Three Races One Week

Seriously?  Is this post for real, you’re wondering.  THREE races in one week?  Um, yeah, I’m totally serious, and I totally did it.  A 10K, and two half-marathons back to back … I know, who does that?  Not “normal” people … I’m not a “normal” person, so, I did it.

Let’s start from the beginning, or the first race …

Monday, May 30, 2011 … The Inaugural Stockton Rotary Run.  I picked up the pamphlet on this run while at Fleet Feet Stockton, picking up something.  I’m always at Fleet Feet, so it’s not a surprise that I can’t remember what I was there for.  I think it was for Chris’ packet pickup for The Avenue Of The Vines Half.  I remember perusing the pamphlet, and thinking that I worked the Sunday before the race on Monday Morning so I wasn’t initially going to run it.  I ended up signing up probably while half asleep because I still wasn’t thinking that I would run a race after working all night.  It wouldn’t be the first time though.  With that I tried to recruit as many people as possible to run with me … It was for a good cause – Run to Eradicate Polio.  I know … Polio?  Yes.  Polio.  Not all third world countries have eradicated this disease, and it still afflicts many children rendering them with paralysis.  Read about polio here.

The race was to be held Memorial Day Monday morning.  This normally would not be an issue, except for the fact that I will have worked all weekend long … and this included the Sunday night before the race.  12 hours, on my feet.  Hmmmm.  I’ve done it before, just not to where I’m cutting it so close.  Start time was 0800, and I get off work at 0730 and I work about 20 minutes away … Yeah.  Lucky for me, although the night was busy,  I was able to  leave work a few minutes early and hightail it over to the race start.  The running/race Gods were with me … because there was no traffic, and parking was not an issue!

Linda and I ... =)
Panda Girl Erika, Linda, and I ... Pre race.

I met my running buddy, Linda V., at Starbucks by the movie theater.  She had a last minute race cancellation on Saturday, so she decided to run with me that morning.  My friend, Erica decided at the last minute to run also, so she met us close to the start because she needed to finish registering.

This was an inaugural race.  Usually, that word “inaugural” is synonymous with “lots of issues.”  That day, I found none.  It was cool, but not freezing cold.  We were greeted warmly by Fleet Feet owner, Tony Vice, and by the director of On Your Mark Events.  The opening speech by Kerry Kreuger was inspiring, as was the countdown to the start by a woman stricken with polio as a child.  It was nice to know that the race was put on to raise funds for a good cause.  This race had a 5 and a 10K … I had signed up to run the 10K.  Eek!

The race for me, was actually not a bad race.  The course is FLAT as can be, and it’s part of other courses of races that I had run in downtown Stockton before, so it was slightly familiar.  It started at DeCarli Square, right in front of the movie theater between El Dorado and Center Streets.  Surprisingly, I was “awake” and ready to run.  Running a 10K is different from running a 5K or a half marathon.  It’s not quite all out balls to the walls, and it still must be run somewhat conservatively.  Per Squatch’s advice, I was to warm-up with the first mile, then progressively get faster.  I was not to look at mileage, but at time.  (i.e., I can run this in an hour. Only 1o minutes left.  Etc.)

It was a double loop run … but I didn’t feel too bad.  Erika and I ran together for the first three miles.  She’s faster than I am so I was pacing with her, trying to keep up with her, but something happened after we laughed and waved at the Good Day Sacramento Camera man … She started to fall behind.  Not far behind, but she was no longer beside me, and I was still running thinking the whole time that she would eventually blow by me.  At mile 3.5 my goal was to start targeting people and catch up to them and/or eventually pass them.  I waved to Erika to get her to get her back up beside me.  She was close, but I was alone in my game of cat and mouse.  I felt good, and I felt strong, so I just kept going.  At mile 5 I  knew that I had to gun it … so with each person that I caught up to, I encouraged them to come with me.  Only one did, and he raced me to the finish where I encouraged him to GO!  Literally as soon as crossed the finish line, I had an overwhelming sensation of needing to hurl!  That’s my indicator that I know I pushed hard.  My friend Linda caught my finish on video … super cool.  I need to figure out how to upload it …

Best part of the entire race … placing third in my age group.  I got BLING, baby!  In this race, bling only goes to the top 3 finishers in each age group.  It was a nice surprise!  10K, 55 minutes!

Race number 2.  Half marathon.  Saturday 04 June, 2011.  Brazen Racing’s Nitro Trail Half Marathon.  Mac and I registered for this race in February after the New Year’s Half marathon that we ran.  We enjoyed that one so we thought we’d run another.  Little did we know that June’s weather would be similar to that of our New Year’s Half.   Wow.

Too bad this wasn't on the registration ...
Running BFFs!

Pinole, California is located close to Richmond, in the Bay Area.  It’s a beautiful area.  I was thankful that my friend, Erika Rae offered to drive as I felt bad asking Chris to take the day off for me.  So off we went in Erika’s van  – Erika, her friends that she was able to convince to run, Cindy, and Christina, and my friend Judy.  We made it to Pinole with about 30 minutes to spare … enough time to use the portapotties and to grab our race bibs.  Whew!  I caught up with my running BFF, Mac, and our friend Mel just in time.  Thank God!  It was cold, and drizzly at the start, but it was all good.

