Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Results are IN!... and OK Post-Race Thoughts

The results are in for both marathons from this past weekend and even with the crazy-muddy trail course, I was able to pull of my best double-marathon combined time yet!

KS~ Free State Trail Marathon: 4:22:27
OK~ Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon: 4:09:18

Average Time: 4:15:52!

Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon~ Post-Race Thoughts
This Sunday was the 10th running of the OKC Memorial Marathon. When I woke up my toes felt like I had let somebody stamp on them and some of them look quite bruised broken and a little infected-- ewwww. I guess what what I get for stubbing them several times during the trail run and taking my socks off in hopes to lighten the load of mud-filled shoes and socks. So... with toes that don't want to go into shoes and 26.2 more miles to go, what is a crazy marathon-maniac to do? This!!...
I taped the tootsies up in hopes to pad them from too much more pounding. FYI-- this method wasn't overly helpful! I struggled with toes pain through most of the race but I had no choice and just ignored the stinging/bruising and continued on! I ran smart, walking the very steep uphills right from the beginning. Lucky for me, there weren't too many steep hills!

The Race!
This is a HUGE marathon both in size and support from the community. This is another one of those races that the community definitely embraces, which isn't a surprise considering the honor the races gives to the memorial. The support starts pre race with thousands of volunteers signing up and a FREE pancake breakfast put on my a downtown church. This continues throughout the race with TONS of themed neighborhoods and water stops including Southwest Airline "landing" water stop, "Under the Big Top" circus theme, and even some bands that looked to be organized on their own. At the end, you're met by many more volunteers as well as a local burger joint ready to give you a cheeseburger!!! Ummm-- THIS is my kind of race!!!                               
This marathon honors those lost in the OKC tragedy, bringing the runners past the memorial and holding 168 seconds of silence prior to the race. After, MB got a few shots of the chairs in front of the memorials with "in honor of..." bibs runners had left there.

Overall this race was very well organized and supported. It was a lot of fun a a pretty fast course!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Mud-Monsterrrr!!! Grrrrr

When I was describing the  KS Marathon Course- Des 7th Circle of hell , I don't think I had enough literary talent to truely describe, in words, just HOW muddy a muddy trail could be! Fortunately for you, the race has put up photos from 2 great photographers-- Dick Ross and Kyle Gerstner --- they truely capture the Muddiness!

Pic 1: Helloooo Mud-Monster. The second picture shows what my Nike-Free's USED to look like. Siiighhh. I've got MOST of the mud off, but I'm afraid they'll never be the same again :( You can't tell in this picture (too early in the race) but after a few falls, the mud extended to my torso as well as up and down my arms. Scratching my face became a serious challenge!

This was actually one of the few areas on the course that was pretty dry.

Pic 2: Remember the Marthon-Pup I stalked err-- mentioned in my last post? Well APPARENTLY this is a BLOGGING-Marathon pup! Check out Pavlov's view of the marathon from a doggie perspective! Too cute. Also, just in case her owner hasn't filed a restraining order quiet yet on me, I've attached a picture of Pavlov/Belle with her Dad during the marathon...  
You get a better image of just how 90% of the course looked!

For more post-race thoughts on the Free State Trail Marathon (KS) scroll down. My FULL race Ratings to come as well as my Post-race thoughts and ratings on Sunday's Marathon-- The Oklahoma Memorial Marathon!

Phew-- the last (cross my fingers) double of 2010 is over and pretty successful!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Free State Trail Marathon~ Post-Race Thoughts!

Today Marathon Highlights….

I took 2nd place for women today at the Free State Trail Marathon. Oh and I learned what it felt like to be a mud monster-- ending the race covered from head to toe in thick clay mud, including my eye lashes and up my nose. Also… I learned what a marathon course would look like if the 7th circle of hell held a marathon. I would assume most people’s hell would have a marathon, but incidentally I’m fairly certain my heaven would have one too and THIS would definitely not be my heavenly marathon course!!

(Pic Right: My New Hat!)

