Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Half #13... a PR... and a deep breath...

Hello... it is me again... another race is in the books!

This past weekend (October 26th) I participated in the Snohomish River Run Half Marathon in Snohomish, Washington.  It was my 3rd Half in 6 weeks time.  I kind of did that by accident.  I wasn't really trying to set any records or stack up bragging rights or anything.  Just happened really ...and I am proud to say that I DID IT!  I got to help out at the Packet Pick Up for this race and if it works out I would LOVE to do this again!  Got to meet some fun people and it was fun to be "on the other side of the table".

Prepping the night before
This race also had a 10K offered and there were a lot of folks participating.  I looked up the results online and if you add all of the participants together there was close to 1000 people across the fields.  This was the 3rd annual happening of this race but the first time I have done it.

We (my friend Carrie and I) arrived at Snohomish High School for parking about an hour before the race was set to begin.  This Half would be my 13th and Carrie's 4th.  It had taken us about 45 minutes to drive south to the area.  It was still a bit dark out and a little chilly.  The weather wasn't that promising and rain was threatening on the trip down as well as we gathered our things to make our way to the start.  The Half was set to begin at 8:00am with the 10K set to start at 8:15am.  We walked the few blocks to the start area and went straight to the potty stop and bag check.  The lines were short and only took a few moments to drop my bag at the check.

The race was providing pacers (folks that carry a tall stick with a time on top if people are going for a certain time goal) to 2 hours 10 minutes... a little fast for me (choke choke).  I was a little disappointed they didn't have pacers for a little bit slower times as I really wanted to try this "fast and flat course" to reach a personal best of my own.  I have yet to break 2 hours and 30 minutes for a Half and I really wanted to try today.  I guess I would do the best I could on my own.

Carrie and I lined up in the middle of the pack and waited for the "GO" signal.  Soon... we were off - I bid Carrie a goodbye and said "have a good race" and we set out at our own respective paces.  I am not super familiar with the Snohomish area so I will just leave out a detailed description of the course.  Instead I will just post a link to the course map... HERE.  I will say that the course was very flat and basically an out and back.  I had done this course basically backwards at the Snohomish Women's Run Half last May.  So I knew some of what to expect.  Doing an out and back is not my favorite type of course but this direction seemed for some reason more tolerable than in May.  It could have been that the weather was super warm in May and took me a bit off guard. 

Carrie and I snapped a quick selfie at the start!
All in all I enjoyed this race and the weather held for the most part.  I felt a few drops of rain the last 5K or so of the race but that was it.  The wind was another story.  On the way back (on the out and back) there was a pretty good head wind.  I wonder if that had not been how my time would have resulted.  Hmmm... always questions.  Once I finished it didn't take long for me to chill a bit.  I was so thankful I packed an extra coat in my bag and I wrapped the silver blanket around my legs.  The wind was a little bit of killer as I waited for Carrie to finish.

The great news is I did get my Personal Record for a Half Marathon!  I didn't get the time I hoped for (under 2:30) BUT I did shave 3 1/2 minutes off my best time!  I finished with 2 hours, 33 minutes, and 41 seconds!  That might not sound like much but it is a BIG deal to me!

After the finish!

I spent some time waiting for my friend Carrie to finish... and as I waited the weather deteriorated.  By the time Carrie finished the rain was coming... so we hurried to the warmth of the car.  It felt so good to crank that heater and be done!

This race was a lot of fun.  I am totally up for doing it again next year!   For now... I don't have any more races on the calendar for the rest of this calendar year.  I think I will probably be on the look out for some shorter distance races before December 31st.  I have 2 more Half Marathons (The Rain Run and Tinkerbell Half Marathon) already booked for 2015... with more to come. (Actually at Disneyland in May of 2015... I will be doing the 5K, the 10K and the Half Marathon on 3 consecutive days... if you go you might as well RUN ALL THE RACES!)

Do like out and back races?  What is your favorite type of course?  Trail... pavement... hilly?

