Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Seattle Rock'n'Roll Marathon ~ Race Ratings (WA- #34)

Tag line: "Exciting Marathon in an exciting city!"

Seattle, Washington ~ Tukwila to downtown Seattle
Year Running: 2nd
Registration Fee: $105 Early ($130 After)
Runners:  4089 Completed,  2022 Females
Available Races: Marathon and Half Marathon
Average Finish Time: 4:41:30
BQ %: 6.6%

Overall Race Ratings: 4.0/5.0

Average Calculated Rating: 4.0/5.0
~ Like most RocknRoll marathons this one has great entertainment throughout! The course is great with lots of sites and out-and-back areas that make it fun to see other runners. There is a little trouble with the event organization, but after only 2 RnR Seattle races they're still working out the kinks.

Race Director: Let's play race director...
~ Mile markers and correct distance are the most important thing in a marathon. The first thing I would do is fix those! The organization can use a little help... with 28K people running the race, there has to be people at information that know the best way to get to the start-- and hopefully without having to walk a few extra miles! I was also a little disappointed in the race T-shirts-- you would think a RnR race would have a great shirt, maybe even coordinate all the RnR races so they have a cool design and each has their own color??

Event Organization: 2.0/5.0 (now broken into 2 parts, see below as well) As far as "event organization" we'll 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: ~15 miles
Rental Car Required: No, but it would be helpful
~ The event organization can use a little help, and I think a lot of that comes from the organizers (rocknroll) not actually being from Seattle. They tried to communicate on shuttles for the race, but the officials there were fairly unclear about what to do, telling MB "just have somebody drop you off." The issue was that most of the roads are shut down and from certain areas, it's difficult to get to the start. In the end they DID have shuttles that came by, but we didn't find that out until the night before from the hotel and not the race organization. We didn't stay at the host hotel but we did see it and it looked a little... ehhh. Getting to the race isn't bad, since Seattle has a major airport!
Race Organization: 3.8/5.0
Hydration Color/Type: Yellow Cytomax
Gel Type/Flavors:  GU/Variety including Octane!
~ The race organization was pretty good! The corrals were very well organized, easy to get to and made it easy to get around runners (no massive clogs past the first couple hundred yards). There were plenty of rest rooms along the course and at most of the turn points. There were more water/cytomax stops than anybody could need and a few of them had gummy bears and oranges. Bad?: Mile Markers were WAY off-- up to .2-.3 miles in some places. My garmin shut up at mile 18, but I heard the total mileage was as much as a half a mile longer than 26.2. Well (as Jill asked the night before) I guess this makes us all ultra runners???  
~Post Race Food: .Post race food was OK. Bagels, bananas, nature valley bars and chips. Nothing super special that stuck out.

Course: 4.3/5.0
~MarathonGuide Rating
Garmin Distance: Garmin stopped (I heard up to 26.7)
~ This course was pretty nice. Starting in Tukwila, winding into downtown Seattle, then jutting out in 3 out-and-backs around downtown Seattle. I liked the out and backs because there are so many people in the race and you get a chance to see them all. The course itself was definitely hilly, but not too many huge ones. There was a series of constant rolling hills throughout, which was nice because when you got through an uphill you got a nice break with a good sized downhill. I love this type of course with rolling hills, so obviously I found it a very fast course. There was also a lot to see-- space needle, stadiums, view of the water, etc.
Spectators: 4.2/5.0
~ Since this race is a big vacation spot and so many people come from out of town, most of the spectators are there to cheer on runners, but don't mind cheering for you as well. There are also cheerleaders placed throughout the course along with the 40 bands that are a key part of RocknRoll marathons. There were very few slow points until the last 3 miles where you're running over the viaduct, but that's where the TNT coaches are and they cheer you on as well.

Pace Group: 4.5/5.0
~ I ran the whole race in between pace groups so I didn't run with them. However, there were a lot of out-and-backs which made it easy to see other groups. All the ones around me seemed pretty well on pace and they had a good amount of people that seemed to be enjoying themselves.

