Tuesday, March 31, 2009

#6: 2009 Nashville Country Music Marathon!!!

Marathon #8 (State #6) will be in Nashville, TN!!!
Date: April 25th, 2009 at 7am!
Race Year: 10th!!! This should be a big year for this marathon.
Theme: Country Music!!! This is part of the Rock N Roll Marathon "tour" as they call it.
2008 Finishers: 4373 (1910 female)
Course: (Modified slightly for 2009). This course looks a little hilly, but after Atlanta I should be used to that.

***Course Changes for 2009 Race
A new twist for year 10! The Country Music Marathon & 1/2 Marathon courses have been modified. Runners will be treated to a more scenic route extending their run down Broadway past the honky tonks, the Schermerhorn Symphony Center and back up Demonbreun passing the Country Music Hall of Fame and the restored Cummins Station. This addition of mileage on Broadway will not only be asthetically pleasing, but it will allow more time for runners to spread out on the course in turn alleviating congestion on Belmont Blvd.
Corrals/Start: For the first time Nashville will be using a wave start with corrals. I'll be in corral #3 for the race.

Monday, March 30, 2009

ING Georgia Marathon: Results and Ratings...


These are the official results posted today... Apparently there were very few finishers in the full marathon this year! Note: The "Age group" is not pulled out by gender so this is skewed a little. Congrats to all ING Georgia Marathon and Half-Marathon Finishers!!!

Overall: 4.1/5.0 (Weighted average)

Organization: 3.5/5.0
-For a large marathon it was fairly well organized. Good amount of water/Gatorade stops, lots of food at the end, almost every mile was marked, and a good amount of pace team options. They also had GREAT new medals (shown below). You can't tell, but the skyline in the middle spins!!! OOOh-Ahhhh! The bad side- by Saturday they ran out of pins and we were on our own. And there were NO clocks during the entire race! Also, I never saw a "GU" stop (or anything similar) that they were supposed to have.

Course: 4.5/5.0
-I LOVED the course. But I hate running on flat... and boy was this anything but flat. There were constantly turns- no long roads that you can physically SEE the 26 miles stretched out before you. Also, you saw a lot of Atlanta! Very pretty houses and parks the entire way. It lost .5 of a rating because (although I love them) the hills at the end. I would say the last couple hills RIGHT at the end were just cruel.
Spectators: 3.8/5.0
-LOTS of support through almost the whole race! They have neighborhoods compete through a majority of the race. However, at the very end (so a big part of the half marathon) there were very few people out. There WAS a guy with Gummy bears... Sorry Gummy bear man if you read this-- I don't really "LOVE" you the way it sounded when I practically kissed you. But I did appreciate the gummies!
Runners/Corrals: 5.0/5.0
-This was a fairly large group to start, but when the marathoners split from the half-marathoners... there weren't many of us left! Everyone was very polite and supportive of each other. Also, it seemed that most were pretty honest. There weren't too many people up in the first corrals who lied about their times then just plain got in the way when the race started.
Pace Groups: 4.5/5.0
-I only experienced the 3:40 pace group and they seemed to be right on. I believe one of the leaders had a garmin watch. The only thing I would suggest is that in such a hilly ending marathon, they not make such even splits. Go a little faster in the beginning and give people a little wiggle room at the end for the last few big hills.
Expo: 3.5/5.0
-Average Expo. All the major companies that are usually there. Very few clothing options, especially ING Marathon clothing options. Mizuno was there doing stride measurements and shoe recommendations. I think a lot of this is because its a young marathon still.

Closing Thoughts:
The only thing I ever want after marathons is french fries. It's the only time these oily things ever look good. I finally got them when I went to the airport!!!
Overall I had a positive experience at the ING Georgia marathon. It's a challenging race for anybody who doesn't mind taking on some grueling hills. Also across the street from the marathon start/finish is the coca-cola factory. You can try far too many types of Coca-cola products from all over the world and you get to see a polar bear!!! :)

Time to say goodbye to ING Georgia and gear up for Nashville in a month!!! I'm looking to run the Xenia Half-marathon this weekend in Xenia, OH!!! As always I'll keep you updated.

-Happy Running!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Marathon #5: 2009 ING Atlanta Marathon... The Story

(Written March 29, 2009- night of the marathon)

The marathon had its ups and down- and I'm not just talking about the hills!!!

1) A down... that become an up! The race started out a little shaky even before the start! When we got to the hotel I realized there was no room service. This meant NO pancakes (my typical pre-marathon meal). That was rough, but I compensated with a banana, a plain bagel from McD's and for the first time I took a GU 15 minutes before the start-- This is now my new pre-marathon meal plan!! My stomach felt great the whole time and I didn't get any hunger pains around mile 18 that I normally do! I normally do 2 sports beans every 2 miles and a GU every 7 starting at mile 7. I FULLY recommend the GU before!