How close have you scheduled races before?  Back to back days? 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Biggest Loser Half Marathon - Everett, Washington

Well... on October 12th I participated in the Biggest Loser Half Marathon just south of my home in Everett, Washington.  I did this race in 2013 too but it began in Seattle... I asked around at the race and found out that some of the reasons they moved it north to Everett this year was... 1. construction at Gas Works Parks in Seattle, 2. complaints from neighborhoods of noise in Seattle... hmm - whatever the reason (s) I liked that it was closer for me.  The route... I would put it in the category of "hilly"... I have been known to pick races because of the "flatness" - I do not have any love for the hills.  That aside... I did okay. 

The other thing I should mention is that way back in the summer I signed up for this one... I realized that I had signed up for 3 Half Marathons in 6 weeks.  Yep... that is run one... skip a weekend... run another one... skip a weekend... then run the last one.  What am I ... nuts?  Yep - pretty much.  This race was #2 of that threesome and #12 in my total Half Marathons to date.   The first installment was the Bellingham Bay Half that was on September 28th.  The one coming up is the Snohomish River Run on October 26th.   I have never run the Snohomish Race before - but did do the sister race the Snohomish Women's Run (Half Marathon) last May - that was a good race - nice and flat.  Check back to see how I do...

The Biggest Loser Race Series is a really fun race.  Very well partnered with the TV reality show and a very inspiring atmosphere.  The Half Marathon course began at the Everett waterfront at the The Port of Everett.  Another Half I have done begins at the same spot... Heroes Half that I have done twice and wrote about here and here.  The routes were almost completely different though.

 My friends Carrie and Lynn at the start!

We showed up about 40 minutes prior to race time - used the restrooms and made our way to the very loud start area.  The race series also included a 5K which was set to begin 30 minutes after the Half Marathon.  So... the start area was quite congested prior to the race.  I wish there had been a better way to line up nearer to the desired pacers... if you didn't get there early you just had to line up behind the people that got there right before you did.  It all worked out though and once the race began everyone spread out.

Like I said before the course was in my opinion "hilly".  Despite that... I ended up with exactly the time I had in 2013 when I ran this race in Seattle... on a different course.  How did I do that AGAIN?!  On a different course too!  Crazy!  I was SOOO hoping to break 2 Hours and 30 minutes... but I will have to be happy with my 2 hours and 36 minutes. 

This was Half #12 for me... I can't believe it!  How did I get here... the girl who HATED running!  I really point to one thing that makes this whole idea even doable for me!  Jeff Galloway!  His run/walk/run method is the way this whole crazy thing sounded doable to me... I have stuck to it and it works!  Staying injury free and enjoying the journey.   Is it easy??? ... NO WAY!  There is LOTS of effort involved... lots of "do the training even when you don't feel like it" moments... But oh so worth it! 
Coming in to the FINISH!  Always the most awesome moment!

My younger 2 kids (Makenna and Luke) after they finished the kid's race!

The Half Marathon Medal!

I love this race series... next to Disney it is hands down my favorite local race atmosphere for the start and finish as well as so encouraging on the course.  I highly recommend this series to anyone who might be interested.  You won't be disappointed!  So much fun!

Race Recap... Half Number 11

Wow - Half Marathon #11 is done. 

On Sunday (September 28) I participated in the Bellingham Bay Half Marathon in Bellingham, Washington for the 2nd year in a row. 

Bellingham is a beautiful city located about 50 miles to the north of where I live.  Bellingham is about 90 miles north of Seattle.    This was the 2nd time I have done the Bellingham Bay Half.  The weather was perfect... overcast a bit and in the upper 50s at race time.  The Half began at 9:30am which is a bit late for a Half Marathon to begin.  The reason for this is the Race includes a Full Marathon and a 5K... both of which began at 7:30am.  I think the reason they start the Half later in the morning is to ensure that they are maximizing volunteers.  Also making sure that finishers of the Half and Full are finishing within similar times.

