Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Florida Beaches Halfathon

March 21, 2010

I was excited to run and finish this race. It would be my fourth in 22 days! As part of the Half Fanatics group, this would put me up to the fourth level, Jupiter.
Sunday morning started out early, 4 am. I got up had a cup of coffee and watched a little TV while I tired to wake up. I was out the door by 5 am. I made good time driving up to Ft Desoto Park, getting there just after 6 am. I stepped out of my car to go get my chip and then had to turn around and grab a sweatshirt. It was cold with the wind! I was a little worried about this. I hadn’t checked the weather before leaving the house, but a few days ago it had said it would be sunny this morning.

I hung out in my car for a while reading the latest issue of Runners World. At about 6:30 I gave Brenda a call to see where she was at. She was just finishing up a 3 mile pre race run. I left my sweatshirt in the car and thenI hit the porta potties, then went to find Brenda at our meeting spot. I ended up finding my friend Melissa and one of her friends. Brenda came up and we chatted for a couple of minutes before going to find a spot behind the starting line. Brenda said there was a chance of rain later and I just hoped it would hold off until after the race.
We got started right on time. We started our run in the parking lot, then headed out to the main street and then ran a loop through a pretty tree lined area. After exiting this area, we ran north, then came back around toward the finish. I felt pretty good, but now we were going to have a long stretch of running into the heavy wind. From about mile 3 to 5.5 the wind was strong, but then we turned to the east and now had good protection from the trees to the side. Just as I passed mile 5.5, the lead man passed me heading home.

Mile 1 – 9:12
Mile 2- 9:22
Mile 3 – 9:30
Mile 4 – 9:57
Mile 5 – 10:10

I am still feeling pretty good at this point. Just a regular long run day with a bunch of other runners around. Just after mile 7 we were running out in the open with no trees on our right to protect us from the strong wind. It was a beautiful view of the Gulf, with the Skyway bridge in the distance, but so windy! The rain had started about half a mile before this and stayed with us for a couple of miles.

Mile 6 - 9:46
Mile 7 – 10:12
Mile8- 10:19
Mile9 – 9:48

The rain was gone by mile 10. I kept trying to get a good look ahead so I could see the next water station. We got to the spot where it should have been (it was there the first time we ran by) but they must have packed up and left when it started raining! I needed that water! Thankfully there was another one at around mile 11. My stomach was getting a little upset here, so I didn’t eat anymore of my fuel.

Mile 10 – 10:03
Mile 11 – 10:30

As I passed mile 12, I had a time of 2 hours. I thought I could finish this race at about the same time as last week if I could pick up the pace. So I started to run faster. Big mistake. My stomach didn’t like that one bit. I ended up having to walk a half mile later. I kept it short though and just took it easy until I saw the mile 13 sign. We turned a corner and headed back into the wind. The finish banner was just ahead, so I put the speed on. I passed a guy at about 13.05 and kept my lead on him into the finish. I held up 4 fingers to proudly proclaim my Jupiter status!

mile 12 - 10:43
Mile 13 – 10:30

I got my starfish medal and a bottle of water and then walked around a little bit. I stopped off at my car to grab a sweatshirt because it was cooling off fast. Then I went to the food table and got a banana and a cookie, then headed over to the finish line to keep an eye out for Brenda. I got a photo of her just before she crossed the finish line and then we hung out for a bit before leaving. As I was heading to my car I saw my friend Melissa heading in to the finish. Stopped to cheer and clap her on before heading out.
I am so happy that I did all these races back to back. It was a lot of fun, but now I need a rest! Surprisingly I feel pretty good post race. I’m not sore at all. Makes me wonder if I could have pushed myself more. Off to the next challenge. My first triathlon? New York Marathon? Disney’s Goofy? We will see.

chip 2:11:28; time: 2:11:38; age group 35/64; women 171/357; overall 392/644;Pace 10:03

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Sarasota Half Marathon

March 14, 2010

Sunday morning I left the house at 5:45 a.m. and drove over to my friend Karen’s house. She had bought a VIP parking spot so we could be right next to the start area. The morning was a coolish 60 degrees. It felt colder in the wind, but Karen and I found a sheltered spot to hang out at for a while, so I was comfortable in my tank and shorts. About 15 minutes before the start we decided to get lined up behind the start sign. There were signs for the different paces, but they were to close together! I ended up standing behind the 13+ mile sign, which normally would have been too far back. Looking behind me though, I could see a lot of people, so figured I was somewhere in the middle and that would work.