Runner/Corrals: 5.0/5.0
~ There were a TON of corrals (24+) but they seemed to really help so there were no huge clogs on the course. There was also very little congestion within the corrals-- everybody had room to find each other, stretch out, take picture, etc. This is a great race for runners! There were SO many maniacs out there (this is their home state) and it was so much fun to cheer each other on.  

Expo: 4.9/5.0
~ The RnR races always put on a HUGE expo. All the usual characters were there: Bondi band, 1 more mile, etc. But there was also a little circus-type area put on by Brooks which had running fortune telling machines, a 3 ring leader giving out running prizes, etc. Sony was there as they are a new sponsor of the RnR races and they brought along the NYC Marathon winner, Meb! You could get your picture and autograph with him. They also had a RocknRoll marathon area where you could sign up for future races and get a discount and possibly a T-shirt.

Swag: 3.6/5.0
~T-Shirts: The T-shirt were a little disappointing. They were tech t's but they're an ugly color with a pretty boring image on the front and back-- a small skyline on the front and RNR Seattle on the back. 3.1
~Medals: There are sparkles!!! There are sparkles on a medal... and coffee! It's my kind of medal. Seriously, they're pretty nice. They have the skyline with a bunch of sites from Seattle and a cup of coffee (seattles known for). 4.1 
~ Goodie Bag: The goodie bags came with sample oil & vinegar as well as some other small samples-- but nothing crazy.

Results: Stephanie
Chip Time: 3:34:09
Place: Overall- 305/4089, Gender- 40/2022, A/G (25-30)- 13/482

Monday, June 28, 2010

Sony Product Review-- Sony W-Series Walkman & Sony Bloggy HD Camera

Sony was kind enough to provide me with some new running gadgets for this weekends Rock'n'Roll marathon. They are a sponsor of the RNR races and are reaching out to runners to get our input on their new runner-friendly headphones and camera.
Sony W-Series Walkman (it could really use a better name, right?)
Type: Audio
Storage: 2 GB
Difficulty to Use: Low to Medium
-I was able to get a quick run through from one of the Reps at the SONY tent and that was all I needed. It would take a little reading to understand all the functions, but the basics are pretty easy to navigate (turn on, jump songs, etc).
Difficulty to setup on your computer: Low
-All you need to do is plug it in and it brings up a content transfer box. Just drag and drop your songs directly from Itunes (or wherever you keep your music). Super super easy.
Comfort/Weight: Good!
-Most around the ear straps bother me, but these ones I could hardly feel! They were super light and the buttons were easy to get to blind (you don’t need to pull them off to change songs, volume, etc). Also-- no chord so that cant get in the way. They also provide a few different sized ear buds for comfort.
Sound Quality: Great!
-It sounds like you’re in a surround sound theater-- Brad Paisley has never sounded so good singing to me!
Durability: Great!
-These puppies are water resistant-- and with the way my hair accumulates sweat, I fully tested that aspect out! Aside from that I managed to drop them about 3 times before the race (not on purpose) and they were fine!
Life: This battery life has up to 11 hours after a full charge and for a quick trip to the gym? Plug it in for only 3 minutes and you’ll get 90 minutes of playback!!!
Other FUNctions: Some of the other FUN functions of this MP3 player are:
-”Tappin”-- Basically this is a quick preview of each song so you can decide what you want to hear. The great part? You get a preview of the chorus so you get a real feel for the beat of the music.
- They come in some pretty fantastic colors! I got the black, but I’m not complaining because they were free!

Overall: This is a great way for SONY to break into the marathon market. Runners are always looking for a quick-charge, easy to use, water resistant music player and this one is fantastic. I love the quick charge option (3 min charge for 90 min playback). I’m always forgetting to plug my Ipod for a charge and when I want to go for a run I need to wait 30 minutes to get a long enough charge-- and even then it runs out. I also love the cordless design! I’ve broken far too many headphones from running, sweating, and general use.
Negative: They need a better name! When I say “Walkman W-series” it doesn’t really imply that it’s an MP3 player and it sounds like I’m generally describing what it is instead of providing the name. Also, I have a small-ish head and they tended to look less than spectacular on me. However, looking at the pictures of other people-- they actually look kind of cool!

