Category Archives: recap

Ragnar FL Keys Recap: NUUNaritaville

I can’t believe my Ragnar FL Keys experience is already over. I felt like I had been working on planning it and looking forward to it for so long!

We arrived late Wednesday night so we could have time to decorate the vans and buy van snacks on Thursday — two key components to a good relay. Not everyone had arrived yet, but we weren’t going to have time the next day to get those things done. I think we did a pretty good job! Lots of Jimmy Buffet quotes to go with our theme: NUUNaritaville.

vans

Friday morning, our start time was 11:30am. As van 1, we got to the start area early to go through the safety checks, put on our temporary tattoos, and get excited!

start

I spent most of my time in the van as the navigator — luckily I only got us lost once, and we ended up just BARELY making it to the exchange before Jack finished his leg…phew! I wanted to make sure everyone else was having a good time, and didn’t have to worry about where were going.

As Leslie mentioned in her recap, we had team members from all over the country, and many people didn’t know each other. Sometimes that can be a little nerve wracking because you don’t know how everyone will get along, but  it didn’t seem like we had any isssues. In van 1 we definitely had a great time, and I’m sure van 2 did as well!

Onto the running… I was runner #2, which was scheduled for 18 miles. However, two of my legs ended up being longer than scheduled, so I actually ran 19.

My first leg started around 12:30pm on Friday — in the heat of the day. Luckily I only had a 4.5 miler on tap. I was so excited to be running and felt really good even though it was hot! This run was through Miami with quite a few traffic lights to deal with. At one point I had to go up on a walkway over the road. I was glad the signs were accurate, because there seemed to be way more turns than I remembered from the maps! I was able to keep my pace up, and even with all the traffic light stops, I averaged 8:44/mi. I was SO thankful when my teammates stopped to give me some water and a power arch boost about 3 miles in.

leg1

My second leg was at 10:15pm in the dark along a canal path. At the safety meeting, we were told to be careful not to go off the road in this area because of the alligators! Yikes! Nervous in the night!! The road here was dirt and rocks, and made for very difficult running — near the end of the run when my legs were tired, I almost rolled my ankles several times. The good news was this leg was shorter than most of my van mates in the overnight hours, with my mileage being 5.25 miles — average pace of 8:55/mi. It was also cooler overnight so that was a bonus too. Another fun thing about the overnight leg was that it really seemed like we were catching up to the other teams more. With an 11:30am start time we got a later in the day start than many other teams!

night

My last leg was by far the most beautiful, but also the hottest. I started running around 10:30am. My last leg was the longest, scheduled for 9 miles, with most being along the 7 mile bridge. There was no van support allowed on this run, and the only Ragnar water station was at 2 miles due to traffic on the bridge. I was really nervous about this run because I wasn’t sure how my legs were going to be feeling. Plus, the heat was definitely an issue. When Leslie handed off the slap bracelet to me, she said “take it easy, that heat is no joke!” — and she only ran 2.4 miles!!

I actually ended up feeling pretty good through mile 6. After that though, I was really feeling the heat and getting tired. With ZERO shade out on the bridge, it was pretty intense. This run also ended up being long, and by the last 0.5 miles, I could not wait to be finished. My vanmates took good care of me after this leg, and let me wait in the shade (of the portopotties, HA!) while they got the van. It definitely took me a while to cool down after that one. I ended up averaging 10:11/mi for the 9.5 miles, which I was very happy with given the heat. I passed a lot of people on this leg because so many others were feeling the heat.

leg3

After van 1 finished our running, we headed to the finish line after a tasty lunch stop. Van 2 rocked their final legs and Matt brought team Nuunaritaville into the finish line just before sunset on Saturday. We were all so proud of our finish — our final time was 30 hours 43 minutes. Good enough for 89th place out of 478 teams!!

finish

I wish we had planned for an extra day in the Keys following the relay. Next time we do one we will be sure to leave some time for fun afterward. At least we made a quick stop at the beach on our way out of town.

