Thursday, May 29, 2008

Take It and Run Thursday: Running in the Heat

Today's Take It and Run Thursday theme is ....Running In The Heat.

Heat is my running kryptonite - I'm pretty much powerless in its presence. And unfortunately for me, my marathon experiences were plagued by that little devil. It beat me down for sure.

So I'm definitely no expert in running in the heat, BUT here are some tips to help mitigate the effects:

Tips from 2007 Chicago Marathon:

- As always, hydrate, hydrate, hydrate - luckily for me, I happened to be carrying a water bottle that day (which I normally never do). Once the water from the aid stations *and* my bottle ran out, I came across several nice Chicago folks that offered to refill my bottle instead
- As suggested by a nice Chicago resident, I took her baggie of ice cubes and shoved it in my sports bra
- Drench yourself in water - such as running through the fire hydrant streams and water hoses. Sometimes I would just stand there getting drenched - it was great. (But don't drench yourself with water cups from the aid station!)
- When I was in shaded parts of the course, I would try to regroup mentally and prepare myself to be able to battle the sunny, hotter parts of the course.

Tips from 2008 Disney Marathon:

- The heat wasn't so bad there but there was also humidity to deal with
- Biofreeze worked wonders! I stopped at every medical station to lather that stuff all over. I think it's intended more for muscle pains but it had a great cooling effect.

Anyway, that's all I got - can't wait to read everyone else's tips.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Naked Running - how do people do this?

I just got back from Bay to Breakers - race report coming soon. As usual, there were lots of naked peeps on the course. In the past (2001-2006), I've always done the drink and walk version of B2B. This year, I actually ran it (thanks Renu for keeping me going!) and we still saw lots of naked peeps - but not walking, running!

Seriously, how do they do this? How do you run 7.5 miles with no... you know, support? (This is for both the chicks and the dudes.)

I've been wondering this for awhile. My alma mater is the fine institution that held (holds?) The Naked Mile every year at midnight on the last day of classes. (I was just a spectator, not a participant - my friends did it, but it just wasn't for me. It was more fun to watch it from the bar with my other friends where it was nice and warm - heehee.) Even then, that was just one mile - not over seven!

Anyway, as much as I tried to avoid them during the race, it is certainly an impressive feat!

5/19 Update:

On my morning radio show, one of the DJs commented that the dudes might run naked at B2B simply to have more room. Could be! With over 60,000 participants (only 1/3 or so actually register), the race course is *packed*. Lots of bumping into peeps and elbowing and all that. But I know me and my buddy definitely swerved to avoid any run-ins with those guys. I think everyone did!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Race Report: 10K on the 10th / Human Race

After the 15K on Sunday, we spent the rest of the Disney vacation hitting all the parks - fun, but tiring! We flew home on Wednesday. I have to say, it was really nice to have a two day work week. Wish they could all be like that.

My first workout since returning home was for Nancy's 10K on the 10th. I noticed the day before that there happened to be a local 10K race on Saturday so I figured, why not?

So Saturday morning, I headed to the Human Race of Silicon Valley. They had a 5K walk, 5K run, and 10K run.

For this race, I decided to push myself a little more than usual. Before I used to be really careful with my pace during the first mile because I was afraid I wouldn't have anything left at the end. So I was going to experiment a bit with this one.

It worked out well! I started out at a sub-10:00 minute pace and managed to stay there for the whole race. But there were two issues:

1. The course: Maybe my Garmin was off, but the course seemed to be slightly longer than 6.2 mi. There was no mile one marker and at the mile two marker, my watch read 2.19 mi. From there on out, my watch consistently read an extra 0.19 mi at each mile marker. Normally, it wouldn't be an issue, but apparently, they mis-routed the 5K race and it ended up being 2.56 miles only. So who knows! Other runners were also commenting on the 10K distance as well. (I should have added this to Marcy's list of racing pet peeves.)

