Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Jingle 5K and Frosty 5K

December 20, 2013
Lakewood Ranch, FL

For the past 10 weeks, I have been on of 3 coaches, training a group of people to run a 5K. This was the weekend of the races. Most of our group was running the Friday evening run, The Jingle. My plan was to find one of my girls and run with them. I worked most of the day, making sure to keep hydrated, since it was a warm day and looked like it would be a warm and humid night. I headed over to the race area about an hour before the start. There were tons of people there already. I had heard that there were about 2000 runners for both the 5K and kid's dashes. That's a lot of people for this race! I found a few of my group near the Fit2Run tent, so I hung out with them for a while. I only found one from my smaller group and she was in flip flops. She said her shin was hurting to much, so she couldn't run. Bummer! I looked for Valerie, but couldn't find her among all the people. I headed over to the corral, and standing on tippy toes, managed to find Gina just ahead of me. Since I was on my own for the run tonight, I figured I would try to keep up with her. They had the fast, sub 20 minute, people up near the start line, then it was all of us regular runners, and then the walkers in the back.

Once we hear the blast of the horn, we think we are off, but no, there is a girl on one side of the road holding a rope and another girl on the other side holding the other end of the rope. They are trying to hold back the runners to give the lead group more of a lead. Well, I never heard anything about different start times! This was crazy! People were ducking under the rope and running. The girl was yelling at us to stop and wait. Gina ducked under and went. I held back and waited a few seconds, but people were bumping into me from behind and pushing their way past and running. So I did what everyone else was doing and ducked under the rope and ran. I just hope I hadn't activated my timing chip while I was just standing there!

Tina, me, Nora, Mike, Don and Bill after the race.

We were running on a road that had lights, but not many of them, we turned to the left and then followed the road out. I was going at a pretty fast pace, but figured, since I had no goal for this race, I would push it as long as I could. Within a quarter of a mile, I could see Gina up ahead. I was just going to try and shorten the distance between us. Around mile 1, there was a water stop at a very bad spot. For some reason they decided to set up in one of the dark sections of the road instead of under a light. I'm sure the sun was out when they first set up, but maybe next year they will make a point of looking for the street light! You couldn't see anything! I didn't want water, so I ran to the left, to try and stay out of everyone's way. Just before the turn around, I spotted Linda, from our training group, just ahead. She had already had a good base of running when she joined our group, so she never really ran with us, just always ahead of us. So when I caught up to her, I said hi, and continued on. I figured she didn't need my help out there. Once we turned around and started heading back on the other side of the street, I tried to find people I knew on the other side of the road. But, it was to dark to spot anyone. I just kept running at a comfortably hard pace. Every once in a while, I would slow it down a little, but overall, I kept it pretty steady. I knew Gina was in front of me somewhere, but I could no longer see her. About half a mile from the finish, I saw my friend Susan just ahead. I gradually caught up with her. When I pulled up next to her, I yelled out a hi. She was running hard and could barely grunt out a greeting! Maybe I wasn't pushing as hard as I could if I could still chat a little? :) Soon, I noticed more people on the side of the road cheering, so I knew the finish was coming up. We took a left turn, I saw the finish line and pushed it in hard. I looked down at my watch and couldn't believe what I saw. 24:28 finish time! I was shocked! I couldn't believe I had taken 31 seconds off of my best 5K time. In these conditions! I was super happy. :) Linda came in pretty soon after me. She said she had a PR too. I later found out she got 2nd in age group. I was very happy for her. She said she was trying to catch me the entire second half. Happy to be her rabbit. :)

Linda and me after the race.
I waited around for the rest of my group to come in so that I could cheer them on. I was very proud of everyone! I didn't hang out to long. Just long enough for some photos and then to check out how I placed in my age group. I got 6th and Gina got 5th. I think it was a PR for her too. A good night all around.

Jingle finish: 24:28
age group 6/117
Overall 177/1312

Frosty 5K

My son, Aidan, and I left the house just over an hour before race start. We arrived pretty quickly, grabbing a great parking spot, not far from the finish area. We hung out for a while, before we decided to head over. We ran into Ken, and then Gina and her daughter. We found Carolyn, Robert and the rest of the 5K training group that was running today's race. I was feeling a little dehydrated, but figured since I had a great race the night before, I would just go out and do my best, but it wouldn't be a big deal if it was a lot slower. We lined up and listend to the announcements. We found out that even though it was chipped time, they would count clock time for age group awards. I told Robert and Aidan to not get to close, to have a good race, then Gina and I moved up a little closer. We really didn't have much of a chance of placing top 3. All the really fast local runners in our age group were here, but we still wanted to get a fair placement. After a few more announcements, we were off!

Me and Aidan

We ran down a dirt/paved road, before turning right. We were running through the parking lot of the park. We turned right again, and we were now on the main road within the park. By about the half mile mark, we turned left, to run on grass. This was a tricky spot. You had to watch out for some tree roots, which were hidden in the grass. Thankfully this wasn't a very long section, maybe a quarter mile at the most, before we turned left. We were now on a road. Gina and I were still together at this point, which was surprising. She is usually way ahead of me at a mile in! Just before we turned to the right, a woman in front of me dropped her phone and stopped to pick it up. Thankfully, I had quick reflexes! I jumped to the left and ran around her. We ran a loop through the neighborhood, before we coming back towards the park. We ran along the south border of the park, before turning left and then left again, back into the park. We passed by the area where we had started, before hitting a grassy section again and then the dirt path, that would take us around the lake. I pulled ahead of Gina during this section, picking up the pace a little and running it in strong to the finish! I can't believe I was only 15 seconds slower than the night before! I felt pretty good with both races. I went over to the Fit2Run tent to grab my phone (which I had left before the race) and then headed over to the area where the runners start their loop around the lake. I saw Wendy and Jim go by before seeing Aidan and Robert. Aidan was having a rough time, but was determined to finish strong. I got a photo of them, then headed back over to the finish area. Some how, I missed them finishing, but found them later. They both did great, finishing in around 36 minutes. Not bad for a kid who didn't really do much training! Our 3 other 5k training ladies finished with great times too. Proud of them!

Frosty finish: 24:43
age group 5/72
overall 95/663

Francine, Don, Me and Laura. Jen missed the photo!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Hillsborough River Half Marathon

December 14, 2013

Gina, Carolyn, Wendy and I left Sarasota just before 7am race day to drive up to the Hillsborough River Park. We got up there after about an hour, picked up our packets and then hung out for a while. Race start wasn't until 9 am. Very late for a half marathon. You would think the temps might have been cool, considering it's mid December, but no, we had a warm front on top of us. It was sunny, warm and humid. Just before 9, we wondered over to the race start area. After getting some course direction from Kip, the race organizer, we lined up and were off!