Pre-Race Fun Times
Ok let’s back track to 07:00 this morning. The marathon start/finish was a breeze to find, with signs starting at the high way and bringing you through the campground. I got there an hour before my race and watched the ultra marathoners (40M and 100K) take off. I noticed at this point-- a Marathon Puppy!!! I have an extreme love for puppies and often ask them if they want to go home with me. This usually leads to their parents slowly walking away from me, dragging their dogs they believe will be kidnapped by the crazy dog lady. Well a marathon running puppy? How could I resist??? I rolled around with it for a while and of course asked if she wanted to run AND go home with me!!! At this point, her dad decided it was time to go to the car. Sigh--- anyways, this marathon is pro-dog and even gives the pups a bib and results!
And we’re off…
Ben and Sophia (race directors) said a few words and then we were off. The first 3+ miles is a loop through weeds and a wide trail-- mostly flat, so a good way to warm up. Even though I said I wasn’t going to run hard, I found myself behind the fastest men and well in front of all women. Uh ohm

7th Circle of Hell
And then we were in hell. The course quickly turned into a single-treck trail from Hades! It started with a mud pit ~ every half mile. And not just any mud pit-- deep dark clay mud with no footing and slippery rocks hidden under the mud. Then the mud pits increased in size and duration until we got closer to a lake-- at which point (~mile 14) it was ENTIRELY a mud pit mixed with long stretches of slippery rock on the edge of ~an 8 ft drop. At which point I had to yell (Is this even SAFE??).

Trail Shoes? Pshhh I’d rather destroy my Nike Frees
Ok if I were smart I would have purchased a pair of trail shoes, or at least a pair of shoes with a little more grip than the extremely flat Nike Free’s! However, the mud was sooo deep and sooo slippery it really wouldn’t have mattered TOO much-- well enough for 1 woman to overtake me while I was gripping onto trees and swinging from branch to branch in order to stay vertical. Unfortunately I was never able to make up the distance after the mud pit (mostly) finished -- you know, around mile 23! I would lose my shoes several times in the mud … so many times, in fact, I had to throw my socks away mid-race because they were beyond ruined by being directly stepped into the mud with.

I was so unbelievable annoyed at the trail and myself. I had fallen into the mud, tripped on rocks, broken a few toe nails trying to grip with my toes and lost my shoes/socks in the mud and I just wanted to get the race over. That’s when an obviously experienced trail runner (I say this because she HAD trail shoes on and was very good at darting back and forth over rocks and mud) came up on me and passed me. Fortunately this was around mile 22/23 when the mud was starting to thin out, we started our long treck up hill and the footing was much better. I caught her and took off fast! I was so angry I decided I wasn’t giving up my position no matter what. This helped to catch about 5-8 more MEN! Woohoo--- girl power!

The Finish!
Before I knew it I was at the final aid station. Ps. If you want well-stocked aid stations go to trail marathons-- especially trail marathons that have ultras running at the same time. I’ve never seen so many candy cookie, gu, soda, etc options in any race! Anyways, a the last aid station one of the volunteers told me I only had 3 to go (garmin said 6, but it had gotten covered in mud several times and was being an overall nuisance trying to find satalite and detect my location while running on switch-back trails). This was VERY good news. Most of the last 3 was hard dirt/mud with very few mud pits.

(Pic Right: My winnings-- Mizuno Gear!)

I finished in 2nd and the race directors were SO nice-- they both came up and congratulated me and gave me presents!!!! (The one thing I like as much as puppies-- are presents!!) Ben gave me a running hat with “Kansas City Trail Nerds” on it. Sophia (a Mizuno Rep) gave me a pink Mizuno bag and water canteen. Oh I also got my finisher medal… and a few scrapes to remember the occasion. Shoot and my scars from the last trail marathon were JUST going away.

I also had a chance to chat with another woman who I had seen on the course. She was running the marathon and had to drop out. L She said that she was surprised I was able to go so fast on the wet muddy trail with the kind of shoes I had on…. Yeah, me too! The woman in 3rd came up and told me it was fun chasing me! Very nice runners and organizers all together.

The End & Marathon Ignorance
I was able to wash up in a HOT shower at a camp site near the start finish and literally scrape the mud that seemed to be embedded in my skin. I was also able to wash my (once white) sneakers as they were now caked black with mud and I need them for tomorrows marathon!