2. Merging walkers with runners: The race had separate courses for the 5K walk, 5K run, and 10K run. Until the end that is... during mile 6 of the 10K run, we ended up merging with the walkers and to me, it felt like total chaos. First, I couldn't find any course monitors to confirm I was supposed to be merging with them so that slowed me down. Second, I had to deal with weaving around all the walkers - it was so frustrating. We were so close to the finish and should be focused on accelerating to the end but instead any extra energy we had was wasted on weaving around the crowds. It was just like my run that coincided with the March of Babies walk - I had to ask people to let me pass but this time, it was so tiring to yell out the requests. Some were nice, though, and cheered me on as I ran past. But I am bummed to have lost steam during that segment. Thankfully, we separated later on as we had separate finish lines.

But overall - I did great! I haven't seen these kind of splits in a long time!

1: 9:21
2: 9:38
3: 9:37
4: 9:30
5: 9:39
6: 9:41
0.39: 3:25 (8:46 pace)

Total: 6.39 mi, 1:00:49, 9:31 pace

Here's my dilemma... the official race results have not been posted yet AND I'm still a little skeptical about their course. So for Nancy's 10K on the 10th, I'm going to stay consistent and refer to my Garmin time and distance.

Keeping the same times for the 6 miles, I will extrapolate (+1) the time for the 0.2 mi by using the pace for the last 0.39 miles (8:46 pace) from the original run.

Nancy's 10K on the 10th
Total = 6.2 mi, 0:59:11, 9:33 pace

And that, my friends, is a new PR! Only by 7 seconds though... but the last time I ran this pace for a 10K was three years ago!

May 18th Update:

Finally got the official results from the Human Race:

Distance 10K
Clock Time 1:01:00
Overall Place 184 / 310
Gender Place 60 / 128
Division Place 41 / 88
Age Grade 49.9%
Total Pace 9:49/M


Mega-Race Report: Minnie Marathon Weekend

Yikes, I am really behind on my race reports! OK, so I am now back home from the big Disney trip. My sis and I had a blast! So many fun experiences - the races, five days of theme parks (hitting all the attractions we missed during the WDW marathon weekend in January), and just good ole sister bonding.

Here's the rundown of the weekend:

Friday - Expo

Like the marathon weekend, the expo was held at the Wide World of Sports complex however it was on a much smaller scale. I didn't mind since it was a lot easier to maneuver around this one. Before we could pick up our race packets, we first had to find our names on these posted lists so that we could get our bib number. My sister was so excited to see her name in print posted on the board! It was fun to see her get as excited about these little things as I would :)

The race goodies were pretty good. We each got a Minnie Marathon sports bag as the goodie bag plus a cotton tee for the 5K and a technical tee for the 15K.

At the expo, we learned that the rumors of this being the last Minnie Marathon weekend were true. Next year, they are introducing the Princess Half Marathon which will be held in March 2009. Registration opened on Monday and I'm 99% sure I'll register for it. I'm not signed up for the 2009 WDW marathon weekend (would love to attempt the Goofy Challenge in 2010) so it wouldn't be a big deal to squeeze it in.

After the expo, we spent the afternoon at Magic Kingdom before heading to bed early for our exciting early morning race the next day!

Saturday - Go Red for Women 5K
The Birth of a New Race-fanatic?

I was so excited to have my sister share in the fun of doing a race. Of course, that also includes the early morning wake-up call, since we needed to be out the door by 6AM for the 7AM race start. The 5K was held at Epcot - a perfect place for my sister to experience her first race. She's a bigger Disney fan than I am!

Quick background: My sister was both excited and a bit intimidated about the 5K. She was worried that I would go all Harvey on her and yell at her to walk faster during the race. Not me! 1) I was just so excited that she wanted to be part of this, 2) I'm the little sis so I can't really get away with yelling at the older and wiser one, and 3) I wasn't looking to tire myself out before the 15K. She was also worried that we wouldn't finish in time, since technically, all 5K participants were supposed to maintain at least a 15 min/pace. But, in the end, everything worked out A-OK.

