Tag Archives: running

Starting over

20110806-093432.jpgLast weekend with the completion of the SF Half Marathon (in personal record time!) and the earning of a finisher medal, I started a new collection of race medallions.

I lost a few things special to me in the move out of North Beach, including my collection of finisher medals. I’ve come to the conclusion I threw them out on accident. Perhaps I put them in a box that was supposed to get moved but instead got taken to Goodwill.

I’m most sad to have lost my 2010 California International Marathon finisher medal, my first (and currently only) race of 26.2 miles. It was a great race and I will always remember it fondly, regardless of no longer having a medal. (I wear my CIM finisher shirt frequently to make up for the loss.)

The other medal I’m sad to have lost is from the 2010 BAA 5K, held the day before the Boston Marathon. That was a fun weekend in Boston and I had a  great race. I surprised myself with a new PR and it was fun to be part of the Boston Marathon atmosphere.

I remind myself that however sentimental an object might be, it’s loss, especially when accidental, is not worth fretting over. The memories live on regardless of having something to hold and touch.

And there is good news! I do still have nearly every race bib from my three year running career. The only one I’m missing is from the 5k that Meagan and I did in New Mexico during our cross country road trip.

I’d like to find something creative to do with them. Katie and I have discussed some sort of wall art in the back office, but we don’t have a genius enough idea  to pull the trigger. And because the collection is still growing, I want to make sure to create something that I can continue to add to.

any ideas for what I can do with them?

Work it out Wednesday > #46

This weekend I ran the 2nd half of the San Francisco Marathon and this song, which I pulled from the Electronic Daisy Carnival album mixed by Kaskade, was probably the highlight of my playlist. I only had the two and a half minute version radio edit on my run but I’ve since discovered this extended version.

Dirty South featuring Rudy – Phazing

Could I have been a marathon finisher?

Yes, I could and now I am!

If you follow me on Twitter or are friends with me on Facebook, you have already received confirmation that I completed my first marathon on Sunday, the 28th annual California International Marathon and I’m not sure it could have gone any better than it did.

Dave, Katie, Booger and I ventured our way up to Sacramento on Saturday afternoon, following a strict schedule I laid out in preparation for the race. We checked into our cute little two bedroom suite at the Residence Inn in downtown Sacramento, went to the expo to pick up our bibs, shirts and race packets, watched Despicable Me while trying to stay off our feet at the hotel and enjoyed a seriously delicious dinner at Cafeteria 15L across the street from our hotel. My shrimp scampi carb feast was delicious!

Derek and Dave at Cafeteria 15L

Someone is excited for tater tots and mac 'n' cheese

We went back to the hotel to finalize our race day outfits, gear and Gu, and were miraculously in bed by 9:30 PM! (on a Saturday night… wow.)

Protector of the bib

Alarm clocks started going off at 4 AM and by 4:30 AM we were up toasting bagels, munching on bananas, and chugging water and Gatorade. By 5 AM we were out the hotel door and on our way to the buses which shuttled us to the race start in Folsom. The 45 minute bus ride really made me realize how freaking far I was going to run because we kept driving and driving and driving, and I knew I was basically going to be running the entire way back to downtown Sacramento.

By 6:15 AM we were at the start and we had our own little camp out spot arranged near some quiet port-a-potties. For the next 40 minutes, we put the finishing touches on our gear, peed again and again, and did a little pre-race stretching. Dave departed for the front of the start line (’cause he’s fast) and I waited and waited and waited for Katie to finish peeing so we could go find our pace group. Eventually she came out of the port-a-pottie with about 5 minutes to spare and I scurried us to the 4:05 pace group. My goal finish time: between 4:05 and 4:10.

My race day 'fit

The race started at 7 AM and before I knew it, we were off and running (literally… obviously…) and my first marathon was officially underway.

The first 6 miles went by quick as Katie and I shared high 5’s after each mile marker. Our pace group was running 9:20 minute/miles, which felt slow given the excitement of the race. I anticipated this and knew I had to be disciplined. I could have easily started in the low 8:00’s but I knew it would catch up to me and that I wasn’t trained for 26 miles at that pace. So we stuck with it and watched the miles tick on by.

