Friday, February 25, 2011

Running in Wonderland!

No Cinderella in Blue..
Sleeping beauty, keep your pink
If I'm going to be a princess...
It's gonna be Tink!!!!

For the Disney Princess half marathon I'll be running dressed as Tinker Bell!!! Why Tink? She's little and feisty! I leave in the morning to head to the most magical place in the universe-- Disney World! I couldn't find an adult tinker bell costume so I found a little girls dress and turned it into a skirt. Creative huh? 

Since I need to do 23 miles on Sunday I'll run the full course then double back 5 miles each way. So if you're out on the course keep an eye out for a little person dressed in green and wings! 

A BIG thank you to Track Shack in Orlando, FL for letting me into the race after it was closed out! And another HUGE thank you to Arctic Ease for flying me down to be part of this fun event. 

Oh and for those of you that are about to say "Stephanie, Tinker Bell isn't really a princess!" I say...Eat my pixie dust!!!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

New Challenges...

... because clearly I don't have enough!!! My 2 main goals right now are to 1) finish up my 50 states (1 to go!) and train hard for Western States 100 in June. Due to training/mileage requirements and my inability to say "no" to people when they ask me if I want to run a race-or go anywhere for that matter- I've added a few challenges to keep it fun!

From next weekend going forward my training log requires me to run at LEAST a full marathon distance on Saturday followed by a long run on Sunday. So to keep it fun I like to mix it up and find new and interesting challenges to keep me entertained. What have I taken on now?

1) Spread My Wings! This weekend I'm running the Disney Princess Half marathon. Of course this isn't long enough so I'll be doing the half, then doubling back. Also... I'll be dressing up as Tinker Bell-- Wings and all!!!!

2) Double Trouble! I have 3 double "official" marathons/ultras. (I also have a number double marathon distance weekends that won't be official marathons). The doubles I have planned...
~Patriotic Double! ~ The National Marathon and Bataan Death March! ~ March 26-27
~Nash-inati Double! ~ Nashville CMM and Flying Pig Marathon ~ Apr 30-May1
~WS100 Memorial Day Training Weekend.... Day 1-30+, Day2-20, Day3-20! May 28-30
~Minnie Fun! (2 Minneapolis Marathons) ~ FANS 12 Hour and Minneapolis Marathon June 4-5

... Extra fun? I'd like to speed up my "double marathon" PR!

3) 50th State Celebration! In celebration of my 50th state I'll be running Boston dressed up in red, white, and blue-- including accessories! If you're going to be there keep an eye out for a patriotic crazy person!

4) Making Bet$! Coach Bob has made the foolish challenge of betting he can run a double marathon (CMM and The Pig) faster than me! When he loses he'll have to wear a running skirt-- shaved legs and all-- to our next group workout! Coach Bob~ consider this me officially calling you out... I'll be waiting at the finish of the pig with razor and skirt in hand. Looking forward to my victory party.

5) My First Relay! I'll be participating in my first ultra relay at the Ragnar Relay- Chicago with some Maniac buddies plus some new friends. It's a 200 miler split over either 12 or 6 people... we're in the "ultra" category because we're only using 6 people... that and we're kind of BAMFs!!!

So when people ask me how I don't get bored through all these races I guess I can say I have a lot on my mind considering all of the above. How do you keep your running exciting???

Happy Running,
"Fast girls have great times!" ~ Race Sign
"Run to Win" ~ Meb

Maui Oceanfront Marathon ~ Race Ratings (#48)

Tag line: 
"A great vacation with a 26.2 mile interruption"
Maui Oceanfront Marathon ~ January 23, 2011
Maui, HI ~ Wailea to Old Lahaina Town.
Type: 100% Road
Year Running: 3rd
Registration Fee: $90-$120
Charity Race? Yes! All of the charities contribute by volunteering on the course aid stations. 
Runners:  281... Females: 120
Available Races: Marathon, Half-Marathon, 15k, 5k
Average Finish Time: 4:39:08
BQ %: 12.1%

Overall Race Ratings: 4.0/5.0

Average Calculated Rating: 4.0/5.0
~ This marathon provides pretty much everything you expect for a tropical marathon-- beaches, whale watching, warm weather, palm trees and volcanoes. It's also more challenging than you expect as most of it runs uphill. Go for the fun, the beauty and the people, not the speed!

Race Director: Let's play race director...
~ The first change I would make is providing the option for transportation to the start as that is where a lot of the nicer resorts are. Provide the option to pay $10 more for a shuttle from the finish and it would be cheaper than paying the buses/taxis to get back to the start. The shirt is a little on the weak side from what I expected, but it is from a local artist which is a nice touch... it could still use some work.