2) A down... Remember the race between Joe and I for who could have the best time... his half or the first half of my marathon? Well somehow the little brat connived his way into corral #1 (out of 7). For those of you who are unfamiliar, this is primarily reserved for elite runners and extremely strong and experienced runners. We believe the cause of the confusion was Joe's entry for his "anticipated finish time." Apparently ING does NOT require proof of time for half marathoners to be seeded. I was in corral #2, starting at an estimated 20 seconds after Joe—losing the advantage I thought I would have.

3) A down... HotLanta quickly became FREEZINGlanta in my mind! It was MUCH colder than expected to start. Luckily I had a long-sleeved shirt on hand.

4) An UP! I found the 3:40 pace group. For those of you not following along, this is the qualifying pace for me for the Boston Marathon! There was a small group of guys making up the pace team that seemed great because- 1. They had a lot of energy, 2. there were at least 3 of them, which is great for a pace group, and 3. One offered to share his "Sports Beans" (running jelly beans that give you energy) with me when I realized I left them back at my bag... which brings me to 5...

5) The BIG down (or so I thought....) I'm in the corral, the national anthem has been sung, the wheelchair division has gone off, and we're freezing with 9 minutes to go-- and I realize I have neither my running watch, nor my sports beans!!! BAD NEWS BEARS!!!!!!! At this point I don't have time to run back to my bag and decide to do with what I have. I have 3 GU’s (besides the one I had just taken and hopefully there are pace clocks because, Hey! What marathon doesn't have pace clocks? UMMM…

6) Down!… of course this one!!! That’s right folks—A FULL 26.2 miles without a pace clock. There were mile markers at just about every mile (from what I could tell- I may have missed a couple), but for some reason this marathon had NO pace clocks—not even at the half marathon point I’m not sure WHY they did this and I was quite surprised being that this was an ING marathon. To get around this I focused on the 3:40 pacing group and used them as a guide to my pace.

6) Ups and Downs… and ups… and down… and ups… that started as a MAJOR up! I'm talking about those crazy hills. A VERY good majority was just climbing then shooting down large hills/small mountains. This was great at first because I LOVE hills. Flat straight roads annoy me mentally, and there is little room to change your muscle concentration on these, leading to craps in your legs. The hills allow you to shift between the muscles you're straining and give rest to some that may need it. This type of running led me to a time of 2:47.41 for the first 20 miles. This is an 8:23 pace and perfectly on target for my 3:40 marathon!

7) UP UP UP! Mile 15, running strong and who do I find? Kristina and Andrew! FMP friends from GE-Energy!!! They get a chance to shout encouraging words and get a little run of their own in as they run along for a few blocks. AND... they tell me JMG "Joe Mother Guth" finished with about an 8:35 min/mile pace. I knew around the half marathon point i was running low 8:20's and at this point I know I've won the bet!!! Sorry Joe- maybe next time ;)

8) The DOWN... those crazy hills I loved 10 miles ago? Not so much. Those hills cause a LOT of calf strain, leading to extreme calf cramps that start between miles 19 and 20 and go to the end! :( This led to a much slower pace, and my losing my boston qualifying time. :( It's ok though because Nashville Country Music Marathon was my goal marathon for the season and I feel very encouraged that I will be able to get my time this season!!!

9) The Down... ME! As I got to the last .1 mile I really feel my calves cramping up. I knew that if I didn't move fast I would have to stop running and walk... ok, maybe crawl- the last bit of the race if I didn't stop running QUICK. So, I sprint in the last kick and immediately upon finishing my calves completely give up and Stephanie goes down! The lovely EMS workers throw me into a wheelchair and bring me to the medical tent. It led to QUITE the massage of my calves, which started out feeling nice... then they called over the mean nurse who REALLY started kneading at my calves. Ok, ok, so she was doing the right thing and getting the cramps out- but it freaking hurt!!!!

Post-Marathon Thoughts
Surprisingly my legs have very very little pain. In fact, I ran up a flight of stairs shortly after the marathon. My calves hurt a little still, but nothing too bad. My hips, on the other hand, took quite the beating today! I’ve never had hip pain from running, but today they’re hurting a lot! I think this may be from my form when I go down hill. The fastest way I know to take a down hill is to lean forward and let gravity take its course. Your legs act as break rather than doing the work. However, I believe when I do this I may be pushing my hips backward a bit and popping them out of place. I may have done this so many times for such long periods of time it’s causing me a lot of pain. I’m going to look more into hip pain in long distance running tomorrow as well as begin taking glucosamine vitamins that are for bone and joints.

All-around, I think this was a great marathon for me—even with the ups and downs! I beat JMG. I got to spend time with Kristina and made a new friend (Andrew) who happened to be from Syracuse and go to RPI (we’ll try and forgive him for that because he DID get up after drinking and come cheer me on). I had a PR despite the calf cramps. I feel much better about my next marathon, which is coming up in a month! It looks like Nashville may be similar to the course we ran today. Hilly! Now that I’ve run Atlanta I’ve learned that I need to do a little more hill work, a LOT of hip stretching and maybe some strengthening, and work on some calf endurance exercises.

