Friday, March 27, 2015

Disney World Marathon

Oh man.... This post is a bit late! The Disney Marathon (And surrounding vacation) was phenomonal! Tom and I flew in on his birthday and met up! He was coming from home and I was meeting up with him from a work conference in Mexico (Who can complain about that??). We got to Orlando and then headed over to Disney - We stayed on the grounds and did a food package too - Which was perfect. Basically we didn't have to worry about a thing while we were at Disney which was so perfect. My family (Aunt Ellen, Aunt Shelley, Uncle Mike) flew in to FL and spent a couple days with us in Florida also which was so cool! It is always so good to see them and we appreciated having them there for support (And good luck! I seem to PR when they are around!!) The pic to the right and above is us with our family in the parks - We had so much fun checking out the parks with them!

A couple days later my great Aunt Katie came up to meet us - And we all celebrated her birthday at a yummy Irish restaurant! So good to see her!
Like most race mornings - It came SUPER early. Tom and I took the Disney shuttle bus over to the beginning of the race. It was pretty chilly, so I wore some clothes that I could "throw away" before the race. We also met up with a friend from Colorado who was running her first marathon - Tabi! We spent some time just relaxing, not wasting much energy before the race. When it was time, we went to our appropriate corrals and began the journey (Felt like a long walk) to our actual corrals and the start of the race. The Disney World Marathon corrals you based off of previous finishing times. It was really cool because they released the corrals at different times, but each corral got the same send off. For corral fireworks went off and the announcer was very energetic. This was one of the many awesome touches that Disney had which was so cool, it was nice that each corral got the same send off and fireworks - For those of us not in the first corral it made it much more fun and kept the energy going!

When they got to my corral - I remembered my goal and my plan for the race and off I went. The course was awesome and I loved the Disney touches. Seeing the Magic Kingdom castle all lit up (It was still dark-ish when I came here) coming up to it was nothing short of magical - Seriously! It was beautiful, and they had Elsa and Ana up on the castle too. Running through the castle was also really amazing. They had characters out a long the course - If I weren't pushing for a PR this would be the race to stop and take pictures. Which plenty of people did - I passed LINES of people waiting to take a picture with a character mid race. Crazy!! Aid stations were plentiful and well stoked. Other cool perks was that when you ran through the parks the employees where there cheering you on. All the parks except Epcot where closed when I ran through them so it was nice to have that extra support from their employees in a place where other crowds couldn't gather and cheer you on! It was so awesome to see family at different points along the course too! I was pushing for a 4:30 time, but didn't quite make it... I finished in 4:34 which was still a 7 min PR off my previous best time! I was stoked!
PR for us both!

Picture post race with our family who came from Wisconsin to cheer us on!

Post race we celebrated with my family and spent another day at Disney. After that my family headed home and hubby and I continued our Florida vacation. We spent a day at Universal Studios, road tripped around Tampa, made lots of Brewery stops and spent some time in the Keys before flying home on my birthday from Miami.
Us at Hogwarts at Universal Studios!!
Us at the Kennedy Space Center - So cool!

We did an airboat tour in the Everglades - Saw crocs and got to hold a baby!

One of the many beers we tried. This was one of my favs - German Chocolate from Funky Buddha. We need a Funky Buddha here in Hawaii!

Exploring the Keys - Saw adorable Key Deer, visited the Southernmost point in the USA (Continental)

Checking out the beaches in the Keys
Key Lime pie in the Keys - yummy!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Next up: Diseyworld!

My next marathon in January 11, 2015 and it is the Disneyworld Marathon in Orlando, FL. I am SO excited! I visited Disneyworld years ago, before I got into running, but ironically at the same time the marathon was happening. I wanted to so badly run this race after being there and I am excited to finally be doing just that. 33 days until Disney!!

The time between the Maui Marathon and knocking off another state has been a lot of training - And lots of key races to improve my speed. And improving my speed it what I am doing! I am still working with the coach that I met in Louisiana back in January and I am beyond grateful for him and the team we make - It is making me so much better of a runner.

So what is the is between look like for this training period - Lots of fun things!

Trail running NZ
Well to start with shortly after doing the Maui marathon Tom and I went on a vacation to New Zealand for 10 days... Both the North and South Island. We did so many fun things - Mountain biking, bungee jumping, ice climbed on a glacier, rode in a helicopter, visited Hobbiton and so much more. We also squeezed in some trail running....

