Thursday, October 29, 2009

And the 5K Halloween Costume is.... (Drumroll...)

Hannah Montana!!!! No, I'm not kidding! We will be doing the "Run Like Hell" 5K as Miley Cyrus and Hannah Montana- I'm taking the Hannah side of the double, blonde wig and all!

~Blonde Wig
~Leggings with a long silvery shirt
~White boots for AFTER the race, sneaks for during the race
~Hannah Montana Necklace & Shades!

I've never run in a wig before, but I'm not planning on breaking any records here! I'm also not running in my typical running clothes. We'll see how this goes :) Happy Halloween!!!!

PS. Thanks for all the suggestions!!!!! <3

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

5K Halloween Costume Ideas????

So there is a 5K race in my area and of course it's a halloween costume race with a big ole party after! Originally we were going to go as roller derby girls but I can't find any cheap-o roller skates so that idea may be getting nixed.

I'm also thinking about the fact that it's running race and I'm supposedly a "runner" of sorts-- It's probably going to bother me to see people run whilst I attempt to roller derby down large hills without breaking my legs!

So... ANY  creative costume ideas that can be worn while running a 5K? Quick race- get in, get out, then drink! But I need something. HELP!!! Any ideas will do!

Travelocity Mastercard <3 Marathons!

The best thing I've done in my marathon adventure is getting a Travelocity Mastercard!

People often ask me how I afford traveling so much for all these marathons in all these states. Besides planning VERY carefully, I decided to opt for one of these rewards credit cards. I was hesitant at first because usually the rewards require you first spending thousands upon thousands of dollars, then there are tricky mail-in rebates and all that jazz. But I've been using the Travelocity Rewards mastercard for the past 2 months and I've already earned $50 in free travel and I'm about to hit $100-- Hello Alaska!!!!

How it works:
~ You earn 1 point for every dollar spent
~ You earn double points for every dollar spend on travel
~ Triple points for vacation packages.
~ There are certain redemption levels:

How I use it:
~Instead of using a debit card or taking out cash, I use my rewards card and pay it back
~I book ALL my marathon travel/flights/hotels/etc on the rewards card so double points (YAY!)

Why I Love it:
~ It actually does what it says ($1 = 1 pt, Travel = Pts X 2!)
~ They track your rewards both in your mastercard account as well as in your travelocity account.
~ Super Easy!!!! When you go to checkout of a travel purchase and you've hit one of the required point levels, there is a rewards drop down tab when you can simple choose to apply your travelocity $$s.

For more tips and tricks see my "Run & Save" Tab at the top of the screen or click on this Link!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Looking for a Few Good Men... and Women

Marathons are fun and challenging, but there are always ways to make them more... interesting. I like to find a couple of difficult marathons to do, just for fun! Let's jump back in time, shall we? At first they always seem scary--
~ My First Trail Marathon... but, I ended up winning the race and LOVED the trails. I even took a Video during the race!
~ At My First Double I was very nervous, but it ended fine-- I actually did better in my second race of the weekend than my first.

The next one I have in mind is a scorcher-- literally.

The Bataan Memorial Death March!
Now, with the words "death" in the title, this may seem like more of  a challenge than anybody wants to handle. HOWEVER... they have teams!!! Not only do you have a team counting on you to complete the race, but in the true military spirit, you're not allowed to leave a teammate behind-- all members must finish within 20 seconds of each other!!!

I'm trying to get together a team or 2 to participate in the march! It's a full marathon (26.2) in New Mexico. It's a VERY hot course, but if you take it easy and work as a team, I think this could be a very fun race. There is a military and civilian side for the competitions. Co-ed, women, & mens teams. I'm trying to find a few brave souls to run the race as a 5-person co-ed team. If you're interested in joining the team let me know!!!

For more infomation:

Monday, October 19, 2009

Some Marathon Math...

