Saturday, January 31, 2015

Suncoast Half Marathon

January 25, 2015
55th half marathon

Suncoast half marathon has been around for a few years, but this was my first time running it. It's in Lakewood Ranch, so it's local, I've just always had something going on the same weekend or was in recovery mode. Last year, I volunteered at a water station with the Sarasota Storm. It was great seeing so many friends running the race. Most had a great race, because of the flat course. So, instead of running the Clearwater marathon, the weekend before ( I was able to defer) I signed up to run this half.

Race morning, was cool, but not as cold has it had been predicted. Temps started out around 50. I decided to wear a short sleeved top, with my skirt and gloves. I should have gone with a tank top, because I warmed up. Gina and I hung out in my car for a while before the race. With about 15 minutes to race start, we walked over to porta poties, then got in the starting coral. We didn't have long to wait before we were off!

My plan going into this race was to run at my goal race pace, but if I started to feel any pulling in my calf (which had been sore for since the goofy challenge) I would pull back and save my legs for Ragnar in a couple of weeks. I started out feeling pretty good. I got ahead of the 2 hour pacer and could see the 1:40 not to far ahead. We leave Main Street, heading north on Lakewood Ranch Blvd. I feel great for the first 5 miles, as seen in my mile splits. But by mile 6, I start to feel tightening up in my hips and lower back. What a bummer! Splits for miles 1 through 6 - 8:08, 8:10, 8:05, 8:12, 8:14. 8:31

As the miles go by, my hamstrings and hips tighten up even more. Guess I wasn't as recovered from Goofy as I had hoped. I tried to keep the pace under 9 minutes per mile, without feeling like I was putting my calf in any stress. The course itself, is pretty boring. Lots of turns in, out and around the neighborhoods in Lakewood Ranch, which all look the same. I tried to take the tangents as much as possible, but I still ended up with a little over 13.1. Splits for miles 7 through 13.25 - 8:28, 8:42, 8:53, 8:45, 8:46, 8:47, 8:52, 1:58
Finish: 1:52 ( my second fastest time), 4th in age group!

Gina, me, Jackie, Lynette, Carolyn and Liz.

Manasota Track Club Annual Banquet

January 24, 2014

I was so surprised to be awarded the 2014 MTC Female Runner of the Year award!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Disney Goofy Weekend

Half marathon and marathon over two days
January 10 and 11, 2015

Fun times at the expo

With Bart Yasso
Carolyn and I arrived at the ESPN Sports complext around mid day, for the Disney expo. As we headed up to the main building, we saw vendors outside the ball park. This was new. Normally, they are all inside the main building. We looked around a little, but decided to check it out more, on our way out. We made our way to the special bib pick up area for Goofy and Dopey runners. Since Dopey runners had already run two races, there were only goofy people picking up. We walked right up to the booth, got our bibs, then headed over to have our photo taken. Disney was taking our photos, to make sure we ran with our own bibs! No photo, no Goofy medal! After the photo, we headed downstairs to get our shirts, then we headed outside to go to the main expo building. Once inside there, we made our way to the back of the room first, to check out what was left of the official race merchandise. Not a great selection! Thankfully, we had given our friend, Silvana, money, so she could shop for us on Wednesday, when she and Heather got to the expo. We both got the goofy tank tops we really wanted. They only had one hoody left, though, so I let Carolyn have that. I bought a half marathon tank top and a special runner micky figurine. That's it! I would have bought a visor if they had one. After wondering through the rest of the expo and getting a little shopping in, we headed over to our hotel. Thankfully, we were able to check in, even though we were an hour early. We relaxed for a bit before heading out to meet Emma and Jackie for dinner. Lots of great laughs and a yummy dinner later, we were back in the room, getting everything ready for our 2:30am alarm.

Pre half marathon. It's cold!

