Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Get Me Into a Marathon & Other non-running stuff

First, the "Other" non-running stuff... (ok a little running in here)

I usually just talk about my marathoning-craziness on here, but I assure you there are PLENTY of other things in my life that I do, like... Visit the Dentist!!! And let me tell you, I've spent more time doing that lately than running! I'm having major issues with cavities lately and it's not pretty. I also need a major root canal, but when I went the other day, they were unable to numb the ONE tooth that needs the root canal. Apparently it's infected and that can cause issues with novocain. I'm no scientisty-type-person, but after 3 syringes of novocain and my inability to feel anything ELSE in my mouth, you would think the tooth could be numb!

Well I went to Dr... let's call him Herbie (if you don't get that, you seriously need some Christmas spirit) for the first time and when he saw my teeth he was VERY upset. In fact, he was so upset he made me sit through a 45 minute oral hygiene demonstration! Then we went through a list of rules for taking care of your teeth. My teeth LOOK fine from the outside, but apparently I'm doing something wrong! It was embarrassing, but I'm just glad there wasn't a video with dancing teeth and toothbrushes.

(warning: here's where the running comes in...)
Anyways, I told Dr. Herbs about my running and the GU I tend to gnaw on for 3.5-4.5 hours at a time. He looked a little grossed out (see last post) but he was more shocked by the affects it could have on my teeth. Now I'm not completely blaming the GU, but apparently it's not great for your teeth to have some sort of sugary paste in your mouth for hours at a time-- go figure!

Will I stop using GU? Absolutely not! But there are some measure you can take for keeping your teefers safer:
1) Take GU with water (yeahh, I don't always do that) and swish and spit after you GU yourself up
2) Since your backwash saliva will carry GU and continue to leak into you mouth, it may be good to continue this rinsing process every time you get water-- this really won't take any time. You already drink water, you just have to add a little mouth swish in, and you're golden.
3) Post-Marathon (long run) brush your teeth, but wait at least 20 min after your last GU/Sugary Substance/Soda... apparently they have little particles on them and when you brush you actually do something like rub them in-- IDK, I just know it's not bad for you! So bring a travel brush and paste to the race and leave it in your race bag.

Get Me Into a Marathon!
My MN marathon is sort of annoying me. I've always wanted to make the Zoom Yah! Yah! Indoor Marathon, my MN race. Why you ask? Cause it's awesome. You run indoors around a small track (that's not the awesome part, I'm getting to it), INSIDE (MN is COLD so I want to be inside), and you get to be part of only 40 participants (you're very cool), and you get a personal counter/cheerer-oner for the entire race!

"Problem?" You ask? They only allow 40 people into their race and it's done by lottery. Second problem? They don't announce the winners until Sept 1st and by then it MAY be too late to be in another MN race because 1) They may sell out and 2) The flights will be so expensive by then. My remaining options would be:
A) Superior Trail or Walker/North Country Races in September--- they're already $400+ if I buy the plane ticket now, if I wait til a week or 2 before, they'll be ridic expensive!
B) Twin Cities Marathon in October- It MAY close out by then and besides that, I have Omaha the week before, and THREE marathons right after-- so it would be good to keep this weekend free to relax.

What to do... what to do? Well the sensible thing would be to sign up and book a flight for another marathon and forget about that one. Orrrrrrr I can petition for my case! When I send my entry stuff in, I'm going to attach a list of reasons why I should be allowed to participate. This is where I need your help! Help me come up with a list of kick-butt reasons why I should be able to run Zoom Yah Yah. You'll know my running better than most, so I'm hoping you have some ideas, this is what I have to start:

1) OH Participation: On their FAQ list, they have noted they want to represent most states... I could be their Ohio!!! Or NY (I'm originally from there) if they want that instead! Shoot-- I'll move somewhere temporarily if they need.
2) Be part of Steph's craziness- I'll run about 45 marathons between April 2009 and April 2011-- ridiculous? Yes! But worth it! They can be my MN race on the way to 45!
3) I'll be the mascot! I'll run dressed as something, anything! St. Olaf College puts on the race and their mascot is (I believe) a Lion? I'll dress up as a Lion!!! I'll do it, I will!
4) Free Advertising! See? It's working already... I bet half of you didn't even know about this race until right now!