We all started together.  It was funny how we all laughed at the lady who suggested that we take a course map along with “a plastic baggie to keep it warm.”  Huh?  The map?  What about us?!  Really?  The course was literally loops – one little, two med, or two of each … Ah, I can’t remember!  We lost Judy and Mel, then Erika by mile 3.  It was

"Look! Camera! Let's start running!"

Mac and I together for the remainder of the run which was fine by us.  We were just running to run and to be together.  Plus, that course wasn’t easy with the weather conditions, multiple loops causing dizziness, and some hills.  Seriously … mile 3 was uphill into a headwind. Mile 5 was severe wind blowing from the left side.  There were multiple muddy parts that we were lucky not to slide into or slip.  The best part?  Having to do it again …

Mac and I spend a lot of time catching up.  I love my Mac, she’s an awesome running BFF.  I don’t get to see her nearly enough, but I hear from her at least once a day!

The trail run was nice.  It started POURING buckets by mile 11 until the finish!  We walked a little here and there, enjoyed the scenery, and the company.  We love Brazen Racing.  They have the best aid stations – always smiling volunteers, lots of water, Gu, gummy bears, cookies, chips … seriously, at every aid station.  Mac and I finished at about the 2:30 mark.  This was an improvement from our New Year’s half which was almost 3 hours!  Lol!

And lastly … Race #3 … See Jane Run, Alameda, CA.  Sunday 05 June 2011.

This race was a crazy idea that I had while on the spin bike next to Erika Rae.  What was I thinking?  I don’t believe that I was thinking.  I believe that I was oxygen deprived.  She was telling me how she was not going to be able to run for the next 3 months and how she was gonna miss running, etc.  So I blurted out, “Well, let’s finish it off with a BANG and run a back to back!”  I was kidding, but again, I wasn’t.  Usually my mouth thinks faster than my mind does and it usually speak the truth.  So I’m sure that this was not an error on the part of my brain that controls the part of my tongue that gets bitten when it wants to say something stupid!  I already decided I was “IN” and registered that day after talking it over with my hubby who thought it was a good idea.  What?  Erika was not in … she had another obligation that she had already comitted to do.  However at the last minute … something happened and she was able to go.  So she registered at the last minute, and we headed off to packet pick up Saturday after our trail half.

Since Pinole, CA and Alameda, CA are close together, I thought for sure we’d have more of the same weather that we had on Saturday … I was prepared with a rain jacket, hat, etc.  Thankfully though, it was gorgeous, beautiful weather.  In fact, it was even a little hot in the mid 60s!  We both took separate cars since our hubbys and youngest children came along, and we were both LATE for different reasons.  (Note:  Erika and I both run on the same schedule, and we are chronically late individuals.  Together we make a great team, but, geez, we have to get our Filipino and Mexican timing down in the future!)

We arrived at the venue with a few minutes to spare.  I had enough time to run to the bathroom, then find Erika.  Once we found each other, we had enough time to sprint to the start.  Starting at the back of the pack is not normally our deal, because we despise weaving in and out of walkers, etc., but at this point we really had no choice.  We were both slightly tired from our run the previous day, so we were happy to mill along at a somewhat slower pace.  (Her “slow” is my gasping, just so you know.)

For the entire run we were basically side by side which was nice.  We did minimal talking because, well, for me, I was trying to “conserve” my energy.  The course was basically flat, and the scenery wasn’t dismal, but it wasn’t all that exciting except when we got out by the water.  A lot of people complained about running thru the industrial part of town, but it was such a small part of the course.  I grew up in Alameda.  I love that town, and I wish that I could spend some time there just getting reacquainted and visiting old stomping grounds.  Getting back to the run itself though, I felt as if I was holding Erika back.  I felt as if she could have gone much faster, and she should have.  She should not have “waited” for me, but for some reason, I don’t believe that she was.  Her goal is never to “just finish.”  Erika Rae is super uber competitive … she kicks ass all the time.  But she stuck by me for the entire time.  We finished within seconds of each other which was awesome.  She had a mean kick, and my strides are so much shorter … lol!

Haulin' a$$ to the finish ...

I have to say that the weather was perfect.  Had we not been so tired, I am sure that we both could’ve PR’d with this race!  We had fun though.  We spent some time milling around the post-race expo collecting freebies and our champange glasses filled with chocolate.

One complaint that I have was that there was no accessible water at the finish … we had to stand in line.  Seriously?  Water should have been handed out at the finish along with our medals!!!  The line for water and food post-race was LONG and moving slowly!  Geez!  Also, some of the medals that people received were not the correct medals for the race that they had run.  Meaning that some individuals who ran the half got a 5K medal, and vice versa!

I have to give Erika Rae props!  She ran the exact three races that I ran and did a rockin’ kick ass job

RowCoon and The Panda Girl

gettin’ it done.  She is one of the very few individuals who will help me execute some crazy ideas!!!  Let me tell you, I have some really off the wall ideas and she never (well, hardly ever) tells me that I’m insane, she usually eggs me on to get me to think of more.  Oh, but don’t let think that I’m alone in this, she has some crazy ideas herself, and she is just as OCD about working out as I am!  She’s an awesome workout partner … so THANK YOU, E-Rae! (I’m throwin’ gangsta signs at this point.)