Once we arrived, we situated ourselves at the back of the pack with the walkers. No need to further intimidate my sister with having all sorts of people pass us. Here's the view at the start of the race - corrals go up and to the left:

And then Minnie sent us on our way!

The course was... interesting. From what I recall, almost the first two miles were just backroads behind Epcot - it took awhile before we actually entered the park. It was cool when we were there - very quiet as the park was not open to the public yet. At this point, we were passing the runners that were on their way out of the park toward the finish line.

The walking went well - I made sure to let my sister set the pace since I know that I have a tendency to walk off on my own. She was doing really well considering that she didn't have much time to prepare with having both a baby at home and less than ideal walking weather back home in Cleveland. Here's us at the World Showcase:

Then this awesome thing happened... around the 2.5 mile mark, my sister turns to me and asks, "Do you want to jog for a little bit?" Now, I have never known my sister to do any kind of jogging before so this totally caught me by surprise. In my head, I was thinking, "Holy crap! Really? That's awesome!!!" BUT I didn't want to freak her out, so I just replied, "Sure!"

So we picked it up and jogged for a bit, passing some ladies in the process. After awhile, we went back to walking. Finally, we were approaching the finish. We left Epcot, and up the path, I pointed out to my sister where the finish line was. We picked it up for another jog for the final stretch. I told my sister that we had to raise our arms for the finish line photo. :) I actually wanted to grab her hand as we crossed, but unfortunately, I didn't think ahead and had my camera in one hand and a water bottle in the other. Ah, well.

I was so proud of her when we finished! We gave each other a big hug and then headed to one of my fave parts of a race - the medals!

Afterward, she wanted to go back to the finish and cheer on the remaining walkers. And I'm happy to report that Disney let every single one of the walkers finish - as far as I could tell, anyway.

Later on, I mentioned to her how I was so excited that she wanted to jog during the race - twice! And it was funny because she explained that the first time it was because she was being "greedy" and wanted to beat some people - it was almost apologetic. And then the second time (at the finish) she said she wanted to see if she could shave a few seconds off her time. I was so impressed! I told her that's exactly the mentality you should have when doing a race and people do it all the time! I just thought she had some natural race instincts and I was really impressed. During my very first 5K (which I also walked), I just wanted to finish - I didn't care what my time was and who was ahead of me.

Anyway, she did do well with her time - check out the negative splits!

1: 18:37
2: 18:23
3: 17:16
0.1: 1:41 (16:50 pace)

Official Results (me only):

Distance: 5K
Chip Time: 55:57
Avg pace: 18:01

Overall Place: 1727 / 1796
Gender Place: 1570 / 1632
Division Place: 1566 / 1627

And here's the loot we got:

I think I may have spoiled my sis with her first 5K experience, which included:

- Fun-filled course through Epcot
- Minnie Mouse send-off
- Chip timing
- Official race photography
- Medal
- Post-race pics with Disney characters
- Goodies which included sport bag and T-shirt
- Cute bibs that were red with white polka dots

I think all I got during my first 5K was some one color cotton T that said something dorky like "Run for the Law", a course through a local park, finish line made up by two orange traffic cones, and timing by a dude with a stopwatch.

After the race, we headed over to Hollywood Studios (after a much needed nap, of course) and hung out with the Monsters Inc crew:

Sully was my favorite character on the course during the marathon so I was really excited to see him again. Unfortunately, there were no characters at the 5K.

Sunday - Women Run the World 15K

This one I did solo and I even let my sister sleep in since it had a 6:15 AM race start. It's basically the same course as the last ~9 miles of the marathon so I was really excited to have another shot at it without the 17 miles that preceeded it.

The course started at the parking lot of Animal Kingdom and ended at Epcot. I had parked at Epcot and then boarded the bus for AK. Pretty much everyone sitting around me on the bus had some form of Mickey ears on - I felt so plain without mine. :) (The Minnie ears I wore during the 5K were far too uncomfortable for running.)

