Sunday, December 14, 2014

Santa's North Pole Dash

This was my first registered 5k race of the year!! I find that kind of funny... But I forgot how hard 5ks can be. I signed up for this race mainly because of the BEAUTIFUL weather forecasted on the race day. The course goes through historic St. Charles, which is very scenic! However, running on the brick street proved to be a bit difficult.

Walking around historic St. Charles before race start.
It was super funny to see all the Santa's walking around. The race started by Frontier Park, which is where the Mo' Cowbell start is... 

Race Start.
I got into the race corral pretty close to the race start. After the horn blew, we proceeded to the start line and I "tried" to run. There were soooo many walkers, it was so annoying. Also, this lady basically pushed me to get passed me. Really?? Chill the ef down, lady. Anyways, I didn't feel very merry. I then moved over to the sidewalk, and didn't have any more issues. 

By the time we made it to the brick street, I had to run on the street because there were a lot of ped/observers on the sidewalk. It wasn't that bad because it wasn't as packed anymore. BUT, I kept looking down because I didn't want to trip, and missed all the cutesy of historic St. Charles.

I was so tired after mile one. I ran it in 9:04, which is faster than anything I've been doing lately. The uphill climb started after mile one. I wanted to walk so bad, but ran all of the hills and kept telling myself, you only have 2 miles left!! The last mile was the same last mile of the Mo' Cowbell Half Marathon. I was kind of laughing to myself because I was more tired here than I was on mile 12 of the Mo' Cowbell. 

I finished in 29:02. Not even close to my PR. Oh well! I placed good though:

Overall: 339/1917
Gender: 133/1296
Age Group 30-39: 40/308

And I got to get my picture with a reindeer:

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Kirkwood/Webster Turkey Day Run

Not too much to say about this race except I did better than I did back in 2012! Last year, I choose to do the downtown Hungry Turkey, but I like this race because there is a 6 mile option. This year's time was 57:26, and in 2012 I ran it in 58:36.

It was chilly at the start, with a wind index of 21 deg. Brrr.

The 3 mile race started at 7:30, and the 6 mile race started at 8:10. As I was hanging around in the cold I was questioning why I do this to myself... why didn't I just sign up for the 3 mile race so I could get it done sooner? Anyways, the temperature was perfect for running. I just hate the waiting part.

I'm really proud that I ran the entire race and every dang hill. I had to walk a bit back in 2012, but this year I sucked it up and just powered through. I still can't believe I ran a marathon a little over a month ago. I feel so weak.

Obligatory shitty race photo.

Monday, November 3, 2014

St. Louis Half Marathon

I've been wanting to do this race for a while, but I'm not a huge fan of cold weather running. I checked the forecast a week before the race, and the weather looked perfect. Low 40s, high 50s. So then I decided to sign up and give it a go.

Mr. Simon and I before race.
Since the Chicago Marathon, I haven't been running all that much (was that already 3 weeks ago??). I figured since I just did 26.2 miles, I could easily do 13.1. And I did do it... but it wasn't all that easy. The weather was in the low 30s, which was fine. I just don't like running in 10 degree weather. I overdressed like I always do. I had on three layers, and took off the first layer just after the first mile. I felt great after taking off that first layer. It was windy, so I didn't feel too warm.

I've ran this course many times... Clayton to Forest Park and back. I knew it was going to be hilly. I appreciated the hills in the beginning, but by mile 12, I was sick of the hills. I was just so tired!! I started out fast, hoping for a PR. But I dropped back around mile 8. I think that was about the time I had an energy drink, and it just killed my tummy. Also, I was playing tag with this one guy, but he reeked of cologne so I found that highly annoying. What is the point of wearing cologne while running??? Please don't do it.

Felt like shit, and looked like it too.
Anyways, 2014 isn't going to be the year of the PR.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Chicago Marathon 2014

Let me preface that I am never going to do a marathon again. The pain I felt from mile 19 on was excruciating. I knew it wasn't going to be easy, but a part of me is scared that I'll sign up for one of these things again and *forget* the pain.

I had butterflies all week before the race. I didn't think I was stressed about it... but I guess that I was subconsciously aware of the pain from my 2012 marathon. I had forgotten about it at the time I signed up.

So, I'll start with the expo. We got there Friday night at 6:40 pm. It was the perfect time!! A lot of people were heading out, so it wasn't too busy. Well, I guess you could say it wasn't busy:

Chicago Marathon Expo.
It was a very exciting expo and there were a lot of vendors, but I do have to say that I was disappointed with the marathon shirt. It's so boring and fits a little small. I purchased a shirt from Nike, and I'm sure they made such plain race shirts so we'd purchase more items.

