Monday, August 24, 2009

Park City Marathon (#13) Race Ratings!

Registration Fee: $65 (Early Reg., $75 after)

Overall Race Rating (weighted): 3.0/5.0
Average Calculated Rating: 3.3/5.0
~ The course was a big determinant here. Such a flat, straight, course with so much heat and no shade was definitely hard. The area, however, is definitely worth running 26 miles to see! Beautiful mountains and great host resort!

Race Director: Let's place race director...
~What would I have changed if I were race director? The first thing would be the course... too much open space with a very hot sun-- Although, I now know what it feels like to be cooked. Also, GU! If any races choose anything other than GU they're crazy. Post race food... for 400 marathoners and a lot more half-marathoners, you need to get some bagels and more fruit and sugary item. Port-a-johns were far and few between in the last 6 miles (pretty important spot I would say)-- add more at the end and don't worry about them every other mile in the first 10.

Event Organization: 5.0/5.0 (now broken into 2 parts, see below as well) As far as "event organization" we'll go ahead and include things like Host hotel, website use, ease of travel to the event and to the actual race, etc.
The EVENT organization was great. The airport (Salt Lake City) was large, but still easy to get into. Park City is only a 20 minute drive from the airport and I believe the hotels have shuttles. Also, the host resort was fabulous with good prices and hot tubs on the balconies! The start/finish is right outside the hotel doors with a GREAT restaurant adjacent... Maxwell's East Coast Eatery (great homemade pastas and 5 am pre-marathon breakfast served!). There is also a Massage Envy on sight for post-marathon stress relief.

Some pictures from the hotel :)

(Picture left to right: 1) View from our balcony- Olympic Luge slides, 2) View OF our balcony-- hot tub and all! 3) View of our bathroom-- LOVE this bathroom!)

Race Organization: 3.0/5.0
The race organization was decent. There were lots of water stops, and port-a-johns, but there were a couple of downsides too. Hammer Gels were provided (ick! I hate them almost as much as my pure HATRED for Carb-boom, scratch that, I don't even want to mention that name on here!). Also, they were supposed to have snack at certain miles in the race and they ran out :( No snacks for me. And the post-race food after was scanty... although some great peaches!

Course: 2.5/5.0
~ Not a great course, but it has to be hard to plan something that loops around large mountains. There were a lot of long periods of gravel trails that just went straight for miles and there was VERY little shade-- not great since most of the race was run in 80 or 90 degree heat. The mountains and the different "park cities" we went through were really cute. Kind of boring, but if you like very quiet & scenic, this is the course for you!

Spectators: 4.0/5.0
~ There were long runs of empty gravel trails, which spectators couldn't really get to. Where there could be, there were some spectators, but it seemed like a lot of them were out to cheer on a particular person and didn't really clap or anything for anybody else. This was NOT everybody... there were some areas that were fun and the water stop people seemed REALLY excited about their jobs! They did everything the could to help us in the heat.

Pace Group: /5.0
~ DNE and didn't need
~ No corrals, obviously, but the runners were pretty nice. It was extremely hot and I know IIII wasn't the most pleasant person to run by! Didn't want to talk at all... MB found a friend though (what's new). Also, when the man went down, about 10 runners stopped and immediately started CPR-- handing off every couple rounds. I'll give them a 5.0 for that!

Expo: 1.0/5.0
~ The registration table had a SMALL table next to it with things like: T-shirt, picture frames, old age group awards, old race t-shirts... WAIT! Did I just say "OLD AGE GROUP AWARDS?" Yes, yes I did. They had some leftover age group winner awards that you could purchase.... this is definitely bizarre! The race was small (about 500 marathoners), but it had a BIG group of halfies and it was big enough to have SOME race gear or goodies. Would have been nice to pick up some GU or sports beans... little things like that. Its UTAH for goodness sakes, every other store out there is an outdoor sports store... you couldn't find one that wanted to sell stuff at the registration/expo? F for effort there Park City!

Swag: 2.5/5.0 (and that's rounding up!)
~T-Shirt... HOLY GREEN! The womens Tshirt were NEON green! Like, I'm going to blind drivers as I run past them outside. Like, I have to ask my running group to bring sunglasses when we run together. Like, I may get confused for a crossing guard or an airport control person! The mens were dark green, with the same bright green stripes down the side under arms. They were ok. Sweat wick material, thin and easy to run in. mmmm... 2.5?

