Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 year in review

My races for the year:

Jan 1- Savage 7 marathon, 2nd female finisher

Jan 19 - Clearwater marathon

Feb 1 - groundhog jog - 5K, masters winner!

Feb 7-8 Ragnar Fl Keys

Feb 22-23 Gasparilla races - 15k, 5K, half marathon, 8K

March 1 Springfest 7.5m

March 16 - 50K, 2nd overall female!

April 5 - Mote Turtle Run 5K

April 12 - Shark's Tooth 10K

April 19 - Boston Strong Run 5.2m, 2nd in age group

May 10 - Run for the Music 5K, 1st place age group

June 22 - Mammoth Lakes Half Marathon, 50th half!

June 28 - Half marathon, new pr!

July 4 - Firecracker 5K

July 12- Moon Over Croom 14miler

July 19 - Englewood Triathlon

Sept 13 - Life's A Beach tri

Sept 26 - Boca Lupa 5K, 1st in age group

Oct 11 - SUP 5k race

Oct 25- Boo Run 5K, 3rd in age group

Oct 26 - Bill's Beer Run 5 miler, New PR!

Nov 9 - Ft Myers Marathon

Nov 22 - Harvest Hustle 5K

Nov 30 - Space Coast Marathon, New PR!

Dec 13 - Hillsborogh River Half

Dec 19 Jingle 5K, New PR!

Dec 27 Manatee River Run 5 Miler

Manatee River Run 5 miler

December 27, 20014

Last race of the year! I signed up for this race very early (notice the #10 on my bib!), as soon as I saw the cute long sleeved hoodie that we got. I've run this race a few times, but it's been a couple of years. My back was really hurting in the days leading up to the race. It was very locked up. I wasn't sure I was going to be able to run! But, I wanted to finish it, not matter what. Even if I walked the whole thing.

Gina and I got to the race site pretty early. The race starts pretty late, 9am. We sat in her car for a while, before heading down to the race start area, just under a mile down the road. Nice little warmup walk. We watched the last kids race, chatted with some people, then finally got lined up at the start.

We head east on the main road through Emmerson Point Park. About half a mile or so down the road, we turn left, onto the first trail loop. It's very crowded on this trail, good for two runners across. Since it's so early in the race, the trail is very congested. One guy almost runs me off the trail! We exit the trail, cross the main road near the start, then run a loop on the trail that is on the other side of the main road. The runners have spread out a bit more here, so I don't have to worry about shoving. Thankfully, this train is pretty smooth, not many roots to watch out for, but I still keep my eyes on the ground in front of me. Around mile 2.5, we exit the trail, turning right onto the main road. We run this all the way down to the end, which hits the Gulf of Mexico, before heading back. I've felt pretty good for the first couple of miles, but by mile 2, my back was getting stiffer. I just pushed through as best as I could. Finally, I see the last turn. The finish line is just ahead. I see that the time is 41 and change. I push as hard as I can to get in under 42 minutes. I finish in 42:05, just missing it.

Overall, happy with my last race of the year. Looking forward to lots of running in 2015!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Jingle 5K

Lakewood Ranch, FL
December 19, 2014

This is my second year running this race. I don't normally like evening races, but this was my PR last year, and, the final race of a 3 part series, so I definitely wanted to run this race. My legs were feeling sore, from the tough workouts this week, so I really wasn't expecting much. I figured I would go out and try my best, but wouldn't be surprised with a slower finish. I wore a cute elf long sleeved shirt. I hardly every wear long sleeves. It's got to be in the 40s for me to wear sleeves, yet I went for it tonight, even though the temp was in the low 60s. Yeah, long sleeved cotton is not a great choice in running shirts! Gina and I met up in the parking lot, then walked over to the party area near the start. It was a mad house. Around 1500 people signed up to run this race! 3 corrals, with the first corral being for finishers under 28 minutes. Gina, Donna and I got lined up with the first corral and got ready to go.

The course was super crowded, even starting close to the start line. We run out and then take a right. The course is pretty much exactly the same as the Boo Run course, we just start at a different section of the main road, so we turn around further down. About a quarter of a mile down, It feels like my shoe lace is untied. Sure enough, it is. Rookie mistake!! I briefly consider letting it go, and running with it loose, but I am way to clumsy to do that, so, I pull to the side, bend down and tie and knot it. I probably only loose about 10 seconds or so. Gina has passed me during my little shoe tie break, so I try my best to catch up with her. Probably go a little to fast trying to catch up, but, what the heck, I'm not expecting much from this race. I am surprised to see my mile 1 split, Not bad considering the stop. The road is very dark in spots. There is one section that is completely black. I made sure I was picking my feet up, not dragging. I didn't want to trip over something I couldn't see. Finally, we get to the turn around spot. It's a tight turn. We are now on our way back, on the other side of the road. It's nice to see all the people behind me. :) I grab a drink of water at the water stop, slowing briefly so I don't pour it all over my face. By mile two, I do feel a little slow down. I pass Mike, say something like "Why are you letting me pass you". I guess I was a little motivator, because he passes me knot long after the comment! :) As I get closer to the finish area, I start to push my pace. Just before the left turn, that takes us to the finish line, some teenager, jumps off the curb to my left, dashing across the road RIGHT in front of me! That was a close call. I might have let a curse word fly in his direction. ;) That provided a nice surge of adrenaline for the final push. I finish strong.