Event Organization: 3.6/5.0 (now broken into 2 parts, see below as well) As far as "event organization" we'll include things like Host hotel, website use, ease of travel to the event and to the actual race, etc.
Distance from Airport to Expo/Race: ~20 miles from OGG (less expensive) and down the street from the more expensive airport
Rental Car Required: Yes
~ This is a small race with a definite relaxed feel to just about every aspect except the finish. The website gives you the basic need to know information and emails are shot out a few days before the race. They do a good job of recommending host hotels and they give a really good discount at some of the nicer resorts (I'm talking like $250/night instead of $350-$400). You're in Maui so nothing is a cheap as other states and as a tourist you're expect to be nickle and dimed to death everywhere.

Getting to the start was easy as most of us stayed in Wailea. Getting back however was a challenge. They don't set up return shuttles so you need to carry money on you to take 2 public buses to get back. Oh and expect to carry money on you for the buses and post-race food because there are no bag drops at the start! What helps is that most runners bring family/friends (hey, its a trip to Hawaii!) and they bring them back as well as bring them extra clothes, food, money, etc. Tip: If you don't mind getting up very early drive to the finish and they have shuttles to the start very early in the morning! That way you have all your stuff at the end of the race!

Race Organization: 4.6/5.0
Hydration Color/Type: N/A
Gel Type/Flavors/Availability:  Cliff Shot Blocks/Mountain Berry/Almost every rest stop from 10 going forward.
~Post Race Food: .The post race food included a lot of fruit (yum) some bagels and chips. Nothing too crazy.
The start of the race includes a hawaiin ceremony with a traditional prayer ceremony. The people in their ceremonial garb led us to the start line to send us off. The first thing I noticed is that the mile markers run backwards!!! When  you get to 1.2 miles, the "25" mile marker is there because you have exactly 25 left to run. I believe this was so the countdown numbers could be used for both the full and half marathon. They were a little low on rest stops and there weren't many hiding places if you needed to go suddenly. There were, however, plenty of aid stations and they were full stocked with drinks, cliff shot blocks, and various other snacks. The aid stations also had various themes which sometimes included extras like a sprinkler area for when it got hot.

Course: 3.2/5.0
MarathonGuide Rating
Garmin Distance: 26.25
Type: 100% Road
~ Elevation Gain/Loss:
~ This is a point to point course that starts in Wailea to ends in Old Lahaina. It runs (mostly) along the ocean on one of their main roads. While it's still dark you run mostly through towns that are near the ocean then you're brought into this boggy swamp type area-- warning! Keep your mouth and eyes closed here or you will ingest many a bugs! PROTEIN YUM!!! After that you're brought out onto cliff areas where you have a pretty good climb as well as a pretty great views of whales breaching! Finally you come to Old Lahaina that's a cute touristy town. The finish runs you directly into the beach and Ocean for a true COOLdown in the water!

The Good? The sites are absolutely beautiful. Bring your camera for the oceans, volcanoes whales, and cute towns. Point to point gives you a pretty good mix of everything. I loved finishing right on the Ocean. If you're looking for a mildly challenging course this is it. But the good part is you're running away from the rising sun so that keeps you from dying in the 70+ degree weather toward the end!

The bad? Some people (ahem- MB!) had issues with "red sand"-- please note, I didn't noticed red sand, but along the cliffs on a downhill they were prone to slipping and SOME people ever sprained their ankle around mile 17. The beginning  (~7 miles) of the race isn't that great because 1) It's in the dark and there are very few street lights. You're running on the sidewalks and the ends are hard to see. 2) The towns are pretty boring and long straights with little turns. The bugs in the boggy area also weren't fantastic, but it didn't last too long.

Spectators: 4.0/5.0
~ This is not a huge spectator marathon unless you count the whales! Only part of the road is shut down for us and a lot of it runs along cliffs. However, with each aid station there were always a few spectators with signs, drums, music, etc. They were often leapfrogging their runners and yelling as they drove by. They were also having some sort of contest for rest stops. A lot of them were themed, which included a "break through the wall" one where you ran through sprinklers lined with fake cement walls. Very cool!

 Pace Group: NA/5.0
~ No pace groups here although they PROBABLY could have had a couple

Runner/Corrals: 5.0/5.0
~ No corrals needed here. Runners are very friendly-- but I think that has something to do with the fact that it's HAWAII!!!! This is one of the smaller Hawaii races and a lot of 50-staters and maniacs make up the crowd of runners. One of the best parts? The announcer says all of our names as we come in and makes a big deal out of each and every person running that is a 50 stater! I also had a chance to meet and run (a little) with Regina Joyce-- marathon Olympian. Too cool.