I'm FINALLY caught up on all my post-race race-ratings (as you can tell from 3 races being posted today). After the double in the beginning of the month I didn't have the energy to talk abour marathons for a week or two... then KY marathon came and passed this weekend. But since I'm caught up I started thinking about all my races. I like numbers and math... so I was crunching some number of my marathonlin-ness to-date.

*This weekend (at 24) I ran my 20th lifetime marathon WOAH! That's 524 miles of races-- It will be big when I have more marathons than my age... oh hello, January (*crossing fingers*)
*This YEAR I have run 15 marathons in 15 states... that 393 miles of JUST racing marathons. We all know that running marathons is a challenge, but the real challenge is putting in the miles and the effort day after day, week after week, to get yourself up to the race. A marathon is only 26.2 on race day, but you put in hundreds before that... and that's what you should be proud of!
*This MONTH I have run 3 marathons (including 1 double)... This all leads to...
*This year I have purchased (and gone through) 5 pairs of running shoes! I'm up for another pair... yikes!
*I'm trying to find out the mileage that I've flown... TBD!
*I have 32 more marathons in 32 states left before I complete my 50-states goal. That means I'm 36% of the way there... that number seems so small, yet my body says I've run so far. Yuck. Wish me luck on the remaining 64%. ;)

Louisville Marathon- Race Ratings

Louisville Marathon ~ October 18, 2009
Registration Fee: $75 (Early Reg., $85 late)

Overall Race Rating (weighted): 2.5/5.0
Average Calculated Rating: 2.5/5.0
~ This race went off without much excitment, and ended that way. The course wasn't anything special, and they need some help with race organization. The best part about the race, were the things we found to do in the city AFTER the race.
Race Director: Let's place race director...
~What would I have changed if I were race director? A little organization can go a long way. Get some well-marked port-a-johns, add some better finish food, and medals and that race would have been much better. Also, stay focused on the runners who are finishing after 3 hours... get excited, because they are definitely excited to have the race over! Since you're repeaing so much of the course when you loops back, get some exciting water stops with people or food so we have something to look forward to. If ANYTHING were up for discussion... that course needs to come off the concrete... at least for a good chunk of it!!!

Event Organization: 4.2/5.0 (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.
~ There was a string of hotels right at the start and the main hotel is where check-in was. You could also hangout inside out of the cold and get ready for the race. We drove down from Cincinnati (~1.5 hours) with very little traffic since it was 5am. *IF you go to this race (or Louisville in general) you NEED to stop at  Lynn's Paradise Cafe. The recipes are very very unique and the food is amazing. Allllso... this is around Halloween... apparently there is a neighborhood around the race that has some sort of halloween decoration contests. These houses are DECKED OUT!!! They all have themes and are really cool. We got out of the car and walked the street to see them all. I'll try to put up pics later.*

*These items were NOT noted by the marathon race or race directors, I simply enjoyed them and hope you will too if you choose to run here.

Race Organization: 2.6/5.0

~ Almost the entire course was run on concrete, side-walk type ground. Very hard and (at least, for me) very painful. There was no pre-race water, and the post-race food consisted of: PB&J, Raisins, and apples on a small table :\ Don't these people understand I neeed cheeseburgers*??? There WAS hammer Gel provided and they were smart in this race-- they started giving it out AFTER the half-marathon turn-around point! No halfies are gonna take my gel!!! There were very few port-a-johns that I saw, and when I DID find one, there was a homeless woman taking runners clothes out from behind it. Normally I would say that's ok since most people are just tossing the clothes, but this was an out and back course, where people were hiding layers along the way to pick up on the way back... oops!

