Fantastic Fall 2012

It’s been awhile since I’ve written.  Life is just to fun these days to post all the time!  I do like to write on occasion though to document new races and new personal bests!  It was a great fall racing season for me.  I set 3 new Personal Record’s and completed my first International Distance Triathlon!   Although I took the Fall off from Marathons I ran 5 Half Marathons between Labor Day and Thanksgiving.  It was a busy fall!

Turkey Trot

On Thanksgiving I ran the Fisher Cats Turkey Trot with Dad.  The race was a 5k and my Dad was determined to go out and do his best.  I on the other hand wasn’t feeling super motivated, I was just happy to be out for a run before eating all day. The race started at 9am which was awesome cause we got to sleep in a bit.  We were down by the start around 8:25 and decided to do a warm-up mile together.  The warm-up was ROUGH for me.  Maybe it was the cold?  I haven’t run in 30 degrees in over a year (since last Thanksgiving).  Based on the warm-up I was just aiming to finish in under 25 minutes.

We headed for the start and shortly after we were off!  I took off at a 6:40 pace which I knew I could keep but tried to hold on to for as long as I could.  (So much for not pushing myself, right?)  After heading up a pretty solid hill I finished Mile 1 around 7:20.  I got a little nervous that I was going to really fail the last mile but I kept pushing aiming for a 7:45 pace on Mile 2.  My goal was now to beat under 24 minutes.  Mile 2 had a nice downhill and then flat so I ended up running a 7:25.  At this point I knew that I would be close to my person best a 23:22 so I decided to keep pushing and see what I could.  The last half mile was rough but I kept pushing.  The race ends on the NH Fisher Cats field so you run around the warning track finishing on the 3rd base line.  When I entered the stadium I could see my Dad ahead and heard them call his name at the finish, I was only about 30 seconds behind.  I kept pushing and finished in 22:58 (7:30 pace), a new personal best by 25 seconds!  I can’t lie, pushing that hard made the run suck from start to finish but it was awesome after!  My dad finished in 22:27 his best time in the last few years!

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Wine & Dine Half Marathon

Earlier in November I had to travel down to Orlando for a work conference.  It happened to end right before the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon which is my cousin Heather’s favorite Disney race.  It seemed like fate that my trade show ended two days before so I had to stay and run!  My co-worker joined my Thursday afternoon and Friday for two days of Disney fun!  Heather also joined us on Friday and we squeezed in 3 parks in one day!  Saturday was race day.  We took it easy that day checking into the Yacht Club Hotel and lounging by the pool.  We had lunch and relaxed with my cousin Heather’s friend Annette and Brian.  Annette was running the half with us that evening.  We headed back to our room around 4pm and laid around in bed for a few hours.  Around 6:30 it was time to get ready and head to the shuttle busses for the start line.

We were at the start line plenty early so we sat around eating a snack and contemplating just skipping the race.  🙂  It’s really hard to START running at 10pm.  We wanted to just go to Epcot and have fun!  We eventually got ourselves together, checked out gear, used the restroom and lined up.  I was in Coral A and Heather and Annette were right behind me in Corral B.  I had no intentions on running a fast race, I just wanted to enjoy it but the other half of me just wanted to finish quick so  I could have fun!  The race itself was really fun, we went through Animal Kingdom  Hollywood Studios and finished through Epcot!  I ended up running a 1:52:22!  I was very happy with that!

Before the race - notice the fluorescent theme?

Before the race – notice the fluorescent theme?

Post-Race

Post-Race

Love Disney Medals!

After the finish line they have changing tents set up so you can change into dry clothes and head off to enjoy the post race party at Epcot.  I finished first so I took a few minutes to sit and stretch, then I changed, collected my post-race beer (love when they have those!) and headed into the park!  I rode Spaceship Earth and Soarin while waiting for the girls.  We met up right in front of the World Showcase and went off to enjoy some food and drinks!  We had a fun evening closing down the park at the Rose & Crown Pub!