This time, I started in the 9-11 min/mi pace corral. I'm always playing with the displays I use on my watch during races. I decided to only display my heart rate (to help me judge if I'm going too fast or too slow) and total time. For some reason, I thought seeing the pace might freak me out, which was silly because everytime I completed a mile, I would check my pace anyway.

The first five miles were just expressways around Disney World. There were some minor hills here and there on the overpasses. I took water at every water stop and powerade just once during the halfway point. I thought I could run through these stops but my second attempt led to water up my nose so I quickly learned that this is obviously a skill I do not have down, so I walked through the remaining stops. The weather wasn't as bad as I thought it would be as there were some breezes every now and then. Regardless, at each water stop, I drank half of the water and the other half I splashed on myself.

Finally, we go to the parks! Hollywood Studios first, then the Boardwalk (which, BTW, is where my sister got married), followed by Epcot. It was really interesting to run the same course as the Disney marathon but have it be so much different. For example, everything is familiar, so you think, oh, we're entering Hollywood Studios, I bet the Power Rangers will be there to greet us. Nope. Or when you're leaving Hollywood Studios, you think there will be this huge crowd of spectators cheering you on - but nope, it's just a handful of folks. Or when you're on the final stretch upon leaving Epcot and you think there will be this amazing gospel choir just around the bend... and nope, same bend, but no peeps.

Don't get me wrong - it was still a lot of fun to run through the Disney parks (especially since I wasn't really running the last time I was there). It was just... funny.

Anyway, I kept my pace pretty even during the race. Once I hit the mile 9 marker, I kicked it into high gear and really tried to push my way toward the finish. I couldn't even manage a smile for the photographer at this point:

I think I passed everyone in my path on the way there. Except at the very end, this lady passed me and it was really fascinating, because she had a very long stride so while I was taking more steps, she was able to pass with taking fewer steps.

Here are my splits (I recorded a bit more distance):
1: 10:19
2: 10:30
3: 10:12
4: 10:00
5: 10:04
6: 10:24
7: 9:49
8: 10:22
9: 9:54
0.4: 3:30 (8:45 pace)

Official Results

Distance: 15K
Chip Time: 1:34:56
Avg Pace: 10:11

Overall Place 734 / 2632
Gender Place 659 / 2425
Division Place 129 / 389

And here's the loot (we also got sport bags):

Overall, I'm happy with my time. It's better than my practice run so that's good. But even though I really did push myself during the race, part of me feels I could have done more.

I know deep down, I have a sub-10:00 pace in me for a distance race. Before all the marathons, I was able to do a half marathon under a 10:00 min/mi pace. Since then, it's been a struggle. I think with the marathons, my main goal was to just finish the darn thing, so I stopped pushing myself on my pace. Now I'm trying to claim some of that back.

I'm working on it... I have no marathons planned for anytime in the near future (unless I get lucky for NYC!) so hopefully I'll get my pace to a single digit number.

On a final note, I'm really glad we did this as a Friday-Wednesday trip as opposed to Wednesday-Monday which is what we did in January for the marathon weekend. It was nice to do the races first and then be able to really enjoy the parks without having to worry about tiring yourself out and stuff.

Next up... my 10K on the 10th report - stay tuned!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Shoe suggestions, anyone?

My first "Take It and Run Thursday" post!

This week's theme is "Backwards Take It and Run Thursday"... per the Runner's Lounge: "Instead of posting wisdom, post a question you have about your running, training, racing, gear, hydration, etc that you need help answering."

I'm quickly approaching 500 miles on my Nike Vomeros so I'll be shopping for some new shoes soon. I need a neutral shoe and I love lots of cushioning! That's one of the reasons I preferred the Vomeros over the Pegasus.

Prior to the Vomeros, I ran in Adidas Brevards and Asic GT-2090s - both worked well. And although I do value function over looks, I would like to get some slick lookin' ones, too!

So if anyone has any recommendations, please let me know!
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