20th Marathon: Huntsville Marathon 2015

Writing this while it is still fresh in my mind....it is a little raw. 

First: a thank you to my friend Brett. At the beginning of the week,  my running friend Brett offered his bib to a willing runner, I right away raised my hand and was lucky enough to receive it. Thank you Brett!

This was my 20th marathon. I had different expectations for my 20th, but instead, I received probably the very best experience I could ever hope for my 20th. 

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What a beautiful course! Perfect time of the year to see the leaves changing color. I was very excited to try out this new, to me, course. I have only heard great things about the race and I wanted to give it a try. The volunteers were awesome and each aid station was well stocked, and every volunteer expressed their concern about the heat and being hydrated. Thank you race event managers for such an awesome event! 

The race has a unique start time of 9:00am, I didn't realize this until a couple of days ago. The late start allows one to sleep in, totally thumbs up on sleeping in, however, it does mean that temperature may be a little higher than usual. This time of year, Utah typically has lower temps, but that was not the case today. 

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The race started and just a few miles in, I knew I was in trouble. It was hot! By 6 miles, it felt like I was cooking inside an oven. Training in the early dawn got me used to running at cooler temps, now I see the value of training at 5pm. At mile 10, I started looking at it as a crossfit chipper. The course had aid stations every two miles, on the odd miles. So I started looking forward to the odd miles to get a drink and to cool off. At mile 14, I started slowing down, it was hot, way too hot and I couldn't cool off with the water, so I slowed down to keep my core temperature low. 

Around mile 17, I wanted to quit. All I wanted was to stay out of the heat. There was a little river running down the side and all I wanted was to jump in it and lay my body down in the water. I knew I couldn't keep my pace, I knew I couldn't achieve my desired time, so I had to choose: finish or DNF. I cannot quit, I don't have it in me to quit, not when I can still walk. So, I continued with a new mindset, finish. Finish the race is better than quitting. Walk, walk to keep the body temperature low and stop at every aid station and get water and gatorade. After mile 18, each mile became a chipper, one at a time, walk for about 1/4 of a mile, then make my way to the next mile, then repeat. 

At mile 20, I had to reach out to my hubby and to my friend Lizzy. I turned on my phone and started texting them, I needed encouragement. I needed a reason to keep going. Both of them gave me the words I needed to hear. I took a picture or my attempt at taking a picture with shaky hands at a mile marker. I don't know why I was so shaky, but I could barely type or hold my phone. 

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Did I mention that my ipod died at this point from throwing water on it? Ya, lucky me! 

I want to call mile 24 the miracle mile, I was hot, I had done a lot of walking at this point and I wanted to encourage those around me, but I couldn't even talk. Then, to my surprise, there was a little table around the bend and a lovely couple had set up an aid station with the red tall cups full of the coldest water I tasted all day. I grabbed two cups, and thanked them for their service. They literally saved me at this point. I drank and drank, then I poured the rest over me. Thank you. I wish I had gotten your names to thank you properly.  Around mile 24.75, a group of girls were handing things out, I couldn't make it out from a distance, I shuffled my way to them, and to my surprise, they were giving away popsicles, yummy, icy popsicles! Thank you to you too darling girls! 

Making my way to the finish was all but a struggle. I would walk and run and go back to walking because I just couldn't run. My body was shaking from head to foot, I was hot but yet, I was shaking. 

I passed the last aid station, around mile 25, then I crossed a street, my garmin said I was around mile 25.4 but the mile marker said I was at mile 25. A mile has never felt so long, as this one. I wanted to run it, but I couldn't. I walked a little, and then far away (about a block) I saw my little Nyahbelle running toward me. I knew then the end was near, but I couldn't see the Finish Line. 

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Nyahbelle reached me and she started running with me, then my son, Bryant joined me. I was in the middle, each one by my side. Each one encouraging me. We made the last turn to the Finish Line and I wanted to cry. It seemed so far away. I had to walk. I asked my children to slow down, I couldn't run. I gave myself a few steps, then we picked it up. My kids kept encouraging me and running, right beside me. They slowed their steps down to stay with me. My son, my little coach, kept telling me, over and over "mom, you've got this! "mom, you can do this". I wanted to cry and curl up on the side of the road, under a shady tree, but instead, we kept going. They carried me with their encouragement through the finish line. I got my medal and then I had to lift my foot for the volunteers to take the chip off my shoe, and I was about to fall, both of my children were right next to me, holding me up. Then, a volunteer came and offered me ice, and we found a chair for me to sit on. Having my children run through the Finish Line with me and helping me get there was probably the very best gift ever for my 20th marathon. 