Expo: NA/5.0
~ No Expo-- in fact, you pick up your bib and chip at one of the director's condos. 

Swag: 4.0/5.0
~T-Shirts: The shirt is a sweat wick, light weight, nice shirt. However, the picture or "art" as they are calling it has a scantily clad woman on the front looking over the ocean. I feel like if I wear this, people might get the wrong impression of me? Note: This is from a local artist, so incorporating local artwork is definitely a plus in their direction... I would just advise they create a more gender neutral shirt? 3.4
The artwork blown up on the front of the shirt is pictured right -->
~Medals: I am a BIG fan of these medals. For a smaller race they really did a great job. It pulls in the features and the colors of Maui on this colorful ring with runners, the bridges, palm trees and the race name. Even the ribbon had a great teal coloring on it. Definitely one of my favorites! 4.6

~ Goodie Bag: No goodie bags here! 

Results: Stephanie
Chip Time: 3:40:56
Place: Overall- 32/281, Gender- 6/120, A/G (Open <40)- 6/NA

Happy Racing,
"Run to Win" - Meb

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Zoom Yah! Yah! Indoor Marathon ~ Race Ratings (#46)

Tag line: 
"150 Laps with Family!!!"
Note: Sorry it took awhile to get this one out... I was waiting on the customized shirt they send us a few weeks after the race! 
Northfield, MN~ St. Olaf College
Type: Indoor suspended track
Year Running: 6th
Registration Fee: $65
Charity Race? N/A
Runners:  39 Finishers ... 10 Females
Available Races: Marathon Only
Average Finish Time: *4:17:17*
BQ %: Non BQ Race (no indoor marathons)

Overall Race Ratings: 4.7/5.0

Average Calculated Rating: 4.6/5.0
~ What a great race with an excellent group of people from the directors to the runners, right down to the spectators and lap counters. If you can get into this marathon... TRY! Minnesota is cold in winter but beautiful. The organization is exceptional (especially in emergency situations) and you really feel like family by the end. Thanks Coach Dick for an awesome race! 

Race Director: Let's play race director...
~ Not much you can do about the bathroom situation but that was really the problem I could see. The medal could be worked on but for a lower cost marathon it really wasn't bad! 

Coach Dick- Zoom yah yah race director!
Event Organization: 4.9/5.0 (now broken into 2 parts, see below as well) As far as "event organization" we'll include things like Host hotel, website use, ease of travel to the event and to the actual race, etc.
Distance from Airport to Expo/Race: ~45 Minutes 
Rental Car Required: Yes!
~ Minneapolis is the closest airport and is a pretty good size so (depending on where you're coming from) prices shouldn't be too bad to fly to this race. There are only 40 runners allowed at this race so most information is actually sent directly to us via email and not centrally located on the website including all the "FAQ's" and prior year results. The director does a great job of staying in touch with us in the weeks and days leading up to the race. The town of Northfield is SO cute. The main road reminds me of a quaint old western town. We stayed at the Archer house which was very decently priced and had a charm to it that you can't get at a super 8! 

The school itself (St. Olaf College) is amazing. In the dead of winter with stone buildings it reminded me of some sort of ice castle. It was absolutely stunning. Speaking of the school... remember dorm food in college? Bump that up to 5-star level cooking in a buffet style and that was our pre-race dinner. It was amazing... and amazingly hard not to gorge myself with "bad for me" pre-race food. Also... GREAT medical attention!!!!

The bad part of the organization? They can only allow 40 runners so before you go planning on this race, remember that it's lottery based!!! And the number of applicants is growing every year!

Race Organization: 4.5/5.0
Hydration Color/Type: None
Gel Type/Flavors/Availability:  None
~Post Race Food: .There was a lunch planned with some of the local running clubs, but with the emergency interruption of the race, most people just went home post-race. There were PB&J sandwich stuff to use as well as some cookies if you stayed around a little at the field house. 

The race itself is incredibly organized. They don't provide drinks or gels, but they do provide 4 tables at each corner of the track for the runners to store anything they could ever want! They also provide each runner with their own student! No!, not to take home but to count our laps for us. Not only did they count for us, but they also provided an incredible support system cheering for us every lap. The other great aspect of this race was that the director provided us a paper to put our names on and pin to our backs. This was great as we got to know each other, by name, as we rounded each lap. 

The one issue I had was that the bathrooms were a pretty good distance away, so if you were worried about time you were going to be SOL here (no pun intended). 