~Medals (Pictured left): MB is going to flip out but... I'm sorry, they're plastic! It's a cute idea. They are supposed to be sun catchers, but they are plastic and kind of ugly and on lanyard string... the handmade-ness was thoughtful and definitely different, but kind of cheap looking (sorrrrry). They also came in lots of ugly color combos (eek) 2.0 out of 5.0-- 2.0 for effort only
~ As soon as you were finished you were handed a PINK CARNATION (Gamma Phi Beta!!!) with your medal. Definitely Adds a+1 point

~ Goodie Bag: Not much to the goody bag. I think there was a random health bar in there, but that was about it. I know they were trying to be more green by NOT hanging out papers, but it could have been nice to have gift cert's to some of the local shops and eateries that helped put on the marathon. -1 pt
(Below: MB & I Post Race)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Park City Marathon... Post Race Thoughts

Complete: UTAH!

Getting there and... staying there??
The ride into Park City was smooth. The airport is in Salt Lake City and the airport was very easy to transition through. Turns out Park City is VERY pretty. There are a ton of mountains with ski slopes down them. We stayed at the host hotel: Newpark Hotel. The rooms were UNreal. We have a full living room and kitchen, and a patio with our own hot tub on them. MB has informed me that prices were very reasonable. I imagine they would go up a little more around ski season, but it's a great place to visit! MB wants to stay here.

Pre-Race... i.e. Freezing and can't breathe
When we got up this morning, the weather was a littttttle cold! But have no fear, by the end of the race it was in the high 90's and eventually got up to 102... a record for the year!!!! PERRRFECT timing mother nature. I know you're mad about my NOT planting a tree after I tried to bribe you in my race RUNdown for the Leading Ladies marathon. Ahhh... oh well.

We stayed at the resort that put on the race so the start was all of 5 ft away from our building. Right downstairs, Maxwell's East Coast Eatery had opened early to support the racers and had a full buffet breakfast as well as a cold breakfast with quick bagels, fruit and cereal. PERFECT! Got a bagel then headed the 10 ft over to the race.

Racing... i.e. Attempting to "run" and really can't breathe
The race went off with a simple "go" beep. Within the first quarter mile I realized that air... or I should say lack of O2, was not going down so easy. I was running around a 9 min mile and felt like I was starting my race off my typical way at 7:45. Breathing immediately got heavy from the altitude and my legs already felt a little lead-like. I expected this, so I wasn't too put off. I only had about 18 hours from landing in Utah (at 7,000 ft)-- not nearly enough time to get acclimated. So I slid off to the side and waiting for MB to catch up, then I ran relaxed with her for the first 12 miles or so.

The course was a lot of VERY open "rail track"-- dirt road. Very little shade and lots of hills, both rolling, and steep. The sun got very hot within the first half hour, making this high-altitude challenging course into a scorcher!

Mid Race... people STOP breathing!!! UH-OHHHH
Around the start of "THE hill" for Utah (around mile 15) I came around a corner to see a bunch of runners gathered toward the side of the road making a lot of commotion. At first I thought they were goofing around in the short patch of shade we saw, but then I realized a few of them were leaning toward the ground... over somebody. A man had passed out and apparently stopped breathing and had no pulse. They were giving him CPR while also trying to direct the ambulance to our location. After that I slowed down even more, but I was concerned they would cut off the race once they found out about the gentleman. Fortunately, they did NOT cut off the race. I haven't heard about the man, but if I do I'll post it! Hopefully he's alright!

Race Endings... FINALLY I can breathe... and get some corona!
The race ended and I rested passed out in the grass waiting for MB to finish. They had great fresh peaches, drinks, etc in the runners post-race corral. After the race we went BACK to Maxwell's since... well it was right there! They also had very comfy Adirondack chairs that I could tan in!! Perrrfect. Unbelievable food and a great staff... if you do this race, you'll have to stop by. They also had cornhole! I beat MB... of course. :)

Race ratings to be posted soon!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Park City Marathon (#13)... Race RUNdown

Hello from...

Yes, I just posted my Race Ratings from last week and now I'll be posting my RUNdown for THIS weekend! It's another back to back Marathon week, and this time I"m traveling to Park City, UT.