They (my children and my hubby) have been with me during this entire journey...and they keep being my number one cheerleaders. Even when I ruin their weekend plans with my races. I love them dearly. 

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Running a marathon is not easy. It is not supposed to be. It is mean to test our limits, physically and mentally. Today, I was tested. I am pleased to say that I passed (barely).  Today's marathon was exactly what I needed for my 20th. I needed to realize and remember the complexities of a marathon. No, it was not perfect however it made me realize that I have the very best support group on my side. 

I am grateful for the support from my family and friends. For the love, example, and encouragement. 

Time: something around 4:13:xx


Nebo Half Marathon


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Getting back into the swing of things it is not always easy. I have been diligently training since about March. By diligently, I am referring to waking up at 5:55am Mon/Wed/Fri and running 4-6 miles, and then throwing a longish run in there on Saturdays. However, I have slacked off on speed-work and hill-work. Lacking these two components in my training is showing its ugly head.

Obviously, my lack of training has been showing and racing days have not been the same as before. Truth is that I am lacking the "umph" to run when it hurts. I am racing, but when it starts being painful as in painfully hard, I back off. I don't want to hurt. I don't want to push myself pass the pain. Something happen between the knee surgery and the time I took off from running. I would like to say that I got "smarter" but I don't think that is it. I lost my racing mojo...hopefully I'll get it back. 

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On September 5th, my hubby, my good friend Liz, and I decided to go down to Payson, UT and run the Nebo half marathon. We got down there the night before...with only minutes to spare before packet pick up closed. Thankfully,  our good friend Jorge stopped by packet pick up, in case we couldn't make it to pick up our packets! He is awesome like that! By the time we got there, about 7:55pm, he had our packets ready for us! Yay!

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Race morning came early, up by 3:45am. Ya! We are so crazy! The worst part--we pay for this! 

The course was spectacular, beautiful views for about 11 miles of the course. First 8 miles steep downhill, then the course continues downhill but at a lesser degree.  I flew through the first 8 miles, then I hit a wall, my nutrition wasn't kicking in and having been sick for 3 weeks straight beforehand came down hard on me. I try to keep the pace going, but I just couldn't must the energy. By the time mile 11 came, I just wanted to be done. I walked through the aid station, and grabbed gatorade and water, hoping that it would give me the energy to finish. I didn't want to hit any 9 minute miles during this half, so I kept going. I took a mental note of all my aches and realized that it wasn't that I was in pain, my legs were fine, my arms were fine, my lungs felt okay, my gut was hungry but nothing unusual. So, what was going on? I didn't have it in me. Simply put-I didn't want to push myself.

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Crossing that finish line, I was grateful for finishing yet I was disgusted in myself for not pushing harder, for giving up. Mentally, I lost it around mile 10. But there is always another race, another day. 

Nebo Half 2015


TOU Half Marathon

TOU HALF 2015

My hometown half marathon! One of my favorite races of the year as I get to see a bunch of my running buddies from all over town. 

A few of us from our morning group took part on the event.

Like always, the TOU 1/2 didn't disappoint. Great course, excellent aid stations, and despite the nasty air from the fires around the neighboring states, it was a beautiful sunny day. 

Race wise: I knew it wasn't going to be my fastest. I was sick for two week straight prior to race day. I had severe sinus and ear infections so I knew that I was going to be out there still a bit under the weather. However, I was there to have fun and I did have fun. Even when it got hard, around mile 11, I was still enjoying myself. 

At the end, my friend Adrian met me and he helped me on the last 200 meters. I push hard on that last bit and I crossed the line spent. 

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After I finished, I waited to see my running friends come in. Each one of them gave their all as they were running through the finishing chute. Awesome gals, so grateful to run with them in the mornings. 

