Monday, August 25, 2014

Madison Mini Marathon, Wisconsin Race Recap

Madison, Wisconsin
Half Marathon State #35
Start Time: 7am
Temperature: 65 degrees
Bib: 3442
Overall:  2410/3771
Division Place: 127/256
Gender Place: 1125/2098
Finish Time: 2:16:08

Pre race in front of the capitol with MCM Mama.
I knew the Madison Mini would be my half for Wisconsin over a year ago.  Erika had promised a place to stay (with her parents) and a chauffeur (her father, who ran the race with us) way back when she and I ran the Flying Pirate Half in North Carolina together in 2013.  The catch was, it had to be in August when she and her boys were visiting for two weeks.

Running in the midwest in August can be rough.  And hot.  And not fun.  I had few expectations for this race.  I had hoped to run with Erika and take it easy.  I didn't preview the course, I didn't know where packet pick up was.  I wasn't in charge this weekend.  I was the tag along and it was awesome.

My flight was delayed Friday evening, so we zoomed from the airport to packet pick up, which was on the University of Wisconsin campus.  What a neat place!  Students had just returned for classes and the town was busy with activity.  Packet pick up was easy, and we ran into Run with Jess too!

I knew so little about Madison, and Wisconsin.  First time visitor and all.  I didn't realize that Madison was the capital (okay, maybe if quizzed I would have remembered, but I sure wouldn't have known that the University is right across the street from the capitol building).  Who knew that the football stadium is Camp Randall Stadium because the Wisconsin army had a Union army camp there during the Civil War? (Wisconsin was in the Civil War?  Really?)  How great was it that the half marathon course ran under the Camp Randall Arch, remaining from when it was an army camp?

Camp Randall Arch (courtesy UW website)
After giving Bucky Badger a high five during the first 100 meters, Erika and I ran the first 6 miles together.  Her father took off and finished way ahead of us (nice race, Mr. W).

You can read Erika's race recap HERE.  I could tell she was having a tough time.  Staying together would have been fun if we were both enjoying the race, but she wasn't.  At mile 6, she decided to walk a hill.  Jess had just come up from behind us, so I opted to take off with her and let Erika wrestle with her own race demons issues.  I know I'd rather run alone when I am struggling like she was.  It turned out to be the right choice.

Jess had convinced me to purchase a Salted Watermelon Gu at the expo, so I took it at the half way point.  Delicious! (Salted Caramel Gu, you have some seriously tasty competition here!)  I didn't carry my own water, so I was drinking water and/or Gatorade at the plentiful aid stations.  I really liked that the Gatorade was ALWAYS first and the water second at each aid station.  Way to coordinate that and not confuse me, race director!

I had picked up my pace, and was feeling pretty good until I walked the hill at mile 9.

See everyone walking in front of me?  Hill pictures never tell the true steepness story.
Around mile 11 we ran back onto campus.

Stopped at mile 11 for a photo for the blog.

There were signs all over the course, my new favorite will be copied in the future when I spectate again.
We ran by Lake Mendota during mile 12.  Gorgeous!  The temps had risen, and volunteers were yelling at the aid stations, "stay hydrated"!

Stopped again, for a photo of the pretty lake.
As I finished, a volunteer handed my my medal (love a medal with the capitol building on it), bottled water and my choice of cheese or regular popcorn.  When in Wisconsin…cheese, please!

Post race bounty.
I found Erika's dad right away, and he and I waited inside the corral for her and Jess.

Sweaty, tired and finished with state #35!
We left the finish line and walked through the greek system and student apartments to get to our car. Students were everywhere.  My favorite was the guy passed out, fully dressed, on the grass in front of his apartment building.  Ah, college days...

The race was on a Saturday, so I had an extra day in Madison.  Sunday was a fun day to be a tourist and fly home.