(Cool Runner in the W-Series)                  (Not so Cool Runner in the W-Series)

Future Standing: I will be using the SONY walkman as my primary audio/music source for training and marathons. I’ll keep my Ipod for races that don’t allow headphones (those headphones are easy to hide).


Sony Bloggie Camera PM5
Type: Camera-- Picture and Video
Difficulty to Use: Medium
- I didn’t even have to peak at the manual that comes with this camera. It’s very easy to turn on (just swivel the head and it’s ready to go) and to use-- Either press the camera button and it will take a picture or press the video button and it will start/stop recording. There is playback button easily visible on the camera.

The only issues I had with operation was using the camera function and the display. If you move a little while the picture it being taken, it tends to blur the picture. This is especially difficult when you’re trying to take a picture with one hand. Also, the display is quite large, but when in picture/video mode (not playback mode) half of the screen is covered by the setup display. It make it difficult to see where the camera is shooting.

Difficulty to setup on your computer: Low
-Like the walkman above you just plug it in and it auto-detects your picture/video library and allows for upload. I haven’t used it yet, but there is also an easy way to upload to picture hosting site. The camera is set up to auto upload.
Comfort/Weight: Great!
- I was able to run with the camera for a full marathon-- including taking pictures and video very easily. I did all that and still managed a PR time. The easy on/off function and light weight allowed for that. I DID keep it wrapped in a plastic bag to avoid breaking it from sweat/water/Gatorade/running gels/etc.
Picture/Video Quality:
- So far I’ve had no issues with the quality. I had great pictures and video. There are multiple resolutions/setting for both the picture and video mode that you can try out.

(Steph with Bloggie Camera on the Seattle Space Needle)

- It survived a marathon with sweat, water/Gatorade stations, and GU (energy gel). Even with the baggie, I managed to get a little of all of those on the camera and it wiped off pretty clean.
Life: I used the camera (both video and picture) on and off over about 8 hours and still had almost a full battery remaining.
Other FUNctions:
-Swivel Head-- Great for taking “self-portraits!”
This is a great quick use video/picture camera. It’s not recommended for taking more than 30 min of continued play, but that’s not what the camera is meant for either. It has great quality picture and video in an easy to use hand held camera.
The only negative aspect of the bloggie is the inability for the camera to focus if there is any movement and the screen size for taking images. The screen is actually quite large, but when in use, half of the screen is covered by the setting display. When you play back, however, you can turn the camera sideways and use the full screen.
Future Standing:
I would use this camera for short clip videos and as a travel camera but, due to the screen size and the focus I would probably not keep it as a regular use camera. It works great for what I need it for-- Picture and quick video for my blog.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Seattle Rock’n’Roll Marathon ~ Post-Race Thoughts and so Much More!

What a weekend! Yesterday was the Seattle Rock'n'Rolle Marathon in Seattle, WA. This race was full of new friends, family, celebrities, and more! Oh BTW-- I'm totally blogging from the Sky on Delta's in-flight wireless! Nice way to fill 5 hours of flight.

(Pic Right: MB and I at the start line)

Warning: This is going to be a long post: Bloggie Buddy meet-up, new SONY gear review, 3rd BQ time this year (and a PR) and Maniac and family meet-ups at the race… AND post-race thoughts! All with fun pictures taken on my new SONY HD Bloggie camera!

 SONY Sponsorship and Gear:

SONY was very very kind and offered to sponsor me for the race if I just used their new runner-friendly gadgets and let YOU know what I thought! Well when I got in my gear was here… The SONY walkman (mp3 player) and the Bloggie HD camera (video and picture). My first thoughts? They seemed very simple to use and very light to carry! How did they hold up in the race?…. Keep reading to find out! (also look to find out-- almost all of the below pictures were taken with my Bloggie HD Camera!)

