Monday, October 21, 2013

Biggest Loser Half Marathon - Part 2 - RACE DAY!

Race morning came early... luckily we stayed in Seattle on the eve of the race at the recommended hotel which was about 3 miles from Gas Works Park where the race was to begin.  My friend Carrie, my younger sister Heather and I and grabbed the free breakfast.  There were quite a few participants with the same plan that we had at the hotel.  It was fun to see all of the early risers and race shirts in the Hotel lobby.  We left soon after and arrived at Gas Works at about 7:15am.  The half was set to begin at 8:00am so we were all good!  The weather was cool but no precipitation was predicted... great racing weather!  My sister and I wore our matching Sparkle Athletic skirts and received so many compliments throughout the race!  We saw others sparkling up the course as well!  Check them out if you haven't worn the sparkle! 

My sister Heather, Me, and Carrie!
Dan from Season 5 of the Biggest Loser
I had arranged a Meet Up for any folks from the Team #runDisney Facebook page to gather about 7:30am so we made our way over there to see if anyone would surface. 
Myself, Carrie, Lonnie, and Melissa made it... we ran into a few 
others later... during and after the race.
Kaylee - Taken - Post Race

Soon it was time to head to the Start line... this was Carrie's first Half so she set herself with like pace folks towards the back... Heather and I pushed (not literally) forward to be at about the 11:00 min pace signs... a good guess for us.  Soon the National Anthem was sung (by Dan) and off we went!  I carried my camera and got shots along the way.  This route was very similar to the See Jane Run Half I had run last July.  Starting in exactly the same spot and with the route going around Lake Union.  The slight variation was at about Mile 10ish with the route taking a turn more south for an out and back instead of north like it had in See Jane Run.  I much preferred this route even though the out and back is not my favorite... the running trail was much wider and allowed room for coming and going as well as just the recreational runners and bikers that were out in the middle of it all.  

The course was really beautiful and full of Fall color... we had some fun... I usually do not run with anyone training or otherwise... so it was different but fun to participate with my sister staying with me.  I run using intervals and this was something my sister does not do.  She was a trooper and stayed with me.  Actually pushing me a bit towards the end of the race to "obey my timer"and not walk as much as I normally would have had I been on my own!   I actually got a PR for this Half by 6 minutes!  That is huge and I attribute it to my sister and her keeping me going that last 3 miles.  We had a great time with the photographers!  All photos for this race were free - which was amazing!  Here are a few that the Race photographers captured of us!

We had a lot of fun!  
Here we are crossing the finish line!
Wahoo... the Medals and accomplishment!

After the race we picked up some of the free food being offered... lots of bananas, cinnamon rolls, oranges... and more.   We had some fun while we waited for my kids to arrive to run the Kid's Mile fun run... my husband was bringing them down from where we live... the kid's race didn't begin until 12pm.  They had a blast running it and got some pretty sweet bling for thier accomplishments!
 Carrie's boys and my 3 ready to run!

Racing with the Biggest Loser Race Series was great fun!  Love to do it again!  Very well organized and well supported all along the route!   My friend Carrie finished her FIRST Half that day!  So proud of her!  

 Very inspiring to see so many attempting races for the first time and challenging themselves!    I recommend this Race series to anyone looking to sign up in other cities!  Have fun and do it!

I also got to meet Jennifer Rumple who was on Season 12 of the Biggest Loser.  She was giving high fives at the finish for awhile.  So nice and really interested in meeting inspiring folks!
I realized I am really white and she has the most striking blue eyes!  Time for tanning!

I should add that this was my 5th Half since last January!  Pretty good for never running in a race before September of 2012!  On to Number 6!

If you haven't been a runner (or walker) all of your life... but came to it later... what inspired you to jump in?

When you got your last PR at a race what do you attribute it to?  

Coming soon... 
My 7 year old Daughter is going to guest post a recap on the Biggest Loser Kid Race!    Stay Tuned...!!!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Biggest Loser Seattle Half Marathon - Part 1

Last Saturday I headed down to Seattle with my friend Carrie to pick up our bibs at the Biggest Loser Race Series Expo being held in the Wallingford neighborhood of North Seattle.  The Expo was being held at the local Boys and Girls Club.  Years ago I lived in this neighborhood so I was a bit curious when I read that the Expo was being held in that area.  This is a very urban and trendy area, with little parking except for street neighborhood parking and I couldn't imagine any venue being big enough to handle such an event.  We had reservations to stay in Seattle that night to so the next morning would be smooth and easy.

