Archive | October, 2011

Rock N’ Roll St. Louis 10/23/11

29 Oct

I made it through my crazy last minute dream of running a marathon on back to back weekends (with an excessively long taper)  to qualify for marathon maniacs. I’m not only half fanatic #1065, but now marathon maniac #4384! I love running into fellow maniacs and fanatics on race courses and chatting about running. Fanatics and maniacs are so supportive, and just an awesome group of runners that I’m proud to be a part of. Enough about me though, I’m excited to share my first RNR race experience!

I was bad about taking pictures at the expo. It was really awesome walking into the expo with rock music blasting, and getting to walk down the red carpet. I got to the expo right after opening on Saturday, so the crowds hadn’t arrived yet. By the time I left the expo was slammed, definitely arrive early if you plan to enjoy looking around at all the booths.

My first stop at the expo was the running skirts booth to see Heather!

I was thinking about getting the cute paisley skirt Heather is wearing, but she also talked me into trying on the heartstooth. I took both to the restroom to try on, and as soon as I walked out of the restroom to look in the mirror at the heartstooth, all the women in the restroom were oooing and ahhing over it. I ended up with the heartstooth, but loved the paisley too. Maybe I’ll get the paisley at Disney in January…

I walked around the expo a little more. Registered for RNR USA in March, and RNR St. Louis again next year. It was only $50 for each, plus I got a free shirt for each event! I also got my St. Louis rockstar picture taken.

It was starting to get crowded by 10. I had to go back to the official race merchandise area to get a shirt for my nephew, and felt like a fish swimming up streaming trying to get there. I left the expo a little after 10, and walked back to our hotel. I got a great deal on hotwire for the Millenium Hotel downtown, so I was able to walk to everything. It was nice not having to wake up my hubby to drive me to the expo or the race. He’s not a morning person like I am.

We ate an early lunch at our hotel, then headed to the St. Louis zoo for a few hours. Parking was $12 at the zoo. We ended up parking far away and walked so we didn’t have to pay. I was worried that all the walking would be hard on my already hurting knee, and to make things even more concerning, I totally brought the wrong shoes to be walking around the day before a marathon in… After seeing all we wanted to at the zoo, we went back to the hotel to rest for a couple hours before dinner. We ate at our hotel again for dinner. We ate at the top of the riverfront restaurant, which is on the very top floor of the Millenium Hotel, and has a great view. The restaurant rotates, so you get to see some amazing views throughout dinner.

View when we sat down.

There wasn’t anything on the menu that really seemed right to me, so I had a special pasta dish made for me. It was so good!

After dinner I headed back to our room while my Hubby went to watch the World Series. I went to be early, I had my alarm set for 5:30 the next morning!

Sunday morning my alarm went off, I got ready and headed to the start area. It was crazy how busy the streets were so early in  the morning. I met up with other fanatics and maniacs for a picture, then went searching for a short potty line.

The lines for the potties at the start were crazy, but closer to the back corrals the lines were quick. I texted Heather and told her about the shorter lines I found.

The start was quickly approaching, so I went off in search of my corral. There was definitely no one checking to make sure you were in the right corral here. I walked right in, and no one was even standing at the entrance. Maybe in the earlier corrals they monitor who is going in better. I was able to weave my way to the front of the corral and waited for the start.

After the first runners started, it took us about 15 minutes to get to the start line. Since I was in the front of the corral I was right up on the timing mats for the start. I had to try really hard to not start too fast.

We ran by Busch Stadium during the first mile. We were 5 days early for the celebration apparently.

The course was really scenic, and the weather was perfect. I ran the first couple miles, then started doing my Galloway intervals. I knew that I would need to back way off if I wanted to finish, so I took it really easy and just enjoyed the experience.

Around mile 4, my knee started to hurt. I stopped at a medical tent to see if they had any kind of muscle rub, but all the had was Tylenol 😦 I declined and kept running. The pain wasn’t too bad, so I tried to ignore it.

I took pictures to pass the time. I thought these mimes were hilarious!

Running through a balloon arch…

We split off from the 1/2 marathoners around mile 8. It was really lonely on the course fast.

My knee was starting to really bother me, and I seriously thought about taking the left turn with the 1/2 marathoners. I talked myself out of doing it because I wouldn’t qualify for marathon maniacs if I quit, plus I’ve never quit during a race, and I knew I would be so disappointed with myself.

