Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Boulder Backroads (#15) Race Ratings

Boulder Backroads Marathon Race Ratings...
Registration Fee: $80-$85 Early Reg, $90 Late Reg

Overall Race Rating (weighted): 3.0/5.0
Average Calculated Rating: 3.4/5.0
~ This was a good race and there were definitely difficult parts that were to be expected in Colorado. The altitude and heat were a lot more challenging than I thought. The course, start time, and organization of the mile markers left much to be expected.
Race Director: Let's play race director...
~What would I have changed if I were race director? Earlier start time... it's Colorado and you never know what to expect from the weather! The temp took a lot out of you, espectially with NO shade! Gotta fix the mile markers... especially in the last few suffering miles. The last .5 cannot be uphill. Pull the course back a little and end it sooner so you're not climbing the last half mile. Also... when you know its going to be hot and you have no shade... get out the sprinklers wherever possible!

Event Organization: 3.6/5.0 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 marathon is set in Boulder with a small airport, so likely you'll fly into Denver (about 30 min away)~ 45 minutes away from the race. The race is difficult to leave with a long line of traffic, so don't schedule your race too close to the time you're leaving or you might miss your flight (OOPS!!!). The website offers hoards of information to look through as you get closer to race day. The race is also close to CU Boulder, so you can catch a local football game!

Race Organization: 2.0/5.0
~ The race went off with little fanfare. The marathon and marathon relay are run simultaneiously while the half-marathon is run on a different course, starting an hour after the full marathon. The full and the half end on the same last few miles.

The Good: There were water stops just about every 2-3 miles and every table had plenty of water, GU and sometimes other snacks.

The NOT so good: The race was HOT!!! And there was just about 0 shade! They had no water spickets anywhere on the course. The race wasn't started until 8am, so on a warm day (like it was) it was very hot from the start. Also, the mile markers were SO off. Some miles were very short while others were long. And try to figure this one out... the 26 and 13 mile markers were in the exact same place even though they had the same finish (shouldn't they be .1 away?). Oh and those mile markers were about a half mile away from the finish... talk about a bad time to have the markers off!

Course: 2.7/5.0
~ To start, I should say that the course is BEAUTIFUL! I guess you could think of the course as what to expect in Colorado. There were PLEANTY of mountains oops I mean hills. When we weren't on hills we were on large open roads with no shade. I know I had a hard time breathing because of the high altitude mixed with heat and mountain climbing... not a course for the weak... a Definite challenge. Oh and the last half mile is on a pretty solid UPhill!!!! How evil.
Spectators: 3.0/5.0
~ Being out in the hills of CO, its hard for spectators to get to us. However, the relay points had pleanty of spectators so every 6-7 miles you would get a few cheers!
Pace Group: /5.0
~ DNE and didn't need

~  No corrals of course, but runners were very quiet! I don't blame them... the heat was enough to make your tongue stick to your mouth. We'll give them an A for effort for staying on the course! A lot of people dropped out with a DNF!

Expo: 4.0/5.0
~ The expo here was not bad at all! It was what you would expect in a state that is known for physical activity. A few feul stations, some free energy drinks, a runner jewlery sale... a little of everything. Also, it was heald at a local outdoor mall so you could go shopping after or go to one of their restaurants. Not bad!

Swag: 4.7/5.0
~T-Shirt... The T-shirt was a fairly nice, plain, sweatwick material shirt. It was a greensleeve shirt so I guess that means eco friendly (3.8). Your T ALSO came with a runner hat with the marathon emblem on it (+1.0)!!!!
~Medals: FINALLY a Metal Medal!!! Cute with the race logo on it. (3.7)
~ Goodie Bag: The goodie bag came with LOTS of free drinks, granola, a sports ache cream... GOOD JOB!!!! + a couple points.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Posting from the Sky!!!! Post-Race Thoughts

Hello from the Sky!!! I'm currently flying home from this weekends marathon and I'm trying out Deltas free Wi-fi in the sky-- SO COOL!!!!!!

