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

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Aptos Women's Five miler

June 7, 2013
Forest of Nisene Marks State Park

Cool and foggy morning greeted me and Aidan as we entered the park. Aidan was going to be my helper today. I was going to have a table set up for me so that we could hand out samples of Aquaphor and Kidz ZonePerfect bars. We got set up and then hung out for a while. Since this was a women's race, there were mostly women there, but husbands, boyfriends and fathers were there to cheer on the women. My Florida friend Kim was vacationing in the area and decided to come out and run the race. So we chatted a bit, then I waved good-bye to Aidan and headed to the start line. Soon we were off!

The race starts in a park that is located at the bottom of a very steep hill. We head up that and then turn left out, heading towards Nisene Marks. About a quarter of a mile later, we run down a very steep hill, turn to the left and run right back up another steep hill. Thankfully the next couple of miles are mostly flat dirt road. We cross over a bridge, run down and up a small hill and then find the turn around. Just passed the turn around is a water stop. I grab a quick drink and keep going. I am feeling "OK" I could tell I wasn't as hydrated as I should be. It's harder for me to tell when I am in cooler conditions. I've been drinking a lot of coffee since I've been back in CA. :)

We run back over the bridge and then head off to the left to finally run on the single track trail portion of the race. I've got one woman right in front of me and one on my tail. There is no way to get around the woman in front of me. This is an up and down trail with lots of tree roots to look out for. I watch my step closely. I don't need a fall with just a week until my double marathon race weekend! Finally, I am able to pass the woman in front of me. I catch up to another runner and then have to wait until just before the trail ends to pass her. Finally, we hit mile 4. We head down the steep hill, turn right and head right back up that other steep hill. We've got flat paved road for a bit and then finally enter the park were we started. We make the run down the hill. It's hard not to go fast. Gravity wants to pull you down! We hit a nice flat road all the way to the finish! Aidan is there cheering me on.

Finish: 45:47

I ended up getting third in my age group! What a great day! Overall, not my best time at all, but happy with my effort. :)