Saturday, December 29, 2012

Sunday, December 2, 2012

That time of year

Congratulations to MEGAN who ran her first marathon (CIM) today and everyone else running big races this month!

The busy times have hit - parties, baking, parties, cooking, shopping, and more baking & parties. Plus, the winter weather just finally came to Seattle. We were spoiled by our fall and now I need to suck it up and start braving the inclement weather.

So far, I haven't been too successful with getting enough sleep to get my butt out the door in the dark, early A.M., but considering all the sugar cookies we're making here (and eating), I better find a way to make it happen!

My goal for December is simply to get out and run what I can. It's busy so I don't want to have too many expectations of myself other than just trying to move as much as possible. Other than a holiday 5k coming up, no specific workouts are on my calendar.

However, I AM preparing / brewing up a Master Plan for 2013. After a whole year of NOT having a plan, I'm definitely ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work. 

More on that later...

Stay moving and enjoy the holiday festivities!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Been gone so long,

Don't know where I'm going.

It's been a week and still not home yet, but headed home soon. I am going a bit stir crazy with only two runs in over the last week, but circumstances and personal lame-ness have limited my ability to get out the door. Right now, working a bit too hard on a bottle of red wine as I look out at the 30-degree countryside in mid-Michigan. Also hitting up the Bells (Kalamazoo) and Founders (Grand Rapids) Breweries while here. Also, jumping out of my seat every time a bird flies into the window. Is it mean to put a feeder so close to a big bank of windows?

Thinking about the PNW'ers running the Seattle Full/Half Marathon tomorrow and wishing everyone best of weather and best of luck.

Meanwhile, may as well share some of the outings from earlier this week. Both runs quite lovely with no shots heard though some hunters seen cruising by during run #2...

First run with sister-in-law during foggy, foggy morning, upper 40's. 5 miles in 44 minutes. Great start to the day. We were covered in icy dew when we finished.

Second run with hubs & FIL accompanying on bicycles (because I'm a scaredey cat about going alone in the country, especially near the state land during hunting season). Spring-like conditions, almost 60 degrees. 3 miles in 25 minutes.
Wild hops growing on fence row on in-law property. Anyone know how to determine their origin? Heard of wild hops in MI? Or maybe from an early German settler?

Running near the state land where the crazies are. In-laws advise against running near the state land, especially around deer season but kinda hard to avoid. Plus, it's pretty as it's the only wooded land around here.
Escorts through the country for the lilly-livered. A bit flat. Lots of farms. Nice soft roads. Clean air.

Got deer? We process & store. = Fortunately, the F10 family handles that on their own. Hubs got a deer earlier this week & everyone processed. We'll be taking venison home with us! WOOT!
Meanwhile, lovely new friend Sarah (Mommy 2 Marathoner) is suggesting we go for the RW running streak from Thanksgiving through the New Year. I like the idea but already off to a bad start. I'm thinking I just might give it a go once I get back home though.

Anyone else out there streaking through the New Year?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Probably for the best (No Seattle Half)

'Life happened' again, resulting in a change in Thanksgiving travel plans.

Re-schedule of trip to see family in Michigan = No Seattle Half Marathon 

At first I wasn't keen on running the Seattle Half again, but over the last couple weeks I've been getting excited about running it for the FIFTH time (previous runs = 1991, 1996, 1999, 2007). Boo. Next year? With that, my next fun race will be a holiday 5k in December.

In more important news, I was able to run TWELVE of Megan's TWENTY miles yesterday.  This was Megan's last long run before her taper for CIM. I'm so very excited for her first marathon and can't wait to see what she does at the race. We ran 8:20 pace, which felt good but blazing fast to me, and it was fun to think about how a bit over a year ago, Megan was struggling to run 13.1 miles at 9:00 pace. With 20 miles at 8:20 pace, she is making new running history for herself.

In other news, the Huskies competed in the West Regional Championships this past Friday. Last year, the women placed fourth and continued on to nationals. This year, the women took fifth with the first Husky, junior Katie Flood, placing 15th. Not unexpectedly, the first woman was Oregon's Jordan Hasay (senior) who covered the 6k course in 19:15:58. I hope to make it to a UW track meet this spring (our new stadium will have a PURPLE track, yo!) so I can watch these women compete one last time before Hasay graduates. Anyone know about Jordan Hasay and what her post-collegiate plans are? Curious.