Course: 3.8/5.0
MarathonGuide Rating (NA- New Course)
Garmin Distance: NA
Type: 100% Suspended cement/carpet track
~ Elevation Gain/Loss: 0 gain/loss
~ Well, the course is pretty flat! haha... but seriously, it's actually a pretty good track for this type of event. It's large for an indoor track and it's more of a square than anything, so you're not leaning or making turns the whole time. If you're looking for some sort of PR here I'm not sure this is the place. Yes, it's flat, but if you're a faster runner you're going to have to pass on the outside, which could add a lot of distance onto your race! The marathon is measured based on the shortest route (the inner lane) but most of the time you'll spend running on the middle or farthest lane. The cement was not forgiving, but hey! It's an indoor track... what do you expect? If you're going to push yourself here... I would say concentrate on your "Indoor Marathon PR."

Spectators: 5.0/5.0
~ Our lap counters (the St. Olaf XC team) were amazing spectators.... holding signs individualized with each runners name, and even chanting finishers names as we rounded to the finish! Some people brought spectators and over the pasta dinner and the marathon we all got to know each other very well. The spectators cheered on every single runner by name as we came around. The names on our backs proved helpful for everyone-- runners, and spectators alike! 

 Pace Group: NA/5.0
~ Now that's just silly....

Runner/Corrals: 5.0/5.0
~ Runners in this race are amazing! I've never felt camaraderie in any marathon like this. We all get to know each other pretty well at packet pick-up and the dinner. But after 150 laps of passing each other we get pretty close! Everybody is super supportive of each other... the way these races should be! 

Expo: NA/5.0
~ This is far too small to have an expo, BUT side note: there is a table with Zoom Yah! Yah! Marathon gear for purchase at the packet pick up that are pretty nice! 

Swag: 4.0/5.0
~T-Shirts: The T-shirts are here (about 4 weeks post-race) and they're def a keeper! Each year they post a list of the results on the back of the shirt including every runners name, place, time etc. The shirt is a long sleeved cotton, high neck shirt for those cold winters. It's also very comfortable! 4.8

~Medals: The medal is a pretty basic circle of metal with the zoom yah yah "finisher" on the front. 3.2

~ Goodie Bag: No goodie bags at this race

Results: Stephanie
Chip Time: 3:52:01**
Place: Overall- 10/39, Gender- 3/10, A/G (F25-29)- 3/6
**Note: 15 min of stopped time

Happy Racing,
"Run to Win" - Meb

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Winter Fail!

Maniacs freezing before the HMRRC Winter Marthon
Today I proved that you are only as strong as your weakest body part as I took my first DNF at the race today. Apparently my weakest body part are my fingers! Don't worry... once they stop burning (in 2 or 3 days) I'll be giving them a stern lecture and a hardy workout. Further, I have proven that I am, in fact, not a robot. But don't worry Mel, the "wings" theory has not been ruled out yet! 

I was home this weekend visiting my family in Albany NY and there happened to be a marathon held this weekend. If you've been following for a year+ I actually got my first BQ here in 2010 and thought it would be fun to run again. I started running and at first felt great, running 7:20's for the first 9+ miles easily. So what happened? Apparently upstate NY in the dead of winter is cold. Now who could have guessed that? Apparently not the girl that spent the first 22 years of her life here! The first half of the looped course was blocked from the wind and we faced the sun, building up a little sweat even. The back half? We faced away from the sun and the chilliest wind I've ever felt whipped right through my gloves. 

I tried to put on an extra pair of gloves and adding a sweatshirt pulling down the sleeve... but it just kept getting worse! I made the first 3 laps (about 15 miles) and when my fingers went from burning to complete numb I thought it was time to say goodbye to the course before I said goodbye to my fingers. So I jumped in the race directors warm car, scraped the ice from my eyelashes and held heating pads until the blood (and searing pain) returned to my fingers. 

Once inside, I got some warm soup and tried to warm myself up. I met up with Suzy, another blogger who I first met at this race in 2010. We didn't get a chance to take a picture a year ago but we made up for it today! Suzy was one of the first bloggers I had a chance to meet so it was fun coming back home and getting to see her again. Thanks for the photo op Suzy!!!! 

So what does this mean for my training? Unless I want to run 30+ miles tomorrow (not happening) I'll have to trade my weekends. I was going to do a drop down week next week with the Disney Princess half. It looks like I'll be doing the course forwards and then backwards to make up the miles! Woohoo? Well with the registration fee being so high, I should get at least 26 miles out of the deal! Get my monies worth :)

Finger Status Update: Hours later... they feel like I accidentally grabbed a curling iron early today. They are burned and swollen just a little. 

So an epic fail for a winter marathon in NY but a good lesson learned... sometimes it's good to listen to your body even when that means sacrificing miles! I'd rather finish the 100 miler with all my fingers and toes attached. 

