Posts tagged ‘Half-Marathon (?!)’

Done and Done

Well, that’s that. I finished my first real road Half-Marathon this morning. And it was so much fun!

I woke up got out of bed at 5:20 (as per usual, I woke up a few times during the night, and finally couldn’t get back to bed at 4:30) and chowed down on my usual pre-run fuel.

The race started in downtown Detroit at 7:15, and even though my brother and I left Ann Arbor at 5:45, after a bit of sitting in traffic, parking and walking to the start, I was rushing to use the bathroom and find my place in line.

It was cold this morning (around 35 degrees at race time), so I was rocking the headband, gloves, a jacket, my shorter pants, and sleeveless shirt under my jacket. I love my Under Armor jacket – it keeps me warm,  but I don’t get overheated. When I do get a little warmer, I just unzip it (there was a lot of zipping and unzipping, depending on whether or not we were running in the sun :).

The Half and the Marathon started together, and actually ran together almost the entire 13.1. As there were approx. 20,000 runners, this meant for some pretty crowded conditions, almost the entire race.

The multitude of people was actually a welcome change from my Trail Half-Marathon, especially since I made the (very last minute) decision to not use my iPod. I usually run without music, but I’ve never done a race without it before. But I really wanted to take in everything, instead of zoning out to my music, and I didn’t want to have to deal with any technical difficulties. I was kinda scared when I started (and maybe could have used a little musical pick-me-up at around Mile 10), but I survived, and barely missed it at all.

Miles 1-2: Very slow going and very crowded. I tried to go about 9 minute miles, and tried to stay pretty close to the 2:00hr pacer.

Miles 3-6: Over the bridge to Canada! This was possibly my favorite part of the whole race. Because it was still cold and at the beginning of the race, going up the bridge wasn’t that bad at all. The sun was just rising, and the huge mass of people already on the bridge made a really cool silhouette. When we were actually on the bridge, the sun was peeking over Windsor – I wish I had had a camera! After the bridge, the run through Windsor was great – I started to speed up a bit, and at about 45 minutes in, I ate two Sharkies.

Miles 7-8: Through the tunnel back to America! There was a great downhill into the tunnel (followed by a not-so-bad uphill out of the tunnel), and although it was a little warm, it was thrilling to be running “underwater”. I actually think they might give “Underwater Mile” splits (race results aren’t up yet), so I’m interested to see that!

Miles 8-9: There was great crowd support during this part, so although I was starting to feel it a bit, I was still doing okay. I took two more Sharkies during this time, just for a little pick-me-up. It’s funny – I thought I wouldn’t like the mile markers at every mile, but it was so much nicer to know how far there was to go, so I could pace myself accordingly.

Miles 10-12.5: This was definitely the roughest part of the race for me. I didn’t know my time (I was specifically not looking), but I wanted to speed up a bit for the last 5k. Unfortunately, my left knee started to really hurt, and it was just a really uncomfortable couple of miles. I tried to keep the same pace, and just kept moving forward.

12.5-13.1! – The knowledge that I was almost there made me forget about my knee pain and I sped up as best I could. The mass of people surrounding the last .1 mile made it really easy to make it to the finish :)

According to my watch, I finished around 1:55 (I beat the 2hour mark!); I can’t wait to see the official results.

The victory of the finish was slightly tainted by a runner who had collapsed :( I moved quickly to the side, and grabbed a space blanket, my medal, and a goodie bag from Whole Foods!

I found my brother, who snapped a oh-so-flattering post-race photo :)

Hopefully the official photo is better…

After the race (and about 45 minutes driving around Detroit trying to avoid the Marathon…), my brother and I went to Benny’s Family Dining, a greasy spoon diner in Ann Arbor. Honestly,  fancy brunches are wonderful, but sometimes nasty hash browns and hot chocolate from a machine is just what the doctor ordered :) I also had a veggie omelet (with egg whites, cheese, onions, peppers and mushrooms) and half a biscuit (which tastes purely of flour). Unpictured, because I forgot my camera in the car, but I promise you, it was entirely unremarkable (if delicious).

And now? It’s my favorite post-race activity – vegging on the couch, reading blogs and watching TV :) I’ve been pretty hungry, too:

If I get really motivated, I might go take a nap :) I love post-race Sundays!

PS: I really want to run a marathon now…

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October 18, 2009 at 3:00 pm Leave a comment

Freep!