BAA Half Marathon

In October while on a work trip to Boston I ran the BAA Half Marathon with my Dad, Aunt Marie and cousin Greg.  I ran this race in 2010 with my friend Meredith while training for our first marathon.  It’s a great well-organized race but definitely a challenging course!  This race was my Aunt Marie’s first half marathon!  My family spent the night in Boston before the race so we could sleep in a bit later.  We had a nice day on Saturday sightseeing and having dinner in the North End.

My Dad and I met my Aunt and cousin at UMASS Boston to ride the shuttles together to the start of the race.  We got a bit of a late start so we arrived at the start just in time!  We headed for our place in line.  My Dad and I decided to run together, I was going to try to help him get to a new PR.  We had a great first half of the race, but most of it was downhill.   I knew that the second half was going to be tough.  By mile 8/9 I was really starting to struggle.  I knew it wasn’t going to be my day.  I kept trying to keep up with my Dad and help pace us but I was struggling.  I finally convinced him to leave me at Mile 9.5ish and he did.  I eventually caught back up with him around mile 11 but couldn’t stay with him long.  I was STRUGGLING.  It was one of the worst races I had run in a long time.  I finished in 1:55:51.  My dad finished about a minute before me but unfortunately missed his PR but just a bit.  We collected all of our gear at the finish and headed to finish line to watch my Aunt Marie finish.  She ran a great first half and finished strong.  I love watching people finish a half marathon for the first time, it’s always so inspiring.  Congrats to Aunt Marie on her first Half Marathon!

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Giants Half Marathon

In September I ran the Giants Half Marathon in SF.  I was excited for this race because I was in great running shape and it was a flat course.  I had a feeling that a new personal best was in my grip so I went into this race with a PR in mind.  The race starts right outside of AT&T park and also offers a 10k and 5k.  My cousin Michaela was running the 10k so we went to the race together, started together and ended up running almost the first 3 miles together.  I also found a bunch of girls in my running club who run around my pace at the start so I decided to try to stick with them.  Michaela and I ended up pushing each other running the first 3 miles at an 8:16 pace.  I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to keep that pace up but each mile I kept surprising myself.  At Miles 9 and 10 I slowed to an 8:30 pace but then I ran into the 1:50 pace group I knew that if kept up with them the last 3 miles that I would finish under a 1:50 and finally beat my goal of a sub 1:50 half!  I’m so glad I ran into the pace group, the leader kept really pushing me and kept me going.  I ran the last 3 miles at an 8:18 pace and was really starting to hurt.  At mile 12.9 the pacer reminded us we only had .2 miles left which is equal to two city blocks.  I was so close to my best I had to keep pushing and that reminder really helped me!  I finished at 1:49:14 according to my watch!  (My online time says 1:48:47 – I’m not sure why the 30 sec discrepancy)  I was so excited!  My running club friend, Laura, was right behind me and she had set a new PR as well!  The race finishes in the outfield of AT&T park so we took some pictures and took in the scene of hanging out on the field of AT&T park.  It was a great race and I’m looking forward to it again next year!

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Disneyland Half Marathon

Over labor day weekend I went down to Disneyland and ran the Half Marathon for the second year in a row.  I was joined by my cousin Heather and her college friends Leah, Annette, and Jamie, Leah’s friend Sue and Alaska friends Annie & Martha!  We all arrived at various times on Saturday morning and met at our hotel.  In early afternoon we headed over to the Expo to collect our numbers and swag.  After that we headed for the parks.  We had twilight tickets for Saturday night and headed over to Disneyland.  We got in a bunch of rides and had dinner at “Pasta in the Park”.  After our carbo loading we did a few more rides and headed back to the hotel for bed.

The Disney races always start bright and early.  The Disneyland half is no exception.  The race started at 5:45am.  I can’t remember exactly what time we were up but it was long before any of us wanted to be up.  We took shuttles over to the Parks and walked to the start.  We did our usual routine of bathroom, bag check and head for the corrals.  I started in Corral A and was not feeling that race.  I was exhausted at the start.  I remember getting to Mile 4 and thinking, I just want to stop running and take a nap.  Never the less, I found the energy and kept pushing an 8:25ish pace.  The excited part of the race was that we got to run through the new Cars Land in California Adventure. It was so cute and entertaining!  We then headed through Disneyland and then onto the streets of Anaheim.  The next big landmark was Anaheim Angels Stadium.  As we were approaching around mile 8.5 I was really loosing steam.  I was ready to slow my pace and just focus on finishing   It was just then that my friend Katie from the year before came up from behind, recognized me and pushed me again!  She got me into the park the and then I told her to head off without me but to wait for me at the finish because I wouldn’t be far behind.  I kept up my pace and finished in 1:51:55.  I was really happy with that time, anything under 1:52 makes me happy and I was just under!  I found Katie at the finish and we chatted.

