Friday, March 30, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - For my Mom & Dad


**Edited to add.  What it's Friday?  April fools! ;)  I promise I tried to post this on Wednesday but blogger really really hates me. 

I am sorry I haven't been blogging lately.  I have no excuses and as Miss LC said best earlier I have simply been consumed with Life and Such.  ;) I am just living the life I love.  Embracing the suck, Celebrating the victories, and running to my hearts content.  I will have a Boston post up here in a few days since it is officially taper time and my heart is definitely far from content with tapering.

Until then here are some pictures for my Mom & Dad of "life and such".

I turned the big 26 and my AMAZING employees surprised me with these gorgeous flowers.  Seriously made me the happiest girl ever!!!

 My Sweet older Sister is trying to make me "trendy" and gifted me with pink pants.

The one and only way to truly steal my heart:  PEEPS!  Greatest gift ever

Momma and me on my Birthday!

Birthday Cake!!  My Mom makes me the same cake every year and I LOVE it!  Even though I keep getting older this epic cake never gets old.

And I might be getting old but my 20 month old Nephew will outgrow me any day.

In addition to partying and embracing my new age (the age of the marathon) I have just been spending tons of time with the people I love.

My Dad won coach of the year!  Congratulations Coach Wardle I couldn't be prouder!

And my nephew learned how to drive.


Have a great weekend everyone!!  Run hard, run fast, and run far! 

Wait hold up.  Before you log off and go run please tell me your opinion on colorful pants? 

I was totally anti until my sister bought me a pair for my Birthday and now I am hooked!!!  I want a pair in every single col or of the rainbow.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Shamrock Half Marathon Race Recap

Wow what a fantastic and fun way to kick off my 26th birthday!  Running the Shamrock Half was an absolutely awesome and perfect start to my day.  My sidekick Julia was back for her first post injury race and I had lots of friends and family there to support me and join in on the celebration.

I realize that my "Birthday Suit" does not match at all. ha!  My Mom was so embarassed to claim me as her child at the race.
 Why I chose this particular race:  A few have asked and as I posted here this was a very tough (definitely not a PR) course but there was a method to my madness in choosing it. 
  • My parents live literally 2 miles from the start/finish.
  • The race is cheap!  $35.00 for a half marathon...yes please!
  • It is a loop course.  Meaning no butt crack of dawn ride on a bus up a canyon.
  • It fell perfectly into my Boston training plan.
  • If I could handle 800 foot elevation gain in just 13.1 miles I was sure to be prepared for the 376 total elevation gain over 26.2 miles at Boston.
Pre-Race Analysis:  I decided about a week before the race that rather than tapering and running it as a "key" race I would simply use it as a Boston tune-up run.  My only goal for the race was a good solid workout and some good marathon paced tempo miles.  I already had 60 miles on my legs for the week going into the race so to say my legs weren't necessarily "fresh" would probably be an understatement.  I just wanted this race to be a good dress rehearsal for Boston.  I wanted to practice fueling, plugging into a consistant effort, and drinking at all of the aide stations.

Pre-Race:  My Dad drove me up to the start and Julia and I did a quick little 2 mile shake out run.  I wanted to get 18-20 miles in for the day but was warned to save the majority of my miles for after the race.  By the time we got back from the warm-up the race was starting literally!  We jumped in and off we went.

Miles 1-3:  7:10, 8:01, 7:18 The 1st mile felt really smooth and relaxed and my friend Cam was running with me so we talked and caught up.  The 2nd mile I contemplated DNF'ing but instead I just kept plodding along.  Mile 2 was all gradual uphill and it really just freaking sucked.  When I saw the slow time on my watch I was discouraged but kept trotting forward (literally felt like I was barely moving although the effort was there).  Mile 3 I was back on top of the world and feeling good.

Me and my friend Cam who was such a good sport and ran with me the entire way. 

Miles 4-6:  8:01, 7:55, 7:47 uphill, uphill, uphill!  These miles were honestly the toughest of the entire race for me.  Mentally seeing these paces was discouraging but I tried not to focus on the garmin at all but rather the effort.  My time did not matter to me I just wanted a consistent effort.  Afterall I was just looking for marathon paced miles anyway right?  I really tried to work on positive reinforcement during these miles.  I took a Gu at mile 5.5.