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I even got to snap a picture with my sweet friend Paige. We used to work together, she was my advising mentor. I sure miss her at the office. 

TOU 1/2 2015, another great race day!

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Canyon City Marathon-Running on Clouds

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What a gorgeous, scenic marathon! Definitely, this marathon takes the number 1 spot in my list for beautiful marathons. 

Have you ever ran on clouds? If you have ever had the experience to run at high elevation and surrounded by mountains, you probably have seen what I experienced this last Saturday. As we descended down the canyon in Azusa, California, the paths were clean, the mountains looked pristine, and then as your eyes looked down the mountain, you could see all the fluffy gray and white clouds. It was a run of dreams! I have never had a chance to go to Peru, but I have seen some of the beautiful pictures of mountains and clouds leaving the top of the mountains exposed, as I was running down the mountain, I was thinking that probably that is what Peru looks like. I loved every moment running down that canyon. If I had had a camera, I would have taken a gazillion pictures. 

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Running wise--I did AMAZING considering that I did not train for the marathon distance. I actually came into the marathon with 2 training runs, both of them 5 milers. However, I have been attending crossfit religiously and teaching my Zumba class. I finished in 3:46:26, not too shabby for not having trained. However, I did feel my lack of training up every hill. I typically do not walk up the hills when I train, but the lack of training meant walking every single hill. 

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25 things that went through my head during the race and after: 

1.  After getting off the bus--It is so pretty up here. 

2. As everyone around was complaining of the cold--it is so warm compared to back home.

3. Getting ready to start--crap, I am going to run 26.2 miles. I really should have trained. 

4. The first bit of the race--they said it was downhill, this looks like uphill to me. 

5. Oh crap! It is downhill. Hold on knee!

6. Hey, I am running on clouds!

7. Wow, 13 miles done! I feel great!

8. 14 miles...I am tired. I should have signed up for the 1/2. I REALLY should have trained. 

9. I am hungry. Why don't they have real food on this aid stations--steak, steak sounds really good right now, or a taco. Yes, I could go for a taco!

10. All the hills are coming, I can get a break and walk soon.

11. Gosh, I am getting passed on all these hills. I should have trained more. 

12. This water bottle is getting heavy. I am throwing it out at mile 20. 

13. Mile 20 marker! I am almost done! 1 more hour of running and I will be done. 

14. Ok, if I run a 9 minute pace, I can be done in 54 minutes.

15. Passing the Azusa Crossfit--gosh, I wish I was lifting right now.

16. Mile 25 marker--I only have 10 minutes left, even if I walk a little. 

17. I can't walk on the last mile. I must keep running, even if it is at slow pace. 

18. Isela pick up the pace, this is not running, you are barely moving.

19. This mile is taking F-O-R-E-V-E-R!

20. I did it! I finished! I finished and I didn't cry and I didn't vomit and I did it! 

21. I wish they had chairs for us to sit on.  After sitting on the ground for a bit--how in hell am I going to get off the floor?

22. After finding my friend and finding a chair to sit on--I really want to cry now. My legs can't stop shaking, my entire body is in shock and is shaking. I think I am having hypothermia. Thankfully, my friend had already picked up his dropbag and gave me his sweater to wear. 

23. Where is my hubby? Oh, wait, there he is! He looks sore just like me. 

24. We can go to the hotel now...wait, we must walk like 2 miles to the car...shuffle along.

25. Hey, look! We did it! We ran a marathon today!

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Thank you Revel series marathon directors, volunteers, and everyone who took a part in this amazing event. Revel Series puts together some awesome events. They take care of the runners, before the race at the expo, and during the race with their outstanding aid stations, and then after the race with the extras--real food, plenty of food, cool washclothes, massages, shirts that actually fit and little printed cards with the chip times printed. And of course, cool looking medals that you want to display :). 


