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Long Beach 1/2 Marathon Race Report – Part Deux

13 Oct

In which our heroine almost melts but eeks out a PR

Welcome back! When last we saw our heroine, she was waking up after only about 4 hours of sleep. Yikes!

Long Beach Outfit

Yes, it's blurry. Yes, it was 4:15 am. Deal.

I had laid out all of my gear the night before. When I thought  I was running the full marathon, I was worried I’d still be running when the Giants’ game started. I’m one of those crazy superstitious people who thinks that they can affect the outcome of a professional sporting event by wearing or failing to wear certain clothes. So I knew I had to wear a Giants shirt and I finally found a Giants’ shirt that wasn’t cotton (kids large) – scoured every Target in the tri-state area for that baby. Once I realized how warm it was going to be, I threw a tank top on underneath. I figured if I got too hot, I could always take one shirt off. I also opted for a Giants visor. In general I don’t wear hats when I run. I’ve got a lot of hair and it gets really hot under there. For some random reason I grabbed the visor at the last minute and I’m really glad I did [see what I did there with the foreshadowing?].

oh, hey.

I grabbed 2 mini Lara bars and a Starbucks instant iced coffee and I was off. Yep. Breakfast of champions people. At least I remembered breakfast this time [I’m looking at you, PCRF 1/2 of death]. Getting to the race was relatively smooth. Unlike a lot of other runners I didn’t get stuck on the 710 largely because I got lost and didn’t take the 710. Deplorable sense of direction to the rescue! I did circle my pre-paid parking lot for about 20 minutes before realizing it was where I needed to be. Because I’m great.

I was debating back and forth between taking a Gu every 4 miles and every 5. I grabbed 3 before I left the house, figuring I could make the decision based on how I was feeling. I also decided to carry along my handheld filled with Strawberry Lemonade nuun. I don’t know if it was the smartest idea. Yes, I got more electrolytes, but I also ended up cruising through some of the water stops when I should have stopped. It was more of a security blanket than anything else – I had run all of my long runs with it and couldn’t quite imagine not having it.

As I was leaving the parking garage to head over to the start, I saw on Twitter that one of my Ragnar teammates Elisabeth had locked all of her gear in her car. Oh no! I told her I had some extra Gus she was welcome to – decision made, I was doing every 5 miles instead of every 4. I tried to catch up with her before the start but got caught in the obscenely long porta-potty lines. Luckily I was able to catch up with Lis and Heather (another one of the Ragnar ladies) around mile 4 and was able to give Lis my extra Gu.

So how was the actual race?

Meh. I felt really good at the beginning. Much, much too good. The energy of running in such a large crowd was great but it made me start way too fast. I knew I was going to positive split, I knew there’s no such thing as banking time but I just couldn’t help myself. I wasn’t drinking enough water but by the time I realized it, I was already well into mile 8. It was also stupidly hot and sunny on the course. I’m convinced if I hadn’t worn my visor, I would have absolutely melted. Most of the middle of the course is out along the beach path which is beautiful but provides no shade at all. Once again, the New York football Giants save the day. All hail the New York Giants! [and if you know that movie reference, please move to LA and be my best friend.]

you can't tell from this photo, but when I run I ACTUALLY look like Phoebe from Friends.

Around mile 11.5 I got a really bad knot in my right hamstring that just wouldn’t go away. I also realized that I had somehow added almost .5 miles to the course according to my Garmin. Because I’m great. My Garmin beeped 13 mile and I couldn’t even see the finish line – that was a mental killer. I did way more walkin in these last 2 miles than I’d like to admit. Add that to the list of things to work on for next time.

ugh, another 1/2 mile? really?

I eeked out a PR but considering how poorly my first 2 1/2 marathons went, that’s not saying much. Overall, I was pleased with the beginning of the run, disappointed with the end and frustrated with the heat. Still, I would definitely run Long Beach again [hopefully in cooler temperatures]. Everything from the expo to the post race space blankets (which I totally stole to use at NY) went so, so smoothly. The organizers did a tremendous job. For a race that big it was outstanding – definitely better than R’n’R LA last year!

yeah, i'm slow, it's cool.