Happy Running,
"Run to Win"- Meb
"Fast Girls Have Great Times!" -Marathon Sign

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Arctic Ease and Salute an Inspiring Runner!

As I mentioned in a recent post, I've been talking to a great company about working together. This company is Arctic Ease. I've mentioned this product before, but to sum it up they create Cryotherapy wraps and pads. "I don't speak science, Stephanie" you may be saying right now-- well, these are convenient to use cold wraps that conform to your body, stay at the perfect temperature, and comfortably provide cold therapy to any body part. I was first introduced to this wonderful new technology when I was at the Chicago Marathon in October. At the expo, they not only explained the product and gave it out, but they also offered to apply it on you and show you how to use the wraps! 

The best part? Convenience! When I get back from a run I'm usually rushing around to get ready and head back out the door. I don't have time to sit down and ice my injuries and sore muscles. Well, with Arctic Ease you can apply the wraps or pads and carry on with your day. They stay cold for hours and you don't have to worry about melting or water dripping all over you. Thanks to Arctic Ease I will be flying down next weekend to take part in the Disney Princess Half Marathon!!!! 

AE Supports our Heroes! 
Besides creating a great product, Arctic Ease has done a feature on a young military vet who, while in service, suffered debilitating injuries but has fought back to overcome adversity and complete the Philadelphia Marathon in 2010. This is a clip of the article released by AE... 

"I met this person in 2009, shortly after I had relocated and moved into the Arctic Ease facility.  He had recently been discharged from the US Marine Corp with a 60% disability after suffering a debilitating injury while deployed in Djibouti at the ripe old age of 19 1/2 and honorably discharged after four years of service for our country at 22. He was told he would not have the use of his right shoulder, run again, lift weights again and would spend the balance of his life in extreme pain.  Thus the life that he knew and the things he enjoyed (e.g. being a gym rat) ended in a split second." 

For the full article and video please click... here.

Brian Johnson not only inspires other runners by coming back and completing the Philly Marathon, but he also works at AE, supporting other runners at trade shows and expos. If you'll be at the Disney Princess, so will Brian! So stop by the Arctic Ease stand to say hello, congratulate and thank an inspiring young vet. 

See you all at Disney Princess Half Marathon next weekend! Until then I'll be at the HMRRC Winter Marathon tomorrow in Albany, NY for another training run. 

Happy Running,
"Run to Win"- Meb
"Fast Girls Have Great Times!" -Marathon Sign

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Mardi Gras Marathon Part II

Let's start off with a little *News Flash!!!* If you look to the right, you may notice that my "next adventure" has changed and a race has been added to my schedule for the week. That's due to a few changes going on at Steph's 50 Marathon Challenge. The first is that I've been talking to a great company that has a wonderful product for runners. I'll write more about it once it's finalized, but they asked me to run a half marathon with them next weekend. That means I'll be doing a "drop down" week next week and I had to do another "up mileage" week this week instead of taking a break. 

Since I felt SO good after my 2 long runs last weekend I'm not worried about doing another up mileage week. Since I needed to do at least 23 miles on Saturday I started looking into marathons I could jump on last minute. As it turns out, the HMRRC Winter Marathon is going on this weekend and it's close to my home town. If you're a newer follower, this is actually the race that I made my FIRST BQ at in 2010, so this race has a special place in my heart. It's a very fast course with some pretty serious runners... I think you have to be pretty serious is you opt to run a winter marathon in upstate NY on a looped windy course! This is the first time I've ever repeated a marathon but that's ok because I get to go home for this one! 

Mardi Gras Marathon II
Last we left off, I had gone through a day in NOLA where I: shopped at an expo, made a fool of myself in front of an ultra marathon super star, experienced bourbon st, had dinner with 15 maniacs and friends, and had taken a ghost tour! And now... I had to run a marathon! 

Marathon morning we got up early and headed out to the Start Line Village! We met up with DOZENS of maniacs. Some of them were dressed up, most of them wore maniac gear, and all of us were FREEZING!!! It was so chilly before the sun came up but we knew it would get warm eventually. 
Marathon Maniacs at the RnR Mardi Gras Marathon
MM Divas!!!
After pictures we dropped at the bag drop, huddled together for warmth, and then lined up to take off. I went off with the 2nd corral, which happened to be ahead of the 3:30 page group. I planned on running around a 3:40 so I tried to go slow, but you know how that goes!!! 

The spectators at this race were definitely cool! They were giving out lots of drinks is pretty typical of New Orleans! The route itself brought us all around downtown New Orleans, but I couldn't look up too much-- I was warned that the streets are full of pot holes and I was scared of tripping on one. I like the way they incorporated the halfies. They had them break out from us and come back a few times but they kept us on 2 sides of the road so we never had to bob and weave through. You could look for friends and cheer each other on but you weren't getting in each others way. 