Inspiration Points...
1. This is my 10th Marathon this year! No extra Spinny stars, but I think that's still pretty big!
2. MB will be meeting me in Utah to run as well
3. Altitude what? This is going to get interesting

Race RUNdown...
Park City Marathon
Registration Fees: $65 Early then $75 after

When: Saturday August 22, 2009
Where: Park City, UT
Year Running: 10th
2009 Expected Field: Sold out race! 500
2008 Field: 411 Finishers
... Females: 160
... Age Group: 32
2008 Avg. Finish Time: 4:36:00
When I landed it was 102 degrees!! Yikes!! Last weekend I ran a race starting in the 40's and 50's! Fortunately, it's supposed to drop down to the 50's tonight then start picking up around race start time. We should be running in the 60's and 70's with little humidity.

Excerpt from their website...
• 17 miles of wide gravel or paved bike paths; balance on quiet streets
• Scenic vistas and wildlife, no “urban ugly” sections
• 8 mile mostly downhill finish
• Loop course marathon and out-and-back half marathon—no shuttle!
• Music on course
~Also, we've been warned that there are a few monster "hills" that may be better known as mountains. Also that nobody runs up mile 18!
~The mountains out here are beautiful! It's definitely an "wild west" meets "hiking mountains" type of a scene. This should be very pretty to run through.
~It seems that a lot of people rave about the course ( but it's for everything EXCEPT a PR! This is ok since I had my "hard run" last weekend.

A little ALttitude Adjustment:
This race goes up to about 7,ooo ft. Being from Cincinnati, I'm definitely not used to that. I know the altitude will have an affect on me, but as of now I'm not sure how bad it will be. I've taken the following steps in precaution:
~ Drink Water! Lot's of it.
~ Stay away from salt
~ Swam a few times this week... breathing under water helps your lungs adapt similarly to thin air
~ We found some pills that are supposed to help your body adjust faster to altitude
~ Taking it especially easy for the first few miles. Let my body adjust

Race 411:
~Remember the winter Olympics in Utah? We'll be running all around some of the old olympic sites/equipment.
~This is another GREEN marathon! There's been a big push for marathons to "go green." How are they doing this? Among other things, recycling all water cups, no paper inserts in your goody bag, Courses designed to run without Buses (no C02!), and much more!
~Aid stations GALORE! There are water stations all through the race (which will need with the heat and altitude) and there will be SEVEN GU stops! LOVE IT.

Race Plan:
Run easy and run smart! The altitude and heat will be big factors, so I plan to at least start out easy. It will be nice to relax and enjoy a race for once.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Leading Ladies Race Ratings...

Registration & Process Fee: $75.88

Overall Race Rating (weighted): 4.3/5.0
Average Calculated Rating: 4.3/5.0
~ I would agree with the average. This was a really good race on a beautiful course with a lot of fun people. Great goodies pre and post race.

Race Director: Let's place race director...
~ First, nobody could replace the presence of the Leading Ladies Marathon race director. But, maybe we can make some suggestions. The start-- pull it back a little or have it wrap a different way. Currently, you jump right to an uphill without warm up. This is especially hard when you're already freezing. I know we don't want to congest the roads all day, but 4am meet to start at 6:30? Yikes! Not much we can do about that, except to push the start out a half hour or so. The heat shouldn't be a problem, since the sun is hidden by the mountains for the first few hours of daylight.

Organization: 4.5/5.0
~ This race is VERY organized. The runners received update emails during the weeks as we approached the race. Also, it's a small race, and the website is kept very simply without excluding any of the important point. There were 2 meeting points to catch the bus and they both seemed to go off without a hitch. There was a good amount of water stops that also had lots of snacks! Downside? We had to meet at 4 am to get the bus to the 6:30 start. It was SO cold for the first 2.5 hours of the race.

Course: 4.5/5.0
~ Great course. Running down the winding, scenic, mountain roads. Mostly rolling hills then a gently sloping downhill. My quads aren't thankful, but it doesn't hurt your time! Only part that I wasn't a fan of was an immediate uphill at the start without a warm up! This is especially bad since we were already freezing prior to the start. Also, the uphills are on these loose rock type things. They're a little like running in sand- every step you took you went back just a little.

Spectators: 3.8/5.0
~ I felt like the spectators that were there were very genuine. Everybody seemed very excited for the race! There wasn't a TON of room for spectators since we run along a major road, but whenever they could they were there.