Stay tuned for our next installment: Mistakes I made in Long Beach that I absolutely cannot make in NY.

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Long Beach Half Marathon Race Recap Part Une

12 Oct

In which our heroine eats and drinks her weight in carbs and has a mild panic attack.

I spent most of Saturday doing a whole lot of nothing. I was pretty solidly exhausted and a little bit jetlagged, so I let myself sleep in and just lounged around for most of the morning. In fact, I spent so long doing absolutely nothing that by 2pm I realized if I didn’t get my butt in gear, I wouldn’t have time to hit the expo and make my delicious carb-loving dinner with these lovely ladies.

The expo was perfectly lovely although I managed to get a bit lost on my way there (ironically enough in the very same piers that would slow Sarah & Emily the next morning). I found parking right next to the convention center which was pretty perfect. I picked up my bib and after asking around for a bit managed to downgrade from the full to the half. It was a little disappointing but I reminded myself that I was/am unbelievably lucky to be running New York in a few weeks.

From there, I headed down to Seal Beach to meet Emily, Sarah and Julie for a delicious dinner. Things that I like about these ladies:

  • They enjoy liquid carbs. I was worried that they would get all judge-y if I ordered a pre-race beer but when I got there, Em and Sarah already had ice cold brews in front of them. Excellent.
  • They didn’t judge when I ordered extra cheese on my 4 cheese pizza. A love of cheese is an essential part of all of my intimate relationships

I paused for about .5 seconds so Emily could take this picture

  • They bring their own dessert. No, seriously. Julie brought a huge bag of Halloween candy to dinner. Because she’s great.

Because he could tell we were those girls, our waiter brought us delicious, delicious chocolate wine as an aperitif (yeah, that’s a fancy word for more alcohol). I’ve actually had chocolate wine before but the other ladies hadn’t. It basically tastes like Yoohoo, but better.

This was the 437th picture we made the waiter take

After a solid 5 hour dinner I headed home to lay out my clothes and get to bed. I chugged some water and plugged in my Garmin and my iPod. As I started laying everything out, I noticed that the charging light on my IPod wasn’t on. Hoping it was just incompetence, I fiddled with it for a while but the pretty little light still wouldn’t cooperate. I tried turning it on and got nothing. Now I had a decision – go buy a new iPod or try to just use my phone. I decided not to chance it and ran over to Target. Crisis averted.

Hello, little friend

 I spent way too much time loading up my music. I had hoped to be in bed by 10 but I didn’t put the finishing touches on my master playlist (that was about 6x too long) until about 12:15am. Hoping I hadn’t completely screwed myself, I headed to bed. Seriously, it felt like I blinked and my alarm was going off. Race day was here!

Next up: Part Deux – In which our heroine has a solid race and does not die but almost melts …

Pictures shamelessly stolen from Emily

Long Beach Half [yes, half] Marathon Goals

8 Oct

I’ve had a super hectic few days – I left NYC on Thursday, spent the day running around LA doing a million errands and started my new job on Friday. All day Friday I kept saying to myself (and my 4 Twitter followers), “I can’t believe I’m running a marathon this weekend, I can’t believe I’m running a marathon this weekend.” Well … that’s because I’m not.

Let’s back up. While in NY, I ran a couple of races with my 11 year old cousin (more on that later). The first race we ran together was a 5 miler and everyone in the family was really excited and proud of him! My family lined up at various points along the course to cheer us on. After the race, while enjoying a delicious post-run Bloody Mary, I commented to my Dad that this was the first race I’d ever run where people came to watch me. Before my first half marathon, I got into a huge fight with my then boyfriend because he wouldn’t come watch me and my second half marathon was so last minute there wasn’t really time to tell anyone. I didn’t (and don’t) anticipate anyone coming to Long Beach and the more I thought about it, the more I was kind of bummed that no one was going to be there to celebrate my very first marathon.