The first mile or so was all on the main road that runs through the park. We then turned right off the paved road onto a wide dirt road. This took us to a narrower section of trail that had a lot more hard sections to run on. I soon lost Gina behind me. I couldn't take my eyes off of the path in front of me in fear I would trip and fall! There were many sections that were muddy, which has us running single file along the edges, trying to stay out of the mud. We had a small creek crossing, which I managed pretty well, just getting the toes of my right foot wet, before we continued on, hitting a water stop and turning around for the trip back to the main, dirt road. On the way back, I managed to get all of my right foot wet in that creek! It felt nice and cool, but I didn't like the idea of possible blisters. Thankfully there wasn't a lot of loose dirt or sand on this trail, so I didn't have much clumping onto my wet shoe. My pace was pretty good still, a bit faster than I thought it would be. My quads had been hurting/tight all week. I could feel the tightness during the run, but it didn't hurt.
Miles 1 through 7 - 8:36, 9:12, 9:24, 9:12, 9:15, 9:36, 9:49

After we left this part of the trail, we were back on the wide dirt road. The 6 mile racers were on the other side of the road, heading back. This was my least favorite part of the course. For some reason that hard packed dirt road was hard on my legs. I slowed down a bit on this stretch. Not sure how long this stretch was, a mile or two, before we turned off the road onto a single track trail along the river. This spot was beautiful and I pretty much had it to myself. I was able to peek over at the river every so often, but I still had to keep my eyes on the trail in front of me. Lots of roots and uneven terrain. After a while, we left this trail, and entered another road that was pretty much all grass. By now, it was getting pretty hot and there was no shade here. I was still pretty much on my own. A couple of women passed me at one point and I passed a guy, before we left the grassy trail and ended up back on the hard packet dirt road. I got to the last water station, grabbed a cup and walked for about a minute or so before continuing on. I ended up running a bit with a guy who left the water stop at the same time. We talked for a while, which helped distract me from the heat. Soon, we were back on the paved road, and I knew it wasn't much further to the finish. Our pace picked back up while we ran on the pavement. I think it helped running with this guy. I might have finished slower if I hadn't had him there pushing the pace! We came up to the last little bit of trail section off of the main road. He pulled ahead of me here. The ground was very uneven, so I slowed down and watched where I was stepping. We ran along the river again for a short bit before we turned toward the right and through the finish.
Miles 8 through 13 - 9:42, 10:29, 10:35, 11:10, 11:06

Finish time: 2:05

Gina, me, Wendy and Carolyn

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Space Coast Marathon

December 1, 2013

I have never run the Space Coast races before, but had wanted to for a few years. When the race organizers announced the special Big Bang Medal series, I decided this would be the year to run the race! You get an extra medal after running 3 races and another special medal when you run all 5 of the races. Thankfully, I signed up early, because the race sold out pretty fast!

Me, Sondra and Carole before the race start.
I headed over to the Kennedy Space Center early Saturday morning. It was about a 3 hour drive from my house. I should have gotten gas before I left. I hit the toll road and after a while I discovered there were no gas stations around. Once I got off the toll road, there was nothing around at all! I drove with the empty gas light on for about 15 minutes, before I finally saw a gas station. Scary! Once at the expo, I ran into Vanessa and Sondra and their husbands. We chatted for a little bit, before I headed in to get my packet, shirt and to shop a little. This was a pretty small expo. Packet pickup had been going on at the local running store for most of the week, so by Saturday, there wasn't a hole lot of race merchandise left. I got a Space Coast Marathon ornament and a Marathon Tervis Tumbler. Once I left the expo, I headed to my hotel in Cocoa Beach. They were not ready for me to check in yet, so I grabbed my beach chair and my book and headed over to the beach, which was 2 blocks from my hotel. I had a nice relaxing time there before heading back to the hotel and checking in. A couple of hours later, I headed to Outback to meet up for dinner with some of my friends from the Weight Watchers Marathoners board. We had a great dinner and then I headed back to the room for an early night.

Race morning: I got up just before 4 am. I was still trying to figure out my race strategy. I had a secret hope of starting out with the 4:20 pacer, but with the starting temps in the low 60s and humid, I wasn't sure that was a good plan. I figured going out with the 4:30 pacer would be a safer bet. I knew I had it in me to run a 4:30 and on a good day, even faster, but I wasn't sure it was the day. I got dressed, got my gear and a cup of coffee and then headed out the door. I wasn't sure exactly were to park, but I followed some cars towards the race venue, and ended up getting a good spot in a lot near the water, to the east of the race start. I hung out for a little bit, then met Brenda at the bathrooms. I ran into Sondra there too. I ended up inviting her back to my car to hang out for a while. With the wind, low 60s was feeling a little cold! After hanging out in the car for half an hour or so, we made one more bathroom stop before I went in search of the Marathon Maniac photo spot. Just after 6 am, we were directed to head over to the starting area. The half marathoners had already started. They would run the second half of our full marathon course. I got a quick photo with Sondra and Carole before finding the 4:30 pacer. I decided it was the smarter choice. I would try for this PR first and then try to get a faster one on a cooler day. They had a recorded version of the National Anthem, which kept getting cut off. Once it happened the first time, everyone began to sing, so when it kept happening, everyone's voices got louder and louder. It was pretty cool. To send us off, they showed a shuttle count down on a big screen. Once the shuttle had lift off, we were a go!

Slow start to the race, as we were all packed into a pretty small road. We ran south, then made a couple of right turns before turning left and heading north along Indian River Dr. I was just ahead of the pace group. I kept trying to slow myself down and not loose them, but it was hard! I should have started behind them! But if I'd done that, I would have never found David up ahead in his Sarasota Storm shirt! Around mile 2, I saw David's Storm shirt just ahead of me. I ran over and said hi. We introduced ourselves and started chatting. Our pace was similar, so we kept running together. The road was slanted in many spots along this part of the course, so I tried to stay in the middle, flat part as much as possible. At one point, maybe around mile 5 or 6, we saw the lead marathon runner heading back. He looked really strong and had a big lead on the next guy. It was great seeing all the other runners. It always pumps me up. Splits miles 1 through 7 - 10:05, 9:48, 9:53, 9:39, 9:36, 9:41, 9:35

Heading to the finish line.
After the turn around, I started to keep a look out for Carole, Sondra and other Marathon Maniacs. I love waving and calling out to people. I was feeling really good still, but it was pretty early in the race. David and I kept having to slow down the pace. We both were looking at a 4:30 goal. I loved this neighborhood. We had the Indian River on one side of us and some pretty fantastic houses on the other side of us. I had thought it would be pretty flat along the water, but it wasn't. There were little rolling hills. I'm sure it was nothing for someone coming from a hilly area, but for me, after a while, they started to get a little harder and harder to run up! As we headed back into the downtown Cocoa area, where we had started, the course narrowed down again. Lots of crowd support here, though. We made a few turns, passed pretty close to the finish area and then we were heading north on Riverside Dr. Splits for miles 8 through 13 - 9:21, 9:36, 9:45, 9:46, 9:35, 9:47

