Thursday, October 27, 2011

Marathon Race Recap - Part II

Ok, time to finish this before I forget that I even RAN a marathon! We woke up race morning (I already don't remember what time) and I was ready to go! I didn't even wake up tired... but that was probably adrenaline - I could feel the nerves. I got dressed and went down to the hotel lobby where they had set up a buffet just for the marathon. I opted for a piece of toast with peanut butter, a small hot chocolate and a gatorade. Hot chocolate before races is one of the things I found that helps me "get moving" in the mornings so I don't have stomach issues during the race. I wish I liked coffee but I don't so hot chocolate did the trick.

Here's Erica and I's before photo... We put our names on our shirts to encourage people to cheer for us :) I don't remember it being this bright out but we were ready to go! We found the Bank of America VIP section (Erica is a customer) so we had very short lines for one more port-a-potty stop and then headed to the start corrals. We had to say goodbye to Courtney at the BOA section as it and the corrals are not open to spectators so we wouldn't see her again for a while.

My grace band. Because I had no real time goal for the race, I had a grace band made. Instead of focusing on hitting a certain pace each mile, I focused on thinking of loved ones each mile. I don't usually enjoy running with music so this was an extra tool to occupy my mind. I LOVED it! Each one of these people has meant something so special to me in life or along my training that it really helped me to think about them for motivation during the race. I couldn't fit the entire band in the picture but Mile 26... it said "This one's for me!"

I met a couple of other girls during the race that had prayer lists in their hands. They were hand written lists that they were carrying but then at each mile marker they said a prayer based on their list. I ran a mile or so with them talking about what was on each of our lists - that was a great mile.

Anyway, I'm skipping ahead. We waited in the corrals for a while. We lined up around the 12 minute pace group. The start was pretty anti-climatic because it actually took us over 20 minutes to get across the starting line. No one can explain the sheer number of people that are there! There were over 38,000 people running and 1.7million spectators.

I really wanted to take it easy the first couple of miles to make sure I got warmed up properly. I ran with Erica and we chatted for a while. My watched beeped one mile and said we had run a 9 minute pace. I knew that wasn't right so I double checked against Erica's watch and we had only went 0.75 miles. I was frustrated so focused on trying not to get too worked up over my watch and decided that I would just reset it at mile 1. When mile 1 came I reset it and it seemed to be working fine. Somewhere around 1.5 miles I left Erica and started running my own pace. We didn't expect to see Courtney until mile 13 so I was so excited when I saw her at mile 2! I stopped and gave her a hug and then took off running again.

The miles seemed to tick off pretty effortlessly. I was excited for mile 8 (Boystown) but didn't think it was all that it had been hyped up to be. My favorite neighborhood was the spanish one because I swear EVERY SINGLE PERSON on that block yelled out my name :) What can I say, I loved the attention! I also really liked China town, it just looked really cool.

I found Courtney at mile 13, reapplied my body glide, got another hug and snapped a quick picture. She said Erica was about 30 minutes behind me and she'd see me again at mile 20. I glanced at my watch and it was frozen at 11.3 miles, which would have really been mile 12.3 but I couldn't get it to respond at all. I am a Garmin freak but for some reason it didn't bother me too much. I just decided that I would run by feel. The mile markers had clocks on them but I wasn't sure how long it had taken us to get to the start line so I wasn't sure what my time was... but I kind of new mile to mile how long each had taken me. Plus, I ran most of the second half of the race right by the 5 hour Nike pace team. I started getting excited that I was going to be right at 5 hours or even slightly under. At the aid station around mile 18 I slipped and fell (the stations got REALLY slick) and I lost sight of the pace team and never saw them again. I planned on asking Courtney at 20 if they were ahead or behind me but I never saw her there either.

Finally around mile 25.5 I saw Courtney again and she ran a block with me. That was FUN! I loved the last mile... there were SOOO many people and I just got this overwhelming feeling of finally knowing I was going to be able to finish!

5:03:59... Finished, I am a marathoner! I was a little mad at my Garmin then because I think if I would have known what my time was I would have pushed a little harder, who knows. I got water and beer at the finish line but I barely drank either of them.

I walked what seemed like forever to the runner meetup area and waited for Courtney. When she got there we sat and waited for Erica to finish. Erica finished in 6:23 so the wait took a while.