Around mile 18 I realized I was going WAY faster than I wanted so I stopped and grabbed a beer!!! I thought to myself "There! That'll take a little time off and totally slow me down!" I checked my watch a few minutes later and I was right back to the same pace I had been keeping... damn! Around mile 22 there were little turn arounds where you could see people in front and behind you. I noticed that my friend Alicia was not too far behind... between myself and the 3:30 group. Yeah, so I was in front of the 3:30 group-- definitely not slow!!! So I thought "hey! If I stop and wait for Alicia that will add on a minute or 2 to my time!" A sneaky way of slowing down without actually slowing down. I caught up with Alicia and as it turns out she was cranking out miles and picking it up with every mile. So we ended up making up a little time. Darn again! 

Alicia and I came to the finish and I asked her to hold my head phones cause I was doing another cartwheel over the finish!! Woohoo. To see the cartwheel go here. Alicia and I finished together! I had run a 3:27. Well that wasn't exactly in line with my plan, but I felt relaxed the whole time and never really felt like I was pushing it. 
Alicia and I in the last .2!
After finishing, grabbing our bags and drinks, we headed over to the family meeting area. I raced Alicia's step daughter in a sprint (let's not talk about who won) and found Christine who had just finished her FIRST half marathon!!! Congrats Christine-- I'm SO proud of you!!!! We got our free celebration beers and chilled out waiting for the rest of our crew. 
Christine & I with our rewards for finishing!!!
We found MB and Kim and trecked it ALL the way around the park to the shuttle buses back to the start and headed for home. Overall everybody did really great and it was so much fun seeing lots of friends-- new and old. Speaking of new friends, "GU Jeff" had a fantastic finish in the half marathon getting 10th place and running a 1:13!!!! Crazy fast GU Jeff, crazy fast.... Good job!

Marathon Show Feature!
If you haven't already checked it out, I'm the "featured runner" on the marathon show. Don't know what the marathon show is? Well you're missing out! Joe does a great job on this show-- he brings on guest speakers, records shows from marathons, meets up with lots of maniacs and 50-staters, and generally runs a fantastic show. You don't have to listen to these live. If you go into ITunes and search for the podcast "Marathon show" you can add a few shows to your Ipod and take Joe on your run. 

You can check out the show here. And go under the "featured" page to see me! Joe also mentions me in the MOST recent podcast a few times, so DL the latest show! 

That's all for tonight kids!

Happy Running,
"Fast Girls Have Great Times!" -Marathon Sign

Marathon Show Feature & US. v. UK!

If you don't follow the marathons show, you should-- for many reasons, but right now there is a heated match going on between the US's Marathon Show with Joe Taricani and the UK's Marathon Talk. Over the past week they have each posted pictures of well known runners doing their thing and people click "like" to vote. The US had an early lead, but we've come to a tie on the final day. The tie breaker is going on RIGHT NOW! So get on there and vote. Reasons to vote?

1) USA USA USA... and for you Canadians I love so much-- we're your neighbors, not them! 
2) The Marathon show is awesome and you should start downloading their free podcasts from ITunes
3) Once you've "liked" Marathon Talk you can get to know a little more about our UK runners-- esp. their crazy cross country races. 
4) If you're a Maniac (or just love the maniacs) the tie-breaking picture for the US is Maniac Prez Steven Yee!
5) The Marathon show is currently featuring your favorite crazy marathoner... ME! Joe does features on marathoners and yesterday he put up a little feature about me, found here. Thanks Joe!!!

How to Vote? 
1) and like their page, 2) open photo tab, 3)click on and open Ryder Cup tab, 4) IMPORTANT - Click on and open Steve Yee's photo, 5) LIKE the photo! Let's go USA!!

~Note: Don't let this confuse you (cause it did to me) but you're actually "LIKE"ing the Marathon TALK (UK show) and then it's a US picture in their Album. This is because their using the contest to get followers from each show to start following the other show. 

You should also "LIKE" the "Marathon SHOW" for fun. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

RnR Mardi Gras Part 1 and WS Week 10!

Rock'n'Roll Mardi Gras  ~ Pre-Race!
This past weekend was pretty packed so I'm going to break the "post-race thoughts" into 2 or 3 parts. Today we'll be looking at Marathon Eve! 