Loot from the Expo.
We didn't spend too much time at the expo... we spent most of the day driving and sitting in Chicago traffic, so I was ready to get checked into the hotel and get some much needed rest.

On Saturday we did some touristy things. I just wanted to walk a bit to get the legs warmed up. We went to Nike Town where I bought two more Chicago Marathon shirts (those Nike people are pretty smart, making us spend more money), and went to the Bean. It was a beautiful day!

Bean at Millennium Park.
I actually got a good night sleep Saturday night. I set my alarm for 4:40 am so I could eat some food and rest a bit before the race start. I was feeling good and positive. My husband walked me to my gate, which was a little over a mile away from the hotel.

Outside of the entry gates.
We said our goodbyes and I walked into the gate. It was super crowded and really had no clue where I was going. I found the J corral and then got in line to use the restroom. The lines were super long. I waited in line until 7:40 am, and was no where close to the front. The corral gates were closing at 7:45 am, and I could use the restroom and start in the very back, or try to use a restroom during the race. I decided to stick it out and use a porta-potty on the course so I could start sooner. The first wave started at 7:30 am, and my wave started at 8:00 am. There were so many people!! I've never been in such a large race before!

Race Start. Can you even see the start line??
I started running at 8:23 am... but it felt like I was waiting for eternity. I have been waiting for this moment all week. But mainly, I was ready to be done!! I was hoping for a miracle (i.e., no pain and a PR).

The race start was so exciting. I didn't have in my headphones. I really wanted to take it all in. We went through a tunnel and people were screaming with excitement. I saw one guy peeing in the tunnel and that made me mad. For one, I'm not able to do that (and I really had to go), and secondly, gross! My GPS was off, so I really had no clue about my pace. I knew I was going slow. I wanted to pick up the pace a bit, but it was so hard to pass people (esp. those running with friends), but then I thought that maybe this slower pace would help in the end (nope).

I found Josh around mile two and gave him a kiss and my long sleeve shirt.

There I am!
There were toilets after the first 5k. I knew the first porta-potties would be incredibly busy, but I was so darn uncomfortable that I really had no choice. If I wanted to enjoy myself, I knew I had to stop. There was a long line and I was there for about 6-7 minutes. I know, right! I should have just gone before the race (although I went many, many times before leaving the hotel).

I was having so much fun after that. We headed up towards Lincoln Park and I was feeling really strong. I was kind of amazed. I kept thinking to myself, that I would feel like this for the entire race (nope). Not really much else to say before I hit the wall, just that I was passing people right and left and that was kind of annoying, but I was really enjoying myself. I put in my headphones somewhere around the Lincoln Park area. I was in the zone.

We hit the half marathon mark in downtown Chicago. Then we headed out west towards the West Side and I was walking through every water break and running everything else. Then I thought to myself, maybe this is what I'll do until the finish. It was working for me.

Then mile 19 came and I hit the wall. I tried to run as much as I could, but I was so darn tired. My legs didn't want to move!! Then I would walk, and walking hurt more than running (if you can imagine that)!!! I was in a bad, bad place, but I was there with several other people. I saw many other people fighting their own demons. I kept thinking, we're all in this together!!!

I was in so much pain. I really wanted to sit, but that just wasn't an option. I kept moving and did a lot of walking, but I think I ran more. At least I was still passing people. I knew at that point I wasn't going to have a PR and I was a little pissed about that. Why did I train for this marathon and not even get a PR? Why did I do better two years ago when I had an injury?? What should I have done differently? This is what went through my mind those last 6 miles. We made the last turn back to downtown and I took out my headphones because I really needed to hear the spectators to get me to the finish. I heard lots of encouraging words, and I just wanted to cry. What's the point of doing a marathon when it's just shitty?? You hear about people dying at marathons (two were taken to the hospital yesterday. One is in critical condition.). Is it really worth it? I think my mind is still in a bad, bad place. As I lay here with ice on my legs...

I *finally* got to the finish line and I didn't want to stop running because I knew walking would be much much worse. One guy even commented, "she doesn't want to stop!". Truth is, I wanted to cry and get the hell out of there. They have everything so spread out so the finish line doesn't get congested (which is smart), so I ran up to the people giving away the medals and accepted my medal, almost in tears. But looking at this picture, I looked so happy!! Hello, you just finished a marathon. What an amazing accomplishment!!

And maybe that's why I love the marathon. It really shows what you can do... even through all of the unbearable pain, you can still finish.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Mo' Cowbell 2014

Since I'm running the Chicago Marathon next weekend, I didn't think I'd do this race. I was pretty bummed because I love this race... it was my first half marathon, and it has a special place in my heart. I signed up Thursday night.

