Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Hood to Coast - 2007

My running group does HTC every year -- but it's a lottery so last year they didn't get in (first in a long, long time), so this year they were extra excited to go. We've been planning since last September I believe... and they really do a great job with the details. Oh yeah -- this group is comprised of a lot of Navy and ex-Navy guys and wives... it's a ball!

We had a later start time than normal so we left Friday morning. All 12 piled in to two 15 passenger vans - pretty nice and roomy to drive down in. We stopped and had lunch together and then headed up the mountain. Sherri, Fast Mike and & I changed into our running clothes as we were legs 1, 2 & 3. The entire group was up there and we watched Sherri start off down the mountain. Like she said, hers was a pretty insane down hill -- in fact, the first three legs of the race have warnings not too pound too hard as they are quad-busters! Nice, huh? She did great and was in great form!

Sher-Bear at the Start (yes, we all got nicknames al a Ernie)

Sher-Bear looking good on leg 1 downhill

She handed off to Mike and I was next... started to get a bit nervous, but that's okay. My first leg was 3.93 miles -- downhill, not quite as steep as Sherri's, but it was still a 900' elevation loss (for some reason I kept thinking it was 1500' loss but I was going down to 1500' in elevation so dur!), anyway, I chugged along and finished in 30 min on the nose -- a 7:33 pace.

Shenaynay coming in to transition

I handed off to Chris and then he handed off to Ernie who handed off to Alan. We had a lot of talent in our van. The guys run between 5:30s and 7:30s. Most in the upper 6 range. It was amazing to behold their power! Definitely comment worthy.

After we finished our cycle we handed the relay off to van #2 and headed off for some rest. Not a lot of rest going on, but I think we all managed a couple hours. The 2nd van radioed in when they were an hour out and Sherri, Mike and I got dressed and ready for round #2. This was in the middle of the night so it was plenty dark. Sherri and Mike ran their legs and then it was my turn to hit my longest of my three runs -- 7.25 miles. This was actually fairly hilly. The print out I got online didn't look like it but there were a few steady climbs but I was determined to run quickly. I headed out doing 8:20s but then slowed it down as I realized I still had 5 miles to go plus another leg. I kind of crapped out between miles 4 & 5 but got a second wind and finished pretty strong. My average pace for that was 8:47 pace. I felt pretty darn good and headed off for another banana and a cliff bar.

By the time we handed off to Van 2 my stomach was really sick, as were Sherri's, Mikes, Alans and Ernies -- I think Chris was the only one still feeling good. I think we all hit the port-a-potties way too many times during that rest period. I was having a lot of cramping (my opinion due to numerous cliff bars and bananas) we really hadn't eaten well/normal food in many hours and were suffering.

Sherri headed out on her last leg, which we knew she'd get through pretty quickly, and then Mike was off. He only had 5-ish miles to run so I knew I needed to be ready soon! Fast Mike, also nicknamed, Chubbs, is fast (averaged 6:05s for all his legs) so I knew I wasn't going to have much time to visit the port-a-potties. I went, literally, 5 times in an hour and still felt mega ill. I got ready for the hand off .....

Chubbs - you should see this guy's blue eyes -- mesmerizing!

I did okay the first two miles but then my stomach was churning and my sides were aching and it felt like I had little sharp pains everywhere. It was SO hard to run through. I was pretty upset with myself, to say the least, that I wasn't performing like I wanted and knew I could. I finished my 6 miles with a 9:48 pace and was very grateful to be done.

Hank's Bitch handing water to Ez E

Ez E climbing a hill

My pace overall for all three of my legs was 8:43 -- not too bad -- I really only wanted 8:45 or better so I achieved that goal and I had a blast with a great running group. Just so thankful to have found them years ago. It's nice having a group to do this kind of stuff with.

Definitely hoping to make it an annual event. Next year it's ON my birthday... what a great way to spend it!

Random pictures:

Hank's Bitch - very nice 26 year old... just started running in January and is great at it!

Shanaynay and Sher-Bear

Slug Van 1 w/Mount Hood in background

Hank - need I say more! LOL -- another great runner - he's only 20 but one of the politest, nicest guys I've known.

Slug Group - Hood to Coast 2007

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Pacific Crest Endurance Duathlon - My Second!

We left Friday morning around 10 AM to drive down to Bend. It's about a 6-7 hour drive, depending on pit-stops. We stopped at my SILs for lunch in Portland and then headed on. We had to check in on Friday, no race day packet pick up so we had to drive 20 min south of Bend to race headquarters. There we found out we had to rack our bikes another 25 min south of us at the lake. Let's just say Robb was not too thrilled with this delay of getting to his Aunt's house. We got to the bike T1 area at 7:55 and they were closing up at 8 so I was told I had 5 min to get in and get out. I couldn't really get my water bottles organized so I threw my bike on a rack and got out of there -- no time to go set up T2 area.

