Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Stomp the Grapes Half Marathon

Saturday morning I woke up early to make the drive down to Navarre, the last long race in the Hermes Road Race Series. I figured at the very least, I could pick up some nice participation points, but as usual I had my own goal set a little higher than that.

Carol, an ole running friend of mine, rode down with me and we arrived to this cute lil winery out in the country. It was a bit cool as I shed my jacket but I knew I would be fine in my tank top before long. My stomach was feeling a bit off as it had the entire evening before.

As I started off, I was feeling pretty good and staying with the lead group of women for the first couple miles.

Mile 1, 6:35 (Downhill)
Mile 2 & 3, 14:29

It did not take long before I started to feel like I was working harder than I wanted to be. I let the lead women go. I had my headphones just cranking but I was already sort of bored and ready to be done, even on this beautiful morning.

Mile 4, 7:37 I drank some gatorade...so thirsty already!
Mile 5, 7:32
Mile 6, 7:57

As we made the turn on to the towpath, I thought I was upping the pace but when I looked at my watch I found it must have just felt like it!

Mile 7, 7:47

At this point people started to pass me and I was losing the battle in my head.

Mile 8, 8:11
Mile 9, 8:12
Mile 10, 8:43

I think mentally I started to give up. The hill after 10 seemed so long and all into a stiff wind. I walked a couple times. Then I was mad at myself for not sucking in up. My stomach hurt and I just wanted to be down already. Unfortunately I knew there were more hills.

Mile 11, 9:37
Mile 12, 8:50 Ughh, I am discouraged. Again people who don't normally beat me are beating me and I know I have down training runs faster.

Last 1.1 10:05

Total time 1:45:41, which put me in second place for my age group.

About a mile before the end, this one girl passed me who ended up snagging first. As it turned out they were giving a cash award to those breaking the record in their age groups and she had with a time of 1:45:01. Even though I had no idea what the cash award even was, I was mad at myself as there was no reason that I could not have beat her and took first other than the fact I was lazy. Sigh!

After the race I headed directly to the restroom to take care of my stomach issues. I was pooped. My feet were trashed. For some reason I had a bloody toe nail and a really bad blister. However as I quickly changed after the race, so did my mood.

My favortite part of the race is being done and watching the others come in. I had an opportunity to talk to one of the other ladies who I always seem to be in competition with and it was the first time we actually had the chance to talk and she seemed like a fun gal. There was also quite a spread of food and free wine after the race. How can you go wrong with that?

Even though I was mad about my pathetic performance, I got the coolest award. Apparently the race was trying to make unique awards and when they replaced the slate roof off their chicken coup they saved the slate and had it all cleaned and cut into 1 foot square pieces. Then an artisit placed a really cool winery design and Stomp the Grapes Award Winner on them. The slate was drilled and a pretty purple ribbon to hang it up with was also put on there. This is now one of my favorite awards I have collected!

So after having the chance to chat with friends such as Jen C and her hubby (who both ran well), fellow ER peeps (the Gorris's) and my road race series friends I headed home after having a great time at the after party!

At the end of the day, I highly recommend this race. It definitely is challenging, but totally worth it. Now I am looking forward to doing a couple of short races to end the year, which are to my liking. I like the fact the in a 5 mile race or 5K race, the suffering is limited! Also I am looking forward to spending time with my ladies doing the long runs in perparation for the 2008 year!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Left Foot, Right Foot, Repeat

It was a whirlwind weekend all to support my girl, Arlene!!!

Joey and I left out first thing Saturday morning to go out there. Thankfully Arlene had already picked up my stuff so I just had to get there and relax. We did do some arts and crafts upon my arrival.

I thought we would call ourselves A-Team for Arlene, as it would just make us laugh to hear people cheer for that!

Arlene was dreading the weather as she is not a hot weather fan and pretty much prefers not to really even train in it, let along run a marathon.

But we did not have a choice, so we boarded the L and arrived downtown to the start. Needless to say, even at this early hour, it was warm and humid and were already plenty warm outside in our shorts and a tank.


There were so many people, small walkways and I learned what hearded cattle must feel like. Finally we got all things taken care of--drop bag dropped, restroom hit and then we lined up with the 9:30 pace group.