12441721014_696f581c22_c

We had many newbie relayers, and I think everyone on our team had a great time! For more fun recaps on our excitement in the Keys, check out Leslie, Heather, and Raechel‘s blogs! Thanks to Nuun Hydration for keeping us hydrated in the intense FL heat, and to Naawk for preventing our sunburns. Thanks also to Beko for so many fantastic photos of our van & the team! I had so much fun making many new friends hang spending time with old friends on this trip. I can’t wait until the next adventure. 🙂

2013 Wrap-Up

For me, 2013 was truly one to remember. I love photographs, so to wrap up 2013, I wanted to share some of my favorite images of the year. Enjoy!

It brought me to the finish line of so many races…

 

 

..and also other fun adventures like vacations…

…exploring California…

…and finally finishing my graduate degree.

There were many miles in the pool,

on the bike,

and on foot.

And most importantly, I spent a lot of time friends both old and new.

   

Hope you had a great year too! I’m looking forward to more exciting times 2014! Thanks for reading along and sharing in my adventures.

What was one of your favorite adventures from 2013?

My Year of Running (and Triathlon)

Miss Zippy has a linkup going on right now asking, “How was your year of running?” I have seen a few responses from other bloggers, and I kind of love this idea, so I decided to join in.

Best race experience?
Hands down, for me this year it was running Hood to Coast. Running my first relay and making new friends from all across the country was an incredible experience. Nuun Hydration really brought together some amazing individuals, and I couldn’t be more thankful.

Best run?
I truely had an amazing year with big PRs at every race distance — taking 8 minutes off my half marathon PR, and 17 off my full marathon PR. I also took 8 minutes off my sprint triathlon time and raced my first olympic distance triathlon, so it makes this very hard to choose. However, I think my best run this year is tied between the Oakland half marathon and my august sprint distance triathlon. The Oakland half was just a great race environment with a huge amount of crowd support, and fun at the finish with friends. The sprint triathlon was great because I think I worked hard to push myself. I didn’t slow down and felt fierce! (Which I think is always great on a race day.)

Best new piece of gear?
So, my husband actually purchased this for himself, but I may be “borrowing” it for him often — best piece of gear this year would have to go to the SPIbelt. I feel behind the times on this purchase. I don’t usually run with a water bottle or other belt because I always thought I would hate the bouncing of it. But seriously, the SPIbelt holds my phone and whatever else I may need and I totally forget it’s even there! I’d highly recommend it.

Best piece of running advice you received?
I feel like I have had a lot of advice around believing in myself, and confidence this year. I am working on the mental aspects of training and seeing the fun in it. Sometimes this is an area that is easy to forget about, but it is incredibly important!

Most inspirational runner/triathlete?
So many fellow bloggers have been inspirational to me this year that this is hard to choose. This year I have been much more immersed into the blogging world and have “met” many amazing people! I hope 2014 will continue to connect me with more wonderful people. You can check out some of a list of blogs I follow here, to find some of these inspirational runners and triathletes.

If you could sum up your year in a couple words, what would they be?
Strong. Confident. Happy.

How was your year? What was your best run or race of 2013?

Outer Banks Marathon: Race Recap

On Sunday, I officially finished my second marathon at the Outer Banks Marathon in North Carolina!

Race morning was great. We got dropped off at the start about 50 minutes early. With less than 1200 marathon finishers, the start area was small, and easy. We got in the bathroom line right away, and only waited a few minutes afterward before getting into the corrals. It just seemed like a nice hometown race.

I was nervous I was going to be cold for the first few miles, but I actually warmed up pretty quickly. The first few miles of the race were on a heavily tree lined street. Many of the local families were out cheering us on. I loved it. You know how sometimes people talk about getting emotional at the end of the race? Yeah — I got emotional at mile 3 when there was perfect temperatures, sun streaming through the trees, and a guy had some great music playing on the side of the road. It was amazing.