The race got started on time at 7:15 am. It was still a little dark out, but not as dark as previous years. I had to maneuver around a few walkers that had started to far forward, but soon I was able to run at a good pace without weaving. The first 3 miles are though a nice neighborhood near the water. After we turned on to Tamiami trail, we had to stay to the right lane of the road because cars were allowed to drive in the lane next to us. I hit the water station at about mile 4, grabbed a cup of water and had my first bit of fuel. We ran to the right, through a parking lot next to the Van Wezel and coast guard station and then back out to the main road.

Mile 1 - 9:54
Mile 2 – 9:38
Mile 3 – 9:35
Mile 4 – 9:36

This part of the course is great. Lots of people cheering on while we run by. I was at about mile 4.75 when the first half marathoner ran past me heading home. About a mile down the road, we turned to the right and headed toward Ringling bridge. We stayed to the right, ran next to the bridge and then under and back around to the other side. Going up the bridge wasn’t too hard. It’s the bridge I run my repeats on, it's the steepest "hill" around. Mile six ended at the top and I noticed on my Garmin that I didn’t lose much time. I passed a bunch of people on the down side. At the bottom we once again ran a loop under the bridge and back around. I walked through the water station here and had more fuel. We then turned and headed back over the bridge. I kept a look out on the other side for my friend. At the top I finally saw her and yelled out a greeting and waved. She heard me and yelled back.

Mile 5 - -9:40
Mile 6 – 9:59
Mile 7 – 9:44

I felt pretty good heading into mile 8. I noticed that if I could keep up 10 minute miles I would finish with my fastest time this season and close to my course PR. I tried not to get too pumped about it though, thinking of my last 2 weekends of races. By mile 10 I started to feel some pain. My right knee was hurting, but then I moved to the middle of the road and it felt better. I had been running to much on the down slope of the road. Running back through the neighborhood was tough. I told myself to just make it to the 11 mile water stop then I could take a longer walking break. I got there had more fuel and water and did walk a bit longer than I had before. Once I got going I felt a bit better, but then a mile later I was hurting. It wasn't so much a body hurt as a mental tiredness. I once again told myself I could take a walking break once I turned the corner and was about half a mile from the end. Then I saw this woman I often see out on my long runs. She has always been a person that I challenge myself to keep up with, so I once again tried to keep up with her. She was struggling to. I passed her twice, but then we got to mile 12.5 and she passed me. I couldn’t stop and walk! So I kept going and tried to make a strong finish. Got to the finish line, held up 3 fingers to show I’d finished 3 in a row! Got my medal and a bottle of water and then remembered to turn off the Garmin!

Mile 8- 9:53
Mile 9 – 10:06
Mile 10 – 10:25
Mile 11 – 10:30
Mile 12 – 11:03
Mile 13 – 10:24
27.71 feet – 0:05

Chip Time: 2:10:29. The one thing I noticed on the course was that my garmin was showing the miles well after I passed the signs. So I think I ran less than a 13.1 according to Garmin. That’s a first!

Overall this is a great race. The shirt wasn’t so great, but the medal and post race food was good. One more race to go before I move to the Jupiter level of the Half Fanatics!
Age group- 68/143; Overall- 824/1750