The rest of the race was kind of a blur. I was trying to hard to keep going. There were so many supportive people along the course, it was amazing how many people came out to cheer us on.

The hills started to get bigger, and started coming more often in the second part of the course. I keep running intervals, but started to strategically plan my walk breaks for when I got to a hill.

The worst hill was right after mile 19. It was literally a mile and a half long!

A lot of people who live in that area were out supporting us, and telling us we were almost to the top (even if we weren’t.)

Made it to 35k, only about 7k more to go!

Another hill within 2 miles of the finish, ugh!

I could definitely tell that running previous marathons was helping my endurance. I started passing a lot of people who had simply run out of gas. I might have been hurting, but it actually hurt more to walk than it did to slowly jog.

Finally the end was getting near, and the spectators were saying it was just around the corner!

26 miles and still smiling!

I thought I dug deep and was running at a decent pace near the finish, but watching my finish line video, I look pretty pokey. I thought it was funny that I thought I was running so fast. I guess compared to my slow jog during the final miles of the marathon, I was running fast.

Finished with marathon number 3!

I hobbled to the medical tent after finishing to get ice for my knee. Of course once I started walking. the bag slipped a little and I ended up poking a hole in the bag with my finger when I tried to pull it back up.

Overall, I thought this was a great race. I’m glad that I signed up to run again next year. I’ll be anxious to see how the half course is compared to the full. I thought the full course was tough, but not as bad at the course I ran during my first marathon. I finished in 5:34:44, which is a couple minutes faster than my first, but my Garmin said I actually ran 26.7 miles, so my pace was even a bit faster than my first full.

My only complaints with this race are about the lack of food on the course. There were only 2 official food stops on the full course, luckily there were lots of spectators handing out packages of things along the course. Also, the lack of bio freeze or some kind of muscle rub at the aid stations was a bummer. I don’t know of any other races with medical stops that don’t have some kind of muscle rub available. In the grand scheme of things though, these are minor complaints. I can’t wait to run RNR USA in March now. Competitor does a great job organizing races!

Now that my fall racing is dying down, I’m finally starting to look towards Disney. 68 days until marathon weekend running starts! I have one more local half in a few weeks, but after that I’m done with racing until Disney! I can’t wait to run at my happy place again!

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Kansas City Marathon

16 Oct

I did it! Marathon #2 is in the books, and I finally feel like I ran a marathon instead of simply completing one! After hitting the wall early in my last marathon I was glad to follow a pace group that was a little slower this time, and it helped me finish strong.

I’m a bit peeved at my computer right now because it decided to close the internet after I’d finished most of a mile by mile recap of the race. Since I don’t feel like going back through and typing it all up again, I’ll do the cliff notes version.

  • The weather was cool and generally gorgeous the day of the race. I started out with arm warmers on, and had a heat blanket at the start to keep me warm, but once I started running I didn’t need anything to really keep me warm.
  • The bands along the course were great. There were noticeably more along the parts we ran with the 1/2 marathoners. I think there was maybe one during the 13 miles that we ran without the 1/2 marathoners.

  • I’ve learned at bigger races, that there always has to be someone wearing a crazy costume. This was true again during this race. We got passed by a couple bananas and a gorilla before mile 1.

  • Hallmark did a great job getting me excited for the aid stations. They must have donated a bunch of party cups to the race because most of the aid stations passed out gatorade and water in cute party cups. I got excited for the aid stations to see what kind of cups there would be.

  • KC may not attract the elitist of elite runners to its race, but it still attracts some fast runners. We saw these two when they were almost to mile 20. We hadn’t quite made it to mile 9 yet…

  • Running with a pace team is so helpful! I started with the 5:15 pacers, and they didn’t let me quit when I started to get tired near the end. They were so supportive and encouraged me every step of the way. Even when I was too tired to really talk near the end, they didn’t stop telling me how great I was doing, and were great at letting me know about what the course was like ahead. I felt like I was being coached through the birth of a child when they would warn me about a hill coming up, and then tell me that as soon as I got to the top there would be a downhill to relax on. I can’t say enough good things about the pacers and the group I ran with, they were sensational!

  • I ran smart and never hit the wall during this race. I credit that to the group I ran with, the weather, and keeping a nice steady pace throughout the race. I even ran some sort of negative splits. My 5K pace was 12:30, and all my splits after that were in the 11:50’s pace wise. I was exhausted at the end, but I was able to pass a lot of people the last few miles while I was still running and they were forced to walk.

