Thursday, November 12, 2015

Revel Canyon City Marathon Recap

I ran the Revel Canyon City Marathon last Saturday. It did not go as well as I'd hoped but there were a few bright spots in it.

The RCC Marathon is run down Highway 39 in Azusa, CA which is just 20 minutes from where I live. Notice I said "run down"? That's because it has an elevation drop of 5100 ft!

Insane, right? But also an opportunity to maybe run a really fast race. Which is why I signed up for it. I knew that Long Beach Marathon was going to be hot and I wanted one more chance this year to PR the marathon. This seemed like the ideal place to do it.

The only problem was that by the time race week arrived, I had lost my confidence in being able to run that fast. I was tired. Maybe overtrained. Probably burnt out from racing. I really did not want to run it. I even told Joshua (@bayou) that I was thinking of bailing on it a couple of days before the race. But he was doing it too and after talking with him a bit, I decided to go through the motions and see what happened.

Since the race was Saturday, we had to pic up our bibs at the expo on Friday. I took a long lunch to drive over and pick up my bib and shirt. I met Joshua there and then it was a quick in & out at the expo to get our stuff, buys some gu (Josh), and take a pic. It was Josh's idea to pic that sign! I hoped it would be a good sign for both of us.
They only had a few booths in the expo so for once I made it out of an expo without spending any money! One ominous sign was that our race packed included a mylar blanket and gloves! It was going to be a very cold start. Yikes!

After the expo, we started our carb loading at Jimmy John's. #14 for Josh and my usual #12 for me.
Good eats (thanks JH!) and fun conversation helped me get over the race blahs a bit. After that, I went back to work and finished out my day. Had my usual pre-race dinner and went to bed relatively early. I had slept 9-9.5 hours the previous 3 days so was feeling rested.

I woke up at 3, ate a little something, and then got ready for the race. I drove over a little before 4 and made it about 4:20. Josh let me know he was there so I we met up to catch the bus to the start line. It's always kind of a mind trip to drive the course backwards. Luckily, it was dark so I didn't see too much a long the way. After more talking with Josh about strategies, I decided I was going to go for sub 4 even though I wasn't sure I had it in me. He thought gravity would help me get there and I hoped he was right.

It was cold at the top! But also very pretty. There were not a lot of people running so it made the logistics of the race really easy. Soon enough it was go time!

The race started promptly at 7 and we were off! And boy were we flying! It really was insane. I had gotten in behind the 3:55 pacer and had to work to slow down and stay with him. I managed to stay behind him for 6 or 7 miles and then found myself running ahead of him. I wasn't breathing hard at all so I let myself go just a little. I didn't want to get too crazy though so I walked the next couple of aid stations to let him catch back up.

I knew that I was running a good pace and just hoped I could keep it. When we got to mile 10, I looked at my watch to see the time and it was 1:28:30ish. Woo! 10 mile PR! My previous PR was 1:34:16 (2012) and I was disappointed I hadn't been able to beat it at the Terrifying 10 Miler so it was sweet to see it during the run.

When we hit the 13.1 mile mark, I checked again and PR again! 1:56:30ish. My previous PR for the half was 1:57:26 (2011) and I was excited to finally see that number drop too. Woo!

But after that, things went south. Way south. The next 4 miles had a slight uphill and my legs were toast. Then when we started back downhill again my quads, my shins, and my right foot were really unhappy. Extremely unhappy. And I ended up walking pretty much the rest of it. It was a slogfest to the end. I just kept moving. The course was beautiful but I didn't even pause to take pics. All I cared about was finishing.

I had some low moments. But got a nice surprise about mile 24. I thought for sure Josh had left when he'd finished. I'd told him not to wait for me and I expected him to finish fast. I didn't know though because there was no cell service up there. But at mile 24, we had to cross a big intersection and I remember thinking don't get hit by a car (which there were police there so of course I wouldn't but still!) and then I saw Josh across the street. Yay! I was so happy to see a friendly face! He ran the rest of the way in with me.
 He took these pics of me on the last stretch before the finish (the other photo is pre-race). And then I was done! Finally! 5:31ish. Boo! But yay I was done!
I had to sit down for a while after. The race had ice cold towels at the finish and I laid it over my legs which were on fire. But it gave me a chance to take a closer look at my medal. Pretty impressive bling, eh?

I think I'm burnt out on running and racing. I am happy that I set a 10 Mile PR and a half marathon PR during this race but overall, I'm left with a BLEH feeling about my run. Don't get me wrong, the race itself is awesome - great, fun, beautiful course, great aid stations, easy expo and race logistics, great bling, and FREE race pics! I am planning to do it again next year!

