Monday, August 27, 2018

8 Hours of Hell

August 18, 2018
Ann Dever Park, Englewood, FL
10 am to 6 pm

Wendy, Bonnie and me ready to get started.
What gave me the bright idea to run for 8 hours, in the summer, during the hottest part of the day? This was one of the toughest events I've ever done! The heat was just crazy!

Saturday morning, we got to sleep in a little bit, since the start time of the event was at 10 am. I met Bonnie and Sandi at the Denny's parking lot, where we left Bonnie's car, before heading down to Englewood. We got there by 8:30, a little earlier then we had planned. We got our tailgate tent set up, along with all our gear and multiple coolers. My plan was to carry one 20 ounce bottle of Tailwind and one bottle of water in my hydration pack. I had extra tailwind in the cooler, plus, there was some in the giant jug up at the check in pavilion. We took it easy while all the other runners arrived. Sandi was there to be our sherpa. She kept busy getting everything ready, while we sat and kept our feet up. Just before 10 am. we got our pre race photo, then walked over to the pavilion to hear race details before heading out. Justin, the race director, gave some instructions, and then we were off!

There were about 50 runners this morning. 34 in the 8 hour event and 15 in the 4 Hours of Fun. We headed out on the trail, spreading out pretty quickly. Bonnie and I stayed together through the first loop, which was 3.05 miles. As we came into the check in and to our tent, she noticed her Tailwind, in one of her bottles was empty. She had a leak. So, she stopped at the tent and then planned on heading to the bathroom. I decided to keep going. During mile 7, my stomach started to bother me. I REALLY needed to go to the bathroom. Every time I tried to run, I thought I might poop my skirt! So, I walked a lot of that third lap. I got back to the pavilion, checked in, then headed to the bathroom. I came back to the tent to see we had more people hanging out there. Cindi, Cat and Jane had showed up. Everyone helped to get me what I needed, before I headed out for lap 4. I felt better, but was slowing down my run pace. It was blazing hot. I tried to run as much of the shady sections as possible and walked a lot of the full sun sections, including the little hill and bridge. Loop 1, 2 and 3: 33:08, 39:44, 42:36

Our little hill on the course. :)
As the day continued, I kept up my running through the shade and walking through most of the full sun spots. I hit the water/ice station each lap as well as my tailgate tent each lap, to get refills of ice for my neck bandanna and ice for chewing on. My longest miles where those with the check in and stop at the tent. My fastest miles were the ones after the bridge, heading back to the check in. When running, I was moving slowly, but I felt pretty decent. My legs were not feeling stiff or hurting at all. For the most part, I was running by myself. Every once in a while, I would pass by someone or others would run by me. It was a bit lonely, but thankfully, I had my music and I do fine running on my own. Cindi, Jane and Cat had left after a couple of hours, but then Gina showed up just after 1 pm. It was great to have her there to see and help at the end of each loop. Loops 4, 5 and 6: 45:18, 46:25, 50:42

Towards the end of lap 7, I passed by one woman, then another and then a group of 4! One ended up passing me again on the next loop, but when I came in after loop 8, I saw my name up on the top 5 score board! wow! What I find really interesting is how I got faster as the day went on! I mean not super fast, but my average pace was a little better later in the day. Looking at my mile splits, I did better for the last 10-12 miles then I did earlier in the day. It didn't get any cooler or any shadier. I just got into a grove when I was out there running. I was in a zone and when I came in from lap 9, I thought maybe I could get in 11 laps. I had 1:20 to get in 6 miles. Normally, that would be a huge amount of time to run 6 miles, but I knew my average pace wasn't so great. So, heading out on Loop 10, I got Gina to pace me. 2 of those miles with her were my fastest since the start of the run! I really wished I had time to head out for the 11th lap, but when I got in, it was 7:25 pm. There was no way I was going to be able to run 3.05 miles in 35ish minutes. I needed at least 40-45 minutes to have a chance. So, I ran in for the last check in, then headed back out to finish 31 miles and get that 50K distance. :) I had just a few minutes to wait for Bonnie. It was great being able to see her finish her first ultra race. Like me, she headed back out to finish off the 50K distance. We celebrated with mimosas. But only for a short time. A storm was heading in. The clouds I had been hoping for all day, were finally moving in. But also, lightning was heading our way. We finished just in time! Loops 7, 8, 9 and 10: 46:54, 45:28, 43:43, 45:17 and last mile 13:04

The water, Tailwind and ice station located just after mile 1. I stopped at this each time.