Now we had the half marathoners on the River side of the street. They were on their way to the finish line. I got to see Brenda, Patti, Vanessa and her husband. The sun was out from behind the clouds now, and it was starting to get pretty warm. David and I slowed down our pace. Somewhere between mile 17 and 18, David told me he was going to have to walk for a while and to go ahead. So now, I am on my own and will be for the rest of the race. My right hip, right where the IT Band connects, was starting to hurt. It had been achy for the last week, so I kind of figured it would become a problem during the race. It was another reason why I didn't go out with the faster group. Once I saw the 20 mile marker (for those heading back, not me) on my right side, I knew I would be getting to the turn around soon. It seemed to take forever to get to there! The best part about it was the large group of people out there cheering everyone. Now I was on my way back and very happy to be heading that way. At the 20 mile marker, there was a group of people who had the 3 Little Piggies station set up. If you had signed up ahead of time, you would stop, eat some bacon, and then get a special medal before continuing on. I'm very happy I didn't sign up. There is no way I could have gotten that bacon down! Splits for miles 14 through 20 - 9:43, 9:51, 9:53, 10:11, 10:02, 10:22, 10:18

Me and David after the race.
The last 10K of the marathon was the hardest for me. I really slowed down. It no longer seemed as hot, which was good, but that was because we had a strong wind blowing into us! I seemed much stronger than when we had started the race a few hours before. I started to take walking breaks at most of the water stops and I also stopped a couple of times to stretch a bit. I did have some distractions from keeping an eye out for Carole, Sondra and Dave. Once they had all passed, I tried to get into a zone and focus on keeping good running form and not on the pain in my right side. Once I hit mile 25, I knew I would get a PR. I wasn't sure it would be under 4:30, but I knew it would be under the 4:32 from New York. I was bummed that I lost that 5 minute lead, but I put it out of my mind and focused on finishing.  Once we got close to the park, where the finish line was, we had to get off the main road and onto a sidewalk. This was a tight squeeze. There were a few other runners around me as we tried to get on the sidewalk. I passed quite a few people as I made my way around this large, semi-circle to the finish line. I was so happy to be done! And to see my first ever sub 4:30 marathon time! It's taken over a year ( I had tried last January at the Disney Marathon), but I finally did it! Spits for miles 21 through 26 - 10:53, 11:02, 10:50, 11:20, 10:50, 10:48

Finish - 4:29:52
age group 44/195, overall: 476/1682

Monday, December 2, 2013

St Pete Women's Half Marathon

November 24, 2013

This was the 5th year of the race and my 4th time running. I ran a half down in Miami last year, so missed the great weather they had up here! Today's weather was going to be a little warmer than I would like, but I wasn't planning on running hard just a week before the Space Coast Marathon! I wanted to take it easy, just run a comfortable pace. My periformis had been hurting for a couple of days, so I didn't want to get injured further.

I started out running with Gina and her friend, but just after a mile, when I saw how fast we were running, I decided to pull back. I did not want to be running any faster than a 9 min mile pace. Around mile 3, I got a sharp pain in my periformis and thought for a minute I would have to pull out of the race. I worked on running with good form, which helped to alleviate the pain. The course has changed a little this year, but besides the starting line beginning further back on the main road and not running out to the end of the pier, the course is the same for the first half.
Splits mile 1 through 6 - 8:34, 8:35, 8:56, 8:33, 8:49, 8:52

Once we pass the Vinoy and turn right along the water front, the first big change in the course happens. Instead of running down Central, we turn a block or two early. This takes us directly to the lake that we run around. I actually like this change. Once we get around the lake, we make a right and then another right turn on to Central. This becomes my least favorite part of the race. We seem to run West on this road forever! I soon realize that, while we go out on this street, we do not come back this way. I take a peek down a side street to my left, and see runners over there. This is a bummer. I love an out and back section where you can see all your friends. A few blocks past the interstate, we run left, down a side street and then another left. We are now heading back to the water front. Just before we pass The Tropicana stadium, which we do not run in this year, the 2 hour pacer passes me. I didn't think I had fallen so far off of pace, but I was feeling good at my pace, and didn't really care about my time, so I didn't try to catch up with him. I saw Darlene pass me a little later. I went over to say hi, then continued on. We are now on a slight down hill. I feel my speed picking up, which feels good. Finally, we turn right onto First Ave. Then turn left onto 5th ave, running in a big semi-circle to get to the finish. I push it hard once I see the clock still shows 1:59. I finish strong with my 4th sub 2 hour half!
Splits mile 7 through 13 - 9:00, 9:11, 9:02, 9:22, 9:13, 9:27, 8:55

Finish: 1:59:43
Total miles: 13.37. Pace: 8:55, OA place: 344/2852, AG: 49/487

Thursday, November 7, 2013

ING New York City Marathon

November 3, 2013

Saturday: I've been looking forward to running this race for years! I was so happy to be traveling to NYC on my birthday. I intended to celebrate my big day by hanging out with friends and running 26.2 through the streets of New York!

Kathy, Sue and me at the expo.
Donna, a friend from my running group, picked me up at 4:30 am saturday morning. Her flight was an hour earlier than mine, but I decided the early wakeup was worth it, so that I didn't have to drive up to Tampa and drive home on Monday. We made good time to the Airport and were soon parting ways. She was flying a different airline, with a layover in Atlanta, while I had a direct flight with Delta. I got my bag checked, grabbed a coffee and hung out until we were called to board. The flight up was uneventful and only about 2 hours. Once we landed. I texted Donna, to let her know I had made it and was going to hop on the shuttle and would meet her at our hotel. We had a crazy ride in to Manhattan, these drivers are fearless! I got to the hotel, the Sheraton Times Square, which was also the race headquarters. I believe a lot of the pro athletes were staying there, and of course, lots of middle of the pack runners, like me. :) Once Donna got to the hotel, we checked our bags, then made our way to the shuttle that would take us to the expo. Once at the expo, we didn't have much of a line. Which I hear was not the case in the previous two days. I got my shirt, a medium, which thankfully fit, as they had nothing larger left in women's sizes. I met up with Linda, one of my Active Ambassador teammates. She is with Powerbar, so she handed me a package filled with goodies and I handed her a bunch of Aquaphor samples. Nice trade! :) We talked for a bit, before trying to meet up with Kathy. We found Kathy, walked a round a bit with her, before finding Sue. Took some photos, then Donna and I walked a round the expo a bit more before heading back to the hotel. I actually left with only one purchase! A pair of cool compression socks. I did, however, purchase a marathon tank top and arm warmers a week ago online. ;)

Once we got back to the hotel, we were able to check in. We hung out a bit before heading to Times Square for the Marathon Maniac group photo. And then we were off to an early dinner. Unfortunately it was a pasta place that did not have anything gluten free. So, I settled for grilled chicken and a side salad. We had a good dinner with Maniac friends, before heading back to the hotel. I stopped at a little corner market for water and Fritos. I was still hungry and needed my prerace carbs. :) Thankfully, these worked. I had not issues the next day. Shouldn't really try something new the night before a race!