No, the thing I'm bleh about is that it was my last chance to PR the marathon this year and I'm mad that I didn't make that goal. I'm not happy that I have yet another 5+ marathon. I'm not happy that I walked so much. I really don't even count this as running a marathon in my own head. 4 marathons this year and 3 of them were crap. I am tired of it. I'm tired of training. I'm tired of running. I'm just tired. Not sure what I'm going to do because if you saw my last post, you know that I normally love racing and it's a party for me. But I just don't have that joy in me right now. My next race is the Avengers Half Marathon this Sunday and I'm not even excited for it. That's how bad it is.

But...I don't want to leave this post on a bad note. I am excited that I will be going to my happy place this weekend. I'm excited that I get to take my mom to Steakhouse 55 for breakfast and then to Disneyland after the race. I'm excited that I am going to Season of the Force next Thursday at Disneyland. I'm excited that I get to dress up as Black Widow on Sunday.

I just need to get excited about running in my outfit now...

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Terrifying 10 Miler - My 100th Race

The Terrifying 10 Miler was my 100th race! 100 races! Who'd have thought that the girl who spent most of her life out of shape would run 100 races. Here's the stats:

Race Distances:
Ultras - 8
Marathons - 15
Halfs - 36
10Ks - 14
5Ks - 17
Other races - 10
Races in California: 77 (not surprising since I live in Southern California!)
Races in other states: 23 (AZ-5, KY-1, NM-1, NV-4, NY-1, OR-1, SD-3, TN-4, TX-1, UT-1, WA-1)
Races By Year
2009 - 2
2010 - 4
2011 - 12
2012 - 29
2013 - 19
2014 - 14
2015 - 20

Yes, I'm a geek and I keep track of my races in an Excel spreadsheet.

But back to the Terrifying 10 Miler...

The race was held on October 25th at Salt Creek Beach in Dana Point. We could get our bibs on race morning so I drove down that morning. It was dark when I arrived and after I got my bib and shirt, I walked down to the beach to watch the sunrise. So beautiful!

Then I went back to the car to drop off stuff and finish getting ready. I only had time for a short warm up before the race started since the restroom line was long.

The race started at 8am. We only ran along the water for a little bit and then turned inland. And BAM... hills right away. I have got to look at elevation profiles before I sign up for races! It was a lot of rolling hills, a couple of short steep sections, and one big hill at the turn around.

I felt okay for the run. My legs didn't seem to have a lot of pep for the hills but I think I did pretty well running hard on the downhills. My coach had wanted me to run it at 8:45 pace but that didn't happen. I only walked one tiny bit of one hall to adjust one of my socks but otherwise, I ran it all. I tried to focus on running the downhills hard to prep for RCC Marathon which is all downhill.

A few people had passed me in the middle miles and I was able to pass 2 of those women back at the end. There was boy and his dad who I tried to catch at the end which helped me run hard but I couldn't catch the Flash (the 10 year old's costume) and he beat me. Argh! Oh yeah, I was dressed as a pirate! Lol! My time was 1:37:19. So about a minute per mile slower than I'd hoped. Sigh.

I got my medal... but wait, a Turkey Tri medal?

The trick was on us! Our medals had been delayed in customs so they handed out random medals to runners. Some people got Christmas medals and some people got Thanksgiving medals. It was kind of funny. After that, I waited around for the results to be posted. I knew there weren't that many women in front of me so I was hoping to place in my age group because the Age Group awards were cute! And boom! 2nd in my Age Group! Woo!
Some pirates have a phantom rubber ducky on their shoulders instead of a parrot.

 Close up of the AG award in front of the Haunted Mansion (where else would I celebrate?).

The 45-49 Age Group with Jack Sparrow. Lol,

Later that day, I celebrated my AG Award, 100th race, and oh yeah, hitting 2000 miles for 2015, at Mickey's Halloween Party. So fun!

It was a fun-filled Halloween themed day. I love Halloween! Speaking of... I got my actual medal for the race in the mail on Halloween, which totally seemed appropriate. Love it!
Thanks for reading! Hope you were able to do a fun Halloween run and dress up!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Long Beach Marathon Recap

Last Sunday, I ran my 16th marathon - the Long Beach Marathon. It was the last race in my Beach Cities Challenge and I was really looking forward to it. Until I saw the weather forecast!

94 degrees.

