Seattle Rock & Roll Half

We traveled to Seattle for the Rock and Roll half to complete 2 Rock and Rolls and get an additional medal.  We even made a little vacation of it.  We had fun the days before going to the expo, Pike’s Place Market and other sites in Seattle.  At the start line I started talking to a girl that lived in the area, and then somehow we started running at the same pace.  We were able to stay together for the first 6 miles which flew by.  I hadn’t realized before heading to Seattle that the course would be hilly, but just decided to see how much of the course I could run, and to walk when I needed to.  The part of the race I wasn’t planning on struggling with were the Via Ducts.  They are tunnels that go under the watch and are built for car travel.  Unfortunately, they were humid, stuffy, and my Garmin lost connection.  Basically, they made me feel like I was running underground with no idea how long I’d be under there.  After the second one, the half course met up with the full course and I was inspired by the marathoners that were running their course as fast as I was on the half course.

I knew that the finish line was near the Space Needle, so I kept looking for it on what I thought were my last 2 miles.  But at mile 12 on my Garmin I realized that I had just recently passed the race mile marker for mile 11, which meant those Via Ducts really messed up my mental game.  I kept going, for what felt like forever, and finally saw the finish line.  True to Seattle form, the finish line was at the top of a hill.  I finished thinking that people could tell from the look on my face that I’d just run my 6th half of the year, funny the things you think after a race.

I was able to easily find my husband and  we went in search of our Heavy Medals.  Then we headed back to the hotel for a quick nap and then to his favorite part of the weekend, a Mariner’s game!  It was so fun to make a Run-cation!

 

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Portland Rock and Roll Half Recap

We ran the Inaugural Portland Rock and Roll half in 2012 and loved the course, it ran through parts of Portland that aren’t often in races.  The course for 2013 changed and was mainly ran on the water front, not my favorite, but still fun to run where you don’t live.  We stayed in a different hotel than normal, the Benson Hotel, and had a great time, including a fantastic night of sleep the night before.  The morning of the race I got ready and took some pictures in the mirror prior to the race.

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We walked down to the start line and got in our corrals.  Thinking back now, I can’t remember too many specific parts of the race, except for an awesome DJ around mile 5 (I later read some reviews of people complaining about a DJ, and not a live band).  There were a few big hills and I did my best to keep pushing through to keep running up the hills.  I do remember jumping into a porta-potty and feeling like it was tipping backwards, a very scary thought!

The last part of the race runs across a bridge and onto the waterfront, and you can see the finish area, I pushed it into high gear and ran with everything I had left, and was able to finish at 2:29, my goal had been 2:30!

I do appreciate the well organized finish areas of the Rock and Roll races, and hopefully I’ll get to run it again in 2014!

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Eugene Half Marathon 2013 Recap

The Eugene Marathon weekend was the last weekend of May, and in my opinion one of the best weekends to run in Eugene with the weather.  I ran the full marathon in both 2011 and 2012, and didn’t really know what to expect for the half.

I attended the expo on both Friday (for bib pick up) and Saturday to meet some bloggers and listen to the speakers.  In May I was still newer to Twitter and sent a message to Sarah (who blogs at Once Upon A Lime — check it out, it’s awesome) and asked her if she would bring a Bic Band to the expo for me to check out before I decided to purchase some.  Sarah (and SkinnyRunner) was representing ProCompression socks (one of my current obsessions) and they asked people to stop by and visit.  Sarah was kind enough to talk to me for a long time and bring along some Bic Bands (which I can happily say I have purchased some and love them!).  I then moved to the “speaker” area and listened to Lauren Fleshman talk about thinking about your brain’s thoughts on stopping running ahead of time, she said to prepare your defense for hitting a wall and stopping before you even run the race.  What a great idea!  My defense:  my quads are built for hills and for continuing to run.  My wonderful coach Joe Henderson spoke after Lauren, and I left the expo feeling super inspired.

After a good dinner at home and a good night’s sleep at home, we headed to the shuttle stop to get the bus to the start area.  The bus ride was pretty quick and soon we were dropping off a bag of gear at the gear check, our plan was to hang out at the finish line and wait for a lot of our friends to finish.  My husband and I wandered over to where the people I had trained for the half met up, and then walked over to the start line.  My husband moved forward in the corral, and I looked around to see if there was anyone I knew near by.  I soon spotted Dameri, one of the girls I had ran with at our team training runs!  