Race Expo and Seattle Sight-Seeing
The day before the race MB and I did some sight seeing before and after the expo. This is a great city for a race because there is a ton to do and everything is so pretty! We started with the Space Needle-- unfortunately we didn’t think of the weather or fog that may impair our view. It did clear up while we were up there and it was really cool to see all of Seattle! We also went to the famous fish market to see them throw the fishies… MB made me hold one of them. I wasn't a fan of the fish..

The expo was pretty big! And look who me met… Meb! If you’re not familiar Meb is the winner of the NYC marathon and the first American to win in like a billion years! Meb is also sponsored by SONY and had… MY new MP3 player! So that means Meb and I are pretty much the same person-- except of course he can run a sub 5-minute pace and gets paid lots of money after race. I can rub a sub 8-minute pace and pay TO enter races. Oh! And I'm pretty sure my marathon-made linebacker legs are bigger than his! Mmmm… yeah but pretty much the same! In fact… I beat Meb in a race (as you can see by the picture). Note: The MP3 player around Meb's neck.

Aside from Meb, there was a Brooks circus? I think that’s the best way to describe it. The had a 3 ring leader giving out brooks shoes and a few other circus-marathon type gimmicks. We also had all the normal running spots available. Oh and if you signed up for another RnR marathon you got a $10 discount and in some-- a FREE T-shirt! Definitely took advantage of that.

Bloggie Meet-up
The fantastic, wonderful, lovely Mel  (Tall Mom) organized a bloggie meet-up for all of us that were running the race! We finally got to meet up with all the people we "follow," support, and "talk to" every day. There was dinner and talk (mostly marathons… some ’Real Housewives’), and lots of laughs. The dinner was so much fun and it was great getting to meet everybody! Kerrie even made the cutest little name tags with our (real) names, our blog addresses, and blog titles with little Seattle logos... too cool! It was so great putting faces to the names (well web addresses!). Can't wait for another meet-up! (Pic right: Mel and I. I'm on my toes and shes squatting down and I'm still an umpa lumpa!)

Pictured Above: Left--MB, Marlene, and I at the bloggie meet-up! Right-- all the marathon-bloggers!

Race Day….
Getting to the race was a little crazy, we took a shuttle then had to walk about a mile to the start to meet up with the other 28,000 runners! We started in corrals and the corrals seemed to go for-freaking-ever. MB and I met up with the rest of the bloggie-runners for a pre-race picture! The bloggie-buddies from the night before were there AND a few more! Some of our lovely bloggers are part of Team-in-training and had a dinner the night before, but were able to meet up with us for the pre-race bloggie picture! I also got some great action pics of them in the race (see race section below).

(Pic Above: Left-- Me with the TNT Girls! Michelle's FIRST marathon-- woohoo! Right-- All the bloggie-runner friends pre-race-- including Zoe's Baby, look closely-- it's her 2nd half-marathon and she's still in the womb! Congrats baby on your 2nd half-marathon!)

After I met up with Prez Steve from the marathon maniacs (this is the maniacs home state) and a couple other maniacs in our corral. (Pic below: Maniacs Suzanne, Dave & myself).

The race was off and I felt good so… I took off! The race had a ton of sites, bands, and cheerleaders to keep us entertained the whole way! There were 3 areas where the course loops back on itself and we were able to see our friend in front and behind us. There were SO many marathon maniacs it was so cool! And some seriously fast ones too! Saw Prez Steve several times on the course. The last 3 miles is a little outbound down hill stretch with a turn-around that brought us up to a longggg downhill ramp down to mile 26. The last .2 finishes right around the Seahawks stadium. Finish… 3:34:09! My 3rd BQ time this year and a PR! Woohoo.