Some time around the 7th or 8th loop.
I walked the bridge normally but had to run for the photo.

I finished as one of the top 5 women! Very impressed with those top 3 women who ran 3-6 more miles then me.
Cheers to finishing 8 Hours of Hell!

Friday, July 20, 2018

It's been awhile, again!

Not sure why I haven't felt like posting anything. I've run multiple races since I last posted. My injury is pretty much gone. I just get a little soreness there every once in a while. So, what's up? I just don't know. :)
I've been pretty busy running, a lot.  Bonnie and I are in the thick of our training for 8 Hours of Hell next month. Our goal is a 50K. Which, under normal conditions, wouldn't be a problem to complete in 8 hours. But, this is Florida and the run is in August. We start at 9 am and finish at 5 pm. It's going to be brutal hot and humid. Our training has gone pretty well so far. I had a crappy 21 miler 2 weeks ago. I am hoping for a better 23 tomorrow. We shall see.
Quick update on my races:

Moon River Half (#81): Bonnie and I ran this night event. I really liked it. Didn't get dark until the last 4 miles or so. Then, the run became very slow. I didn't want to fall. I was pretty happy with my finish. I placed first in my age group. :)

Title Nine Mermaid Half (#82): While I was in California in May, I decided to run a half marathon. The weather was perfect. The course was part dirt road and part paved trail. I made the mistake of wearing my new, light cushioned trail shoes. They would have been great for all trail, but not much cushion for the 70% paved part of the course. Still, I managed to come pretty close to a 2 hour finish, which I haven't done in a long while and place 3rd in my age group. Happy!

Englewood Half Marathon (#83) The day after I got back from California, I had to get up early for the drive down to this race. Back to humid runs. I tried to keep it at a 9 minute mile pace, but the heat got to me. Plus, it was just a week after my last half. :) It was fun to see all my friends out there on the course.

Skirt Sports Half Marathon (#84): In early June, I headed to Colorado to participate in the Skirt Sports ambassador retreat. This was the first year I was able to go. I loved the area. Boulder is beautiful. Had fun meeting other ambassadors. I went on a hike with 2 new friends from Utah. That elevation was no joke! I had run 3 miles that morning. So with the hike added in, I covered 10 miles that day. Which was the day before the race! I knew the elevation would be tough, so I didn't plan on pushing it at all. The course was pretty, but the first mile was tough. We had a gradual climb for a mile!

Pretty much right after this race, Bonnie and I got started on our 50K training. Wow, I'm all caught up. looking forward to 8 hours next month. :)

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

It's been a while

Like almost 3 months!

The injury was a big bummer for me. I couldn't run for a few weeks, but, I could walk. That's what kept me sane. I ended up dropping to the 10K from the Music half marathon, in February. I was able to walk it with Jackie, Kim and Leslie. We had a great time, even stopping in for a hot late at the Starbucks on St Armand's Circle! I then walked the Sasquatch 10K. That one was on my own, but I was able to keep up a pretty decent pace, considering it was on trail. And, I wasn't the last one to finish! :D

Starbucks stop with Leslie and Jackie during the Music 10K.

By the time Gasparilla came around, on Feb 24th, I was able to run, but I had not been running long or on back to back days. This was Gina and Wendy's annual birthday weekend race/party, so I wasn't going to skip it. I just planned going out and running, but not "racing" like I normally do. I had signed up for the 15K and 5K on Saturday and the 8K on Sunday. I started off slow for the 15K. I was feeling pretty good for the first few miles, but then the groin area starting hurting about half way in. I had to stretch a few times, when I stopped for water. Thankfully, I had come across Linda, who ran with me for most of the race. When I finished, I knew I shouldn't attempt to run the 5K that day. So, Carolyn and I hung out, while Gina and Wendy ran the 5K. Sunday, I surprisingly felt pretty good. The 8K starts pretty late, to give the half marathoners time to get in, so it was very hot at the start. I took it easy for this run. The heat was getting to me, but my legs felt pretty good.