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Disneyland Race friend Katie!

I headed towards our designated meeting area and one by one the other girls arrived.  We sat around and chatted as we waited for everyone.  Most of us collected our “Coast to Coast” medals at Disneyland.  You earn one of those medals for running a Half or Marathon on the East Coast and West Coast.  We took a million pictures of our bling.  It was a fun morning.

Heather & I with our Marathon, Disneyland Half and Coast to Coast Medals!

Heather & I with our Marathon, Disneyland Half and Coast to Coast Medals!

group

Post race we headed for the pool for lunch and relaxation.  We showered and headed to California Adventure around 4pm and had a great afternoon/evening in the park.  Of course we finished off the night with drinks in Downtown Disney.  Monday we all went our own ways throughout the day but we had a great girls weekend and were all sad to see it end. The Disneyland Half is my favorite race.  I really love it.  I think we’ll all be back next year, fingers crossed!

That sums up 2012 racing!  (Finally)  I set a 5k, 3.5 Miler, Half Marathon and Marathon personal best!  I’m hoping to get better at blogging agin in 2013 so I won’t have to do major posts like this anymore!

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Love My Job – Had to Share….

My company Bizo just produced a video on why you should work at our company. I wanted to share it because I work with incredible people. I love to come to work each day to see my “Bizo” family. Loving my job and my co-workers/friends has really made my transition to the West Coast an easy one. I’m a pretty lucky person to wake-up each morning and love what I do.

Saturday I’m going on a 5-6 hour hike in Santa Cruz with my some of my fellow Bizonians – we really are a fam!

Thank you to all of you for making me a part of the SF family!

Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend & Race Recap

On January 8th I ran my third marathon at Walt Disney World.  It was a wonderful experience and another day with friends and family that I will never forget.  It was also my Dad and cousin’s 1st Marathon so it was great to have company out there!  Here is my recap of the weekend and race:

Expo

On Thursday morning after a night in Fort Lauderdale we headed to Orlando.  We hit the road early – 7:30am so we could be at Disney between 10-10:30.  Our first stop was the Expo at Disney’s Wide World of Sports.

My mom and sister ran in the Family 5k on Friday morning along with my Aunt, Uncle and cousin.

Laura picking up her first race bib!

My Mom and Laura with their bibs!

My Dad picking up his first Marathon number!

Me, Dad, and Heather with our Marathon Bibs!

Disney Family Fiesta 5K featuring the Three Caballeros

Mom, Laura, Aunt Marie, Uncle Sonny and my cousins Sarah participated in the Family 5k on Friday morning.  The run started at Epcot and looped through the park and finished at the Marathon finish line.  My Dad and I went with them to cheer them on.  It was another early morning, out the door at 4:30am.  The race had 3 waves to start and the winner finished before the 3rd wave started.  It was kind of funny to see that happen.  Overall, they had a blast running or “wogging” as my Aunt Marie called it.  (Please direct all questions about “wogging” to her and my sister)

Pre-Race

Starting Line

Headed for the finish line! (Aunt Marie in the red jacket and black capris - check out that "wogging" form!)

5k Done!

Marathon Day – Pre-Race

  • Up at 2:45am – just gross.  (I am not a morning person and my nerves were pretty in check for this marathon so I would have preferred to sleep in.)
  • Got ready for the marathon – my Dad and I basically woke up my mom and sister so my sister was throwing in comments like “Don’t forget your GU”.  I found that quite funny because she’s never run a long distance race but she knows these things because my Dad and I constantly talk about them.
  • We met my cousin Heather in the lobby of our hotel at 3:30am – she was really excited and ready to get running.  I was still half asleep and my dad was really nervous.  We made an interesting trio.
  • Note:  On the ride to Epcot I was getting texts from my West Coast friend who hadn’t even gone to be yet – that’s how early it was!
  • 4am – we arrived at the Epcot Parking lot via a Disney Shuttle.  They were super organized and efficient – it was an easy journey over to runners area.
  • We had a quick breakfast picnic on the ground and organized our gear for bag check, after a bathroom stop and picture we were off to the starting corrals.