St. Charles Historic Main Street.
It was a pretty chilly morning. Which is usual for this time of year... However, last week's half marathon was totally different. I was wearing shorts and it was warm. Being packed together with other warm bodies helps, though.

Race Start.
My only goal for this race was to take it nice and easy. I was only scheduled to do 8 miles... so I definitely didn't want over do it. I took it nice and slow and felt super strong! The first two miles were a pain however. I overdressed and was way too warm. DOH! I'm so glad I signed up for this race so I could learn my lesson here and not in Chicago. I'm just so used to warm weather, and when I hear it's going to be a 38 degree race start, I freaked out a bit. I'm still unsure what I'll wear in the marathon, because it might be rainy.

4th Mo' Cowbell in the books!
I finished the half in 2:18:09. Seems to be the usual time now days! I hope one day to break the 2 hour half, but it isn't going to happen this year. I hope to have at least one PR this year... (Marathon).

Anyways, so glad I signed up for this last minute. I don't think it will hurt me... I think learned some lessons.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Hills and Hollows Half Marathon

I ran the Hills and Hollows Half Marathon on Saturday, Sept 26th in Valmeyer, Illinois. This was my first race in Illinois. Next stop, Chicago!

Race Start.
I signed up for this race as a training run. I'm kinda sick of running Forest Park, and just wanted to have some fun! I'll just say that I loved this race!!! It reminded me a lot of the Napa to Sonoma Race, but with corn fields instead of vineyards. For the first 5 miles, the terrain was rolling favorite!

Beautiful Scenery.
For the next two miles, it was mostly downhill...ahhh. Perfect. But I kept reminding myself that I'd be going back up that hill eventually!! Valmeyer is interesting because Old Valmeyer is in the Mississippi River Floodplain, and after the 1993 floods the town basically moved location to the bluffs. The terrain was flat for the next 4 miles... as we were running in the floodplain. Once we got to Old Valmeyer, it was uphill, for like 2 miles. I only had to run 12 miles, so once I got to the 12, I basically walked it. That hill was killer. I did pass one person on the hill, so go me!

Check out that elevation!
I ran my marathon race pace, and I felt great at the finish (minus the big blister that formed on my toe).

Finish Photo.
They had basically all you can drink beer at the finish, so Josh and I stayed a bit longer than we usually do at races. They were playing good music and it was just fun! They were doing the race awards and I was surprised to hear that I won an award!! Second in my age group..

My Confused Look...
However, I was confused. I went up to accept my award and it said 25-29, second place. Ok, thing is I'm 32. They had a video camera on me while I was accepting my award, so I could never find the right time to tell them that I'm really 32. I looked at my race packet, and sure enough it said that I was F/28. I thought this was all of my fault, so I didn't say anything. (I checked my online registration later, and I put my birthday down correct, so I'm not sure where they got that I was 28). I looked at Josh's registration on his bib packet and his age was M/29. Um, he's 33. He got an award too, 3rd in his age group, 30-34! -- not sure how they corrected that one. Should I have told them that I'm really 32??

Needless to say, this was a very small race. But I loved it. I will definitely be back! I came home and I had this waiting for me in the mail:

Chicago, I'm ready for you!
Also, I attended a two hour headstand class on Friday evening, and I can actually do it! I've been practicing this for 8 months now, and still have a lot to learn...

Monday, September 22, 2014

20 Miler

I did it! I finally ran 20 miles. I didn't make it this far when I trained for my last marathon. It wasn't that bad! I did 17 just fine, but the last three miles were tough. Completely expected though. I'm not liking my new running shoe (Mizuno Wave Rider 16), so I wore my old WR 15s. It felt so much better! However, they are pretty worn, so I just ordered a brand new pair on ebay! I'm pretty stoked that I found the same shoe.

Like every time, my pace was all over the place. I'm not too worried about it, just want to get it done! My feet were pretty sore after the run, so I put them in a cold fountain for a bit. It felt amazing.

I think I'm ready for the Chicago Marathon! 

Monday, September 15, 2014

One Month Until Chicago...

well, minus three days.

I am so anxious about this race!! I don't feel far enough in my training, but I do feel STRONG, and my leg and hip doesn't hurt like it did during the Go! Marathon training/race. I hope the energy from the race keeps me going! All I know is, I'm not dropping out!!

Ok, enough with my pep talk (my mind will not stop thinking about this race).

Josh and I both managed to get into SeaWheeze 2015!! This is my all-time favorite race.

It sold out in under 30 minutes. 

I can't wait to see what lulu has in store.