 

So, tomorrow is my Detroit Free Press (Freep!)/Flagstar Half-Marathon! And I’m so nervous… I mean, I know I’m prepared for the distance, but I definitely didn’t train for a time. Even so, I know that I’m going to be disappointed if I don’t finish right around 2 hours. I know I just need to go slower at the beginning, and keep a steady pace until the end. We shall see, I guess…

I picked up my packet today (mandatory, due to border control issues) in Detroit, and visited the Health and Fitness Expo. I came towards the end, so a lot of vendors were already gone; aside from that, I don’t really have a lot of extra cash…

I did pick up a couple of souvenirs though.

I really needed a new (BPA-free!) water bottle, and I love the design for the marathon, so, why not. I hope it will be think it’s worth remembering :)

There was decent swag in the swag bag as well:

Included: Brown rice (? but appreciated all the same), Granola, Gu Chomps (I don’t like gels, but I love chews!), “Udderly Smooth Udder Cream” (?? some sort of body cream…), Women’s Running magazine, Chocolate Cream Myoplex (I’ve been curious, so I’m excited to try this), Kinesiology Therapeutic Tape (knock wood, I have nothing that needs taped right now, but still, it’s good to have), a nice bag, and my t-shirt!

I think I definitely got my carbs in today (I work in a bakery, remember!). Let’s just say I took my fair share of free sample slices of bread…For dinner I had a slice of bread, and some leftover ravioli soup, and some apple cider!

There might have been an unpictured half of a Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffin too… :D

Now, I’m just trying to hydrate like crazy – I’m watching a bit of the game, stretching, and hopefully going to bed! My shoes are all ready for tomorrow with their D-Tag:

And I just have to pick out what I’m wearing. It’s going to be pretty cold in the morning (and throughout the day), but it’s running, so I warm up pretty well. It’ll probably be a last minute decision tomorrow morning, between my pants and my knee-length tight shorts.

And one last aside: You know, it’s so funny – at the expo today, I almost felt like an imposter. I mean, I realize running a half-marathon is nothing to scoff at, but it’s really the Detroit Marathon tomorrow. I think it solidified my want to run the Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon in May – I want to go to an expo knowing that I’m going the distance! I know I shouldn’t get too ahead of myself, though – we’ll see how tomorrow goes first!

October 17, 2009 at 8:46 pm Leave a comment

Spoils of Work

In my past three days of work, I have amassed:

  • One large container of lentil soup
  • One loaf “Woodstock” bread
  • One loaf “Asiago Pesto” bread
  • One loaf "Extreme Cinnamon” bread (my brother ate this one!)
  • Two Chocolate Peanut Butter cookies
  • One Oatmeal Raisin cookie (um. I ate this right quick)
  • One Chocolate Bliss cookie
  • One Double Chocolate muffin
  • One Lemon Poppyseed muffin
  • One Cherry Walnut scone
  • Three Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Walnut cookies

And that’s not even counting the slices of bread that are forced upon me I try as part of my job accidentally make their way into my mouth during the day. *Sigh*. Actually, at work, I’m not eating nearly as much as I imagined I would be. It’s hard to slice for yourself when there’s six expectant people at the bread board, and we’re only allowed to “chew” in the back anyway. But I don’t know what I’m going to do with all of this! Luckily it freezes well…

Aside from that slight negative, working at Great Harvest is going really well. It’s a lot more challenging than I expected – there’s so much to have to remember! But everyone is so nice there, and the advantage of being new is that I get a lot of leeway with everything. Hopefully I can learn it all before the new-ness wears off!

It’s also so wonderful to be working somewhere that cares so much about what they are producing. Everyone is so proud of the products that are being sold, and they well should be. Everything is all natural, there are no preservatives, and even the flour is milled in the store – all the flour that’s used is no more than 4 days old! I have no problem being excited to tell customers about the bread, because it is exciting.

Alright, enough about work.

In other news, I registered for another Half-Marathon, the Detroit Free Press Marathon. Part of me is like, “Wtf, self?” And the other part is really excited, so. At least I break even :)

Tomorrow, I’m running the Big House Big Heart 10k. It finishes on the 50 yard line of the University of Michigan Stadium, something I’m sure many people are excited about. A college (or any, really) football fan I am not, so I really could care less. However, this is my first 10k since my first running experience ever, Thanksgiving of last year, so I’m excited to see how I’ve improved over the past (almost) year :)

Wish me luck…!

