Friday, May 29, 2009

2009 Vermont City Marathon~ Race Rating

#7 Vermont City Marathon Race Ratings!!! (See CB's & Sacco's Race Ratings... linked below!!!)

Overall Race Rating: 4.5/5

~ To date this is my favorite marathon overall. It has a fast course, great crowds, a scenic route. Although I missed my Boston time, I won't take it personally!

Organization: 4.5/5
The marathon was very well put together. Directions to everything were available and all runners were even sent a book of information on the marathon, city, and travel. The only negative I saw was a semi-hectic start. The race was too small for corrals but without them it as a jam right before the start. I also had to take a little off for providing "Carb Boom" on the course instead of GU. Carb boom has a terrible texture and doesn't provide the same boost GU does.

Course: 4.5/5
This course was great for me: Rolling hills, lots of turns and the course took you through different areas of town. The course seemed to move fast and you had 2 opportunities to pass by your fellow runners and cheer them on! The first 22 miles would get a 5/5, but I took .5 off for the last 4 miles! The last 4 is a flat black bike path that was boring and provided a flat course at the WRONG time.

Spectators: 5/5
I was very impressed by the amount of spectators supporting the runners! Often in marathons, the runners can feel like we're a burden on the city shutting down the roads for hours at a time. Burlington really seemed to not only come out for the race, but also seemed genuinely excited about the marathon! During the 1 "bad" hill in the race, there was a pack of drum players at the base providing support and a nice beat to get you up the hill!

Pace Groups: 2/5
I know there were pace groups available but I only saw one the entire race. I saw (I believe) the 3:30 group but I never saw one for 3:40. Being that I JUST missed 3:40 I SHOULD have seen the group pass right in front of me. I know this was the first year for pacers so I wouldn't rate the race based on this quiet yet.

Expo: 3.5/5
~Being a smaller marathon the expo wasn't that big. They didn't have some of the bigger expo tents like One More Mile. They DID have: Ben & Jerrys and one company carrying a few Gracie's Gear items. The Vermont City Marathon clothes were a decent price too! I know they also had a foot rub station that MB took advantage of!!!

Chip Time: 3:41:12
Overall: 542/2410
F/Age: 24/122
More Race Rating...
Sacco gives her RUNdown of the race...
Overall Rating: 5.0/5.0!!! (WOW!)
"I really enjoyed this experience, it felt much more personal than other races I've participated in!..."
For Sacco's full race rating click here...
CB Gives her RUNdown of the race...
Overall Rating: 4.5/5.0
"Perfect amount of water stops, Gatorade mixed perfectly (sounds silly but after the Cytomax disaster of Nashville you learn to appreciate it). Didn't get a full five because..."
To hear why the organization didn't get a full 5 and for CB's full race rating click here...

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Vermont City ~ Post Race Thoughts

So it's taken me about 5 days to finally write about my "Vermont Experience." If you've been following along, I've made 2 unsuccessful attempts at my Boston qualifying time of 3:40:00(3:40:59 with the grace period). The first was ING Georgia where I was so close, but no match for those Atlanta hills coming in at 3:47 (still a PR). The second was Nashville CMM that seemed like the perfect course. Apparently the sun thought so as well and came out to play, providing the runners with a scorching 85 degree heat. After the mix of hills and heat I wanted to find a nice marathon with gently rolling hills and nothing too humid... finally, Vermont!!! The state of lakes, Ben & Jerrys and... Umm... yeah- Lakes and Ice Cream.

Race Day Eve...
I flew out to Vermont on Saturday (5/23) and landed around noon. Just a tip if you ever fly into Burlington... carry cash!!! The rustic feel of the town carries over into their technology. When I got off the plane I met up with CB and Hillery who had flown from Florida to run Vermont City. If you remember, CB did her first marathon in January with me and I've convinced her to follow it up with 2 more in the same season! We waited for the parentals to drive into town (Albany is only about 3 hours from Burlington). We made our way around town, to the expo, and finally to Bove's Italian restaurant which made for a great spaghetti dinner! This restaurant was strongly recommended to us, although the pasta dinner was hosted by Juniors. If you go to Bove's I recommend their vodka sauce!!! Follow it up with a little ice cream from Ben and Jerry's!

Race Morning...
In the morning we awoke to an overcast in the mid 50's with just a hint of rain. MB, Mike, and I ate at the hotel then made our way over to the race where we met up with MB's running group... The Albany Running Exchange/. The starting line had plenty of area for runners to warm up, hangout, or-if you were part of ARE- get a pre-race massage! During the drive over to the start there was a light sprinkle that continued through our warm up time and into the start of the race..