That's what it said a week out from the race. The temp forecast lowered to 90 a couple days later but it was still going to be really hot so the race issued a heat advisory and gave the half marathoners the option to start at 6am too. They were adding water stations and cooling stations to the course. I was happy to hear this but still pretty nervous about running in the heat. I don't do well in the heat ever since I had that heat stroke episode back in 2012 at a 50K at the beach. I do not want to ever end up in ER again like that! And ever since I had the full hysterectomy for ovarian cancer, I've had hot flashes and night sweats to deal with. Don't get me wrong, I'll take those any day over the alternative but it just makes hot runs more challenging. Especially staying hydrated.

Anyway, I tried not to worry about it. I just went about my regular routine of tapering, carb loading, and making sure I drank plenty of water.

On Saturday morning, I got up and ran an easy 5K then got ready and headed to Long Beach for the expo. I vowed I wasn't going to buy anything there but that was pretty much blown out the window as soon as I walked in the door. Oops. I bought shoes, a Fitletic phone pouch, and some shoe charms. But that's it!

Here's my shirt and bib:

I saw my friend and fellow RIFer Sue at the expo. She was working the Fitletic booth. I also saw a couple of local runners at the LA Marathon booth (which I signed up for on Friday!). After that, I headed over to the Aquarium of the Pacific to meet Josh (@bayou) and his kids. The kids were running the 1 Mile Kids Run and I wanted to see them and cheer them on. First up was P in the 8 year old race and then later M (who is 4) ran in the 6/7 year old race. It was a lot of fun. The kids were so funny, some of them having a blast, some of them not so much. Lol. It was 100 out there! So hot for the kids. And me. I was hoping it wouldn't be that bad on Sunday. I caught a pic of Josh as he was trying to catch up with P in his race:

After that, we had lunch at Bubba Gump and then visited the Aquarium for a little bit. Then I headed home to get ready for Sunday.

I went to sleep pretty early and slept well so when the alarm went off at 2:45, I was up and a blur of motion. Eat, get ready, pack and then out the door by 3:30. I drove down to Long Beach and was there by 4:20 so I had plenty of time to park and use the port-a-potty. They had a ton so there were no lines at all.

I sat down and waited and then found Josh and we found some other RIFers so we hung out in the corral until it was go time.

I wish I could say I raced this but I knew I had to be smart. The race started a little late and by the time we made it to the start it was 6:15. And we were off! I ran with the others for a while then lost them in the crowd. It was a little bit crowded since so many half marathoners were with us but it wasn't too bad. I just ran at a comfortable pace 9:45-10:00.

I saw Josh again a couple miles in as he'd stopped at an aid station. He wasn't carrying water but I had a bottle filled with tailwind. I also had salt tabs with me. Since I knew it wasn't going to be a fast race, I stopped to take this pic as we came around the lighthouse. What a great view!

After that, I just ran. After the sun came up, it started to warm up and I started to slow down. There was no shade and I was so hot and sweating like crazy. I started to do a run/walk probably around mile 12. It just got hotter and hotter. And hotter. It was blazing! So in the last half, once again, I did more walking than running. I felt my ears start to plug up and would get a little woozy and make sure I walked. At every aid station, I would drink water and then pour the rest over my head and on my arm sleeves.

I saw Josh again when I was around mile 16 (going in the opposite direction so he was past mile 20) and it was good to see a friendly face. I knew probably a dozen people running the full & the half but he was the only one I found on the course. The aid station volunteers were pretty awesome and friendly too and at one point 3 of the little cheerleaders (probably 10 years old) ran with me for a bit and told me I was doing great. Lol, they were awesome.

There were a lot of people walking and stopping because of cramps. Luckily, I never cramped even though I wasn't as diligent about taking the salt tabs as I should have been. Pretty much, I was more walking at the end but did finish with a nice little run. I was so happy to hear the finish and then see the finish line!

I was done! A slow as molasses 5:50ish but I was done. And I felt pretty good. This is my medal:
And this is my medal for completing the Beach Cities Challenge (Surf City, OC, and Long Beach):
After the race, I found Josh and the other RIFers and hung out for a bit. Then we got something to eat from one of the food trucks. I was so hungry! And since my stomach hadn't had any issues at all, I went for something yummy:
Yeah, it was good. It hit the spot.

Oh yeah, you can see my shoes peeking out in the pic above. Yes, those are my new shoes I bought on Saturday! I couldn't resist wearing them. Here they are:
All salty from the marathon but still looking good. And how cute are those shoe charms? I love them! And the shoes too! No blisters and no hot spots. Woo! They are the new Vazee Pace by New Balance.