That’s when my Dad mentioned that I should run the NY Marathon. Sure, love to. But NYM certainly isn’t easy to get into & I certainly couldn’t do it this year … Or could I? Long story short, my Dad’s got connections.

Ok, not really.

BUT he knows a guy, who knows a guy, who knows a guy and … I’m running the NY Marathon this year. The whole thing has been completely bizarre and confusing. I didn’t find out until this morning (yes, the day before what was supposed to be my first marathon) that I’d be running it. I do feel a little guilty that so many people wanted to run this race and I sort of snuck in, but I promise I didn’t do anything illegal [or did I?].

So what does that mean for Long Beach? Well, it means I’m downgrading to the half. I want to run NY strong and I know that I won’t be able to do that if it’s my second marathon in a month. Also, call me cheesy, but I really want my family to be at my FIRST marathon. I’d been seriously thinking of knocking down to the half anyway – it’s going to be super hot tomorrow and while it’s probably all in my head, I wasn’t feeling ready to run a full.

But now? Now everything is awesome =)

And without further adieu – My Long Beach Goals

  • Goal A -2:20 – This is super ambitious for me. I’m definitely nervous about the weather and if it’s hot, I’m going to end up throwing this goal out the window.
  • Goal B – 2:30 – I’m pretty sure this goal is doable. Ish. Hopefully.
  • Goal C – 2:45 – I know this is doable. I’ll be disappointed if I let it get this far, but I know this week’s been hectic with travel and if it’s hot, this not be unrealistic.
  • Goal Always – Have fun! During my first half marathon, I was in a tremendous amount of pain. During my second half marathon, I threw up. I want to run a smart, fun race tomorrow. I want to remind myself why I like running and feel great going into the next couple of weeks before NY!

Anyone else racing this weekend?

Product Review: Nuun Electrolyte Tablets

27 Sep

Now that I’ve been running longer and longer distances, I’ve found that just drinking water on my long runs isn’t quite cutting it. Here’s my problem – I really like water and I really dislike sugary drinks. I don’t drink a ton of soda or juice. And I REALLY don’t like Gatorade. By itself it’s tolerable, but when I’m running, it just makes me want to throw up. I’ve never really used it during training at all. I accidentally tried it during the PCRF 1/2 Marathon with disastrous results.

But I felt like I needed something extra during this season’s training. I was running more in the heat and it felt like I was drinking obscene amounts of water that didn’t seem to help at all. So I figured I’d give Gatorade another try. Maybe if I cut with a lot of water, I’d like it more. Nope. I went all the way down to 1/4 Gatorade and 3/4 water and I felt like I was gagging every time I drank it. It left a syrupy taste in my mouth that I just couldn’t get rid of. But I did notice that having SOMETHING did seem to help my runs a little (although it’s definitely possible it was all in my head). Enter nuun.

Hello, Lover

I had heard about nuun all over the internets [I follow a bunch of the ladies on their Hood to Coast team among other things]. I loved the idea that nuun doesn’t contain sugar. I also loved that I could carry them in the little pouch of my water bottle – that meant that I could drink regular water, a nuun-filled bottle, and then more regular water. Excellent.

Still, though, I am very poor. Being very poor, I refuse to buy anything that is not on sale. While shopping at REI with a friend the other day, I came across a sale on nuun. How awesome! I grabbed 2 packages – Strawberry Lemonade and Tangerine Ginger. I tried the Strawberry Lemonade flavor after my 5k on Sunday (I really wanted to try it out and I was too excited to wait until an actual run). It had a very, very light taste to it. I was worried that because it had no sugar, the nuun would have that diet soda flavor to it. Luckily, it didn’t at all. It tasted really light. I was a happy, happy girl.

The real test came when I tried it out on my last long run. It was great! I know I don’t drink enough water when I run (largely because I’m afraid if I stop running to refill my water bottle, I’ll just stop). During my last few long runs, I’ve noticed that my fingers have gotten pretty swollen. I was hoping that by adding electrolytes, I could avoid that. Well, mission accomplished! I started with a bottle of nuun, switched to regular water and then finished up with a bottle of nuun. 15 miles later, no swelling. Success!