January 10, Half marathon: 2:30 am is a ridiculous time to get up, but that's what time we needed to. I get ready pretty fast, so I was able to drink a cup of coffee and check out the internet, while Carolyn got ready. We left the hotel around 3:15 am. The drive over was pretty easy. Just one wrong turn. :) We arrived early enough to get a good parking spot, close to the entrance to the waiting area. We hung out in the car for about half an hour, before getting out into the cold. Temp was in the low 40s! So cold! I was not prepared for this! I had one thin toss away sweater. No pants to put over my skirt. Thankfully Carolyn had an extra pair of gloves for me. We made our way through the security bag check, quickly. This was new since the last time I had run a Disney race two years before. After the bombings at the Boston Marathon, they added this extra security check point. Once we got into the waiting area, we took some photos, then took our bag to bag check and then started the long walk to the corral. We made a pit stop at the Porta pottie one more time before getting into our G corral. We found Katie and her husband, David, a few minutes after searching. We had a 30 ish minute wait before we were able to start. After the first wave went off, I started to make my way towards the front of the corral. I was going for a PR today. I figured it was a good time to try. My biggest issue was going to be dealing with the crowds. Finally, we were at the front and I was really close to the start line. After a blast of fireworks, we were off!

I sprinted out fast, happy to be free of the crowd. It was great starting forward, I didn't have to weave around anybody. Yet. Within minutes, we hit the back end of the F corral. Lots of people walking, many people across. Then we got to the first water stop. I ran down the center, I didn't need any water withing the first mile. By 1.5 miles, I hit a huge crowd of runners. I was off to the right, but could not get around everyone without running in the grass. So, that's what I did. I just kept telling myself to pick up my feet. I didn't want to trip over anything. When I could, I would hop back onto the pavement, only to have to get back on the grass again a little later. Once we left the narrow road and entered the 3/4 lane road, I was able to get away from the masses again. These first few miles are pretty boring, but it was still dark, so not much to see anyway. We passed the first character spot, Jack Sparrow, before heading to the park entrance to Magic Kingdom. This is were all the cars enter, to make their way to the parking lots. We still had a few miles to get to the actual park. At some point between mile 4 and 5, we hit the big hill. It's a steep down hill and then a steep uphill. This slows me down just a little. It's my slowest mile so far. Just before entering the park, I toss off my zip up sweater. I had it unzipped for a while now. I didn't want to get to warm and sweaty, because I knew I would really feel the cold once I took it off, if I was already sweaty. Plus, I knew there would be a lot of photographers in the park and I didn't want to be wearing the ugly sweater. :D I eat my first Gu and drink some water. I know I haven't been drinking as much as I should. A common problem for me when it's cold out. Running in the Magic Kingdom is awesome. My favorite park is running down the Main Street towards the Castle. There are tons of people on the side, cheering us on. The castle looks awesome, decorated with lots of ice lights. We have a little more running left in the park, before we head out. Miles 1 through 6 splits - 8:13, 8:14, 8:15, 8:16, 8:32, 8:35

As we head out of the Magic Kingdom, the scenery becomes boring again, but the road opens up, so I have more space. I feel my pace slowing a little, but overall, I am still feeling good. My face is still a bit numb, which doesn't go away for the entire race. I'm lucky I had some nice looking photos, considering I couldn't feel my smile. I take my second Gu around mile 10 and grab some water from a water stop. There is a crazy tight curved ramp, leading to an overpass. I go ahead and take the inside tight curve, but the slant sucks. I'll feel all the slanted roads while running tomorrow. As head head into Epcot, I know the end is close, I've run this same course more than 5 times now, so it's very familier. We run by the giant ball, loop back around and then head out of the park. A couple of little turns later, I see the finish line just ahead. I keep to the right, give Mickey Mouse a high-five, then cross the finish line. I look at my watch to see a PR! So happy!! Miles 7 through 13.1 (13.25 on Garmin) splits - 8:28, 8:19, 8:30, 8:39, 8:40, 8:40, 8:28, 1:57

Finish time: 1:51:51 (official)

January 11, Disney Marathon: Carolyn and I took it pretty easy after the half. We had a good dinner with friends, but I think my one big mistake was not hydrating enough during the day and then drinking a beer with dinner, which I never do! So race morning was very similar to the previous morning. We got to the parking lot about the same time. This morning, we met Jackie, Soli and Emma in the staging area. We chatted for a bit, before Carolyn and I started to walk over to the corrals. I guess we left a little later this time, because the porta potties had much longer lines. We got into the corral late, but still managed to find Katie and David again, plus we Kathy. We got to talk for a little bit, before the first wave took off. Then, we made the slow progression to the front. Carolyn and I planned to try to stick together today. We wanted to take photos and just run it at an easy pace.