The weekend after Gasparilla, Carolyn, Gina, Sandy and I headed up to St Pete to run the inaugural Skyway 10K. The first time, since the bridge first opened, that a race was held on this bridge. They shut down the northbound lanes for the 6,000 plus runners. It was pretty awesome! I'm not great with heights, but this didn't bother me at all. We were worried about the steep up hill, but we all made it up without walking! We didn't push the pace at all, just enjoyed the beauty and stopped for several photos. My injury didn't bother me at all! I was very happy.

Skyway 10K. Hope they bring this back next year!
My weekends continued to be full of races. Two weeks after the Skyway run, Carolyn and I teamed up to run the Sarasota Half as a relay team. She took the first half, which was 6 miles and included the bridge. I had just over 7 miles through the neighborhood north of downtown. It was a very humid morning for a race. I was glad I wasn't running the 13.1 miles. I had been getting in more speed work, so I tried to push the pace. I managed to keep up a 9 min mile average pace for my part of the race. I was really happy with that. Hopefully I can get back to that for the entire half distance.

At the end of March, I had one more event. The Croom Fools run. Back in the fall, I had signed up for the 50K. I was looking forward to running my third ultra. But, when I got injured, and discovered it would be weeks of recover, I emailed the race director about dropping down the the 16 mile distance. Bonnie and I headed up very early on the morning of the event. It was just under a 2 hour drive, so we left at 4am! This is a very challenging trail run in north Florida. Bonnie and I had a great time on the trails. We treated it as a (challenging) long run. Once again, I felt pretty good until the last couple of miles. But, I'm seeing improvement! I just need to gradually add those miles on.

Next up: The Withlacoochee Moon River Half marathon. A night trail run!

Friday, January 26, 2018

I am about to make the "smart" choice!

January 26, 2018

The Hands Across the Harbor half marathon is tomorrow. And, I'm going to miss it. Normally, I'm not one to skip a race that I've signed up for. I'll push myself to get it done, even if I'm hurting. Example: running the Disney marathon 3 weeks ago! But, this time, I'm making the smarter choice. The next half I run, which should be NEXT weekend's Music Half, will be my 80th half. I will also be celebrating my 20th anniversary of my first half marathon (January 1998's Mardi Gras half in New Orleans).

I've been going to the chiropractor and doing stretches, yet my hip still wants to pop out of alignment and make running painful and slow.My psoas muscle is the problem. It is super tight. the area attached to my spin, is so tight, it's pulling my hip up. It's also very tight deep in the front of my hip, which makes the area of my groin hurt. I am hoping with one more week of treatment, I'll be able to have a less painful half next weekend. Time doesn't matter, I just don't want to be hurting anymore!

So tomorrow, instead of lining up with all the other racers down in Punta Gorda, I'll be heading out with my friends from downtown Sarasota, for a slow long run. Which will hopefully, be a little better than yesterdays run! Wish me luck! :)

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Disney Marathon

January 7, 2018
Kissimmee, FL
Marathon #22

Marathon day started off with an early wake up alarm. 2 am!! That's what time Lynnette and Bonnie wanted to get up, for our 3am departure, so I went along with it. I did linger in bed for about 10 minutes. :) I didn't have a good night of sleep. My right leg was hurting a lot. I had many doubts about running the race and wondered if I would even finish. But, I decided I would give it a try. We all had our coffee/tea, then got all our gear together and headed to my car. Jim, who was running the marathon also, decided to stay longer and have his wife drive him over.

Me, Bonnie and Lynnette, before heading out into the cold.
We made good time getting to Epcot, finding a parking spot close to where we entered the staging area. We hung out in the car until 4ish, then headed over. There was a line to get our bags looked through by security, but it moved quickly. We headed over to the porta potties, then got all our gear together that we did not want to check in. I took 3 advil, with the hopes that would get me through the race. I had extra with me, just in case. Then we checked in our bags and made the long walk to the corral area. Once there, it was another stop in the porta potty. Then, I headed off to the B Corral and Lynnette and Bonnie went to the D Corral. By the time I got in there, it was 5:05 am. I had about half an hour to hang out before the race started. I got pretty close to the front, then huddled up behind other runners, trying to keep the wind off of me. After the elite wave went off, I tossed my top layer, which was a long sleeved shirt Bonnie had given me. That left me with a zip up jacket on top of my tank and bolero. After wave A went off, my corral moved up to the front. I was just a few people behind the start line. With a blast of fireworks, we were off!