Pace Group: /5.0

Runner/Corrals: 5.0/5.0
~ No Corrals, obviously, but the runners are EXCEPTIONALLY nice. I don't know if it's just because we're all women but I've never seen such a chatty bunch! Put 100 strangers on a bus and you wouldn't expect immediate chatter like that.
Expo: 4.0/5.0
~ I wasn't able to attend the actual expo, but it had a lot of cool things. There were some workshops and I heard from another Maniac that there were some pretty cool booths there as well.

Swag: 4.0/5.0
~Everything was very "Girls Power-esque" for this race, as it should be! The Tshirt? A red shirt with this years signature emblem: a Leopard Purse with "It's In The Bag" written on it. Definitely a cute idea and I had heard that the shirts last year weren't great. However, the dark brown and black on the dark red made it kind of hard to see. Would have been REALLY cute (and easier to read) if it were on a pale pink.
~Medals: Very different and cute. Same signature leopard purse with "Its in the bag" written across it. Very nice!
~ As soon as you were finished you were handed a rose with your medal.
~ Goodie Bag: There was some seriously cool stuff here! They had a little leopard colored box with chocolates inside. They also gave us 3 inspiration cards with quotes about running and runners on the cover.
~ Winners? Winners got BLING! Neckalces, bracelets, and earrings were the award for winners. Age group award? Leopard colored bags with inspiration stones inside. Mine said "Friends." Everybody together now... "AWWW."

Running for Grandma!

If you haven't read my ad about MB's race to the right, then I wanted to bring this to your attention.

My grandma has been up to some crazy things... skydiving, running & winning (A/G) 5k's... and all after fighting Ovarian Cancer TWICE! She's much more BA than I will ever be and my mom is fundraising for a race in honor of her... check out the link below and donate if you can! Grandma started running after her first round of chemo to get healthy and has continued running.

If you can, please donate a little at MBs site. Even $5 makes a big difference!

Monday, August 17, 2009

$~Running Financially Sound~$

I've added a new section to my blog. If you look in the nav bar at the top there is a new section based around financially smart traveling for marathons (Called "Run&Save"). I throw out tid bits of advice on saving on registration, transportation, hotels and more.

If you come up with other ways to save that you would like to share, please leave a comment or send me an email and I'll add it!

Leading Ladies Marathon- Post Race Thoughts

Guinea Pig Report:
Sorry, no dice everybody! Let's take a look at what I've consumed over the past week...
~ 3 bottles of Pickle Juice (2 the days before the race and 1 right before)
~ 2 bottles of coconut juice (1 the day before, one the morning of the race)
~ 3 Bananas (1 the night before, 2 the morning of)
~ Packet of sports beans and 4 GUs
~ Gatorade/Water throughout the race
~ 1 Packet of (ick)... Mustard (yes, I gaged)

All those combined should have filled me with potassium, magnesium, sodium, and electrolytes. How could I possibly get cramps, right? Well sorry to report, but between miles 23 and 24 I had horrible leg cramps and had to walk most of the last 2 miles. Prior I was averaging an 8:15 pace and felt great. Mid mile for my 24th, they just hit. So the search continues... how to stop these cramps??? Well that's a mystery to remain unsolved... let's talk about the race.

Pre-Race: Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to go to the expo because I got in so late. But, the expo was supposed to be good and designed very much around women (good, since it was an all women race). They had a few workshops set up for writing and a couple of speakers. The whole event seemed to go off more as a social than a race-- kind of neat! I hadn't been feeling very well all week and the cold hadn't gone away by the night before the race, so I quickly got something to eat then went right to bed.

Race Day: This race starts out 26.2 miles out-- we get bussed out to the start and then run back to the finish. All the way up to the start there was a LOT of excitement a even more chatter. It was definitely unusual to have only women at a start. The race director, Elaine, got on the bus to wish us off on our trip. I thought that was very sweet and added to the excitement. The start was FREEZING!!! We all ran out, used the port-a-johns then quickly ran back ON to the bus to get warm again. The start was about 4000 ft higher than the finish and significantly colder. This was a nice change from the hot/humid weather we've had in Cinci, but wow it was a shock to the body.