When she got there we walked to our hotel for our bags and went to the train station where we attempted to eat something and then rode the train for an hour to Courtney's house. Getting off of the train after sitting was the most painful! We showered at her house and rested and snacked. Courtney was a great host! She ran to the grocery store while we were showering and got us snacks so we could just hang out.

I really wasn't that sore the next morning or couple of days either! I have one purple toe nail but I don't think I'm going to lose it.

This is me sitting at the runner meetup area - texting with Russ and enjoying all of the facebook messages that I had received:

Splits (that I do have):

Mile 2- 10:52
Mile 3-12:03
Mile 4-10:36
Mile 5-10:32
Mile 6-11:29
Mile 7-10:20
Mile 8-11:03
Mile 9-11:37
Mile 10-11:06
Mile 11-11:14
Mile 12- 11:10

During the end of my training I thought that I would do this one marathon, check it off my bucket list and then go back to half marathons. Well, I have bitten by the bug. The half is still my favorite distance because it is so easy to train for... but I will ABSOLUTELY do another marathon. I loved it! And I WILL be faster than 5 hours! I don't think I will do a spring marathon as I don't want to do long runs through the winter. I'm thinking half marathons in the spring and another full next fall. A few races I am considering: Chicago again, Marine Corps Marathon in DC, Nike Women's Marathon, Fargo, or St Louis.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Pumpkin Patch 2011

I need to get caught up on a few blog posts! (Marathon recap part II coming SOON!) The week before last (Oct 15th) we went to the KC Pumpkin Patch. I think this is the third year that we have gone and every year it just gets bigger and better! This year I had pre-bought our tickets off an internet deal so we had tickets to the corn maze as well. Russ captured so many good pictures of the kids that I am having a hard time narrowing it down. Plus, the day was just so much fun that each picture just makes me laugh and remember what a great day it was.

We got to to the pumpkin patch around 10:00 and didn't leave until almost 2. I think I could have stayed all day long... but we were due for naps for sure!

Enough talking, here are the pics:

The sandbox was a HUGE hit! Ross loved it so much that I was already re-thinking the fact that I hate sand and didn't want one at home. He just played and played with the tractors and shovels. Ryan liked it quite a bit too. Unfortunately most of our pics included a little girl mooning our camera. Seriously - mothers of girls... QUIT buying the low rise hipster jeans. I know that's what is in style but ALL DAY long at the pumpkin patch we saw all of the girls trying to climb on swingsets, etc and all of their panties were sticking out... if not more!

These bouncy horses were new this year. We didn't spend much time on them but we did a couple of bounces and got some cute pictures.

Ross played forever on this toddler swingset... happy as can be!

Reid did the zipline the minute we got to the pumpkin patch. The line usually gets long so we did it before the patch got too busy. Ryan wouldn't do it this year.

This slide was new this year as well. It was a bunch of PVC pipes so it was a bumpy, rolly slide. All three boys eventually tried it. I love the picture of Ryan!

The little boys really liked this train made out of barrels. They rode it twice and we meant to go back and do it some more but just never had time.

Another new, fun item this year... bowling lanes. Ross enjoyed setting up and knocking down pins while Ryan did some real bowling and bowled a strike!

Ryan climbing in a wooden tractor.

There is so much to do at this pumpkin patch! There's also a LARGE orange jumping pillow that's always a huge hit, the pumpkin patch itself, including tractor rides out and back, tricycle rides, water pumps, paintball guns, haunted barn, etc. There's just so much to do and so much open ground to let the boys just play around. We also hit up the concession stand for lunch and snacks and the prices are very reasonable. Ryan picked cotton candy for his snack and Reid picked a sour straw. (Ross ate a hot dog and bites of everything any of us would share). This is definitely a yearly tradition that we will keep up with.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Chicago Marathon Race Recap - part one

I know, it's been a WHILE! My free time became very dedicated to my marathon training and extra sleep (recovery). So, the marathon is over and I really wanted to get my race recap down before I forgot all about it. (Ended up VERY long so went with part I and part II)

Towards the end of training I was already saying that I thought I'd be a one and done kind of marathoner. I was completing it to kind of "check the box" and training was becoming too long and grueling to be something I would want to do many more times. Well, this is going to be a LONG recap so if you just want to skip to the point -I think I've thrown that thought out the window. A marathon is SOOO achievable... and yes, I'm already thinking about the next one and goals to do better!