The EXPO was open from 12pm to 5pm and we arrived about 1:30pm.  It was busy... took us a bit of time to find parking in the surrounding neighborhoods.

 We walked a short block and got right into the Expo.  As I guessed the building was just a small community Boys and Girls Club... small lobby, a few side reception rooms and a small gym.  We were greeted in the lobby area and directed to "sign the waivers"  and then told to make our way into the next room for bibs and drawstring backpacks.  The lines were only about 4 or 5 deep so it took no time at all for us to get our bibs and also pick up our stuff for our children who were all registered for the Kid's Mile Fun Run that would be taking place at 12pm the next day.

My friend Carrie gets credit for this photo... Nice orange shirts.

When we made it into the gym to pick up the shirts and I was expecting more... there were about 5 or 6 booths of sponsors pedaling their wares, a small stage for a speaker, and the T shirt pick up area where they also had some Biggest Loser specific merchandise for sale.  That was it... I guess because this was the Biggest Loser I expected bigger and more... a bit of a disappointment.  There were speakers scheduled throughout the afternoon - First time running advice and a few past contestants.  While we were there - Jesse - from Season 11 of the Biggest Loser was on the stage.  He talked about his experience getting on the show and how Hollywood can make the experience look a bit different then the experience actually is.  

Off to the side of the stage they had a Meet and Greet area set up and folks were meeting with Jennifer Rumple who was from Season 12.  

The line was long to meet her so we didn't wait... this paid off the next day because I got to hug her at the end of the Half and got a photo with her too!

To tell you the truth we didn't really stay long to listen... There wasn't much to offer at the Expo so we left after picking up our shirts and checking out the merchandise they had for sale.  I will include some photos below of what we saw.

At the Merchandise area they had 2 large bins of overflow shirts from other Biggest Loser races... I have to say that EVERY single color of the shirts in those bins were better then the shirt offered at the Seattle race.  My sister, who teaches middle school, assures me that NEON is in right now.  Okay... but caution cone orange?  Seriously?  I hate the shirt... but probably will wear it for training runs from time to time... at least I will be seen.  No question about that!   All in all I think the EXPO was a "Meh"... I guess with the Biggest Loser name I expected something bigger.  In the end we got our bibs and shirts without much hassle so that is a good thing.  Stay tuned for the events of the next day!

Part 2 - Coming soon... The Biggest Loser Half Marathon - SEATTLE!

What is the coolest thing you have ever experienced at a Race EXPO?

Do you have a Race shirt that you don't like?  Bad color?  

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Half Marathon Number FIVE!!!

Yup... this weekend... Sunday the 13th to be exact I will be participating in my 5th Half Marathon since January of 2013!  I think I picked a good one... the Biggest Loser Half in Seattle.   

It looks like a TON of fun and that is no pun intended!  I am a big fan of the TV series so this was a no brainer for me to sign up for! 

I am so excited to have my younger sister Heather run with me this time! 

 This is a picture of us in October 2012 at my first 10K.

We have no goals for time but to finish strong together.  We haven't trained together at all (because we don't live near each other) and she is not a user of my run/walk/run Galloway method but she is game to take it on and stay with me!  I got her a matching Sparkle Athletic skirt so we could #teamsparkle up the course together.  She has never worn the sparkle before so we will see how she does.  I chose the gun metal skirt and she had the nerve to call it a "disco ball" skirt on the phone the other night.  First of all... don't look a gift horse in the mouth and I just told her it will be so fun to hear all of the compliments we will get!  AND we will... Can't wait for that!

 This is a picture of me last Spring wearing the Gun Metal Sparkle Athletic skirt at the Tulip Run up in Skagit County!  Looking awesome!

My friend Carrie is training for the runDisney Tinkerbell Half Marathon is headed down with me on Saturday to check out the EXPO and we have reservations to stay closer to the action in a hotel that night so we can maximize our time in the morning and get to Gas Works Park where the races are starting in morning.  This will be Carrie's trial run for Tink as she has never run/walked this distance before!  The Biggest Loser race seemed like a great choice to try it out though... they have ample time for the course to remain open and welcome folks that are completely walking the entire route too so she should be just fine!

The weather looks to be promising and perfect although I am a little afraid to actually write it here... the forecast says upper 50s with a 10% chance of any precipitation!  Perfect!

Check back for a recap next week!  I will be the proud owner of one of these babies!