Running back to back half marathons seems like cake now that I have done it, but in the past I never would have even imagined that running 13.1 miles would be a piece of cake, let alone on two days in a row.  What I have learned is that my body is pretty amazing.  I’ve learned that I am stronger than I believe that I am.  Running 13.1 miles …. pssssh!  I can do that in my sleep!  I know that it seems ridiculous to some, and unfathomable to others, but seriously, if I can do it, anyone can.  It’s a mind game.  You body, and those that you tell that you’re going to do it, will tell you that you’re insane … but if you believe that you can, then you WILL.  My mind told my body that it really didn’t have a choice, that it was going to do this, and then it told my body that it could, that it was an amazing machine … and my body followed the instructions of my mind, believed it, then performed!  Your mind is a powerful thing … and where your mind goes, where your thoughts go, your body will follow.  Don’t ever believe that you can’t because you CAN … you just don’t want to!

Bling Bling, Baby ...

Three races … one week … DONE!

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Festival 500 Indy Mini Marathon 2011

Wow … Where do I begin with this post?  The Festival 500 Indy Mini Marathon.   This half marathon was chosen on a whim.  I saw it, I

This was taken by Brightroom. I love this pic!

thought about it, I asked my husband if it would be okay, then I registered.  I didn’t put that much thought into it which I should have.  I know!

My travel buddy!

Everyone always asks me, “Why Indianapolis?”  Well, the answer is easy … my brother, Joe, lives in Indy, so I made it a run with a dual purpose – visit my brother and run a half while I’m there!  I hadn’t been to Indy since 2006, and since then my brother has bought a new house and has a new girlfriend, etc.  The decision to go was easy,  just the logistics was not, but I made it work.  I was fortunate enough that my husband had some frequent flier mileage that he got on his new SouthWest Visa Card, and that my daughter’s ticket was fairly inexpensive.  So we were off on a girl’s adventure!

We left on a Monday so we had plenty of time before the race on Saturday.  We didn’t do much while in Indy, just hung around my brother’s house because he had to work and it would’ve been crazy to ask him to take vacation days off to spend time with us.  Besides, I didn’t want to do much other than chill out, and neither did Grace (she just didn’t know it then).  We loaded up of groceries and necessities and just holed up for a few days!  It was nice to just do nothing!

Course map ... where's my GPS?

My brother and his girlfriend, Lucy, did take the day off on Friday so we could explore the expo.  The expo was held at the Indianapolis Convention Center as it was a large event with many (try 30,000 runners).  Packet pickup was well organized.  They sent out postcards with our bib numbers already on them, so all one had to do was head to the correct line with your bib #.  Fast and easy.  I always love perusing the vendors at the marathon expos.  They almost always have great deals and there are always good race discounts.  The last time I went to one, I entered all of the drawings because my running BFF did, and I ended up winning a bunch of stuff so I did it again, and once again won a bunch of stuff – Free pizza, a boat trip down the Ohio River, a stay at a resort,

Checkered flag! =)

water bottle, etc.  Not bad.  It was while I was at the expo that I learned that one of my Twitter buds, @alamarcavada, was running this event.  Unfortunately, I was literally walking out as she was walking in, so we didn’t get to meet.  We were able to exchange numbers and were going to meet at the start or at the finish for sure!  I wanted to meet @halftrain while I was there also, but that didn’t happen either!

Carb loading happened at one of my favorite places … Buca di Beppo!  Love that place … tons of carbs, and more carbs.    The food is awesome, and you know that carbs and I are BFFs … well, except my hips don’t think so!  Lol!  Oh well … I love their food!  The rest of the day was pretty uneventful.  My brother and Lucy took out Grace and I just chillaxed some more after I laid out my race gear.

Race day, game face on!  Heehee!  It started at about 0500  I had my ususal reheated Starbucks Mocha (Triple, tall, NF, no whip), and my toasted bagel with peanut butter.  Start time was 0700 and we weren’t sure about parking downtown, so we left at 0600.  Parking was not an issue.  Downtown Indy had lots of parking!  There were TONS of runners and spectators.  I expected chaos, but surprisingly there was NONE!  I thought I’d get lost trying to find the start, but I didn’t.  Everything

Hundreds and hundreds of porta potties!

was well marked, no one was panicking.  I met a really nice lady while waiting to use the porta potty who told me that this was her 10th Indy Mini race.  That was another thing … there were tons of porta-potties!  When I had to go right before my corral reached the start, there was no issue, no long ass line like there usually is at races!

Beach ball warm up! So cool. I tossed my daughter one when I took off!

I was in Corral M … so you can imagine how many people there are.  The corrals are arranged in the order that you registered, NOT by how fast you are.  I registered “late” in November for this race.  I loved how there was time to warm up and get acclimated to the weather, and how my family could find me easily.  I love how we played beach ball while we waited at the start!  It was fun!

Mac imposter, but she made me feel as if I was running with her!

I was worried about running “alone,” however, I was able to spot a girl that had a “Mac-do”  – the crazy ponytails that my running buddy Mac sports at our races!  Too much fun.  It took about 15 to 20 minutes to get to the start once the gun went off!