With that, have a great week everyone. I'll be continuing to log some base miles as I contemplate my December 5k and Master Plan for 2013...

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Long run lovlies

I capped off last week with a long run with lovely Megan (Daily Sweat) who is getting ready for CIM. Neither of us were having our best day. For me, I think it was the result of a long week with little sleep or water, heavy food, and too much Halloween candy. Despite being tough, physically, it was a great pleasure to see Megan as always.

We got 9-ish miles in at a good clip (9:10-ish) then met up with another 10 or so ladies at Green Lake for a bloggy run. Lindsay (recent ultra runner inductee) organized a group to meet for a nice 3 mile loop around the lake then coffee. This brought the total distance to 12.4 miles.

Very thankful to Lindsay for pulling us together. Maybe we can do this more often?

I'm looking forward to getting back to a routine this week, including some cross-training, 1 tempo run, 1 speedier workout, then hopefully a 10-mile run that will be the last 10 of Megan's 20 miler.

The biggest wild card this week is Tuesday, election day. I'm hoping it doesn't throw me off too much but we're having a PARTY on Tuesday night to either celebrate or commiserate with our friends, depending on the outcome. Either way, it may involve drinking too much beer which would then result in Wednesday being less than stellar on the exercise front!


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Training update - Half cram

This fall was supposed to be about training for a 10k, following the Another Mother Runner "finish it" plan. I suppose I did "ok" until October hit then it all got loosey-goosey. Life happens and I've had a hard time fighting back.

Even if I have a "C" in complying with training plans lately, I'm going to throw out another one. I've gotta have SOMETHING to give me guidance after all!

But first, I have to say that although I didn't follow my plan as well as hoped, I'm still happy that I'm progressing. In the last two months, I've logged between 40 to 50 miles (yes, I know this is weekly mileage for many of you). In October, I hit 60 miles. I think that's an ok progression and am hoping I can hit 60 again in November. Then, 70-ish miles for December.

This is the goal for the next several weeks:
  1. Cram for a half marathon in 3 weeks, and
  2. Bust out a 5k that kills my 2011 finish time. 
This past week, I was sore from Saturday's 10k. I've been at an awesome conference this week (International Society for Exposure Science), which has been thrilling but exhausting. I managed NO cross-training but did squeak out two runs: 5 miles on Tuesday (10 min warm-up/cool-down w/ 8x2min hard w/ 1 min rest interval) and 3 miles today (easy, with 1 big hill). Saturday, I'm hoping to get 12 miles in with lovely Megan who is training for CIM.

Pretty sure the Monday runs will be converted to cross-training as I don't do well running consecutive days.
You see those TWO YELLOW-HIGHLIGHTED boxes? Those are fun runs coming up before the end of the year. The Seattle Half Marathon is a nice course except for miles 9-11 and 13 being hills. Bah. And the fact that the weather can be 34 degrees and raining. Yuck. Fortunately, I (along with a ton of other runner friends) scored a $30 Zozi entry. So, if it turns out to be 34 degrees and rainy, I will just pass & sleep in. If it's decent, this will be my FIFTH Seattle Half Marathon (1991, 1996, 1999, 2007).

The Santa Runs 5k will be the 3rd running of this awesome event with the bloggy girls. I don't think I'm dressing up matchy this year but will definitely pull out my red sparkles and holiday cheer.

What's the blue? Those are the days when I'll be in rural mid-Michigan during hunting season. Will I get out to run, during midday when it's not likely a high bullet-flying time? Maybe. I'm scared. Even decked out in safety orange I'm scared.

Plus, being a city girl I'm always scared of running around in-laws' country abode (i.e., running "around the section") regardless of the season.

It's isolated in the country.

There are big farm dogs and no one to call them in.

And big trucks with wide mirrors.

No one would hear me scream if I felt the need to scream.

And it smells like shit. Literally. Some people say it smells like money. I think it smells like shit and impending surface water & groundwater contamination. 

Oh yeah, and Michigan is COLD in November.