Ok people, what else? Help me think of reasons to send to them of why I should be part of their race... Any suggestion is a helpful suggestion!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Post ND Race & Things that Make you Go "EW"-- Marathon Style

Fargo Marathon
MB and I ran the Fargo Marathon this weekend in, well, Fargo! I'll be putting up my race ratings soon, but just a little bit about the race:
-Fargo <3s Marathons: I'm pretty sure this is the biggest things this... city? (farms pushed together closely) has going on in the year, because literally EVERYBODY is outside watching. There wasn't more than a few hundred feet that you would go without having people around. Also, all the restaurants, hotels, etc have "welcome marathoners" signs and there is a meet a greet table in their airport.
-Course: FLAT ... I've never seen such a flat course. If you're a big fan of flat (I'm NOT) this would be your race.
-Swag: Swag is killer here, they give you a long sleeve half zip shirt that is great. The medal is awesome (pictures to come).

Things that Make you go "EW"-- Marathon Edition:
I had a long hot run yesterday. After passing out on my rug in front of the AC for about 10 minutes, I decided it was time to take a shower and get rid of the caked on sweat... ewww. When I pulled my hair tie out, the amount of water that wrung out with it, was just absurd! Easily a cup of water (sounds better than sweat) ... and thats with SHORT hair! It got me thinking... runners are just plain gross. And you know, the more I explain running habits to non-runners, the more gross I realize we are...

Here are my top 10 "Things that Make you go EW" Marathon Edition:

10. GU (or any other gel): I <3 my GU, don't get me wrong, but after explaining what it is to a couple non-running friends, I was a little nauseated myself. During a race I will consume 4-5 packets of gel that have the consistency of melted frosting?? (with probably the same amount of sugar). The name alone makes people go "HUH??? You eat WHAT?"... to which I reply "GU?"

9. Chaffing in "Bad" Places: It's less the chafing that makes you go "EW," and more how free runners are to explain why they're walking funny. I think we get so comfortable around runners, that when we talk to "real people" (non runners) we forget that they don't have random chaffing in "bad places" and they probbbably don't want to know about ours.

8. #1 and #2 in the Woods: Does a bear do it? Yes, but that doesn't give us the right to... or does it??? Recently I was running and had to umm, go... well apparently I don't know my poison ivy very well and manage to go right in some! The result? Poison ivy allllll over my legs and umm... behind. And let me tell you, it's not ok to itch there at the office! What's worse? I'm extremely allergic to PI and it won't go away without a steroid-- try explaining how you got poison ivy there to 2 nurses, 1 Dr, and 1 Dr that was just curious!
Side Note: Haven't told you all an embarrassing story in a while, pretty sure that fills my quota for the month!

7. Men's Blood Nipples: I don't understand it, I don't want to understand it, I don't want to see it and I want to pretend it doesn't happen. So please do us all a favor and splash some water on your shirt at water stops! Thank you and good night.

6. Men in Biking or Short Shorts!!! While we're discussing men, let's discuss the the clothing options men have and what they choose to wear instead. 1) Nobody wants to see the outline of your umm... stuff-- Say no to biker shorts! 2) FURTHER, NOBODY wants to see your STUFF itself-- ie. Short running shorts, that don't exactly cover.

5. Undie-Lined Running Shorts: Ok, I wear them too, but let's just think about this. How long do you keep your underwear? Probably a few years at most. And in that case you're not sweating like a mofo for 3-5 hours at a time in them. Somehow people think these shorts are any different? I believe running shorts have a shelf life of a year or 2 (shorter if you're a major sweater!) Also, please see item #6-- if you're not a good wiper, your shelf life just halved!
-- oh and part B: NO RE-Using running shorts without washing them! Bad!! BAD!!! NO!

4. Lip Salt/Sweat: Ok, it's a hot day and you've had a LONG run. You take a swig of water and go to wipe the excess off your mouth and what do you see on your hand? Stringy, white, filmy, stuff that has caked onto your lips, especially in the corners. It's sticky and doesn't want to come off, and boy is it gross!

3. Un-showered Flying: Now I try to do this as little as possible. HOWEVER, some of these marathons don't start til 8 or 9 and hotels have checkout at 11, 12-- 1pm if you're pushing it. Also, if you're a crazy-mega-marathoner, you usually get into the state then get out, so there is a tight flying schedule. Result? Staying salty/sweaty for hours after the race! Washing up in the airport sink, does not count as a shower.