I was really happy with my finish time. I had no idea until I got home, that it was a PR time! Super excited about that. :)

Splits - 7:46, 7:42, 7:51, 0:22
Finish: 23:43; 4th out of 112 in age group

Friday, December 19, 2014

Hillsborough River Half Marathon

Hillsborough River Trail half marathon, December 13, 2014

Gina, Carolyn, Wendy and I headed up to the Tampa area around 6 am race morning. We got to the race site, picked up our bags and then waited in the car until we needed to head to the start. It was a cold morning! Temp was low 40s. We all were trying to decide if we needed to wear a top layer or not. About 10 minutes to race start, we got out of the warm car and walked down the road to the start line. I found Brenda and Vanessa there. Got a quick photo, while we listened to the course directions. Just before we got started, the lead marathoners (who had started about 10 minutes before us) came running through. We had a little loop at the start of the race, before heading out to the trail. One runner had brought her dog. He/she wasn't on a leash and for some reason decided to run across the road, right in front of the lead female runner, tripping her! She recovered quickly, smiled and waved and continued on. We all gave her a big cheer. We then got lined up and got ready to go.

Giant puddle covering the road.
I lost Gina and Carolyn right away, even though it was a small group of runners. The dog and it's owner came up on the left side of me, then cut across and stopped. The woman was yelling at the dog, telling him to stop acting crazy. Not sure why the dog was allowed to run the race, specially without a leash! As we finished off the first little loop, the dog stopped, squatted and pooped on the road! I pulled ahead of them and thankfully didn't encounter these two again on the course. Hope they didn't trip up anyone else. Just before mile one, we made the turn to the right, off the paved road. I drop my zip up hoodie here, as I'm starting to warm up. We soon encountered the large puddle, that covered the entire dirt road. There was one little area to get around it, but it was pretty muddy. I managed to get though without getting my feet wet. The course changed from wide dirt road, to hard packed dirt road and then to single track trial, with lots of roots. This section wasn't very long. Less than two miles maybe. My favorite part of the run, even though it slows me down a bit because I've got to change my gait to avoid tripping. One guy, who had been running behind me for a while and was breathing very heavy, passed me and then soon tripped on a root! I made sure he was of, before continuing on. Slightly happy to not have his crazy breathing behind me anymore. :) The next section of the trail is high grass trail. My least favorite section. Not much traction on my older Hoka shoes I was wearing. Finally we hit an aid station, made the turn to the right to start the second loop, back on the dirt road. Splits for miles 1 through 7 - 9:00, 8:29, 8:50, 9:04, 8:55, 9:15, 9:08

Hard packed dirt road.
Started to slow down during the second loop. My hips were feeling pretty tight. I knew it was going to be a tough run just two weeks after Space Coast Marathon. Plus, I ran a total of 20 miles already during the week, so no kind of taper leading up to this run. My only goal was to try and beat last year's time of 2:05. By the time I hit the single track trail section, I was feeling pretty stiff, but kept up running. This section is right next to the river, but I can't really enjoy the view, because I'm afraid to take my eyes off of the trail in front of me! I don't want to fall and get hurt. As I hit the grassy trail section, which is full sun, it is finally warm enough to push down the arm sleeves I'm wearing. I plod away, finally reaching the aid station. I get to turn left this time, heading back to the main road. I manage to make my way through the big puddle again, without getting my feet wet. When I his the main road, I pick up some speed. We do get off the paved road, toward the end, running the trail next to the river again, up to the finish line. Splits for miles 8 through 13.1 - 9:11, 9:28, 10:04, 10:24, 9:44, 9:37, 1:01
Finish - 2:02 (three minutes faster than last year!)

Half marathon finishers medal

Before leaving, we enjoy a nice hot breakfast in the restaurant of the park. It's free for runners. They had pancakes, eggs, sausage, fruit, coffee and orange juice.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Space Coast Marathon

Finally, it is Space Coast Marathon weekend! I've been training all summer for this. This has been my highest mileage marathon training. I had many high 40 and low 50 mile weeks. My goal time was 4:10 - 4:15. I believed it to be doable. My previous best time was 4:22:04. Even though I'd been sick and was dealing with some hip/piriformis pain, I still had high hopes for this goal race.

Carolyn and I drove over Saturday morning, getting to the expo mid-day. What a packed mad house! I thought there might be more room, since they moved the location this year, but it wasn't any better. It was hard to move around. I'm so bummed that I missed seeing Bart Yasso! He was sitting in one of the booths, but because there was so many people, I didn't even see him. :( After the expo, we checked into our hotel, did some shopping at the surf shops, then met friends for an early dinner. I had a yummy gluten free white pizza with grilled chicken. We got back to the hotel early, got our gear layed out, watched tv, then turned in early. We had a 4 am alarm set.