(Pic Right: My oh-so-lovely legs post-trail race)

On the way to the airport I stopped to get gas and food. A cop, eying my medal, asked what I won. This is when I REALLY like placing in a marathon, because it’s so hard to explain to somebody that you get the medals “just” for finishing. So when I actually place, it’s so much easier to say “2nd at a marathon”-- not mentioning that the finisher medal has nothing to do with my place. When I mentioned running a guy who obviously thought he was hilarious said “WHY?” chuckling to himself. I said I do them a lot. Then he yelled out “You run marathons and you eat hot dogs and donuts???” To which I promptly turned around and replied “yeah well I burn the calories so I can eat whatever I want” -- obviously implying that he needed to run a few miles before eating those hostess snacks in his hands. HA! That’s show him!

Drove to the airport and found lots of fun “Dorothy” and “Wizard of Oz” stuff… though I would share. Enjoy.

Friday, April 23, 2010

KS & OK Double this weekend!!

I’m in Lawrence, KS for (hopefully) my last double-marathon weekend of 2010. I’ll be running Oklahoma City Marathon on Sunday-- but before that I have to finish up The Free State Trail Marathon tomorrow here in Lawrence. The race headquarters-- Garry Gribbles Running Sports-- is located on Mass ave in Lawrence. Mass ave is a cute strip of stores, bars, and restaurants and screams “college town” from their low prices, hemptastic smelling stores and KU flags in every window!

The airport (MCI) is about 45 minutes away from Lawrence and driving in, you get the grand view of the mid-west. Noooo-- not cows in every yard, but lush green grass and trees everywhere and those low tumbling clouds that seem so close. Dorothy would be proud J

I’ve already checked in at Garry Gribbles and for a small race in a small college town, they had QUITE the selection of running gear and apparel. The store doesn’t look like much from the outside but they had some pretty cool stuff. I asked a recommendation for a place to eat and they suggested the Free State Brewhouse. WOW! The food there is amazing! I highly suggest going there if you’re ever in Lawrence, KS-- errr, you know-- probably for the marathon. The food is awesome and the prices are low! Yayy- I forgot why I loved college town… definitely the food!

Tomorrow is the first half of my 52.4 mile weekend. It was a little rainy this week in Lawrence, so that will likely mean slick, muddy, trails. The course is single track the whole way. Uh ohhhh… after my race I’m going to try and clean up the best I can then head back to the airport and hop a quick flight to Oklahoma City to meet up with MB and run the Oklahoma City Marathon.

Inspiration Points...
-If I finish both of these races I'll be at 30 states completed!!!
-This should be my LAST double in my 50-state quest!
-Over the next month I'll be running 5 marathons! This is the start of a crazy month.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

GO! St. Louis Marathon ~ Race Rating (#28)

Tagline: "GO! for the marathon, stay for the weekend!."

St. Louis MO~ Downtown and Historic St. Louis
Year Running: 10th!
Registration Fee: 
Runners: 2082 Completed, 710 Females
Available Races: Marathon, 1/2 Marathon, Relay Full, 5K (run & walk), Children's fun run...
Average Finish Time: 4:26:40
BQ %: 8.0%

Overall Race Rating (weighted): 4.6/5.0

Average Calculated Rating: 4.54/5.0
~ This is a great marathon with a fantastic course full of historic and fun sites in downtown St. Louis. The spectators are amazing throughout!!! There is a pretty sweet medal and post-race party at the end as well!

Race Director: Let's play race director...
~ This race opened up a few thousand more spots for halfies and I think that may have been a mistake. There were 13,000 of them to crush the streets and made the first couple water stops feel like feeding time at the zoo. It's great to have so much participation, but the half-marathon needs to be closed down sooner. Or they can find a way separate the half and full marathon water stops??? The marathon gear could use some perking up as well at the expo-- better shirts, jackets, etc.