Race Morning:

Daylight saving's ended this morning, so we got an extra hour of sleep. With such a late race start, this didn't really help us much. We were both up on our own, way before the alarm went off at 6 am. We took our time getting ready, then headed downstairs. We got coffee in the lobby, then headed to the subway. We only had a few minutes to wait before we, along with many other runners, packed into the subway. Donna got a seat, and then I got a seat a couple of stops later. That was good, because we then heard that all the people in the cars further down, were going to have to come and squeeze into the first few cars for the last stop. The subway car quickly became jam packed! Thankfully, it was only that way for a short ride, before we all unloaded at the ferry dock. After about a 15-20 minute wait in the crowded building, we walked onto the ferry, found a seat on the floor near a window and settled in for the ride.

Once we got moving, we noticed a small coast guard boat traveling along side of us. They were there to protect us! There was a guy at the front of the boat with a large gun. The ride didn't seem to take long and soon we were on Staten Island. Another long line greeted us. This time the line was for the buses that would take us to the start village. We made it through that, got on the bus and took the short trip to the base of the Verrazano Narrows Bridge. Lots of security awaited us there. Police had the wands out and waved it over each runner after they exited the bus. We then made the short walk to our Blue village. Donna and I found a nice grassy spot that was protected from the wind. Race morning temp is mid 40s, with a wind chill in the 30s. Someone had left behind a plastic cushion, so we took advantage of it after a pit stop at the porta potties. Many runners seemed to have these cool orange and pink hats, so I went in search of those. I ended up in the Orange village, where they had a nice set up! Coffee, water, food and plenty of porta potties with no wait. I couldn't figure out why we didn't have that. As I learned later, when we walked further down to the corrals, we had just not gone far enough into our blue village. All that was there for us too! We hung out for a while, before hearing our time called to line up in the corrals at 10:25. We stripped off some of the extra clothing we had on before getting into the tight corral space. We found the 4:30 pacers right away. We didn't have to wait very long in the corral before they had us moving towards the start area. Donna and I talked with Julia, the 4:30 pacer, who is also a Marathon maniac. I told her I hoped to stay with them for the entire race! After another short wait, we were finally starting!

Miles 1 to 10 - 10:06, 9:38, 10:04, 10:06, 10:04, 10:04, 10:01, 10:09, 10:04, 9:57
Donna, Julia and me before the 11am start.
The early miles are a bit of a blur. :) I keep hearing about how steep the bridge is and that the first mile is hard, but I really didn't notice it. I took one quick photo, then put my phone away so that I could concentrate on the race. It was so tightly packed. I tucked in behind Julia, but there were a lot of people with the same idea. I was getting knocked around a lot. When we started our down hill run, Julia kept the pace slow, which was hard, but I knew we needed to do that, so I kept with it. The wind was brutal. After a few miles, I realized that I probably should have worn another layer under my Maniac tank. I kept with the pace group through the first 10 miles. If I needed water, I ran ahead of them a little to get it, then caught back up with them. It worked out well. I had my first gel at mile 5, a peanut butter Gu. I figured after all the coffee I had that morning, I didn't need a Gu with caffeine yet. At mile 10, I had half a pack of Power bar Cola blasts.

Miles 11-17 - 10:07, 10:00, 9:53, 9:44, 10:06, 11:30, 9:18
Feeling good and still on pace. I loose the pace team at a water stop around mile 12. I just keep going, trying to stay on pace. Just before the 13 mile mark, we run up an overpass, where I decide to go ahead and take a short walk break to save my legs. At mile 15, I have my second Gu, the Salted Caramel, as we make the turn to run over the Queensborro Bridge. This spot is so cold. My lip is getting numb, which happens to me on cold days when running a long distance. We are running on a lower level, so no shade, plus we have the wind blowing through. It's a long, gradual up hill that is rough. This ends up being my slowest mile of the race (11:30). But with an uphill, comes a down hill. I feel like I am flying as I run down the bridge and enter Manhattan. I turn the corner to the left and see lots of crowd support cheering to the right. We make another left turn to run under the bridge. I see a line of porta potties with no lines! Amazing! I see one with a green open slot, so dash over. I get in the fastest potty break ever, exiting just as the pace group is passing! I catch up with them and continue on with our pace. This mile ends up being my fastest (9:18), even with the bathroom stop!

Me and Donna before the race.

Miles 18 to 23 - 9:37, 9:53, 10;38, 10:30, 10:01, 10:06
From mile 16 to 20, we are running up First Ave. The crowd support is tremendous. It has been great throughout the entire race, but I really feel it here. The miles go by fast. I am soon at mile 20, running over another bridge, into the Bronx. I eat the rest of my Cola blasts. I have been taking my endurolytes here and there, but, since it's not hot, I'm not feeling like I need them as much. Just after mile 21, we head out of Queens, back into Manhattan for the final time.

Miles 24 to 26 - 10:46, 10:44, 10:26
Finishing strong and happy.
The last few miles were the hardest. We are now running up Fifth Ave, next to Central Park. Miles 23 and 24 are a steady climb up hill. It's not steep, but the gradual climb is taking a toll on my legs. This is where I loose the pace group. I had to take a short walk break on this stretch. Thankfully, it only added half a minute to my mile pace, but the walk helped a lot. By now the entire left side of my face is numb from the cold. I was getting a little worried about that. It's never gotten this bad before. We enter Central Park at around mile 24.5. The hills are a little more rolling here. I decide to eat my last Gu while on a walking break. Maybe that last bit of energy boost will help. The Passion Fruit Roctane is awesome! We exit Central park on W 59th St, which is flat! I feel like I pick up some speed here. Just before turning right to run back into Central Park, I look at my watch and see 26 miles. A little further I look at the time for 26.2 (I haven't gotten to 26 on the course yet. I did a lot of weaving). My Polar GPS watch shows a time of 4:25! I wish that was my official time! One day. :) Finally, we get to the banner that shows mile 26. A little past this, I see the finish line. I want to finish strong, so I try to pick up the speed, even though we are on an up hill, but my right shin cramps up. I feel like my leg is going to give out, so I slow down the pace a little. I finish with a smile knowing I still have a PR! :)

Finish: 4:32:17

After we finished, all runners got a mylar blanket, a bag with snacks and water, before making the long walk north. Eventually, we were seperated from the runners who had checked a bag. We turned left, to leave the park, then walked back south, along the edge of the park. Finally, we recieved our orange ponchos. I thought they were very nice. They provided a lot of warmth, which I really need. I decided to just walk back to the hotel instead of trying to find a subway entrance. In a daze, I finally made it back to the room. Donna was not to far behind me. We relaxed for a while before heading out to dinner.