  • Finally, this is what I ran an extra 13.1 miles for. A nicer finisher medal, and long sleeve tech finisher shirt!

  • Final Results:

I’m half way to Marathon Maniacs. If I finish RNR St. Louis next week I qualify. Hopefully my sore legs start feeling better in the next couple days!

Royal Family 5k recap

9 Oct

I’ve been seriously neglecting my blog since I haven’t run any races since August. I’m so excited to have races the next two weekends! I’m still debating between the 1/2 and the full marathon in Kansas City on Saturday, but I’m leaning more towards the full right now. I have to wait to change at packet pickup though, so I still have 4 days to talk myself out of the marathon.

Since I don’t have any races to recap from the recent past, I decided it would be fun to look back to Princess weekend in February. I did a recap on the 1/2 after the race, but didn’t talk about the 5k that I also did that weekend.

First of all, a 5k at Disney is definitely more expensive than local races. I can run a 1/2 around here for the price of the 5k at Disney. With that in mind, I was really anxious to see what the 5k would be like since it cost so much. As far as value for what you pay compared to other Disney races, you don’t get as much bang for your buck. It still was fun and well supported, so it wasn’t a total waste. I’m signed up to run the 5k during marathon weekend, so I obviously enjoyed this race enough to justify the hefty price tag again.

Now onto the report…

We had to be at the race early, just not quite as early as the 1/2. I forget what time we were up and had to leave the hotel, but it was definitely dark for awhile around the starting area.

Arriving at Epcot before dawn.

I was impressed with the starting area. Even though there weren’t corrals, it was just as nice as the other races at Disney.

Since we were there early, we had a chance to get our picture with some characters from Beauty and the Beast before the race. There was a long line, and the characters in the pictures rotated. Once we got to the front Gaston was the only character out.

Jeff Galloway was also there encouraging everyone before the race, and trying to talk runners into doing a  1/2 marathon at Disney.

Since the line for pictures with characters was so long we were late getting into the starting area. It was super tight in that area, and we ended up waiting outside of the fence until the race started.

You can see in this picture where the fence to the corral was. Someone moved the fence so everyone on the outside could squeeze in after the race started. You can see the start line in the distance.

This is a shot of everyone behind us. There were a lot of people doing the 5k!

The race started with fireworks like the other Disney races do, and then we slowly made our way to the start line. I didn’t time this race at all, but it probably took a good 2-3 minutes to start from where we were standing before the race.

In typical Disney fashion again, there were characters at the start to send us on our way.

The first mile was uneventful in the parking lot and looping around backstage. I didn’t know later that I would have to walk a good portion of that course again the next day to get to the starting corrals for the 1/2.

One thing I loved about this race was the fact that it was a distance that almost anyone was capable of completing. I had to take a picture of this family because I thought it was so sweet!

We ran into these guys on the service road before we got to the backstage portion of Epcot.

I completely missed the first mile marker, but soon after mile 1 was done, we entered Epcot. It was neat getting to go through the World Showcase, and that was where all the characters for the race were.

I had hoped to stop for pictures with all the characters during this race, but after stopping for a picture with Mulan, I realized the lines were far too long to do that.

We made it to mile 2 as we were leaving the world showcase through the international gateway to head backstage again.

We were backstage for a short time, then came back into the world showcase between the UK and Canada. I decided to enjoy random photo opps since I didn’t get the character pictures I was hoping for.

The flower and garden festival was just starting, so there were some great topiaries in Epcot.

I think this is the first time I’ve taken this picture without 100 other people in it.

Mile 3 was in the same place as mile 13 is for the 1/2. It was the same finish area as well.

After the 5k we got our medallions, and had our picture taken. Then we headed over to the food table and got our bag of food and drinks. I like that Disney gives you a bag of all the food to speed up the process, but I honestly wouldn’t have taken all the food they gave me if they didn’t have everything sorted into bags. I ended up trashing a lot of it before we went home.

We decided to take the monorail to MK to catch a bus back to the boardwalk since there isn’t a bus to that area from the front of Epcot and we didn’t want to use our park tickets that day.

So there you have it. The 5k was very laid back and a great way to start the weekend of running. I like the fun themes for the 5k’s at Disney, and that is one of the reasons I decided to run the 5k in January. The theme for that weekend is the Three Caballeros, which I LOVE, so it will be lots of fun.

Hopefully I’ll be back next week with another race recap from the KC 1/2 or full marathon!