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Everyone Else Is Doing It … Operation Jack 6 Hour Challenge “Race” Recap

31 Oct

Let it be known that I had no intention of running a race this weekend. None at all. In fact, I had no intention of doing anything that wasn’t casually work my way through my last long run before NYC and then napping. But at the beginning of last week, some sassy lady friends peer pressured me on twitter to run in the Richard Leary 6-Hour Challenge this weekend. I am such a sucker for friends and sunshine and shiny medals so, obviously, I was in.

Operation Jack is a pretty amazing organization and if I am seriously considering running the Operation Jack 1/2 Marathon as a satellite race this year.  The idea behind the 6 Hour Challenge was to run as many laps as possible around a 1.09 mile loop in 6 hours. Whoever ran the most loops won. Now, obviously, I had no intention of winning. I had every intention of running my 8ish miles with friends and snacks. I was supposed to get down to Irvine at around 7:30 am but, well, Saturday night happened and I rolled up around 10. By the time I got there, Heather and Cha Cha were just about finished with their laps. I started running and Sarah caught up with me. We ran a lap together and chatted about NYC and life. Second time ever running with someone and it was super speed demon Sarah. Excellent.

After we all finished our laps (Heather, Sarah and Cha Cha all KILLED double digit runs), we sat on a blanket in the sunshine and watched the other runners demolish their laps. We chatted about things Heather finds creepy (everything) and I discovered Cha Cha and I can never watch sports together. It’s cool.

sarah took a picture. i'm a really bad blogger, so i'm stealing hers.

 About the actual run … well, it wasn’t good. It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t good. It felt really hard. Way harder than 7.63 miles should have. That made me really uncomfortable about next [or this? oh gosh, it’s this weekend isn’t it] weekend. There were some weird things going on with my hamstrings. Not pain exactly, but it didn’t feel good. My loops alternated between 10:30 and 9:45. The 9:45 loops felt great. The 10:30 loops felt like crap. This is almost definitely all in my  head. I’ve had the taper tantrums like crazy. I know I have to trust my training and that I’m ready for this. I just wish my legs would remember that …

Even with a crappy run, though, Sunday was absolutely amazing. It was a really well run race put on for a great cause [both Autism research and the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors]. But most importantly, the company was great. Those Ragnar ladies, they’re pretty awesome =)

Let the Taper Begin …. Again!

20 Oct

I finished my final “long” long run of the training cycle last weekend. 20 miles miles in a little under 3:40 which should put me nicely on pace for a sub-5 hour (I really just want to finish, let’s not kid ourselves).

Starting my second round of tapering in the same training cycle is a weird feeling. I’ve already experienced the taper tantrums once and to be honest, I’m not looking forward to another couple of anxious weeks where all I do is worry about whether I’m going to be able to finish. I’m still not entirely convinced I can run a marathon – me, the girl who used to make up every excuse in the book to get out of gym class, who was the only girl in my sorority who didn’t love the gym. If the me from 10, even 5 years ago could see me now, I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t recognize herself.

The only good thing about doing this a second time is that I know what to expect. I know the little voices in my head and I know what they’re going to say. I just have to stay positive, trust in my training to get me to mile 20 and trust the adrenaline to get me through the last 6.2 miles.

And if I hate it, I never have to do it again, right? … Right?

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.

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?

Name Our Team!

27 Sep

All of your amazing suggestions have been compiled and we’ve thrown the Top 10 into a super awesome poll. Head over to Sarah’s blog and vote!

Our lives [ish] are in your hands!

Aren't we fabulous?

What’s in a name?

14 Sep

Have you checked out my new page “Where I’m Running”? It’s awesome, right?

You may have noticed that I’ve added a bunch of upcoming race – a 5 miler in NYC, another Tunnel to Towers 5k, Long Beach (obvi) and …

Maybe I'm Crazy

I may or may not be out of my mind ...

Yep. Because I’m crazy. This lady convinced a group of us to run for 24 hours and 200+ miles all while riding in a van full of our stinky, sweaty glorious selves. It’s going to be pretty awesome.

We’re going to have 2 teams – the Ultra of 6 (don’t worry, I’m not on it) and the 12 Woman Team of Awesome (aka my team). But here’s where you come in. “Team of Awesome” doesn’t quite cut it. So we need YOU (our faithful readers – hi, Sister!) to come up with some kickass names for our kickass teams!

So leave your suggestions in the comments. We’ll be compiling our list of favorites and posting a top 10 poll on all of our blogs. The top 2 finishers will have the mega-super-stellar honor of naming our relay teams! AND because we’re living in a material world (and I am a material girl), you’ll win a sweet PRIZE full of all sort of running swag! Because everyone loves winning stuff!

So get brainstorming! And check out my awesome new teammates!!

Ultra Team

SkinnyRunner

Chacha

Margot

Sarah 

Pam

HauteRunningMama

12 Woman Team

Heather

Becka

Rose

PrettyFittie

Kate & Ang

Monica

BrokeRunner

Madison

Elisabeth

Danica

And me!!