The Course: The race went off with a simple "on your mark, get set, go!" No big speeches by people we don't want to hear from keeping us out in the cold unnecessarily-- thank you organizers!!! You immediately start racing up a good sized hill on loose stones. What a way to get warm. You immediately started back down just as steep of a hill. The hills continued to roll for several miles. My fingers were blue and I could barely move them to get water. If you're looking for a cooler race, you'll love this one! You not only start in the cold before sunrise, but even when the sun does come up, the mountains around you are so high they block it out until your last few miles.

Around mile 11 there is another good size uphill on loose stones again. This hill wound for a little over a mile, then you turned a cone and ran it backward. The rest of the course was constant turning around mountains on a gently sloping downhill.

Post Race: Upon finishing the race they give you a medal and a rose. They have a line of people waiting to walk with the runner as long as you need until you can stop to have them take your chip off. I wasn't very hungry but I was able to grab some really tasty fruit tarts and some water. Awards? WOAH! If you placed or completed some sort of marathon trifecta you received some fun runner jewelry. For the age groups (I got first in mine) they gave out awards to the top 3-- those engraved "inspiration stones" in a little leopard print bag with your age group and placing. Mine said "Friends" awwww....

Race Ratings to come!!!

Friday, August 14, 2009

I'm a Runner? & PJ Sports Drink!!!

Two discussion points for today...
1) Pickle Juice Updates!!!
I contacted Pickle Juice Sports and asked if I could try some of their product. They sent me 3, 8 oz bottles! I'm going to bring them with me and hopefully they'll help! The instructions said to take one bottle before physical activity and if needed, continue to take during activity. I'll have to find a way to carry the small 8 oz bottle with me-- very convenient sizing!!! I'm liking it already.

I also tried some that my co-worker gave me and guess what? 1. They don't make my stomach sick at ALL.. actually its kind of relaxing on the stomach and 2. It's actually really good. I can tell that I'm really craving the salt, because I don't think pickle juice is normally something people should find appetizing! Also, after about a half of a cup my body wasn't craving salt and it was tasting a little bad. I'll keep you posted on the PJ as much as possible!

2) When am I "A Runner"?
When did you start thinking of yourself as a "runner"??? Once in a while I make the remark "I think I'm a runner"-- surprising myself. But I never really say I "AM" a runner. And I think I know why-- BOSTON! I know, it sounds crazy! After 13 marathons and 14 years of running long distance, one would typically consider themselves a runner. But, I think in the back of my mind, I'm waiting to hit a BQ time before I can officially call myself a runner... don't even get me started on when my warped mind considers myself a "marathoner." Now don't think I'm talking about you all out there. With other people, my wacked out brain calls people runners as soon as they run a single race (be it a 5K, 10K or marathon). Yes, there is something very wrong with me, but couldn't you tell that by now???

I don't know who or what put these thoughts in my head. Maybe it's all the non-runners asking "sooo, have you ever done that Boston marathon thing? Isn't that supposed to be hard to get in?" ... with my forced sulking response of "no... I missed it by 14 seconds." I firmly believe it's the cause of the undo pressure I put on myself race to race! Normally, I do better with a little extra pressure, but in my mind I've made "Boston" much bigger than it actually is!

Thoughts? We all need to relax about Boston and take some of this unneeded pressure off ourselves. On marathon mornings, if you feel great then run hard. If you don't make your boston time-- or any goal time, enjoy the race and appreciate that you've accomplished something only 1% o the US population (and much less for the world) have ever done!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Leading Ladies Marathon (#12)... Race RUNdown

This weekend I'll be completing my South Dakota Marathon- and guess what? It's all women!!!

Inspiration Points...
1. No boys allowed!!!!
2. This race is all downhill!!! They bus you out to the start at 6,000 ft and run to the bottom at 3,400 ft. FUN!
3. 9th State this year... I will get my 4th spinny star on the maniacs!!!
4. South Dakota Redemption!!! Scroll to the bottom to hear my SD running story from 10 YEARS ago! I will get you back South Dakota!

The RUNdown #12 Leading Ladies Marathon
When: Sunday August 16, 2009
Where: Spearfish, SD
Year Running: 5th!
2009 Expected Field: 107 Currently Signed up
Age group Expected: 7 Currently Signed up
2008 Field: 97
...Females: 97! DUH!!!
...Age Group:
2008 Avg. Finish Time: 4:46:04
Ummmm... can we say IDEAL? Yes, yes we can! Upper 40's??? OMG I'm beyond excited! I haven't ran a marathon in the 40's or even 50's since... well, ever!!! All of my races have been super hot and I'm SURE are in some part a cause to my leg cramps.