So before then, I have to CRAM for that half coming up in just a few weeks! Wish me luck and good weather!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Inaugural Snohomish River Run recap

It seemed like it would never arrive, but the big opening of the Snohomish River Run finally came with true fall PNW weather - upper 40's/low 50's temps, downpour of rain, winds, and slippery leaves on the ground. (I kinda like it!)
Spoiler: 2nd AG finish = beer mug = very cool!
I'm a bad blogger and although I met up with MANY Seattle-area bloggers & runners (Tall Mom, Sybil, Stacie with her 11-yr old daughter both running the half marathon, Rabenki, Sally, Jen, Julie, Born&Raced in Chicago, friend Mr. S who I ran the Indy Mini with & was supposed to run THIS race with, Rabenki's sis running her first 10k, two high school classmates I hadn't seen in 21 years, and everyone came with more friends and friends of friends), I didn't take ANY photos.

Because this was a first run of the SRR, there were a couple hiccups. The only significant one was a slight shortage of porta-potties (easily fixed for next year), which meant long lines and a delayed start. Well, with the delay it was a bit uncertain when it would be best for me to ditch my warm-ups and I was quite pre-occupied with socializing so forgot to pay attention to announcements.

Too late, I decided to run ~200m back to my car to ditch my raincoat & sweats. On the way back, I heard the starting horn for the 10k race. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! 

I SPRINTED to the start line, arriving out of breath, and for the first time I was LAST in a race. What a crazy feeling! I instantly thought of the Traveling Runner who missed the RNR NOLA start this year.

I spent the first mile weaving between walkers and joggers trying to find Sybil who had a similar finishing goal: sub-50:00 or bust. I found her (gunmetal Sparkle skirt!), admiring her beautiful mid-foot strike as I approached, and tried to hang on. I was pretty pooped already from the crazy start but found a rhythm.

The course followed a rural road, which was a nice change from my city runs. We looped back toward the start after about 1.5 miles then headed in the opposite direction on a paved path along the Snohomish River.

Between miles 2.5 and 4, I felt my energy flagging and it seemed like Sybil was pushing the pace. I told her I was going to drop back; she picked up the pace a bit. I managed to keep pace a bit behind her, just focusing on following her footsteps. I concentrated on watching her feet and trying to have the same nice stride (yeah Sybil!). This saved me.

By the time we were on the river path, Sybil & I were in pace together but not talking. I couldn't. But, I was SMILING from ear to ear because I LOVED this section of the race. The last 3 miles along the path reminded me of cross country because except for being paved instead of dirt or wood chips, it was rather narrow and windy, tiny little hills, slippery leaves, and trees around. Most people DIDN'T like this part of the course for these same reasons but what can I say? It made me think of the old days.

At mile 4, I checked my watch and realized that if I maintained pace, I'd probably break 50:00 but I wouldn't hit my A goal of breaking 49:21 (2010 You Go Girl finish time). My first thought was to wait until mile 5 to pick up the pace. Some quick math made me realize that wouldn't be good enough. I had to go NOW.

Fright. Could I pick up the pace for another 2 miles without tanking? I usually play things quite safe and wait until the last mile or even half mile to push. Would I be ok with not meeting my A goal? Nope. UNcharacteristic of me, I decided to go for it with 2 miles left. I picked up the pace just a bit. I passed a few people and just kept focusing on the next people to move up on. I cheered for runners who were already doubling back to the finish.

I kept smiling.

Spectators smiled back, telling me to keep smiling. I think they thought I was delirious. I was, I was having SO MUCH FUN! But, I had no idea if I could make it to the finish at that pace (whatever that was, I don't wear a Garmin).

Sure enough, at mile 5+, I started to get weak in the legs. OH NO, YOU DON'T! SUCK IT UP BUTTERCUP! I talked myself down and told myself I would be the biggest lame-ass that ever was if I couldn't make it just ONE MERE MILE while my friends were out running a full 13.1 miles.

I checked my watch. 46:##. It was going to be close.

The cheers of spectators along that last half mile really helped. I kept smiling and crossed that finish in 48:36! A very flat course and nice cool temps certainly didn't hurt. This gave me a 2nd place in the age group, 6th overall female.

Women's 10k winning time: 42:12, not far behind the winning men's time of 38:04. 
Women's Half Marathon winning time: 1:24, with first male finishing in 1:09. 

Nice shirts (female sizing!), medal, mug.
All finishers in running skirts got a raffle ticket for a running skirt drawing at the end (we didn't stay for this, too cold & wet). All finishers also received a medal and space blanket. Nice touches! Also, 10k finishers got to have the same post-race food as the half marathon runners: HOT SOUP, chips & salsa, fruit, artisan bread.