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Disney Princess Half marathon, March 7, 2010
The day started off early. I got up at 3:15 a.m. because I planned on leaving at 3:45 and I wanted some time to have a cup of coffee. I had bought a 3 pack of the Starbucks VIA the night before. I just brewed some hot water and poured in the packed. Perfect.
I left the hotel on time. I got to the Epcot parking lot pretty fast. My hotel wasn’t that far away. I talked to Brenda and made a plan to meet her and Joanne. I found Brenda first, and once we made it through the baggage drop off tent, we found Joanne. We hit the porta-potties then started the long walk to the starting line. It was cold! I was happy that I brought the mylar blanket from last weekend’s Gasparilla half. I also had on my arm sleeves, which defiantly helped. We got a group photo taken before Joanne headed off to her B corral. Brenda and I hit the porta-potties one more time before going to the Group A corral. We were pretty close to the start line, it was a great spot to be. I think they had groups A through E. They started 7 minutes apart. I was happy that I didn’t have to wait any longer than I already had to, which was 30 minutes.
A big spray of fireworks started us off. I tossed my mylar off to the side and tried to stay behind groups of people to keep the cold wind off of me. Normally I like to get out on my own, but since it was crowded anyway, I thought I might as well use it to my advantage. It helped a lot. Somewhere in the first couple of miles I saw a few of the men of Disney movies on a stage, so I ran over and got my first photo taken. This was my plan for the race. Go out and have fun. Take lots of photos. I pushed pretty hard last weekend, so I wasn’t too worried about time today. Even though I had to deal with the crowd and stopped for the photo, my first few miles where fast!

Mile 1 -9:39
Mile 2- 9:09
Mile 3 – 9:26
Mile 4 -9:39

I’m feeling pretty good at this point. I needed to make a pit stop, but they were all pretty busy and I didn’t want to waste time waiting for one to open up. By mile 5, just before running into Magic Kingdom, I spotted a large group of porta-potties, so ran over to use one there. I added a good minute here, but no worries. Running through Magic Kingdom was great. So many photo opportunities! Running down main street, heading toward the castle was great. Lots of cheering people. I stopped and asked a guy to take my photo with the castle behind me. We then ran a loop around to the back of the castle. Then I stopped to get a photo with Minnie and Mickey before running through the castle. I stopped again right in front of the castle for another photo before continuing on. I stopped again for a photo with the Genie before we ran out of the park. Still feeling good. At this point last year I was miserable. The only issue I started to notice was the small blister on my second toe on my right foot. I could feel that it was going to be a lot bigger when I got my shoe off. Thankfully it wasn’t painful. The next few miles went by fast. A few more photos with with Belle, the Beast, Sleeping Beauty and her Prince.

Mile 5 – 10:53
Mile 6 – 10:16
Mile 7 – 10:18
Mile 8 – 10:23
Mile 9 – 9:41

By mile 10 I was starting to feel tired. My quads were getting tight and my feet were hurting. It’s time to retire these shoes. They have close to 500 miles on them. I couldn’t believe how cold it still was! Much colder than last weekend. I still had on my arm sleeves. So happy that I made them out of socks. In the last 3 miles, I got photos taken with Jack Sparrow and with Tinker Bell and friends. I was so happy to make my way into Epcot knowing the finish line was less than a mile away. I was walking a lot at this point in last years race. I took off the arm sleeves in the last mile, didn’t really need them anymore. I was so happy to be feeling pretty good and running pretty strong. I was very happy to see the finish line ahead. I didn’t push it hard, just ran it in with a big smile on my face.
Mile 10 – 10;08
Mile 11 – 10:25
Mile 12 – 10:45
Mile 13 – 9:47
Mile .27 – 2:29 ( a little more than the .1 it should have been!)

I got my beautiful finishers medal, got a photo taken with it and then headed for the drink table. I saw a big jug of Biofreeze at the medical tent. They had paper cups next to it, so I grabbed one and pumped about 5 good pumps of the biofreeze into the cup. I knew I would need it after a shower. After picking up a banana, I thought of trying to wait for Brenda or one of the other WW ladies, but I was getting cold, so just decided to head to my car and take off.
I am very happy with the results of this race. Much better than last year, about nine minutes faster, and I had a lot more fun with it too.
Now I just need to figure out a good recovery plan for this week leading up to my 3rd half in 3 weeks!
Chip time – 2;12:56; overall- 2397/11324; Division: 469/2052; pace- 10:01

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Excited for the Princess half!

Getting excited for the race on Sunday. I plan on driving over to Orlando late morning. I'll hit the expo before checking in to my hotel. Then it's off to Wolfgang Pucks to meet up with some ladies from the WW Marathon group. Should be a fun pre race meal.