Soon the race started, Dameri and I stayed together, and I gave her some half marathon advice (it was her first half) mainly not to go out too fast at the start.  Dameri had an eagle eye and quickly spotted the mile markers really far ahead of time.  We kept chatting along the way, and quickly we were at mile 6.  The miles just flew by!  At mile 8 I decided to stop to use a Porta-potty, and joined a pretty big line.  As I watched Dameri head up the only hill of the half, I decided to jump out of the line and keep running.  My coach was standing near mile 9 and yelled very loudly as I ran past.  At around mile 9.5 there was another set of Porta-potties with NO LINE!  Perfect!  Then kept running, as I knew there was a big downhill right after mile 10.  I was feeling good, until I saw the sign for mile 11 and realized I hadn’t eaten my second Gu.  I slowed down to a walk, ate my Gu quickly and kept running.  My thoughts were a little jumbled at this point, because I knew I was close to finishing, but thought about the past years of running the full.  Prior to mile 12 I saw the husbands of two of my good friends running the full (my super fast friends) and yelled to them.  The guys said they had just seen the girls and they looked great, and they said I looked like I was going strong.  So, I headed toward the finish.

One of the best parts of the Eugene Marathon is the finish at Hayward Field.  I had a lot of speed in my legs when I hit the track, and ran with everything I had.  I flew past all of the other people on the track (some of them may have been people that were finishing the marathon when I was finishing the half, but I didn’t care)!  I crossed the finish line and saw the smiling face of my coach Joe Henderson!  He gave me a great big hug and asked what I thought my time was.  2:23:24!  Pretty good for my first Eugene Half!

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Corvallis Half Recap

I’ve ran the Corvallis half every year that it’s been going and have loved it every time.  Not only does it run through my college, but it’s scenic, has just the right amount of hills and a fast finish at the 50 yard line of Reser Stadium.  In 2012 I was able to run a PR of 2:25 and I was hoping 2013 would bring me a fast finish as well.  The week prior to the race I was chatting with my neighbor about the race and he yet again asked me what it takes to run a half marathon, I think I shook my head and smiled, and possibly said, “you just keep running.”  I’ll simply say that this neighbor is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met and an amazing athlete to say the least.

The race starts at the late hour of 9am, perfect for the middle of April.  And even more perfect that we can make the 30 minute drive to Corvallis on the morning of the race!  Score for eating dinner at home and sleeping in your own bed!!  Race morning was cool, but not freezing, parking is easy at the stadium and the bathrooms of the stadium are open as well.  No need to check any gear, as the start line is about a block away from parking!  🙂

The race starts and takes a few turns from Gill Colosseum and meanders into campus, right past my dorm in the first mile!  Highlight #1!  Then down past the book store, past another dorm, and up through campus where I had many of my Business classes.  Needless to say, the first 3 miles flew by, I don’t even remember the hill!  The race then heads out to Bald Hill, a hill that I biked every morning of college with a friend at 5:30 am and hated every time.  By this time in the race, around mile 5, I got hot, and walked long enough to peel off my thin racing jacket.  Then I just kept running.  I grabbed some water around mile 6 and walked long enough to take my Gu and chase it with some water.  I remember seeing a sign that said “Halfway there, the hard part is over” or something like that, and I just focused on running up what I remembered was a huge hill in 2012.  I was suddenly surprised to find myself at the top and didn’t really think it was much of a hill, must be getting stronger!!  Then a HUGE descent into the Timber Hill area.  I love a good downhill, and usually just let go and see how fast I can run, same idea this time, but had more of a struggle zig zagging between other runners.  

After the Timber Hill area the race meanders through some residential neighborhoods and at mile 11 the race heads back into campus, I glanced down at my Garmin and did a little math and realized if I pushed it I may be able to get a PR.  the other goal of 2013, I just wanted one little PR, and I really didn’t care where it happened in the year.  So I thought of that neighbor athlete and just ran.  I breathed in and out, and realized I wasn’t struggling at this faster pace.  At mile 12 I breezed past a lady who looked like she was fading and I yelled, “only 1 mile to go!”  I slowed down a little when I realized I was a little faster than I was anticipating, and really wanted to sprint to the finish line.  The race finishes through the parking lot of Reser Stadium, down a STEEP cement slope the football team runs down for games, a tight corner, and straight down the field to a finish at the 50 yard line.  I ran to that finish line with everything I had.  