I'm not sure what I liked better, visiting the National Mustard Museum on my way to the airport…

So many mustard samples in the shop upstairs!
…or the charming husband that dressed up and met me at the airport in Portland…

Love a guy in a suit and tie!
Final thoughts:  The Madison Mini is a well organized half marathon that allows you to see so much of Madison, the surrounding area and the campus of the University of Wisconsin.  Sturdy medal, terrific volunteers and a tech shirt.

I can't thank Erika and her family enough for hosting me.  Go Badgers!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Three Things Thursday

1.  Last Saturday night, I zoomed up to Vancouver, WA, with my local runner chicks.  We all ran instant 7k PRs at the Cosmo 7k.

PRs (and cosmos) for everyone!
The course was flat, but it was 82 degrees at 6pm for the start.  I was able to keep my pace just under 9:00 miles in the heat.  Compared to the weekend before in eastern Oregon, I was quite thrilled.  The hill at the end of the course was a bummer.  But, the after party, with 3 different Cosmo stations, sponsored by Three Olives Vodka was a blast.

Age group: 9/165
Overall: 49/836

The ladies finished the evening at Joe's Crab Shack for a late dinner.  A 100% classy good time.  Our service was slow, so the manager gave us each $10 off our check!

2.  This week, we are on a family vacation in Sunriver, Oregon.  I have limited internet access, as our friend of a friend's condo is stuck in 1986.  The landline phone rang yesterday, and no one knew what the sound was.  Alarm?  No, just a wrong number.

The view just steps from our condo.
At the turnaround on Monday morning's run.  
We've had thunder and lightning most of the week, while at home (west of the mountains) was over 100 degrees on Monday.  What a weird summer.

3.  I end my vacation week flying out to Madison, Wisconsin, tomorrow!  State #35 has officially snuck up on me.  Erika mentioned that the first mile of the Madison Mini Marathon is all uphill.  Great.  Hopefully my altitude training the last two weeks has prepared my for this half!

I've never been to Wisconsin before, so it should be lots of fun.  With a high of 82 on Saturday, I think we'll be taking this one easy.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Three Things Thursday - For Your Feet

1. Swiftwick sent me a pair of socks to try out awhile ago.

Pretty in Pink
I realized it was time to tell you how much I like the Aspire Zero.  I wore them on an easy 3 mile run a few weeks back, and they performed great.  No chafing, or bunching.  Since then, I had zero (get it?) problems in the heat for my first leg of CLR.  And, again, success at the track yesterday for 8x400s with my buddy Sonya.

I'm leery to try out new styles of socks, so when I find one that works on the run, I stick with it. Swiftwick is definitely one for you to check out.

2.  In Sunriver, after the relay was finally over, the girls and I sat outside on the patio.  I was wearing my 2014 summer sandals, that I can't get enough of.  Everyone wanted to try them on.  I don't have a picture (my toenails are a mess after last weekend) but here is a photo I found online of someone else's feet.

Not your average flip flops.

These Sanuk sandals are made from recycled yoga mats.  They are so comfortable!  I've worn them all over this summer, and my toes don't hurt like when I wear cheapo flip flops.  I wish Sanuk had sent me a pair to try for free, but so far I've purchased mine and a pair for A.  They have free shipping online, but you can find some of the styles at Road Runner and other shoe stores.  I like the Yoga Sling 2, which are pictured above.

3.  My expensive shoe purchase of last summer were these Tieks.

The best slip on shoe ever (once again, not my feet).
I had wanted a pair of shoes that were easy to slip on and off, especially at the airport.  It seems like all my slip on shoes would chafe my heels and cause blisters.  I couldn't believe it when these didn't. I wore them to North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Montana last year.  I'll be wearing them to Wisconsin next week.

I was stopped in line at the airport in Nashville last month, the woman behind me asked where I had gotten my chocolate brown Tieks.  They ran a 20% off sale last Christmas.  I definitely want another pair from Santa this year, I hope they run the sale again, so many colors to choose from!

Do you have a favorite travel shoe or running sock to share?  