While I ran a mere 10k, my friend Mr. S was kicking some serious butt on his half and managed a P-f'in-R in the rain = 1:44:43! Mel didn't have her best day but STILL finished in sub-2:00, as did Sally. All in all, I think everyone had a good race.
Pre-race, Mr. S saying that he felt it was a good day to PR.
Aside from Mr. S's PR, I think most impressive feat of the day goes to Stacie's 11-yr old daughter who not only finished during the heaviest downpour, but finished in 2:23. Yes, pretty freaking awesome. The best part was seeing mom & daughter cross the finish line together with HUGE smiles on their faces.

A great day for PNW running, indeed. I would definitely recommend this race for next year and hope to participate again myself. Gold stars awarded to race planners for:

  • Female sizing of shirts (v-neck tech tee)
  • Nice color RED with simple but bold logo.
  • Great sponsors - local health practitioners, RunningSkirts, PowerBar, Endurance Sports NW (which has an AWESOME selection of RS, SkirtSports, and Oiselle clothing), and StockPot Soups
  • FOUR KINDS OF HOT SOUP post-race!!! 
  • Water from coolers instead of bottled water (THANK YOU for not contributing 1,000+ bottles to the landfill)
  • Beer mug age-group awards, very cool 
  • Interesting course with a mix of roads and river-front path (despite being a narrow path, I wouldn't mind more of the course running along the path for next year) 
  • Large tents to huddle under, including kerosene heater
  • Post-race give-aways
  • Friendly race organizers  


Looking for a 5k tune-up? Check out this same group of folks who are organizing the MUSTACHE DASH on November 17.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Running form gone bad

Participation in the double-header weekend provided a unique opportunity for some serious running photo opportunities (especially thanks to Kim's cousin).

Looking at the DE race pics, I noticed something that frustrates me. After being a heel-striker my whole life, in 2010 I started re-training myself to land closer to my mid-foot. In my mind, I think I'm ok at keeping this up but I know I slip when I get tired or pick up the pace. It's certainly something I have to always be thinking about as I'm running and it's looking like when I'm distracted by talking my companion's ear off, everything regresses...

Note Exhibit A: I'm concentrating on finishing, getting ready for a nice mid-foot plant. Well done, Average Woman Runner! And look at Kim, she's a natural mid-forefoot striker. But what is my right hand doing crossing over my chest? Not quite right there. 
Exhibit A. 
But wait! As shown in Exhibit B, I am getting all excited about our grand matchy-matchy finish and my form goes to hell. I'm about to take a GIANT heel-plant here while lovely Kim maintains her nice foot strike. I should not be able to see my sole.
Exhibit B. 
The next day is worse. When left completely to my own devices and am putting the pedal to the medal, it's not pretty. Exhibit C is an example from the NJ race. We'll start with the good. If you saw this close up, you would be very impressed with my slightly possessed-looking "eye of the tiger" stare I'm giving that finish line as I approach. This is to scare everyone out of my way. Also, it appears from this angle that my hips are even (see also Exhibit A). 

And now the bad, starting from the top. While my hips are even, my shoulders clearly are not. If this was a 3-D photo, we would see that not only are my shoulders hunched up toward my ears and my left shoulder higher than my right, we would see that my entire torso is twisted. It's like instead of swinging my arms back and forth, I'm twisting my torso from side-to-side. It's just not healthy-looking. 

And speaking of arms, again I have my arm crossing my torso rather than swinging easily along my side. While you can't see it here, I'm pretty sure we can assume that I'm putting my heel down, BAM!, right in front of my center of gravity rather than landing on my mid-foot right below me. From this photo, it looks jarring. Just a sore IT band waiting to happen, right?

Exhibit C.
As I get ready for the upcoming Snohomish River Run 10k this weekend, I need to think about maintaining better form even when I'm running hard. I don't want to ruin every run by obsessing about my form but perhaps there are some simple reminders I can use to try to (continue to) correct myself over time. I think this will be especially important as I continue building my base and think about ramping up my mileage for another marathon attempt (did I just use the 'm' word?).

So here is my homework:
  1. Arms front to back, swing from shoulders, no twisting.
  2. Feet under hips, mid-foot plant.
  3. Shoulders relaxed.
  4. Hold myself up tall, no slouching. 
I think being more vigilant about working on my core strength will help with #4 but the rest is going to take constant reminding.