The Race... (Stephanie vs. Vermont)
With only about 2,400 runners-- a modest size compared to some of my recent events-- the start wasn't crowded at all. With the light rain hanging over us, the starting gun was sounded and the race was off. Miles 3-6 provided a longggg sloping down hill that we would have to complete before turning around and testing ourselves running in the less forgiving direction... 3 miles up hill!!! This is the time that the clouds decided to really let us know they were there and the rain started to come down a little hard. Surprisingly, it was actually kind of nice! There was no humidity and the rain was just enough to keep you from getting hot.

I ran the first 18 at about an 8:00Min/Mile pace and slowed down to about an 8:10 min/mile pace by 21 (potty break). To obtain my Boston pace I needed an average of an 8:23 pace and I was about on track! The entire course of Vermont was gentle sloping hills with very little noticeable flat roads. However, the last 4 miles are run on a straight, narrow, bike path. If you have been reading along with the blog you will know that I HATE flat marathon courses. I think they're painful and boring! Besides that, the trees above blocked my GPS on my garmin and I was running blind without a pace. The bike path got the best of me and I struggled for the last 4 miles. I made my way out of the bike path and onto the bigggggg loop for the last .2 of the race. By this point my legs felt like lead. I tried to push myself just a little further. I could see the finish coming up. Struggling in the last 200 meters I finally made it to the finish line and saw the clock... 3:41:13!!! That's right... I missed Boston qualifying time by 14 seconds!!!

After the race I quickly ran to CB & Hillery's room to shower and ran back to the finish to see MB finish her race... with a shirt full of blood!!! Apparently her shorts had chaffed away her side and started bleeding (pictured below). Somehow the crazy lady didn't feel it and didn't even notice until after she was finished. CB finisher her THIRD marathon of the season and Hillery finished her 2nd marathon after having only about 20 days to prep!!!! Congrats to the runners!!!

Lessons Learned...
I have Sunburst marathon coming up in about a week and knowing that I'm going to make some necessary changes so that I can finally make Boston. 1) Shoes! My running shoes have seen 4 marathons this year and have gone well over 700 miles-- no WONDER my legs hurt so much!!! 2) Stick with what works!!! The race offered 2 stops with "Carb Boom" instead of "GU" and I chose to use those instead of carrying my own. The effects weren't the same and I'll make sure to use only what I know works for me!!! 3) Run your own race. Many parts of the course had large crowds of people, or large downhills that may entice runners to push themselves. Using my garmin I was able to keep myself on MY pace and that really helped!

The Silver Lining... I'm a maniac!!!
Although I wasn't able to make Boston I was able to make the marathon maniacs!!! I described the maniacs during my prep for Vermont. As I mentioned, upon completing Vermont I would have run 3 marathons in 2 months and would be able to qualify. I've created time goals for the various manic levels. Now, MB is trying to become a MM and apparently we could be the first Mother/Daughter team!!! You would think those crazy genes would pass on, but I guess not...

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Vermont City Marathon (#7)~ RUNdown & Prep

It's 10 days until the Vermont City Marathon in Burlington, VT. MB and CB (and CB's friend, Hillary) will be joining me for the run. I've posted the Race RUNdown as well as my prep for the remaining week and a half before the race...

The RUNdown...
Date: May 24th, 2009... 8am
Years RUNning: This is the 21st Running of Vermont City
Registration Limit: 3,600
2008 Finishers: 2,379 (2,488 Registered)
Avg. Temps 48 in the am, 71 at noon
Current Forecast: None available. Fri/Sat before the race... SHOWERS :( (will update***)

I've posted the elevation below. I've heard rumors of some infamous hill at 18 but I don't see one... Maybe they mean 19??? Mile 15 looks like a bag full of Joy...

Marathon Maniacs:
Upon completion of this race, I will finally be completing one of the criteria to be an official "Marathon Maniac." Nowww I've been called crazy about running my marathons but I'll now be certified!!! To become a certified "Maniac" you need to complete different sets of criteria that put you under different levels... for Example, I will be completing 3 marathons in less than 3 months, so I will be on the lowest tier- Bronze Level. In October, I hope to jump alllll the way up to Iridium Level but doing 2 marathons back to back in the same weekend. That's 52.4 Miles in 1 weekend! Yikes, but funnnn!!!

I've posted a "Marathon Maniac Goal" Listing on the side bar for future reference... this should make things more interesting.