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

July in Review

Miles Planned/Ran: 70/65.  Not bad for July?

Highest Mileage Week: 19. 

Long Runs Planned/Ran: 3/3.

Yoga Workouts Planned/Completed: 12/8.  I don't yoga when I travel, in spite of good intentions.

Non Workout Days Planned/Taken: 3/7. I rest when I travel.

Swim Yards Planned/Swum: 0/0.  Do I keep tracking this?  Maybe I'll swim again in the fall?

Half Marathons Planned/Completed: 0. But I did have a great time with Kerrie at the See Jane Run 5k in Seattle.

Weights: 11/6. Fewer weights workouts = increase in weight on the scale.  Bummer.

Current Ache/Pain:  Overall fatigue from Cascade Lakes Relay.  How many days does it take to recover from a relay anyway?

Current Book(s):  This One is Mine by Maria Semple.  She is the author of one of my new favorite books (read last month) Where'd You Go, Bernadette. 

Current Drink: Water and iced tea.

Current Song: Anything on my Spotify channel, 80s Pop Stars.

Current Gratitude: I'm thankful that A had a successful summer basketball season.  Extra grateful for the dad of her teammate that is willing to make a highlight video for us to share with a few college coaches that have shown interest in her.

Current Dislike:  Running.  To be fair, it's not running's fault.  I've put on a few pounds and definitely pushed myself to the limit last weekend at the relay.  I'll get my mojo back soon, I hope.

Current Goal:  Today, I feel like a half PR is way out of reach for this fall.  My goal is simpler, to get back to writing down what I eat every day in my journal.  I've fallen away from this and it shows.

Current Treat:  All the food in the van during CLR.  I feel like I am now on a cleanse, trying to rid my body of licorice, Mike n Ikes, oatmeal cookies, peanut butter filled pretzels and chocolate covered almonds.

Current Excitement:  State #35, Wisconsin!  I'm ready to stay with Erika and her family and hopefully catch up with Jess as well, after the Madison Mini Marathon on August 16th.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Cascade Lakes Relay, My First and Last, in 20 Random Thoughts

The Cascade Lakes Relay runs from Diamond Lake to Bend, Oregon.  216 miles, 2 vans, 12 (or less) runners.  It's a lot like Hood to Coast, except at 4000-5000 ft. altitude, with temps rising into the 80s and 90s quickly.  I don't really like to read others relay reports.  The details of the running, handing off, running your second leg, handing off, blah blah blah...

So here are my thoughts about my Cascade Lakes Relay experience.  My first and last relay as a grown up runner (I'm not counting one I did in college when I wasn't a runner, and can't remember it anyway).

1.  S told me, the night before I left for Sunriver, "a relay is harder than running a marathon".  Since I hadn't run either before this past weekend, I didn't know.  Today, I 100% believe him and will continue my desire to never run a full marathon.

2.  We rented a house in Sunriver, which is located close to the finish and about 2 hours from the start.

3.  We brought along an experienced relay runner (Sonya) who offered to cook for us.  She will never know how eternally grateful I am for the sandwiches she packed us for leg 3 and the pull apart monkey bread she made the morning after the finish.

3.  I was in van 2.  Team Put on Your Big Girl Panties.

Van 2 girls.  M, Ca, me, J, and Ka.
4.  We started the weekend with 11 runners, and had a plan to make up the legs in van 2 (with our chef running one of them).  Van 1 had 6 runners.

Van 1 girls. De, Di, C, K, Ab, B.
5.  Sadly, our rental house had bunk beds.  Thursday night before the race, the ladder on one of the bed's malfunctioned and De (one of our fastest) ended up with a horrific ankle sprain.  She then proceeded to run for her first 7 mile leg.  As the top of her foot turned a darker shade of purple, she was sidelined for the rest of the relay.