Big Cottonwood Half Marathon

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On Saturday, Sept 22, hubby and I had the chance to participate in the newest half marathon/marathon in Utah. We were a bit skeptical at first about the entire thing, it was completely new so we had our doubts that it would run smoothly. However, we were proven completely wrong! It was one of the best organized events we have been to.  I just found one thing that was odd but I am sure they will get it under control-there was no water or any type of nutrition (bananas) at the start of the race, usually there is at least water/gatorade along with some first aid stuff-vaseline. Everything else was top notch! Packet pick up was a breeze, bus load up-the easiest ever, volunteers at aid stations-the best (all running events have the best volunteers ever!), post race nutrition-sandwiches, medals-bling, bling, free photos from Zazoosh.com (what race does that, none, ever, this was my ultimate fav part!), and an awesome/fun announcer at the end :).

Zazoosh_990161762-1800On to the race report: the race was scheduled to start at 6:30am which called for an extra early wake up time. The alarm sounded at 4:30am, a total insult to my ears and my little eyes. Seriously, the only reason I would ever back out from a race is the early wake up times--can't I just get my beauty sleep, promise that I am a much agreeable person if I sleep at least 8 hours. We got up and got ready for the race. I was concerned about my back as I threw it out on Wednesday doing "regular" stuff at work. I had gone to the chiropractor both Wednesday and Thursday and even took 2 days off from crossfit to allow my back to heal. Saturday morning, it was still bugging me, especially my right side on my lower back. I took 2 ibuprofen and hoped for the best.

Bus load up was smooth, one of the smoothest bus load ups ever. Usually, we have to wait forever to load up, not this time. We got out of our car, parked about 100 meters away from bus load up, and were almost instantly loaded onto a bus! Nice! The ride up was alright. There are always people talking loudly, either from excitement or fear. It is a bit annoying at times as I have a different way of preparing for the race,  I like to meditate and go into "my quiet" spot and prepare mentally for the race to come.  We arrived to the start line in about 30 minutes and quickly made our way to the porta-johny, another ritual, better go before you have to go-go. Hubby always seems to need it so we just automatically make our way there. After doing the business, we moved down to where all the space blankets were located, I was trying to find water for my little handheld bottle, but like I mentioned above, no water was found :/, sad, thankfully, my friend Bianca had water with her and she shared with me.

Hubby and II have to mention though that the race did go out of their way to provide us with space blankets and gloves for the start of the race. Never have I seen this, at least not for everyone in the race. It was quite outstanding of them to do that for us. Thank you! It means the world to us, being pampered is the number one way to get us, runners, into your good graces ;).

We made our way to the start line, I had a dream goal for this race, didn't know if I could achieve it with my hurt back but I still made my way to the front, next to the 1:30 pacers. Hubby wanted to come in in about 1:25 so he also went to the front. I had no chance of running that fast so I wished him good luck and let him be at the front.

The gun went off at exactly 6:30am. The sky was still lit by stars and the ground was still dark, the shadows from the runners played tricks on my head, putting potholes where there were none and making me run like an idiot, raising my feet high off the ground. As we took off, I saw hubby take off and silently wished him the best. I love this man of mine. He wants to qualify for Boston so badly and the only thing holding him back are cramp issues with his calves. He is fast and he is usually ahead of me on all the races, until we reach mile 18-20, then the cramps come and he has to walk the rest of the race. I secretly wish every marathon race that he will finish in the 3:05 that he needs, eventhough, I know that a 3:05 will put me 30 minutes behind, but he deserves it. He does so much for me and our family. Anways, I am getting all sappy on ya, we took off and off we went down the canyon.

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My first mile was super speedy, despite the darkness, my garmin says I did a 6:12, that is super fast for me. I paid for it on the next two miles as my back reminded me that it was out. The pain was harsh, from a 1-10, it was about a 7. I wanted to stop and just cry. It reminded me of the Ogden Marathon in May when my hip was out and it made my entire left leg hurt. I gave myself a pep-talk and addressed my pain level. As I talked myself into continuing with the race, I was being passed by a bunch of girls and guys, I kept saying, there goes 2nd place, there goes 3rd, there goes 1st in AG, there goes 2nd in AG, etc. I was feeling low, I wanted to quit, I considered it for about a minute, until I saw my kids' faces in my mind, especially my boy, I imagined myself telling him that I had quit and I imagined his disappointment. I couldn't. I couldn't do it. I put on my big girl panties and on I went. I wasn't going to quit. I had already ran 3 miles, I only had 10 left. I had suffered more pain in my life before than what I was going through at that moment, I could endure 10 more miles, if I ran fast enough, it would be even a shorter period of time to endure.