If there were just a few showers through the race I would be VERY happy... Do you hear me mother nature??? If I have ideal weather conditions and make a PR I will plant a TREE!!!!

DOWNhill! It's supposed to be very fast and beautiful!
Some excerpts from Marathon Guide on the course...

~"This was, by far, the most beautiful course and one of the fastest courses I have run yet. Spearfish Canyon is not only breathtaking; it also has PR potential." (sounds like a plus)

~"I am not kidding when I say that the race runs entirely downhill - there are no flats to be found. There were points in the last eight miles where I thought I seriously wasn't going to be able to finish because of the pounding my legs and joints were taking" (Something to watch out for)

~Beautiful scenery the entire way; mostly downhill; great aid stations

... and I'm not just pulling out the "good" ratings. I didn't see a single bad one!

Race 411:
~Race Director, Elaine Doll-Dunn, is supposed to be amazing! Very inspiring and energetic. You very rarely hear people's ratings include comments about the director! I was shocked to see just HOW many people were raving about her.
~Water Stops- I've seen mixed reviews on the water stops. Some say they're fantastic and some say they're scanty. I will check it out this weekend and report back!
~This is a smaller, quieter marathon so the spectators will be far and few between. In this case, I'm ok with that! If you read the post on Hatfield-McCoy, I really enjoyed the quiet among the beautiful scenic view! This race is supposed to have amazing scenery.

Race Plan:
I've been feeling a little under the weather, but hopefully that clears up real fast!!! If the weather stays as perfect as it looks now I'm going to try for a hard race. We'll see how that goes! Of course I'll be bringing my many leg cramp remedies with me and testing them out. I will report back asap.

South Dakota... 1999:
10 years ago I was in 8th grade... yikes! I really don't like that I can remember 10 years ago, but that's a whole other story. Alright, in 8th grade I went on a Paavo running camp. Don't know what paavo is? It's an older running method that involves putting in a LOT of miles-- even for high school kids. In my experience it burns people out, but hey! it works for some.

The camp I went to was Paavo West-- two weeks of traveling by 15 passenger vans from IL out to WY then back, stopping 3 times a day to run... and by run, I mean run FAR! When we got to SD our mid day run was a 10 miler in the middle of summer, in 90-something degree heat with 100% humidity on black top. Who thinks this is a bad idea?? I DO!!!! About halfway we got to Mt. Rushmore, which is the last thing I remember seeing before waking up in a hospital. Something like 5 of us went to the hospital that day with heat exhaustion.

My goal? Get BACK at Mt. Rushmore!!! I'm 10 years stronger and I'm determined to have a much improved performance from my last visit! Bring it South Dakota!!!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Leg Cramp Solutions... AKA What will Stephanie ingest?!?

Problem: Severe Leg Cramps (specifically hamstrings)
Timing: Last 20%-25% of my marathons or intense long workouts

Last week I asked for Bloggie Input on late race leg cramps and any and all suggestions for alleviating the pain. I've compiled the list and it the response looks closer to a list of "what can we make Stephanie ingest???" I said I'd do it and I plan to attempt to try all of these. Well, here we go....

1) Source:
BB of Slow Runnings Comment sent in
~ Solution: Hydration Vitamins (Electrolyte Tablets) to take DURING the marathon.
~ Product Info: You take 1 every hour for light sweating, 2 an hour for heavier sweating. It adds salt as well as electrolytes.
... Purchase Price: $16 for a bottle of 100 capsules.

Race Plan: I've purchased the pills. I'll take 2 before the race and carry 6-8 with me on the course in my new water bottle with pouch. I finally found a smallish hand held water bottle that has a pouch and comfy hand strap! Who's excited?? ME!!!

2) Source: MB, also supported by Greg.
~ Solution: Pickle Juice... Taken before the marathon
~ Product Info: Garry-- a co-worker, actually jars pickles and has some extra pickle juice lying around. How convenient!!! As yummy as that sounds, I may throw a little splenda in and some seltzer-- make in Majito-esque?? Gross. Bonus!!!... Kyle's roommate is unbelievably afraid of pickles. Folks you cannot make this stuff up! He's absurdly afraid of pickles, pickle juice, pickle smell. Bonus? I can chase him around with my cup o' pickle juice!!!
~ WOW: They make pickle juice as a product!!! And sell it.. for money!!!! I'm shocked.
... Purchase Price: ~$3.00

Race Plan: During the week I'll drink a cup a night and try to come up with some better tasting concoctions. I won't be able to carry pickle juice onto the plane so as soon as I land in Rapid City I'll have to swing by a store and get some pickles. Ill drink a cup the night before and a cup the morning of. GAG!