The New York City Marathon is a great race. Pros: tons of crowd support, aid stations at every mile, great views of the city from the bridges. Cons: very crowded. I weaved a lot trying to stay with the pace group, which added distance to my overall time.

Bill's Beer Run

Casey Key, FL
October 27, 2013

Gina, me, Fernanda and Melissa
Bill's Beer Run is the annual run/party for our local running club. This year was the 25th anniversary and it sold out months ago. Race morning, I met Melissa at her house and then she drove us down to Casey Key. We got there pretty early, so we just hung out in the car for a while, eating our pre race meal and chatting. About half an hour before the start, we met up with other friends, made a porta pottie stop then headed to the start line. I lined up right next to Gina, but knew she would pull ahead pretty quick.

Once we got going, Gina did pull ahead by the first half mile. We had perfect race day temps, low 60s, so I decided to push my pace, even though I had the marathon in a week. By the time we got to mile 2, I started seeing runners heading back. This was the best part of the course, looking for friends who were on their way back to the finish. I called out greetings to many friends before and after the turn around. Eventually, I had to curb some of that cheering, as I could tell it was taking some energy! By mile 3, I got back to concentrating on my pace. As I turned the corner to the finish line, I pushed the pace even more, to finish strong.

So happy with my time and with my new 5 mile PR! I ended up with 8th in my age group. I am really happy with that. I had some good competition.

Mile splits: 7:58, 8:04, 8:01, 8:12, 7:56
Finish: 40:50

Top 10 in my age group, with Bill.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Chick- fil-A 5K

Pt Charlotte, FL
October 5, 2013

After my effort a couple of weeks ago at the Miles for Hope 5K, I decided to look for a flat 5K, in hopes of another PR. Last weekend, I found this race and decided to give it a try even though I was going to be doing a triathlon the next day.

Race morning was great. Temps in the low 70s, but the humidity was still a bit high. I got to the race site early, got my shirt and bib and packet, then headed back to my car to wait. I headed over to the race start about 10 minutes before the start.

The race start area was a bit congested. I noticed that, while we had chips for timing, the gun start was going to be everyone's start time. So, I got as close to the start as I thought would be ok. Just before the horn sounded. A women brought her two little kids up to the front. What a bad idea! As we started running. I looked over at her to see she had both kids by the hand while she tried to run with them. I'm surprised they didn't get run over! We made our way out of the parking area and onto the main road. We now had a good amount of space to spread out. I kept the pace fast, really wanting that PR!

We turned off the main road, into an undeveloped subdivision. It was strange seeing all these new roads, but no houses anywhere! Just past mile one, this woman passed me. I noticed her, because she passed by with just an inch to spare and then moved in front of me. I get doing that on a tight course, but we had the entire road to ourselves! I basically was chasing her down for the rest of the race. As we came out of the neighborhood, I started really gaining on the woman. About half a mile from the finish, I pulled up next to her. She looked to her side, sees me, and then speeds up. I stayed on her tail as we ran back into the parking area and towards the finish. She ended up pulling ahead of me even more, passing another woman, to finish. I came in a step after the other woman. I stopped my watch just as I ran under the banner. Time: 25:59!

I found out later that the first woman, ended up with first place masters. The woman who finished just ahead of me got second and I got third! A great race. Very happy. :)

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Miles for Hope 5K run and 15m Bike

September 21, 2013

Gina and I headed up to Clearwater very early race morning, getting there just over an hour early. We met Sara, our team captain, to get out bibs, chips and shirts, then headed back to the car to get ready. We were going to run the 5K first, which was chipped timed, then bike the 15 miles, which was not timed. We brought our bikes over to the small bike area next to the run start/finish. They were not real bike racks, so you could not "rack" your bike. We ended up leaning out bikes against the bushes boarding the road and the Scientology Resort area that was right next to Coachman Park. We later saw one of the security guards from the scientology compound come over and look at all the bikes against "his" bushes. He finally left after giving everyone the evil eye.

After a bit of a late start we were off running. We headed up a small hill before turning right. After a couple of blocks We made another right turn and then started our run up the steep bridge. My time was pretty good up to this point. I tried not to slow down to much, I was hoping to PR! As I started my down hill run, I picked up the speed, and felt like I was flying! I looked at my watch at one point and saw that I was at a 6:56 min mile pace! WOW! I started to catch up to Gina a little on the down hill, but she pulled ahead again on the flat road. We made a u-turn a little bit after the bottom of the bridge (missing the first and only water stop), then made our way back over the bridge. My time slowed down even more on the second up hill, but I kept working as hard as I could to run fast. Made up time again on the down hill. We came off the bridge, made the left, ran a couple of blocks, then made the last turn, down the hill and through the finish line. Got my PR by 15 seconds!! So happy.

Finish time: 25:15

We got over to our bikes, taking our time to get going since the bike part was not timed. Then, we made our way back over the bridge and tried to find the flags that marked our course. It was not easy. There were no bike lanes in some areas. It was pretty scary with the cars not giving us much space to ride. Thankfully we didn't get lost, but we did have to stop quite a few times to look at the map I brought with me.

When we got back, we found out that Gina got 2nd in age group and I got 3rd for our 5K run. Pretty cool. A great morning of racing. :)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Venice Triathlon

Venice, FL
August 31, 2013

The Swim: Venice Triathlon. Pretty good swim this morning. I felt calmer and stronger out there then last time. I did have a couple of women near me that I couldn't shake, so I just went with it, trying to draft off of the one ahead of me. :) Swim was a little long according to Garmin. I didn't stop it until we hit the mat, a little up the beach. Should have been 440 yards. 14:43; T1 - 2:12

The Bike: 3 loops for the bike. Not a fan. Most of the road was smooth, but there was a section at one end that was rough. No course marshals out there. People were drafting like crazy, though it was hard not to ride close to others with everyone out there at the same time because of the 3 loop thing. Forgot to stop my garmin when I came into transition. 48:10; T2 - 1:15

The run: Felt pretty good for the first mile. The heat started getting to me in mile 2. I could hear this woman behind me breathing funny. I could not shake her! I would slow down, so would she. I would speed up, so would she. Sigh. Her loud breathing was annoying! Kicked it in hard at the end and left her in the dust. :D 27:05

Finish: 1:33:23

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Sea Dog 5K

August 18, 2013
Clearwater, FL

I headed up to Clearwater super early the morning of the race. It was a little over an hour drive. Normally I wouldn't drive so far for a 5K, but I was also going to be working, promoting the TriRock Clearwater race, so I figured why not!