2. Toenails (and feet in general): They turn black, purple, yellow and red. They fall off. They get serious blood blisters. They blister and blister on top of blisters, and blister on top of those blisters. They're cracked, split open and usually a few toes are starting to point in the wrong direction. Runners feet are gross!

1. Projectile Body Liquids (SBL's): This include snot rockets, split, sweat, vomit, and sometimes blood (I don't want to know). Have you had a runner pass you and something that belongs INSIDE them comes flying out at you? (Ie. a misplaced snot rocket? A girl that has a wicked swing in her stride that flings sweat 3 feet in all directions following her?) Then you, my friend, have been a victim of an SBL-- and it ain't pretty.

Just some fun stuff to think about during your next marathon/long run! Enjoyyyy...

Happy Running!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

2010 Goals Re-Visited!

In January I set some goals to keep in mind throughout this tough marathon year. I've made some progress on some... and a little less progress on others. Since this blog is all about keeping myself honest, we'll discuss each one and you guys can then grade, judge, curse out, verbally B****slap and otherwise ridicule me into doing a better job. Let's dust off the old goals list...

1) Get and STAY healthy~ Last update, my ankle was feeling better and is now at near 100%. The Nike Frees and vibrams have made a HUGE difference in my muscular health. However, I'm also a hound for colds-- I sniff em out and catch them usually once a month. This ESPECIALLY goes for when I'm running a lot and let myself get tired. Well I started getting into the habit of drinking pomegranate vitamin water before and after races, and it's REALLY helped  with my immune system. Self Grade: A!

2) 24 marathons this year! 10 so far this year, with 2 more left scheduled for May, which will put me well above avg for 24! I think I get extra points because 1 of my races (Myrtle Beach) was cancelled and I'm still keeping up! Self Grade: A freaking +!

3) Get down to 120lbs. Last update I was at 126.5, and now I'm at 125. Notttt too much progress there. Ummmm but I'm feeling leaner-- oooh and I currently have $100 on the line for a "who has better abs" contest with Kyle. He's way ahead of me, so I'm going to have to work on that! Self Grade: C

4) Complete my Alaskan Marathon! ~ All signed up and plane booked Alaska-bound for August of this year! Self Grade: B+... I'll get an A when I do it!

5) 2010 miles for 2010! This goal requires ~168 Miles/Month. With my injury in Jan and a bit of a cold in Feb, I was slacking, but I've picked back up the mileage and I hope to make up some of the lost miles. Total miles today: 686. Self Grade: B- at best

6) Learn to run on a treadmill! I've successfully completed some longer runs in winter, I've moved my summer speedwork to the T-mill and I've recently started some hill work on here. Self Goal: A!

7) Meet some of my bloggy friends at races. I've made very little progress here, but hopefully RNR Seattle will put me back on track!! PS. Check the schedule at the top-- if you're up for a race TELL ME! Self Grade: D-!

8) Boston Time in 2010? So my last update, this was a serious "Fail"-- and now look! I've made Boston TWICE!!! *booty dance, booty dance* Self Grade: A+, a Z-snap and a Hallelujah!
My Extra Goal 150 followers. Let's check the 'ole count...

138 Magical followers! Awwww shucks guys, thanks! I would call that progress from 77 in 2009!

Not looking too bad, all around. I would give myself a B+ for effort overall. Definitely have to ramp up my mileage a little more and get back on track to weight loss-- I'm sorry, but the post-marathon food is just so GOOD!!!

That's all for today!
Happy Running

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Delaware Marathon ~ Race Ratings (DE #31)

Tagline: "A Race for the RUNNERS!!!"

2010 Delaware Marathon ~ May 16, 2010
Wilmington, DE ~ Tubman Garrett Riverfront Park
Year Running: 7th!
Registration Fee: $85 with $10 Discount for 50-Staters. (Late reg is $100-- marathon sold out first)
Runners:  557 Completed,  212 Females
Available Races: Marathon, Half Marathon, Marathon Relay
Average Finish Time: 4:21:21!!
BQ %: 16.88% (one of the best BQ%'s % Avg. Times I've seen this year!)