"Stephanie, you have just PR'd and made your 3rd BQ time... what will you do next?" The announcer in my head asks.... In this order: Grab my phone so I can update my facebook status, Go out for some extra miles, and go find all my friends on the course!
After the race I grabbed my cell phone and headed back out to get a few extra miles in. (yeah I know, I know... "you're crazy." Already heard it... from all the runners going in the other direction.) Anyways, going back I was able to see all my friends heading for the finish. First I saw Prez Steve flying in around the mile 26 bend. Then I found Mel and Marlene (pretty in pink) coming up the mile 25 hill. I saw TNT girls Hannah and Michelle (more bloggie friends... TNT so they weren't able to go to the bloggie meet-up). Jill finished her FIRST marathon and looked way too good out there! Then I found MB! I ran a few miles with her and let her go down and back up the end hill on her own, then ran the last mile with her. Yay MB!

 Left: Prez Steve on the Go with Betsy and Suzanne (Maniacs)

Right: Team Pretty in Pink-- Mel and Marlene looking strong around mile 24/25!


(Above: Left- Hannah and Michelle coming in strong around mile 22. Right- Jill about to finish her first marathon!
Below: Left- There's MB!!! Found ya. And bad attempt at a mile 26 picture )

After the race we found MB's cousin Jodi who lives in Seattle and her husband Chris that came to cheer us on! Thanks so much for coming guys!!! They will also be making the 3-hour drive down next week for our Portland marathon. :)
The bloggie buddies met at family meet-up area "B" for blogger! Found all the girls and took a finisher picture. I then got my standard post-race cheeseburger and went back to the hotel and into the hot tub!

Below: Left: Chris, Jodi, MB, and I post-race. Right: Me, Marlene, Mel, and Jill-- Marathon finishers!
I took a ton more pictures (and video) but in hopes that I haven't bored you already I'll have to refrain from posting them all. If you want to see the rest check out facebook. For now... I know you all were worried that I wouldn't find Edward no my big trip to Seattle, but have no fear-- look who it is!!! On our walk back from the marathon to the shuttle, I found Edward! What a perfect end to a great marathon and a fantastic weekend :)

*Too much for 1 post-- SONY gear review coming soon!*

Thursday, June 24, 2010

I've Run Out of States... and my first 50-Miler!

I'm firming up my plans for the remaining 17 states I have. I have about 8 set right now and the rest are pretty well locked down between the rest of this year and early 2010. However, I REALLY want to get 30 marathons in this year and hit the platinum level of marathon maniacs... 30 marathons in 30 states in 1 year. What does this mean? It's time to repeat some states!!!

Repeat State Requirements: Now I'm not just going to pick random races and fly out, wasting more money than needed, so these are some of the reasons I may pick a state/race to repeat...
1) 4 Hours! There were a few states I haven't done in under 4 hours and I would like to eventually be part of the 50 Sub 4 Club  (50 marathons in 50 states, all in under 4 hours). Potentials: Big Thunder Road Marathon (NC), Marshall University Marathon (WV)
2) MB hasn't done the states yet-- I'll be doubling back on a few states to get MB finished. Supposedly we'll be the first mother/daughter team to do it?? Not sure how accurate that is, but I've heard it. There is about a 10 state difference between us currently.
3) Kick-Butt Marathon! Some races I'm dying to do, but they're in states I've already done. Well, it's time to get them in: Philadelphia Marathon (PA).
4) LOCATION! If the location of the marathon is within driving distance, I'm a fan!!! Indianapolis Marathon (IN)!
5) An Ultra Experience! I want to get into bigger ultras (50 milers, 100 milers)... no time like the present! ... The Dawg Gone Long Run-- 50 Miler (OH).

My First 50-Miler!
The Dawg Gone Long Run- 50 Miler! The race is just a few weeks away and the same day I have a bachelorette party at night (my first, woohoo). So, I figured if I didn't put it on here I would chicken out!
Location: Caesar Creek State Park. Wayensville, OH.
Why? It's close (no flying) and it's cheap ($25 without a t-shirt, $50 with one). I had 3 weeks between marathons and that doesn't bode so well with me!
Course: TRAIL! 3 Loops of 16.4 Miles!