I know what you're thinking... "You had a marathon this weekend??? We didn't even get a Race RUNdown!!!" Don't fret, you didn't miss anything... I was very swamped last week and didn't have time to post. SORRRY! No worries, I'll include lots in the post race thoughts below. For now, one more marathon and one more state down. I have a whole TWO weeks until my next race-- oops I mean raceS-- I'll be running back to back marathons Oct 3 & 4, but thats for a future post.

Post Race Thoughts... Boulder Backroads Marathon
-Stephanie (in the Sky over ~ Colorado)

Yesterday was the 11th annual running of the Boulder Backroads Marathon in Boulder, CO.  The hills were brutal only to be outdone by the fierce heat on open roads. But... the race is over, another medal won, and another state down! A state, I'll choose not to visit again for a while... at least not to run! Boulder/Denver is a BEAUTIFUL area with lots to do for those outdoor-types. WARNING however-- do NOT underestimate the SBD enemy-- ALTITUDE!!! Although Boulder is ~2000 ft lower than my race a few weeks ago in Park City, UT the air felt much thinner-- and with the mix of long winding hills, these proved to be quite the challenging race for those of us NOT from high altitudes.

Saturday, we spent the day getting to know Boulder a little better... but going to a CU football game!!! And guess what? They won!!! Colorado University played Wyoming and had a nice little victory! Go Buffs??? That's weird to say when you're used to "GO Bucks!"

The Race:
It was quite cold when we got to the start at 7am (an hour before the gun time). However-- that changed quite quickly over the next hour.

*Race Annoyances of Stephanie #1* (We're going to start keeping track of these because they seem to be common problems and QUITE annoying! These are general marathon problems and do not apply exclusively to this race) #1-- WHY don't race directors think to put water out at the start line prior to the race??? I mean... they ask you to show up an hour or two prior to the start and they don't think we'll need water? For the $60-$100+ entry fees they can afford to put water out at the start! Also... if its a hot day, don't you think the race direcctors would want to make sure we're hydrated??? Just a thought.
*Race Annoyances of Stephanie #2* Weather chages! No, that is not the annoyance, but it doesn't seem that the directors take this into account when they plan the race start time. 8am start for a race that can varry in weather conditions is not the BEST idea. Running your 20-something miles around noon on a hot day is KILLER. Would it be so bad to ask for a 6 am start??? I know we're in September, but if the weather is know to be irratic, plan for it please!!!!

Just prior to the start the heat felt like we were mid-day. Ugh! The gun goes off and so do the runners! The course was anything but easy. If you weren't climbing hills, then you were on flat open roads with no shade and swealtering sun! Shade didn't come until I hit the 25 mile mark... yeah, real helpful! Running up hill was definitely killer and it took a while to get a stride.

To keep from getting heat exhaustion I took the race VERY VERY easy... purposely walking for a minute every other mile and up some of the major hills. What was shocking??? The REALLY GOOD runners were too!!! Around mile 16 we started to see runners going in the other direction. At first I was confused because I didn't know what race they were running, especially since they seemed to be going pretty slow and some were walking. I soon found out that they were the winners of the marathon and they were only about 2 miles in front of me... and I was going SLOW!!! I was shocked to see how slow they were moving and that they were even walking. There were ambulances speeding by continuously and I saw more people drop from the heat and on oxygen through the race than I cared to! Crazy conditions for a crazy race.

Good news.... FINALLY I have a normal medal again! The past 2 races have been plastic/glass monstocities! Its so good to see a solid metal medal! Also, this race had some pretty rockin swag-- a cool t-shirt AND  a hat and LOTS of giveaways from all their sponsors.

More to come in the official race ratings...

Happy Runnings!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Nov & Dec Marathons??? Who's going where???

I'm trying to find an additional marathon in November (outside of the Nov 8th weekend in North Carolina) as well as 2 in December. I thought these would be BIG states out west or in the south for marathons, but I guess holidays leave many weekends booked. Help me find some???

Obviously in states I've yet to complete! The full list of states can be found on the right -->

WHICH Nov/Dec marathons are you running???

Give-a-ways and Race Prep!