I got to the race about an hour or so before start time. The race start was next to the Sea Dog Brewery, which was were packet pickup was. We had a big parking lot to park in, which was good, as it looked like this race was going to to have a lot of runners! I picked up my shirt and bib, then headed back to the car to relax a little and finish getting myself ready. I looked all over the car and through my purse, looking for my music player, but could not find it. It was going to be a quiet run. Thankfully, I had stopped at a gas station to use the bathroom, before getting to packet pickup. The lines for the Porta-potties were crazy long! I by-passed the lines and headed over to the start area. They had signs on the side with min miles posted. I put myself between the 8 and 9 min mile signs. I wish everyone would pay attention to these signs and line up accordingly! Everyone gathered on the road next to the brewery and soon we were off!

It was a pretty hot and humid morning, so going into the race, I wasn't expecting much. I started off with a pretty good pace and just decided to go with it for as long as I could. We ran down the street, then turned to the left, onto a 4 lane road. They had one lane closed off for the runners. We were on this road for a short bit, before turning left into a neighborhood. We hit the half-way point in the neighborhood. I was still feeling pretty good. Not overheated, which I worried about in this humidity. I started picking out runners just ahead of me and then trying to catch up to them. We finished our loop through the neighborhood before heading back out and back to the brewery. From looking at the race map, I knew we didn't finish were we started. We were going to have to run a loop through the parking lot, to the finish line. I'm glad I looked, that way I didn't start my final speedy push to early. I picked off one runner after another. Feeling strong. I made my way into the parking lot, made the left turn, then a quick right, followed by two more rights, before seeing the finish line and pushing forward to a strong finish. I knew when I saw my time on my watch (25:40) that I was somewhere close to my PR, so I got back to my car and looked it up on my phone. I missed a PR by less than 10 seconds! I wonder if I knew what my PR was going into this run, if I would have been able to push it just a little bit more to get that PR. Not sure. I feel like I gave it my all. And with these conditions, I feel like I DID PR! Going to work on speed over the next months and hope to get a great PR soon. :)

Official Chip time finish: 25:35

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Top Gun Triathlon

July 27, 2013

Me and Carolyn before race start.
Just a quick post about this race. It's a great race, very well run, lots of volunteers. I was not feeling it today. 

Swim (440 yards): Ug, why was my swim 3 minutes slower than last year! It was pretty choppy this morning. I had a hard time moving in the correct direction. I felt like I was getting tossed all over the place. Every time I would look up to see where I was, it didn't seem like I had moved very far. The men in the wave after mine, caught up to us just before turning around the last buoy. I was just trying to survive out there for the last bit of the swim in! Transition included the run up the beach and through the parking lot. Time - 11:30; T1 - 3:54
Bike (10 miles): I felt pretty good on the way out, but once we turned around and made the turn to the north, hitting the wind, I slowed down a lot. Just wasn't feeling it today. I could have pushed harder, but just didn't. I watched for friends already out on the run portion, yelling out when I saw someone. I realized if I was doing that, I probably didn't have my heart or head in the race. Time: 31:55; T2 - 1:35
Run (5K): The run started out great. My first mile was under 9 mins. Once we got off the sidewalk and onto the sand, I slowed way down. It didn't feel like I did, but I looked at my watch when I got to mile two and saw that it was a 10 min mile! So, I tried to pick up the pace a bit. I did manage to pass at least 5 women in my age group during the run. Passed one woman just was we got into the parking area and headed to the finish. Time: 29:59
Finish - 1:18:55
Not sure what lead to the funk I was in today. Maybe it was the heat (80s at start), lack of speed work, working out to much during the week, or the low calorie diet I've been on for a month. Possibly all were factors. Need a new plan for the next tri at the end of August. 

24 out of 55 in age group

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Englewood Triathlon

July 13, 2013

Carolyn and I are on the road early, heading down to Englewood. It's raining most of the way down to the race, but weather forecast shows the rain will move out by race start. Hope they are right! We get to the race location faster than we thought. It is super dark out still. There are two guys trying to set up the fencing around the transition area. Not sure how they can see what they are doing. There are no lights for them! We head over to a table that looks like packet pickup and learn we have almost half an hour to wait. Pickup was a little later than we had thought. We go back to the car to hang out for a bit. At 5:45, we walk back over to get our packets. We get our bibs and shirts, but learn that the company in charge of timing is not there yet to give us our chips. So we head back to the car to hang out, get our stuff ready and grab our bikes. By the time we get done with this, we see that a long line has formed near the packet pickup. We head over and find out it is for body marking and chip pickup. I have never seen a single line that long before for body marking! After waiting for about 10 minutes, a woman comes over and tells people to form 3 lines for the body marking. Finally I get my numbers marked and head right over to get my chip. We head into transition and find our spots. I get everything set up, then we head to the bathrooms before going on to the beach.

Swim (400 meters): Carolyn and I were in the last of 4 swim waves, so once we got on the beach, we had a few minutes to wait as we watched each wave go off. The water was pretty choppy, but it looked like we were going to be swimming with the current. We got lined up just behind the first row of swimmers and soon were off! Right away I realized it was a mistake to start so close to the front. I could not stretch out and swim with all the people around me! I stopped, while I could still stand, and let the mass go ahead. Finally I was able to swim, with just a few people left around me. I made it around the first bouy, turned to the right and headed north. I had one lady swimming right behind me. She kept hitting my foot with her hand. This was very annoying because there was NO ONE around us! I picked up the pace a little to get some space from her. Soon, I could see a the majority of the swimmers way ahead of me, no one around me and just a small group behind me. I got off course briefly, swimming our a little to much, but got it corrected, soon making my way around the second buoy and swimming into shore. Just off the beach, we hit the timing mat. We then had to run through the parking lot into transition. There were little tiny gravel pieces to run over that did not feel good on the feet. ouch! Once I got to my bike, I dried off my face, put on my sunglasses and helmet, dried off my feet and then put on my socks and shoes before grabbing my bike and heading out of transition. Swim - 11:44. T1 - 2:10 (#10 out of 12 in the swim! yikes!)

Heading out to ride 13 miles.

Bike (13 miles): Heading out on the bike, I got a good pace going pretty quick. I kept checking my garmin to see my speed, but realized since I had changed it to multisport, it wasn't showing my speed, but my overall time. :( I wasn't sure how fast I was going, but I was going fast enough to start passing people. I managed to pass over ten people before getting to the turn around! There were a couple of giant puddles we had to ride around, but otherwise the course was pretty good. The first few miles were on nice, smooth road. Then we got to an older section of road, which was not as smooth. We got to the turn around, which was a very sharp turn. The three riders ahead of me actually got off their bike and walked it! I rode it slow, then picked up the pace and passed all 3 of them right after the turn. :) By now I am super hot and just dripping in sweat. Yuck! We had a bit of headwind going back, but not too bad. I managed to pick off a few more riders before turning back into transition. I racked my bike. Took off my sweaty tri top and swapped it for my lighter tank, that already had my bib attached. Switched my helmet for a visor and headed out of transition. Bike - 45:51, T2 - 1:00 ( moved up to 4th out of 12 on the bike!)