October 3, 2009 at 8:43 pm Leave a comment

Fall Has Fallen

Man, ‘tis the season, or what? Two days of fall-like weather, and already I’m ready to trade in my summer wardrobe (I went fall-clothes shopping today!), switch over to oats in the morning (spoiler – I haven’t yet, but there’s an almost-empty nut butter jar in my fridge that’s just begging for an oaty companion!), and eat yummy cookies for dessert instead of yogurt-based ones (I have been *craving* a nice, large, gourmet cookie (Hope-esque :) for so many days, I just haven’t cashed in yet!).

It’s also getting increasingly hard to motivate myself to get out and run. Not only do I no longer have my half-marathon getting me out there, but it’s so cold and dark in the morning. Good thing I have my running partner to get me out there – we went on a glorious ? mile run today (I have to have her give me the route, because I have no idea where we went!) for just over an hour. I have a 10k this weekend (which should be fun – we get to finish in the Big House, Michigan Stadium and be on the Jumbotron!), and I’m seriously seriously considering signing up for a half-marathon at the end of October, the Detroit Free Press Marathon (and Half). Other than just getting an opportunity to run a half on the road, it also crosses into Canada! You even need to bring your passport to register, and be checked out with Homeland Security! Wow – I think in writing this I actually convinced myself to run it :)

So there’s that. And then there’s food. So yesterday, among my marathon cooking day, I also baked a little. Baking for me is always a win/lose thing. Sometimes I’m really able to nail it, sometimes things just don’t turn out. Yesterday was somewhere in-between. I attempted Angela’s Baked Banana Doughnuts.

They got a little flat. And a little burnt. Both things which I’ll attribute to my less-than-stellar oven. Oh well. They still taste pretty darn good :) I enjoyed one tonight with a glass of apple cider (possibly my favorite thing about fall) and a “frosting” of sorts. I had leftover Greek yogurt from dinner (yup, I had more Acorn Squash Chili), so I mixed a little glob of that with some Peanut Butter and Company Mighty Maple Peanut Butter. Someday soon I’m going to devote an entire post to PB&Co., because there’s probably not a day that goes by where I don’t eat it :)

It was delicious :)

Right now I’m watching The Biggest Loser (love it) AND watching the Phillies game (go boys!) in an attempt to not think about tomorrow – I’m starting something new that I’m really nervous about. More on that later ;) Positive thoughts would be appreciated, though!

September 29, 2009 at 8:57 pm Leave a comment

This is It!

Well. That was without a doubt the most physically and mentally exhausting and difficult things I’ve ever done in my life. The course description on the race website describes it as a “very hilly single track Potawatomi Trail, a beautiful wilderness experience”. And my were they correct on both counts.

So anyway, on to the race. I didn’t sleep very well last night; I kept waking up, and the during the final hour of sleep I got, I even dreamt about running! I woke up at 5:50am so I could make sure I had everything, and eat a little something.

Looking back on it, I think I would have eaten a bit lot more. I usually only eat the banana/PB combo before I run, but I was starving by the end.

My brother-cum-roommate was kind enough to accompany me, and also to serve as my photographer :) It took about half an hour to get there, and when we arrived, I started getting pretty nervous. Not because of the race itself, though, but because it was still pretty dark (we arrived around 7), and I was afraid I’d be running through the woods in the dark!

Luckily, it got light really quick!

As I mentioned awhile ago, the run I was doing was called “Run Woodstock”, which was put together by the local running store. It’s the first year of the race, takes place where I volunteered a few weeks ago, and featured a 5 mile run, a half-marathon, marathon, a 50k, 50 mile, and even an 100 mile race! I admit, that was part of the appeal of signing up for me – I wanted to see a 100 mile race in action! (As it turns out, I only saw some 50k people, but even so! I can’t imagine having done a marathon on that trail, let alone a marathon x4!). It really took the “Woodstock” theme literally – there was tie-dye everywhere, live music, and the race events were actually set up over the course of 3 days, with camping options available!

A bit before 7:30, we all lined up behind the starting line

and at 7:30 on the dot, we were off!

Most of the race was run on a dirt trail, though occasionally it was on grass, or even a boardwalk at a few different points. This also meant that there were rocks, roots, mud, puddles, and wet leaves – although it didn’t rain during the race (thank God!), it had rained a little last night, so everything was a bit…slick. I saw a few different people fall, one guy was running with a definite leg injury, and my brother said he saw someone stumble out of the woods muddy and bloody…I slipped a few times, but I was luckily able to right myself.