While “racing” I’m not really racing.  To me it’s just running as I am only competing with myself.  I only strive to improve my own times as I know that that is where the real competition is … inside my head!  Running thru the streets of Indy was amazing!  The weather was perfect – cool in the high 50’s to 60’s with some drizzle.  I had no issue with crowding in the beginning … just running.

Super cool to be running on the track!
I'm not a good runner & photographer, but I tried.

I hit the midpoint on schedule as discussed with my awesome Coach @SpeedySasquatch.  My times were spot on, and I felt really good.  Mile 7 is where we were actually

On the Speedway!

running on the Indianapolis 500 Speedway!  It was such an awesome,awesome experience!  I even took a few self portraits of myself while running … !

Miles 9 – 11 is where it got a little “weird” for me.  I know, what am I talking about?  Well, I’m not exactly sure what happened.  It was almost as if I blacked out for those 2 miles or so because I don’t remember them at all.  Seriously.  I just remember that I was thinking that my playlist was kinda weird at the mile 9 marker, then the next thing I knew, I was at mile 11 with a huge gash on my leg bleeding.  I don’t remember falling, but I don’t remember how I got to mile 11 either.  It was as if I just blacked out, but kept moving.   So … not to worry, I’ve been working with my doctor on trying to figure out WTHeck happened.  I’m thinking that it’s either my thyroid that’s off, or my electrolytes were really off.  I really believe that it was my electrolytes.  I dunno.  Just know that I’m okay, and I’ll figure it out.

So … since I lost two miles, my times were slightly off.  Even though I somehow managed to keep moving, I guess I was

I love this pic!

moving slowly.  Oh well, at least I was upright, and not vertical or on an ambulance gurney, right?  And the gash wasn’t bad, but it did scar.  I wasn’t going to try to even make up the time difference.  At this point I just wanted to finish.  My finish time looks weird, but remember that I started like 15-20 min after the gun time, and I lost time when I passed out or something.   I looked good at the finish though … smiling for the camera …

Post Race Cheezin'!

The end was fun!  Lots of people!  Lots of crowd support – from random people on the street, to cheerleaders from every school, volunteers, bands on street corners.  There was more than enough water, and porta potties throughout the course.  While running to the finish, the announcer made

Team Sasquatch reppin' in Indy!

it seem as if you were racing each other to the finish!  You know, like you were a race car.  Fun!  It took awhile, but finally caught up with my Twitter friend, Alamar … OMG, she’s awesome and beautiful.  She finished that race like it was nothing, and she looked fab!

Would I run it again?  Heck yeah!  That race was fun!  I’m thankful that my brother let us stay and chill out at his house.  I’m thankful that the weather was nice.  And I’m thankful that whatever happened from miles 9-11 were not that serious.  I loved that race!  Just don’t tell Chris that I already signed up for 2012 and am hoping that things workout so that I can make it back there again. =)  Thanks for a great race, Indy!!!

Fresno Eye-Q Half Marathon

It’s been a busy month for me, this month of May.  I opened my eyes and it’s just about over now as we are in its last full week!  Wow!  So much to write, so little time.

Last weekend was my second half for the month for me.  (Since I’m a very S L O W blogger, it’s now 3 weekends ago!)  I’d never really done that before.   I take that back, I have, just not “formally” as in signing up for a race.  I’ve logged as many as 150 miles/month, so running 2 13.1 mile races is a piece of cake!  I haven’t done it in the past because it can wreck havoc on a family schedule and also a schedule in which one works every other weekend.  However, one race was a “must run,” while the other one was one in which I had the opportunity to see my college boy, and spend the weekend meeting new Twitter friends, and seeing an “old” one.  Win/Win!!

Fresno … Ah, what’s good to say about Fresno?  Probably not much as I live in it’s cousin city, Stockton.  That’s another blog in itself, so we’ll save that for another day.  Fresno is located in the middle of California’s Central Valley, and I didn’t realize that it was so HUGE!  I mean HUGE!  It has a population of about half a million people for gosh sakes!  Yeah, that’s huge!  From what I know and have experienced of Fresno, it’s like any other California city … it has its good and bad points and parts.  I’m not a good one to comment as I have not really spent any real quality time there.  I know that it’s the home of the Fresno State Bulldogs (Go Dogs!), and that it’s HOT there.

I’m not sure how I even found this race.  Probably from my time spent trolling websites looking for races to run.  Wait, I remember … I was looking for biking events for my hubby to participate in as he’s new to biking and was looking for organized rides.  This particular race was made into an entire weekend … The Eye Q California Classic Weekend.  I thought it would be fun if my husband could ride on Saturday, and I could run the half on Sunday.  It ended up that I would be the only one participating as for some reason he didn’t sign up.  Oh well … that was okay with me.  I sent out the link to my friend, Linda, who spends a lot of time in Fresno and asked if she would consider running with me.  That link was consequently viewed by Penny (@southbaygirl) who convinced Kristy (@kristylpants) and a weekend was planned!