Run (5k): We pass by the finish line as we head out of transition. Some of the first athletes are finishing as we head out! We run out of the parking area, cross the street and then turn left at the corner. Across the street, I can see runners heading in the other direction. I yell out to Ren and then Patti. They are way ahead of me! I am feeling pretty good and passing people who are struggling in the heat. Just a bit before the turn around, I see Carolyn on the other side of the road. I hope to catch up to her before the end of the race. I make the turn, and pass by the water stop, since I have my hand held bottle. It's about half a mile back to the main road, where we turn left, away from the finish. I pass a few more runners, before I need to slow down myself. I am getting cramping in my side. We head south for a bit, then turn to the right, running down a side street, before joining up to the main road again. I stop at the last water stop, refilling my water bottle and dumping a cup of water on my head. It was nice and cold! It felt great. It gave me a little boost to pick up the pace again. I managed to pass a woman who was in my age group, about a block before the finish. I powered it in and finished strong! Run - 29:47. Finish 1:30:34. 4th overall finish!

I find Carolyn just past the finish line. We grab water bottles and find a shady spot near her bike. The woman I had passed a few blocks before the finish comes in and is not looking good. Her friend takes her over to another shady spot and is soon yelling for medical. I go over the the finish area and yell for medics too, but it takes 4 or 5 times of me yelling at people for someone to actually come over! I show them where the woman is and they rush to her. She seems to recover after a while. Didn't find out what happened. But since it was so hot, I'm sure the heat was a big factor. We head out of the transition area looking for food. The only thing that looks any good is at the Smoothie King table, where they have little sample cups. I end up with two of those before we head over to check results. I see that I have 4th in age group and Carolyn gets 6th in hers. We take a few photos before the rain hits. Happy that it held off! The rain lasts for only a few minutes. It's time to pack up. We head to transition, which is not being watched by volunteers! Anyone can walk in a grab whatever they want! Thankfully, all our stuff is still there. We pack up and head home. A good day of racing. :)

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Tracy's Fat Ass Marathon

The small group of runners for the marathon and half marathon.

June 17, 2013
Marathon day 2.

I got to sleep in a little this morning, which was nice. I had gotten everything packed and ready to go last night, because I needed to check out when I left. I was not going to be able to come back and shower before driving back to my mom's house. I got dressed, grabbed my bags and headed downstairs. After checking out, I went across the street to get a cup of coffee from Starbucks, then picked up my mom's car from the garage next to the hotel, plugged in the address for the race and headed out.

I arrived at the park just before 7 am. The race start was 8am. Normally I would probably want to be earlier than this, but today, I could have taken my time, because race set up/bib pick up started at 7:45! It was a small race, so this worked out fine. Everyone got their bibs, we gathered for a few group photos and then went to the start line, which was next to the aid station. Tracy gave us the go ahead and we were off!

Trent, Lesley and May. Both Lesley and May were
on their 3rd marathon in 3 days!
I started at the front of the pack. I don't know why, because I soon realized I was getting caught up in the speed of the faster runners and should slow down. I told Lesley, who I had just met and who was running day 3 marathon!, that I was going to pull to the side and take a photo. Quickly I was one of the last runners of the group.

Surprisingly, I only felt tight for the first mile or so. There was a long downhill in the first part of that loop, which my quads were not happy about, so I ran down that slowly and gently. Soon, I was in a nice, easy paced run. I had my camera with me, so I just enjoyed taking photos of the lake and the other runners. Since most of the runners were going to reverse direction every lap, before I got to the end of my first lap, I saw runners coming back towards me. I took more photos, then put the camera away for a while. I probably took too much time at the aid station (12:58 mile), but I enjoyed chatting with the other runners and the volunteers. I was pretty much running on my own out there, only seeing other runners every once in a while. Very different then the massive crowds of the day before! The second lap went well. I didn't even bother trying to run up the long, steeper hill, but I was able to run some of the lower "hills". Hills for me, probably not for the locals. :)

Miles 1 through 9 - 10:38, 10:47, 11:54, 11:08, 12:58, 11:56, 11:21, 13:17, 11:39

I met Lance before the race. He was wearing
a Half Fanatics skirt! :)
It wasn't until about mile 10 or so, that I started to feel like I was stiffening up. But, I was able to keep at it, even though my pace started to slow down a lot. Once the half marathoners finished, there were not many of  us racers out there. There were, however, other runners doing their own thing. I had one older couple stop and ask me what we were doing. They were very impressed when I said we were running a marathon!

Lap 3 and 4 came and went. Just getting slower and slower, but determined to finish! I enjoyed seeing other racers when they would pass by behind me or from the other direction. It felt like I was running a trail race, a lot of solitude. And once you see the surrounding area a few times, not much new to see. During the middle of lap 5, I had to stop at one of the porta potties. I had seen the truck stop and clean it on an earlier lap, so I managed to have a semi clean potty spot. :) Just before going in there, I had crossed path with Leslie and another runner. We seemed to be on the same pace during the entire race, but when I got up to the aid station, they had already been through. I had fallen behind. Trent, Marathon Man, had just finished the marathon, so I hung out for a couple of minutes and took a photo with him. I did have to hurry him along, letting him now I still had a lap left. :)

Miles 10 through 21 - 13:44, 12:19, 13:10, 12:30, 16:30, 13:08, 12:35, 15:57, 13:10, 16:34, 13:58, 15:51

As I headed out for my last lap, I saw others coming towards me, about to finish up. May gave me a high five as she powered up her last hill. Amazing pace she had going for day 3! This last lap was by far my slowest lap. I pretty much walked the entire time. I did managed a very slow shuffle early in the lap, but my muscles were pretty stiff and it hurt to get in the running motion. Walking didn't really seem to hurt, though, so I tried to keep my walking pace faster. I pulled the camera out and took a bunch of pictures along the course. I just enjoyed the wonderful weather and great views. My last run in the cool temps, since I was heading back to humid Florida in a couple of days. I walked up the last big hill, saw the finish line in the distance and decided to try and run it in. Finally I finished! So happy to be done with day 2. A few people were still there hanging out. So I got to chat and take photos with them, before Tracy and the volunteers started packing things up.

Miles 22 through 26.2 - 14:56, 15:57, 16:47, 16:22, 16:08, 7:04 (I had 26.5 on garmin)
Finish: 6:02

With May (left) and with Race director Tracy.