Miles 7-9:  7:27, 7:09, 7:55  Miles 7 and 8 felt awesome!  I think they were mostly flat or gradual downhill but after climbing for 3 miles straight it felt like a huge relief just to have a flat surface.  The flat did not last long as by mile 9 we were trekking it uphill again.  The weatherman had blessed me with a birthday miracle that lasted until exactly mile 9 when the wind picked up and we were running into gusting headwinds.  I took a second Gu with caffiene this time at mile 9.5.

Miles 10-11:  8:00, 7:03  Mile 10 was literally straight uphill on gravel.  I thought I was lost because suddenly I was in a trail race......but there were runners in front of me so I just kept following them.  I even stopped and walked once during this mile the headwind, hill, and dust was so crazy.  Luckily once I reached the top of mount Kilimanjaro I was rewarded with some much deserved downhill.  By mile 11 I was ready to get down to business.

Miles 12-13.1:  7:30, 6:37, 5:52  Just a few more hills to deal with in mile 12 and then I was home free.  The last hill in mile 12 was hard mentally but I just ignored my garmin, turned on my music full blast, and kept pumping my arms.  Mile 13 was by far my favorite of the race.  The headwind was insane (probably 20mph) but it was a gradual downhill and after dealing with the constant uphill I felt like I was flying!  When I hit the mile 13 sign I kicked and pumped it into the finish as fast as I could.

I did it!!  Woo Hoo!

Finish Time:  1:38:38/7:31 pace.  4th place female, 1st place Age group 25-29

Obviously not a PR for me and actually one of my worst half marathon times but I could not be more thrilled with my performance!  I have never felt so great at the end of a race and although my paces do not show it my effort was 100% consistant for the entire 13.1 miles. 

Me, Julia, and Ken after the race.

Post Race:  I waited for my friend Ken to run in and he totally rocked it in 1:44.  After seeing Ken finish I jogged back a bit for Julia.  I was so excited when I saw her storming down the hill and was able to run her in for the last mile.  She completely smashed the race after just coming back from an injury and finished in 2:02.  After she finished we jogged a cooldown and I ended the day with 18.75 miles.

Julia running in the last mile.  Love the look on her face!  So happy just be back out there racing again.

Post Race Analysis:   I got exactly what I wanted out of this race and I had so much fun running it.  This race capped off my 3rd consecutive week of 75-80 mile weeks and it proved to me that I am truly growing and maturing as a runner.  Running is a definitely a learning process and I am absolutely enjoying every step of the journey.  I loved the challenge this course presented, I loved the shirts & medals, and heck I still somehow pulled off first in my age group too!  Cheers to an all around awesome experience!

The plaque that I won for taking 1st in my age group!
And from there on out the Birthday celebration was on!!  More to come on that soon.  But I must say that something about turning 26 has me thinking that this is definitely going to be the year of the marathon for me.

I hope you all celebrated St. Patty's Day, had a fabulous weekend, and most importantly remembered to wear green and eat green mint icecream!!! :)

Friday, March 16, 2012

You know you have a sick & twisted running addiction when....

You "gift" yourself a race for your 26th Birthday with the following description:  "Hard course, Lots of Hills!"  "Very challenging, but scenic and doable." 

Truth be told I actually wanted to run 26 miles for my 26th Birthday.  Somebody sound the runNERD alarm!
The elevation profile looks like Mt. Everest:

And the weather looks like this:

Wind:  From SSE at 23 mph, gusts up to 40mph

50% chance of rain.

Happy Birthday to me!

  Good thing today is my absolute favorite day of the year......GREEN bagel day at work!!  This blessed day only comes once a year and you better believe I have a chain in my office counting down the days.  I may have accidently told the employee council I have 18 employees working today instead of just 3. Whoops!  1 bagel per hour, don't mind if I do! ;)

If nothing else I will be sufficiently carb loaded for the race in an attempt to stay upright as I scale a mountain in a torrential downpour. 
By some miracle I even talked Julia into celebrating my Birthday by torturing herself along with me. Misery loves company and at least I wont be suffering alone.  Julia is a really good friend!

And of course I'll be dressed from head to toe in all green, like a leprechaun in a desperate plea to the irish to grant me  a lot a little luck.  It can rain on my parade but the rain better not ruffle my green tutu or bend my awesome headband bopper!

