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!

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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!

Disneyland Half Marathon Recap

This is a long overdue Disneyland Half Recap!  I’m going to keep it short because it was a few weeks ago and I want to move on to all the new things I’ve been doing!

I arrived at Disneyland on Friday night around 10:30pm.  I took a shared van to the Hotel and shared lots of marathon stories with other runners in my van.  It was actually really fun to be filled in on all the good and bad things of West Coast Marathons.

Saturday morning I slept in and then hit up Starbucks for caffeine and breakfast.  I sat out by the pool for a bit and read.  It was nice to be in warm weather as it was freezing in SF during August.  Annette (one of my cousin Heather’s best friends) and I headed for the airport to pick-up my cousin Heather who landed at noon.  The ride was really interesting…I’ll spare you the details but Annette and I had some good laughs.  🙂   We picked up Heather and then were off to the Expo!  Number pick-up first and then upstairs to get our shirts and shop around.  I was very excited because I was placed in Corral A!  I have never been in the first corral and I’m sure if it wasn’t Disney I wouldn’t be, but nonetheless, very exciting!


Saturday afternoon we headed over to Disneyland for the Pasta in the Park Party and of course some rides!  The Disney characters were at the Pasta Party and of course we had to take pictures with them.  (I know I’m 28 but it’s hard not to get into the Disney spirit!)  We headed home around 9:30 to get to bed early for the big race on Sunday.

Leah, Annette, Heather, Me, Leah and Addison

Me and Minnie

Pluto, Heather, Me and Mickey

We were up at 4am on Sunday morning.  First alarms went off before 4am.  Gross.  Everyone was up and out the door by 4:20am to take the shuttle over to the starting area.  Disney of course had a full show going with a ton of energy in the waiting the area.  They had a big video screen, music and very energetic (and happy) Disney people making announcements at 5am.  We did bag check and a bathroom run and headed off to the appropriate corrals.  Everything was really organized except the corrals – see Heather’s blog post re: corrals.  I made a friend in line, Katie.  We chatted and shared marathon stories, talked about different races and passed the time quickly waiting for the start.  We started right at 6am and because I was in corral A I wasn’t far behind the gun time.

Overall the race was awesome!  We ran through the parks for Miles 2-5 and then through

Me and Katie

the backlot.  I had to stop and use the bathroom at Mile 2.5.  I will spare details but I lost 2 minutes stopping.  ERRR – never had to do that before!  I was lucky because I was in the park and Disney opened all park bathrooms to runners – awesome because I wasn’t in a Port-a-Potty.  I spent the next 4 miles trying to catch up to Katie, my friend from the starting line.  I was running 8 min miles and one or two sub-8 min miles.  At the 10k marker I realized I had a great pace going and was definitely going to set a PR if I could keep it up.  I finally spotted Katie at mile 6.5 but she was running at a good pace so it took me a mile to finally catch her!  It was great when I found her again – she really pushed me.  We ran the rest of the race together.  It was awesome running through Angel Stadium, you could see yourself on the Jumbotron in the park.  At Mile 11 I was definitely starting to fade but Katie kept me going.  It was awesome to have a running buddy and someone to push me.  I finished the race is 1:50:53!  (And took a 2 minute bathroom break) I had a HUGE runner’s high after the race.  It was incredible, I forgot how fun it is to set a new PR.  It’s also fun to see that I am getting faster – all the hard work is paying off!

I got my bag, food, water and some ice for my foot and headed to the finish area to watch for my cousin Heather.  I got to see her finish which was really fun.  I never get to cheer people on so it was fun to be a spectator and I know that screaming my head off totally helped her pick up her pace to cruise to the finish line cutting 10 minutes off her personal best!  Amazing!  Also Congrats to Annette for cutting over 5 minutes off her time and Jamie for finishing her first half marathon!

Heather coming into the finish line!

Cousins!

The Girls!

The rest of the day we spent at the parks checking out the rides and walking around.  We finished off the trip with some celebratory drinks that evening.  It was a great weekend and event!

Cousins again


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

It’s official…I’m a California resident

Yesterday I became an official resident of the state of California.  I needed to switch my car registration over to CA in order to get a parking permit for street parking in my new neighborhood.  I headed down to the DMV first thing yesterday morning and changed over my license and plates.  I had to change my plates right in the parking lot of the DMV, it was a bit weird driving off with the “California” plates on my car.  

I still have my MA Drivers License but my new California license is on its way.  I had to take a written exam to get my drivers license.  I honestly was nervous, I haven’t taken an exam since college.  I passed – thank goodness.  I would have been mortified if I didn’t.

Bikes on the Google Campus that employees can use to travel from building to building

This past weekend was filled with mostly shopping and running.  I got a new microwave, TV, some awesome lamps (Thanks Uncle Dan!) and a bunch of other things.  I’m pretty much ready for move in day on Monday!

Friday night I went to see Sugarland with my cousins Hilary at the Shoreline Amphitheater.  The venue is right next to the Google Campus.  It was really fun driving around the Google compound – pretty amazing.  We had a picnic dinner and then headed for the show.  It was a great time!

I ran 10 miles on Saturday morning.  I normally wouldn’t run that far the week before a half but I felt really under prepared for the Disneyland Half Marathon (which is this Sunday) so it felt good to get 10 done.  I  used to run more than 10 miles before half marathons when I was training for the marathon so I think I’ll be okay.  Sunday I ran 4.5 miles, it was slow going at first but once I got into my groove it was a solid run.  I took yesterday morning off and ran 6 miles this morning.  I think I’m really getting back into my running groove and it feels good.  I feel stronger and healthier already.  🙂

Just a few more days until I take off for the happiest place on earth – Disneyland!

Disneyland Half-Marathon

This week I started training for the Disneyland Half-Marathon on September 4th!  I’m really looking forward to this race because it’s my first Disney running event!  My cousin Heather pretty much only runs Disney events so now I get to see what the hype is about.  🙂 (Just kidding Heather)  Heather is of course running this race too!  I couldn’t have her come to California and run a Disney race without me!  I’ll be running on behalf of CNS – check out my page here.

I’m actually really looking forward to this race.  I have decided that after trying to overcome tendonitis and IT band syndrome, and not to mention moving across the country that I will not be running the Chicago Marathon.  I am sad about that but their is always next year.  I just don’t want to over do it and really injure myself.  I’m excited to focus on half-marathons for a bit.  It will give me a much needed opportunity to improve my speed.  (I do need to run a 3:35 marathon if I ever want to qualify for Boston – that’s an 8:12 pace!)

My goal for this half-marathon is to finish in under 1 hour and 52 minutes.  My reach goal is to finish in less than 1 hour and 50 minutes.  I’m training for the 1:50 time but I’ll be happy if I can just finish in under 1:52.  I’m following the Ryan Hall Half Marathon training plan.  Meredith and I used this training plan last summer when training for the Boston 13.1 Half-Marathon.  I cut significant time off my marathon last time and it was a great base for training for a marathon because it goes up to 16 miles.

Week one is going well so far!  Interval training went well – I ran 8:20 or 8:13 intervals and felt great!  I did my 4 mile tempo run at half-marathon goal pace – so I ran it at 8:20 min miles on treadmill (too hot and humid to run outside yesterday afternoon) at a 1% incline with a 1 mile warm-up and cool down.  It feels awesome to have 3 of my runs done (the 10k on Sunday counts as one) and to have done all 3 so fast.  Today and Monday I also did weights and tomorrow is my cross-training day – spinning.  Friday I tackle 10 miles bright and early with Meredith.  It feels good to have a plan again!