The route
After the first burst of craziness at the start, I tried to settle into a good pace. I was feeling a bit stiff, but it was mostly from being cold. The first miles of this race can be very dark, so, I kept my eyes on the road in front of me. By mile 1.5, I was feeling hot under the jacket, so I took it off and tossed it to the side of the road, where there was already a few items of clothing piled up. Under my bolero, my arms were very hot, but, I kept it on, as well as my gloves. I didn't want to get chilled. Based on my splits, I probably took the first few miles a bit fast, but it didn't feel fast at the time. I loved seeing Kimmy and Leslie about a mile before heading into the Magic Kingdom. It was so great to know there would be friends out there on the course cheering us on. I love running through the Magic Kingdom. Lots of people cheering us runners on as we head down Main street, towards the castle. I stopped for a couple of photos and then another photo at the base of the castle. Just before exiting the park, I decided to take off the bolero. I had sweat dripping down my arms and hands! This wasn't easy. I had to take off my hydration backpack, then take off the bolero, then put the pack back on and stuff the bolero into the pocket on the back of my tank. Even with this, my mile time wasn't so bad! Miles 1 through 6 - 9:16, 9:10, 9:13, 9:25, 9:34, 10:15

Quick pic with Kimmy!

Love the Castle all lit up!

This next section of the course, before getting to Animal Kingdom, is really boring! When I felt myself lag, I would push the pace for a brief time, then slow down again. This helped with the boredom. There was a new out and back section that I really didn't care for. The only upside, was that I tried to spot Jim (who had been in the corral after me), Bonnie and Lynnette. I figured they could have caught up to me! This help to keep me distracted. My right leg was starting to hurt so, just before getting into Animal Kingdom, I walked a little, while I got out a couple of advil, then walked through the water station. Miles 7 through 12 - 10:19, 9:30, 9:44, 9:53, 9:57, 10:21

Once in Animal Kingdom, I kept a look out for the women's restroom. I sorta knew where it was, as Carolyn and I had stopped at it the last time I ran this race. Quick trip in a real bathroom (!) then out. It was a quick run through Animal Kingdom. Once again, we were on the boring roads of Disney. I was now starting to take more walking breaks, but still mostly running. I looked for my Lakeland Galloway friends at the water stop they are usually at, but didn't see them. Missed seeing you Sarah and Leah!! After passing that water stop, we turn right, heading to the Sports Complex. The last 2 times I've run this race, this is where I have fallen apart. This year was different, because I wasn't trying to PR. I already knew this was a tough race and had become one already. Miles 13 through 18 - 11:27, 11:44, 10:12, 11:27, 11:44, 10:12, 11:06, 12:32, 11:05

In Epcot. Almost done!!

Awesome cheer squad

Leslie hold up the sign Gina made for me!

My run/walk became much more walk/run from this point. I had to stop many times to stretch my calves and hamstrings. I did stop for a photo with Mickey. Glad I did, as this was the only time I saw him out there! We spent just over 2 miles weaving around and in the sports complex. I was so happy to leave that section behind! With 6ish miles left, I knew I could do it. I continued to walk the uphills, even when a big green military dude was yelling at us to run! :) I was most happy to turn into Hollywood studios. Besides running through Magic Kingdom, this is the best part of the course. I got to see Melissa, which was a total surprise, cheering on runners. Lots of other people out there cheering, too. Once we ran out, we took the sidewalk along the waterway. I got to see Jennifer (a past fellow Skirt Sports ambassador) and Della, along this way. So great. And when I entered Epcot, I got to see Kimmy, Scott, Leslie and John. If I hadn't just popped a piece of minty gum in my mouth, I would have taken that drink of Mimosa that Scott had in his hand! Once we left epcot, we had a couple of quick turns, then the finish line was in sight. I was so happy to see that I was going to make my goal of a sub 5 hour finish. And with 26.7 miles showing on my watch! Miles 19 through 26.7 - 12:10, 12:08, 13:50, 13:10, 12:24, 13:52, 13:41, 13:26, 7:52(11:10 min mile)

Me, Bonnie and Lynette. Marathoners!!