Dad, me and Heather ready to head to bag check and the start line!

Start Area:

  • The walk to the starting area is quite long and it was really congested.  It took us about 30 minutes to get into our corrals.
  • My dad and I were in corral C and Heather was in corral E so we said our good-bye’s and good luck’s and “see you at the finish line”.  We timed it well because we only had about 15 minutes to wait for the first corral to go.
  • My Dad and I were off at 5:43am – Heather was about 10 minutes behind us.
  • The characters yell the countdown for each corral, it’s funny to hear Mickey’s high pitch voice telling you to go!
  • Overall, the start was super organized and painless – I wouldn’t expect anything less from RunDisney.

Race

  • Miles 0-2 were a bit slow, we had to work through the congestion.  It was fun because you run up a circular on-ramp to a highway and you can see all the people running ahead and behind you.  It always amazes me how many people are out there with you!
  • Mile 2.5 – my Mom, Sister, Aunt & Uncle and Heather’s friend Anette were at the Monorail station to cheer us on!  It was exciting to see them and look for their signs.
  • The next few miles were through Epcot and then out to the behind the scenes area.  I love running through the parks.

Running in the dark...

  • After that we headed down to a long road that was going to take us into Magic Kingdom, it could have been boring but Disney had all kinds of things going including a Hot Air Balloon – that was really neat and pretty!
  • GU at Mile 6 for my Dad and I.
  • Mile 9 – We were on the lookout for our fans again – they were watching from the Ticket and Transportation center – we found them easily because of Heather’s awesome blue sign.  Good to see the family again!
  • Mile 10 – we headed into Magic Kingdom.  This was my favorite part of the run, there is something about running down “Main Street USA” with the Castle in front of you that is really fun.
  • We ran through Tomorrowland into Fantasyland.  They had a ton of characters – the highlight was Cinderella and Prince Charming in front of the castle.  Prince Charming was quite charming.  🙂

Dad and I in front of the castle!

  • We headed through Liberty Square and then into Frontier land where Woody was standing.  I wish I had gotten a picture with him!
  • We headed through the back area of the park and then out on main roads again.  Their were signs with fun facts to read and music playing.  Disney always has something going on.
  • We did a GU on the way out at Mile 11.5ish.
  • My mom and sister were at just about the halfway point somewhere around Mile 13.
  • Unfortunately my Dad’s IT Band started flaring up at Mile 10 so he was hurting.  It was hard to see, I’ve been there and it’s the worst when that happens on race day.  He kept stopping to stretch it out because that was helping.
  • Mile 13-16ish was a bit long.  We were on back roads and made a nice little tour around the Disney water treatment area.  It smelled lovely.  (joking)

Dad & I with Peter Pan and Wendy!

  • Gu at Mile 16.
  • We then headed through Animal Kingdom.  My Dad and I made the decision to split up once we were out of the park.  He was hurting and wanted to take it slow.  I felt horrible leaving him but I know he felt horrible holding me back.  It was a tough decision.

Running in front of "Mount Everest"

  • I was very much looking forward to seeing my cousin Sarah and her daughter Lily at Mile 17.5.  (Remember this post from Boston)  That kept me pushing forward.

Mile 17.5 just before I went off on our own!

  • We found Lily and Sarah easily but Lily wasn’t so happy this time around.  She had dropped one of her 3 binkies and it tumbled onto the race course and got kicked to the other side.  I made a daring rescue to get her binky because I thought it would cheer Lily it up.  It didn’t so I didn’t get a hug this time around.  My dad and I took a picture, said our good-byes and I was off on my own

    Lily's 3rd Birthday was the same day as the marathon - we had a little party the night before!