Anyone else have form or posture reminders they use while running? Any tips on improving form? 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Update on the low- to zero-drop shoe experiment

Back in June, Online Shoes and Brooks generously invited a group of area bloggers to dinner to learn about both companies at "Girls Night Out." As a parting gift, we were given a goodie bag with a shirt, notebook, and little ditties, and TWO PAIRS OF BROOKS RUNNING SHOES. Amazingly awesome.
Brooks shoe line-up

I have been running in Brooks since about 1999 or 2000. First in the Adrenaline (12mm heel-toe drop) then the Addiction (12mm heel-toe drop), then the Adrenaline for years. In the last couple years, I've graduated to a non-support/non-control neutral shoe, the Ghost (12 mm heel-toe drop),  and love them. I especially like the slightly roomier toe box in the Ghost. I tried on the Ravenna which is a step between the Adrenaline and Ghost but the fit just wasn't as comfortable to me. As I've tried to change from a strong heel-strike to a mid-foot strike over the last 2 years, I've been proud of my move to the Ghost and was very excited when Brooks came out with their lower heel-to-toe drop PureProject line (4mm, which is pretty darn close enough to 0mm).
PureFlow, sexiest shoe ever

I really wanted to like the PureProject shoes and this spring, I purchased a pair of the PureFlow. These shoes were easily the sexiest shoes I'd ever owned. A couple days after running in them (too far, too fast), I developed plantar fasciitis. In the months I couldn't run, I wore my PureFlows around & to work to help my feet build up strength. Also, during this time, I ditched all my Daskos and any other shoe in my closet (work shoes especially) that weren't flat or flexible.

Months later after starting to run again, I started back using my Adrenaline and the Glycerin that I got at the Online Shoes/Brooks girls night. The Adrenaline offers more support than the Glycerin, which is a more souped-up version of the Ghost (i.e., more cushioning). I have no complaints about either the Adrenaline or the Glycerin but I think I still prefer the Ghost as it's just a little, tiny bit easier to get my mid-foot strike in the Ghost.

 I also have been wearing some Mizuno Wave Elixir that I received via the Mezamashii Project and frankly...I LOVE THEM. They have minimal padding in the toe box, which is gloriously roomy, and I like that I can actually feel the ground under my feet. This is something that frustrated me in the PureProject shoes - too much padding for my liking. These are NOT low drop (12mm), but something about them does not discourage my mid-foot strike.

In the last month as my confidence as grown, I started using the PureCadence, also received at the girls night out. Wearing them just walking around and also on shorter runs, I could feel my PF niggling at me again. Coincidence? I don't know. To be safe, I recently donated my PureFlows (logged < 10 miles in them; donated while in NJ at the Seaside 5k, hopefully they will find someone to love them) and I just mailed my PureCadence (logged < 30 miles) to another local blogger.

In further experimentation, I picked up a pair of Altra Zero-drop Intuition runners. I've actually been wearing these foot-shaped shoes around all summer long as my casual shoes and have run a couple times in them but not more than 1 mile. They have the fantastic roominess in the toe box and minimal cushion that I love. I can actually feel the ground beneath me. Yesterday, I went out in for an easy 3-mile run in them. I could certainly feel a greater impact since they are fairly minimal, and my feet definitely felt like they had to work harder to land and take-off. Of course, my calves could feel that zero-drop and were fairly tight the rest of the day. But all in all, it was good. They forced me to stay off my heels more than any of my other shoes so will be good for training me to keep my mid-foot strike.

So where does this leave me? I'm content with my Ghost and Glycerin, am pleasantly surprised by the performance and fit of the Elixir, and am cautious about the Intuition.

I'm thinking I will continue running in my Elixir for most shorter training runs, Glycerin for longer runs, due to the extra cushioning, and will see if one of those wins me over. Because the Elixir has less cushioning, I am a little concerned about its performance for longer (> 2 hr) runs. Also, I will try working in the Intuition for runs up to 3 miles to see how my feet/calves handle the truly minimal shoe.

It seems crazy that I have this many pairs of running shoes, as normally I have ONE pair only. I'm thankful to Online Shoes and Brooks for allowing me to experiment.