The excitement was overwhelming! With a hug about 5 and a half minutes later after the official start, surprisingly we started to move forward!

Mile 1 8:51
Mile 2 10:00

We saw the family!! My husband Joey, my aunt and uncle (Arlene's parents), and her roommate were all out spectating and taking pictures!!! I think this was the only time they saw Arlene smiling!!! We had almost missed them as it is hard to pick out people from the crowd. Some people made signs so they could be easily spotted....like this one which my hubby thought was so funny that we needed a picture!

As we passed through the city, every street was stuffed full of spectators. The bank sign read 74 degrees as we passed and fortunately the city buildings provided shade.

Mile 3 9:27
Mile 4 9:34
Mile 5 9:44

Arlene had not been talking much and I was trying my best not to annoy her but to try to keep her mind off how much further we had to go. As we headed out towards Wrigley there was a long stretch out by the high way in the bright sun and it was really starting to warm things up. By mile 6 we walked through the water stop so Arlene could take in a gel and get some water. We talked about with it being so hot today that is was going to be important to take in plenty of fluid even if it meant falling off your pace goal. Already Ar was so hot, that it was going to be plenty fine by her!!

Mile 6 11:01
Mile 7 10:31
Mile 8 10:37
Mile 9 12:43

As we tracked through boystown I was cheering and laughing. It was men cheerleaders, men in drag, men in army fatigues with their fakes guns singing and dancing slamming their guns on the stage while sticking there butts out!!!! I howled with laughter.

Mile 10 11:14
Mile 11 15:42 -- Arlene had finally found that bathroom she was looking for! I took this time to sit down on the sidewalk to stretch out my piliformis (as yet the butt pain is forver there!!) It was at this point that I really started to notice just how much everyone was really suffering. I saw several people just littering the med tent and streets who looked as though they were just done, some with IV's. I had been hearing the sirens all morning and obviously many were not dealing with the heat well.

Mile 12 12:24
Mile 13 11:35

Half way 2:24:38 - At this point, it hit home that this was going to be one heck of a long run and we were going to go over 5 hours! Just after half way we saw the family again. Seeing them always brought a smile to my face and I would wave and Arlene struggled to acknowledge them at this point. Actually I think I was doing a ton of smiling through the race. Although I was focused on getting Ar through her first mary, I was so preoccupies with all the entertainment and spectators---SO AMAZING!!!

Mile 14 13:08
Mile 15 & 16 25:49

We were walking all water stops often for at least a minute or 2. I was pretty much drinking one gatorade and two waters per stop as was Arlene. Fortunately for us, we have always drank a lot together...only this time there was no alcohol involved. Ar was struggling with the heat. I remember E's trick with ice in the sports bra which turned out to be one of Ar's favorite tricks for the day. She was melting and made the extra effort to hit every hose and sprayer while dumping water over her head. I knew she was struggling but she continued on.

Mile 17 12:15 As we came back through town I read another temperature sign which said 93 degrees...or we will just call it friggin HAWT!!

Mile 18 16:07 About this time she looked at me with a look of misery to say "Marathons aren't easy!" My response was that I don't think anyone ever thinks a marathon is easy, even the great athletes.

Mile 19 13:27

Fire hydrants were popped and we were told the marathon was officially over due to the unsafe heat. "Please walk to the nearest water area where buses will begin transporting people back to the start."

At first Arlene did not think they were serious. I had been watching through the day. Sirens were constant, people were struggling and I said "They're serious."

We were not sure what to do exactly we walked some as we were told not sure what the heck was going on.

Mile 20--FINALLY!!! 14:48

How long was this process going to take? I was so disappointed for Ar. She had worked so hard and had been hydrating well. She had trained all summer. She deserved to finish. We decided to keep moving forward for now while we seen how this way playing out.

Mile 21 - 12:05

Then Ar started to get mad, "F this, I am finishing this thing!!"

Thatz my girl and I was proud!!!

Mile 22 - 10:45!!! Fastest mile in a long time!

You could see the state of confusion all over the course. Announcers and police were yelling at people to stop running. We would walk momentarily when passing and start to run again. The thing was almost everyone was now walking. We weaved through the people now just wanting to get to the finish.