  • It was hard to leave my Dad, I got upset and almost went back but knew I needed to just focus on my race.  I pushed really hard miles 18-21 clocking 8:30 miles.  It felt good to get my speed up and push myself.  I have never clocked 8:30’s in a marathon.
  • Mile 22 – Gu and my quads started to hurt so I stretched quickly.
  • Around Mile 22 we entered Hollywood Studios.  I enjoyed running through Hollywood  Studios because the park was open and their were a ton of spectators!

    In front of the Hollywood Studios Mickey Hat

  • My cousins Derek & Celeste were just outside the park at Mile 23.5.  It was great to see them and stop and chat for a min.  I stretched my quads out and moved on.  I know I could beat a 4:15 if I pushed so I didn’t stop for long.
  • At that point a giant blister on my left pinky toe popped.  It was so PAINFUL.  I just kept running but was definitely limping at that point.
  • The last few miles were along the Boardwalk area in front of the Yacht and Beach club.  I really don’t remember much about this part of the run at all.  I just kept telling myself to push though the pain and to keep my pace which was about a 9 min mile at that point.
  • Mile 25-26 was through the countries in Epcot.  It was hard, I felt like it took forever to get through them.  I finally got to Spaceship Earth (the globe) and knew that it was just a short bit to the finish.  I started scanning the crowds and saw my Aunt & Uncle and Annette.  I needed the cheers, it was great to see them.  Shortly after I saw my mom and sister – so great to see them as well!

Crossing the finish line!

I crossed the finish line at 4:14:10.  No Personal Record (PR) but I was close.  I was really proud of my performance, I definitely hit the wall later on – Mile 23/24ish and I felt so much stronger then in past marathons.  Instead of running 10/10:30 min miles at the end I was running 9 min miles.  I got my medal, mylar blanket, water and took my picture and headed for the food and bag check.  I got my standard banana and bagel.  Once I had my bag I sat down to wait for my Dad.  I checked my email for the race alerts, and knew he wasn’t too far behind me.  I then texted my running friend and said “I’m in so much pain, but I want to do another marathon.”  That was the truth.  I had so much fun and I’m ready to do another one.  I would say I’m officially addicted to 26.2.

My Dad finished at 4 hours 36 min.  Incredible for his first marathon at 56.  I’m really proud of him and Heather who finished with a huge smile on her face.  She was in really good shape at mile 26 – I was so impressed!  I was not in that kind of condition at my first marathon – I was in horrible pain.  I could tell how proud she was of herself and I knew what an accomplishment it was for them both.  It’s so fun (and painful) to conquer 26.2 miles.

Marathon Medal #3

Halle Family - All done! (Ignore my squinty eyes)

3 Marathoners in the family now! Who's next?

Me and the parents!

Post Race

Lunch, cake and champagne to celebrate the new Marathoners!

Congrats Dad & Heather!

My cousins and I headed to Epcot to celebrate with a “drink around the world” evening.  We had dinner in “Germany” and then headed over to “Jelly Rolls” at the Boardwalk Hotel for some good old singing and dancing.  (I actually watched the dancing along with Heather because it hurt too much to move.)

Derek's totally jealous...

Check out our bling!

Big thanks to our spectators – Mom, Laura, Aunt Marie, Uncle Sonny, Anette, Sarah, Lily, Derek and Celeste.  I know you had to get up REALLY early and it meant so much to have you there.  Here is a big Virtual Hug for sacrificing your sleep and standing on your feet for hours to cheer us on.

Overall, the Walt Disney World marathon was a wonderful experience.   I had a great week with my family and really enjoyed the run.  My only regret was that I didn’t do the Goofy Challenge (Half Marathon Saturday and Marathon Sunday) but I”m sure I’ll be back at some point and that’s my next challenge!

To finally wrap this up I’m going to use a quote my sister put on her sign for the Marathon:

It’s kind of fun to do the impossible

– Walt Disney

Thanks for reading my super long post!

100 Mile Month

In August, I ran 101 Miles.  I haven’t logged 100 miles since March when I was in full training for the Boston Marathon.  It feels awesome!  In addition to my 100 miles I got up out of bed and ran 5 days this week.  Another accomplishment that hasn’t happened in a very long time!  It feels good to be running consistently again!