Anyone have thoughts about these shoes? Does heel-toe drop affect your foot-strike? Do you think I'm grasping at straws?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Voyeur’s recap of a “50-Stater” double-header weekend – Part 2

The first half marathon in the first state of the Union with the "50-Staters" was a success (that's Delaware for those like me who have forgotten their 5th grade history). With only a couple hours to spare before meeting up with friends in New Jersey, we decided it was essential that we do the Rocky dance on the Philadelphia Art Museum steps. We actually made a video but I can't get it off my phone - BOO!

Top 2 levels of Philly Art Museum steps: There were several wedding parties, a quinceañera, tourists, several folks out running the steps, and three LOVELY runners, pictured here.
Anyway, we had just enough time to drive from Wilmington, Delaware to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (< 1hr), pee, run the steps like Rocky Balboa, then drive to Toms River, New Jersey (2+ hrs). Being from a state that takes 4+ hours to drive up & down or 6+ hours to drive across, it seems so very strange to me that you can be in three states within just a couple hours. 

I had never been to New Jersey before and this is what I thought it would be like everywhere:

And it was! Well, a little bit on the Jersey Shore was like this but most of the rest of NJ that we drove through was actually quite rural and undeveloped. Who knew? 

Back to the story - We drove to Toms River and had dinner with none other than "T" (Racing With Babes) and T's sister, who drove 6 hours from Virginia to run with us. T is from this area so her mom and aunt also joined us. We were also joined by Lisa's dad who happened to be in NJ for business...AND my best friend from college, AMN, who is living in Brooklyn (makes me sad, she needs to move back to Seattle). 

Post carb-loading, we found our hotel in Seaside Heights, NJ and got ready for the NEXT big race. Sunday morning, we slept in then slowly made our way to the start for the 10 a.m. race. The tough-as-nails 50-Staters, T, T's sister, and AMN prepped for their half marathon (that would be everyone but me). I actually stuck with my plan of running the 5k (I almost got swept up in the moment and ran the half but I surprised myself by doing the right thing).

Treat from the registration swag bag. Does anyone else find this a bit funny ha-ha and funny peculiar? Includes contact info/ad for a local dentist.

Both Seaside Half Marathon and 5k races started/finished on the boardwalk.

Sad this came out blurry: Me, AMN, Lisa, Kim, T's sister, T
The Seaside 5k Race: It was a warm, sunny day and I got quite overheated during the 5k. I decided to push as hard as I could and approached the make-myself-vomit pace then backed off just enough. This was not extremely fast, but faster than I would have expected given my fitness level and having just ran a half marathon the previous day. Because the 5k was an out-and-back course, I could see who was ahead of me as I approached the turn-around. 

Damned if I wasn't the 6th overall female and damned if all the women ahead of me looked YOUNGer! About 1 mile from the finish, one of the gals in front of me stopped to walk, which put me in 5th place. I pushed hard and felt oh so thankful that I wasn't running 13.1 miles. There was NO WAY I could have done another half marathon that day. No way, no how. In the end, I finished a painful but exhilarating and triumphant 5k in 23:29 for 1st in my age group (30-39 yrs) & 5th female overall!

After that, I took a break to cool off and wade in the refreshing Atlantic Ocean. In October! Amazing. This is where, again, I was oh so thankful that I wasn't running 13.1 miles. I had some nice solo time to soak up my surroundings. Once I felt refreshed, I headed back up to the boardwalk to wait for my girlfriends to finish.

Perfect summer conditions in October (70 degrees by 11 a.m.).
Just like Coney Island!
AMN was the first of our group to come in, followed by Lisa, Kim, then T and T's sister. It wasn't the best day for everyone given the heat, pretty but boring course, and second hard effort for L & K. You can read Lisa's recap HERE and Kim's recap HERE. My photos didn't turn out well of the ladies finishing, but I did download a professional photo of myself, which I will discuss another time.

After a quick meal post-race (pasta & salad provided by the race), we showered then hit the road for our flights out of Philadelphia. I missed my age group award but that was fine. I was tired but happy. I loved every minute of this double-header weekend. 

And you know what? 

These 50-Staters are crazy. Crazy but TOUGH. Running back-to-back half marathons, traveling between states, navigating unknown turnpikes, being prepared for all running conditions, sleeping in strange places, and more - - - it's no joke folks. 