We left for Fresno on Saturday morning.  Uneventful drive, one short stop to get gas and some In and Out Burger  for some much needed fuel of a different source.  (Yeah, I know it’s not exactly the right source of nutrition, but the burgers are awesome and the french fries are to die for so bite me!)  One and half hours later we’re in Fresno looking for our hotel and getting lost in the not so finest part of town!  Good times for Chris and I  as he wants to throttle me more times than he let’s on as I am so NOT a good navigator!  In my defense, I have never claimed to be a good navigator, nor do I ever want to be.  The majority of the time on our road trips, I can be found sleeping in a reclined passenger seat, reading, or messin’ around with my iPhone.  If it’s truly a navigator that he wanted, then it’s what he got the Garmin for, right?  That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.

45 minutes later, we find the Holiday Inn that we’ve booked for the weekend, but it’s too early to check in.  We park in front of the Casino next door, and we head out to packet pick up at Chuckchansi Stadium … Home of the Fresno Grizzlies!  Really?  Yep, true story.

Chuckchansi Stadium - Home of the Fresno Grizzlies
Chillin' like a villian as I wait for Penny and Kristy.

Packet pick up was no expo …. just a very small event with a couple high school girls handing out bib numbers, and a few volunteers handing out the goodie bags and tech shirts.  I walk up to pick up mine, only to be informed that the only size shirt in womens that they have is a large!  What?  Are you kidding me?  When I registered, I requested a small shirt and you’re telling me that you only have a large?  Minor SNAFU … let it go.  It’s not like I wear my tech shirts anyway!  Penny and Kristy were close to arriving to Fresno, so I told them that I would wait.  No big deal.  I rummage through the goodie bag to find absolutely nothing exciting!  Lucky for me, Penny and Kristy arrived a few minutes later.  To me, it’s always such a nice feeling to meet people that I have been communicating with via Twitter and/or Facebook.  It reminds me so much of the pen pals that I had when I was a child, however, I have yet to meet them IRL (in real life).  After introductions, we head off to our Hotel – the Holiday Inn – which is within walking distance from the race start.

At the Holiday Inn Hotel Lobby - Impersonating Lonette the Clown from the Big Comfy Couch.

After we get settled, I call my son, Sam, who is a Junior at Fresno State University.  Penny, Kristy, and I had plans to meet up with our friend, Linda, later, so I suggested to Chris that we take Sam out to eat as I knew that he would be hungry.  He was.  We ended up walking around close to where we were staying and asked a Police Officer his suggestion for a good lunch spot … He suggested a sports bar up the way called     .  Good choice in terms of food, just the service was somewhat slow and, no, it was not busy at all.  We got caught up with Sam, and headed back to the hotel where I got ready to go to dinner (I know, I just ate), and Chris and Sam were to spend some time together doing what Sam enjoys … playing poker at a local casino.

Penny, Linda, Me, & Kristy
Five Restaurant, Fresno, CA
OMG! Carb loading at it's finest!

Dinner with Linda was at a restaurant called Five.  Italian fare, perfect for pre-race carb loading.  Linda was there, along with her “Harley Guy,” Bill.  Conversation was great, and the company was even better!  I ended up ordering a seafood pasta with red sauce which was absolutely delicious!  Alas, race day the next day was a bright and early 0700 so as much as we were having fun, it was time to head on back and get some rest.

No issues with me.  I got back, laid out my race outfit, and called it a night.

Race day.  Game face on!  Gah!  I had no “real” pre-race nutrition!  I did have a banana, and a coffee, but I was hoping for my usual bagel and peanut butter.  I had to make do with some of my left over pasta, and my banana and coffee, which seemed to satisfy me enough.  I get a text from Penny that they were ready to head out at 0615.  Perfect timing!  I’m ready to go!  The excitement between the three of us is evident.  We have our complimentary Punk Rock Racing gear on from our friend Ron (@PunkRockRunner).  We are happy to be representing our friend!  I’m even happier that Ron was able to make it white with purple!  Awesome!  We head to the start to be amongst the others who anxiously await the start.

The race began on time.  It started early because they feared that the weather – which is normally HOT at this time of year for Fresno, would once again creep up to some high temps.  Thankfully, it did not.  It was around the low to mid 60s the entire time which was perfect for me.  By looking at the course map, I thought for sure I’d get lost running thru the streets of Fresno, but I knew that I’d be okay because I’d be with other runners – some ahead of me, some behind me, but I knew that unlike small trail races, I’d never really be “alone.”   I “lost” Penny and Kristy at the start.  They were going to run together.   The run was surprisingly nice for me, but it got even better at around the half mark because this is where we entered the Fresno Zoo!  Wow!  It was perfect for me that the first animals that I saw were kangaroos, zebras, and giraffes.  If you’re wondering why, it’s because my father always loved Australia and always brought me back something from there that was animal themed.  I still have a koala coin purse that he brought me when I was around 8 or 9.  Running among those animals reminded me of my dad, and how he loved to watch me run!  I needed that at this point.  Not that I was struggling or anything, just sometimes I think I’m forgetting my dad when it’s only been 3 years.  It was kind of a nice to remember that his memory surrounds me.

The rest of the run was fairly “easy” for me.  I was pretty much on track hitting about 10 -1030 min/miles which I was happy with.  I still have a lot of plantar fascitis issues, and I could feel my left foot and ankle a little, but not enough to bother me.  I knew that I was a little off in my gait, but I still ran fairly well.  My friend, Linda, told me later that she was at the mile 12 marker, however I didn’t see her.  I think she got there late and I had already finished.  I would’ve loved to have seen her, she is the BEST race cheerleader!!!