Trail running NZ
Trail running NZ

Trail running NZ
Trail running NZ

After coming back from New Zealand I did the Race for the Cure 5k with my husband and some friends - Where I set a new PR - This training period has been all about breaking PRs!
Race For the Cure - Time 27:51
A couple weeks after that I did the Kailua Surfriders 5k and broke the previous PR I had set a couple weeks ago. Not only that... but for the first time ever I placed in my age group - First place!! So exciting!
Kailua Surfriders 5k - Time 27:33

Rewarding myself with comfy pants and Starbucks after a long, chilly run in the pouring rain!

On Thanksgiving we did the 10 mile Turkey Trot, a 10 mile no watch race - I used a watch though because I was using this as a training run! Fastest 10 mile run I've done to date!! 9:36 pace!

After the Turkey Trot - Feeling good - Ready for pie!

 And most recently, the last 5k I completed! Sams 5k - On Dec 7th - Crushed my goal time set by my coach and beyond excited about this race. Another PR from this race in both the 5k and fastest mile! Overall pace of 8:35!! So exciting!! Hard work is paying off!

Sams 5k - Time 26:58

And on top of running - Lots of biking in this trainings series... Who can resist a ride on a good bike, which has finally been named - Shadowfax, nerdy and perfect. 
Quick snack break in the middle of my 40 mile ride.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Maui Marathon

 Marathon #5 for me may not have knocked off another state but it did knock off another Hawaiian Island and I learned so much from this marathon. First off, this race was brutal. Tough was an understatement for me. Hubby and I flew over to Maui Saturday morning, Sept 20th. We rented a car and spent the day exploring areas of Maui we hadn't been before and favorites we had. We drove the island, stopped at a local winery, had some tasty food, relaxed at the hotel and went to bed early the night before the race (7:30pm!) for a 2am wake up race morning.

View from inside a cave at Wainaps. Beautiful - Love it here!

Race morning came quick.... Up by 2am... Or I suppose finally pulled myself out of bed by 2:30am. Got dressed and ready - ensuring I followed routine and had everything I needed with me. Grabbed breakfast and we headed to the shuttle buses. The last bus left no later then 3:45am so we had to make sure we got there in time. We got to the buses around 3:30am and we were on our way. The buses drove us to the start line and dropped off us where we had to run the 26.2 miles to get back to the hotel.

The pre-race was great at Maui! Plenty of port a potties - which is always a plus. Any runner knows that a place with enough port a potties that doesn't require waiting in line pre race is pretty awesome! The Maui marathon also had some fruit and other stuff at the start which was a nice touch given how early we all had to make our way over and food options were limited unless you bought stuff the night before (Which we did) but it was still nice to have the option!

View from our hotel the night before the marathon - Breathtaking!
And it was so Hawaiian - Before the race started they had a fire dancer come out and perform which was pretty awesome! After that we made our way to the start line where a bit of a fiasco occurred. A drunk driver drove into the crowd of runners at the beginning. Luckily for all of us he was going super slow. He clipped one of the performers, a drummer and dragged him but luckily he sustained just minor injuries. Thank goodness. It was quite the adventure to a start of a race and I am thankful no one was more injured and he wasn't going fast!

About 10 minutes after the original start time of 5am we finally started. Right away it was super hot and muggy.... By a half mile in I was already sweating. Never a good sign. My coach and I had set a time goal of 4:40 for this marathon which was a small PR off of my previous time. I figured out my time goals for different mileage points. I ran a smart half, I banked a bit of time because I knew there was a couple miles of hills between miles 9 and 12. By the time I got done with the hills I was a couple seconds a head of my goal time. By the half marathon mark I was a couple minutes a head of time to hit my 4:40 goal. I was feeling good - strong. My legs felt great.

By mile 15-16 I started feeling what seemed to be a side stitch on my right side. I tried what normally works to get rid of it. Though, it was weird because I haven't been getting them recently and especially not that far into the run. I couldn't get it to go away... By mile 22 it had made it's way down my side and further into my lower abdomen. By this point I felt like someone was taking a knife and stabbing me and twisting it around while doing so. It was so painful! I couldn't kick it. So I'd stop and walk for a bit until the pain seemed to subside and then run again and then it would rear its ugly head again. So I spent those miles run/walking trying to keep the pain manageable. It was terrible.