I felt awesome for the first 9 miles. Running felt easy. I was flying. I decided not stress about looking at my watch, and just go by feel. I made a quick pit stop around mile 6. We went through a split timer at the 10k mark. Based on my watch, my pace for the first 10k was about an 8:50/mi average. Looking back, this is a little faster than I probably should have started….but like I said, I was feeling so good! I loved this first part of the race. there were so many people out cheering…especially around the Wright Brothers Memorial.

{running around the memorial}

Around mile 10, we headed onto the trails (like I mentioned in my pre-race post). The first 2 miles of this were on hard packed dirt with rocks. I was nervous about rolling my ankle. The terrain was also rolling hills. My pace slowed, but I kind of expected that to happen during this portion. I tried to keep up my pace as much as possible though.

At about mile 12, we transitioned to single track trail. The ground was softer in this area, with some of it being a bit sandy. I had never really run much trail before. I loved how quiet it made everyone’s footsteps. Even though it was difficult, I still kind of loved it. I think I might have to try doing more trail running! (Side note, I read a few recaps before the race that said there was a non-official aid station here that handed out amazing banana bread. I had to get some. It was true. So delicious!)

Finally, right at the half way mark, we were out of the trail. As soon as I was back on the road, I realized how much trying to keep up my pace in the woods had tired me out. I crossed the half way point at 1:58. I was able to pick my pace back up to right around a 9 min/mile for a few more miles, but then things started to break down.

Around mile 16, my stomach was starting to feel off. I was feeling hungry, but the bloks I was eating were not sitting well, making me feel nauseated. At mile 18, I felt a little dizzy, and knew I needed some more calories. I forced myself to eat some more, and that helped. I think the other thing that started to affect me during this time was the heat. The day was actually a great temperature, but the second half the course provided no shade at all. On a day with full sun and 18 miles into the race, I was getting pretty hot!

I started taking some walk breaks at mile 18, but I was able to keep my pace up to 10 min/mile for a couple miles. I tried to keep the walking to a minimum. I started taking extra water at the aid stations to dump over my head.

At mile 21, the course turned into a 20 mph headwind. At this point most of my remaining energy really started to get sapped. I again stopped looking at my watch, knowing my initial goals were out of reach. My new goals were 1) enjoy the rest of the race as much as I could, and 2) to finish ahead of my time from my previous marathon. There was a bridge to go up for about half a mile from 22.5-23. I just kept plugging along with a mostly run, some walk ratio. I honestly don’t remember too much about this part of the race…I just tried to keep putting up as much effort as I could and keep my heart in it.

{love the run…even when its difficult. Great idea, Coeur!}

Just before mile 25 I took my last walk break. When I started walking, another runner came up behind me and convinced me to start running with her. We only chatted for a few minutes before she needed to take another break, but she helped get me motivated to keep going to the finish line. I was able to keep running until finally crossing the line with an official time of 4:14:46.

As you can see, this race didn’t quite go as planned for me, particularly in the second half — not sure if it was that I didn’t eat enough, that I started too fast, or just that it wasn’t my day. However, I’m still so proud of my accomplishment of finishing those 26.2 miles. Plus, I had a huge improvement over my first marathon with a 17 minute PR! Just like I said when I finished my first marathon, I am so proud and excited to have finished a marathon — something I definitely never thought I would be capable of doing. Any day that I can finish a marathon is amazing.

 

Nike Women’s Half Marathon: Race Recap

On Sunday I ran the Nike Women’s half marathon in San Francisco. This was my second year running it. You can see my recap from last year’s race here.

This year, I decided not to really race it….it was going to be more about having fun and enjoying a big race with lots of women! Plus, Leslie and Kara were also going to be running, so I thought it would be fun to catch up with them.

I didn’t attend the expo, since I picked up my packet in Sacramento the previous week.

From last year, I knew that the streets before the race were going to be packed with people!! 30,000 runners is a lot! If you are in the faster pace corrals, they seem to be a little less crowded…at least comparing the back of the 8-8:59 pace to the 9-9:59 pace…but maybe the others are too if you are toward the back. I met up with Kara and Leslie about 45 minutes before race start. Bag check and bathrooms were easy to get through and pretty well organized. I didn’t check anything, but the other girls did.