With Chicago being three weeks away, I plan on running 20 miles this weekend (wish me luck), 13.1 miles the following weekend, and 8 miles the weekend before the big race. I signed up for the Hills and Hollows Half Marathon on September 27. I'm just using this as a training run, because running with others makes the long runs so much easier. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

SeaWheeze 2014

SeaWheeze 2014 was everything I thought it was going to be! Lululemon just keeps making the event better and better.

2012 SeaWheeze post: click here
2013 SeaWheeze post: click here

There's so many cool events and surprises! Josh and I got to Vancouver on Wednesday and basically started drinking Caesars right away! We also had dinner with Uncle Randy and Aunt Mary, biked around Stanley Park, and then met up with my friend Cristen and her husband, Ryan.

Biking Stanley Park (I'm in the yellow).
I knew the SeaWheeze Race Expo (or the Showcase Store) was going to be super crazy, so we got in line at 5 am. It was so worth it!! You either get there at 7 am (when it opens) and wait in line, or get in right at 7 am and have a good selection of clothing. Just as the previous years, the store was nuts... Ladies were grabbing clothes right and left, and stuff was just flying off the hangers. It's such a thrill, but I do feel a little nuts since I'm basically doing the same thing. Some ladies had piles and piles of clothing. I was about to grab a jacket, there were 3 hanging right in front of me. I looked away for a second, turned back to grab it... and they were gone. Crazy.

SeaWheeze Showcase Store.
But... Cristen and I didn't look any different.

Its'a cult... I swear (don't judge).
We were in the Showcase Store for about a 1.5 hours total. I love the goods I came home with!!

My haul (love)!
We didn't make it to the nooner yoga session, and instead toured Vancouver. We did go to the sunset yoga at the Convention Center. It was okay... I think the instructor wanted us to close our eyes the entire time....? Which felt odd to me. It felt long and drawn out. Obviously, it wasn't supposed to be intense since we were running 13.1 miles the next day, but it felt very repetitive and the savasana was soooooo looooong. Some people even sat up and started talking while others were still resting in savasana. That just felt weird to me.

SeaWheeze Sunset Yoga.
Race morning came early (as always). We made our way to the 7am start line, but didn't actually start running until 7:30 am. We were in the 2:20 grouping. At first, I thought that 10 minutes between waves was a bit ridiculous, but then while running, I remembered just how congested the course gets... It's seriously hard to pass people. I should have got in a faster corral, but we were running late and that's as close to the start line as I could get.

SeaWheeze Start.
The course was the same as the previous years, so I took the obligatory photo:

Mile 2 something.
The weather was much warmer though... There wasn't a cloud in the sky, and it was warming up. I think I could have done a little better if we had a cloudy sky. But compared to Missouri weather, it felt super good on the lungs. It's such a beautiful course.

This is the first SeaWheeze that I've run the entire course! Water breaks don't count obviously. I'm super proud of myself even though it wasn't a course PR. Funny how that works!

SeaWheeze finish!
I finished in 02:20:28... 5 minutes slower than last year, and 8 minutes faster than the 2012 SeaWheeze. The race medals were okay... definitely my least favorite out of the three SW medals. But we got a lulu hat at the finish line and some more of the Saje headache and migraine remedy. I didn't wait in line for the breakfast waffles, but hear it was fabulous.

We went to the Sunset Festival that night, and it was pretty awesome... such a cool part of the weekend. The yoga was good (although I liked last years better, but trying not to compare), and I really enjoyed The Colourists! Capital Cities were fun as well.

Sunset Festival Yoga.
Anyways, thank you lulu for an awesome weekend. I hope to be back in 2015. Let's hope registration goes well and I get in!

And I love Vancouver...

Just wish we had this kind of sky on race day!

My fav song from the weekend!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Training for Chicago

"There will be days when I don't know if I can run a marathon. There will be a lifetime knowing that I have." - Unknown.
Training has fully begun for the Chicago Marathon. It's been over two years since my last (and only) marathon, but it doesn't seem that long ago. Training for a marathon is super hard work... very time consuming and it hurts, and it gets boring. Every time after a long run, I question why I do this, and then as soon as the tiredness wears off, I'm ready to run again.

I ran 14 miles this past weekend, and it wasn't bad! The last mile was hard work, but I expected that. I *only* have 6 more miles to add in my long run. Totally do-able!

I'm feeling rather optimistic about the training, and I promised myself I'm not going to drop out (like I've done twice - - Chicago and Mo' Cowbell full). Obviously, I want to do better than 5:01:xx...

14 miler.