Overall Race Ratings: 4.8/5.0

Average Calculated Rating: 4.6/5.0
~ This is a race designed around runners needs before, during, and after a marathon. The director has thought of just about everything. The nice little touches would make this a GREAT first time marathon for anybody. I was very surprised with my great experience in Delaware. The organization and provisions for the runner, far outweigh any of the 1-2 downsides (medals and GU).

Race Director: Let's play race director...
~ This director has thought of just about everything. The ONE issue I have are the medals... they just were so small, boring and had the look of being unfinished. My #1 priority for next year would be working on making these a little nicer. Also, 1 GU stop on the course isn't enough... maybe put the GU stop at a place where we cross the course twice. I know they only used what was leftover after they gave them out in our goodie bags, but I personally would rather have them on the course than have to pack-muel myself with GU.

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.
Distance from Airport to Expo/Race: ~20 Minutes (Philadelphia Airport)
Rental Car Required: Yes
~ This race isn’t too bad to get to. If you’re flying you’ll have to go through Philly, which is cheaper and has lots of flight options. It’s about 20 minutes away. We were fully briefed on anything and everything to expect through the website, pre-race booklets, and emails. The expo/packet pickup is held outside at a really great area along the river. There are lots of restaurants to relax at and enjoy over the weekend. There aren’t a whole lot of hotels near the start, but it’s also not a huge city with overly expensive hotels so that’s a plus! The race is also held in conjunction with some sort of music festival they hold outdoors. If you’re into that kind of thing, get tickets and plan it into your weekend.

Also, their website keeps up to the day stats of whos in the race, the # of states they have completed, etc. They also keep a record of the best times by state as an extra incentive to run FAST!

Race Organization: 4.8/5.0
Hydration Color/Type: Orange Gatorade, Water
Gel Type/Flavors:  GU (various flavors) at 1 stop
~ The race organization was fantastic as well. All miles were marked, and done pretty well. There were tons of water (17+) and port-a-john stops. They provided GU along the course at 1 spot (kind of wish there were 2 or the 1 spot was on the looped part of the course). The volunteers were very knowledgeable throughout.
~Post Race Food: Marathon food junkie heaven. Pizza & Ice cream sandwiches!!! As well as sandwiches, fruit, pretzels, beer, etc.

Course: 4.9/5.0
~MarathonGuide Rating (not included since this is a new course)
Garmin Distance: 26.2
~ FAST, scenic and fun! The marathon course is new for 2010 and I thought it was fantastic and FAST. It’s full of winding, rolling hills and very little flat. It’s very scenic and extremely fast. When we came though the first loop, I had a look at what the ending would be… the last 3 miles were going to have 1 good-sized hill, but primarily a SHOT down to the finish. Coming off those down hills, we had some flat area to start the second loop, followed by a tricky area of back to back hills, but once we were through there I knew the last 3 were solid.

Spectators: 4.3/5.0
~ Spectators were scattered throughout the course and were very excited to be there! They all made a special point to cheer extra loud for the marathoners when we went by and not just wait for their friends in the relays. Since we loop past the finish once and there is a relay exchange point there, it was a great place for spectators. You’re coming down from a huge hill, hitting the half way mark and there are tons of people yelling—I personally was doing a 6:30 pace through there until I caught myself and slowed down.
Pace Group: /5.0
~ N/A

Runner/Corrals: 4.9/5.0
~ No Corrals. I found the runners SO nice in this race! Everybody chatted and was encouraging. There were lots of part that we crossed our own course or the courses of the other 2 race and everybody yelled good job at each other. Since there are so few DE marathons and this started because of the 50-staters, there were lots of 50-staters and Marathon Maniacs there too. I was back and forth with a few women on the course and one told me to get moving when I slowed down a bit… actually she said “you’re kicking my ass, come on!” There was another women that asked me how old I was when I came up on her. When I told her 25 she told me that I was not in her A/G and to go on ahead! Hehe. I’m afraid to ask what she would have done, had I been in her age group… hmmm.

Expo: 4.4/5.0
~ Small expo (for a small race), but they have an awesome selection of DE Marathon gear to purchase, including the “Class of 20XX” T-shirts with all the marathoners listed. You can get any of your pre-race goodies as well. The expo is held outside under tents on the banks of the river. It really pretty and there are lots of close restaurant option to check out in the immediate area.