Traveling with me this weekend was MB (as per usual), Christine (first time half-marathoner) and Kim (one of the original MM Divas) and we tried to take a little bit of everything in of New Orleans. We all flew in late morning on Saturday, checked into the hotel and went right to the expo. As with most of the RnR Expos, this was a big Brooks carrier and had a ton of Mardi Gras Marathon clothing to buy. The expo was also packed with some of the other usual suspects- Power Balance, One more Mile, Etc. 

Our new friend "GU Jeff" (just got with it) was talking to (what I thought was ) just some runner while I was in the midst of a shopping spree. GU Jeff called me over and I distractedly wandered over until I saw who he was talking to... Scott Jurek! At this time (I'm told) I practically rushed the poor guy with my mouth gaped open and my eyes popping out. I even turned around to Christine and Kim and said "OMG That's Scott Jurek"... yeah, while he was standing right next to me. 

I attempted to speak but after a few failed attempts the ONE thing I managed to get out was that I wanted to run with his pace group (he was pacing the 3:30 group) but I was training for an ultra and was SUPPOSED to be going slow the next day. When he asked what race I was running I wanted to kick myself when I had to say "Western States" to a guy that's won that race 7 years in a row. After I died of embarrassment we took a picture... and then he backed away slowly.
Scott Jurek and I at the expo
Bourbon St & Maniac Dinner
After the expo we got changed and then headed out to enjoy... BOURBON STREET! None of us had been to New Orleans before so we went down Bourbon St to get a taste on our way to dinner. It was very hard not to get one of the "really big beers" or join in with the general debauchery afoot. Luckily MB was with me to say no to the beer... and the boys that were approaching us. 
We got our beads and our taste of bourbon street and headed over to the French Market, which is also a hot spot in the area known as the "French Quarters" of New Orleans. Then we headed over to meet up with some friends and maniacs for dinner. 
Maniacs at our Pre-Race dinner!

After dinner we headed over to do a historical ghost tour! If you're in an older city, these are a really fun and entertaining way to get to know a little about the city you're in. They're usually an hour or 2 and the guides are pretty knowledgeably on the area if you have questions. We didn't see any ghosts but the buildings we got to walk around were all really neat and definitely had a touch a "Spook" about them. 

By the time we got back to the hotel it was past 10pm and definitely time for bed. We needed our rest so we could get up early and get ready for the Mardi Gras Marathon!

To Be Continued...

WS100 Training ~ Week 10
Oh how the times they're a changing. So remember a few weeks ago when I was having a really hard time with fatigue and hunger while adapting to the higher mileage and more intense training plan? Well apparently I'm getting along pretty successfully in beating my body into submission. This week felt GREAT. I got through all my training runs well and my long runs felt like I had 10 or 20 more miles in me! As you'll find out in tomorrows post (the continuation of the one above) I ran a LOT harder than I planned but I felt great and never felt like I was pushing it. Then when I ran my 10+ hill of hill repeats on Monday I felt great and zipped right through them!

I realized  that during Mardi Gras I never once hit a wall and I think these extra miles are really helping. Then I started thinking about the elite runners. They may only RACE 2-3 marathons a year but their mileage goes WAY  past mine on a weekly bases and their long runs far surpass the marathon distance on the weekends. If it helps them, why wouldn't it help me? Just because they're built for speed, doesn't mean their bodies are made any differently than us slower runners. If they can adapt, so can I and I think I'm starting to get used to these crazy miles. Not only that, I'm felling a LOT more confident about WS100 and about ultras in general. I'm looking at a few 50-mile trail runs for early this spring-- possibly even a 50-mile stretch of the WS Trail! Eeek. We'll see about that. 

Notes/Thoughts: Coming off of a good week I'm hoping to put in one more "up" week before a drop down. I may have to do 2 depending on my schedule and a few proposals I've had come my way. I've gone through my full schedule and added a fem miles here and there to push my training a little further. Let's hope I can keep up! 

Happy Running,
"Fast Girls Have Great Times!" -Marathon Sign

Sunday, February 13, 2011

1 State to Go!.... BOSTON BOUND!!!

Today I finished my 49th state at the Rock'n'Roll Mardi Gras Marathon on my quest to 50 marathons in 50 states by Boston 2011. I managed to catch all my flights, stay healthy, and finished every SINGLE marathon I signed up for (that was was run... thanks Myrle Beach '10). I'm all signed up for Boston and ready to go... now get here already!!!

Don't worry-- in the mean time I'll have at least another 4 to 5 marathons, including 1 or 2 double marathons weekends to keep us entertained. More on RnR MG tomorrow. I'm a tired girl! 