Kathy, Katie, me and Carolyn. Wasn't as cold today, so used the garbage
bags for the hour or so we had to wait before we started the race.

Once we got going, we kept the pace around a 10 minute mile, which felt pretty good considering how hard I pushed it the day before. We skipped the first couple of photo opportunities, since it was so dark still and the characters were not that big of a deal to us. As we headed into Magic Kingdom, I told Carolyn to stay to the left. We got to high five some of the crowd that was out there cheering us on. We we got to a great photo spot, with the castle behind us, we stopped for a photo. We stopped for another photo as we came out the otherside of the castle as well. This lead to the 12:29 mile! Miles 1 through 6 splits - 9:58, 9:45, 9:53, 9:48, 9:57, 12:29

Just after exiting the Magic Kingdom, we come up to the spot that has Snow White, the Prince, Rapunzel and Flynn Rider. So, we stop to wait in that long line for a photo. Just before we get to the front, the Prince and Snow white take a break. :( We do get a photo with the other two. Then, we head out towards the race track. Once we enter the track, I start to feel a little light heade
d. I realize I need to eat something right away. I tell Carolyn I need to stop and walk while I eat something. I eat half a bag of Power Bar gel chews, drink some water and walk for a couple of minutes. We then start to run again. It takes a few minutes to feel better, but once the sugar rush kicks in, I do feel better. For a brief time. My next issue is my stomach. As we get closer to Animal Kingdom, I tell Carolyn I'm going to need a restroom! I hold out until we get to the park, so I can use a real restroom and not a porta pottie. Thankfully, just after entering Animal Kingdom, there is a restroom to the left. Miles 7 through 13 splits - 15:40, 10:34, 10:02, 10:49, 10:14, 11:02, 12:34

Me, Sarah and Leah

After the pit stop, I felt better for a little bit of time. We had a couple of slow miles again, while we stopped for some photos. Thankfully, most of them had very short lines. Just before mile 17, I found Sarah and Leah at their water stop. It was great seeing them! I stopped for a quick photo, before catching up with Carolyn, Once we headed into ESPN, I felt the need to use the restroom again. :( This is one of my least favorite parts of the race. We spend a lot of time in this area. It just seems to take forever to get to the ball park. We miss a restroom earlier on, but manage to find porta potties just before the entrance to the ball park. I head in, then have to wait a little for Carolyn, who had to wait to use mine. Even after this pit stop, I am feeling dehydrated and yucky. As we leave the ball park and run through the next water station, I tell Carolyn to go ahead. I need to walk more. So, I don't see her again until the finish. We hit mile 20, just after leaving ESPN.Miles 14 through 20 splits - 10:28, 12:40, 11:10, 10:32, 11:38, 10:17, 14:55.

The last almost 7 miles are long and rough. I manage to pick up my pace while running, but still have to take more walking breaks than I would like. And, the walk breaks become more frequent. When I hit any sort of hill, I walked it. Somewhere around mile 22, it started to sprinkle on us. Then we got a light rain. As we head into Hollywood Studios, there are tables handing out little chocolate squares. I grab a couple of those. Yummy! Can't make my stomach feel any worse at this point! I stop for a photo with Mike, from Monster's Inc, and then take a few "selfie" photos with the giant Micky magicians hat, that is being taken down. We head out of Hollywood Studios, we take a scenic route to Epcot, along a river. Just before entering Epcot, I see Della, April and some of their friends, cheering on runners. I call out a greeting, hold out my hand for high fives as I run by. What a much needed boost! We head into Epcot, running around the different countries, before running by the Giant ball and heading out of the park. Once again, it's the same couple of quick turns and then the finish line is in sight. I tried really hard to get in under 5 hours for the race, but the extra distance from pit stops and weaving, added a half mile to my overall distance. Otherwise I would have come in just under 5 hours! Miles 21 through 26.71 splits - 10:27, 11:36, 12:33, 12:58, 12:33, 11:10, 7:46 (for .71!)
Finish: 5:03

Katie and me with our bling.

Goofy bling, Marathon bling and Half Marathon Bling.