Swag: 3.9/5.0
~T-Shirts: They gave a fited V-neck tech T that I LOVE. It’s white with the marathon emblem on the front. I’m really enjoying the new cuts they’re doing with womens tech Ts lately. 4.6
~Medals: I’m not a huge fan of the medal. It has a circle with a cutout of DE in the middle and very very plain and thin. It almost looks unfinished. This is probably the one big thing I have against the race—which, for some people that love their medals, this is a pretty good point against the race 2.9
~ Goodie Bag: We were also given a cool drink glass with our packets and a sticker with the marathon on it. They also gave out some “Jack Man” products like lip balm and facial cream.Oh and 2 packs of GU +.1 to .2

*Division place 5/29-- how do you BQ by THAT much and sitll only get 5th?? I HATE my new A/G! :(

Also... This race keeps track of the best times by STATE male and female. Unofficially, I've made the new record for OH females... and by about 10 minutes! Woohooo

Monday, May 17, 2010

Delaware Marathon~ Post Race Thoughts (BQ again!)

BQ Times 2 & a New PR
At yesterday's marathon, I made my second BQ time and a PR by a full second! Unofficial results showed my time as 3:35:40! The first BQ I made was at the HMRRC Winter marathon in February with a 3:35:41. Following that race I was extremely sore, my legs cramping and burning after. At the time I said “wow, no wonder people don’t do this too often—it HURTS! Today’s race? I feel great! My legs don’t feel any different from a slower race, and it certainly was not because of the course—believe it or not, it was a tough one!

In 2009 I ran 18 marathons, and the BQ alluded me repeatedly. This year, in all the non-doubles (or extremely challenging courses) I’ve run in the low 3:40’s and 2 at 3:35. Thoughts on this? Well when I first crossed the finish line I thought “holy crap, carbo loading on tequila works!” (see last post) While I’m not completely writing off that theory (and will not until extensive testing is done), I have to think there may be alternative reasons for the speed I’ve found this year.

  1. My friend, the Mill-O-Death. About once a week I’ve been doing speed work on the treadmill and recently I’ve also started doing some crazy hill repeats on there as well. I’ve never been a big fan of the death-mill, but I have to say, speed work goes by much quicker on there and I’m not facing the brutal sun and 80 degree temps, which have often dehydrated me in the past.
  2. 2010 Miles in 2010. I’m a little behind because of the ankle injury I had at the beginning of the year, but I’ve been steadily increasing my mileage, and that seems to be working well for me.
  3. Pressure is off! Since I made the first BQ, a serious weight is off my shoulders. In fact, before the race this morning I said “I really don’t feel like running today,” so apparently not caring and taking some pressure is a good thing
The Race…
The Delaware Marathon is mostly a double looped course (with a little extra before the first loop) run in Wilmington, DE through their downtown are, some parks, partially in a zoo, and through a little suburb. Overall this is a REALLY great marathon, organizationally.

When I found out there was a half marathon and a marathon relay, and all 3 races were run on separate courses that still managed to merge in areas then split off, I thought, “uh oh, somebody (me) is getting lost." I was very impressed that there was never a time I thought, “um where do I go?” especially in areas where the marathon course crossed back over itself. The volunteers were great and the course was extremely well marked.
The marathon course is new for 2010 and I thought it was fantastic and FAST. It’s full of winding, rolling hills and very little flat. It’s very scenic and extremely fast. When we came though the first loop, I had a look at what the ending would be… the last 3 miles were going to have 1 good-sized hill, but primarily a SHOT down to the finish. Pshhh yes! Coming off those down hills, we had some flat area to start the second loop, followed by a tricky area of back to back hills, but once we were through there I knew the last 3 were solid. Knowing all this gave me a lot of confidence and helped for pacing purposes for the last 12 miles or so.

Marathon Focus
This race had serious focus on the marathoners, even though there was a half and a relay. The spectators went crazy over the kids in the yellow bibs (marathoners) especially the women. There was also a special section in the marathon booklet that highlighted everybody who was running their first marathon and listed all the 50 staters with their # of states completed! This race has some history with the 50 staters- it began because DE had no marathons, and the 50-staters needed a course to run! They also put up signs for all the 50-staters on the course (I didn’t notice because I’m too ADD with my garmin).
Also, they had a bunch of marathon T’s made with really cool running slogans (ie. “26.2 been there done that—Delaware Marathon”) with ALL of the 2010 marathoners listed on the back under “Class of 2010.”