{Thanks Leslie for the pre-race pic!}

We started right on time at 6:30am! Check out this photos from Nike of the start of the race. I love seeing images like this!

{Image from Nike Facebook Page}

Leslie and I planned to run together as long as we could. Kara’s goal was to run a sub-2 hour half, but she started out by running easy with me and Leslie. It was nice to chat and catch up — I don’t usually get to talk to people while I’m out on a run. It really made the miles fly by! Kara sped up and went on her way somewhere around 1.5 miles. Leslie and I chatted about all sorts of things along our way.

We stayed together through the first few hills, but lost one another around mile 8.5. We had already discussed that if we got separated at some point and couldn’t meet back up, we would just run on our own the rest of the way and meet up afterward.

Quick side note: I kind of love running the hills early in the morning in SF during this race. Everyone who was previously talking gets quiet. There aren’t really any spectators in this area in the Presido, so it is really quiet. Both last year and this year it was very foggy. It makes for a really cool experience….running with many other people trying to make the same goal of getting up a steep incline….listening to only the breathing of yourself and the other runners around you.

{image from Nike Facebook Page}

Once Leslie and I got separated, I decided to pick up the pace and make the last 4.5 miles a little faster than marathon pace. We averaged the first 8.5 miles at 10:05/mile. For the last few miles, I think I averaged close to an 8:30/mile pace. Another nice thing is this part of the race is also mostly down hill. I had so much fun this entire race! I mean, check out the smiles in my race photos!! LOVE!

After the finish, I met back up with Leslie and Kara, and we picked up our necklaces and shirts. They are pretty!

{Nuun in the background!}

This was a fun way to get in some hilly training and enjoy the race environment with some friends, even if I didn’t actually race it. So much fun!

Rock n Roll San Jose Half Marathon: Race Recap

On Sunday I ran my 13th half marathon at Rock n Roll San Jose. Overall, I thought it was a nice race with good music (as is usual for the Rock n Roll series), and I had a great time!

Ryan and I made our two hour drive down to San Jose on Saturday afternoon. We stayed in the Hilton that was connected to the convention center where the expo was held, and was only a couple blocks from the start and finish lines. As soon as we arrived, we went to pick up our packets. Since it was later in the day, the expo was pretty quiet, and we had no trouble quickly getting our things. We spent a little time wandering around to check out some of the vendors including stopping by the Nuun Hydration booth.

Afterward, we wandered around downtown for a bit, and found a great spot for a drink at Farmers Union. It was a pretty cool vibe with lots of good beers on tap! Then we went to Pizza Bocca Lupo for a pizza dinner. We were a little unsure what it would be like when we arrived because it seemed sort of like fast food. But we had a fantastic time sitting out side, enjoying our pizza and some people watching.

{view from the bar at Farmers Union}

{outside Pizza Bocca Lupo. A great dinner spot!}

Sunday morning we got up early as usual for normal morning race prep. The best part was that we left our hotel just 45 minutes before race start because it was so close! When we got to the start, we took a few minutes to check our bags. We had about 20 minutes to find a bathroom before the start time.

Bad news though — there were NOT enough porta potties near the first few corrals! This led to really long lines that did not move at all. Ryan and I ran all over trying to find one that seemed like we could possibly get through before the start. Nothing. Ryan realized there was a hotel right next to the start and with 10 minutes left to go we ran in and found a reasonably empty bathroom. Success! Honestly, this was my only gripe with the race. It seemed there were plenty of bathrooms along the course, and near the corrals further back though.

The race started right on time with the wheelchair division, then the national anthem, and finally the corral start.

My goal for the race was to start a little slower, and over the course of a few miles build up to near my PR pace. The first couple miles were a bit crowded, but they ticked away quickly. I tried not to weave too much around people and not waste energy.