Thoughts about this whole double-header weekend? 
  • Did I mention already, these double-header half marathon weekends are serious fun but also a serious physical challenge. I was plenty sore after just one half marathon and a 5k!
  • I could use more girl time like this, what a blast!
  • I didn't try enough regional beers to find my favorite (only 3 sampled).  
  • My Zensah calf sleeves are not tight enough to provide adequate compression and my Procompression socks (size S) are too big (in the foot and in length). Order a size down if you are a female.
  • Running skirts bring women together. We talked to so many other women simply because of the skirts in common. Odd, but great that it breaks us out & gets us connected.
  • Traveling improves your knowledge of U.S. geography.
  • Traveling around the country broadens our community, it makes our large country feel less impersonal. I certainly felt more connected with the opposite coast simply by getting to see new areas, building positive memories, and chatting up locals.
  • I can see how this would be addictive.
With a little one at home, I'm not sure I will get to participate in many weekends like this but I'm grateful for this one and will jump at the chance to do another.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Voyeur’s recap of a “50-Stater” double-header weekend – Part 1

I’ve been running for over 20 years and not once did it ever occur to me to run races on consecutive days until I started reading running blogs. This is when I became familiar with the term “50-Stater” and began to enjoy reading of others’ accounts of their crazy weekend travels to distant states just to run a race…or two.

For someone who previously ran no more than 2 or 3 races per year, this was CRAZY. It was also unheard of to me to coordinate running clothes with someone else outside of being in a running club or school sports team.

In the last two years, I’ve certainly become accustomed to these new running ways and really enjoy reading these wild accounts of cross country jaunts just to run a race and return home. This past weekend, I had the pleasure of actually participating in a 50-Stater double-header weekend. It was a blast. 

Friday morning I met up with Kim, (Just) Trying is for Little Girls, who had flown up from Portland, OR and we flew direct to Philadelphia. Lovely Lisa (Because I Can) was waiting for us, having flown in earlier from Nashville. [Sidebar: It’s really gross sitting next to someone who flosses their teeth and chews then files nails in their seat.]

First order of business = FOOD & BEER. Quick stop for Philly cheesesteak sandwiches @ McGillin’s, which I sampled a tasty “1860 IPA.” This pub was founded in 1860, back when Honest Abe was around! The IPA was a bit sweet and not as hoppy as I like but it was just fine for a pint.

Second order of business = HOTEL. From Philly we drove to Wilmington, DE to rest up for half marathon #1, Run for the Buds.

Third order of business = FRIEND. Average Woman Runner meets up with long lost friend, CH, who was last seen in Las Vegas (partner in crimeduring RNR Half walk following bachelorette weekend). CH is a sight for sore eyes. So lovely to get to see her on this crazy weekend running escapade. While visiting, I tried another local brew, Dogfish Head. It was "meh."

Last order of business = SLEEP. I sneaked back to hotel room ~ 10:30 to catch some rest before the big half marathon. 

On race morning, we navigated ourselves without a hitch to Rockford Park. It was LOVELY. And not just because they had a barrel of beer up for raffle!

I REALLY wanted to win this.
$5 for an arm's length of raffle tickets.
Spoiler: For a moment, I thought I had won the barrel of beer but it turned out I had transposed two of the raffle numbers I'd heard. 

My upset when I found out I had NOT won the barrel of beer.
You know what is super cool? KIM's cousin, S (see long arm above), drove all the way up from DC to see her run! He was very nice and took many fantastic photos for us.

No one could tell us the story behind this tower.
It was cool (upper 40's/low 50's) and clear. Perfect running conditions. Lisa planned a faster pace than Kim & I but due to several double-back sections, we saw her several times along the course. Meanwhile, Kim and I had a little party along our 13.1 miles. We chatted up other runners, aid station workers, and I talked Kim's ear off.

WARNING: If you ever run a race with me, I will keep talking until you tell me to shut up.

I also took many photos of this woodsy, moderately hilly, fall-colored course for your viewing pleasure. Lisa provides a great overview of the course in her recap (HERE). 

This course is in my TOP 3 for it's beauty, organization, and friendliness. I would not hesitate to recommend this race to anyone looking for a DE race, especially since it supports a great organization (Down Syndrome Association of Delaware). 

And now, pictoral summary of our 2:08 party on the 13.2 mile course (yes, it was long):

After cooling down, we got showered & packed then met up with my buddy CH and cousin S for lunch, where we decided that in the few hours remaining before meeting up with friends in NJ, we MUST run the steps at the Philadelphia Art Museum a la Rocky. That post-half marathon effort coming in Part II...