As soon as the official results are out I will post them along with my Marathon Ratings!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

MB is in the race...

(<--MB and I Finishing Las Vegas Together)
MB's Marathons...
So, it has come to my attention (because MB sent me an email) that MB is up there in her race for the states as well. She's not really trying to hit all states, however she will be doing the Flying Pig this year and when she does it will be her 6th state as well.

If you have been following along like good children you would know that by the time she runs the pig (May 3rd) I'll have run Atlanta (GA) and Nashville (TN) so I will also be up to 6 states. MB has run... ummm I believe 11 marathons???
I'll add a post to the side to track MB's states as well!
MB's States... (Any my best guesses at the marathons)
1. NY (Hudson Mohawk AND NYC Marathon)
2. MA (Boston Marathon)
3. FL (Disney Marathon)
4. NV (New Las Vegas-- with me in '06)
5. IL (Chicago Marathon)
6. *Soon to be OH- Flying Pig Marathon 2009.

-Happy Running!!!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

ING Georgia Countdown... 3 Days, 8 Hours

We begin the countdown. And some updates....
1) We received our bibs today. It looks as though I was seeded, but I'm not sure what corral I'll be in. I'm #2643 out of the 15,000 so that's a plus! I can't seem to find anything online about the corral setup. If anybody sees anything let me know!!

2) I have an update for the runner tracking... here is the new link:

3) Finally, I've included a poll above for the summer run. Remember I'll be running Nashville at the end of April and the first week of May is the Flying Pig. I will probably not run the full pig, having done Nashville the week before. Please feel free to vote in the poll!!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

ING Georgia Marathon

The bad news: due to quacked out Dr.'s I was unable to participate in the Alabama Marathon. Do not worry-- there is always next year.

The GREAT news: I will be running the ING Georgia Marathon in Atlanta, GA this coming weekend. And I'm still signed up for Nashville in about a month from now. :) Joe Guth (Aka "Joe Mother Guth")- an avid runner with 1, 15K race of experience will be joining me for the half marathon.

About Atlanta...
1) I have never been to Atlanta! Welllll I've been to the airport quite a few times but that doesn't really count.
2) Kristina and Ryan (both GE leadership program friends) live there and I'll get to see them both!
3) It has the World of Coca-Cola!!! How exciting is that?!?! http://www.worldofcoca-cola.com/

About ING Georgia...
Race Stats:
-Date: March 29, 2009. Current countdown: 4 Days, 21 Hours
-Map Track: If you would like to track my progress through the race you can follow the below link starting the day of the race. Look under the 2009 tab and use my last name to track... http://results.active.com/pages/page.jsp?eventLinkageID=17100
-Weather: Currently race day (Sunday) looks like it will be sunny with a high of 67. That would be quite hot-- hopefully the morning doesn't bring such a high temp. However, Saturday is supposed to have scattered T-Storms. HOPEFULLY these storms won't push out til Sunday!!!
-Capacity: The race cuts off at 15,000 runners for both the half and the full. 30 days prior to race date they were at over 12,000 spots taken. I was able to sign up just this past weekend, so it hasn't sold out yet.
-This is the 3rd Running of the ING Georgia Marathon. Hopefully this should be enough time to clear out any kinks in the marathon. It looks like the race may have had some water state planning issues in the first running, but they were resolved by the second year. They also have some start/corral issues. HOPEFULLY I'll be seeded and placed in a decent corral. I may have signed up too late to get seeded however. :( They release our bib numbers tomorrow (3/25)
-Beer: I have seen postings about mile 22 having beer. I will make a mental note to find it!
-The Course: HILLS, HILLS, HILLS. Holy Hills batman, this looks like a tough one. Here's an elevation chart:

My Race Plans...
I haven't been running very many long runs lately, so this should be a little test of muscle memory and it should hurt a lot-- then again, what marathon doesn't?

JMG- "Joe Mother Guth" and I will be racing the first half of this marathon. Recently JMG has made claim that he could beat me in a half marathon. Well the challenge has been made and accepted. The first 7.0 miles will be run on the same course and the remainder of the distance, I will be on the full marathon course while JMG will be on his way to the finish (must be nice). Please note by the elevation chart, this means he will be missing most of the "BIG HILL." No excuses though-- I'll still beat him! No wager has been made as of yet, but I'm sure we can think of something by Sunday.
Currently the race conditions look very hilly and either VERY hot or Thunderstorms. If it's hot my concentration will be hydration and hills will be taken a little slower. If it's thunderstorms and cooler then it looks like speed work up the hills and get finished before I get struck my lightening. That's the good thing about being so short... it will hit a LOT of other people before me!!
As always, if you have any tips for the race this weekend feel free to share your thoughts!!!