First, Run Faster Mommy is having -what I would liek to call- an anti-GI problem give-a-way. She's giving away all kinds of electroylte gels, snacks, etc. Looks really neat... check it out :)

Also, race #2 of the week is coming up... Boulder, CO is this week! The issues/lessons to keep in mind...

1) Boulder is a high-altitude race (~5K ft)! I did Park City a few weeks ago (~7K ft) and I could definitely feel the altitude. How to help?
~ HYDRATE! This definitely helps to prevent altitude sickness
~ Swimming... to get your lungs used to controlled breathing

2) I'm Sick! I've been sick since getting back from Erie this weekend. I think its just some sort of Flu. But I have 2 Drs that each have me on a different anitbiotic. I should say that one Dr. told me NOT to run this weekend... I tried to explain why that wasn't an option, but she didn't seem to understand or care. Oh well..

3) This is the last back-to-back weekend of marathons before my back-to-back Sat/Sun races the first weekend in Oct!!! Scary...

I will be posting the race ratings from Erie today :)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Erie Marathon... Post Race Thoughts AND Race Ratings

Post Race Thoughts...
There's a lot going on this week and another marathon this Sunday, so I'm combining last weekends post race thoughts and race ratings. If you could care less how my race went please feel free to scroll down to the race ratings below...

My Thoughts? Erie was a pretty course and I had a great time on the beach before the expo and after the race with all the Cinci- Galloway runners! Ran the first part hard (probably too hard)... knew I wasn't feeling it that day and Dave C. (pictured left) and I slowed down for the second half. Probably didn't help that mid-race I had a bit of a port-o-john scramble. I didn't feel great through the race and on the way home my throat got a litttttle itchy. By Mon morning I REALLY wasn't feeling well... no worries though, the Dr. has given me antibiotics and is sending out a strep test.
Since I was having a crappy run and throwing a tantrum, Dave C. got me through the race by distracting me... something about right brain thinking?? Hmm I'll have to read up. Anyways, Dave is from Erie and I got to hear about the ENTIRE history of Erie, Lake Erie, and how they bottle Erie water. Verrrrry interesting :) It's a GREAT Day!

Registration Fee: $40-$50 Early Reg ($60 Late Reg)

Overall Race Rating (weighted): 3.8/5.0
Average Calculated Rating: 3.8/5.0
~ I think the average rating was about right for this race. It's a small race, with a looped course. It seems like a lot of thought was put in by the director to make the runners as comfortable as possible. The course was kind of boring, but convenient to see it twice, and it was very pretty. Ending a race on the beach is always a plus!!!

Race Director: Let's place race director...
~What would I have changed if I were race director? This race- being a small, scenic run- is great as is! If anything was changed, it wouldn't be for the better. Great job race director!!!

Event Organization: 4.5/5.0 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.
Event Organization seemed to go off very well. The expo and pasta dinner are held on the beach at Lake Erie. We got to take lots of pictures on the beach and enjoy a VERY VERY good pasta dinner. The dinner had pasta with 4 different sauce options, GREAT salad you could dress with anything you wanted, and a ton of desserts!!! YUM! I got to "camp out" with the some of the Galloway Runners (Thanks Rabers!)... this was very close to the course (very convenient). We drove a van so travel wasn't too bad (no major traffic, Erie was pretty easy to get around). Overall very well organized event.

Race Organization: 4.3/5.0
I liked the race organization. The course was a loop you did twice, so anything they provided, they had twice (ie. Hammer Gels). Now, I'm NOT a fan of hammer gels, but they DID give us vanilla and not one of those weird flavors hammer has. There was water stop EVERY mile. The start went off without a hitch and it seemed like most everybody was enjoying themselves. Post-race they provided subway subs, lots of chips (get that sodium in), and they gave out these 180 Energy Drinks that were DELICIOUS! These drinks are great... you can get them in non-caffeinated, and they come in really interesting flavors (like Goji Berry). I think they're actually geared toward athletes as an energy supplement. Finally, the race ENDED at the beach... making a VERY large ice bath out of Lake Erie!

