Thursday, October 2, 2014

Tacoma Marathon 5/4/14

This was my first marathon in about 14 months and so I was nervous about finishing. I had spent the last year out of shape and/or with my foot stress fracture issue and the motivation for running long was in part gone. This race has an RD that is a Marathon Maniac and so there is a special medal for Maniacs and a race entry discount, so I figured I would give it a try. We also had a family member's Flat Stanley to take pictures of, so we headed out a day early to spend the night at Cannon Beach, OR before heading up to Tacoma, WA.

We opted to do the spaghetti dinner since it was convenient but there were VERY FEW people there, and only 1 seating. So it was awkward but we had a good time, not having to deal with driving anywhere, particularly since it had been raining hard all day. I kept checking the weather forecast but there was more rain for the race the next day as well. We stayed at the host hotel in Downtown Tacoma, and we were there early so we went to the Glass Museum which was more interesting than we were expecting (and got some Flat Stanley pictures there) and to the UW-Tacoma bookstore.

The race turned out great, high point crossing the Tacoma Narrows Bridge with the low point as we ran through Pt Defiance park as it seemed like we were in the park for a really long time. HH was able to meet me every 3-5 miles along the course, and my parents were at one spot before heading to do town errands. The race organization was so-so, I was expecting more since the RD is a Maniac but oh well. Probably not do this one again unless it is super cheap.

Great confidence booster that I was able to finish this race even though I was slow.

Marathon or longer #52, no new state.

Foot Traffic Flat Marathon 7/4/14 Sauvie Island, OR

Marathon #54 or longer, no new state.

This race is held on the 4th of July every year on Sauvie Island, a small island accessible by bridge 30 minutes from downtown Portland, OR, located in a side channel of the Columbia River. There is primarily berry and pumpkin farms (along with some other produce) on the island along with houseboats in some areas. This was a well organized race that started and ended at one of these farms and took a big loop around the island with one out and back section. I fell apart at the end due to some mild dehydration, being out of shape combined with a long exposed section and the hot weather, there was a lot of walking the last 10k of the race.

Due to the bad ending of my race, I opted to not run the 2nd and 3rd marathons of the weekend that rounded out the Firecracker Triple in the Portland, OR area.

Long Play 33 1/3 3/3/13 State #32 Florida

I had been thinking about going to a conference in Florida and then started looking around at races so I could tag Florida while I was there. The only one I could find was an ultra that was a 4-5 hour drive from Ft Lauderdale. It looked like a good run and I signed up. I just needed to rent a car for the last few days of my stay in Florida. I ended up getting to rent a Prius which was interesting.

Matt Mahoney made a nice map of the trail from his run of the race. It was unusually cold and low humidity for Florida for the race which was awesome! Relatively flat, some sand in places, lots of aid stations. Later in the race at an aid station I was told I was 2nd place female, which I thought was odd but was motivating. When I finished a girl walked up to me and said "you finished 2nd but it isn't going to count because my friend was ahead of you she just got lost." This statement made me want to get out of there right away, as the race and finish area was a very casual setup. Finishers had their choice of LP record to take home out of a box for which I had no need or want for one. I didn't stick around for the BBQ and headed back to the hotel right away to shower and nap. I checked in for a 2nd night even though I was only going to stay until dinner-time where I planned to meet with Tigger, a thruhiker and trail angel that lived in a near by town. They live in an RV on a friend's property and after dinner we went to their RV (chuck norris was up in Hot Springs, NC helping to run the hostel there), and I napped until I had to leave at 1am to make it to my flight in Ft Lauderdale on time.

Great trip, lucky weather!
State #32, FL.

Myrtle Beach/Lost Dutchman Marathon Double - Third and Final Part

So things were going well and according to schedule up until this point. Until we hit our connecting airport, Charlotte, NC. As we had arrived at the Myrtle Beach airport it had dropped 10 degrees and had started to rain with forecasts calling for snow that night. If only the front had come through a day before they might have had a repeat of the marathon cancellation from snow 3 years ago.

There was a groundstop to air traffic at the airport delaying our departure. After arriving late in Phoenix and then to our hotel around 1am with the need to get up at 3 or 4 am to get to the race start, I decided to sleep in and start our drive to the Grand Canyon early for our short weekend there.

So that it what we did! Couldn't do much hiking due to my post marathon legs and lack of crampons/microspikes to deal with the ice on the upper part of the trails. But we could drive to either end of the Southern rim and got to show Hedgehog the park, as he had never been there before.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Vashon 50k June 7, 2014

This was the 5th running of this race and I have been trying to run this since the first year. However, thruhiking and work have gotten in the way until this year. Work looked like it was going to get in the way again this year but a last minute shift change saved my race.

Start at 8:30am

Packet pick up the night before and before the morning of the race, race shirt was extra which I opted out of as I already have a ton of race t-shirts. There were several Marathon Maniacs in attendance for the race. It was t-shirt and shorts weather at the start line which means it was on the warm side for the race start and would only get warmer. The course is 3 x 10 mile loops with a little tagged on to the start and finish to get to/from the loop.

The course was VERY well marked and had an aid station at about mile 5 and mile 10, and then again to those same aid stations every 5 miles. There was also a "rogue" aid station about mile 4 (repeating at mile 14 and 24) with watermelon and salted watermelon with some water. This is put out by people that live on the course, their daughter had run the 10 mile race that day that I met on my 3rd loop.
Follow the flour arrows!