Event Organization: 4.8/5.0 (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.
Distance from Airport to Expo/Race: 33 Min
Rental Car Required: Possibly-- Hotels have airport shuttles, but the start and finish may required a car to get to.
~ This weekend was the 10th running of the GO! St. Louis Marathon, and they definitely prepared the runners with any and all information they needed, leading up to the race with both email updates and a booklet of information on the race, the area, travel, etc. They offered discounts on hotels located near the start/finish. Downtown St. Louis, like any big city, is a little pricier for hotels, but that usually means you get the added benefit of area attractions. If you go to this race, definitely go to the Gateway Arch, and possibly stay for a Cardinals game. Opening day, this year, was the day after the marathon! All of the events were fairly easy to locate and parking was widely available. The volunteers were very helpful throughout the race.

(Pic Left: Me and my friend "Prince" how gave us a ride around the Gateway Arch)

Race Organization: 4.7/5.0
Hydration Color/Type: Green Gatorade & Water
Gel Type/Flavors: Hammer Gels in Chocolate and (I think) Banana? Not sure if there were any others. ~ The race seemed to go off without issues (that I saw anyways). There were water stops about every 2 miles and most of them were fully equipped with aid stations. I used 1 to get Tylenol and another to get a bandaid when a blister formed on my toe then popped. The medics were on patrol along the course too, which seemed like a good idea with the large number of people I saw out of it on the side of the road. The road was a little crowded with the 13,000 halfies, but they cleared out and the relay teams wer very clearly marked with signs on their backs! I love that! Oh also-- the bibs had our names on them for extra cheering!

(Pic Right: MB and I in front of the Gateway Arch-- a few steps away from the finish and the location of the start)
~Post Race Food: Nothing crazy here, but they had a few goodies. Bagels and fruit (pretty standard) and they also had nature valley bars (the green kind-- 99% of the worlds favorite) and tiger-stripped mini cookies-- YUMM. They also had pretzels, which were good for salt in the heat. Oh, and Mic Ultra was the beer sponsor at this race… and judging by the drunk dancer mentioned in the last post, obviously they were doing a good job!

Course: 4.6/5.0
~MarathonGuide Rating

Garmin Distance: 26.3
~ I liked this course for the extreme rolling hills and the sites of St. Louis. This looped course takes you past some pretty cool stadiums and at least 3 gorgeous college campuses. You also go through equally pretty parks and see the Gateway Arch looming behind the start line for some cool pics. Actually, I noticed that MOST of St. Louis has some really cool architecture and beautiful building throughout. The course is definitely a challenge, especially if you don’t like hills. However, there are lot of turns and sites to look at to keep you distracted. The last mile has, what feels like, a pretty good sized hill, followed by a .25 mile downhill to the finish. I wish there was a little more shade for these extremely hot days.
(Above: Busch Stadium)
Spectators: 5.0/5.0
~ I can’t give this race anything less than a 5/5 for the simple fact that I was sprayed with holy water by a catholic priest spectator during mile 7. Aside from that, there were also spectators through the whole race!!!! And they gave us bibs with our names on them so people could cheer us on!

Pace Group: 5.0/5.0
~ They had a pretty solid pace team, especially considering the extreme heat. I ran with the 3:30’s and 3:40’s for a bit and they were pretty dead on. I also saw some of the slower pace teams finish and they didn’t seem to be having too much trouble. Ooooh and the pace team is sponsored by a running skirt company and almost ALL of the members were wearing short flowered running skirts-- yes, all-- including the MEN! When we asked the 3:40 pace leader about the skirt he said “isn’t it great? New for spring!” Umm lol… then he said they were sponsored by the running skirt company and it was a sort of advertising for them. Cool.

Runner/Corrals: 3.5/5.0
~ There weren't strict corrals, but the pace team did a pretty good job holding up their signs to suggest where people start and runners actually listened pretty well. This is a slow start with the thousands of half marathon runners starting with you but everyone was pretty nice-- even toward the end in the heat.

Expo: 3.9/5.0
~ This was another largeeeee expo with all the typical companies there-- 1 more mile, bondi band, discount running shoes and clothing. You could get anything you needed, and spend your time getting sold on other things you may or may not need. I was a little dissapointed in the actual marathon gear. They had a small selection of shirts, hats and socks with the marathon name--  but nothing overly thrilling.

