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 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 go 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 the 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 got 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!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

The In between

What does the in between marathons look like for me? Running, running and more running with some cross training mixed in!

I started working with a running coach who I met at the Louisiana Marathon - Coach GP. He knows of my quest to run a marathon in every state. He also knows that I want to qualify and run The Boston Marathon. This is our focus as a team right now - How I can improve speed and stay healthy to be able to someday qualify for Boston. I have to say working with GP so far has been one of the best decisions I have made! Just about 2 months later and my time is already improving drastically in lower mileage events!

My next state/marathon is 4 weeks from today! I am very excited to be going to run in Green Bay and be able to run through Lambeau Field - It doesn't get much better for a Packer Fan!! I am hoping to come in under 5 hours for Green Bay which would beat my last marathon time by 26 minutes!

Beside training I've had some race to keep me busy also!

Great Aloha Run - 8 miles of running with friends :)

Haleiwa 5k - Set my new current personal best for a 5k here!! Finished in 28:04! Beat my last 5k time  by over almost a minute per mile!

Hapalua Half Marathon - A friend from work completed her first half!

Hapalua Half Marathon - Set another personal best for a half marathon here too! Finished in 2:10:51 -- beat my previous half marathon time by OVER a minute per mile!! Was SO excited!!

My first trail run! Did the Kaena Point 10k trail run - It was tough but fun!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Louisiana Marathon

Meeting Bill Rodgers!!

I have so much love for the Louisiana Marathon. I know I have only run three so far but this is by far my favorite. And will be a tough one to beat! It only seems right to start with the Expo. Packet pick up was super easy which is always a plus. The expo itself had a lot of good vendors there and not as crazy expensive as the Honolulu Marathon expo was. One thing I loved that the LA Marathon did was they had all kinds of things to purchase with their logo on it - blankets, t-shirts, visors, wine glasses, pen, pint glasses, coffee mugs, coasters, etc. Very neat! So of course I got coasters and a pint glass!

Ticket pick up for the pasta dinner was pretty easy too. But the pasta dinner was AWESOME. The food honestly was mediocre. I don't have anything bad to say about the food but nothing overly exciting either! But Bill Rodgers spoke and then so did Matt Long. Both of them were amazing. Matt's story is simply amazing and he is such an inspiration! I got to meet both Bill and Matt at the end of the evening which was PERFECT! I bought Matt's book and both him and Bill signed it. Needless to say this marathoner was happy!

Meeting Matt Long


 The start of the marathon was 7 am and they asked everyone to be in the corral by 6:50am. Getting to the start was easy and parking was easy (which is always super nice!). It was so neat when you approached the state capital building where the start line was they had a light shining on it with the logo and name of the race! I thought this was super neat (Pic on right)! They asked everyone to courtesy corral - which I appreciate. It is always no fun to be darting around those much slower then you for the first couple miles.

Getting ready to cross start line

I have realized that the number of racers the Louisiana Marathon had was what I enjoyed most! Operation Jack was a bit to small and Honolulu was to big! Louisiana was perfect size.

The course was absolutely beautiful! Crossing the bridge and both the beginning and end was fun and a beautiful sight. The landmarks, lakes, houses, everything was simply beautiful. My only complaint was that miles 15-22 was an out and back through a residential area mostly. I wish they had this part first because it was the most boring part of the race and if it was first I think it would have been a bit easier. That being said crowd support throughout the neighborhood was amazing. The people of Baton Rouge throughout the entire course was AWESOME! They had awesome signs, a guy with a kong that him and runners would hit, people blasting music, etc. All of the crowd support made the race that much more awesome.

The race was very well supported also. Aid stations with powerade (I do wish they used something else, I am not a huge fan of powerade, but I drank it anyways), water, port a potties (Every mile!!) where about every mile. GU/Shot blocks where given a little less often but still very frequent. EVERY MILE. Awesome support the entire marathon. Also the course was very well labeled. And of course one of the most important thing - volunteers - they were amazing!

I would without a doubt run this marathon every year if it was closer to me. I will definitely recommend it!

Almost at the finish!

The finish festival was pretty neat. Each runner got a wristband with 10 punches on it for free food and drinks. There was a lot of options and it was super neat that they had a lot of vegan friendly options. I know that the race went out of their way to ensure they had vegan options also - major plus. The only complaint I have is for those who finished after 4:30 there was not a lot of food left. They need to work on this for those who finish later next year. If you have a 7 hour cut off - food should be around still for those.

What was this race like for physically? This was race #3 in 6 weeks. A couple days before the race began I saw this quote....

I had certainly not forgotten my most recent marathons - Honolulu or Operation Jack. But I wasn't worried about it. Honestly, the only thing I was worried about was chaffing under my arm. I had NOT forgotten how incredibly painful that was during Operation Jack and I feared running another 26.2 miles with that pain. I made sure I put deodorant on and Vaseline up'd my right under arm. Luckily for me this worked. However, my left arm chaffed just a bit under the arm. Though certainly not bad at all and it didn't start until about mile 22. Thank goodness!