The sky started to light up and making the race a bit easier to do as I could actually see the road ahead of me and I could run more normal. My back also warmed up and my lower back muscles loosened up enough to almost take the pain away. As I ran down, I kept my nose down and looked at the ground the whole time, I wanted to come in under 1:30 but my back pain had made me slow down so much that I had decided that 1:35 was good enough too.

However, something happened after mile 6, my body decided to finally show up to the race. My legs started going faster, and as other runners were slowing their pace, mine was picking up. My hubby always says that I am nice and steady and if a race is long enough, I can be one of the first ones to finish as I am a consistent runner, when others are falling off, I seem to just keep going. 

My second half of the marathon was in one word: stellar! I was cranking out sub 7 minute miles. I passed a few people who had passed me on miles 2-4. I was feeling good, tired, but good. I kept telling myself to keep going, I was almost there.

At mile 11, there were a few spectators there and it was exactly what I needed. My legs wanted to just stop and my tummy wanted some real food, but the spectators smiles and applause kept me going. They would never know how much their support means to runners, it is as if with each cheer, energy is passed from their bodies to ours. Thank you, thank you for cheering for us, even if you don't know us.

At mile 12, I caught up to the 1:30 pacers, my heart was rejoicing, they even stopped and allowed me to go in front of them. In my head, I had 1 mile left. I can do 1 mile. I can crank out 1 mile in 7:30 even when I am tired, so I dug in for all I had in me. I told myself--Isela, this is a WOD, a 1 mile WOD. Show me what you got in that heart. Little did I know that the downhill was over, we were going into this small trail that looked pretty much flat and felt uphill. But, the heart can do wonderful things. I imagined myself back at the box (crossfit), and my competitive self came out, I ran, I ran as fast as I could with my tired legs, I passed 3 gals and 1 guy in this stretch. As I kept running, I wanted to look behind and see how far ahead I was from the closest gal behind me. Why? Because I was tired and I wanted to slow down, but I didn't do it. I couldn't afford to look back. Every second counted. I wanted to come in under 1:30 and at the pace I was going, I could do it, if I didn't slow down.

I reached the 13 mile marker and I could see the Finish Line, just a little longer heart, just a little longer legs, hold on. I ran. I ran with my heart. I ran for my kids. I ran for myself.  Then, as I reached the finish line and saw my husband's face, smiling and yelling my  name, I ran for him too. I ran for him, for him to feel proud of me, of us. I crossed that Finish Line at exactly 1:28:54. A dream had come a reality in that very second.

As I stopped on the other side of the Finish Line and collected my medal (awesome medal by the way!), I wanted to collapse, my back complained as I bent over. My little legs were tired, I was tired, but my heart was pounding from happiness at my achievement. Hubby came right over and we kissed, just a little kiss, too sweaty and smelly for a real kiss, hahahaha. He told me that he had reached his goal too 1:25:15. A new PR for him too.

To our great surprise, well, at least to me, we both placed in our age groups (30-34). We both got 1st place :). We came home with two little ribbons. Yay!

We made our way to the tents, expecting your regular post race "food", which typically means some fruit and bread. Not at this place, we were treated to some Jimmy Johns sandwiches, delicious raspberry bars, recovery drinks, fruit, and to top it all off massages for the half marathoners as well as the full. Heaven!!! I, of course, got a massage. I am not going to turn down a good body rub, especially when I have just finished a race.

After my little massage, we made our way to the Finish Line again to wait for our friends, Gloria, Bianca, Angie and Jason. We made it just in time to see Angie fly by through the Finish and shortly after Bianca. We missed seeing speedy Gloria come in, I was probably getting my hammy worked on when she crossed. Jason came in shortly after, Bianca. All of them PRed and we all looked so happy :). A PR is a runner's "hope" each time we cross that start line.

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I have to say that I left my heart and soul on that canyon on Saturday. There are days where you show up to a race and you know that you will perform well, however this Saturday wasn't it. I was afraid of the pain, I was afraid of quitting, but the heart is more powerful than we ever give it credit. I have achieved one of my greatest goals in running, to finish a half marathon in under 1:30. With my new PR, I have now qualified to participate in the ING New York City Marathon--one of my dreams, to run a marathon in my hometown.