(Pic Right: MB as we look into the arena at the big expo)
Swag: 4.8/5.0
~T-Shirts: The women’s shirt was a bright blue, v-neck fitted tech-t with a simple logo on it. The men had a similar design on a darker blue crew neck tech-t. Both very nice. 4.7
~Medals: The medal had a cool design with the arch prominently placed. The colors of the ribon were pretty cool too with blue and green swirls of color. Very nice design and very distinctive. One of my favs. 4.5
~ Goodie Bag: : For the 10th anniversary they gave us a duffel bag in the same vibrant blue as the womens T-shirts with “GO! St. Louis” on it. They also had some goodies in the bag, including fiber chips, some foot and body lotions and discount leaflets for both marathons and local events/restaurants. +0.2
Time: 3:54:35
Pace: 8:57 min/mile
Place: Overall Teams 529/2082~ Gender 82/710~ Division 21/189 (F25-29)

Monday, April 12, 2010

GO! St. Louis Marathon ~ Post Race Thoughts

Hot Weather Running
Welcome to summer marathon season!!! So lemme think… The first 5 marathons of this year have been COLD-- freezing cold at some point in all the races. And NJ was ok-- sunny, but I wore a long sleeve the whole time. And Today in St. Louis? WARM!!! We‘re talking 3 cups of water over the head at every water stop, caked on white sweat all over, and people dropping like flies! Ok so I get winter marathon season then summer marathon season, what the heck happened to spring marathon season??? Damned global warming…
I usually don’t mind greeting warm weather slowly-- taking on some hotter long runs during the week and easing myself into it. What have I been doing as Cincinnati warmed up over the past 2 weeks? Oh yeah-- running in the cool 40 degree mornings or doing speedwork on the treadmill in the A/C thick gym. On top of that, I’ve been seriously slacking the H20 department. I didn’t really start hydrating until the day before the race-- and even then, I wasn’t doing a great job. Ok, kids-- what lessons have we learned? 1) Check the avg temps of your marathons and train accordingly. 2) When it starts heating up-- at least do a few runs in the warmth! 3) If it’s hot or going to be hot start drinking earlier and more often then you normally would! If you wait until the day before the race and it’s hot-- you’re already too late and you may as well show up to the race with saline bag prepped for later.
No, I didn’t use a saline IV or require any real medical help, but I felt extremely dizzy for most of the second half of the race. I couldn’t seem to get hydrated even though I was filled to the brim and nauseated from water and Gatorade. I wasn’t able to pee because of dehydration and I thought for sure I was going to vom up chocolate GU right in front of a hoard of children manning a water station, potentially scarring them for life. “Mom! It’s a poltergeist spraying brown water from her mouth!!! RUNNN.” Yeah, that’s a good way to keep yourself from being invited back to a marathon… and oh yeah-- I’ve actually puked up brown running gels in my first 15K back around 8th grade. It sort of looks like dark blood and has forced me to primarily select plain GU for the rest of my running career-- for myself and the sake of the volunteers who think they’re about to see a girl die on the spot.
Post-Race Thoughts…
Aside from the heat, the GO! St. Louis Marathon was actually a lot of fun. The course was filled with hills-- actually I’m fairly certain they found a way to make a looped course OINLY uphills. That or I was too busy concentrating on the NOT puking thing to notice the downhills? The sites on the course are pretty cool too. The starting line has the gateway arch looming in the background and makes for fun pictures. You go past some beautiful campuses and parts of the historic districts as well as parks. You also get to see some of the stadiums like Busch-- home of the 2006 world series champions the Cardinals.
There was pretty good organization and huge spectating crowds through almost the entire race. You can tell that this race is definitely a community event! Even the catholic churches get involved!!! Yeah, no joke-- 2 priests were out in mile 7 spraying the runners with holy water as you run by! I’m not sure I’m capable of asking more from crowds then a holy man doing a prayer over us as we run! Any on a SUNDAY-- I always thought city churches would hate marathons running early on Sundays, because clearly that means we’re not in mass.
Oooh and the runners were fun! It’s a little crazy at first with 13,000 halfies charging out and taking over most of the water stops. It’s kind of nice when they separate from us-- but don’t worry, the 3,000 marathoners were joined by, what seemed like, hundreds of marathon relay teams that ran with us the whole way. Ooooh and the best fellow-runner I found? It wasn’t during the race, but after at the party. She would be the lady who couldn’t have been more than a few minute post-finish and was BOMED very seriously dancing solo in front of the music stage and feeling pretty damned proud of her outrageous dance moves. She was my favorite for the day!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