Have a great weekend everyone!  May the "luck of the irish" be with you.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Ragnar Tips & Tricks

Today's workout:  8.2 miles/68 minutes.  Easy recovery run.

I received a few questions about running a relay race in my last post and decided that rather than replying individually I would give some tips & tricks on the blog for everyone.   I know there are quite a few bloggers who are gearing up for their first relay race this year so hopefully this is somewhat beneficial or at least entertaining. 
I have ran 6 relay races and here are links to each of the recaps:

Relay races are definitely a lot of fun but can also be a lot of stress and unnecessary confusion if you are unprepared.  Relays are not easy but they are rewarding, social, fun, and a overall a great way to travel and see new places.  I basically consider them "running vacations." ;)

Top 10 Tips

1.  Have Fun.  Okay so this isn't so much a tip as it is a suggestion.  Don't take yourself too seriously.  Relay races are not about hitting a perfect pace, PR'ing, or qualifying for the Olympics.  Just have fun, dress up, goof around, meet new crazies, and soak in the atmosphere and relax.  People be crazy out there!

Or maybe I am the only crazy one?

2.  Practice.  Never ran in the dark before or with a headlamp and safety vest?  Never ran twice in one day or after being completely sleep deprived?  Experiment before the relay.  You'll be glad you did.

First time running in a headlamp ever!  Can you see my face?  Yeah that's because the headlamp was 10 sizes to big and covered my eyes the entire run.

3.  Be prepared for crazy weather.  In a perfect world the weather is always perfect but in Relay races when you are running all day long you will most likely face heat, cold, ect.  So be prepared!  Most of the Ragnars I have ran the heat has been a major factor.  Adjust your pace, hydrate well, wear sunscreen, or if all else fails just rip your shirt off!

4.  Support your other runners.  Don't be a dud and sit in the van after your done running.  Get out there and cheer, scream, holler, support and run with your teammates.

5.  Designate a driver.  It seems to go much smoother if you have one person that does the majority of the driving.  When this person is running have a second driver.  Don't change around drivers the entire time because it will just get confusing.  Speaking of driving, unless you are an ultra team there is no reason to bring someone along just to drive.  It will only add an extra body, extra stuff, and extra chaos.

This is the closest I have ever got to the driving seat and it wasn't even my van.  Designate a driver but not me. :)

6.  Don't over pack.  You will be in a van, with 6 people and limited space.  I promise you wont need your curling iron, make-up kit, and hello kitty purse.

7.  Eat & Drink.  I recommend that everyone brings there own snacks and that you pitch in and share sandwich stuff, water, Gatorade, fruit, ect.  Don't over pack food either because there will be plenty of places to eat along the way.  Just make sure you eat!  Many people are scared to eat because they aren't used to it but believe me it is incredibly important unless you want to faint in the desert.  Hydrating is equally important. 

$5.00 foot long!  You can find Subway just about anywhere these days.
8.  Enjoy the scenery.  Chances are if you are traveling for the race it may be a once in a lifetime experience.  So relax, arrive a day early or stay a day late to sight see, enjoy your surroundings and soak it all in.

9.  Don't get lost.  This goes for runners and vans.  Make sure you know your routes because there may be times you will be running all alone.  Ragnar does a great job at marking the course but throughout the 30 hours signs do tend to get knocked down.  If you are worried about getting lost print out a copy of your route and carry it with you.  For the vans I would highly recommend entering the tangents of all of the exchanges into the GPS before the start of the race.  Don't just count on following the runners.  Sometimes the van has to go a certain way or completely off the course to get to the correct destination.

10.  Did I mention have fun?  It is worth mentioning again.  Be prepared for the race so that you can relax and enjoy the experience.  Or just do what I do and find an awesome captain to do all of the hard work so that you can just show up for the FUN part. :)

Alright who wants to do an Ultra Ragnar with me?  After 6 regular Ragnars I am totally itching to run one as an Ultra Team.  Ultra means you have only 6 runners instead of 12.  Let me know if you are interested and lets make it happen!

Any other questions?  I fortunately haven't ever had to be a team captain (heaven forbid) so I am no expert at all on logistics but I'd be glad to answer any other questions you might have.