Ribbons and medals

Big Cottonwood Half--I will see you again, hopefully in 2013 :).

 


TOU Marathon Countdown

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Tomorrow marks 4 years since I began running marathons. My very first was 4 years ago, this very same event. I remember being so scared that day. As I loaded the bus by myself, I kept shaking and telling myself that I could do it, that my chubby little legs had it in them to run and walk to the very end, plus it didn't matter if I finished last, all that mattered was that I finished. I did finished and I finished about 1 hour and 10 minutes ahead of my "goal" time. I remember crossing the FINISH line and the tears just rolling down, not due to pain, but to the happiness that inundated my heart, I had accomplished one of the biggest goals in my life. My only regret that day was that my hubby couldn't be there to witness it, as he had to be at Firefighter training.

Tomorrow things are a bit different, I have 10 marathons under my belt and this will be my 4th time running TOU. I know what to expect, especially on this course, I know what I am even going to be thinking at certain points and I know that there is a certain area where I struggle the most and just want to quit every single time, and I also know where I get my second wind and where my legs want to say no more-please-no-more. And my expectations of myself are a bit different, I have a goal time now and with all my heart I hope I can make it.

Nevertheless, despite my experience in the course, I am afraid. I am afraid because I haven't trained like the previous years. My longest run in the past 2 months has been 13.1 miles. I am banking on my Crossfit training and my two marathons and the 22 miles I put in in Ragnar as my long runs, heaven help me, I am going to need all the passion from my heart to carry me through the FINISH line.

I have the heart, will my legs cooperate, we shall see.

My goal, to beat my time last year on this course: 3:36:30. My dream goal to PR in a marathon, which means I have to get better than 3:34:45.

It has become tradition that my awesome BFF does my hair before each race. She braids it nice and tight so that I don't have to deal with it coming undone during the race. Today, she did a little something different in the front and her signature snakey braid on the back.

Love my shirt by the way, it is my Crossfit USU shirt that says "FACTA NON VERBA", very appropriate for tomorrow.

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And a very last minute change, hubby registered at the very last minute, as in day-of-registration.

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Wellsville 10K

In which I decide to run another race just a day after running walking the crazy Bear Lake Monster! Nyah and Riley What in heck was I thinking when I signed up, no idea! I must have been dreaming of qualifying for Boston again because that is the only way that I could have willingly signed up for another race.

Crazy!!!

Morning of the race came and frankly all I wanted to do was roll back into bed and put my eyemask on til the clock striked 2pm, instead I got up at 6am, alright, it may have been more like 6:15am. I hate mornings! I am not a morning person and I don't think I will ever be. I have always thought that I should get a graveyard job, I would be the most diligent worker ever! 2am rolls around and I am happy and full of energy.

Anyways, morning came and we went to the race. I was half asleep and cold but it was time for work. I wasn't expecting much from myself that morning. My legs were shot from the Monster on Saturday and I was feeling tired.  My son lined up at the 5K line and my friend Bianca took my little girl to the 1 mile start line, hubby, our awesome friend Josh and I headed to the 10K line.

The gun went off and it was time for my legs to start working. I still remembered this race from last Iphone september 187year and I remembered the uphill in it after mile one and my legs and brain were NOT looking forward to it. I took off with speedy Josh and quickly dropped off after the first block. I ran as best I could. My legs felt tired and sore. I kept telling myself that they would warm up and that I would be ok.  Got to the first aid station at mile 3 and my legs were not feeling any better. I knew at that point that I wasn't PRing this time around, my legs were just not there. They didn't feel like lead but they didn't feel happy either. I kept running the course hoping for my legs to get their speed but they never did. On the last descend I pushed as hard as I could and realized that I had just missed my PR and I still had a block to go. I kept telling myself "this is just a training run for the marathon" but it is still hard on the ego.