GO! St. Louis Marathon

Tomorrow I'll be running the GO! St. Louis Marathon in St. Louis, MO for my 28th state (30th lifetime) marathon. We had time to tour the city a little tonight after the expo-- which is huge by the way! We saw the Gateway Arch and had dinner in downtown area. MB is here with me too, of course. I know-- usually I would be doing a full race RUNdown right now, but I've been a little crazy at work lately and haven't been blogging too much-- sorry!!! I'll get back on it, starting riiiiighhttt... now! I just posted my NJ- Race ratings! 2 posts in 1 night! How do you like that?

Not going to have time to do a full RUNdown before bed, but I'll leave you with a little teaser for tomorrows race...
- There are 10 races associated with this marathon weekend and the marathon isn't even the largest.
- The half-marathon has sold out with 12,500 participants, and the full marathon sold out long ago with just under 3,000 participants signed up. WHY so many more half-marathoners?? Does this mean there is less or more focus on the fewer marathoners??? Only time will tell...
-The course is a loop around downtown St. Louis, including sites like the Gateway Arch, Busch Stadium as well as the very pretty campus of St. Louis University.

That's it for now-- Off to bed, then up early for Marathon State #28!

Ocean Drive Marathon ~ Race Ratings (NJ - #27)

Tagline: "Run for the ocean view, not for the organization."

2010 Ocean Drive Marathon ~ March 28, 2010
Cape May, NJ~ Jersey Shore
Registration Fee: $70-$80 early ($90-$100 late) No Discounts
Runners: 607 Completed, 203 Females
Available Races: Marathon, 10M, and 5K
Average Finish Time: 4:21:21
BQ %: 13%

Overall Race Rating (weighted): 2.7/5.0
Average Calculated Rating: 2.7/5.0

~ This is a very low-key marathon with some organizational issues, but if you're looking for something private and small to enjoy your running, then you may like it here. Don't expect a "beach" experience, as it's too cold and most of the area is shut down for winter still. Cape May is a bit pricey to stay in and flying into this race isn't easy with the closest airports both more than an hour away.

Race Director: Let's play race director...
~ This race needs a little organization help, especially since there are so few NJ marathons available. Timing chip and correct mileage markers are the first things that need to be addressed! Getting the marathoners there on time would be another place I would concentrate. Find a way to ensure buses will be there when they say (every 15 minutes). Post-race food is important! I don't know when some directors will realize just how important pot-race food is! It helps to refuel and rebuild-- and often we're very deprived of blood-sugar so something with sugar is pretty key. If this race continues to get any bigger, they director needs to make a push to gain more community involvement-- what community is left in the winter months. We pass through many neighborhoods and distinct towns (cape may, wildwood, etc.) so a neighborhood contest would work here.

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.
Distance from Airport to Expo/Race: 55 from Atlantic City, 67 from Philadelphia Airport
Rental Car Required: Yes!!
~ Getting to this race is a little difficult. Technically the closest airport (Atlantic City) is about 55 miles away, but the flights into Atlantic city are scarce and very expensive. The only real airport to fly into is Philadelphia, which is about an hour and twenty minutes drive. The website is pretty decent-- being a small race there isn't much information necessary-- and they did send out information in the days leading up to the race. The area is mostly closed down, so there isn't much to do during the race weekend and there aren't too many places open for a pasta/carbo load (albeit they did have a pasta party available).