My crown for the race. :)

Monday, March 1, 2010

Gasparilla Half Marathon

February 28, 2010

Race morning started off at 3:15 a.m. I wanted to leave by 3:45 a.m. and I needed some time to drink a cup of coffee before getting in the car and driving for an hour.
I got to Tampa just before 5 a.m. Just off the interstate, cars were backed up pretty far, but they seemed to be moving at a decent pace. I got a great spot on the first level parking garage next to the convention center. I got all my gear on, double checked that I had my race tag for my shoe and other needed things, then headed inside to meet up with friends Katie and Brenda from the WW marathon group. After making a pit stop, I found Katie and her husband waiting for me at our planned meet up place. We hung out and talked for a while, but Brenda didn't show up. Was a little worried she got held up in the traffic.

At 5:40, I decided to make another pit stop at the real bathrooms. Katie and her husband decided to head on down to the start line. I was not too far behind them when I ran into my friend Susan and her husband. Talked a little with them as we walked towards the start. I went off on my own and moved through the large crowd. Got as far forward as I could get. About in the middle of the large group. I could see the 4:30 marathon pace group just ahead of me, so I figured I was in a good enough spot.

The race got started pretty much on time at 6 a.m. It was pretty congested for a while, but thinned out a bit after a couple of miles. My first mile was pretty slow for a race, but maybe this was a good thing. I got a drink at the first water stop, but didn't eat any of my Sharky's fuel yet.

mile 1- 9:52
mile 2- 9:42
mile 3- 9:37

By mile 3 I was thinking that it was a mistake to have worn a long sleeved top. The weather forcast had shown temps in the mid 40s and with the possibility of the wind coming off the bay, I figured this would be a good thing to wear. The first 6 miles were fairly protected by homes, so no wind and I was very warm. I hoped for cooler breezes once we hit the water front. At around mile 5 I had my first 2 sharky bits and some water. My plan for the race was to walk fast through water stops every couple of miles. I would drink a little water and have 2 sharky bits. (similar to Luna moons) At around mile 6 we ran back over a small bridge toward the finish line. But of course it was too soon to finish, we ran down a lane bordering the finish! Lots of crowd support here. We ran by the post race food area. The smell of cuban/mexican food at 7 am is NOT pleasent!

mile 4- 9:45
mile 5- 9:52
mile 6- 9:52

We ran a loop back towards the start line and then around to the waterfront. This was familiar ground for me. I ran the 15K here 2 years ago. Lots of beautiful houses to look at and a good amount of people cheering us on. I had a pretty good rhythm going, even though I was still hot. I started planning what I was going to wear for next weeks race already! short sleeves and a toss away long-sleeved top! The 2:10 pacer passed me around mile 8, she was going fast! I couldn't believe her pace was on target. My plan was to keep her in my sights for as long as possible.

mile 7- 9:42
mile 8- 9:58
mile 9- 9:37

I was very happy to turn around at about mile 10. I could see the finish area off to the distance. I was still feeling pretty good. My drinking and snack plan seemed to be holding up. I didn't really have to make a pit stop ( my biggest worry with day 2 of monthy visitor here). At mile 11 ish I had my last drink of water and 2 more sharky's. I knew I had it in me to run the last 2 miles at around 10 minutes each. I got excited that I might beat my last race time of just under 2:12! The last mile was tough. The heat was really getting to me, but I kept seeing those race photographers and giving them a big smile. I tried to keep up a good, strong pace for the last half mile. I was passed by a few people, but didn't have it in me to run any harder than I was already going! As I got closer I saw the clock show 2:12 and change, so I pushed it hard trying to get in as quick as I could to beat chip time of 2:10. I ended up finishing 2:10:10.

mile10- 9:39
mile11- 9:55
mile12- 10:10
mile 13- 9:57

Overall I am very happy with this race. I hope to run it again next year. It's a fun event, lots of great support and nice finishers medals. Looking forward to next sunday and the Disney Princess Half Marathon!

Chip- 02:10:10; clock- 02:12:32; overall- 1917/3896, Gender- 823/2129; division- 176/389; Pace 9:55