I finished in 47:20 (I didn't pause my garmin til 10 seconds after I was done running). Hubby finished in 44:50. My awesome boyo finished his 5K in 23:45 and my darling little Ny finished her mile in 9:03. Wellville picture

10K elevation map and splits

Wellsville 10K elevation map
Wellsville 10K splits


Bear Lake Monster Half

Hubby and iHubby and I participated in another half marathon this weekend, the Bear Lake Monster Half Marathon. We were excited about this one, it had a completely different terrain than what we are used to. The Bear Lake Monster Half is all on dirt roads/ATV terrain, and it included climbing 1,100 feet of elevation. Usually, our races include dropping 1000-2000 feet of elevation but no climbing unless is like 200 feet.

The night before the race, we prepped all our stuff for the race and went to bed, around midnight, we started hearing the sky rumble. Oh no! I don't like running in rain, it gets quite cold up here when it rains and the last time I ran a race in the rain, the sky decided to drop some hail on us and I didn't want to repeat it again. We went to sleep and when we woke up the rain was still going :/ bummer. We got in the car and as we drove over to Bear Lake, I kept praying for the rain to stop. It took us about 45 minutes to get there and the rain was constant.  We got to the race start and we got our packets and the rain still continued. 45 minutes to start of the race and the rain started slowing down, then I looked over the mountain and I could see the sun and a hit of clear blue sky. I got hope in my heart. 10 minutes before the start of the race, it was like a blanket was pulled away from the sky and the sky turned a brilliant blue. It was a beautiful morning for a race!

PhotoWe lined up at the start line and there were just a few of us, probably a total of 50 people in the half marathon, 5 of them my friends, 2 of them crossfit athletes. We took off and we went out, about 1 mile was paved and as we went out, I was one of the first women out. Hubby quickly got up to the front of the pack and I stayed behind at my own pace. We passed the first aid station, then the hills and dirt roads began, unpaved territory for me, no pun intended.  The course description mentioned hills then downhill, well I was counting down the miles to the downhill. Up and up and up we went, some little downhill only to be confronted with another hill. I tried to run them at the beginning, but quickly I realized that my legs couldn't handle it, so I started walking. I felt guilty walking, I rarely walk, unless I am feeling sick and I wasn't sick so the guilt was eating at me. But, I swallowed my pride and walked. I walked most of the hills and ran whenever I could. I decided that if I couldn't run, I would at least walk, definitely NO STOPPING, but walking was okay.

I stopped at the aid stations and got plenty of water and took advantage of the tables to simply lean on them and rest up. I continued with the challenge of climbing up the hills. My legs are so not used to hills, I totally suck at them, and they get in my head and break me. But, whenever there is downhill, I can totally own the course and I took advantage of each of those dowhills.  After many hills and rolling baby hills, I finally reached the aid station between mile 6 and 7 and the volunteers told me that the downhill was finally coming. I believed them, but first I had another major uphill, so I walked it and then finally the descend started and my little legs took off.  There was another gal in front of me and we kept going back and forth, either she was in front or I was and we kept at til around mile 9, then I was ahead til we reached mile 10.  We arrived at the last aid station, around mile 10, and I rested, took two full cups of water a nasty GU, and the gal caught up to me and we both were at the aid station for a few seconds.

In the last 5K of a half marathon, I like to tell myself, you only have less than 30 minutes, you can do anything for 30 minutes.  Well, except this half had another small uphill for me, the other gal passed me at this point and I wanted to kick myself for not being able to keep up but I just found my comfortable pace and kept going. The other cute gal was just a few steps ahead of me for the next mile, her being in front helped me tremendously as the road had a lot of rocks and the road was narrow so wherever she stepped, I stepped.