Do you have a favorite medal you have earned at a race?  

What milestones have you reached in your fitness goals?  I love to hear inspiring stories!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

4th Half Marathon... done!


The Bellingham Bay Half Marathon!  I was already nervous about my 4th Half Marathon... you can read all about how nervous HERE.   As the week wore on I added another worry... the weather.  The forecast was for rain.  Now... I live in Washington State so rain in the forecast is not that unusual in September but this forecast was for LOTS of rain... and wind too.  The worst of it to hit mid day on Sunday... great.  

I drove up to Bellingham (about a 45 minute drive north from where I live) on Saturday to pick up my bib and check out the mini expo.  The weather was terrible driving up... pelting rain and cold.  

The mini expo for the Races was being held in a nicer hotel in Bellingham.  The pick up went really smoothly and was quite quick!  There were pick ups for people doing the Full Marathon, the Half (that was me), and the 5K.  Signs were clearly showing us where to go.  It wasn't too crowded and there was a good mix of vendors.  We didn't take a long time lingering (I had 2 of my kids with me) but I did stop to purchase a new pair of shoes.  I have needed to replace my running shoes for a few weeks now and luckily there was one of the local running stores at the Expo that had a ton of marked down shoes!  Yeah!  I was able to purchase an identical pair of my current shoes at a $40 savings!  Yeah!

Okay... back to the race...

The drive back home was an adventure!  The rain had really started to come down and I was really glad to pull into the drive way with my kids.  I went to bed that night after laying out a ton of race clothes... layering and staying dry were my goals for the next day.  The Half Marathon was not set to begin until 9:30am... a very late start for me.  The Full and the 5K were beginning at 7:30am... I am sure because of course overlap they were planning the Half and Full to be finishing together.

As I drove north the weather seemed to be calm... still raining lightly but not a ton of wind.  As I pulled into Bellingham and found some free downtown parking about a block from the start the weather seemed to be improving (a little).  I made my way over to the staging area.   There was a lot of cover  and lots of runners were seeking shelter there as we all waited for the start time.

Finally the time to start was near and about 2,100 runners/walkers that were doing the Half Marathon made their way to the starting line.  No corrals or pace signs that I saw... it was really just a "line up where you want to" start.   Because of the weather I did not carry a camera while I ran... sorry no "during the race" photos.  The course began in the heart of downtown and headed north of town... laced through many beautiful neighborhoods and was fairly flat.  There were a few slight up hill grades but nothing terrible.  Eventually we were heading a little south again and at about mile 7 or 8 I glimpsed a little of the waterfront.  I had just run a 15 K Race a few weeks prior that took place all on the waterfront here so this was familiar territory.   The weather had held and really hadn't more than drizzled at this point... I did notice some wind but I was wearing 3 layers and was actually thankful for the wind because it cooled me off.

As we ran along the waterfront I was a little sad the weather wasn't better... it really is a beautiful view on a nice day.  Oh well.  The course was headed west now and back into the downtown area... then... what is that... oh it is the finish line but don't get too excited we took a sharp right hand turn and had about 3 1/2 miles to go.  It was fun to see some of the "faster folks" finishing for the moment I ran by going the other way but a little bummed I still had over a 5K left.  I felt great though and on I went.  We were on the trail now headed south along the waterfront headed towards Boulevard Park.  We ran along the boardwalk and then a sharp left up the ramp and headed north now to the finish...  only less than 2 miles to go.  

I snagged this picture off of google... from a previous year... 
Now for the hills... there were two serious hills climbing back into downtown... no negative splits for me... I walked a bunch more than I thought I would at this point but oh well.  My goal was a good strong finish... no point in killing myself.  I ended up with almost the exact finish time (a 30 second difference) I had back in July at the See Jane Run Half in Seattle.  I was glad and happy that the weather had held and I finished!  Yeah!  Half Marathon #4!  At the finish there was a ton of things to do... there was a band playing in a big grandstand and they had several food venues open as well as a beer garden.  I only snapped a picture of the grandstand...

Photo courtesy of the Bellingham Herald.
All in all a great race and I was so glad the weather held... later in the day the rain came but I was already home, showered, and cozy in my house!Here are some photos taken at the finish as well as the my shirt and the race bling! 

Great friends that I "ran" into at the race... Craig and Ann Timmer!

Have you ever experienced terrible weather during a race?    

What were your best strategies to get through it?  Layering?  Repeat positive mantras to yourself?  Stop for cupcakes?

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