Other then that the race went well. Of course I hit the half marathon mark at 2:30 (Right on track for a 5 hour finish) but then I began to weaken around mile 15 (I dropped to about 12 min per mile pace) until about mile 21. Then from then on I slowed a bit more. My glute muscles hurt again, though not as bad. And my left arch hurt a bit also. But it is a marathon - so normal aches and pain! My toes helf up SO well I was impressed!

Most importantly?

I PR'd this marathon too! So that means each time I have run a marathon I've beat my previous time!!
Finished in 5:26:51!!
I finished!

My mom was my support for this marathon! Us just after I finished!

Love the medal!!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

State 2: California - Operation Jack Marathon

State number 2. 18 days after my first ever marathon!

I have a routine when I run a marathon. Or when I go out for a long run. I like my routine - I am comfortable with my routine and knowing it will bring me success. I didn't stick to a single thing with my routine for this marathon. And it worked out just fine - it taught me I don't necessarily need to stick to my routine. I also realize that by traveling to 50 states from Hawaii to run marathons it is unrealistic to rely on routine. So thank you Operation Jack for making me realize this. 

So why the lack of routine you may be wondering? Well hubby and I decided to take a road trip through California for the holidays! We started up north and ended in San Diego. We ran the Operation Jack Marathon about half way in between - the day after Christmas! 

The day before the marathon we spent driving from Half Moon Bay to LA area - we took the 1 which took us much longer then I originally thought! Our food for the day was not consistent, but at least we had a consistent water/Gatorade intake! The days leading up to the marathon? Completely off our normal diet and lots of brewery stops! Hey - I wasn't missing any of what we wanted to do in California! Plus, my hubby is a bit of a beer snob - so of course we had to hit up some brewery for tours and try new beers. 

All of this led us to the morning after Christmas at the Operation Jack marathon.  I woke up not wanting to run a mile yet alone 26.2 of them that morning. I watched my husband crawl out of bed and begin to get ready to leave. I knew I needed to do the same. He was very excited because this was going to be his first marathon. I wasn't at the time feeling the same level of excitement. However, I dragged myself out of bed and began to get ready. We stopped at a local grocery store to get some bread and peanut butter for breakfast.

Did I mention that I was cold too? Haha! I was definitely not waking up to a Hawaii morning! We made it down to the parking lot at Dockweiler state beach park. We looked at the board to see what number we were assigned. I was bib # 106. We then stood in line to get our bib and t-shirt. I tried not to be a wuss and bounce around too much from the chilly temperature - but I failed. While waiting in line a friend I had met at the Honolulu Marathon and I knew was running Operation Jack found me. We chatted for a couple minutes and then I went and sat back in the car to warm up some! I know, I know, I'm a wuss!

As the start time was approaching I took off my jacket and got out of the car to stretch. Lucky for me it was starting to warm up (though not a crazy amount). I am learning that ideal temperature for marathons are such a temperamental thing! We all gathered around the start line, listened to the route and off we went! At .2 miles in we saw this guy.....
This guy was amazing. He ran the whole race (ahead of me) and was at numerous spots a long the course cheering all the runners on! You rock are we there yet guy! (His sign said more then that too!)
The course was beautiful along the beach. It followed a bike path where bikes were actively going the entire race.For someone into biking also, like me, this was actually neat. Most of the bikes that passed were really nice bikes and gave me something to gawk at. The weather was beautiful and I was doing well on keeping pace. My only goal at this point in time was to beat my Honolulu time. My secret goal was to get under 5:30. 
At about mile 5 I began running right on pace with another gentleman. He and I ran the remainder of his race together (He was doing the half) and we chatted the entire time. This was nice as it kept me busy and not in my own head the entire time. He was a really nice guy and I found out he will be out in Hawaii running the half marathon I'm signed up for in April. Maybe we will run into each other again! 
My running partner and I for about 8 miles.

The weather was warm but not too warm the entire time. This was amazing and perfect for me. All around - I was feeling good this race significantly longer then I did in Honolulu! The only major issue I ran into was I had forgotten to put deodorant on the morning of the marathon and I began chaffing under my right arm beginning at mile 6 and struggled with it the entire time. 20 more miles of chaffing was certainly no fun. At one point in the race (around mile 20-21) I considered stopping one of the many bikers going by and asking them to turn around and look for guy with bib #107 at the finish line and ask him to have athletic tape for me as I ran by for the final loop before finishing. But I didn't. But honestly I STRONGLY considered it. Here I am about a week out now and it is still bad and tender. I will never forget deodorant again in my life. 

I struggled less and less during Operation Jack with my butt muscles cramping. However that being said it still happened, but I got better at keeping it at bay and also getting it to go away. I didn't use the nuun liquid I usually use or train with but instead drank what they provided. Which I believe was something made by GU. At each aid station except the first (I always skip the first) I would take that and a water. This really seemed to help. 

I began to struggle around mile 23. But I finished it! And most importantly I beat both goals (barely!).... I beat Honolulu and I got in under 5:30
Official time for Operation Jack...... 5:29:52

Just squeaked in under 5:30!

Hubby running his first marathon!

 Rocked it!

Looking forward to the next one..... on my 25th birthday! Louisiana here I come!