6.  Down to 10 runners, and unable to make up De's additional legs, we went from a competitive team to a Beer Garden League (BGL!) team.  The race website allows you to change your status if you run into problems.  You can become a leapfrog team (running two legs at the same time) or you can become a BGL team.  BGL teams have no official time and just get to the finish line as safely as possible (and are ineligible for prizes, but receive shirts and medals and beer tokens at the finish).

7.  My first run was at 4pm, 90 degrees, 4 miles.  This isht is for real.

The panties cracked me up, M did a great job creating them.
8.  I opted out of my extra "4th" leg, as we were BGL by then.  Each person finished at least 3 legs by the time we reached the finish line.

9.  I knew the lack of sleep would get to me.  I love my sleep.  Every time I think of complaining about something (like the fact that after our first leg, we got back to Sunriver and ONLY ate a delicious meal prepared by Sonya and got showers, but didn't get ANY sleep), I stop myself.  Van 1 slept in a field between legs 1 and 2, and the sprinklers came on while they attempted to sleep.

10.  Then I want to gripe about our second leg, during the early morning hours (and I was the last runner who didn't even have to run in the dark) and how tired I was and how hungry I was by the time I ran (7 miles at 8am).  Then I think of Ab in van 1, who was EATEN ALIVE by mosquitoes during her run in the dark.  The tops of her thighs are full of bites all the way around. Gah!

11.  But then the sun came up, and we had a shorter drive back to the house, another shower and slept for 2 hours before our final legs.

Van 1's final runner, B, handing off to our first runner,  Ka for the last time.
12.  Most of our legs were on paved two lane roads.  Van 1 had a lot of trails, gravel and other uneven surfaces.

13.  I had the privilege of running the final leg, 36.

Me and J, hanging out at the 7th Mountain Resort before the final exchange.
I quickly got off the road and was on trails that took me down to the Deschutes River.  I was by myself almost the whole way.  I did pass some kids carrying inter tubes down to the river to float.  At one point, lightning lit up the trail in front of me.  Thunder followed.  A light rain began to fall.

14.  I soon realized I would never be on this trail again.  I wouldn't have this amazing view.  Heck, I wasn't even exactly sure where I was (thank goodness for the pink CLR flags guiding my way).  So I stopped and took a "leg 36, Bend is so pretty, I love the river and running over bridges" photo.

Beat that view, those of you that ran in the dark!!
15. Before I reached the finish line, in Riverbend Park, volunteers radioed my team number to the finish area.  My team was waiting, and someone told me, "we're going to walk the finish together, so De can do it with us".

16.  All 12 of us, including Sonya our non running cook (she opted out of her leg as well, BGL, baby!) crossed the line together.

17.  I haven't been this tired after a race in a long time.  Maybe not since my first half (Eugene, 2010!) My most challenging, three halfs in three days didn't make me feel this way.  This relay kicked my ass.

18.  But then we got back to the house.  Took my third shower in 24 hours.  Sat around the table, eating a delicious meal prepared by someone else.  Heck, she even made me a drink.  A good night's sleep, then breakfast prepared for us, and things weren't looking so grim after all.

Most of us crammed around the table for our final breakfast together.
19.  I keep rethinking this event.  I want to be someone who loves relays (like LJ).  But I'm not.  I had a great weekend.  My runner friends were the best.  No drama.  So encouraging, and patient with each other.  The relay volunteers were terrific.  The event was well organized, with an awesome shirt and finisher's medal.

But, the running at elevation part was hard.  The no sleep part was tragic.  But those are both part of the package.

I think it's okay to be one and done.  Others run only one marathon and never repeat.  Some people only do one half marathon, just one, to cross off their bucket list as a huge accomplishment.

That's my view of Cascade Lakes.  Once was enough.  17 miles, at elevation and high temps on very little sleep is a huge accomplishment.  I'm very proud of myself and my team.

