Thursday, October 23, 2014

Rock 'N Roll St. Louis Half Marathon, Race Recap

St. Louis, Missouri
Half Marathon State #36
Start Time: 7am
Temperature: 42 degrees
Bib: 6279
Overall:  2038/6361
Division Place: 112/492
Gender Place: 926/4080
Finish Time: 2:05:31

Heck of a sunrise!
The Rock "n Roll St. Louis half marathon started right on time.  Of course, we were still walking over from our hotel when the gun went off.  We stayed at the Missouri Athletic club, a 15 minute walk to the start.  The hotel used to be an all men's club.  But now, for the reasonable price of $112 (+ tax) per night, runner girls are welcome to sleep over.

I had planned to abandon my sweatshirt and gloves on the course, it was a bit chilly.  But, we walked right into the bag check area, so Trisha checked my sweatshirt with her stuff.  The potty lines were non existent, as corrals 2-5 went under the banner.  The girls and I separated.  I came out and was easily able to jump into the front of corral 7 (and capture the amazing photo above, one of my all time fav race photos, check out that arch!) 

Between Busch Stadium (where the Cardinals play) and the baseball museum.
I had hoped to run 10 minute miles.  After passing Busch Stadium, I had settled in around 9:30s and decided to see if I could hold on to that pace for 13 miles.

The course reminded me of the Mississippi Blues course in Jackson.  Lots of little ups and downs, through much of downtown, then neighborhoods.  I enjoyed running through The Grove area of downtown, with its quaint shops and big signs declaring where we were.  The course gave a great tour of the city.

I had purchased a Salted Watermelon Gu at the expo (along with a Root Beer and Caramel Macchiato, to be tasted at a future date).  I took a Salted Caramel Gu at mile 4, then the watermelon at mile 8 (just like I did in Madison, Wisconsin, state #35!).  Note: the expo was kind of boring.  I thought the fun activities were sent to RNR Denver, since the races were on the same weekend, but have since learned it was an uneventful expo as well.  The best part of the expo were watching the marching bands practice outside (since there was a competition going on elsewhere) and watching Pam try to get her free slinky to go down the up escalator.

The weather was perfect, the spectators and volunteers were enthusiastic.  I held close to my 9:30 pace as we finished uphill, turned right and thankfully went downhill to the finish chute.

The traditional RNR snacks were there at the finish.  Water, bananas, Gatorade, chocolate milk, bagels and Marathon Snickers bars.  Karma got me, as I tried to take two Marathon bars (one bar per runner!) I ran out of hands and tucked one into my waistbelt (which promptly fell out, on my way back to the hotel).

Awesome medal. Awesome.
The medals and race shirts are terrific.  I love that the medal reflects the city.

Cardinal red!
The shirts have a baseball pennant on the front.  The Cards would have played game 6 the night before our race, but it didn't happen.

Under the arch.
I spent the weekend with Pam, Tiina and Trisha.  Our pre race photo was not that great (plus we didn't find Tiina in time).  Post race was such a cluster in the park, we had all agreed to head back to the hotel on our own.  So, I don't have a race photo to share.  I do really like the one of us under the arch, though.

We had a super fun weekend in St. Louis, and squeezed the race into all of our touristing.  I highly recommend this town and race for your Missouri race.  I'll be back later to share what we discovered around town pre and post race.   

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Three Things Thursday - Pre RNR St. Louis Edition

1.  Wow, does 6 months ever fly by?  Yup, just last April I met Pam for the first time IRL.  She joined Erika, Sonya, Trisha and me in Northern Tennessee, the night before the four us began our 3 halfs (or more) in 3 days (or more).

Dinner in Union City, TN.  Trisha, Sonya, Me, Erika and Pam.
Beware, if you have dinner with me, and discuss your future running plans in a state that I haven't ran in yet, I will invite myself along on your trip.  Pam's plans to run RNR St. Louis, became my plans to run RNR St. Louis and knock state #36 (Missouri!) off of my list.  And, that weekend has arrived.

2.  Back in April, I knew Missouri was a state that S would not want to go to with me.  (Note: He is now quite interested in accompanying me to states #37-50.)  Oh the irony, Pam's St. Louis Cardinals are in the playoffs and just may be throwing that gosh darn baseball this Saturday night.  Who knew? I know S would have loved to see another playoff game during a race weekend, but unlike last year when we watched the Red Sox play, it isn't meant to be this year.