The Half route was almost exactly the same to what I remember doing last year... this time though the weather was perfect and I had some beautiful views as I made my way.  Of course I neglected to take any photos of the course... dah.  

Photo Credit - Bellingham Bay Marathon official page
Photo Credit - Bellingham Bay Marathon official page
I remember at one point coming around the corner off of the short trail portion and almost stopping because the view was so beautiful... the water... the boats... the weather was perfect! 
The unsung secret of this beautiful course is the cursed hills at the end... the last couple of miles (except the stretch to the finish) is all hill... Yuck... not my favorite!  I pretty much walked a bunch of that... no shame in walking except when you get passed by folks completing the FULL marathon and they are running... up the hill.  Yep... that was me shouting encouragement to them... "You go Blue Bibber!" (the full marathon participants were wearing blue race bibs)
Getting to the finish was a great feeling and believe it or not I got the EXACT same time to the minute that I did at this race last year.  How does that happen?  One of my strengths must be CONSISTENT!  Yep... that is me!

At the FINISH!  My friends... Craig and Ann Timmer - they are faster than me... They are Lightening fast compared top me!  Good job guys!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

On deck... 11th Half Marathon this Sunday...

I have another Half Marathon coming up this Sunday... my 11th since January of 2013.  I haven't run a Half since June... that is over 3 months ago.   I have done a few shorter distance races this summer but nothing close to a half. 

I am excited, nervous, have a bit of a sense of dread... but I have learned by doing a few of these that envisioning the finish is very helpful to me.  I have done the training and I know I can finish.  Picturing the medal and how I will feel when I finish.  That helps me with "pre race jitters". 

The medal for this Sunday's race is an interesting design... I have to say I was a little disappointed when I saw the preview of it on Facebook.  I ran this race last year and the medal was really cool... and a fancy ribbon to boot.  The medals are important to me... I kind of loved the sticker charts in Kindergarten so this is probably why I love the medals.  Bling motivated...

Last years (2013) shirt and medal (the orange ribbon is the Half)
 2014 Medals and shirts
The Half version of the medal is probably smaller...
I am looking forward to this Sunday... running in Bellingham, Washington is beautiful and the course will be fun.  I have some friends who will be participating so seeing them will be fun too.  I am not looking forward to some of the hills on this course (I HATE hills) and do not expect to break any of my time records for this distance.  I want to finish and to be still smiling at the end!  Like last year!

2013 Bellingham Bay Half Finish
Also in the back of my mind is my schedule for races coming up...  I have another Half in 2 weeks and then ANOTHER Half 2 weeks after that!  The Biggest Loser Half and the Snohomish River Run Half (a new race to me) Those both promise "flat and fast" courses.  So maybe I can break my time barrier?  Maybe? 
I have once again registered for the Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend at Disneyland for 2015. 
January 2014 - Disneyland
The Tinker Bell Half Marathon weekend will take place in May of 2015.  I would LOVE to be able to turn in a little faster time for corral placement for that weekend.  We shall see!   I am registered for the 5K, the 10K and the Half for that weekend!  I figure if you are going to be at Disneyland... run ALL the races! 
Well... that updates my racing for now... I will check back and turn in a race report from this Sunday's Half.  Make sure I am still alive and finished!
How close do you schedule your races together?
If you could (or have) run at Disney (Land or World)... what is your favorite race to date?

Friday, July 25, 2014

Run through SAFECO Field! Yes Please!

We had so much fun the other evening running a fun 5K through SAFECO Field in Seattle benefiting Mariner's Care and their Refuse to Abuse charity!  I participated in this fun event last year but my daughter wasn't able to run last year because of age restrictions.  This year they changed the policy on age of children and made it possible for any children to run as long as they could finish "under their own power".  Makenna and I headed down for this fun evening race in our matching Sparkle Athletic skirts!