Overall, FANTASTIC race and highly recommended! If you’re looking for a first time marathon, this one will make your experience even more special!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Oklahoma City Marathon~ Race Ratings (#30)

Tagline: "All About the Memorial!!!"

Oklahoma City, OK ~ Oklahoma City Memorial Site
Year Running: 10th!
Registration Fee: $100
Runners:  2597 Completed,  1037 Females
Available Races: Marathon, Half Marathon, Marathon Relay
Average Finish Time: 4:40:18
BQ %: 5.5%

Overall Race Rating (weighted): 4.1/5.0

Average Calculated Rating: 4.2/5.0
~ This is a great race setup for the memorial for full support of the city. The race may be getting to big for itself with corral issues and some issues at water stops with too many people. However, the spectators are fantastic and out in full strength (many dressed up) and the course lets you see a lot of the city! 

Race Director: Let's play race director...
~ Something needs to be done about the corrals, and I would start by making limiting the half marathoners and relay runners. It's just a little to crazy in the beginning and the streets aren't big enough. The participation T-shirt could use some work too, but great job making a "finisher" T that you get upon completion.

Event Organization: 3.8/5.0 (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: 
Rental Car Required: No, but staying closer to downtown can be more expensive
~ This is a big event with a lot of out-of-towners, as all the races seem to sell out quite quickly. The race got to the point where there were NO rooms available in OKC! The communication sent on this event was wonderful, including a guide to the city and the marathon sent weeks before the race. This airport is very popular so prices are decent and getting around isn't bad at all. They warn you that getting to the event can be a little hectic on parking, but it wasn't bad at all.

Race Organization: 4.5/5.0
Hydration Color/Type: Power Ade (Blue??)
Gel Type/Flavors:  GU-- variety
~ Water stops at (what felt like) every half mile really helped, especially before the halfies split off. Potty stops were definitely available often and I never saw lines. Mile markers were pretty on-- but the distance of the race seemed pretty long (about an extra .15). I was also following a pace group at first and had a hard time making the tangents.
~Post Race Food: When you finish, you're handed a cheeseburger from Jr's. SO AMAZING! There is also a big variety of snacks and drinks, but beware! once you leave the runners medical/food area, you can't go back in!
Course: 4.4/5.0
~MarathonGuide Rating

Garmin Distance: 26.35
~ This course is definitely fast and has a wonderfully scenic route, bringing you through beautiful neighborhoods, through parks and river walks, and past the memorial lit up at night (early morning). The hills aren't crazy (still felt good after marathon #2 of the weekend) but enough to give you some variety on the course. There is a good mix of section that change directions often, and long passes-- but the long passes either had you pass by faster/slower runners on the other side so you could watch for friends or they were broken up with some sort of themed water stop.

Spectators: 5.0/5.0
~ If I could factor in a "6" here I would. Let's start with the FREE pancake breakfast put on by a church RIGHT in front of the finish line. YUM! Then there are a bunch of themed sections (ie. Under the big top) to the race-- anywhere there may be a lull in the view, they came up with something fun and exciting to get the neighborhoods involved with. They were a ton of fun and really made the race go by quickly.

Pace Group: 5.0/5.0
~ There were a few switchback areas and I was able to see a few pace groups. All were huge and all were right about on time... good job!
Runner/Corrals: 2.5/5.0
~ Corrals were a bit of a mess here. If you made a certain time you had a "black dot" and could go to the "black dot corral"-- but getting to the entrance and getting in was nearly impossible. Also, once you got in, it was HUGE-- way more room than the "black dot runners" needed and created issues with people trying to get to the corrals behind it. Runners were friendly and talkative in the pace groups as well as along the course.

Expo: N/A/5.0
~ We missed the expo so I'm not including it in the ratings.
Swag: 4.1/5.0
~T-Shirts: I wasn't a huge fan of the shirts given at the expo. White tech T's that were big with a boring design on them, HOWEVER, I was a huge fan of the "finisher" t-shirt. And let's face it-- that ones more important anyways. Green tech T with the race and the date huge on the back with "FINISHER" even bigger. I look cool :) 4.5
~Medals: The medal is pretty neat, with the memorial tree centered. 3.9
~ Goodie Bag: We were unable to get a goodie bag because the expo closed at 6pm the night before. Anybody after that was told they wouldn't get a bag, and likely not a t-shirt. -.1

Time: 4:09:18
Place: Overall Teams 13/98~ Gender 191/1037~ Division 38/

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Coaching and Hungover Travel

Hey Dudes & Dudettes!