And to top it all off it was HOT - Brutal. And the course had no shade. The sun was full blaze by the half marathon mark. I was saturated in sweat... So much so I could hear my feet squish in my shoes because of how wet they got. I did everything right - Fueled and hydrated how I should but I couldn't get rid of the pain in my side. But god knows, I was going to finish.

And finish I did. Almost 40 minutes past my goal time. Though somehow, with my second best marathon time still. I met my hubby at the finish line and found out he had a pretty brutal race himself and he also got his second best marathon finish time.

So far - that was not my best race. It was not my toughest set of races (3 marathons in 41 days beats that) but when the wonderful volunteer put the beautiful medal around my neck for some reason I felt like I had worked the hardest to earn this medal over others in the past. It was such a good feeling! Earned another medal, another race and learned a lot about myself along the way.

The course itself was beautiful - Amazing scenery and the course support was well done. The volunteers were great and I was thankful for their encouragement and random spectators encouragement along the way. The aid stations were great, well stocked and the volunteers were great. Maui put on a beautiful and well supported race. So far if I had to recommend a Hawaii marathon out of this or Honolulu I'd choose Maui in a heartbeat.

We finished!!
Finishers medal!


Friday, August 1, 2014

My first Triathlon - Tinman Tri!

A friend of mine convinced me to join the Tinman Triathlon and do it with her - 750m swim, 24 mile bike and 10k run. I was really nervous because I am a terrible swimmer... But after I swam the actual course for the Tri I felt so much better!

I  was SO thrilled with this race. I wanted to finish in under 3 and a half hours. I finished in 3 hours and 5 minutes! So stoked!

Some pics...
The night before - Getting ready

Before the start of the race
Starting the Run

Finishing the run! Sprinting to finish!

Me, Gavin, Jessica 

Hubby and I!

Friday, May 30, 2014

State 4: Green Bay Marathon

State #4 was Wisconsin and as a loyal Packer fan I was SO excited for this marathon. How could I not be? You end the marathon with a lap around Lambeau field and running through Packer tunnel before heading to the finish line. Sweeeet!
Hubby and I left for Wisconsin the Thursday evening before the marathon - very late, as most flights from Hawaii are red eyes. We arrived in Milwaukee mid afternoon Friday. First things first we made a stop at the Lakefront Brewery in Milwaukee. We have a tradition that each trip includes a brewery tour and we take home a pint glass for a souvenir. This trip was no exception. My two aunts met us down there for a tour and tasting - We had a wonderful time!
Lakefront Brewery! With Aunt Shelley and Aunt Ellen
Tom, me & Aunt Shelley

After the brewery we headed to the go to dinner with the rest of my family and hit up another local brewery! We had a great time Friday evening!
Saturday morning we went up to Green Bay - it was a couple hour drive and lucky for us my cousin drove hubby and I so we got to sit back and enjoy the ride (we appreciated this even more coming back post marathon!) When we arrived in Lambeau we headed to lalalala..... LAMBEAU FIELD! How awesome is that? We quickly moved through the packet pick up and expo. A note about the expo and pick up. I thought it was weird that they had you pick up your packet and then go up to another floor to get the t-shirts. They even had signs on all the doors leaving reminding you not to forget your t-shirt. Why not just do it together? The expo was small, but I'll be honest I only did a quick loop before leaving the expo. We then went to lunch - QDOBA! My love - it is a shame Hawaii does not have such goodness. After lunch we went back to Lambeau to do an 1.5 hour tour - this was SO cool and a MUST while in Green Bay!

Packer Tunnel.... (Ran through this ONTO the field!!)
Go Pack Go!
Down on Lambeau field!
Marathon morning came early! By 4:50am I had finally managed to roll out of bed and eat my post run meal which consisted of a piece of toast with peanut butter and a banana. I dressed, got all marathon ready and headed down to the hotel lobby to meet my support crowd and we caught the shuttle from the next door hotel to Lambeau.
I used a sharpie on my arm to remember paces at certain miles and my overall time goal - 4:45!
This was so convenient that the marathon offers this. Another awesome thing the hotel we stayed at automatically began breakfast earlier and offered late check out Sunday (no charge!) because of the marathon. Thank you for being so accommodating Baymont Inn and Suites!