We arrived and took advantage of the FREE parking for running participants in the Mariner's official parking garage.  Made our way to the Bib pick up, got our bibs and bags quickly and then headed back to the van to dump our loot.  We quickly attached our race bibs... got our stuff together and made our way back to the start line to find some friends who were also there to participate.

Makenna got #888 - She said it was because she is 8 years old! 
I call that LUCKY!  What a fun number! (and she is adorable!)
 We waited for a bit at the start line and soon it was time for the race to begin.  There were slightly over 1000 participants.  The race organizers did not have corral assignments but just asked that folks line up with faster runners to the front.  Then they let the runners go in groups of about 75 or so at a time having a minute or so between groups.  We were in the 4th or so group and off we went.  Makenna did such a great job staying with me this time and taking the walk breaks when my interval timer would sound.  At about miile 2 or so she was tiring a little and asked to walk more then the timer was calling for but it was no big deal... we were there to have fun!  And we did!

The Medals were so much fun... little baseballs!

There are not a lot of races that can measure up to the "fun setting" (except for runDisney but that is another story)!  This race took us through the entire park and even across the bridges onto the top two levels of the parking garage.  So much fun to run through the Suite hallways and then down to access tunnels that the players use!  Then the finish took us out onto the actual field and the final steps are from Home plate to about 3rd base!  Access to the Medals and the after race treats was up through the Pitching area. 

So much fun!  I loved doing this race again and doubly loved it because my daughter could do it with me!  Loved it!

Have you ever run through a Major League Stadium?

Where would be your "dream spot" for a fun run? 

Who is your favorite person to get out and run with?  Or do you like to run with anyone at all?

Thursday, June 26, 2014

My 10th Half and other things...

This might be a race review and some reflection...

This past weekend I finished my 10th Half Marathon... that is super crazy considering I had never even finished any sort of race before the Fall of 2012.  But... I did do that... finished 10. 

This race took place down in Carnation, WA... slightly over a hour drive from where I live.  I didn't know anyone else participating so I made the drive alone.  The Half was set to begin at 9am (with a 10K starting at 9:30) and this was the Inaugural year for this race so I had no idea what to expect.  I knew that this race wasn't set to be huge... the Seattle Rock and Roll Race series was happening the same morning.  I picked this one because it seemed to be much more up my alley.  Smaller... more of a country setting... and lets face it the medal was just much better then the Rock and Roll one (in my opinion).  Lets compare...
First ... here is the Rock and Roll medal

Then this is the Snoqualmie Valley Half medal I earned...

All a matter of opinion but I like the one I got better.  I feel a bit sorry for the folks earning this years medal at the Rock and Roll.  Other years the medal has been much more attractive.  I will give it clever but not super cool.

Back to the race.  I wasn't sure what to expect on arrival so I gave myself lots of extra time.  I actually arrived at the parking area over a hour before race time.   The hike to the staging area was significant but doable.   Most of this course took place on the Snoqualmie Valley Trail beginning at King County's Tolt MacDonald Park.  I believe the cap for the Half was 300... and the race was full.  No folks were allowed day of Race registration.    There weren't any corrals or anything fancy... no pacers... they just announced the line up about 10 minutes prior and then had a countdown.  We were off. 

The course was advertised as Flat and Fast.  Yeah... right.  It seemed like it should be but as my friend with a Garmin noted afterwards the first 7 miles had a significant uphill grade.  I was sure feeling that by mile 12.  I enjoyed this course though having it not be on any kind of open roads and mostly neatly tucked away on a Park Trail.  The course was wide and open... mostly covered by trees.  I missed a PR by a few minutes... and I am blaming that on the "gradual incline of the first 7 miles".  It was fun though and definitely a course I would consider again!

My friend Penny and I at the finish.  I have been doing this running thing for a little while now and even though I went down alone... I always seem to run into someone I know now.