*Stephanie's Post-race food of choise. Also, the reason why these race pictures of me are NOT getting any smaller, no matter HOW many marathons I run this year. :\
Course: 2.6/5.0
~ This course changed quite often. You saw: suburbs, city, bike paths, you went over bridge, through parks. But somehow... it was SO boring!!! I don't know if it was the lack of spectators, but this race was so boring and painful to get through. I wasn't a huge fan of the course... it was pretty flat with a few bumps in the road. Overall... ahhh, it was "ok" at best. I already put this in race organization, but the race was run on mostly concrete side-walks... even the bike-path seemed to be made out of concrete... ouch! Oh and... if you go to run this next year, be aware that the course is an accurate 26.2 miles, but some of the mile markers are off. In the beginning they're slightly short by about .2 miles over the first 4 miles. You make up for that in mile 23 and 24, which are both about a tenth long.

Spectators: 1.0/5.0
~ Wow, I have NEVER seen such lifeless spectators... even at the FINISH!!! When we were finishing, NObody was clapping (not even the marathoner/half-marathoners that had already finished), and the guy on the mega-phone was calling for someone to come to the finish line, rather than calling bibs or names or simply words of encouragement. When you DID pass spectators on the course... nothing! Barely a clap or a smile... they made me want to STOP running.

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

Runner/Corrals: 2.0/5.0
~ No corrals (small race) and the runners were very very quiet. Once the halfies split off there was very little talking. This was pretty much an out and back with a loop in the middle. I didn't hear one other person say "good job" or cheer for the people passing on the otherside.

Expo: /5.0

Swag: 2.6/5.0
~T-Shirt... The T-shirt is ok: Tech-T Style short sleeve. However, again, they ran out of smalls. If they have runners pre-order sizes-- WHY oh WHY don't they have them???? This falls into Stephanie's "Marathon things that annoy me" category. 2.6
~Medals: They were TEENY Tiny with just a little flower and "Louisville marathon" on them. I'm pretty sure they were plastic too. Yuck. 2.6
~ Goodie Bag: You had the option to grab a goody bag with 2 or 3 leaflets in them.. nothing too exciting.

Peak Performance Maine Marathon... Race Ratings (Part 2 of the Double)

Peak Performance Maine Marathon ~ October 4, 2009
Ratings... Registration Fee: $45 (Early Reg., $55 late)

Overall Race Rating (weighted): 4.0/5.0
Average Calculated Rating: 4.05/5.0
~ Warning: much of this rating is based on Maine as the second half of a double, rather than rating the marathon on its own. I loved the ability to get there quickly and painlessly from the NH marathon. I also loved the people that participated... lots of Maniacs and 50-staters throughout, getting their double in for the weekend. Bad sides? No food/Gel on the course... but don't worry, there were LOTS of post-race cookies and I ate a couple dozen upon completion of my 52.4 miles for the weekend.
Race Director: Let's place race director...
~What would I have changed if I were race director? GU or some kind of Gel on the course. If this is being advertised as the second part of a weekend-double, expect hungry runners!!!

Event Organization: 4.7/5.0 (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.
~ If you're looking to make this part of the NH/ME double, the travel is great! It only took us about 1.5 hours to get from Pete's place in NH to our hotel in Maine. There is also a hotel RIGHT near the race... so you can easily fly out of Portland. The website for this race is actually very good... providing a full course map & Description, as well as runner comments, local attractions, etc. They also provide you with a VERY long list of hotels... which there were plenty of, since you're so close to the airport.

Race Organization: 3.7/5.0

~ The race organization was pretty good, with a few ups and downs. This was a significantly bigger race than NH and there were a LOT of people doing the NH/ME double There was also a half marathon going on at the same time. Although I looked like a scared kindergartner on the first day of school (pictured left) before the double, there was actually a LOT of excitement at the start. There was also very large gym for packet pick-up so people could get water, stretch, etc, not too far from the start. 

The big thing I noticed for Maine was NO food/Gel on the course. I, personally had a hard time with this because I ran NH the day before and was SUPER hungry by the time I hit my 40th mile for the weekend! Luckily some kids at a water stop had some munchkins (those are from Dunkin Donuts, for you non DnD lovers)!!! The streets were definitely cleared well for this race (shut down). OH! And we tried to find the "pre-race massage tents" at the start, but none could be found :( Very sad.