We got to my Aunt's around 9:30 and finally got to bed around 11. LONG day.

Race day: Got up and got ready -- Robb was taking me to the T2 area so I could set up running stuff so he was up and ready as well. Stopped by a grocery store and got some bottled water so I could fill my bike bottles. Got to T2, set running shoes out and Garmin and was off to the lake. I got there around 8 and got the bike prepped and got sooooo nervous. Robb left to go set up a camera area so he could practice getting motion shots with his camera. He told me not to get disappointed if he didn't get any of me because he wanted to follow the lead guys and get some of the faster people. I said fine... no worries. Have fun.

9:00 AM - Cannon goes off. This is a small-ish race but most of the people that come are hardcore. I was literally the fattest girl there. Now, this was okay but most of the time there are many that are "heavy" set.... not this time. We're talking loads of buff bodies and it was extremely intimidating. We left the race area by twos and were off. Most of the course was rolling hills. It was through the high desert - 4700' altitude. About 45 min into the ride I saw a man on the side of the road. Realized it was Robb and waved -- he was SHOCKED Shocked -- he wasn't expecting me at all and frantically grabbed his camera and took a pic. Guess I was riding a little faster than he thought.

At that time I'd been keeping about a 20-22 MPH pace and hadn't really slowed all that much. I was passing men that looked much fitter than me and was having a grand ol' time. Because I didn't have time to get all the water bottles set up on my bike the night before and because I was a bone-head that morning, I didn't have enough water on the bike so I had to attempt the water bottle grab they have set up in two places on the course. The first one came at the crest of a hill and I was completely freaked out about it. This is a hard thing to practice on your own... okay, I can't practice it. The last DU I did I didn't grab any water because I was afraid too. However, it was getting hot (75 degrees) and the altitude was making me really thirsty (think that's why - or maybe I was just peddling my ass off) so I needed to grab. Robb was at that water station and snapped some good pics of me coming in to it. LOL

Came up the hill -- AND, I end up passing the guy in yellow -- hehehe -- missed the first bottle, but got the second

Robb at this point yelled at me and said I was lookin' good and I was in the top section of riders. A lot behind me. Yippee... I'm thinking.

We did the turn around and started heading back on the 20ish mile stretch that would take us to the finish. I was passing people, and of course getting passed by those wickedly fast people that somehow started way behind me... could hear those wheels whoosh whooshing up on me and I'd get over as far as I could to let the Lance-types past me.

Got up to the second and last water stop - mile 35.... I grabbed the first bottle and missed. Grabbed at the second bottle and clipped the guys hand or he didn't release the bottle which threw my right arm back. My left hand was on the horn, but my body twisted and my front tire went completely to the side and BOOM down I went... I was sliding across the pavement and I just remember thinking I was going to suffer my first broken bone. LOL. I got up and didn't even think but whipped my bike up and tossed it off the course so no one would hit me. A couple of the bikers that saw me go down almost stopped but I yelled -- GO GO! I'm such a geek. Anyway, I was pretty shook up and was done. I sat there for probably 2-3 minutes thinking that the water-stop people would come see if I was okay.. Nope -- didn't care, didn't ask if I needed a medic or help in any way. Pretty pathetic in my opinion. Finally I asked the guy if I he had a cell phone so I could call Robb. He said -- In my car. And I not so nicely said... Can I borrow it please? I mean.. come on... I just wrecked, and I'm bleeding all over the place and the least he could have done was see if I was okay and if not that let me have his freakin' phone. I called Robb and told him I went down. He asked if I was okay and I said, I was -- but I was done and to come get me. He asked if my bike was ride-able and I told him I didn't know. I hadn't looked at it but told him to come back to talk me through what I needed to do. He later said it took him about 7 min from them time I called him to the time he got back to me. He got to the site and looked me over and said -- those will hurt... LOL... referring to the road rash down my right side. Before he got back I'd determined the derailleur was pushed back and the bike was unrideable. I sat down at one time and cried about five tears of anger because I'd get no friggin' medal, and my training was all for nothing. LOL. Again, I'm a geek. Anyway, Robb got there and helped me get the derailleur back to where it'd work but was still way out of whack. BIG NO NO in these races - it's a disqualification. It's against the rules to have anyone help you repair your bike. I thought the race officials went by at one time so I wasn't sure if they saw what I was doing. I decided I'd try to finish but didn't know if the bike would make it. I didn't dare use any low gears just because I didn't want to shift too much. I got kind of mad after I'd started back up again and just tried to kick it into gear. Passed a bunch of people the last 21 miles and felt pretty good going in to T2. I hit the bike mat at 3:06:29 -- not too bad for a 56 mile ride with a 10+ minute crash/pit stop. I'd have come in well under 3 hours without that. My official pace was 18.02 MPH but my bike computer had me just over 20 MPH. I think I'm getting better at biking.