Last October.  I admit, I didn't mind S hijacking my race weekend and turning it into his big chance to visit Fenway Park.
3.  This weekend is girls' weekend in St. Louis!  I'm delighted that Trisha is flying with me from Portland.  I finally get to meet Tiina IRL.  And, of course Pam will be there, dragging us to a bar to watch the Cards play on Saturday if there is a game 6.

Oh, and that pesky little race is happening too.  I'm in a totally different space, mentally, emotionally and physically than I was back in April.  I'm glad this is a "big" half, with a huge expo and lots of runners.  I haven't got a ton of miles in my training the last few weeks, but I did build up my long runs on the weekends effectively.  No PR plans, no run fast plans either.

I'm going to enjoy the weekend, hopefully go up in the Gateway Arch and do other touristy things. Look out state #36, I'm coming for ya!

Courtesy: wikipedia

We have Friday night and Saturday to sight see…what else should we do in St. Louis?

Friday, October 10, 2014

Saucony, Gilmore Girls and Nuun

Yesterday the teenager had her wisdom teeth removed.

She's doing really well.  She had it all planned out…

The photo on the right is my throwback Thursday photo of  the teenager and me (circa 2007).
…a three day Gilmore Girls marathon has begun.  We started with season 1 (of course) and our day was filled with Oxycodone, anti-nausea medicine, applesauce, scrambled eggs and ice packs.

When she left the doctor's, they gave her a blanket (to keep).  Then later in the day, flowers arrived from the doctors's office (the vase is a plastic cup with lid and straw, ironic, since she can't use a straw for 3 days).

Something for me, and the patient.
My new Sauconys arrived as well!  I'm trying to find my love for the run again, and figured that getting new shoes is a good plan.

Road Runner Sports is having a sale, so I ordered my Saucony Guide 7s from there on Saturday. Shoes are 25% off, they didn't have my size and had to ship them.

Of course, on Sunday, I found a code for Running Warehouse, which made my shoes even cheaper. I have a rule, whenever buying online I Google for a coupon code and found this one, runblog10.  My shoes were the same price as RRS' sale, with an extra 15% off.  So, I ordered 2 pair.  Black shoes, for rainy winter runs.  Can't wait to break them in.

Road Runner couldn't cancel my orders, so I will return those shoes to the store when I get them in the mail.  They still aren't here yet.  Running Warehouse impressed me with their speedy (free) delivery.

I also discovered Nuun at Costco this week.

I wish Alma's Nuun HTC video was still available to share with you.  Nuun, phunk with my thirst!
Since summer is never ending, and I've been running long, pacing the Runner Chicks Training Club, I carry one bottle of water and one bottle of Nuun in my waist belt.

Augtober running with the chicks.  Don't you love the peach tanks?
I wish the Costco pack of Nuun had better flavors in it.  I'm not a big fan of Lemon-Lime or Triberry. Maybe a new 3-pack of Strawberry Lemonade, Grape and Kona Kola next time?

Good luck to everyone racing this weekend!  Especially all the Runner Chicks at the Girlfriends' Half Marathon in Vancouver, Washington, on Sunday!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

September in Review

Miles Planned/Ran: 71/65.

Miles Planned/Walked: 38/38.  S and I have started walking (to Starbucks) two or three times each week.  Walking is stress reducing and part of the real Metabolic Effect plan.  Plus, I enjoy spending extra time talking with my husband.

Highest Running Mileage Week: 19.  I've been keeping my running on track, pacing the Runner Chicks Training Club.  Thank goodness they have been building up to run the Girlfriends' Half Marathon the week before I run in St. Louis.  In spite of being stopped by a train at mile 8, we had a blast in downtown Portland for the long run.

The weather was perfect for 11.5 miles last week in downtown PDX.  That's the Steel Bridge.
We started and finished at Rilassi Coffee.  These are my 10:00-10:15 pace group ladies.
Long Runs Planned/Ran: 4/4.  

Yoga Workouts Planned/Completed: 10/2.  Huge yoga fail.

Non Workout Days Planned/Taken: 3/7.  It felt like I took a lot more rest days.  Glad to see it was only 7.