20.  Since they already have a cook, maybe they need a housekeeper next year?

Thank you, for a memorable weekend ladies.  My spirit was tested, but not broken!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Three Things Thursday - Preparing for Cascade Lakes Relay

1.  My baby came home last night.  Her summer basketball team finished their tournament season in North Carolina.

Not sure how they all ended up with corn rows, but that's team spirit for ya!
They won the tournament in Nashville last Friday!  Unfortunately, I was flying home at 1pm when they played their final game.  Who knew they would go undefeated?  They flew to Charlotte on Saturday, then finished that tournament 2-2.

Pretty basketball players in front of the Grand Ole Opry.
I am so thrilled at the basketball opportunities she has had this summer (and the last two as well).  I know she is sad to see it all come to an end.  She'll be a senior this year….then maybe college ball? I sure hope so.

2.  Now that A is home, I'm leaving.  The Cascade Lakes Relay starts tomorrow in eastern Oregon!
We start at Diamond Lake Resort and finish in Bend.

Altitude and heat.
Team Put on Your Big Girl Panties (#602) is non competitive.  We are a slower team, with one of the earliest start times on Friday (6am).  Many of the girls have run this relay before, and know the ins and outs.

We've rented a house in Sunriver.  Van 1 will return to the house between one of their legs and sleep on the course for the other.  Van 2 (my van!) will return to the house during both breaks!  S keeps making fun of me, that this won't be a REAL relay experience.  I don't care.  Mama gets to shower!

I don't think I've mentioned yet that we have a cook too.  One of my runner buddies chose not to compete, but wants to share the weekend with us.  She is the best chef.

My van is down a runner, so I'm taking on 4 legs.  Why not?  Based on our estimated times, I'll be starting at

3pm (4 miles, extra leg)
7:20pm (5 miles, runner 12)
7am (6.5 miles)
5:15 pm (6.2 miles)

I don't have to run in the dark!

S laughed when I told him I took on an extra leg.  I can't wait to finish and tell him how awesome we all were and what a great time I had.

3.  S isn't all bad.  He suggested we go by Lululemon at lunch yesterday.

They call it Granite.
There was only one non white, non black skirt in my size in stock.  Isn't it pretty!

Now, to create four race outfits and put them in gallon size bags.  It's time to put on my big girl panties!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Three Things Thursday - Nashville Edition

1.  I arrived in Nashville Tuesday night, to visit my two favorite Tennessee blogger buddies, and watch A play hoops.

LJ and me, at the track, looking good.
LJ had been reading about my add speed work into my life on Wednesdays training plan, and didn't want me to miss out on a track workout yesterday.  She even invited her coworkers to join us.  Let's just say, that I would have taken yesterday as a rest day if I was on my own.  This running in the south thing is crazy!  73 degrees and humidity that makes the air thick and hard to breathe…

But we did it! 1 mile to and from the track, then 7x400 repeats.  My times were slower than three weeks ago, but I feel good about the workout.  1:46, 1:47, 1:44, 1:44, 1:46, 1:48, 1:51.  LJ ran the first four with me, pacing me along.  I didn't bring anything to wipe the never ending sweat out of my eyes…we don't have heat like this in Or E Gone at 6:30am.  Crazy.

2.  I met my vegetarian bloggy buddy, Pam, at a new to me restaurant for lunch, Mellow Mushroom, in downtown Franklin, TN.  Pam is going to run in Missouri with me in October, can't wait!

Franklin is a cute town!  It is currently commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Franklin. After lunch, I walked around solo a bit, until I couldn't stand being outside in the freaking heat anymore.

I found this cute sign outside of a store.  I bought LJ a belated 30th birthday present.

You know, she's finished a half in every state!
3.  Then it was off to the Battleground Academy (where LJ says high school tuition is about the same as sending your kid to college) to watch A's team win their second game of the tournament.

Go Blue!
The school is conveniently located next to the Mormon Nashville Temple.

Oh Moroni, you are following me!
Having just seen the musical, the Book of Mormon last week, I feel like they are everywhere!  My Mormon friend texted me and told me they are trying to immerse and convert me.  Haha!

*Ding Dong*
My Name Is…