3) Source: Runner Dude-- unknowingly posted on the subject
~Solution: Coconut Water ... taken before, during, or after
~Product Info: One of the latest running craze's. I've tried this before and 1 out of the 4 of us liked it... fortunately that 1 was me! I did not try it before or during a race so that will be new. The taste isn't bad. Since I crave salt all the time I think its a nice post race drink. We'll see how it does before.
... Purchase Price: $2-$3- depending on how many you purchase at once.

Race Plan: We have a nice long bus ride out to the start so I'll be taking along a coconut water. I'll also have to pick some up when I get to rapid city. If I can find a way to drop some along the course I will!

4) Source: Mel- Tall Mom comment sent in
~ Solution: Mustard Packet... exqueeze me??? Apparently taken upon the first signs of leg cramps. Oh boy, here we go...
~Product Info: Mustard packet, containing... well, mustard. The hard part... I HATE mustard. But, I did say I'll try anything. I'm hoping the above solutions will work so well I won't NEED to try this, but if need be... sigh
... purchase price: Free (grab some at any work cafe or any place that you can grab condiments to go)

Race Plan: Along with my Gel packs I'll be carrying a packet or mustard. Oh that's just going to look like I lost my mind... oh wait, I'm running 20 marathons this year-- THAT may make me look like I'm losing my mind already. Damn

5) Source: Marlene Comment sent in
~ Solution: Quad strength training... obviously prior to the race. Although it would be kind of funny to see somebody doing squats on the side of the road.
~ Info: The idea is to strengthen the quad to help the hamstring. A lot of pain is caused by a weaker opposite muscle. Strength training is also great for injury prevention!
... Purchase Price: There are a lot of leg strengthening exercises that can be done with or without weights. Unfortunately I go to an overpriced gym so I'll be attempting to get my moneys worth and use their weights!

Race Plan: Unfortunately I won't get a lot of strength training in prior to the race (this weekend) but I definitely have to pick up on my strength training. I'll do 1 or 2 days of LIGHT leg strength training to get them stretched and race ready.
Other items to try...
~ Multi Vitamins... WITHOUT iron. Apparently iron can be difficult to take in mineral form, causing people to feel sick and/or vomit. I'm one of these people. Fortunately they make a multi vitamin sans iron!
~ Stretching!!!! All week before
~ Leg rollers... also all week before
~ I'll also be trying a little swimming to try and stay loose without overexerting myself.
~ Hope! I believe in hope and if you want me to stop complaining about never hitting my BQ time you will too!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Leg Cramps... Bloggie input???

With California off the list I'm looking to my next Marathon in a week!
And the next state will be....

South Dakota!!! *Cheer & applause*

If you've been reading along then you've probably noticed my small hitch in running... leg cramps! Particularly, hamstring cramps. I seemed to be getting pain in my hamstrings anywhere between mile 16 and mile 26 that feels as though someone is jabbing knives into me. I've been told these are cramps. So... I'm looking for YOUR help!!! Below are my list of problems/solution, but if you have any other tricks/tips to add please feel free! I'm desperate and will try anything... even if that involves drinking a bottle of pickle juice-- apparently!!!! I'll post the accumulated list early next week and we can play guinea pig... with myself acting as the guinea pig. I'll try anything... well nearly anything!

Problems... (what is causing the pain)
~ Cramps... from dehydration
~ Cramps... from lack of Salt
~ Muscle fatigue... from lack of muscle strengthening (with these tree trunks?? Please!)
~ Muscle fatigue... from running 9 marathons this year idiot (toward me)!!!