Mile 23 17:58

She was doing great and we even started to cheese it up for the cameras as the camera guys were surprised to see some smiles at that point!

Mile 24 13:59

At this time Arlene said she did not want to walk anymore because it hurt too bad to start again. We skipped the first water stop in forever!

Mile 25 & 26, I missed the splits.

As we entered the final stretch, Arlene was moving!!!! She practically sprinted the last two hundred and crossed the finish line in 5:21:36!!!

I am not sure which miles were the toughest for her. My guess is 12-20, when she knew how far she had left to go. After the race announcement, she was so angry, that I think she got a second wind and anger pushed her through those final miles. She had even started talking to me!!

At the end of the day as we collected our medals and I was so happy to have had the opportunity to experience this crazy marathon day! I will forever be proud of Ar's determination to finish in the heat which she hated!

Morals of the story to others-Stay hydrated to finish
Train in all conditions as you never know what weather will get thrown at you on race day!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Bringing Sweaty Back!

The title was my favorite shirt I saw on the course!!!!

The long and the short of it was my cousin (who hates the heat and never runs in it) rised above the insane heat of the day to complete her first marathon ever!!! I AM SO PROUD OF HER!!!

Well for all those who were looking up my name, there was a chip issue, so my chip did not register. However lucky for me I have the chip results as I hung tight with my girl throughout the long hot day!

START 0:06:38
5K 0:29:15
10K 1:00:57
15K 1:36:06
20K 2:16:50
HALF 2:24:38
25K 2:54:13
30K 3:39:30
35K 4:19:03
40K 5:04:09
FINISH 5:21:35

TIME Chip Time: 5:21:35 Clock: 5:28:13 Pace: 12:15

More details later on this crazy day of marathon shutdown due to the heat.....

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Mr. Matches

My doggies name is Matches. The husband thought it would be funny to say 'We were playing with Matches' and the name took. Originally we thought he may be a show dog as my mother in law breeds and shows golden retrievers...but Matches (Burning Down the House-formal name) ended up on the short side, so he is just our lil buddy!

When Matches was younger he used to run with me. However the runs got longer and it was too much for him, so I left him at home. He got lazier and lazier. Now I can barely get him to walk a half mile before deciding it is break time when he lays down on me. Sometimes a belly rub can coax him to move on but it is only a matter of time before he lays down again!

So this week I have been working from home and decided to spend some time with him. Monday we went for a walk to the post office. In total it was about a 3/4 mile walk. 3 breaks.

Then Tuesday I jogged him 1/2 mile up the road to the park. It was just me and the township worker who was mowing the grasss. I tied Matches to the fence as I started into my scheduled workout. It was supposed to be 6 400's. I ran around the path which circled all the baseball fields. My guess is that it is closer to 600 meters. I ran 4 loops easy to warm up and then started into my sprints. After my sprints I would grab some water and Matches would get excited as I would come over and untangle the leash he always manages to get wrapped around his paws.

Every lap you could see he was just begging to come but I knew it was too much for him. After I was finished with my sprints I untied Matches to take him with me for the cool-down...or so I thought.

He sprinted two laps as fast as he could as if to show me he could do it too. It was all I could do to keep up while I held him back some. As we jogged towards home he was tiring fast. I tried to encourage him on when he looked like he was about to lay down. About 150 yards from the house it was enough. He laid down in the middle of the road. After some time we finally made it home. Mr. Matches then proceeded to collapse on the floor after draining his water dish for a nap.

PS---Leaving for Chicago soon!!! I am looking forward to just enjoying the course with the cousin, Arlene!!! Even though Arlene did go to OU, (Ewww for us Miami U folk) this chick is da bomb! We just need to make sure there is beer at the finish line as we run for beer!!!

The forecast is calling for Mostly Sunny with a low 67 and a high of 88....guess we will not have to worry about being cold!!! I think we are planning to line up around the 9:30 pace group so hopefully we will finish in 4:15 or so!!! I AM SO EXCITED!!!

PSS--GO TRIBE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YEAH KENNY!!!!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Win Some, Lose Some

Saturday the 5 Fast Femme Fatale Freaks walked away with second place in the Akron Marathon Relay with a time of 3:02:47, with a 6:58 pace!!! They only lost to Kent State cross county...but we will be back next year to go after them!!!! It was quite a morning! Beautiful day, lots of friends, and free beer! All I can say about this relay team is CHICKS RULE!!! It was an absulute blast and I highly recommend this race.