Friday, February 11, 2011

Inspiration Points...
Marathon #55!, State #49!
1. 1 to GO! My last state before Boston and #50!!!!
2. 10-Star Maniac ********** ... After this weekend I'll be a 10-star titanium maniac!
3. Christine's First! My friend Christine will be running her FIRST half-marathon! 
4. NOLA! I've never been to New Orleans and I'm esp excited to go during Mardi Gras "season"
5. Divas and Running Buddies! This is the first time 4 of the 5 original MM Divas will be together at one race. We also have a ton of maniacs going down as well as friends to watch! 
6. Double Medals! This is my second RocknRoll marathon this year, so I'll be getting extra bling... a "rock encore" medal. 
2011 Mardi Gras Marathon Medals. SPARKLESSSSS
(Don't panic... this is the same blog. I just decked i tout with purple and green in the mardi gras spirit!)
LA Race RUNdown...
Rock'n'Mardi Gras Marathon ~ Sunday February 12, 2011. 7:00am start
New Orleans, LA ~ Downtown New Orleans
Registration Fees: $95-$115 Early $145 at Expo
Year Running: 2nd
Races Available: Marathon, Half-Marathon, 2-person relay... Currently available at the expo: Marathon and half marathon registration only!!!
2011 Expected Field: Unknown (no cap met)
2010 Field:  3,517... Females: 1,556  ... Age Group: 279 (F25-29)
2009 Avg. Finish Time: 4:35:52
Certified Course/BQ Certified?: Yes/Yes
Cutoff Time and Early Start Option: No early start. There is a 7hour cutoff time. 
Weather Update: The forecast has been showing nothing but sunshine and 40's to 60s for race day! Even sat should be great weather to stroll around NOLA. 

MarathonGuide Rating: 
The course is flat and fast. It loops through downtown, doubling back on itself in the last 4 miles or so. This should give all the runners a little taste of New Orleans bringing us through downtown, the french quarters, parks, and more. Every post on this race emphasizes FLAT... as does the elevation chart below.  

Race 411:
GU- There are 2 GU stop for the full marathon (Miles 11 and 21) so bring your own if you need more!
Lots of H20! RnRs always do a great job with the number of aid stations available on their courses. 
~ Bands!!! Tons of entertainment along the course. I'm excited to have good weather that should ensure ALL the acts come out. (Nashville was too hot for them and some others I've been in have been too cold). 
~ $ Runner Track??? It looks like all the RnRs are charging for runner tracking now... really?!? It rarely works well anyways! Sigh
~Pre-Race Snacks! Start Line Village at RnRs have pre race bananas, bagels, and sometimes more. Take advantage if you're still hungry!
~Sparkly Medals!!!! I LOVE SPARKLES!!!! All of the RnR Marathons have sparkles somewhere on the medals but this years mardi gras is ALL sparkles and mardi gras beads. See Pic at top!
~Add a Mile! As with most of the RnR marathons, the starts are not overly easy to get to and very crowded. It looks like no matter where you go you're going to have a little walk to get to the start so prepare for 27.2!

Race Plan:
Now that I'm getting a little heavier into my ultra training, I'll be expecting myself to run another 10 or so on Monday. So, again I will be practicing slowing myself down and possibly taking 2-3 1 minute walk breaks to keep my leggies loose as a goose. I'll aim again for around a 3:40'ish time.... maybe a little slower. 

Throw Back! Bring it back now ya'll...
2007 Air Force
Reverse the Countdown!
This is my 49th marathon-state, meaning I have 2 to go including this race. What was going on around state #2!?!? I was running the Dayton Air Force Marathon... and we're talking all the way back in 2007! I didn't start this wild adventure until 2009 but prior to that I only ran 1 marathon in 2008 (the Flying Pig), and the year before I ran 2 in 2007-- marine corp and Dayton Air Force. If you've yet to run the Air Force it is a MUST do! It's flat and fast. Always good weather in the middle of September and great crowd support. It's a huge race for family and friends to attend so an after party is always great. 

This time in 2010...
This time last year I was blogging angrily about the cancellation of the Myrtle Beach Marathon late night before the race!!!! It ended up being a blessing in disguise because I was able to make my first BQ the next weekend in my hometown :)

Meet up Info: 
-MB, Tinie, Kim, & Greg- Airport! 11-12 am. 
-Divas & Dave- Expo 12-1pm
-MM Dinner buddies, divas, Greg and Cait +1- Dinner at Angeli on Decatour at 6pm!
-MM MEET-UP!!!! At the edge of start line village on Convention Cnt Blvd and Henderson St. at 6:15!
-Diva Pictures!!! Post-Race at Family Reunion are "D" for Diva!!!!
MM Meet-up Pre-Race at 6:15 (click to enlarge)
Happy Racing!
"Run to Win"-Meb
"Fast Girls Have Great Times!" - Marathon Sign