It was also more hilly than I could have ever imagined. There was very little flat terrain; most of the time was spent either running up, or running down. Or in my case (especially during the second half) walking up, and hopefully running down.

The first four miles I was really able to appreciate the “beauty of the wilderness” – I’m sure I started way too fast, due to the adrenaline, the effect of being in a big group, etc. But I didn’t even turn my music on; I just ran and enjoyed the scenery.

Mile 4 brought my first really big mental block – I took advantage of the aid station, but then it really hit me how far I still had to go, and I was starting to lose a bit of momentum, as the trail so far had been pretty hilly. I turned on my music for a bit of motivation, and continued on. And then it started to get really hilly – I’m talking pretty vertical at some points, and very long, continuous climbs at others. As much as I hated to do it, I had to stop and walk many of the hills – this is the only thing I probably could have prepared a little more for (though, at the same time, I probably wouldn’t have made it through every single one no matter what I did!).

After 45 minutes of running, I took the first of my two Sharkies, which gave me a great energy boost. And then around the hour mark, I came across what I thought was just an ultra aid station, so I didn’t take anything. Big mistake! The half hour between that, and 1:30 (when I told myself I would take my last two) dragged like no other.

Not long after that, I came across the final water stop, where my brother was waiting with the camera!

He informed me that there was only 4.2 miles to go, and I took off, re-energized.

I routinely do 4 miles; in fact, it’s one of my favorite distances to run. I figured I had it, no problem.

…Not quite.

Aside from the obvious convenience it would provide, I’ve never really wanted a Garmin (well, that’s partially a lie. I would not at all say no if someone were to just give me one :). I tend to work against myself if I know how far or how fast I’m going – I would rather just run and then figure out all the specifics later. But I have never wanted anything more in my life during that last 4.2 miles than I wanted a Garmin.

There were absolutely no mile markers along the trail, so I had no idea how far I’d gone, and since it was through the woods, there were no visual clues either. I also had no clue how fast I was going, so there was no way to base distance off of my time. It was literally the longest 4.2 miles of my life. I started out really strong, and then it just dragged longer and longer, and to make matters worse, the trail wasn’t as clearly marked as it had been at the beginning, so I was scared I was going the wrong way. The race had also really thinned out by that point, so aside from a few 50k racers, there was no one I could ask. At one point, I was honestly just walking along the path, close to tears, because I was sure that there was no way I would be able to finish.

Finally, after way way too long (it took me about 50 minutes to do that last 4.2), I heard the music that had been promised for the finished. So I kicked it into gear, and I finished as strong as I could muster.

Keeping with the “Woodstock" theme, the finishing medals were dog tags with “3 Days of Peace, Love & Running, Hippie Half Marathon, Run Woodstock” inscribed on them.

According to my unofficial results, my time was 2:28.57. And I couldn’t be happier with that time. I even did well enough to finish third in my age group (not too much of an achievement, as it’s possible there was actually only three people in my age group…), and score an awesome medal!

Quite honestly, I don’t know that I would ever do a trail race again. Or at least not alone – I might consider a Dances with Dirt type relay. But at the same time, I think it was a great half-marathon to start off with – any road race will seem much easier compared to this! And there’s no way I won’t PR…Maybe I’ll consider doing the Detroit Free Press Half afterall!

I did have lunch with my running buddy after we returned today (of which I have no pictures because I’m still a bit shy about taking pictures in public, but she made pasta with goodies from the Farmers’ Market – squash, DELICIOUS tomatoes, onions, olive oil, etc.), but now I’ve assumed this position:

And I can’t imagine myself moving anytime soon :)

September 26, 2009 at 5:43 pm 1 comment

Short Pre-Race Update

Well, it’s just about time. In a little more than 12 hours, I will be starting the Run Woodstock Hippie Half-Marathon in Pinckney, MI. Hopefully I won’t be running it in the rain, but the forecast doesn’t exactly look favorable:

This and the fact that it’s a difficult trail race add quite a bit to my already present pre-race jitters. Basically, I’m freaked out.

At the same time, though, I’m so excited! The last few weeks I maybe haven’t been training as much as I could have been, but I think I’m in pretty good shape and should be able to finish it. I’m actually glad it’s a trail race, because I really won’t be all that worried about my time – I’m really just doing this to finish (if all goes well, there’s hope for a road Half in the near future that I might be signing up for)!

I’ve been mentally and physically preparing for the race all day. I’ve been trying to eat a good balance of protein and carbs (more carbs than proteins, that is), I ran an easy (well, maybe not as easy as it should have been) 3 mile run, I stretched (and will again), and I’ve been just relaxing  (and hydrating) all day. All I can do now is get excited, and hope for the best!