Congrats to all the other finishers that day...Salty with your sick fast relay, Brian and Adam with their mary's, Brandon with your half mary, running friends Bob, Pat and Jen on their halfs, my cousin and high school friend completing their first mary's in under 5 hours, and so many others!!!
After the relay, I headed downtown Cleveland for a picnic with the Cleveland tri Club!!

Sunday I had another wake up call in the 4 o clock hour. This day was just plagued from the start I think. I had a major panic attack upon arrival to my destination. I had checked in and went to put on the numbers only to find out my helmet was not in my bag. I was so screwed and I had drove over 100 minutes to get to this race.

I had taken everything out of my bag earlier this week to let things dry out. I have no idea how my helmet never made it back to my bag!

Luckily I walked by one of the bicycle support vehicles, John from Trek Bicycles out of Columbus was handing out free water bottles and asked if I needed one, and I asked if there were any chancce he had any extra helmets. My little savior for the day said he had personal ones in the car and let me borrow one!!!

So I waited around and finally it was time to start. The 8K run started with a steep one mile ascent and then the descent sized rollers just kept on coming. This was the last chance du to qualify for worlds and the field was amazing. The women in my wave were moving. They had the course marked in KM and I really could not think what the conversion was to figure out how my pace was at the time. Only the last mile seemed kind...definitely a very challenging run course. As I came into transition in 37:25 (7:07 pace) I grabbbed the bike and took off.

I took in a gel which ended up on my aerobar pads and all over me somehow! A few miles into the course and onto the chip and seal. 3/4 of the course was crappy chip and seal. It was jarring everything like my aerobottle like crazy and it just felt like I could not keep speed up as well on this surface. Several of the chicks came blowing by me on their sweet bikes with race wheels and disc wheels and I just kept thinking, my bicycle is not even in the same league. Oh well, I was doing my best to keep up.

After the grade 8 climb I was sailing down one of the descents and I dropped my chain...crap! After greasing up the fingers I was off again. But then I ended up dropping my chain again .....and again! By the third time I was frustrated. It was costing quite a bit of time and several women had passed while I was pulled over.

My back was killing me!!! The rollers and hills kept coming. I was hating the road surface for much of the course.

And then things went from bad to worse. I screamed ouch in pain. I had been stung by a bee in the inside of my bike shorts on my groin. I was not sure if the bee was inside or outside my shorts. I had compression shorts on so I did not think it could be inside but I could not get it out of my head that the bee was trapped in there and would be stinging me more. I was having issues my chest felt tight immediately. I thought about stopping in transition for some Benadryl just to make sure I would be OK but then I just wanted to get this stupid course done even if my time was going to be a real disappointment at this point.

Finally I pulled into the transition 2:07 later...a pitiful time which averages out to 17 mph. I suppose all my issues had taken their toll.

Out for the run. Only problem was at this point, I was not in it. I was tired, pissed, and my leg kept hurting from the stupid bee sting. There was a girl ahead of me and everytime she would walk, I started walking up these big hills. My chest felt so tight and I was so dehydrated as I had run out of water on my bicycle and I was just dying for the water stops. It was one of the most miserable runs of the year. One volunteer was so great with inspiration. Seriously I ran one section of the course by the turnaround just for him as he was saying to keep up the pace,I would pass at least 5 people. I started to get some motivation back. Volunteers really can make a difference. I legged out that last mile descent well but I had such a pathetic start the first 4K that it did not help my time that much. I finished the second 5K in 45:29 (~9:08 pace) and a total time of 3:30:07.

I am a Powerman...only thing is I just felt so crappy about the whole performance. Oh well, I kept going and finished what I started. Also I finished out the Battle of Ohio Long Course Du Series. Now it is just a waiting game to see if this performance will knock me out of first. We shall see!

For now my leg is still killing me from my second stupid bee sting on the bicycle this year. It is nice and red and swollen!

This week will be a nice easy week leading up to Chicago marathon with my cousin!! I am so excited!!!!