I loved that race.  Not only was it a good run for me, but I so enjoyed meeting my Twitter friends!  I have met some really nice people on there and meeting them in real life is a bonus!  The *blng* (medal) was nice, as was the post race fueling!  Com’mon … Stone Cold!  Heck yeah!  There was also beer, and the usual fare of bagels, and bananas, but Stone Cold was definately my fav!  The only complaint that I have was that I did not see one porta-potty out on the course.  Seriously, not one!  Lucky for me, I was smart enough to use the one at the zoo, but really, not one out on the course.  The water stations were pretty scarce, too, but I can’t remember.  I have been trying to teach myself to run without a water belt, so I have only been carrying a very mini one from iFitness which I LOVE.  However, did you know that Nuun, the flavored water tabs, will explode under pressure?  OMG!  I didn’t, or I wasn’t paying any attention that they were effervescent so I put one in my water bottle when I refilled it at one of the stations.  At mile 10 when I wanted a sip … I got a face full!!!!  Holy cow!  Thank God I am able to laugh at myself because I’m sure it was amusing to all those around me who heard me yell out then bust out laughing!

Would I run it again?  Yes!  It was a very nice run.  I enjoyed myself!  So … Fresno … see you in 2012!

My New Friends - Penny & Kristy
It's all about the *bling*!

Inaugural Stockton Half Marathon – Race Report

It only seemed right that if my city was having a half marathon, that I should run it.  I felt obligated.  Regardless if there was another half marathon in a prettier area of California, I felt obligated to run in my city, and since I’m not much of a traveller – more like homebody – I decided that I would stay home and run the half that was 3 miles away.

I had decided to run this half early in the year when I first heard that it was in the works.  Although Stockton is not in the best part of California, it has much to offer if the City government would kick itself into gear.  This half marathon was a good idea – great for the morale of the City which is waning, and great for publicity.

Mac really wanted to run Big Sur’s Half-Marathon, and that was actually on the list, but like I said, when I heard that Stockton was having one, I couldn’t let my city down.  So … Stockton it was.

MiniRow ... Ready To Goooo!

The morning of the half was cold – 49 degrees or so, but it was nice.  The skies were clear, and the energy at the start was contagious and fun!  Chris had driven Mac and I to the event where we were able to meet up with some of our friends …

Mac, Laura, and I. Laura was able to PR this race! She rocked!
Me and Jenn - She was celebrating her 40th by running her first Half Marathon!
Me and Judy ...

The course was actually a nice run thru mid Stockton.  It took us down March Lane, thru the University of the Pacific, then thru the neighborhood of Brookside.  It’s all pretty much thru the areas where I have run, and I was very familiar with the area.  Flat and fast.

The first six miles of the course were uneventful.  I thought that my foot would be bothering me, and I felt it here and there but it was tolerable and I could run 9:30 to 10:00 miles.  For the first 10k, I felt good, I felt strong and I was able to run a sub-60, and I was happy.  Then the unexpected happened …

Traffic was NOT completely closed to all traffic.  I can understand that it was impossible to close off all traffic, but this police officer manning this area had apparently caught a lot of heat from drivers who were waiting … and waiting … so he decided to stop the runners and let the traffic through right when Mac and I arrived at his post!  WTF?  2 minutes we waited.  2 whole minutes!  But what could we do?  Nothing.  We couldn’t go around, we couldn’t go thru, nothing.  It wasn’t anything serious, just a big annoyance.

Once we got going again, we were now running through the neighborhood of beautiful Brookside.  There were lots of support in the means of homeowners who came out on their lawns, and people who just parked and waited for their runners to come by.  For the most part, everyone was supportive.  Surprisingly, it was the volunteer support who offered NO support.  Mac pointed out that they were too busy twirling their hair, or talking on their cell phones … everything except supporting the runners!  At one point, Mac yelled out to one kid, “Good job supporting us!”  And I gave her the side slap!  I just don’t think that these kids really knew what to do, and most kids don’t have the common sense to know that, “Oh, I should support and cheer these runners on.  They need motivation.”

Ms V with her AWESOME sign! (I thought it said, "Go Row Row! But really it says, "Go Row & Ron!")
Ms V was kind enough to let Grace hold the sign! She had fun cheering for all the runners!

At mile 9, I thought I saw a sign with my name on it.  And as I got closer, I saw that it was my daughter holding the sign, and I was ever so happy to see my hubby and my daughter, and then Linda (@MsV1959) who made the sign!  At that point I was feeling strong and I was still beside Mac.

MACHine & MiniRow looking STRONG at Mile 9!!!

Mile 11 is where my wheels started to  flatten out.  I really wasn’t tired, but I started to run crooked.  I started out with my plantar fascitis injury on the left foot, and as I ran and it bothered me, I started to compensate and I could feel it.  I was still doing okay, maintaining, but it was now starting to really hurt as I ran.

Mile 12 … the wheels were wanting to come off.  Mac was able to pull away slightly … not that far.  I could see her just ahead of me by about 30 seconds or so.  But with each step it hurt a little more.  I didn’t slow down much, and I continued to push.  I knew that the finish was *right* there, and as much as I wanted to slow down, I would not let myself.