Swim Yards Planned/Swum: 0/0.  Unless you count one water aerobics class.

Half Marathons Planned/Completed: 1/0.  I DNS'd the Talladega Half in Alabama.  You can read all about the hows and whys here.

Weights: 12/6.  I've been using dumbbell workouts or body weight only workouts.  Here are two of the body weight ones I'm really liking.  It only takes 15-20 minutes!

Current Ache/Pain: As per usual, right hip/glute. 
Current Book(s): Love Sense by Johnson.
Current Drink: Alloro Vineyard's Vino Nettare Dessert Wine (and other random white wines tasted on our two wine tasting trips this month).

Pretty bottle.
The view from the Blakeslee Winery.  So many wineries, so little time.
Current Song: I haven't run with music once this month.  It's been all about the running buddies, good friends and good conversation.

Current Gratitude: Colleges that want my daughter to play basketball for them next year.

And it's not too far from home.
Current Dislike:  Gaining weight.

Current Goal:  To lose weight by increasing walking miles, weights workouts and eating better. Taking a hard look at this after RNR St. Louis. 

Current Treat:  #allthewine
Current Excitement:  State #36!  RNR St. Louis in three weeks!  This will be my final half marathon until next spring.  I've never been to St. Louis before.  It should be a great girls' weekend.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Accidental Wine Tasting

Saturday afternoon, S and I found ourselves without children and without an agenda.  The Ducks were playing Wyoming and he had given away our tickets.  I had been to a winery or two, and knew there were a few close by, so we decided to go wine tasting.

I had a plan, with three wineries chosen.  Good grief, who knew that there were SO MANY wineries near Dundee/Newberg?  (Well, S did, he kept telling me we didn't need a plan, they are everywhere, but it didn't sink in until we were there.  I swear, there is a new one every half mile).

Much wine.
The winery we started at was supposed to have an event, but, they didn't.  We left there quickly and found many cars at the Vista Hills Vineyard.  With temps in the 80s and amazing views off of their back deck, I could have stayed for hours.  It was fun to watch them set up for a wedding, but the highlight of the afternoon was watching horses ride up through the vineyard.

The bummer was, many of the wineries closed at 4pm, others at 5pm.  The afternoon flew by.

Can't wait to do this again really soon!
Saturday morning, I did pace the runner chicks for 9 miles (and will do it again this weekend).  Here's my plan for the week, as writing it down has a unique way of making me follow through.

Plan for the Week
Monday: 4 miles
Tuesday: 3 mile walk AM/Water aerobics PM
Wednesday: Weights and Yoga
Thursday: Rest
Friday: 4 mile walk, then a 4 mile run
Saturday: 10 miles pacing the runner chicks
Sunday: Walk? Weights

I hope your week has gotten off to a great start!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

4 Steps to Planning a Race in Another State and Why I Should Follow Them Next Time

I've completed half marathons in 35 states.  I've had great success, with flights (a few delays here and there, but never stranded overnight in a city, knock on wood), hotels and travel buddies.  I haven't been forced to not start a race I've paid for, due to injury or a kid conflict or for any other reason.

The process is quite strategic.

1. I book the hotel.  Close to the start line.  They are always refundable.
2. I find a friend/spouse/relative to attend the race with me.  Many races I was invited to tag along (or, ahem, invited myself).  Tagging along with a friend's big race is a great way to knock off a state.  A guaranteed way to have a buddy to hang out and share expenses with.
3.  I pay the race entry fee as early as possible.  This saves $$$.  They are non-refundable, but sometimes transferrable.
4.  I book the flight.  I read online somewhere that booking 54 days out is when you get the cheapest airfare.  This was not the case for my return flight from St. Louis for next month, but I will continue to test the theory.  I try to fly on Southwest.  B and L have noted that you can cancel your flight at anytime and the money will be credited for a future flight.  Note: Southwest does not fly all over the country, which can be inconvenient (I'm looking at you, western midwest).

As you can see, the Talladega Half Marathon is this weekend.  It was going to be my state #36.  I am not going.

The problem is, I didn't follow my process.  I got a bit cocky back in February 2014.  I had just come off a surprisingly fast ish half in Arizona.  I had lost some weight.  My kid was supposed to be with her father.  I was sure I could get a running friend (local or long distant) to come with me.  If not, I would do this one on my own.  I felt that awesome about it (I sometimes fly by myself, but I always meet someone at the airport, so this would be my first time solo).