Wanna join me? Sign up here! Fly into Cincinnati and you can drive up with me! 

"Stephanie, How will you train for this?" You may be asking... I don't have a lot of time, so I plan on doing some 2 a days during the week and I also have 2 marathons between now and then... so I plan to do some running the day after to get myself used to the miles.

Tonight I leave for Seattle to run the Rock'n'Roll marathon with MB, tons of bloggie buddies and fellow maniacs (their home state) and 50-staters! I've never known so many people at a race before-- I can't wait!

Steph's Seattle Weather Update: Canadian Weather Forecast: Freaking HOT, Ey? Hehe-- couldn't resist! Still 22-degrees high and 14 low. Ok so weather gods, you can slow down now. I wanted to get rid of the rain and warm up a bit, but this may be a litttttle too warm!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Seattle Rock'n'Roll Marathon ~ Race RUNdown!

Inspiration Points...
1. Break is OVER! I've had a 4 week break, now we're back to my marathon of marathons. 2 weekends in a row, 1 week off, then another!
2. Run-Blog-Sleep!!! Bloggie Meetup. They'll be quite a few of us blogging-runners participating in the marathon this weekend. Not only is Mel (Tall Mom) organizing a dinner, but I'm also going to have a chance to run with friends!
3. Sony Sponsorship! Sony has contacted me again and they will be sponsoring me for the marathon. They will be sending the fun new runner-inspired MP3 player as well as the bloggie video camera to test out. My review to come post-race! I also get a t-shirt to wear (hopefully not too hot) and they're covering my race fee. Thank You Sony for supporting the marathoners!!!
4. Twilight! The latest movie (Eclipse) in the twilight book series comes out this week and we'll be in Seattle-- closest big city to Forks, WA (where the series is set). If you know nothing about Twilight, you live under a rock! TEAM EDWARD!

WA Race RUNdown...
Seattle Rock'n'Roll Marathon ~ Saturday June 26, 2010. 7am Start! (#34)
Seattle, WA
Registration Fees: $90-$100 early ($110 late until sold out)-- Race SOLD OUT!
Year Running: 2nd!!!
2010 Expected Field: 28,000 in the full and half marathon
2009 Field: 5646 Finishers
... Females: 3074 (more women than men!) ... Age Group: 590
2009 Avg. Finish Time: 4:45:15
Certified Course/BQ Certified?: Yes!
Weather Update: The weather is heating up! Those rainstorms seem to be going away with a much lower chance of precipitation! For our Canadian friends (Marlene) that's a high of 21 degrees C and a low of 13 (acc to! My goodness that sounds so much colder!! What do you get in the winters there? -150??. More importantly it looks like I can get a tan out by the pool on Friday!
MarathonGuide Rating:

The course gives a great tour of Seattle, bringing you past many of the sites like Mt. Rainer and the space needle! The course seems to be in a similar shape as the Nashville Marathon-- 3 shoots of out and back with a center focal point around the finish. This will give you plenty of time to see your fellow runners-- MANIACS WEAR YOUR MANIAC GEAR!!! Elevation doesn't look too bad... there are some little bumps along the way, but nothing like Wyoming 4 weeks ago!

Race 411:
~ Corrals to start. 700 people per corral based on predicted start time.
~ Port-a-johns said to be every mile and 18 water stops!
~ As with every RNR marathon, there is a free post-race concert! "TONIC" will be headlining this races concert (I've never heard of them). New for this year: the concert will be held in conjunction with the finish line festivities (instead of coming back at night for the concert).
~ Aside from the concert, there will be 40 bands along the course to rock out to!
~ Sign up here for runner tracking! This is great for family and friends that want to track your progress or spectators that want to get the camera ready for your finish! 
~ GU is the marathon gel! Mmmm my fav!