Wish me luck!

September 25, 2009 at 7:07 pm Leave a comment

As if I need another addiction…

In the past three days, I have consumed approximately 400 glasses of this:

I don’t know what it is. I don’t know if it’s the farm fresh milk or the Trader Joe’s Midnight Moo, but there’s something so addicting about it. I don’t even usually care about chocolate milk, but this is just sublime. Yum.

Man, it’s been a few days, hasn’t it? I think I’ll just do a headed recap, as to not bore everyone (including myself) to death.

Food

There have been quite a few of these:

One of these:

Some of this:

Many of these:

And too many of these:

I did make this, though, which I haven’t made in way too long:

A refresher, because everyone needs to make this now. To make this bowl of deliciousness, I first melted about a TB (okay, maybe a little more :)) of Peanut Butter and Company Dark Chocolate Dreams (which I found in a supermarket here! Oh my gosh, now I don’t have to ration it!) for about 30 seconds in the microwave. To that I added a container of Fage Total 0% (I used plain, and it actually worked better than the vanilla I’ve used in the past) and mixed it very well. Then, I crushed a serving of Annie’s Chocolate Graham Bunnies and mixed them in as well. So easy, and so so good – creamy and chocolate-y and delicious. You can also substitute using regular PB (I add a little honey to that) and regular graham crackers, or really, anything else.

I also got a falafel sandwich at a local place in town, Jerusalem Garden.

Let’s get another look at that again, shall we?

It was one of the best falafel sandwiches I’ve ever had. The pita was soft and not too thick, it was so flavorful with just the right amount of spice, and the sauce (of which you can choose many – I got yogurt and cucumber) was not overwhelming. It took me awhile to eat, too, which is good, as I tend to eat way too quickly.

Tonight, I tried to recreate it with a Sunshine Falafel Burger I finally found at Whole Foods. I first made a home-made tzatziki sauce:

  • ~1/2 container Greek yogurt
  • ~1 TB lemon juice
  • cumin
  • garlic powder
  • dill
  • pinch salt
  • 2 slices cucumber, cubed

I then heated up a Trader Joe’s Whole Wheat Tortilla, layered on the sauce with spinach, tomatoes, and the Sunshine Falafel Burger.

It tasted pretty good, but I faced the same problem I face every time I make my own falafel (Sunshine or not) – it always tastes so dry! The last few bites were pretty good, and I would make this again, but it wasn’t the best thing I’ve ever made.

Baseball

Yes, you read that right. Even far away from Philadelphia, I managed to get my fix in, by going to a Detroit Tigers game last night (don’t worry, Phillies, I am still loyal to you!). The game was quite enjoyable; for one thing, the stadium is new and quite nice.

Also, the Tigers came back to win it in the tenth inning! It’s always fun when the home team gets a win.

And most exciting of all, I got a little souvenir!

Unfortunately, my Italian Sausage was just not as good.

I guess I’m spoiled by Citizen’s Bank Park and it’s amazing ballpark eats (and perhaps Philly and it’s intense Italian heritage), but the limp hot dog bun was just depressing. I got this because I was starving, and quite honestly, this was just as good (or just as bad) as everything else offered there.

Running

After totally and completely struggling with motivation, I got a bit of a positive kick. I did something a little risky, actually, and I responded to an ad on craigslist for a girl training for a half marathon and looking for someone to motivate her to do long runs. We emailed a bit beforehand, and met in a public place, so I felt pretty safe about meeting her.

The run was awesome (we went through the Arboretum here as well as Gallup Park – both beautiful spots to run), but even more so was the company. We had so much in common (she is doing a PhD in German – I studied German in undergrad!), so I think we’re going to try to get together a few times a week to run. Definitely a positive thing, especially since I’ve felt so lonely lately.

Even with that bit of positivity, though, running has really been stressing me out recently. I think I’m so nervous for my Half-Marathon, and all my thoughts are going into just completing it, and I’m worried that I’m not going to do so. I’m even contemplating not going to Cincinnati this weekend to train (although it’s Oktoberfest down there), but I don’t know. I think if I get quality runs in this week, and take care of myself next week, I’ll be fine, but I’m still nervous. I like to get anxious about anything I possibly can :/

So that’s an update. Finally. Now onto more regular posting :)

September 15, 2009 at 8:55 pm 2 comments

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