Race Organization: 1.0/5.0
~ As I said in my post-race-thoughts, this is not a very well organized marathon. First, the mile markers were so inconsistent, with mile 2 being around 1.6 miles, then each mile marker from there on tended to be just a little shy of a full mile, making up the distance in the last half mile of the race. On top of that, there were no timing chips. This isn't a HUGE race, but there is definitely a good amount of time to get 600 people across the start line. Pre-race was supposed to have shuttles to bring you to the start of finish, but they also sent the shuttle twice, as apposed to the “every 15 minutes” they claimed on the website. When we got to the race the port-a-johns had huge lines behind them and we barely had time before the race and couldn’t wait. During the race there were plenty of port-a-johns, but they seemed to be grouped close to one another, then there would be very long stretches without them. They did have plenty of water stops with some great volunteers.
~Post Race Food: This was my biggest disappointment. They had bagels, some fruit and water as well as chicken broth. Not a cookie or a beer was to be found anywhere, not even a piece of pizza or a peanut butter for my banana.

Course: 3.0/5.0
~MarathonGuide Rating

Garmin Distance: 26.36
~ First thing-- “Bob” (who we learned was the directors name by local runners) lives close to where the race finishes. Well, this course has historically been a race that is run against the wind for 95% of the race. When we asked why they didn’t just turn it around and end in Cape May, the local runners said they often teased Bob about this, but he didn’t want to change it because he lived close to the current finish of the course. I guess he is the race director so its his choice. As for the course itself, it comes off as slightly boring, considering it is run primarily near the beach. Most of the race is run on 1 road over from the ocean and you only get glimpses of the beach. Also, there are a few spots with longgg straight stretches of road in front of you-- very discouraging. It’s mostly flat, but there are a few hills when you go over bridges.

Spectators: 2.0/5.0
~ This is not the race for you, if you’re looking for a lot of cheering spectators. The Jersey Shore is still a ghost town this early in the year. In fact, most of the town is shut down in the “off season,” so there aren’t even that many locals to support the race.

Pace Group: /5.0
~ NA

Runner/Corrals: 4.5/5.0
~ No corrals. I found the runners fun. We waited for the bus with a few familiar faces-- 50 staters and maniacs getting their NJ marathon in, as well as some new faces. First I saw a woman who I always notice because she’s at almost ALL my marathons. I notice her because she’s often deked out in a maniacs top and a leopard running skirt with her long curly hair loose and hanging down her back. Apparently this was her 3rd time finishing the 50 states! We met a girl named Jen who was there for her first race and was hoping to make a BQ. She didn’t make BQ, but she did have a great first marathon time! She ran somewhere around a 3:46! There were some local marathoners we met as well-- 2 men who told us a lot about the race, having both run almost all of the years the race has been open, in between teasing us about, well-- anything they could think of.
Expo: 2.0/5.0
~ This was a small race, with a small expo. Aside, from the registration tables, there was 1 table with some basic running apparel an essentials you may need. For a race with 600 marathoners and 500 10-milers I'm a little surprised there wasn't much more.

Swag:3.2 /5.0
~T-Shirts: We were some of the last people to pick up our race packets and apparently they didn’t have any smalls left-- even though I ordered one Grrr. Oh well. The t-shirt is a long sleeve, red, sweat wick shirt. It’s nice and very thick with a design of the race course on it. Good for cold-weather running. 3.2
~Medals: The medal wasn’t bad… a silver medal with a simple design. Nothing I’d go crazy over. 3.0
~ Goodie Bag: The bag they gave us had a few little give-a-ways, including these “fruit staws” that I really liked. They’re natural and taste like you’re drinking apple-juice. I can’t explain it, but they’re good. +0.1

Time: 3:44:25
Pace: 8:34 min/mile
Place: Overall Teams 133/607~ Gender 20/203~ Division 9/59 (F20-29)

Friday, April 2, 2010

Work Hard, Play Hard... that's my motto!

I'm taking a week off from marathons this week! Which means I was able to hit the gym hard! On weeks that I'm not marathoning, I really like to get some good strength training sessions in. I had a few speedy runs and speedwork with some cross training with resistance training between sets... and let me tell you, I'm a little spent. So, time to relax and have fun! I'll be driving to Indianapolis in a few minutes for.. the FINAL FOUR!!!

We're not actually going to the games, but we're going to party and see some of the free concerts. I've only been to indy a few times (having moved to Cinci only a few years ago) and I can't wait to get going. Wrapping up a few things for work, then I'm on my way... go Duke! (lesser of 4 evils).

Oh and don't worry-- I brought my running stuff with me!!!