Sunday, May 19, 2013

Birthday Run 101!

This weekend I had a birthday on a Saturday which made for the perfect opportunity to run a birthday race and what better way to celebrate than to run!  Friday Jash and I headed up to WA after he finished school and I finished work for the day.  We had a pretty nice drive up there and arrived just in time to cook a wonderful birthday dinner together with a celebratory glass of bubbly and some cake!  The next morning we were up early at 5am, well maybe more like 5:30am after a few snoozes.  We packed up the car and drove the quick 10 min to the race start.  Jash was volunteering for the event as well which was a great help to them and a good way for us to enjoy the event together.  After some quick pictures at the starting line it was time to run and celebrate my birthday! 

The morning felt perfect with the overcast clouds and no rain making it impeccable running weather!  We headed out as a group on the soft trail with rolling hills.  I started at a nice pace but trying to move it a bit faster because I knew I wanted to be able to finish my race and still make it back to OR to watch the Winterhawks in the Memorial Cup.  I enjoyed chatting and bantering with fellow runners and the first loop really flew by!  Jash was directing traffic on the little loop so I asked him if he wanted to run the third loop with me and gave him an hour to get ready as I headed back out.  The second loop was fun and I was still around a lot of people so engaged in many random running conversations and watched the trail!  By the third loop I was ready to have some company with Jash and we ran together and talked and enjoyed the beautiful day.  Jash gave me all the updates of what he had been doing for the morning at the main, only, aid station and how nice everyone was.  He was also a great Cheerer and many people looked forward to finishing a loop and having Jash clap and cheer them on with encouraging positive words.  We finished our loop if great time and I headed out for my 4th loop on my own.  This one was really nice because I was alone for the whole loop now that we had all spread out so much and it was just what I needed.  I put on some tunes and just ran and enjoyed everything about being out there and reflected on how happy I was to be able to run and run my 101st marathon+ distance race on my birthday in the beautiful NW.  There really was nothing that I could imagine doing that would make me more happy and I was just thrilled.  We also saw a few deer out on the course and that was pretty cool.  On the 5th loop I was getting ready to be done for sure.  But on this loop I was able to run past a horse, giant horse with a rider on top and felt so tiny as we passed.  It was pretty cool.  I finished up my last loop to cheers and a wonderful sense of accomplishment and just before any rain started!  I chatted with a fellow out there that was 80+ doing the event.  I was in awe of him- he was truly living life as well and I was so happy to hear that someone in their 80’s was out there doing what they loved to do and it inspired me to keep it up and be out there again celebrating my 80th 90th 100th and beyond birthday running on the trails with other awesome runners!  It was a very happy birthday indeed!  

Thursday, May 16, 2013

100th Marathon/Ultra Tacoma City Marathon 10 Year Maniac Reunion

I did it!  That was the first thought to cross my mind after crossing the finish line at my 100th marathon or longer distance race.  I still cannot believe that I have run 100 of these races!  So let’s talk about how I got here!  

This was a Cinco de Mayo Sunday race which meant that Jash could go with me since he had school on Friday this week.  We ended up driving up to the race on Saturday in the beautiful sunshine in the NW.  It has been a very unseasonably warm spring and I am personally a huge fan!  People were getting a bit worried that the race was going to be too hot, but I will take the sunshine over rain and clouds any day!!  We made it to packet pick up and picked up all the maniac swag.  This was a 10 year celebration and I really loved seeing all the people out there excited and proud to be part of the group.  I also was here in 2010 for the reunion and wow what a difference 3 years makes in terms of people.  We had such a smaller group back then, now it is huge.  So we decided that we did not want to fight the crowd and wait around for the talk, so after some fun picts at the hotel you see below we headed off to our place. 

Our hotel was great with a kitchen where we were able to make our own pre-race meal and get everything set for the next day.  It was a perfect and delish home cooked dinner date for two.  We ate and headed out in time to watch the Winter hawks game since they are in the playoffs right now.  We found a place that looked totally questionable from the outside very close to our hotel and it was totally empty.  But the bar had a fantastic big screen TV that we had to ourselves with sound to watch the entire game.  It was fantastic and we ended up learning that this place turned into a bumping night club around 9pm, so we headed out at the end of the game, 9:30pm.  The music was blasting and the lights were off.  We just missed an episode of cops or something being filed outside as well…  Pretty happy about that miss and glad we got out of there when we did!  Maybe it was just a questionable as if first appeared! 

Jash woke up with me on race day and was so sweet to drive me to the start- which was totally needed because there was a bit of a potty issue there!  When we got there, about an hour before the start, there was a line stretching for what seemed like miles with not a lot of potties.  So Jash drove me back to the first aid station that we had passed and I was able to jump into a brand new, never used before honey bucket and ensure that I took care of all the biz I needed to before the race.  This was so totally helpful and made for a wonderful start to the day.  Once he dropped me back off at the starting line at the air filed I went around and checked it out a bit and saw some cool airplanes.

We started just about right on time at 7am and were off into the wind and sunshine.  It was a wonderful morning, but we knew it was going to get hot out there quickly.  I just made sure that I had been sipping water all morning and was carrying my pack to be sure that I had enough fluid for the entire race.  (it is really my new favorite thing to run it as it is just so convenient to have water available.   We started the race by crossing the Tacoma Narrows bridge at mile 3 and I was so lucky to get this awesome photo below that was also on the front page of the Tacoma Newspaper, with my name captioned as “leading the pack!”  I am still giddy about it!