Course: 3.8/5.0
~ This course rating depends on how you like your course. It's quite literally PANCAKE FLAT! There are 2 "hills"... one is a little 10 ft blp, the other is a bridge that is maybe 20 ft total. I'm not huge for completely flat courses, but I really like the 2 loops on this one... you knew what to expect and where the water/gel/potty stops were. Also, the course is VERY pretty. You're running along side the lake and the trees all around you are very pretty... some called it boring (trees and lake over and over), but its very serene.

Spectators: 3.5/5.0
~ The course is on a very quite road, that appears to be more of a bike trail in many ways... so very few spectators. They did have themed water stops which is a big A for effort on the race organizers part.

Pace Group: /5.0
~ DNE and didn't need

~ No corrals were necessary for this race. Runners were very quiet and mellow... likely due to the scenic view we had. I met a few at the pasta dinner and they were very nice! We chatted about the 50-staters, etc.
Expo: 4.5/5.0
~ This was a small marathon, but they still had a pretty good sized expo. You could get all your basic needs- GU, Sports Beans, etc. Some also had great sales on clothing and shoes!!! I bought yet another new pair of running shoes! I also LOVED that the expo was outside and near the beach! Galloway runners (pictured left) took advantage and played on the beach.

Swag: 2.5/5.0
~T-Shirt... The T-Shirt WAS long-sleeved! LS shirts are so rare so it was nice to have. It also had the runner cuffs on the sleeves and was great material. The shirt was red with a black picture of the Erie Lighthouse. Very basic... with the sponsors down the arms instead of all over the back. Not bad... we'll give it a 3.8 for functionality and uniqueness.
~Medals: Another marathon, another HORRIBLE medal. Sorry, but these "sun catchers"-- although unique-- don't make the best medals! The medal was a round glass piece with a lanyard on the end. we're giving it about a 2.2-- just above the horrible Park City medal.
~ Goodie Bag: The goodie bag DID include a pair of socks with the marathon name on it! I don't like higher socks, but maybe I can frame them or something???

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Erie Presque Isle Marathon (#14)... Race RUNdown

It's another back-to-back week for Steph's 50 Marathon Challenge. I'll be heading to PA (Erie Presque Isle) then to CO (Boulder Backroads Marathon). We'll start with PA and when I catch my breath after the marathon, I'll post up me RUNdown for CO!

Inspiration Points...
1. The Cincinnati Galloway group will be sending a large contingency to run the race... ROAD TRIP! Apparently I'm in the boys van (with 1 other girl)... or the "Testosterone Train" as they're calling it-- Pray for me.
2. There is a catchphrase for the Erie Marathon: " We have met the enemy and they are ours". (Thanks Dave C.) Nice huh? If you can tell me the meaning behind that and how it relates you will get 5 COOL points*!!!
3. This are my last 2 marathons before I attempt my TRUE double... Sat/Sun Marathon in NH/ME in October (Yes, I'm out of my mind).
*Cool points to be redeemed in the form of virtual high-fives from Stephanie

Race RUNdown...
Erie Presque Isle Marathon
Registration Fees: $40 to $50 early ($60 late)
When: Sunday September 13, 2009
Where: Erie, PA
Year Running: 15
2009 Expected Field: 520+ (current registrations)
...Females: 212
...Age Group: 18
2008 Field: 410 Finishers
... Females: 141
... Age Group: 13
2008 Avg. Finish Time: 4:28:17
*Unpredictable* is the word I see most often to describe this race. I've seen lows and highs galore, and last year this was a bit of humidity. Currently we're looking at a low of 58 and a high of 73. We're starting to get to the "cool weather months" where races can start later, however there is always the possibility of getting a hot spell. This may be one of those times. We'll see...

~ This course is FLAT as a pancake!
~ 2 loop course around the Lake... should be a scenic one (if I could only remember marathons after I finish...)

Race 411:
~WATER stations EVERY mile!
~People boast about the long sleeve micro-fiber shirt! I hope its a good one this year, and I'm hoping they're still going long sleeve. I LOVE long sleeve tech T's.
~This is a very quiet, low key race. I'm starting to get used to these so it's not so bad. Hopefully I'll keep a pace where there are still people around me for most of the race.
~Very few spectators! That's ok because the few you do see... you'll be seeing twice! (loop course)

Race Plan:
I'll actually be running using galloway splits with Dave C. from our Cincinnati group. I've raced using galloway splits 1 time before and definitely PR'd, but I felt like I could only push myself so far. I believe Dave's plan is 3:41 Run with 0:30 walk. He has all the math figured out... I'm just going along for the ride. Could this be a possible solution to my leg cramps??? We shall seeeee....