I should preface this post by saying I'm extremely hungover and have had ~3 hours of sleep, so if some of this comes out incoherent, I would blame the tequila. We had Kyle's house warming party and I decided "Skinny Girl Margaritas" with a few extra "splashes" of tequila would be a good idea. At 5:30am, getting up to travel to Delaware for marathon #31, I realized how NOT a good idea that was. I'm currently in Columbus, waiting to get on a plane, on which I hope not to puke on my neighbor. I'm flying southwest, where you get to pick your seat-- hopefully everybody around me is smart enough to stay away. I should make a warning sign to hold on the plane "Beware, may regurgitate tequila if jostled."

Runner to Coach
It's been a while, but I promise I have good reasons. 1) New job (same company but new job... some would call that a promotion of sorts) so life has been a little hectic, especially during month end while working in finance. I know what some of you are thinking (because you've said it before)-- "You WORK? And still run 2-3 marathons a month??" Well yes, if I didn't work, I wouldn't be able to afford to travel and run.

2) Another busy activity, which I think you'll would be more approving of is coaching a group of people at said place of work into running a 5K. I've called it the "Finance Team 5K Challenge" in which I'm training ~21 people over 4 weeks to run a 5K race we have on campus. It's kind of strange being on this side of the stop watch, but I'm enjoying it. We've had our first week of workouts and it's been pretty successful. Everybody is grouped in a team of 3 for participation points. The more practices they go to, the more points they get. The top 2 teams get pretty swanky prizes-- 1. Ipod Shuffles and 2. "fitness packages" I'm going to make up with things like jump ropes, water bottles, etc.

It's no secret, I like to force support people into running marathons. I have (what some believe is) an absurd notion that everybody has a goal of running a marathon in life-- they just may not know it yet. So I've hatched an evil plan for the above mentioned 21 people. They'll complete their 5K in summer. After which I'm certain I can convince them to keep up training and do a 10K by fall. After which I'm pretty sure I can use my persuasiveness to convince them that "if you can do a 10K you can do a 15K" and train them for the Heart "Mini Marathon" (drives me crazy that they call it that, but thats a whole other story). The heart falls right before the flying pig marathon, right about the time in training where you would run a 15K-- so I hope, whomever is left of my crazy training group, I'll be able to prompt, pull, push, and drag into running at least the Half Marathon!!!

Seeing as though they're only at 1.5 miles, I haven't mentioned my evil plan yet, so shhhh... don't tell! Ok? Ok great! Alright, back to focusing on NOT puking my brains out. I owe you'll the race ratings for OKC marathon and a race RUNdown by DE, but I'm not feeling it right now. I'll get back at you later today.

See ya in Delaware. "Or imagine, being able to be magically whisked away to.... Delaware. ... Delaware, Delaware, what the heck is in Delaware?" -- name that movie!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Free State Trail Marathon ~ Race Ratings KS (#29)

Tagline: "A Course from Hades with Angels for race directors!!"

Lawrence, KS ~ Clinton Lake Trails
Year Running: 4th!
Registration Fee: $60 ($80 late, $100 last minute, until they hit the 200 Participant Max)
Runners:  98 Completed,  37 Females (116 started)
Available Races: Marathon, 40 Miles, 100K
Average Finish Time: 5:56:01
BQ %: N/A

Overall Race Rating (weighted): 4.5/5.0

Average Calculated Rating: 4.45/5.0
~ This is a great race with wonderful organization-- a true trail marathon with wonderful runners and directors. The course would be equally as wonderful if it hadn't become my "course from hades" following rain storms all week. The course was slippery and muddy and very challenging. But the volunteers on the course with their wonderful stops full of goodies definitely helped to make up for it.

