out the emotions and the tears started rolling. Within seconds I heard a familiar voice. Kristin! She ran with me for a little while (with her backpack bouncing around) and called Ken to let him know where I was. Turns out, they were going back and forth trying to find me, but my predicted paces were so off target (my bad), that it made it nearly impossible to find me. If it weren't for her, I may have never met up with them the rest of the course. Love you K!

Just past mile 21, my sweetie-pie was running across the street with an arm full of bottles and Gu packets. I got a quick kiss, my smile came back on my face, and I was recharged for the remaining 5 miles.

Miles 22-25 were physically tough, especially the downhills. My pace slowed down a lot. I ran when I could and walked when I couldn't run. But despite the pain, all of us in the marathon were giving support to everyone else. It was great.

Mile 25 appeared and I knew I was home free. I tried to run the entire last mile. Sadly, I didn't have it in me. But I ran most of it. At mile 26, I saw Ken and posed for a few photos. He gave me his phone so that I could call my Mom after the finish line, and said he would see me in the reunion area.
I rounded the corner to the finish chute and saw Steve and Desi cheering me on. I think Desi was smiling wider than I was. Yay, I did it!
Warm down:
I walked through the finishers area and loaded up on cookies, chocolate milk, and chips. I also stopped to have a finisher's photo taken. I felt a little silly because everyone else was posing with friends, but I was all by myself.

Ken helped me change into dry clothes, and then we all went to my favorite NE Portland joint for bloody mary's and french toast!
Event comments:
This is a GREAT event. I don't have anything to compare it to, as far as marathons go. But I very much enjoyed myself [almost] the entire time. Entertainment groups were at least every mile, the volunteers were super friendly, and people lined up outside their homes to give encouragement.

Up until about 1 hour before the race, I wanted to back out. I had no desire to do a marathon and I didn't think it meant anything to me at all. When I started running, I knew that if I didn't finish that I would be devestated. Part way through the run, I realized that I had goals I didn't even know about. And as I crossed the finish line, I just about exploded, I was so happy. This non-runner just finished a marathon!!!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Marathon? Check.

Okay, I DID IT!!! It's over! Thank goodness. It was mostly a good day, with the exception of a little black hole around mile 21 that Kristin quickly pulled me out of (thanks girlie!). Also, my fiance Ken, along with our dear friends, Steve and Desi, followed me around the course providing great moral support. I love them! I'll write a longer report later, but here is a link to photos from the day:

Final Time - 5:17:56
Pace - 12:08/mile

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Oh Crap!

I have to run a marathon tomorrow!

[Pulls hair out of head while running around looking for running shoes under piles of suitcases.]