By mile 11, I had peed about 3 times, and Katie and I had fallen about 100 yards behind the pace group. I told her that by mile 12, I wanted to catch back up with them. Over the course of the next mile, through a series of rolling hills, I picked up the pace and rejoined the pace group. Unfortunately, somewhere along the way I lost my dear friend and amazing supporter, Katie. I kept looking back for her, hoping she’d surprise me and catch back up too. I was strong enough to keep going though so I wished her well (wherever she was) and pushed onward.

As we passed the halfway point I felt strong and I was starting to feel optimistic that I was going to have a good race. I had done everything I could to prepare not only in 18 weeks of training but more specifically in the two days leading up to the race. I had some doubts given that some of my long runs (particularly my 21-miler) were tough. But thankfully those tough long runs prepared me for what was still to come. I knew what to expect in terms of wanting to just be done with it and learning how to shut off my brain and run.

Miles 13-18 continued to go well. The crowds started picking up and despite having awful weather the day and night before, the sun was out and we couldn’t have asked for better running conditions. Between miles 18 and 20, I started to mentally prepare myself for what was coming up. As many marathoners or running coaches will say, anyone can train to complete a 20 mile run, but it’s that extra 10k you slap on to the end of a marathon that really tests and challenges a runner.

I continued to pop back Gu’s left and right and drank fluids at every aid station, making sure I was hydrated and nourished. I told myself over and over that I was strong, prepared and that I would finish this race without killing myself. Over and over and over. Once I passed 21 miles, I knew was unchartered territory and I started taking it one mile at a time. And by that point I knew I had less than an hour left to run, which seemed like nothing after 3 hours.

I felt strong enough to seperate myself from the 4:05 pace group by about 20 yards. I wanted to stay out in front of them so in the event I started to crash, I could let them catch up to me and hopefully I could will myself to stick with them to the finish. Luckily this never happened and they never caught up with me. There were times I wanted to stop and walk, because my legs were tired, my right knee was aching and my left ankle was causing pain. But I knew if I stopped I might not be able to start back up again. So I just kept running.

The last 4 miles are pretty fuzzy. The thing I remember most is passing a lot of people. Runners who were obviously crashing. Maybe they had started out too fast, maybe they hadn’t trained properly or maybe they were just taking a break. The last mile I cheered myself on and started to go a little bonkers. I threw off my sweatbands that I had been wearing for almost 4 hours and enjoyed the final stretch passed the beautiful California Capitol building.

Apparently I looked right at Dave as I rounded the final corner but at that point I was so excited to be finishing strong and happy that I didn’t see him… or at my tired brain didn’t actually process that I was seeing him.

I (somehow) sprinted the final 20  yards and passed a few more people to finish with a chip time of 4:04:16.

This is what success looks like!

I was done and I felt great.

I stumbled my way through the finish area to get my medal, have a finisher’s photo taken and seek out the nearest massage tent. I enjoyed a nice long 20 minute massage, stood in line for cookies, bananas, pancakes, and trekked back to the hotel after not being able to find Katie or Dave. They were waiting for me back at the hotel (and Booger too!) and when I arrived we shared race stories as we stretched, moaned and hobbled around. We checked out a few hours later and hit up Five Guys for amazing hamburgers on our way back to SF (exhausted and drained). (Katie somehow mustered up the strength to go to Bikram Yoga that night! Crazy girl!)

All and all it was a great experience and like I said before, I couldn’t have asked for a better race. It went exactly as I had hoped. I probably could have gone a little faster and pushed myself a little harder (and probably would have experienced the joy of hitting the wall) but I wanted a good, enjoyable first race. One that would leave me wanting to do another…

Which is exactly what has happened… I want to do another one and I think I’m going to just continue my training. I don’t want to lose the “I’m addicted” feeling which I think so many people feel and then let go after they letting too much time pass.

So, stay tuned for details on marathon #2 where I will run under 4 hours! 🙂

Marathon preparation

With my first marathon only days away, I took a piece of advice from one of the coaches of the running club I’m sorta part of very seriously… to prepare for the race and take care of as much stuff well in advance of race day as possible. So that is exactly what I’ve been doing the last 24 hours and will continue to do the next 24 hours…

To fully prepare myself I spent the last two days doing the following:

  • sent Katie and Dave the Saturday schedule:
    • pick up Katie at 12:45
    • check in to hotel by 3:00
    • go to expo at 4:00
    • dinner at 6:45
  • got my haircut (so I don’t overheat and get an itchy head)
  • filled the car with gas (so we don’t have to deal with it before or even after the race)
  • cut my toenails
  • went to work and sent a few emails (so I won’t think about work at all until well after the race is over)
  • bought a case of Gatorade (to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate all weekend)
  • bought Gu (for race day fuel)
  • finalized my playlist
  • synced and charged my iPod
  • picked out two race day outfits to pack including sweat bands, arm warmers and Road ID bracelet
  • made a dinner reservation near the hotel for Saturday night
  • bought Saturday night snacks
  • bought Sunday morning pre-race breakfast supplies
  • bought a new running belt to carry my Gu and hotel room key
  • did two loads of laundry
  • took Booger to the vet to have his anal glands expressed so he has an enjoyable weekend traveling with us
  • ran one last 2 mile run!

I think I’m ready!

Sore, achy, tired, but almost ready

With one month left until my first marathon, I’m really starting to notice the toll that training is taking on my body. As I venture into the world of 18 mile long runs and multiple 5 mile runs during the week, I am aching. My left ankle is sore all the time, my right knee that used to act up hints at trouble on long runs and the rest of my body, particularly my neck, back and obviously legs, are tight and sore. I’m making an effort to stretch a lot more in hope of staying healthy and fit these last 4 weeks.

Fun facts: PDX Half Marathon

As earlier reported, I recently blew my half marathon personal record out of the water at the Portland Half Marathon with a finish time of 1:50:36. My previous PR was actually from my first, the Kaiser Permanente Half in February: 2:00:07.

Happy, wet finisher

While waiting for finish photos to be posted, I found a collection of fun race stats from the race. Here are a few worth sharing:

  • I finished 155th out of 2,273 and in front of 97% of female runners.
  • It took me 2 minutes and 39 seconds to get through the start line.
  • Over the last 4.2 miles, I passed 47 runners and was past by 4.
  • My average speed was 7.1 miles per hour.

(Belated) Trip report: Portland


Two weekends ago, Dave and I ventured up to Portland, OR to have playtime with our friends Margaret and Kenny, AND to do a little racing. Dave ran the full Portland Marathon and I ran the half. We spent 3 full days up there and had a total blast. With this type of trip we like to try to just act as locals with our hosts. We don’t need to see the sights, per say, because in a lot of instances we’ve already seen them or we just don’t need to. We just want to hang out and have a relaxed time, which is what we did!

We went to the Plumper Pumpkin Patch and entertained ourselves with caramel apples, beehives, annoying kids, disfigured gourds and most importantly, a pumpkin sling shot, which incidentally was one of the most talked about activities of the trip.

Ready, aim, fire!

We also braved the crowds of Buffalo Wild Wings to binge on wings, fried pickles and an outstanding MSU victory over U of M. We made friends with some visiting drunken douche bags, one of which had just taken a dare and jumped in a fountain naked. They were wasted, rooting against MSU (I ended up making $5 in a bet), when when they should have been getting ready for a wedding later that night.

BW3 was not the only stop on our eating and drinking deliciousness  train. We had beers at the Widmer brewery (YUM HEFEWEIZEN), brunch at Bijou Cafe, met up with old SF friend Jade for barbecue at Russell Street BBQ and I showed a giant calzone’s who the boss was at Hopworks.

Amazing calzone from Hopworks

But of course Dave and I were there to run. The race was early on Sunday morning and we woke up greeted to rain, rain and more rain. While I’ve definitely done a bit of running in the rain, I’ve never raced in it. I snooped around Margaret and Kenny’s apartment to find a garbage bag to help keep dry, which was kind of a joke. I eventually took it off after a few miles and just embraced the down pour.

Garbage bag? check.

While I started off in a little pain, by mile 4 I was cruising along and feeling great. By mile 10 I was soaked but I felt really great and decided to pick up the pace. I later found out that I passed about 40 people over the last 3 miles stretch and I finished strong feeling like I still had a lot left in me. My goal was under 2 hours (finally) and I ended up pulling into the finish in 1:50:36. I definitely attribute my strong finish to my training, particularly my long 16-18 mile runs recently.

Dave also ran a strong race, finishing his full in under 3 hours pretty easily. Now we’re both shifting gears in preparation for the California International Marathon in December, which as we all know will be my first.

It was a weekend full of fun and we had a blast with Margaret and Kenny, two of our closest friends for sure. I really loved Portland this trip and can’t wait to go back again soon. More photos here!