Mile 1: 8:43
Mile 2: 8:27
Mile 3: 8:23
Mile 4: 8:19
Mile 5: 8:12

Near mile 6, we saw the race leaders on their way back toward the finish line — they were probably at about mile 11.5. It was a nice boost to see them speed by!

Mile 6: 8:16
Mile 7: 8:15
Mile 8: 8:13

A little before mile 9 I realized I was going to have to take a mid-race bathroom stop. I was bummed because I was right about pace with my PR time. The bad thing was I had just past the bathrooms at mile 8, so I was going to have to wait for over a mile! I tried to keep pushing through and not slow down. I finally found a bathroom just as I finished mile 10, but I had used up a minute of my time in the portapotty.

Mile 9: 8:31
Mile 10: 9:15

After I was done in the bathroom, I tried  to pick up my pace and finish strong. I did well at first, but then ended up with a small stomach cramp and wasn’t able to hold on to the faster pace for the last two miles.

Mile 11: 7:59
Mile 12: 8:16
Mile 13: 8:19
Pace to finish: 8:11/mi

My final finish time was 1:51:26.

I was glad to be done running for the day. I was hot and tired. I had a fun race even though it wasn’t my best executed one. I always enjoy the race day excitement no matter what my finish time is!

Ryan had a big PR by almost 3 minutes!! He has been working hard, and this was a very exciting race for him!

Following the race, we enjoyed a pint in the beer garden, and listened to the band at the finish line. They were really fun! Since our hotel was so close, we were able to make it back to our room with time to shower before checking out and driving back to Sacramento.

What is your go-to post race meal? On Sunday we stopped at The Olive Garden for soup, salad and breadsticks. Yum!

Lets ROC 5k: Race Recap

This week I found out there was going to be a 5k held super close to my house! I thought it would be really fun to do, but wasn’t sure how I would feel after running an 18 mile long run on Saturday, so it was a last minute decision to register. Even last night, I wasn’t positive — although I was pretty certain I would give a it a try. When I woke up, my legs felt pretty good…definitely some tightness, but I thought that with a short warmup and some dynamic stretches before the race, I would be OK. I ended up running about 1.25 miles for my warmup. I think I would have done more if I hadn’t had a long run the previous day.

The last time I ran a 5k was in October 2011! I know that my speed has improved quite a bit since then. Unless something really bad happened, I should have a PR. My initial goal was hopefully finish in at least 10k pace, but I would have to see how my legs felt.

The race was about 1000 people, with a lot of first time runners and walkers aiming to raise funds for ovarian cancer. It was a well put together event, and their biggest of the 6 years it has been run. After the kids run, the race started right on time at 8:15am.

I started out a little bit too fast, but tried to settle into a good maintainable pace.

Mile 1: 7:23

In mile 2, my legs started to feel more tired, but I just tried to keep pushing as much as I could and keep it hard but maintainable.

Mile 2: 7:29

Mile 3 was tough. My legs were feeling pretty dead by this point, but I tried as hard as I could to keep up with the girl ahead of me. I tried to focus on keeping my leg turnover quick.

Mile 3: 7:31

In the last tenth of a mile I was racing right with two women. I kicked just a bit too early, and they finished ahead of me by only a second or two. I had a lot of fun though. It is fun to work on running faster sometimes!!

To finish: 7:11 pace

Official finish time was 23:19.

I’m pretty excited about my time! I think I’ll have to do another 5k at some point when I haven’t done an intense long run the day before. But now I have a new PR that is more accurate to my current fitness level!!

My effort was good enough for a 2nd place finish in my age group. The girl I was chasing for most of the run ended up being the first place finisher in the 25-29 age group, and finished ahead of me by only 8 seconds. So close!

Now my legs are pretty exhausted, so I’ll be spending the rest of the day relaxing, stretching and foam rolling. And tomorrow will probably be an easy recovery day too.

Anyone else race this weekend? Any new PRs?

What is your favorite race distance?