The finish line was amazing.  Lots of people lined up … family and friends cheering me in!  What a happy finish!  It wasn’t stellar, but for being injured and not training, I thought that my time of 2:14 was a great time!  Plus I subtracted the 2 minutes that I stood waiting for the cars to go by, and the minute that it took to get to the actual start!

Pros of this race:  It was a great inagural race in my home city.  I ran it with my friends, many of whom I inspired to run – Judy, Cory, and Jennifer!  I knew lots of people running, and lots of people on the course.  The water and aid stations were well placed.  The weather was perfect – cool enough.  No real issues with parking.  Nice small race of about 1,000 people.  There was lot of police volunteers and staff manning the course.   The post race nutrition was a plenty – Pizza, Pop Chips, granola bars, gatorade, water, apples, bananas!  Lots of food.  There was a live band there also.  My family was able to track me and follow me, and meet me at certain places to cheer me on!  I absolutely thrived and came alive when someone who recoginzed me yelled out my name and encouraged me to go on!  =)

Cons of this race:  Support offered by the kids who volunteered was minimal.  I ran without my own water pack – something that I will never do again.  I know that this isn’t the race’s fault, I just like having my own water when I want it, or when I need it!  I thought that there could have been just a few more porta-potties on the course.  I wanted to stop, but not to wait and go.  The course was not closed to all traffic.  The police officer having to stop the runners was just insane!  Obviously he was not a runner, and he was seriously getting it from both sides – the runners and the drivers!

Would I run it again?  Yes!  I would run it again!  I thought it was a great race, and I did have a lot of fun!

Pickin' runners off at the finish line ...
Me, Cory, & Mac sportin' the bling!!! So proud of Cory - she ROCKED her first half!
The Cool Kids! MiniRow, PunkRockRunner, & MACHine!
Christina - Ms. Sub 2, and I! She totally rocked this half!

Bobbing Headlights – Modesto MN Half Report

MACHine and MiniRowRow

It was our “Runniversary,” Mac and I.  We ran the Inagural Modesto Midnight Half last year as our first year together, and decided that we would run it again this year.  I love that Mac and I run together virtually.  We live not “that” far apart (1.5 hours), however, it’s not easy for us to just pick up and drive to where the other is to run.  We check up on each other via text messaging and FaceBook, and have started running one half-marathon every month together beginning this year.

Where to begin … It wasn’t a bad race, just more things that need to be ironed out.  Not very many people found it easy to run in the dark, and found the race very unorganized.  True, it’s night and it’s dangerous, but it’s a chance that we take when we sign up for a race like this.

I, myself, enjoyed the course this year.  Last year was two dark loops of the same route.  BAD as some of it was in a dark, very DARK area of Modesto that was NOT in a good area.  This year, the course was one big loop.  I don’t like running loops myself, so to only have to run one big loop was a big plus for me.  The darkest part of the course was around mile 5-6ish  – which was behind the high school.  There were street lights that were there, but for some reason, maybe budget issues, these lights were not turned on.  That would have solved some of complaints right there as that section of the run was PITCH BLACK.  Even with those of us wearing headlamps, it was not enough to light up a good section of running path.  I could see enough in front of me to know where to step, but seriously, someone could get injured there easily as it was too dark.

Dark Street + Unclosed Road To Traffic = Potential DISASTER!

Complaint #2 – the roads were NOT closed to traffic.  Let’s see … dark route + traffic = very HIGH potential for disaster (i.e. runner v. vehicle).  Not good.  Granted, the Modesto Police Department was out in full force, and stopping traffic for the runners where traffic was high, however it was NOT a great idea to just have cones blocking a lane of traffic for runners.  That was not fun.  Worrying about running in the dark is bad enough, but to have to worry about the potential for getting hit by a car increases ones anxiety ten-fold!  Not cool at all.

Complaint #3 –  There was a lack of aid and water stations.  At mile 3, Mac and I saw a man down, surrounded by his family as I heard one of them ask, “Dad, can you hear me?”  Mac had asked if someone had called for EMS, but they appeared slightly confused and finally answered that they had and waved us on.  We continued on with our run, but worried in the back of our minds that something serious had happened to that gentleman as he did not look well at all.  As far as water stations, there were water stations at every 2nd mile or so starting at about mile 4, I believe.  However, at the mile 6 station, there were only 5 – 5 gallon water jugs and when Mac asked if there was water, the girl standing close by said, “Uh, yeah … you can fill up your water here.”  It was then that I pointed out to Mac that they were 5 gallon jugs and started laughing!  We carry our own water when we run, but Mac had depleted her bottle and she needed more.  I guess I just didn’t drink mine all yet, however when we came back around to the station there were attendants there who were diligently filling up cups and handing them out.  Mac was able to refill her bottle, and I grabbed a cup to cool myself off as I doused it on the back of my head and back.

The weather was awesome.  Probably around 66ish, with clear skies.  The moon was incredible, but NOT enough to light up any path as the event organizers had hoped.  As I am a nocturnal being, this was okay with me.  I function well at night and in the dark which is probably one reason why I did well.  With that said, the remainder of this blog will be on how I felt during this race.