So, to wrap it up... I would say this was a good day. I was irritated with myself a little for being so cautious and taking so long but I am happy that I finished without getting sick or needing medical care. Long Beach is a great course, lots to see and really no hills. There isn't a lot of crowd support but I was okay with that. I would definitely do it again. Just hopefully on a cooler day.

Thanks for reading!

P.S. Josh interviewed me about my weight loss, running, and cancer a couple of weeks ago. It's on youtube and you can see it here if you would like. Interview.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Girls On The Go 10K 2015 - Race Recap

On Sunday, I ran the Girls on the Go 10K at Bonelli in San Dimas. I ran it last year and it was pretty fun. I decided to run it again this year at the last minute. My coach had scheduled a 20-22 miler on Saturday and we decided to go ahead and do that. I ended up doing 20 miles on Saturday so that, plus a hilly course, and a heat wave meant that I went into it not expecting a PR. But my goal was to place in my age group.

Packet pick up was on Saturday and I was pretty proud of myself for not buying anything there! LOL. We got a nice shirt and our bib and that was it. No frills which is fine with me.

I set my alarm for my usual 4 am wake up, got up, ate breakfast, and got ready. I decided to wear my Brave tank & headband since they are teal so I could honor Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. It will be 2 years on Sept 30th that I was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer.

My legs felt pretty good on Sunday morning and I didn't feel too tired so I thought I would do pretty well. It was warm already though (at 7 am) so I just did a short warm up. I didn't want to get overheated before we started! The kids race went off first, so I stopped to watch that and then continued my warm up.

The race went off promptly at 7:15. I had placed myself near the front so I didn't really have a crowd. We started off with an uphill and I may have gone out a little too fast. LOL! I always do. But I don't think I went too crazy. There were probably a dozen people in front of me. We made the turn to follow the lake and went up a little hill and onto some dirt. Then it was a smooth run along the lake until we crossed the stream. Another stretch of dirt here but it was cool under the trees. Right before the 3 mile marker, I was passed by a couple of women. Darn it! And then we had a short out (uphill) and back (yay for downhill). This was a nice section because you could see who was ahead of you and who was behind you. I felt like I was in a good place if I could keep going strong.

After mile 4, I heard footsteps coming up on me and I was passed again! This time by a guy. Doh! But after that, no one did. We had one a big climb, then a good downhill, then a smallish climb and then it was slightly rolling to the end. I feel like I finished strong. There was a woman up ahead of me that I tried to catch but never did. Then I finished! And got my pretty sparkly medal:
I cooled down and talked to one of my Fleet Feet friends for a bit and then saw them put up the results. So I ran over to check them out. Having seen who was in front of me, I thought there was a good chance I would place in my age group...and I did! Woo! Surprise, I was 1st in my age group! Woo hoo!

This is my Age Group medal and the results below. 
Not too bad considering I ran this on tired legs! I know that there are a lot of first timers and a lot of women doing it for fun but I'm still happy with this. Woo!

Thanks for reading!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Dumbo Double Dare 2015 Recap Part 2

So... in yesterday's Part 1 post, I left off that I'd gone to sleep at 11:15 and had a 3:30 alarm set for Sunday's race. What I didn't tell you was that not only was I only going to get about 4 hours of sleep after spending all day on my feet at California Adventure, but I didn't eat dinner on Saturday night! D'oh!

Yeah, I know. It's just that time got away from us and by the time I realized I should eat, I felt like it was too late and didn't want it to come back to haunt me during the run. I grabbed a chocolate milk and some chips on the way to the hotel and that was my dinner. LOL. I do not recommend this!

But my alarm went off and I got up and got ready to leave. I forgot to mention that I also hadn't planned for breakfast so had nothing but a banana before the race. Seriously, I do not recommend this! But I was as ready as I could be!

I love that my hair is finally long enough to wear pony tails! I was able to make Minnie ears with them and just add the bow and I think it came out pretty well. I loved both outfits I wore this weekend but the Minnie one is definitely my favorite!

I walked over to Disneyland from the hotel (it was about a 20 min walk) and used the restroom in Downtown Disney before heading to the corrals. That's one very nice thing about races here - you don't have to use port-a-potties! I was in Corral A again so made my way over there and got in to wait.

Time flew by and before you know it, they were counting us down and the fireworks went off and we were off! I started out really well. Right on target and I was on target for the first 3 miles. And then I ran out of steam. Sigh. I tried to fight for it but kept getting slower and slower. So I just ran the rest of the race at a comfortable pace and enjoyed the sights and sounds of the race.