The race was just wonderful and you can see from the pict above that it is already looking pretty warm out there.  I was thinking back to when I ran this very race in 2010 and it was cold and rainy and I wore a jacket the whole time.  Not in 2013~  But I am a sun baby and was really enjoying the sunshine and clear views.  It was really a lovely spring day to be running my 100th marathon!  The people out on the  course were also just so friendly and great to chat with.  There were so many happy runners out there that it did not seem like there was ever a dull moment!  And lots of people along the course taking fun running pictures. 

As it started to heat up I was very grateful for the make shift sprinklers that residents that lived along the course had set up.  I was running through the mist of each thanking those that were so thoughtful to help us out!  There were also so many other runners out there that were in happy positive spirits that the race really just flew by.  We chatted and caught up and had such a great time running on a beautiful cinco de mayo Sunday!  By the time I got to mile 20 I was almost sad that it was only 10k till I was done with this awesome race and had reached my goal of 100.  Then I was also at that point really hot and we were running on an entire exposed part of the course in the sunshine so I tried to keep drinking, staying cool and having fun.  I love the last 6 miles.  No matter how bad it hurts you know you only have to go 6 more and that seem so incredibly do-able that you just go.  You are running this part of the race with your heart and it feels so right.  On this day if was incredibly right and I zoomed home!  Crossing the finish line of my 100th marathon/ultra was just unreal.  I was greeted with a 100th marathon sign from Steve Walters and a custom made 100th marathon shirt that Jash made me that lists all the races that I have done to get to 100 on the back!  I am so thankful I have been able to come this far and cannot wait for 100 more to come!!  I am just getting started!


Thursday, May 2, 2013

Eugene Marathon


This year running Eugene for the first time was such a treat!  I am so happy I have taken more time to run some local races- although this one I did not get to sleep in my own bed.  I drove down to the race Saturday after running some errands in the morning.  I refrained from running on Friday (usual day before the day before rest day) and Saturday because I was feeling a twinge in my left outer ankle and was worried that it could be something more serious than just a twinge.  I thought back to the stress fracture in my right ankle and carefully compared how it felt and hoped for the best.  Saturday I made it down to Eugene pretty quick and enjoyed a quick browse at the expo.  After checking out the course maps, putting on my black ribbon, signing the Boston banner, getting my shirt, filling up on water and sampling some nutrition bars, I was off to scope out some pre race parking.  It was a beautifully sunny Saturday and I was enjoying driving with the windows down and feeling the sun on my skin.  I drove through campus and looked at all the blocked parking spaces for tomorrow as well as where the starting line would be.  I came about a side street that seemed to only lead to residential apartments and found an interesting lot that was only marked as permit required Mon- Friday.  I was thrilled and planned to get there nice and early in the morning in case others scoped out the same lot and were following the awesome plan I just developed! 

My hotel was just outside of the main city and had everything that I needed- clean, working bathroom, nice bed, mini fridge, and a microwave.  I love packing my own food to races so that I am able to eat a wonderful pre race dinner that I know I can run great on the next day and to have my breakfast in room and ready including my coffee in a can.  Once I dropped everything off on the hotel there was still a ton of beautiful sunny day left so I sat outside, read, and wrote.  I thought about how happy I was to be running marathon number 99 the next day and how even after this many it still has not gotten old and I am still very excited to be healthy and running!  Beautiful view.  

The next day I was up early- 10 min before my 5am alarm went off.  I went through my pre race rituals and really used the foam roller on my back and legs.  By 5:30am I was off to the start line.  I drove to the parking lot in darkness and to my surprise there was no one else in this parking lot.  I was hit with a feeling of dread and started to wonder if everyone knew something that I didn’t know.  So I popped out of my car and made my way over to the start to ask some officers that were securing the area if I was parked in an illegal spot.  I noticed the increased police presence right away, which made locating an officer for my question very easy!  Assured that I would not get a ticket or towed I headed back to my car to enjoy time in my own warm little space so close to the finish line. 

I keep a snuggie (my sister bought it for me) and a pillow in the trunk of my car for just the occasion of chilling out in my car prerace.  I was totally comfortable wrapped up in the pink snuggie and totally relaxed knowing that I just had to pop over to the starting line, and that I was parked close to a row of unused porta potties which made a great pre race potty time. Seriously I went back twice just because I could and no one else was there… if you are a runner you know what a luxury this is!  

With 10 min to the start I made my way over and jumped in my corral.  I was very much aware of who was around me and if there were any people with bags anywhere in the vicinity.  I was also looking for bags left alone.  This was just an initial look, but when I did the scan and saw so many police I felt a ton better and was able to relax and totally let go of worry and get into the pre race mind set.  

We started out great, I realized in the first mile that there was no need at all for me to be wearing my arm sleeves and was determining what to do to store them without having to stop to take off my pack.  By mile 3 I had decided just to tie them to the chest strap, that seemed to do just fine, but I bet I get no pictures because they hung in front of my bib for most of the race.  I love how there is so much to look at and take in when you are running a big marathon.  There was a ton of people and beautiful scenery and I didn’t touch my iPod for the first 12 miles.  By mile 13 as we were getting a bit more spread out with the ½ marathoners off the course I was starting to feel a little bit tired but nothing terrible.  But I was then approached by Mary and a group of runners.  I sped up to match their pace and decided this is exactly what I need!  It was wonderful to catch up with Mary and meet new running friends.  The girls were so fun to meet and we ran together for the rest of the marathon.  I realize that it is so much easier for me to get out of my own head and encourage others around me.  That actually makes me feel better and I run better.  We shared stores and kept each other going.  It was a really great time out there with fantastic people!