Do not enter

Dad volunteering in the vest as a race number checker at mile 10 aid station

Mile 10 aid station
We had 2 roads to cross that were manned by flaggers. Some sweet sweet single track for most of the course with some dirt jeep roads lightly sprinkled in.

One of two signs that Dad put out to cheer runners

HH was there at crossings to crew for me and I saw him about every 3 miles. Some runners that ended up seeing him as well asked how he got around so fast that he must be superman. He answered that he had a car and they were let down by this. I told him that next person to ask how he got around he should tell them "magic carpet."

I chased staying hydrated enough all day and keeping my stomach happy and kept a fine line with that. On the second loop I stepped off trail to empty my bladder and after successfully skirting the stinging nettles I ended up covered with wasps and ended up with what felt to be about 9 stings/bites that were quite painful, though luckily I am not allergic. They hurt for 2-3 miles and my plan was to drop if they didn't stop hurting but the pain eventually subsided. Now 4 days later I have a minor cellulitis at 3 bite spots that I am watching closely and will hopefully subside without need for oral antibiotics.

Then on the 3rd loop a lady with 2 unleashed dogs came around the corner, I stopped to walk so not to agitate the dogs and then stopped when one started barking and then charging at me. She called him back and then he changed his mind and charged at me 2 more times. She then just ran past me calling at the dogs and luckily it ended there. Almost everyone else at that point then had their dogs leased and there was no more issues. I chatted with the aid station volunteers about it and they said that she had asked which way to go that the runners were not going but he said he hadn't paid attention to whether or not they were leashed. They were sympathetic to my story and at that point that is what was important to my tired brain.

The finish came about 6 hours and 15 minutes after the start and we rushed to my parents for a quick shower before the sprint to the ferry and sprint home to Portland, OR to get to work on time for my night shift (yes I know....). Finisher medal made of glass that looked to be the bottom of a glass bottle hacked off then the edges melted so they were not sharp.
Lifetime marathon or longer #53 (no new state).

Next up the Vancouver USA Marathon June 15.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Myrtle Beach/Lost Dutchman Part 2

The marathon started at 6:30am, we were staying 30 minutes from the start, equals an early alarm. The start was across the street from a corner of the Broadway at the Beach Complex.

 The course is a huge skinny rectangle that parallels the shoreline and starts at the same time and follows most of the same course with the half marathoners.

Gratuitous beach shot that you could only see
snippets of from the race course

Also not on the course but nearish

Gratuitous palm tree photo

Just after where the halfers had turned to head to the finish line

Me in the gray shirt from Route 66 Marathon,
note the sleezy motels as far as the eye can see
This race went generally better than the indoor one that was about 1 month before, with regular gel intake for fueling, and more importantly, no gasteroenteritis afterwards!

Finish in just under 4 hours and 40 minutes!
 Our view from the walk back from the baseball stadium where the finish was to our car parked across the street at the Broadway at the Beach Complex.

Note the budding trees in mid-February

Upside down building at Broadway at the Beach
Our flight left Myrtle Beach, SC airport at 4pm and so we had about 2-3 hours to shower, eat at Cracker Barrel, return the rental car, and get past security. Our flight left on time and we even ran into fellow Marathon Maniacs/50 Staters from the race. Including World Record Holder Larry Macon, partially my inspiration for the crazy weekend. Kicking myself for not getting a picture with him!

Up next: Myrtle Beach/Lost Dutchman Double Marathon Weekend Part III

Myrtle Beach/Lost Dutchman Double Part 1

After registering for the Lost Dutchman Marathon and then finding out the Myrtle Beach Marathon was the same weekend, I began devising a double marathon weekend. First looking at flights to evaluate logistics, then proceeding after finding reasonable flights at reasonable times.

We flew to Myrtle Beach, SC via Charlotte, NC the day before the marathon (Friday 2/15) and was on the ground with our rental car by 1pm to the Expo a whopping 6 miles away. After getting race swag for both the Friday night 5k and the marathon, we headed out after touching base with a fellow Marathon Maniac who was also the RD (race director) for the 5k race. We went to PF Changs in a new nearby outdoor shopping area for a late lunch/early dinner because of the time of HH needing to be available to volunteer and the time of the 5k, which started at 7pm. It sounded good and both of us had not eaten at one for several years.

3 Local News Stations covering the 5k race start


Part of the Broadway at the Beach complex

Sunset just before the 5k start
Cadre of 5k packet pickup volunteers,
with me there in green for moral support

Me in the green long sleeve
 just before the start

Now, I have not run a 5k race in several years. When you run a lot of marathons you get cheap with your race money and prefer to spend $60 on 26.2 miles instead of $30 on only 5k (3.1 miles). Just like with the Icebreaker Indoor Marathon, HH and I have both continued to work 60-70 hour work weeks, week after week, leaving little time for actual physical exercise (I know, I know). So I was unsure of how both races would shake out. I ran without my GPS watch and just went by feel, ending up finishing right at about 25 minutes, compared to the 21-22 minute 5k cross country races from high school and college. Finisher medals were mini versions of the marathon finisher medal.

Marathon on the left, 5k on the right

Me in green crossing the finish line!
We stayed at my Marathon Maniac's friend's house that lived on the edge of town and before we knew it we were up for the marathon the next morning.

Up next: Part II The Myrtle Beach Marathon