After I crossed the line, I looked down at my Garmin, 2:21!!  A PR by 4 minutes!  I found my husband sitting on the sidelines drinking his water from finishing earlier and he looked at me in shock, as my finish was so much faster than we thought would happen.  I had him take my #3 picture out front of the stadium, and we headed home.Image

 

After our 30 minute drive home, and pulled into our neighborhood I noticed the neighbor in his yard.  As I climbed slowly out of my car he asked how the race went.  I happily told him I got a PR!  And you inspired me to push it through the last few miles.  He said he was glad he could provide some inspiration and congratulated me.

Corvallis is still my favorite half, but I might be biased with so many memories to take my mind off of the miles.  The race is reasonably priced, well organized, and has a pretty cool medal.  I highly recommend it!

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McKenzie River Half Race Reacp

The McKenzie River Half was on March 24th, and was the first race I seriously considered not running even though I was registered.  I had gotten a terrible cold the week before and wasn’t feeling great the days prior to the race.  The day before I talked to my coach about running or not, and he said it was really up to me, but I needed to judge how I felt the morning of the race.  Luckily the race was in our local area, which meant a good night sleep in our own bed!  Always a plus.  it was a point to point race, which I had never done in a half distance, and ran through roads that I wasn’t familiar with in our area.  We parked at Armitage Park, about 5 minutes from our house, and got on the shuttle to the start.  I was nervous about how long it would take to get to the start, and convinced my husband to get there early (bad decision).  We were shuttled to the start with about 25 other runners and dropped off at a dance studio in Springfield.  It was COLD, and a little breezy, and there was no where to go to be shielded from the weather.  A terrible way to start in my mind.  We waited for what felt like hours before gathering up at the start line.  As I looked around I realized that this could be the race where I came in last.  I’m not fast by any means, and it’s always my fear to be last.  

The first few miles were on a loop through the neighborhood we started in, then ran out toward the McKenzie River.  It was a pretty scenic race, with lots of rolling hills.  My lungs were not feeling great, and I’m sure the cold medicine I took prior to the race is why the race seems so blurry.  There were a few aid stations, but not much support on the course, clearly a small local race.  The race was mainly ran on the roads, and we had to run on the shoulder of the left side of the road.  There were a number of bikers riding the hills too, and some got really close to oncoming cars, which I thought was terrifying.

I clearly remember coming over a bridge near the park that we had left our truck in, and seeing my husband down below watching for me.  I got really excited to see him, and to think I was almost done with the race, but then looked at the mile marker just to my right, and it said 12.  Seriously?!  There is more than a mile left?!  The remainder mile of the race was on a winding path through the park.  The asphalt was  really cracked and bumpy, and I slowed down to make sure I didn’t fall.  The finish was on a bit of an uphill, so I pushed through and finished half #2 of 2013.  Someone from the race handed me my medal, and my husband ran to get me water.  There was a covered area for after the race, but I overheard someone say that they had run out of food, always a disappointment for a slow finisher.  

Finish time:  2:42:03Image

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Heart Breaker Half Recap

I apologize for the delay in a race recap, as this race is from February, but I’m on a mission to get caught up on race recaps this week so I can be prepared for the next races on the books.  The Heart Breaker Half was half marathon #1 of the year for me, and the first time I’ve ran a half on a Saturday.  

We had to travel to Hillsboro, Oregon for the race (about 2 hours from home) so I booked a Marriott hotel, since we are members and love a room with a fridge so we can bring our own food.  I actually cashed in rewards points and was able to get the room for FREE!!  Best price ever!  I was also so excited to see a little note from the cleaning crew of the hotel, and took it as a sign the race would be great.

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Unfortunately, my husband was injured at the start of the year and unable to run the race, but went along as my support system!  Prior to the race I was working an overnight shift, which allowed me to run during the day, which meant it was a little warmer than the freezing temps early in the mornings.  I quietly trained, as my husband requested me to not talk about running because it made him upset.  I registered for the race, a little disappointed that the location of the race was not in Downtown Portland as it had been in 2012.  I love running in Portland, but I was a little excited to be running in a completely new place.  I made the huge mistake of not looking at the race course until about a week ahead of the race.  At the time of the race I HATED running hills (I’m getting better currently, but more on that later).  It never dawned on me that a race called the “Heart Breaker Half” would have hills.  The course map looked like all hills…even one called Heartbreak Hill.  Yikes!  This could be a slow race.  I just decided that I would walk up the hills when I needed to, and run down them.