I didn't take any pics this time and I wish I had because it's so fun! The character stops while we were inside the parks were Heroes Vs Villains. Once we left the parks, there were ballet folklorico dancer, Hawaiian dancers, bands, cheerleaders, and lots of enthusiastic spectators. We run through the streets of Anaheim out to the Pond where the Ducks play and then over to Angel Stadium. I LOVE running through Angel Stadium! It's so fun! They fill it with boy scout and girl scout troops and you just feel like a rockstar going through there.

Once we leave there, it's just 4 miles back to Disneyland. I mostly tried not to lose any time through here though my right calf tried to cramp on me twice so I walked a little bit. Other than that, the time flew by and before you know it, I was done! I got my half marathon medal and then my Dumbo Double Dare Medal!
 Here's better views of the medals:
The half medal is a spinner and not only celebrates the 10th Anniversary of the Half Marathon but Disneyland's 60th Anniversary too. I love it!
And I think the Dumbo medal is very sweet!

Sadly, there was no time to linger after the race. I headed back to the hotel, showered and changed, we got a little something to eat and then headed back to the park for another fun filled day at Disneyland!

I was one tired runner girl at the end of the day! I was a little disappointed in my time and that I didn't get to stop and take pictures during the half but I had a blast so it is all good! I love runDisney races! I love that my family got to come spend the weekend with me there! Max hadn't been since he was 3 and this was the first time he got to ride all the good rides and the first time he went to California Adventure. After every ride, he would say "We have to do this again!". LOL!

You know what? That's exactly what I say after runDisney races!

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Dumbo Double Dare 2015 Recap Part 1

This past weekend, I ran the Dumbo Double Dare at Disneyland. I'd run the Disneyland Half Marathon in 2012 but had not done the Dumbo yet. I figured this would be a great year to do it since it was the 10th Anniversary of the Disneyland Half and also the 60th Anniversary of Disneyland. I had 4 jam packed days of fun! Maybe too much fun!

I took Thursday and Friday off so it was going to be a 5 day weekend for me. I planned to spend the whole day at the parks on Thursday and wanted Friday to rest a little. I was at the expo first thing and picked up my bib and shirts and do a tiny bit of shopping. Well, I may have done a little more shopping than I wanted but I also got some great stuff!

Here are the race shirts for the weekend:

And we also got the luggage tag below. I bought the 10th Anniversary pin for my pin collection and the 10th Anniversary bag was the gift for the 10th Anniversary party. Then I scored these 2 sweet pieces of jewelry from Endure Jewelry. I saw they were in the parks doing give-aways on Wednesday and they still had some for Thursday if you mentioned "Kevin" at their booth. I did and won the 19.3 necklace. Woo! I also treated myself to the bracelet and a couple of beads.

After the expo, I spent the day in both California Adventure and Disneyland, doing a little eating and hanging out with friends.
 I love Disney corn dogs!

After the park closed at 9, they had a special 10th Anniversary party for the runners. We were on the west side of the park and there were rides and special characters out. I'm wearing the Chesire Cat hoodie I bought at the expo.
There was also a special viewing of the Paint The Night parade. It was a lot of fun but a LONG day. I didn't get home til 1 am! Friday was a rest day but I did manage to have lunch with RIF #1 Joshua and visit with his family a little.
Carb loading and running talk! When I got home, I started getting packing for the weekend and getting everything ready. I had a hotel room for Saturday and Sunday so had to pack for the rest of the weekend.Then it was time to sleep because I had to get up at 2:45 for Saturday's race!

I didn't sleep very well that night. I never do before a Disney race because I'm so worried about sleeping through my alarm. But I woke up on time, got dressed and headed down to Disneyland. I made it there by 4:15 and finished getting ready.

Ta da! The Mad Hatter! I was ready to have fun!

The start of runDisney races is always fun and this one was no exception. Especially because the theme for this year's 10K was Villains and they took over the race! It was so fun.

There were villains all along the course so of course, I stopped to take pics!

It was such a blast! Before you know it, it was over. Boo! But yeah!

Check out my cool medal!
After that, I cheered a little bit and got something to eat. Then I went back to the car to clean up and change. And then it was park time! My family was meeting me at California Adventure for a day of fun! And it was a lot of fun! Probably too much fun!

I left California Adventure about 9 to go check into the hotel and my family had a little more fun before coming over. I went to sleep about 11:15. I fell asleep right away which was a good thing since I had to set my alarm for 3:30!

Day 1 of Disney fun was done. I was ready for day 2. Sort of...

Thanks for reading! Check back tomorrow for Part 2!