Two weeks ago I tried trail running with my friend Katie up on Mt. Tam.  It was AWESOME and hard.  Did I mention it was hard?  Wow.  I actually had to stop at one point because we were running stairs up the side of a mountain.  CRAZY.  Katie is awesome at hill running but she’s got 4 months on me.  I hope I get there at some point!

I also tried Bikram yoga.  It’s the yoga that’s like a 100 degrees and you just sweat from the second you walk in.  I don’t mind it, however it’s very different from traditional yoga.  I like sweating and cleansing my body of toxins but I miss the traditional yoga poses and sun salutations.  I am going to give a try a few more times and then try some other studios.  I was actually sent a great article on Hot Yoga and it’s benefits to running.  Check it out here.

I’m off to the Disneyland Half Marathon tonight.  (Writing from the airport)  I can’t wait to run my first Disney race!  I’m meeting my cousin Heather there who is going to receive her “Coast to Coast” medal on Sunday.  She’s also running ALL of the Disney Races in 2011.  You can read about all her adventures here.  More about Disney after the race!

I haven’t written much in the last few weeks, it’s been a bit crazy settling in here but I figured I would share some pictures from my August running…my own “Coast to Coast”.

10 Mile Run in Maine - Marginal Way

Ogunquit Beach - 10 Mile Run - Maine

View of Bay from the top of Lombard St - California

Marina - My new neighborhood - (the flat part)

Golden Gate Bridge on my run through Chrissy Field

Alcatrez from Chrissy Field

Sausalito - View from lunch after trail running (Believe it or not this is the same day as the previous two pictures - SF weather!)

Alameda Beach Wednesday Morning

Running buddies do motivate

This morning I didn’t something very uncharacteristic of me in the last few months.  I got up and ran 8.3 miles before work.  I had so many good reasons to stay in bed and sleep this morning.

  • I had to meet Meredith and Martha at 5:20am
  • It was humid out
  • It was drizzling/raining
  • It’s Friday
  • Did I mention I had to get up at 5am?
However, I told Meredith I would run with her and I didn’t want to bail on her.   She was doing 10 miles to kick off her Chicago training and I wanted to get in 7-8 miles today so I could take Saturday off to rest before the BAA 10K Sunday.  Running buddies really do motivate you.  I didn’t want to let Meredith down by being a no-show so when I rolled over and saw 4:26am on my clock I made a mental note to fall back asleep quickly because my alarm was going off in 20 minutes.  It reminded me of the good old days.  Meredith and I used to meet at the gym at 4:30am and run anywhere from 10-16 miles on Friday morning so it wouldn’t cut into our beach time on Saturday. (We both have our priorities set straight 🙂 )  The only reason I got out of bed for those runs was because I couldn’t leave her standing in the dark outside of the gym waiting for me. Ok, that’s not entirely true but knowing she was going to be there helped.  
I’m going to try to get out and bed and run with her once a week from now until my move because soon enough I won’t be able to meet Meredith at 5:20am.  I’m going to miss those runs!   (And also running on flat ground)  I ran 6.5 miles with Meredith and then turned around and headed home.  
On my way back I noticed that Admiral Farragut was dressed in a Bruins jersey and had to snap a picture.  
I finished my run up and decided to treat myself to a Powerade Zero.  I know, it’s not really a treat but I hadn’t had a nice cold sports drink since marathon training and I thought 8.3 miles justified something other than water.  It was delicious.  I got back to my apartment and stretched and foam rolled.  I was feeling guilty that I was going to skip weights this morning so I decided to try some push-ups to make up for it a bit.  To my surprise I was able to do 10 REAL push-ups!  I was so excited!  All my upper body weight training has paid off!  I did 3 sets of 10 real push-ups and some PT exercises for strengthening my legs and hips.  All and all a productive morning before 7am.  
I spent the rest of my morning lounging on the couch, icing my foot, and getting ready for work.  I had nearly 2 hours between the end of my run and going to work so it was very relaxing.  

Thanks for motivating me this morning Meredith!