What a great weekend in San Francisco. So happy to have completed my goal of running two marathons in 2 days, which has made me a 4 star maniac. Not sure I'll ever advance higher than that, but you never know, I may try 3 in 3 days next time. :)

4 Star Maniac!

Friday, June 21, 2013

San Francisco Marathon

June 16, 2013

Double race weekend was finally here! I was so excited and nervous as I drove up to San Francisco Saturday morning. Of course I realized as I was driving that I had forgotten the battery for my little camera I was going to carry with me during the race. It was still charging away back at my mom's house! I decided that if I saw a Best Buy or Target just off the highway, before I reached S.F., I would go buy a new one. I've been wanting one for a while anyway. Mine is a few years old and the battery doesn't hold a charge for very long. So, just before S.F. I see a Best Buy in a shopping center to my left. I end up going in and finding a nice camera with tons of battery life and that takes higher resolution pictures for a great price. And it's pink! :)

A few miles after the start.
I head into S.F. after that, finding a parking spot near the running store that is offering shuttle service to the expo. This was more of a sporting goods store. It was huge! 5 floors! I got on a shuttle right away, and a few minutes later, we were at the event. I went for my bib first. Thankfully I looked at it as I was walking away from the table, because the name on it said "Ted". Um, that's not me!! I took it back and got the right bib. Mine said "Go Maniac" :) Next, I headed over to the shirt tables. Not a good sign when no volunteers are at the table for large and xl shirts. I ask a girl at the size small table about the shirts. She said they were out of med, lg and xl! Shirts had run small, so they let people size up the day before. They would mail me one or I could choose a mens shirt. They looked the same, so I got a men's. It fits ok, the sleeves are short though. Next, I walked through the official race gear shop. I bought a visor and a purple shirt with the race logo. Then I headed out to the main shopping area of the expo. Crazyness! I bought a rubber race band with  my future goal time of 4:30. I wasn't going to wear it for this race, but it would be great for a future race to help me set a pace. :) After wandering around a bit and trying samples (I forgot to get lunch!), I headed back outside and caught the shuttle back to the Sports store. I wandered through there a bit and bought a couple of things. They had pretty good prices and they were items I can't get at my local running store. Finally I was able to plug in the address to my hotel and head on over there.

I got checked into my hotel, got everything unpacked and then went in search of food. I walked down to were the race start was, the Ferry terminal building, which has shops and restaurants. I ended up finding a gluten free shop. So, I ordered a sandwich and headed back. Since I didn't have any lunch, I was pretty hungry. I was a little worried about getting enough carbs in, the sandwich was kind of small, so I stopped at McDonalds and got a large order of fries. :)

I enjoyed my dinner while looking out at the great view I had from my room and then went down to the lobby to meet my brother, who was in town from Portland to volunteer the next morning with his dad. It was great seeing him, it's been a couple of years! We went to Walgreens, to buy a pair of long socks for me, which I was going to wear on my arms the next morning. I forgot to bring a pair of arm sleeves. Then we went back to the hotel bar and hung out and talked for a while. Got back to my room and was in bed by 9pm. I didn't sleep very well, so I was feeling pretty tired when I got up at 3:45 the next morning. I went down to the loby to wait for Jeff and the other marathon maniacs staying in the hotel, but they hadn't showed by 4:35, so I walked over to race start by myself. I didn't want to miss the pre race photo! They ended up making it in time for the photo then we all started making our way to the corral area. I had over an hour to wait until my corral was going to start, so I ate my power bar and then stood in line for the porta potty. I then headed to the corral and hung out with a marathon maniac from WA and another lady from Portland, who was on a quest to become a Maniac. It's such a beautiful morning out, clear and cool. No fog at all yet. Finally our corral made the walk to the start line and then we were off!

The first few miles are along the water front. We pass by the Coit Tower on our way to Fisherman's Wharf. Within a couple of miles, we are in the Presidio area and soon, making out way up the first big hill, mile 5. I plan on walking most hills. I don't want my legs to be shot before tomorrows race. We finally get to the top and start running over the Golden Gate bridge. You would think the bridge is flat, but I can feel a slight up hill for a little while. The space is tight for the runners. We have one lane heading over the bridge and the runners coming back have one lane. It gets hard to run around runners at certain spots. finally we make it to the other side and hit a water spot at the Vista Spot, which is mile 7.5. I stop to snap a photo, grab water and a snack and also refill the bottle I am carrying. Then, head back over the bridge.

Heading back over the bridge, we have a slight down hill and then it's right back up again. You can kind of see it in the photo. I plug away, running the flat sections, so that I can walk the up hills. Some of the grates on the bridge are covered with rubber mats. They are not flat, so you have to watch your step when running over them. One woman almost falls on her face right next to me when she trips on a mat. Thankfully she catches herself and is OK. We head off the bridge, turn to the right and then turn left and run up a huge hill! I run a little bit up it, because the water station is just before the middle, walk through the station and to the top of the hill. As we are running back down the other side, I see Jeff and his girlfriend ahead of me. It takes me a while to catch up to them, but I do. They haven't trained for this run, so are walking a lot of it. We wish each other luck and I continue on.

Miles 1 through 10 - 9:07, 9:24, 10:27, 9:39, 9:58, 12:52, 9:55, 10:35, 10:17, 11:05

Cute doggies cheering us along. :)
We then turn away from the coast, heading toward Golden Gate Park. Lots of uphills, with very few downhills. I remember this from the time I ran the half a few years ago. I feel bad for the halfers. The last 3 miles are mostly up hill with a little bit of flatness! We head into the park, where the half marathoners split off. We have a wide road to run on now and a much smaller marathon group of runners. About a mile in, we pass by the start line of the second half marathon. The last corral had just started. So we have the slower runners/walkers on our left. We split from them briefly, when they add a loop, and then join again. We run in the park until mile 19! Finally we pass the finish line of the first half group. I would have loved for someone to toss me a banana. We see the finished runners with their food and mylar blankets. That is no fun!

Miles 11 through 19 - 10:04, 11:59, 11:42, 10:11, 12:41, 12:15, 13:44, 11:05, 13:07

Then, we run down Haight street. Lots of interesting shops there. :) The course is fairly flat for a while, so I am able to run more. But my quads are feeling pretty sore from running all the downhills. I decide to slow the pace more and walk even more. I want to be able to complete the marathon the next day!

I look forward to getting to mile 23. My brother had said he should be between mile 23 and 24. So, for the entire mile, I am looking closely at all the volunteers, but unfortunalty, I don't see him anywhere. :( That was a bummer.

Miles 20 through 24 - 11:59, 12:13, 11:46, 13:04, 14:13

Just past mile 24, we are running along the waterfront again. We pass some cool bands. The rest of the course is flat, so I am trying to run as much as I can, but my legs are hurting! All I can think about are my 110% compression tights waiting for me in my room. Not food, but compression! That's how sore my muscles were feeling!

Soon, I see the AT&T ball park in the distance. We turn to the right, run around the backside of the park and head towards the Bay Bridge, which was near the finish line. I get to the mile 26 sign and take a look at my Garmin. It reads 26.5! I was way off. So rough running a longer distance than 26.2. I used what little kick I had left to run the last quarter of a mile hard, finishing with a big smile on my face. Day 1 was completed!

Miles 25, 26 and .8 - 16:00, 12:57, 8:50

Finish 5:19