Overall, the nuun was fabulous! I’m seriously thinking about carrying it with me on race day. How do you hydrate on long runs?

And don’t forget to vote for our Ragnar team name!

Missing: Running Mojo

31 Aug

Last seen here eating 15 miles for breakfast. If lost, please return to Gidget. Reward.

No, seriously. Where did it go? My 15 mile run was amazing. The next day I got a random, spur of the moment invitation to New Orleans (which was amazing! Thanks, sister!). I ran a couple of times while I was there – including a long run that made me think I was actually going to die. I know that those runs sucked because my spoiled So Cal self isn’t used to suffocating, soul-crushing humidity. I totally get that. Logically anyway. But ever since then, all of my runs have felt sluggish. I just can’t seem to get my head in the game. My legs feel ok with the exception of some weird knee pain that I’ve been pretending isn’t there. But everything else about my runs has been craptacular. My lungs feel like they’re burning, I can’t catch my breath, I have a perennial stitch in my side and my head is just NOT there. Every time I take a step, I want to stop running. No bueno.

I’m hoping I just need a few days’ break. I have 18 miles on schedule for this weekend but I’ve already made the executive decision that I’ll be ok with anything over 15. I don’t want to beat myself up and scare my running mojo away. I figure if I keep pretending everything is sunshine and rainbows, I can make it so. What, it doesn’t work that way? Psh.

Where do you go to find your running mojo? Anyone have any to spare?

Long Run Fail

27 Aug

I was supposed to run 16 miles this morning. I made it 4 and every single step my knee hurt. I’m trying really hard not to panic. I’ve been icing and rolling and ibuprofen-ing. I may or may not try to make up the rest of the miles. Part of me thinks it might be better to rest it for a couple of days and see what happens.

REALLY trying not to panic.

Oh, Hello …

26 Aug

There’s a solid chance I’m the worst blogger ever. I’m cool with that. You’re probably asking yourself, “Where have you been all summer?!?”

Wait, you weren’t asking yourself that? Too bad, I’m answering it anyway, suckas.

I have been taking the California Bar Exam all summer. In case you were wondering, bar studying sucks. Seriously. Sucks. I spent about 12 hours in the library every day (on a good day), trying to memorize massive amounts of information and having an average of 14.2 panic attacks a minute. It really sucked. Have I mentioned it sucked?

I also kept up with my running much better than I expected. I found that running after a long day at the library helped me to really decompress. It let me leave studying at the library (or as much as that was possible). I ended up doing a lot of my longer runs at night when I got home from the library. Sometimes it was great, but there were definitely times when it wasn’t so awesome. I certainly don’t live in a bad neighborhood, but when you’re on mile 12 and it’s 11 pm, you start to see things in the shadows. Or at least I did. Because I’m crazy.

So what am I doing now, you may ask. Oh, wait, you didn’t ask that one either? I’m answering it anyway. My blog, my rules. Now that the bar is over, I’m in in hardcore get-a-job mode. Seriously, doesn’t anyone want to hire me? I’m great. And snarky. That’s got to count for something, right? Apparently not.

I’m also nearing the end of my training for the Long Beach Marathon. Um, eep much? As this lady reminded me, the marathon is just over 6 weeks away. Yikes! I’m feeling cautiously optimistic about it. I’m definitely in the best running shape I’ve ever been in. I felt really good after my 15 miles a couple of weeks ago. I missed a 16 miler last weekend (my sister surprised me with a trip to New Orleans and there was no way I was running that far in 132% humidity. I did manage the sweatiest 3 miles I’ve ever run. Champion.). I’m scheduled to do 12 this weekend, so I may just add on 4 more? Maybe? I haven’t quite figured that part out yet.

So, that was my summer. Or, lack of summer. How was your summer? Anyone else out there running Long Beach? I heard there might be beer.