I had a friend go with me. We both trained to run the marathon but at different paces so we knew we were going to have the weekend together but wouldn't be running the race together.
The weekend started with flying out on Friday late morning (the marathon was on Sunday). We arrived in Chicago around mid-day and my sister, Courtney, picked us up from the airport. I had chose Chicago for two main reasons - 1) Courtney lived there, 2) I wanted to be away from home so I didn't have to be "mom" during the day after my race. Chicago is a perfect first-timer marathon, or so I'm told. Anyway, I'm skipping ahead. We grabbed some lunch (Panera), got our shirts ready for race day (tape with our names on them - DEFINITELY worth it) and then went to see a movie (The Help - highly recommend it). After the movie we went looking for some dinner but it was late and we really just wanted to get home. We ended up grabbing a fast food place (Burger King I think). I opted for a fish sandwich, no sides. I was starting to lean towards eating cautiously already. We got to bed at a decent time and got to sleep in on Saturday!

Saturday we woke up and got around slowly before catching a 10:20 am train to downtown. After a walk to find our hotel (not too bad of a walk but with heavy luggage it felt FAR). For the record, the girls had tried to talk me into putting just our overnight items in one bag but I was freaking out about not having something I would need and only left behind my Sunday clothes. Yes, yes... I'm a bit anal, that's not what this post is about... but I did have EVERYTHING! Courtney and Erica had a good laugh that I had even packed latex gloves and ziplocs (Latex gloves were for putting on biofreeze should I need it and ziploc bags were for liquids to carry on luggage). I admit, I am my mother - hey, there are worse things. Anyway, after the walk to the hotel we left our bags with the bellman and hopped on a free shuttle that went to the race expo.

I LOVED the race expo! It was almost noon before we got there and we hadn't thought to grab lunch so after we picked up our packets we got a big pretzel and walked around looking at all the vendors. I bought a couple of shirts and a cowbell for Courtney to cheer us on with... and walked away with a lot of free swag - definitely a fun afternoon! The Nike booth had a large wall(s) that listed everyone registered by name so we found our names on it. Lucky Erica was right by Ryan Hall! I think we spent a couple of hours at the expo before waiting in line for the shuttle to take us back to the hotel. The wait for the shuttle to take us back was about 20 minutes because the drivers were switching over at that time. I was actually starting to feel really tired. My legs were worn out and we ended up sitting in line (as did many others).

Once we got the shuttle and got back to the hotel we were hungry for some real food and it was around 3:00. We got checked into our room and then headed out in search of somewhere to eat. I did start to feel really worn out and tired at this point and might have just went with the closest reasonable place we could find to eat! We found this small sandwich/salad/pizza place and went with it. I ordered TWO full meals which was quite funny. $19 for dinner and I had a full size salad (only 350 calories) and a brick oven pizza (I don't want to know). I joked around with the waiter and laughed at my own expense for ordering both meals... BUT... I was running a marathon the next day and all I had eaten all day were a couple of no bake cookies (breakfast at Courtney's) and a pretzel (lunch?) at the expo. I needed fuel! I shared the pizza with Courtney and Erica and really liked both selections. I had already known that I needed to take it easy with what I ate and did NOT want pasta as I did not want to have stomach issues the next day.

After dinner we walked back to our hotel (after stopping by the Bean for a picture). I was DONE walking or doing anything for that day. Erica and Courtney went to check out some hotel lobby store and I went to the room. I laid out all of my race clothes, nutrition, hair supplies, etc. The girls came back to the room and we decided that we were going to pay per view a movie and relax. It felt like it was 10:00 but it was really only 6:00!! I showered and we ordered the movie (No Strings Attached - HILARIOUS)! The movie was great to take my mind off worrying about the race. I tried to get to sleep when it was over but my mind did NOT want to shut down. I played words with friends, read facebook and did some soduko on my phone trying to get to sleep. I don't remember what time I fell asleep but I did wake up feeling pretty rested.

Marathon morning time!!! (part II coming tomorrow... it's time for bed)