Course: 3.4/5.0
~ This course wasn't all that exciting. It was an out and back with a loop in the middle. The elevation contained sloping hills throughout-- which I normally would love, but by day 2 of these was a little tough. Nice course overall.

Spectators: 4.8/5.0
~ Spectators were GREAT! There were people outside of their homes throughout most of the race! Lots of kids with their own water stands, and people seemed genuinely excited for the marathon! Again, there was a relay, so at the relay points, there were TONS of people cheering, especially for the people participating in the full marathon! Even the relay runners waiting on their teammates would cheer for the marathoners.

Pace Group: /5.0
~ DNE and didn't need (from what I could tell).

~ Again, there were TONS of 50-Staters and Maniacs along the route! I got to see all of my galloway friends along the way as well, since it was an out and back. I even got a chance to stop and take a picture with Wild Willie when I caught up to him. Wild Willie is an early starter and very, very close to finishing his 50-states!

Expo: 3.0/5.0
~ There may have been a bigger expo the day before, but on race day they DID have a table set up with some really nice Maine Marathon apparel! MB got me a nice jacket that was similar to a "Boston" jacket (*grumble, grumble*). For a smaller marathon, there was some good stuff!

Swag: 4.25/5.0
~T-Shirt... Yay! Another long-sleeve... finally! I've been waiting for a new one. My Disney one somehow got covered in coffee... oops. Cute shirt, nice fitting, breathable material, and they had (and gave me) my size! 4.6 for the shirt!
~Medals: Another nice medal... this time the medal was the shape of Maine-- very cute! 3.7
~ Goodie Bag: You had the optional goodie bag at the packet pick-up. If you didn't want to kill more trees, and fill your trash with paper then you didn't grab a bag. I peaked inside and looked for marathon discount flyers, but I already had all the ones provided. I thought it was nice that they didn't waste all that paper. + a couple tenths of points.

New Hampshire Marathon.... Race Ratings (Part 1 of the Double)

New Hampshire Marathon ~ October 3, 2009
Ratings... Registration Fee: $40 (Early Reg., $50 on race day)

Overall Race Rating (weighted): 3.8/5.0
Average Calculated Rating: 3.7/5.0
~ Overall this was a fun race with a great course! It could use some help with race organization and definitely with the free swag. But you're only paying $40 so if you're looking for a great course at a low price, this is it! Oh and if you want a T-shirt sign up early (as they req. to order the T's)... and if you want one in the size you ordered, show up to check-in early-- and remember its on a Sat so you'll need to get there friday afternoon. If you're planning to make this part of a double... New Hampshire and Maine in 1 weekend... its a GREAT first double! You get a lot of variety from the courses so your legs won't hurt TOO much. :)

Race Director: Let's place race director...
~What would I have changed if I were race director?  CARS! The roads need to be cleared at least on one side of the road for the whole race. I know the number of participants increased 3-fold this year, but the cars should be a concern no matter the number of participants. They also need to get more police help for the cars SPEEDING down the backside of the course. The people almost seemed mad that the runners were in the way... hit a runner, 100 pts! The T-shirts! If you're required to register early to get a shirt, they should have the size you ordered!

Event Organization: 3.0/5.0 (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.
~ This event grew drastically this year... likely due to all the maniacs that wanted to do the NH/ME double that weekend. I'm not so sure they were ready for it. There wasn't too much in line for hotels, travel, etc, and the website was kind of limiting. To travel to this race you had to go through airports at least an hour away. I stayed with our friend Pete and the rest of the galloway group, so I had no experience with hotels in the area... it WAS nice that ME was so close and if you wanted, you could try your luck at a double marathon!!!