Carolyn, Jackie and me.

Race morning: Carolyn and I were out the door by 4:30. We made it to the parking lot, near the finish line, in good time. There were still plenty of parking spots left, but that didn't last long! We had a long wait, but it was worth it to not have to search for a parking spot. Just before 6, we made our way over to the start area to find Jackie and Emma. The half marathon started a half hour before the marathon. We got a photo, wished Jackie luck and then headed back over to the finish area to use the porta potties. Once again, it took me a little while to find the marathon maniac photo spot (moved from where it was the previous year),but I got there just in time to get in the group photo. We then made our way back over to the start line, a couple of short blocks from the finish area. We wished each other luck then went to our pacers. Carolyn was going to run with the 4:20 pacer and I planned to run near the 4:15 pacer. The national anthem was played, then they put a recording of a shuttle launch on the big screen at the start line. The count down started. There was a blast-off and we were off!

The first mile, around the downtown area, is very crowded and has lots of turns. I separated from the pace group, but still had them in sight. We made a left hand turn, to head out of the downtown area, which took us to the road along the water. We would run north on the Indian River Drive, until we turned around at mile 7ish. We had the Indian River on our right and beautiful houses to our left.The road is two lanes and for the early miles, we had it all to ourselves. I ended up pulling ahead of the pace group. My right hip and piriformis was already starting to hurt. I wanted to get some sort of a time buffer early, before I had to slow down do to pain. Around the 5.5 mile mark, the lead runner passed by on our left. Gradually, we started to encounter more and more runners on our left, so I had to keep to the right side of the road. I tried to find the flat sections, which tended to be in the middle of the road. The road is pretty curvy, so by staying in the middle, I wasn't really able to take the tangents, which lead to a longer overall distance. I saw a few people I knew from Sarasota with the fast group, which was pretty cool. The turn around point, was a very nice bike in the middle of the road. I hope nobody knocked over that bike! Miles 1 through 7 - 9:11, 9:00, 9:10, 9:10, 9:09, 9:15, 8:56

On the way back to the start area. Around mile 8.
As I headed back, I had to put my sunglasses on, as we now had the sun in our eyes. I stated seeing more and more runners. I saw the pace group, which was only a minute or so behind me. A few minutes later, I saw Carolyn with her pace group. The course became very congested. Lots and lots of runners out on the road now. There was one section of our lane, that was under water. We had to run single file along the middle yellow line to get around it. While it had been pretty nice out at the start of the run, now, I was feeling pretty warm. I was sweating alot. I tried to make sure I was drinking enough and taking in nutrition when I should. We headed back into the downtown area just before the half way point. Lots of spectators out here, which was awesome. I stopped at a water table just after mile 13. This is where I took my first walk break. Half marathon time: 2:00! Maybe a little fast! Miles 8 through 13 - 8:58, 9:06, 9:18, 9:23, 9:25, 9:22

Once we head out of the downtown area, we are one again running with the river to our left. I try to continue a good pace, but I feel my legs start to stiffen up. And, as you can see from my splits, I start to slow down. One family, has a big spread of food and drinks (bloody mary's!) out on tables in their front yard. I stop and ask for advil, but, that is the one thing they don't have in their little first aid kit! The heat is really starting to get to me. I start dumping water on my head at every other water stop. We pass the mile 20 marker (for the runners heading back) which lets me know we are getting to the turn around. So happy! There are water tables on both sides of the road. I grab water and start walking, but then talk myself out of it, because I know the turn around is very soon. Just around the corner, we make a sharp u-turn, heading back! Miles 14 through 19 - 9:28, 9:39, 10:19, 9:50, 10:23, 9:48

On the way back, I stop again at a water table. At this one, they have iced cold towels. Oh, that feels wonderful! We turn another corner, now heading north again. There is a wonderful breeze coming off of the water. I have a second wind. I feel stronger, but not for very long. Legs are feeling super stiff. I manage a shuffle/run until I reach water stations, then I take a walking break, before resuming my shuffle. I notice another runner sitting on the side of the road. He has a couple of people with him, checking on him already. He is the third runner I've seen down. The heat was rough on everyone. As I get closer to the finish area, more and more people are out cheering. Bart Yasso is out on the road, yelling encouraging words to the runners. He says "Looking good Marathon Maniac!" I yell back, "Thanks, Bart Yasso!" :) Since I ran this last year, I am more prepared for the weird way we finish. We leave the main road, hop onto the sidewalk, then run this before entering the park. Run along a sidewalk in the park before crossing the finish line. Miles 20 through 26.4 - 11:14, 10:58, 11:50, 10:27, 11:31, 11:04, 10:45, 3:53

Finish time: 4:20:43. Even with the slow shuffle and extra .2 in distance, I manage a 1 min 21 second PR! It's not the sub 4:15 time I wanted, but I'll get there. Maybe next year in Chicago? :)

Holly, Me and Carolyn after the race.