Race Prep:
~Lessons Learned... I've learned over the past 3 marathons that sometimes the conditions are just not meant for a Boston Qualifying run. In fact, in Nashville I stupidly still tried in the 85 degree heat. After looking at the results I came to find out NOBODY in my age group ran fast enough for qualifying pace. Sooo lessons learned... I've taken a new approach to training. I'm going to continue with speed work once a week, do a fast-paced run once a week and do a slower, hilly run once a week. Goal: always be prepared in case the conditions are right, then decide on race day.
~My Race Plan...I've heard good things about this race. It's supposed to be hilly, but scenic. I'm not sure if I've mentioned this but I don't actually remember most of the marathons I've run. For some reason, shortly after, I tend to black out most of the race. This is probably a good thing because I can't remember how much it hurt. However, its unfortunate because these "scenic" races mean very little to me. *Sigh*. With that said, for Vermont I have 2 options... Try for Boston, or run with CB and try to get around a 3:50 (her goal). This will be a race-day decision depending on the weather and how I feel.

~Training... My last marathon will have been 4 weeks before this one. I did 1 last long run (the flying pig half) on May 3rd (1 week after Nashville). I've been trying to do a couple tempo runs, a a couple rounds of speed work. I'll try and do 1 more speed work session between now and Sunday then I will taper... 3-4 miles easy at max. I'll probably only run 2-3 times next week and focus on stretching and hydration!!!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

This picture had to go up... my HO HO!!!

Me, MB, and my Ho-Ho

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Nashville CMM: CB & Andrew's Results and PICTURES!!!

I've been waiting for CB and Andrew to provide me with their ratings and reviews of the Nashville CMM, but neither of them are as prompt as MB with her rating (below) of the Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon. Until then we'll have to settle with their results and some fun pictures from the race weekend...

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

2009 Flying Pig Marathon & Half Marathon...

Flying Pig Marathon (Full Marathon review and ratings written by MB (except where indicated) who completed the full Flying Pig Marathon this year)

Overall Race Rating: 5/5
The flying Pig....or the "I can't believe how many hills are in one marathon race." The free FP messenger bag is great makes it all worth while showing up. (S.A. Note: Every year the flying pig gives out different type of bags with the flying pig logo on it. This year it was a very nice messanger bag and last year it was a gym duffle. They're great!!!) The head cheese (race official) shakes everyone of the finishers hands as the cross the finish Swine. The people of Ohio know how to put on a marathon and its one of my favorite if not my favorite marathon to date! it was warm for me, being from NY, and lots of Chafing BUT they had vasiline on the telephone poles early on (at mile 10) and beyond thank you for that!

Organization: 5/5
The start is very laid back no worries of corals and every mile along the race is largely marked and has a clock with it, with people giving you your est time of finish. Even the cops cheer you on along the way! The post race party, although most marathons I have done they dont have a post race party right when you finish, its at night time, but this one is fun but they need more FOOD<>
Course: 3/5
Love the 630 am start!!!! You have your whole day to go to the Zoo after, only if someone didnt take a nap! Ok everyone is worried about the Hills of Boston in their Marathon.....forgetabout it...the flying Pig should be called the hilly Pig! OMG are there hills! But everyone takes such good care of you in Ohio you dont even think about it, till you try to walk or run the next am.

Spectators: 5/5
People and volunteers all along the race route are amazing but all the people in Ohio are GREAT! Bands along the way, parties, and water and gator aid every mile!

Pace Group: DNE

Expo: 4/5
The Packet pickup and race expo is one of the best expos around. Very very organized and lots of free stuff and lots of running clothes with the pig on them to buy...LOTS. The expo even had puppies to adopt at and I (MB) talked steph out of getting one since she is never home :(
~Stephanie's Note: They had Gracie's Gear!!!
Pasta party food.....they tried they really did but uck!
Final Comments... Besides the Hills I think Ohio and the Flying Pig is a great Marathon Weekend but the animals were all asleep at the Zoo on Monday, because I think the weekends are so packed with people all weekend that they sleep all day on Monday like I wish I could have done.
And I found a new restruant,,,steph knows the name with a huge flying pig that you can pose and get your pix with.

Time: 4:56:53 (11:20 Pace)
Division: 121
Sex Place: 1056

Flying Pig Half-Marathon & Pump and Run Challenge...

Since I did the Country music marathon last weekend (and because I've already done the flying pig and Ohio twice) I only did the half marathon this weekend. I made it a little more exciting because I participated in the Pump N Run Challenge.

Flying Pig Pump N Run Challenge/~The half marathon challege winner was the person with the fastest "Net Time." Net time was determined by starting with your overall half-marathon run time and subtracting out a handicap. The handicap was based on the number of bench press reps you could complete by a percent of your weight.
Pump N Run Results:
Half Marathon Time: 1:46:30 (8:08 Pace)
Handicap: 34 Minutes (17 Bench Press reps)
Net Time: 1:12:30
Overall Results:
~Run Time with Handicap: 10th Female overall
~Run Time with Handicap: 3rd Female in my age group
~Run Only: 4th Female Overall
~Run Only: 2nd Female Overall
Half-Marathon Results:
Division- 35/640
Sex Place: 134/5461