I wore my Pro Compression socks for this race... during the race.  I think I did notice a difference in how my legs felt.  Especially the 2nd half of the race.  I think I my have to add to my collection of these.  I had previously only used them for post race recovery.  I like how they made me feel less fatigued.   

Do you go to races alone?  Or prefer to make it a fun outing with friends?

Compression Socks during a race?  Yes or no?

Friday, June 6, 2014

It is official! I am crazy... I signed up for my 10th Half Marathon!

So... I have been going back and forth over signing up for this next race... for a while now... there were lots of reasons not to sign up... 

- too far of a drive on race morning
- company in town for week prior (although they leave the day before)
- waited too long to register and now I have to pay the big bucks
- the half doesn't start until 9am and that is late in the morning for me... gonna be warm by the time I finish #iamslow
- no one I know is registered and going
- maybe I will die... ha ha
- blah blah blah

I finally just didn't let myself think about it... made sure it was okay with the husband (he has to be home with the kids) and pulled the trigger.

This is what finally sucked me in... 

Yep... I am a bling whore... (For those of you non running friends that just gasped at that title... it just means someone who is highly motivated by the medals... that is all.  I am not turning tricks at races.)

I actually had already signed up for my 10th Half Marathon... that race is in late September... now... that will be my 11th... I am officially crazy.  I am also now part of the Half Fanatics... I qualified for that crazy group last Fall when I did 2 half Marathons within 2 weeks of each other...  I haven't quite figured out all of the benefits of belonging to this group yet except for the shout outs you get from other fanatics when you wear their gear... Here I am (with my friend Melissa) at the last Half I did wearing the gear...I got a lot of high fives and shout outs!  Fun!

What a journey this has been so far... I have gone farther, run faster, (sometimes slower but who cares), accomplished distances I never thought I could, spent lots of hours on the treadmill, said no to lots of outings, lost a few pounds, and added a medal rack to my bedroom decor, inspired my children, impressed my husband, and yes... surprised myself!  There are lots more things I could say about where this running/walking journey is taking me.  It has opened up friendships with new people... but caused some old friendships to wither.  I am okay with that.  As we morph and change... life changes.  I like who I am becoming...  I don't want that to sound sad or mean or insensitive to my friends... I love them.  I just feel more like me when I spend the time running/walking and going to races... not to mention I am in way better physical shape.

I would be completely lost if it weren't for Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram... all of the "friends" I have there that do share this crazy illness.  Thank you for encouraging me and inspiring me to push on!

This is me at the finish of my 1st Half Marathon - back in January 2013... (no big shock it is at Disneyland... right?!)

I have since gone on to finish 8 more Half Marathons and a ton of other shorter distance races.  You can look at my list I keep on my other page by clicking HERE.

Here are a few more of my Half Photos...

 Heroes Half - # 2

 See Jane Run Half - # 3

 Bellingham Bay Half - # 4

Biggest Loser Half - # 5

Tinker Bell Half 2014 - # 6

Lake Sammamish Half - # 8

So off I go in a few weekends to collect that cool medal and have some fun... at my 10th Half Marathon!  

What inspires you to keep at something... even when it is challenging?

Tell me about your accomplishments and what makes you proud of yourself!

Monday, May 12, 2014

More races... Spring is finally here!

 Heroes Half Marathon  - April 27, 2014
My friend Merritt and I!  This was Half #8 for me!
 Hot Chocolate 15K in Seattle - March 2, 2014

 Hot Chocolate 15K in Seattle - March 2, 2014
My friend from high school - Lonni

 Inspiring Hope 10K / 5K - May 10, 2014

 Lake Sammamish Half Marathon - March 8, 2014
This was Half #7 for me!

 Super Hero 5K - Bellingham, WA - April 12, 2014

I have been so busy and have a broken computer at the moment... sad excuses for not posting but oh well... I inserted a bunch of pictures from recent races... busy busy busy!  More to come!

What races have been your favorites this Spring?

Do you have a running buddy?  Someone who just does races with you?

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