Course Map:  http://aasportsltd.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/hbmap-letter.pdf   

 

I knew no one else running this race, but knew my husband would be at the finish line.  I chatted with a nice lady at the start, but as soon as we started I never saw her again.  I put my headphones in my ear and started running.  According to the race website, the course is a three loops (one of the loops is ran twice) through country roads.  They should have said, the race is all hills, that appear to never end.  Because that’s how I felt, like I was running up for mile after mile.  I will say it was beautiful through the course, some amazing houses, and lots of country scenery.  And it was a nice cool morning without rain, not too common for a February morning in Oregon.  I tried to pace myself, in the beginning, and tried my best to just keep running.  I would run as far as I could up a hill, then walk to the top.  

The first 3 miles were rolling hills, and passed pretty quickly.  I remember seeing the sign for the Heart Break Hill, which had a separate race of it’s own, the fastest person up the hill won an award.  At the start of the hill, about mile 3 in the race, and a mile long hill, I thought “just take it easy” but was pleasantly surprised that the hill didn’t seem too tough.  I certainly wasn’t fast, but I remember it not being too bad.  Mile 4 was a pretty good downhill, and I sped through it.  My fueling plan was to take my first GU at mile 6, then the second one at mile 10.  A plan that had worked well for me in the past.  I walked at mile 6 and ate my GU, then kept running.  Around mile 7 I heard a some guys talking to another guy behind me about the Holiday Half (a race I’ve ran the past 2 years).  I felt like it was time for a distraction, so I talked to the guy that appeared to be on his own.  We ran together for about a mile, chatting about the Holiday Half and that we had both run the Rock and Roll Vegas Half.  Then I caught up to the other guys that had been talking, and I have to say I called them “the funny guys” the rest of the race.  I thought they were funny, talking about why they were crazy enough to run half marathons, and one of them even had on a running shirt with cheeseburgers on it!  I kept up with them until mile 11 where it dawned on me I had forgotten to take my GU at mile 10, and I was quickly fading.  I told them I’d see them that the finish and stopped to take my GU.  The rest of the race was pretty uneventful, and it kept me going just to try to catch up to any runner in front of me.

The race finished on a track at a local high school, we had to run about 3/4 of a lap on the track.  I saw a woman about halfway to the finish ahead of me, and I did everything I could to catch her.  I passed her on the last bend before the finish and sprinted with everything I had in me.  My official time was 2:36:51.  Certainly not my fastest race, but it felt pretty good for a hilly course.  I had to pick up my medal after the finish, you had to pay an additional $10 for your medal, and ran into the “funny guys” again.  According to an email I received after the race, next year all half marathon finishers will receive a medal with their entry, much better!

All in all, I thought it was a great race, and so nice to run something new!

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13 13.1’s in 2013

I finished 2012 with a number of half marathons under my belt, a PR in the half, 2 26.2 completions, with a PR as well.  But I decided that I wasn’t the happiest person to be around while training for a full marathon.  There is so much that goes into training, not just planning the long runs.  Thankfully I run in a group with an amazing coach, and my wonderful husband loves the marathon distance, those two things make me want to show up for the 17, 19, or 21 mile runs, but the planning for everything else just left me drained.  So I came up with a different idea….13 13.1’s in 2013!  It sounded much more manageable, I mean, the longest I have to run in training is only 11 miles.  (I know, I also never thought there would be a day I would say only 11 miles!)  But the more people I told the more I noticed one of two things would happen, they would either say, “That’s amazing, I want to do that too!” or, “You’re crazy, do you realize how far that is?”.

So I carefully charted out my “dream list” of half marathons and made my list of dates so I could track when I had paid for the races, organization is key in this endeavor.  Low and behold, as of June 2013, I’ve completed 6 halfs (full race recaps coming soon) and was delighted to get accepted into TWO dream races, the Lululemon Seawheeze Half and the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco.  

Happy Running!

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