Race Plan:
Since I'll be testing out my new camera AND I have the unique experience of "knowing" so many bloggie-runners, I'm hoping to Join Marlene, Mel and Amanda for the race! No idea what they're planning to run it in... but judging from everybody's times I would definitely say under 4 hours?? Maybe low 3:50's (just a guess).

Meet up Info: If you want to meet up for the bloggy picture Mel has organized a meeting spot and time. Corral 6, 30 minutes prior to the race! Also, if you're looking for friends to meet up with after go to family reunion 'B'-- B for blogger!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Sony Shows Some Marathon Love and Seattle RNR Prep

Sony <3's Runners
Sony contacted me (and likely you if you're an RNR Marathoner with a blog) for a potential sponsorship program. Not only is Sony supporting all of the Rock & Roll Marathon series, but they're also reaching out to the blogging community to help the runner-bloggers and to test out their new toy...

The W-Series Walkman MP3 Player

This little gizmo is designed for runners and I cannot wait to try it! I've had issues with water/sweat resistance in both my Ipod nano AND shuffle. I've also had issues with the headphone chords, especially with the clicker on the new shuffles--- they're attached to the headphone wires and right near my face, so sweat drips right into it and it freezes up on me.

Getting Bloggy with It!
In addition to trying out the runner-friendly MP3 player, they're sending this "Bloggie PM5 Video Camera" and a T-shirt to wear during the race. I've decided to run with some of my bloggie friends so I'm thinking we're going to have a great time with this video camera!

I've replied to them with my information-- if I do end up participating in the sponsorship then I'll be giving you all more info on both products!

Seattle RockNRoll Marathon~ Race Prep
After my 4 week break from marathoning (yes Eblogger, that is a word), I'll be jumping back on the horse and doing a double weekend of races-- Seattle RNR this weekend then Foot Traffic in Portland, OR next week. For my Seattle race prep? I've been getting REST! At the end of 2009 I took a break from marathons for about the same period of time (kept working out.. running, lifting, etc) but I did only a few long runs and I came back so refreshed!!! This was the first time I was able to make a BQ time. So over the past few weeks this has been my focus:

~ Increasing mileage during my weekly runs ... aka the Endurance Experiment (no more than 13 miles at a time)
~ Resistance Training 2-3 times a week
~ Speed work... on the Mill-O-Death

This week? I did a 10-miler with MB this past weekend and I'm going to get 3 solid workouts Mon-Tues-Wed this week. Thursday I won't run at all and Friday I'll try to get in 2-4 easy miles to get the legs stretched out. This is what we like to call a Mega-Marathoner Taper-- unlike a normal taper it's 3 days vs. 3 weeks of decreased mileage and rest!

Weather Update!
Since there are a number of us blogging-runners doing the race this weekend, I thought I'd provide the weather forecasts here. Currently they're calling for mid 50's to mid 60's and sunny. However, Saturday is bunkered by showers on both Friday and Sunday. This should not be surprising because we're in Seattle! Let's hope the forecast stays put (we know it won't) and we're able to avoid rain on our 26.2 mile parade! If you haven't told me you're running this weekend, please let me know. I believe we're having a few bloggy meet-ups including a pasta dinner the evening before. See ya in Seattle!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Long Run Hydration and my current State-us

State-US: (Get it? Status, but it's about States... in the US? W/E, if you don't get my humor you're living in a sad sad world) Ok, so I've been asked a lot lately "how many states have you done??" And since I haven't run a marathon in almost THREE weeks *GASP*, inquiring mind are freaking out!!! Well you can always check in the above "Start here" tab (I try to update the State-us in there). But, to keep the crazies at bay and not require an additional click, here ya go...

Total Marathons and Ultra Marathons Completed (lifetime): 35
Total Marathons/Ultras Completed in 2010: 12 (s/b 13, but Myrtle Beach was cancelled :( Grr )
Total States Completed (lifetime): 33! (same for 2010)

State/Marathon variance? Where were those extra 2 marathons? The moon? No silly... 1 was in Athens, Greece (THE original marathon... and my first) and the 2nd was an extra OH marathon I did because OH has some seriously cool marathons. That and Corn... that's what OH has!