Friday, September 4, 2009

Taco Thursday gone Healthy!

Since moving to the Midwest 3 years ago, I can probably contribute 5 lbs of weight gain to my discovery of Chipotle!!! Before I moved here we didn't have chipotle in upstate NY (although I saw 1 in Boston this weekend). I have a very unhealthy obsession with it now and eat it about once per week... and it's horrible for you! So, due to my increasing waist line and credit card bill, I thought, "HEY! I can make this... and make it healthy." So I just wanted to share my health yet tasty and easy to make soft taco's I made last night. Let's compare with Chipotle, shale we...

Chipotle: 290 Cal, 44g Carbs,
Stephanie: Low carb, low fat Tortilla: 100 Cal + 8g of fiber
Winner: Stephanie! Tastes the same but half the time to work it off!

Chipotle (chicken): 190 Cal (7g from fat, 2 g saturated fat), 38% DV of Cholesterol
Stephanie: 94% lean Ground Turkey- 80 Cal, 3.5 G from fat
Winner: Stephanie! Ground Turkey (cooked right) is more tender than the chicken AND you skip the heart attack

Chipotle: White Rice @ 130 Cal
Stephanie: Brown 90-Second rice (in the microwave!) @ 60 Cal!
Winner: Stephanie! Easy to make, no white flour, and no oil!

Chipotle: Shredded unidentifiable white cheese- 100 Cal
Stephanie: Part Skim shredded mozzarella- 50 Cal!
Winner: Stephanie... there's something funky about their cheese- not quite right.

Tie! It's the same thing. Salsa is normally very low fat. However, if you live near a Trader Joe's, you should DEFINITELY check our their salsa... unbelievable! So are their chips.
PS! I've had very little input on my bloggy running mix! I'll go ahead and RE-post that! C'mon I know you'll listen to music... don't feel silly, even if you DO have the entire CD from "Hairspray" as a playlist... ummm, not that I have that... I mean.. mmmm-- nevermind. Send in your "pump me up" songs and I'll add it! :)

Songs to Run Run RUNNNN...

A Bloggy Running Mix... (Input needed!)

Do you have that 1 song that comes on mid-run and, even if you're feeling your worst, it seems to give you a pick me up??? I know I do! I have a couple, but I would love to hear from everyone else! Send me "your song" and I'll post the compiled list later!

Send me your favorite "pump me up" song(s) and (if you want) why you like it!

1) Ricky Martin~ Cup of Life
~ Lyrics like "GO GO GO!" and "Do you really want it?" always great when I'm sick of yelling at myself!
2) A.R. Rahman & The Pussycat Dolls~You Are My Destiny ~1 of Mel's top 3!
3) The Veronicas~Untouched ~ 1 of Mel's top 3!
4) Coldplay~Viva La Vida ~1 of Mel's top 3!
5) Black Eyed Peas~ Let's Get it Started ~ NY Wolve's Nike + Power Song!
6) U2~Where the Streets Have No Name ~ MrcCJ sent in this U2 hit!
7) Steppenwolf~Born to be Wild !~ Greg's Bad impression of 'Crazy Steph':P
8) George Thorogood & The Destroyers~ Bad To The Bone ~ More bad impressions on Greg
9) Brittany Spears~ Phonography~ Greg thinks I'm a teen! Thanks Greg!!!!
10) Juanes~ La Camisa Negra ~ Thanks Cami!
11) New Kids on the Block~ Dirty Dancing~ Cami sent this blast from the past in!
12) Lady Gaga~ Poker Face~ Cami
13) Sarah Brightman~ The Phantom of the Opera~ Cami's wild pick!
14) Charlie Daniel's Band Devil Went Down to Georgia~ Anonymous, MB??
15) Joan Jett~ Bad Reputation~ Thanks for the song B.O.B!
16) Black Eye'd Peas~ Boom Boom Pow~ GREAT song from Robin!
17) Black Eye'd Peas~ I Gotta Feeling~ Another good summer song from Robin!
18) Marlene Suggests... The Killers, Fall Out Boy, Coldplay, Taylor Swift, Sean Kingston, & the Black Eyed Peas.... ALL great artists!!!
19) Tom Petty~Running Down a Dream~ a Bruce recommendation
20) Nickelback~Rockstar~ Another from Bruce