Didn't really rush through the transition because I didn't feel like I had that much to lose. Got out of there at 2:47 -- which when looking at the results was a pretty average time. The transition are was a pretty far from the bike finish so one of the fastest times was 1:40 but there were some from 3-6 minutes as well.

The run started off BADLY. I'd eaten on the bike at mile 20 but then was schedule to eat again at mile 40 but didn't due to me being all screwed up by my fall. I'd hydrated okay but could feel my energy waining. Also, my right hip was aching.... the one that hit the pavement. It was just sore and I was wondering if I could make it. My goal for the run was to just average sub-10 min miles. I couldn't do that during my last DU so that was what I was aiming for. My first mile was 9:16 so even though I was hurting I was running okay. They had the water stops stationed every mile or so started about .3 miles from the start of the run. I ran to the water stop and walked through then ran to the mile marker and knew that if I just made it to the next water stop I could walk. I did that the entire run... just walked every mile through the water stops. I felt like I was just running numb. Not sure if I can describe it any other way. My body was tired, it was hot (about 80 at this point) and the altitude (4200') was hard on me -- but not enough to stop and walk more than the aid stations. I kept with my sub-10s the entire way. I kept thinking the next time my garmin chirped I'd see a 10 but the 9s kept popping up. I passed A LOT of people on the run, most walking and complaining about the heat. I didn't have the energy to talk to any of them. I ended up doing a gel at mile 5 and that may have perked me up, or possibly just made me not feel any worse.

I finally saw, or heard, the finish area and was happy to be done but felt really really great at I came in at 5:18:03. My run had taken me 2:08:57 -- so just under a 10 min pace (9:50) and that was my goal.. anything under 2:10. My last endurance du I did in 5:49 so this was a PR by 31 minutes. The courses are quite different though so not sure you can compare the two.

I got my medal and then wandered around for a bit and went to get my drop off bag. One of the really volunteers that helped me get my bag said -- Hey, there... you're pretty banged up. You need to see a medic. I told him I just wanted to go home. He said, No... go see the medic. LOL. He made sure I got down to the tent where they scraped the asphalt out of my elbow and arm and tended to my shin and other owies. He made me feel better as he showed me his road rash from not too long ago when he went down... shoulder and forehead. He was in awesome shape so it somehow made me feel better that it's not just the newbie-ish riders that go down.

Before the race started I told Robb to come to the finish line between 5:30 and 6 hours. I didn't think I could do it any faster than that. I was thinking 3:30 on the bike and 2 for the run. So, he had the girls and his Aunt and Uncle there and guess what? They missed me. I was in 12 min faster than I'd thought I could have done it in. Kind of bummed they missed me, but it was nice to beat my previous thought time too.

Anyway, if you got this far you deserve to be praised. Sorry it was such a long report.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Yakima River Marathon

I have to start this out by saying how wonderful Sherri, Becci and Heather did. I'm so proud of all of them and just get weapy when I think about the wonderful powerful women they are... mushy, I knowl. They just ROCKED!

Remember my high hip pain I posted about in the injury section? Well, it's back. Rolling Eyes I felt okay for the first part of the race but by mile 8 my hip was really nagging and was pretty painful so I had to slow my pace. Rolling Eyes First few miles were:
8:40 - mile 5
9:18 -- hip started shooting nice little jabbing pains that would radiate into my lower buttox and back. Fun, eh? Still, all the while I was having the best time of my life. I absolutely LOVE this course and am already planning my comeback next year. This was also the Maniac reunion so there were over 100 maniacs on the course. Just so fun to chat it up with everyone. AWESOME!
9:11 - mile 10
11:54 -- Mile 15 -- first REALLY large hill... had to walk a bunch of it.
9:18 -- so I decided not to kill myself and decided to walk when needed. Kept telling myself CHICAGO is priority and I don't want to run through too much pain -- still a little skiddish from the whole cast incident.
15:07 -- I walked a lot for four miles. Seriously I walked a lot and somewhere in these whole "walking miles" Sherri passed me like a whirl. WHOO HOO. She did fantastic and looked great. I was still having a friggin' ball. I have no idea why in the world I was such a happy camper today!
10:28 -- somewhere in this area my hip started feeling really good. I have no idea why -- just, like a switch I was able to really pick it back up. Yeah!
11:07 -- the other BIG hill -- I actually ran the ENTIRE thing. I felt so good and just kept going.

My finish time was like 4:35 -- I have no idea the "seconds" but I did sprint it in to the finish. So in the end I'm going to say this so far... out of 15 marathons... was my favorite ever. I just loved the course, the scenery was fantastic and just an overall joy to be out there even though I was stinking it up. However... it's MY marathon and MY time and I'm thrilled with it considering how bad the pain in my butt was....