Possible Solutions...
~ Constant influx of cytomax for a week before the race. This is supposed to help with hydration.
~ Pickle Juice... I'm not even kidding. MB threw out this tid bit. It's an old school remedy, but I'm willing to try. The idea is to get salt directly into your system. Anybody know how MUCH pickle juice??
~ Strength training those hammies!!! (with the number of marathons I've been doing and my speed workouts, its been difficult to get a lot of strength training in). So I've added in a few workouts posted in runners world that Ryan Hall does! I'm a HUGE proponent of strength training for both adding speed and for injury prevention!!! What do I normally do?...
... Walking lunges... forwards and backward*** my favorite
... Box step-ups--- ryan adds a twist with uneven weighted box steps. This is supposed to help your hip muscle and IT band issues.
~Salt Tabs? These are not easy to transport while racing so I'll have to figure something out.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

San Francisco Marathon Race Ratings

Overall Race Rating (weighted): 2.8/5.0
Average Calculated Rating: 3.2/5.0
~ Upon completing the race I had a number of people ask me "how was it??" And I couldn't seem to muster up any sort of excitement and simply replied "it's over!" When the very best part of the race is having it done and over with that is never good. It was a nice trip to California and it was VERY cool to run across the GG bridge... but other than that, the race greatly lacked in overall organization! I know it's one of the bigger races, but I've seen other larger races go off with more organization and energy than this.

Race Director: Let's play race director! What would I change?...
~ Ditch the eco-friendly cups, or find larger sized ones! Since the race is so early, follow the lead of some smaller races... make a "neighborhood competition" for which area has the most spirit-- let the runners vote! Please ditch the second half, half-marathoners! The first half is enough to deal with them as they speed by at mile 13, knowing you have 13 more to go-- we don't need them doing the same at mile 26! If the start/finish is in a major metro area, make the expo there too! There were plenty of buildings/centers to have it! The waves... I see the point, but there has to be a more organized way of doing it. This race really isn't THAT big.

Organization: 2.5/5.0
~ CUPS!!!! This was my biggest complaint about the race. Those eco friendly cups were TINY and made it very hard to stay hydrated. I usually carry a water bottle so I only have to slow down to fill up 2 or 3 times. But with such little cups, I would have needed to stop for a long time to fill cup after cup or stop at every water station. This was unexpected and unpleasant. Also, if you read the last post there were some serious issues with timing. My time was off by approx 25 minutes from where I expected it to be. Albeit, 25 minutes FASTER, it was still off.
Course: 4.5/5.0
~ The course was definitely cool! We got to cross the golden gate bridge TWICE... although hilly, it was definitely fun for an out-of-stater. The course also took you through a couple of the parks, providing some shade, including one with bison??? Who knew!
~Point Loss: The timing of the race made it so we were running across the bridges and up a few major hills in a LOT of fog! The fog was difficult to breath in and made it difficult to see too far ahead in the course.

Spectators: 3.2/5.0
~ There were spectators throughout a lot of the race, but spirits weren't very high. Water stations had very little cheering, but we'll cut them a break since the race started SO early.

Pace Group: 2.0/5.0
~ Since I was one of the pacers I'm allowed to be this judgmental. A lot of the groups seemed really on pace and pretty high spirited. However, with the confusion in the 3:50 group (mine) as well as the delay between wave starts, pacing seemed to help very few.

Runner/Corrals: 3.0/5.0
~ The race went off in "waves" which I supposed they put in from comments last year, however these weren't ideal. The waves were heavily weighted in the middle groups (3 &4) which made for some delay starting. Also, they put a few too many minutes between waves, creating a situation where pacers were almost void. Depending on where people started, they could attempt to estimate how they were running based on pacers. The runners were very quite the whole race-- very little spirit. I don't know if that's a California thing or if the hills were just a little much for everyone!
Expo: 3.2/5.0
~ I had heard the expo was a little small in the past for the size of the race, but we were assured (via a message from the director on marathon that they were working on the expo. The expo seemed to be pretty big, but some of the booths were a little unusual and looked to be space fillers. They DID have a booth selling major brand shoes for only $50. I got a new pair of the under armor footsleeves that I've been dying to get but hadn't wanted to spend the money. The location was NOT ideal... fairly out of the way from downtown and not even close to the race start/finish area. The expo itself was also a little messy... the race merchandise had very little available by early afternoon the day before the race. Good point... you COULD meet Dean and Bart!!!

Swag: 4.1/5.0
The TShirt they gave out was a nice tech T with a basic design. The medals were pretty neat. They are "coaster" medals. I didn't know what this meant before the race, but apparently there are little tabs on the backside of the medal so that it can be easily used as a drink coaster. That was different