Tom and I waited near the start of the race with my family until it got closer to the finish line. I was a bit nervous because it was so chilly. I was bundled up in my sweater and sweats with my hood up. About 10 minutes before the start I finally decided to ditch the sweater and sweats (But leave my long sleeve over) and headed to the start line. Gave my hubby a kiss - wished him good luck and settled in by the 4:45/4:30 pace groups to start. Before I knew it - we were off and I was on to marathon and state #4! Woohoo! I kept remembering what my coach told me to stay patient and I kept reminding myself to keep myself under control and not start out to fast. For the first 5 miles I paced myself and was having a blast! Around mile 5 I joined up with the 4:45 pace group. At mile 6 I decided I needed a potty break.
P.S.... Potty breaks are the worst especially when you have decided to stick with a pace group and you have to catch up with them. It took me until almost mile 10 to catch up with the pace group again because I didn't want to go super face and tire myself out and not be able to hit my goal. I caught up with the pace group again though - and ran with them the remainder of the way. Never running with a pace group before I have to admit I quite liked it. I enjoyed having people to talk to and having people who were aiming for the same time encouraging each other. At times we really kept each other going.
Around mile 11 or so I left my long sleeve with my family. Who by the way were AWESOME! They made it to multiple different spots throughout the course to cheer both me and my hubby on it. It was so awesome to see them along the course and have their support - it meant so much!
We hit the half way point and I felt great. I knew I was on target for my goal time as I was still a couple minutes ahead of schedule. I was determined and I made sure I continued to fuel correctly. I took water and Gatorade at every aid station (even if just a little) and I made sure to have GU every 45-50  minutes. At mile 20 I had one every 3 miles (Mile 20 and 23). Even when the dreaded 18-19 miles came I still felt great. In the past this is where I have really began to slow and pain creeps up on me. It didn't happen this time. Sure I had my aches and pains - but overall I still felt pretty darn good. I felt much stronger this race then past races.
Running a lap around City Stadium (Where the Packers played long ago) was awesome. It was made even cooler by one of the girls I was running with went to that high school and was filling me in on little city facts as we ran. It was pretty cool!
Mile 23 came - we stopped for a quick group photo of our pace group (See below) and then continued on. Just around mile 24 our group thinned to just 4 of us and we even lost our pacer (She dropped back to help someone). But we powered forward. 4 of us. We kept motivating each other, we kept encouraging and we kept going. At one point someone yelled "7 more blocks to go"... We couldn't have been more excited. I am pretty sure we went more then 7 blocks!!
When we finally turned the corner and saw Lambeau and the path to enter I was SO excited. We were SO close! I was  SO close to coming in under my goal. I ran through Packer tunnel and entered Lambeau field - HOW COOL! I did a lap around Lambeau with one of my 4:45 pace group friends (Barb) with me and it was SO cool! We exited Lambeau through Packer tunnel and made the last push toward the finish line. As we got close I still had gas in me to sprint (This didn't exist on any of my other marathons!) to the finish line... So Barb and I pushed and we sprinted to the finish. As soon as we crossed the finished we shared a hug and congratulated each other, received our medals and took some pictures together. There is nothing like runner friends - those who finish side by side and understand what you just went through and understand your accomplishment (whatever that is personally to you!)
I saw my family as I was finishing too and that was so awesome. Walked through the finish corral and met up with my family and hubby.
Final time... 4:41:23!!! I couldn't have been more excited. Not only did I beat my goal time of 4:45 but I also came in 45 minutes under my previous best marathon time. Hubby finished in 3:28 and some seconds - he cut off over a half hour off his time too!
Green Bay put on a great event. Aid stations were spot on throughout the course with port potties, plenty of water and Gatorade, GU, popsicle stations, root beer stations, chocolate stations (Which I skipped the last 3 but still way cool). Crowd support was awesome! We also lucked out and had perfect running weather... Chilly 45ish at the start but ended in the mid 60s.

Around mile 11 I believe?
Mile 23 - Remainder of the 4:45 pace group
Finishers medal!

We did it! Marathon #4 for me and #2 for hubby!

Us with our awesome support crowd! THANKS AGAIN FOR COMING! Love you all!

After the race I ditched my vegetarian ways momentarily (I think I earned it) and indulged in the best burgers ever.... FIVE GUYS! We can't get it on Hawaii so boy was it quite a yummy, greasy treat. After lunch we headed back to my Aunt's house and shortly after that Tom and I left for Milwaukee to meet up with his family. That night we helped set up for his Grandma's 80th birthday party and the next day we celebrated her 80th birthday with the family.

All in all - a good trip and can check off another state on my journey!

Some family at Grandma's 80th birthday!

Grandma Maggie about to blow out the candles!