Linda and the very cool sign she made for me.

 

Last year I finished the half in 2:26:xx.  This year, I finished in 2:12:xx, an improvement of 14 minutes!  My instructions for this race were as follows:  3mile warm up, race the Half,  2mile cool down.  What?  I have to run before and after?  Are you kidding me?  No, Coach Speedy Sasquatch was NOT kidding.  Okay, I do as instructed so I tell Mac the plan and we hit it.  We run the 3 mile warm up in about 30 minutes with enough time to gear up to run the Half.  As we are gearing up, I get a call from my friend Linda (@MsV1959) and she tells me that she’s at the Modesto Centre Plaza and come meet her.  It was so nice to see Linda and to finally meet another Twitter friend, Laura (@NICURNMama)!  Linda had made a sign for me that sincerely touched my heart!  No one had ever done that for me before and it made me happy to see it!

In the beginning, I thought that the 3 mile warm up would be a disadvantage to me.  I believed that I would be tired from it and that I wouldn’t perform well.  In actuality, it did not hinder my performance at all.  I didn’t feel tired throughout the race.  I did hear my head try to tell my body that it was tired, but I told my head which told my body, “There’s nothing wrong with you.  Nothing.  Your breathing is even and non labored.  Your shoes fit and your feet don’t hurt.  You’re hydrated.  Your stomach doesn’t hurt.  There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with you, so GO!”  And I went.  There were a few times when my body wanted to falter and slow down, however I would repeat the mantra again to myself and my body believed it and kept going.

I was happy to be running well.  My last half (July) was a disaster and I thought that I was done running then!  “Trust the training,” was my other mantra of the night.  I have to say that I am thoroughly enjoying working with Speedy Sasquatch!  He’s been awesome in getting my plans out to me, and answering my gazillion questions and concerns.  He is a great motivator and cheerleader, and I like that in my Coach!

Linda, Mac, & I =) The Headlights Work!

Despite all of its issues, I still feel that this event could be a really great event.  I know that running in the dark is not for most people.  I enjoyed it.  And as usual, I enjoyed running with Mac.  I loved how people really went with the theme of lighting themselves ups.  If we decide to run this again next year, I am sure that we will also plan to light ourselves up with strings of lights, etc.  We were thankful to gotten some really cool headlamps that my hubby, Chris, was thoughtful enough to get for us … it was fun watching my headlamp and the headlamps of those who ran with me bob up and down making for some really interesting shadows.  Will I run it again next year?  Most likely, yes.  As I said, I enjoyed the course, and I do enjoy running in the dark.

I know that this post is 1.5 months late … It had been written almost immediately, however, as I’m new to blogging, I had to figure out how to add pics, and etc.  I told my son that I was probably too old to be doing such a thing as blogging, but it’s kinda fun, and I LOVE reading what everyone else posts.  I’m not a natural storyteller, I’m more of a rambler … and have a tendency to drone on and on …

***Oooooh … Update on the gentleman that went down at mile 3.  He’s fine.  He said that he had been running, felt a little dizzy, and that’s all that he remembered!  He was VERY fortunate in that there was a doctor who happened to be running behind him who witnessed the entire scene and was able to render actual CPR.  The gentleman was transported to a local ER, then transferred out and had a pacemaker placed!  Geez!  He was all smiles and said to be doing well for the interview for the paper!  I’m happy for him!  Thank God!

Dead Last

It’s one of the most common fears when signing up for and entering a race:  coming in last place.  I can now say that I have the honor of holding that position in the last race that I ran.

Date: 03 July 2010.  Location:  Vallecito, CA.  Name of Event:  Hernia Hills  a.k.a. Half From Hell!  Time It Took To Place Dead Last: 2:37:25

I don’t even know if I want to write about it, so I will just write what comes to mind.

I have many goals and aspirations.  I set my sights and bars high, probably too high in the opinion of many.  However, I expect a lot from myself, and I am the hardest on myself when it comes to punishment and self-berrating.  I expect myself to do well, and to produce results … All.  The.  Time.

So what happens when my goals aren’t reached or fall short?  I can honestly say that I do beat myself up internally.  It’s difficult for me not to.  It wasn’t even a “bad” time … just a slow one, and I finished!  Com’mon, Row., what the hell?  Can’t you just be happy with that?  That run was difficult to say the least, but you were out there, you did your best, and you finished.  End of story.  There was no “DNF” by your name … there was a time!

I know.  I know.  I know.  I get that.  I understand it.  I should not be ashamed.  I should be proud of myself, and I am.  I am very proud of myself.  To be my age and to still look as good as I do, to be in the shape that I am in, and to be as fit and healthy as I am … I get it.  But … but … but … there’s always a “but.”  There are those who were not out there, didn’t even try, laughed at the name of the race.  There are those who literally sat on their couch, or laid in bed while YOU were out there, Row.  There are those who can only wish that they could attempt to do what you do.  There are those who wish that they could walk, or sit up, or let alone move a finger, breathe on their own.  What you accomplished was AMAZING, Row.   Let it be, Row.  Leave it alone.  Let it go …

Dead Last Finish is greater than Did Not Finish, which trumps Did Not Start.

There should be no tears.  There is no crying.  You finished with a time … End.  Of.  Story.