I booked the hotel and paid for the race on 2/9/14.  Yeah, I did steps 1 and 3, skipping right past step 2.

I paid for the airfare on 5/5/14.  Just for myself.  I got a steal on a round trip to and from Atlanta, and couldn't pass it up.

I still hadn't gotten anyone to commit to running with me.  But, I put a plan together to train through the summer and attempt a PR in Alabama.

Then summer happened.  The heat.  The food.  The alcohol.  The vacations and fun times with family and friends.  The lack of order.  The lack of blogging.  The lack of accountability.  My pants got tighter.

My PR plans fell away, but this summer was lots of fun.
My local friends decided to run a new local race on my Alabama weekend (The Bridge of the Goddess Half, check it out!)  So, none of them would decide to tag along.

My Atlanta friend is going to a wedding this weekend, with her new amazing boyfriend.  My Tennessee friend would have came along.  I don't think she really wanted to, since she's finished all 50 states.  But, she got injured at the end of August and I knew she wouldn't want to/be able to run a half so soon after her injury.

I talked to S about going, rearranging things.  The airfare 30 days out for him to go was expensive, and he didn't really want to.  I no longer felt awesome about doing Alabama on my own.  My kid is with me this weekend, school just started, and I didn't really want to leave her (with or without S).

So, I had no good reason to run Alabama on 9/14/14.

1.  I cancelled the hotel.
2.  No one had a firm nonrefundable commitment to join me.  I let LJ know she was off the hook for meeting me in Talladega with her injured leg.
3. I am out the race entry fee ($78).  And, I am stuck receiving the race info emails this week.  Telling me where packet pick up is, and asking my friends and family to volunteer at the last minute.
4.  I cancelled the flight on Southwest.  I've since used the funds for my return flight from St. Louis next month (where I'll be running with 3 other buddies, after inviting myself along on Pam's trip).  Yeah, if you wait around too long, a round trip to Atlanta = a one way from St. Louis.

I'll be home with the husband.  I'll be here with the kid.  I'll pace a bunch of local runner chicks for their 9 mile training run on Saturday morning.  Sometimes a DNS is the right choice.  I never thought I'd hear myself say that.

I'll figure out when to run Alabama another day.  And I won't skip step #2.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Planning to Plan to Get Back on a Plan

Check out this shirt A wanted (and I, of course, bought for her):

Thug Life Shirts
She ordered it in a tank top, all ready to wear to basketball practice for her senior year in a few months. Can't be worn during practice, Mom, because we have to wear our reversibles, duh!  A has a way with words, I tell ya.

I'm having a hard time renewing my spring time stringent workout schedule.  S and I have taken to walking a few mornings per week.  Which is awesome, I love spending extra time with him, but I haven't found a groove to add my weights back in.  I think I'm going to have to lift weights in the afternoon.  Typically, if I don't work out in the morning, it's not going to happen, so I need to find my new groove.

We have a great walking trail near our house.  
Monday morning the runner chicks and I met at Starbucks for 4 miles (as per usual).

I wish it was this light at 6am still.
And last Saturday Abbi had her GBBQ (Girlfriends BBQ).  What a great way to end the summer!

I brought my favorite rainbow fruit skewers (thanks Pinterest).
Abbi is so classy, we were given GBBQ party favors to take home.

Looking forward to GBBQ 2015!!  No boys allowed!
I'm feeling unfocused with my workouts.  So much so, that I even checked out The New Metabolic Effect Diet book at the library again.  I feel like I have flunked out of all that I learned last winter.  I haven't been on a scale all summer, and I know I've put some of the weight I lost back on.

I need to weigh once a week, start writing my food down and blogging about my training plan for the week.  These things all helped me stay on track before.

Plan for this Week
Monday: 4 miles run
Tuesday: 3 mile walk/Weights
Wednesday: Yoga
Thursday: Weights
Friday: 4 mile walk/yoga
Saturday: 9 miles run - pace the Runner Chicks
Sunday: Weights/Yoga (and walk?)

I don't have another race until RNR St. Louis in October, and I failed at training for Talladega this weekend (which I will DNS, more on that tomorrow). 

I hope you all are having more success with your plans these days!