Friday, January 5, 2018

Disney Marathon Weekend

January 5, 2018

It's marathon weekend! Starting off the year with a marathon has been something I have liked to do for many years. I wasn't able to run the Spring Hill marathon last Jan 1 (but did run the half) due to being sick. This year, I've been looking forward to Disney. I've been training with Lynnette and Bonnie for a few months now, and it had been going pretty well, despite my back issues. Well, wouldn't you know it, but another issue cropped up a couple of weeks ago. My hip has been really hurting me. With a few advil, I've been able to get through a few training runs. But, the last few days have been painful, so I haven't run. I am hoping, with the help of advil and rest, I'll be able to get through this marathon. My goal has been between 4:30 and 4:45 finish. Right now, I'd be happy for a sub 5 hour! We will see.

We hit the expo today. A bit disappointed not to get the little mickey figure I always buy, but I did get a cute backpack and Jackie picked up a Tervis mug for me the other day. I made it out of there without going crazy on purchases. :)

Race shirt and luggage tag we were given.

Two of my three purchases.  Love the little backpack.
Top was on sale for $15 off! :)

Friday, December 1, 2017

Space Coast Half Marathon

November 26, 2017
Half Marathon #78
5th and final year of the Big Bang Series - Intergalatic Challange

While I love this race, and the course, I am happy this is my last year for a while. The race was not what I wanted. I knew it wasn't going to be fast (I just wasn't in the shape I needed to be for that), but I was hoping to run it in around 2 hours. That wasn't to be. I think with my back issues, it's time to adjust my thinking on how I go about training and racing.

Beautiful sunrise.

Race morning: I left the hotel at 4:15 am. Last year, my normal parking lot had been close to full when I left the hotel at 4:30. I knew there were more runners this year, so I didn't want to take any chances. I am so glad I did leave early, since I discovered as I was about to turn into the parking area, that it was closed off! OMG! I later discovered they were using it for parking for all the buses. I have always parked there and had no idea of where else to go. So, I drove down a couple of streets, followed some other cars into parking lots. On my third lot, I found the last spot! It happened to be a block from the starting line, opposite side from were I usually park. Instead of heading over to bag drop off, I just hung out in my car, walking over to the start line 15 minutes before the start. I got in with the 1:50 group, mostly because it was super crowded behind them and I didn't think I could squeeze in there. National anthem and the shuttle launch on the giant screen. We were off!

Right away I could tell my body wasn't up for "racing". My heart seemed to be working extra hard. So, after the first half mile, I pulled it back a bit. Based on my first mile time, I must have been running way to fast! I was still hoping for a time close to 2 hours, I just figured a sub 2 would probably not be in the cards for the day, if I was feeling this bad at the start of the race. The first few miles were very dark. I had to keep my eye on the ground in front of me. I really didn't want to fall! The sunrise was beautiful! The weather was pretty nice, too. I had a feeling it would warm up fast though and be hot for those marathoners. I ate some Honey Stinger chews at mile 5, stopping to walk briefly. Miles 1 to 5 - 8:54, 8:58, 8:51, 9:00, 9:15

At the turn around, I stepped off the road to stretch my legs. They were feeling really tight and heavy, like I had done a day of  "legs" at the gym the day before. My hips were getting really tight. Over the next few miles, I felt myself slowing down, even when I would try to push the pace. My legs did not want to lift! My hips were so out of wack that my gait was thrown off. The last miles were pretty painful. The only bright spots were seeing friends out on the course. After the turn, I kept my eye out for everyone that I new was running and called out to them when I saw them. I've never stopped at the lawn were the homeowners make mimosas, bloody marys and other drinks. I almost did on this day! But it was on the other side of the road and there were a bunch of runners between me and the drinks, so, I kept going. I did a lot of walk/running during those last few miles. Super happy to have crossed that finish line, completing another half marathon! Miles 6 to 13.1 - 9:44, 10:03, 10:22, 10:45, 12:21, 10:55, 11:00, 10:59, 1:59 (for.2)

Finish - 2:13:13

All the medals from the race series. (note: I didn't take this. :)