Race Director: Let's play race director...
~ The one controllable aspect of this race that could possibly be changed would be putting mile markers on the course. Marking a course is challenging, but it was nearly impossible to tell how far you had gone, even with a garmin (satellite pick-up is bad on trail races). I would mark out at least every few miles. There isn't much to do about the extremely muddy conditions, except possibly moving the race to  a less rainy month-- possibly March or June?

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: 45 Min
Rental Car Required: YES!
~ This isn't the easiest race to get to, but the trail is definitely worth the trip. I felt very comfortable with the organization when I started receiving weather updates from a few days out before the race up until the night before. This is especially a concern because the race saw some crazy tornado-weather last year. They also let us know what to do when faced with dangerous weather. There was plenty of communication leading up to the race. The website and sign-up was very basic and easy. I was very happy to see that there are showers located near the race start/finish that are free to use... and HOT! YES!!! Following this sticky-clay mud, that was wonderful!
Race Organization: 4.8/5.0
Hydration Color/Type: Water and Electrolyte Drink (Succeed), and soda (mt dew), etc
Gel Type/Flavors:  Varied- GU/Hammer in Many flavors!
~ This race had wonderful organization. The hydration stops were FULLY stocked with water & electrolyte drink as well as candy, cookies, gu's, mnt. dew... anything you could need! Bathrooms weren't an issues, can hey! we're in the woods-- rest rooms are everywhere! This group is VERY dog friendly, going as far as giving the dogs their own bibs and results! (extra points in my book). There weren't any mile markers, which was a little bit of an issue because our garmins don't work very well in the woods. There were, however, very knowledgable staff working the water stops that would help you with anything you needed-- even cleaning the mud and gunk off your water bottles! If there wasn't room for a full water stops, there were water jugs available every few miles and the course was surprisingly VERY well marked for a trail race.
~Post Race Food: Upon finishing the race there is a crew of people to get you anything you need for food. They had a little bbq going on with burgers. They also had sliced potatoes, cookies, pretzels, candy, fruit... VERY well stocked! The aid stations were stocked VERY similarly with all sorts of cookies, candy, sliced potatoes (whats up with those??), soda, etc.
Course: 4.0/5.0
~MarathonGuide Rating

Garmin Distance: N/A
~ Umm did you not read the post race thoughts? Course from HADES! Ok, ok, to be fair, this would actually be an AMAZING course if it weren't for the rain! The course is an awesome single-track trail with no major hills, but a ton of switchbacks and a lot of roller-coaster type hills. There are also a few areas with slick rock as well as 2 places where we cross a stream that (for us < 5'3) came up over our knees. Beware here-- I actually saw a 100K runner-girl fall flat into the stream. The start of the race is ~ a 3M loop that brings you back to the start. The 3 miles is an open area cutting through a wide weedy lawn then onto a wide trail. This was a nice way to start a mostly single-track trail so we all didn't get caught up and have difficulty passing.

If this course was moved out of the rainy-months it would be absolutely amazing-- then again there is no way to guarantee a non-rainy week and these "Running Nerds" seem to LOVE their Mud!
Spectators: 3.5/5.0
~ There were very few places spectators could watch from this course! The few places spectators were able to get to, they were very excitable! They told me how far we had gone and how far to go (if they knew) and cheered like crazy!

Pace Group: /5.0
~ N/A
Runner/Corrals: 5.0/5.0
~ I'm always surprised at just HOW nice trail AND ultra runners are! I've only been in a few and every time the runners are so outgoing and so friendly on and off the course. Single track trails can be difficult to pass on (esp in a mud pit with little footing) but every runner I approached actually stopped and moved off the trail into weeds to let other runners pass. After the race, I had a chance to speak with another woman who I had seen during the race and had to drop out. During the race, the 3rd place woman and I went back and forth a bit and after she said good job!

Expo: 4.7/5.0
~ Garry Gribbles Running Spot was the location of the packet pick-up. At first site from outside it looks a little eaahhh, but once inside it's a great spot for running gear! ... or anything other running needs!
Swag: 4.3/5.0
~T-Shirts: This race had a nice blue short sleeve techt with the marathon logo on it. It fits and feels great. 4.5
~Medals: The medal also had the logo on it-- bright big and fun. 3.8
~ Goodie Bag: Our packets and T-shirts also came with a sweet mug and sticker/decal with the marathon logo. +.2
Time: 4:22:27
Place: Overall Teams 13/98~ Gender 2/37~ Division N/A