Race Organization: 4.0/5.0

~ Definitely a smaller race. The course had pleanty of water stops and had some food at stops as well. I noticed that they had REALLY good flavored "sports drink." I'm not sure what it was but I really liked it! Potties were a plus all over! Before the race we all met at a local school gym, so there were lots of indoor bathrooms we could use! Much better than outdoor porta-a-johns (esp since it was raining). Also, there were VERY well-marked potty-stops all along the way with large signs pointing us to the stops.  The end of the race had a pretty good post-race display of food, including Dunkin Donut Munchkins and pizza!!! Yummmm. The course seemed very well marked with mile markers. The only really bad part of the race was the car-control. Some of the race had half of the road blocked off, but the cars would go FLYING by. There were also parts of the race that were NOT blocked off at all and you were forced to run on the side of the road that had a pretty good slant... causing a VERY large blister on my foot.

Course: 4.7/5.0
~ If I weren't doing a double, this would have been a GREAT course for a PR. The course starts and ends with nice large rolling hills with a middle area of smaller rolling to flat. It provided a lot of variety for the legs and was pretty as well... running around a large lake. It was esp nice since the leaves are just starting to change in the NH area!!!

Spectators: 4.0/5.0
~ There were spectators sprinkled throughout the course, but there were no big areas where people could watch-- usually the side of the road, if they could avoid getting run over by the cars flying by. One thing I did note were the people at the water stops... they were SO supportive and legitimately LOVED watching and cheering for the runners! It was so nice to come up to a water stop with that sort of support. Also, I was STARVING by mile 14 and by mile 21 I thought I was going to pass out before I finished. But, at a water stop I asked if they had anything to eat and they ran into their car and grabbed their personal snacks... oatmeal bars, peanut butter bars, lots of stuff!!! They were SO nice!!!

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

~ There were no corrals but I found the runners delightful!!! There was a part of the course that is out and back where you pass other runners. Most runners were Maniacs of 50-Staters so MOST people appeared to be taking it easy on this one-- saving themselves for Maine the next day. Everyone seemed to be having fun. I got to see all of my Galloway group that was up for the weekend at different points.

Expo: /5.0
~ No Expo...

Swag: 2.0/5.0
~T-Shirt... OOOH yeah, the t-shirt was cotton, 1 size larger than I ordered, and not very pretty. We'll go with a 1.8.
~Medals: The medal was nice-- a square with the state of NH on it. 3.0
~ Goodie Bag: There wasn't much to the goody bag, but this was also a very small race.

Monday, October 5, 2009

My First Double!!!! NH/ME

This weekend I ran my first double... NH Marathon on Saturday and Peak Performance Maine Marathon on Sunday. So how is the day after? My legs feel GREAT!!! I don't get it... I'm waiting for my body to come out of shock and put me in terrible pain. I DO have a little cold from running in the rain for 4 hours in New Hampshire, but other than that I hardly feel like I ran. Very weird... esp since both my marathons were at a DECENT clip... Sub 4:30!

~ Doubles make me HUNGRY!!!!! I will definitely do another double if sombody can invent a fuel belt that holds cheeseburgers. I was STARVING by mile 14 of the second marathon!
~ Where there are crazy doubles, there are crazy runners! LOTS of maniacs and 50-staters all over the place... and all doing the double marathon! Crazy people!
~ I'm getting another SPINNY STAR on the maniacs board!
~ Running in the cool northeast made me feel 10000Xs better than the hot, dry mid-west. Nice change of pace compared to my recent marathons!
~ Must take vitamins... I hate colds!

More to come... just wanted to give you an update and some Pictures!!!!

Cincinnati Gallowayer Running Group... I was late and didn't have my jacket on so I don't match (OOPS) ... where's waldo???

Pete is in the lower right corner.... he hosted ALL of us at his house in NH! He had little gift bags for everyone, incredible meals, and very cute motivational signs all over the house. WHAT A HOST!!!! Pete... do you have any houses in any other states?? hehehe jk!

MB and myself before the NH Marathon

Laura and I befor the Maine Marathon... 2 of MANY Marathon maniacs and 50-staters!

Me before the Maine Marathon... second marathon of the weekend. VERY nervous, but turned out to be great!