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Workout Suggestions... From FOOTBALL players???

Football Players! What does our sport have in common with the hard-hitting sport of these gridiron heroes? More than you think!

Recently I tried a special workout inspired by an NFL super star. At first I didn't think much of it. I finished my workout, went on with my day and that was it. The next day I went for my "Maintenance Run"-- and easy 5 miles without a watch. At first my legs felt like I was carrying weight on my ankles! I tried to slow down, I tried to stretch, I tried everything! But they were HURTING! Discouraged through 4.9 miles of the run I thought of everything possible... then in the last 10th of a mile I realized what it was... my football-inspired workout! It was a killer... in a GREAT WAY!

My inspiration?- TO! AKA Terrell Owens of... what else? " The TO Show!!!" For you non-football junkies, TO is a football player in the NFL.

The once Cowboys (GO COWBOYS!) Wide Receiver has turned to reality TV in his last year of glory in the NFL. Hey! It could be worse... he COULD be Brett Favre (ooh burn). Anyways, in TOs first few episodes he's torn between his love of women and his love of the game-- with football always winning out. No matter what goes on in his life, he has intense workouts that he can turn to! One such workout caught my attention... the Pool!

Unfortunately we all can't have the view TO has when he works out!

The Workout!
In many of the episodes TO can be seen doing some funny pool exercises. These aren't your grandmas pool stretch & bob classes! The exercises he does promote strength & speed. TO incorporate resistance training (using the pool) to get a more intense workout. This includes pool sprints in shallow (3-4ft) water, as well as free-weights in the pool.

My Workout? Well I've been swimming in attempts to get cardio in while also saving my knees on off-running days. I added in some of TO's resistance training toward the end of my workout in between sets and boy did it make a whole new workout! I'll list below what I did... please forgive my lack of correct swim language
4X100 Freestyle Swim
4X50 Kicks (using a board)
4X50 Arms only (holding a water float between my knees)
... Add in the resistance!
1X25 HARD swim
1X 25 Yd Pool SPRINT! Resistance? The water only
1X25 Hard Kick
2X 25 Yd Pool Spring with Tube. Resistance: Water AND Tube
1X50 Recovery Freestyle Swim
2X25 Yd Pool Spring with water weights. Resistance: Water & Weights- Arms get a workout too!
1X25 Hard Kick
1X25 "High Knees" Across the pool. Resistance: Water

The added benefits?
~Calorie Burner AND strength training in one! I'm a huge proponent of strength training to help your speed & endurance (for you goal pace runners).
~Don't like/have free weights or don't like going to a gym?? Get your strength training in a pool!
~Ice as you workout. If you're in a colder pool you don't feel the pain of sprinting like you would on a track. Your muscles let you do more in the water for a longer time.
~Perk up your x-Training! I'm always looking for other forms of cross-training for my non-run days.
~Altitude training. If you would like to add the swim part in, then there is an added benefit for your higher altitude races. If you swim prior to going to a higher altitude area, it can help you adjust and run a more normal race.

Other Resistance Training
I don't have a lot of time for both cardio AND strength training, so this form of resistance and cardio combo are GREAT for me! However, there are lots of other ways you can incorporate resistance into your training-- in the water and out!
~Water Workouts~ This site gives a list of some workouts you can do in the water including, running, squats, etc.
~Resistance Bands~ This site gives a full moving visual of exercises, as well as tips to get the most from the workout.
~You can also use those resistance balls and Bosu balls at the gym in any of your exercises. Just ask one of the staff to give you a few pointers on how to use them.