Plans for 2010: I'm planning on running a total of about 24-26 more states, depending on some of the winter marathons I choose. I would LOVE to hit Titanium level for marathon maniacs (30 states in 1 year), so I'm considering repeating some of the nearby states and getting a few cheap marathons in to hit 30!

Long Run Hydration: This months RW had this article  with very intricate explanation of keeping hydrated in the hot summer months. Basically, it reiterated the importance of keeping hydrated all day long, and within the few hours before a hard or long run, siting studies with the second to minutes of improvement for the hydrated runners vs. the non.

Now we all know how important keeping hydrated is, but this may be a little overkill. According to RW, if I'm working out for 1-4 hours (within marathon running time), I should be drinking 3 to 6 oz every 15 to 20 minutes. Now if I'm running say an 8:20 pace, that's a little more than 2 miles I s/b consuming 3 to 6 oz. If I'm REALLY trying to stay hydrated, I probably drink 6 OZ every 4-5 miles and I feel ridiculously full. I get the slosh in the belly and I feel like I'm going to hurl. Not good...

It also doesn't help that I'm repulsed by the site taste and smell of water. I think it's gross and I don't react well to it-- I swell if I drink too much (mostly because I don't have enough salt to sweat it out). Sorry, RW, not to knock you, but your hydration plan needs alternatives:

1) Drink More to Drink Less: Gatorade that is. Or any other drink alternative that contains the sugars and carbs you need. Replace water with Gatorade and you don't need as much to stay hydrated. When I get toward the later part of my runs (or I'm taking GU/energy gels) I'll switch to water because I don't want to OD on sugar!
2) Salt Pills/Sticks: These are GREAT with a little less water than you usually need. They usually have electrolytes in them too so you're getting most of what you need without filling your belly with liquids.
3) Train to Drink LESS: (Warning: this is unsafe, don't try it at home unless you're a psycho that hates water too and is desperate). Get your body used to running on less water. I find I need a LOT less water during runs (and actually can't take very much) because I don't drink many liquids during a normal day. I'm not just talking water... I hardly drink anything. I'm not a big fan of liquids-- well unless it's green with ice and a salt ring! I'm a big fan of that kind of liquid!

That's it for today. Thanks for all the nice notes on the new blog layout-- Marlene, no worries, I'm going to find a way for the layout to fit to whatever resolution the current screen is. We can't have you missing the uber important right hand text :)

Have a great Friday and Happy Fathers Day!!!

Happy Running,

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Why That's a Pretty Blog You Have There..

No folks, do not adjust your computer monitor or change that channel! This is the same blog-- Still Steph's 50 Marathon Challenge, just a new look! I've been dabbling with my very little experience in HTML coding and graphic design (by little experience, I actually mean only what I've taught myself).

Seeing that I've made up some of the code here and I've created a layout instead of following the old blogging procedures, I'm gonna ask you all to give me some honest feed back... does it look ok? 1) Can you read it?? Any crazy stuff going on that I can't see on my end? 2) Does it look nice? Orrrr should I change it back to the way it was? 3) Any other thoughts on the blog? Anything you need more or less of? 4) Any other thoughts in life? Hows running? hows the fam? How'r the pets? you know... any thoughts at all...

Running News: This is the last FULL week of rest I have before we get back in a marathon o' marathons. I've been getting my miles in while I can. I've been able to get more speedwork and long run sessions in with there few weeks of "rest." Next up? Seattle Rock N Roll Marathon next week and Foot Traffic Flat Marathon in Portland, OR the next week, followed by the University of Okoboji Marathon the week after! Will you be joining me for any of those?? Let me know!

Best Of: Don't forget to add ANY "GREAT" marathons that haven't already been listed in the below post!