Monday, July 28, 2014

The San Francisco Marathon - The First Half

I first signed up for the Napa to Sonoma race, and then found out that the San Francisco Marathon race was the next weekend. We decided to extend our stay in California so I could also do this one. I signed up for the first half because you get to run over the Golden Gate Bridge. However, I also had a 5:52 am start... yaaaaawn.

Up bright and early!
We started running the Embarcadero, which is nice and flat. It was the early morning hours, so we got to see the sun rise. It was a bit warm though, and we didn't have a breeze. We then got to Mission Blvd, which is also flat. Then once we got to the Presidio, we started to see some hills... tiring hills. It was a pretty spectacular view seeing the Golden Gate in the distance.

Mile 4.
Running the Golden Gate was pretty awesome. I never realized how long that bridge was... I was on that bridge for 4 miles.

Golden Gate
I have to say I got a little emotional on that bridge. It was just a once in a lifetime experience. Once we got off the bridge, we had another uphill climb, but then we had a one mile downhill. It felt great on the lungs, but pretty much hurt my legs. After that, I pretty much walked the uphills, and ran whatever else I could.

Finish Line!
I finished in 2:17:12, a couple minutes slower than Napa to Sonoma Half. However, I clocked 13.35 miles on the watch... Overall, I'm happy with my time.

Overall:2942 out of 7250
Women:1234 out of 4052
F 30-39:430 out of 1360
Age/Grade:48.03% Place: 2907
Finish:2:17:25 Pace: 10:29
Tag Time:2:17:25

We finished in Golden Gate Park, which reminded me a lot of Forest Park. California is suffering a drought, and it was nice to see some green grass! The finish line wasn't all that exciting. We split from the marathoners and 2nd half starters, so it didn't feel like that big of a race at the finish. I basically finished and walked straight to the shuttle line. We were bused back to the start/finish line, where I met up with Josh.

#12 Half Marathon!
San Francisco was a good time, but it's a one and done. I'd love to do another Destination Race, lots of good amenities with that one! Here's one of my favorite photos I took on our last night in San Francisco, the night before the big race. It was a beautiful evening.

San Francisco

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Napa to Sonoma Half Marathon

This was such an amazing race!! It was super low-key, but featured so many amazing things. For example 1) I bumped into Ryan Hall; 2) I got to hear Meb Keflezighi speak and share his story, and talk about his Boston win; and 3) hello, it's in Wine Country.

Meb Keflezghi
The race start was so beautiful!! We started at the Cuvaison Estate Winery, which has fantastic scenery.

Cuvaison Estate Winery
The race is a point to point race. You had to be dropped off at the race start (no parking allowed), or take a bus, which left from a couple of the hotels in town. I had Josh drop me off about an hour before the race start, so it was a lot of waiting around. They were playing good music, and although a bit chilly, the weather was beautiful. The perfect running weather!

There were no corrals to start, so you basically just waited where you thought you wanted to be. The horn blew, and we were off. The first .4 miles is challenging. You start by a quick steep downhill, turn left, and then for the next .3 miles, it's a steep uphill run. They call it Butt Burner Hill.

Butt Burner Hill
It wasn't too bad. We were moving soooo slow. Plus, there were a lot of walkers, and some were walking with friends in the CENTER of the ROAD. So irritating. But I ran, or slow jogged, the entire hill, and then we had a nice two mile down hill section. The course was amazing. Rolling hills, amazing views, and we had an overcast sky which was a blessing. There were hardly any trees, so there would have been no shade for the first 10 miles or so if it was a sunny day. Plus we had a light breeze, so I never really felt like I was sweating a ton.

I never once looked at my watch. I didn't care about my pace. I came in to this race undertrained, so I just let my body do what it wanted to do. I did have a stitch in my side at some point, and then it went away... and then I got a stitch in the other side. But overall, my lungs felt amazing. I stopped for some beef jerky at mile 7.5 (mmmm) and some Guinness at mile 9 (burp)... then some wine at mile 10.5 (refreshing). They had a live band at mile 7.5 because sometimes they had  to stop the runners to let cars pass on HWY 121. This is a major link between Napa and Sonoma, so I was curious how they would handle it. I didn't get stopped, so I just kept moving through!.

This was my ideal course... rolling hills. Which is making me a bit fearful for the Chicago Marathon since it's mostly flat. I had some energy to sprint it to the finish! Which makes me hopeful for my Chicago Marathon. We'll see!

Sprinting to the Finish!
I ran the Napa to Sonoma Half Marathon in 2:12:57, a 10:05 pace. Not my fastest, but not my slowest. I'm super happy with my results, and getting ready to run this bad boy this Sunday:

Golden Gate Bridge