On the last 2 miles though, she slowed down a bit and I passed her, I looked at my Garmin and I was excited to be done.  The road was downhill and I decided to take those last 2 miles as a WOD, I pushed and pushed. The first aid station/last aid station was up ahead and I took off my sweater and gave it to my friend Lori from the NERC FB group. I knew that I had only about a mile left from the aid station so I told myself " the road becomes pavement, it is a WOD, no stopping!". I took off, no prisoners, it was just me and the road, Eminem's song 'Til I Collapse came on my iPod on cue and it was time to work straight from the heart. The moment of truth, the moment where I could be either 2nd place or 3rd was to be decided on the last mile of the course. I wanted to look back and check on the other gal, but I didn't want to lose time, so I pushed and pushed, I could see the gal in first place about 1/2 a mile ahead of me, no way I could catch her, but I had a chance at keeping my second place if I just kept going. So I did. I pushed. It hurt. My lungs were burning, my legs were screaming in pain to stop or at least slow down.  We had to take a left hand turn at the end and I had just enough time for a glimpse behind me, but it was enough to see that I had gained at least 1/2 mile on the other gal, but I was not done yet. I had to keep pushing to the end then I saw my hubby already at the finish line, he was wearing his medal and he had a big smile on his face and he yelled "go Isela" and it was just enough to get me through the Finish Line. I had it! I conquered the Bear Lake Monster and I came in 2nd overall, it is my slowest time ever, but it was good enough for second on this challenging course.

At the end of the race, the other gal and I chatted for a bit. I thanked her for pushing me throughout the course for being there when I needed her,  she did the same. It was a tough course but I am so glad that I did it.  The views coming on the way down were spectacular. The lake looked so blue and it truly mesmerized me. I can't wait to do it again next year! Hubby finished 9th overall. He is such an amazing runner! See you next year Bear Lake Monster!

Official time: 2:03:05. 2nd place overall in the women's.

Elevation map--just because it was the hardest darn half I've ever done in my life! It must be recorded in internet history that I did run walk this half!

Bear Lake Monster Half Elevation Map


TOU 1/2 Marathon 2012

Isela Phelps TOU Half 2012
First fall race of the season arrived! I was not prepared for it at all. I had done a total of two training runs for it, a 5 and a 3 miler, besides the short runs we do at crossfit. Yes, I ate a piece of humble pie that day as I miss my PR by just 20 seconds!!! Did I want to kick myself about it, no doubt! I still keep thinking "if just maybe I hadn't stopped at the aid stations and walked through them" if I could just have pushed that last mile from a 7:30 to a 7:10 pace. The truth is that I didn't look at my previous time so I didn't know how much faster I needed to run than last year. Now, I have regrets and I need to wait one entire year to try again.

Having said the above, I cannot feel totally bad. My time was quite respectable still 1:39:57 which is totally okay, especially for only two training runs. Also my recovery time was practically zero, I felt really, really well that very same afternoon and the previous days I was just a little tired but not enough to slow me down any or to make me skip any WODs or to miss work.

During the race, I felt secure about my steps, I didn't once feel like quitting nor did I feel that my hips were about to give up. My hips felt strong, like they could handle the pounding. During halves and especially fulls, my hips start "dipping" towards the front and I need to keep pushing my tush back so that I can give proper steps. Not the case during this race, I remember thinking around mile 11 that my hips felt strong.

The race itself, I feel that I had a strong race, not a fast race by any means, as I remember going down the hills and saying "maybe you should push more" and I would answer to myself with "don't want to get too tired, this is a training run for St. George Marathon, that's it!".  

OVERALL: I am satisfied with the race. I am not happy with myself for missing my PR but there is always next time. I am happy with the fact that I didn't die on the course, that I did run a 7:30 on that last mile and that I felt very good after the race.

Splits and elevation map:

TOU half splits
Tou half elevation

 


The Pink Series 10K, Report

Pink10K 007 I love when I can run for a cause and this race allowed me to do just that! The proceeds benefit UCREW (Utah Cancer Resource and Education for Women). It was the first all-women's 10K in Logan and we had a great showing for the first time, over 120 women came to support the cause.

The day started perfect for a race, low temperature and we even had a little bit of wind to push us through the first mile. A sea of pink welcomed me as I arrived to the starting line with only 10 minutes to spare, hubby decided to drop me off at the starting line rather than me loading the bus one hour before. I love that man! I was able to sleep in an extra half hour :).

  As the race started, the sea of pink started dispersing here and there Pink10K 088but on this day you could see pink every few minutes out on the road. It was a beautiful sight!

The volunteers were amazing too! They were cheerful and full of energy as we passed and they just screamed and supported us all along the way. Yes, even our male volunteers were tough enough to wear pink in support of our cause! LOOOVE it!

My family rode along the course snapping pictures and cheering me on. I took off a little too fast at the beginning but gave it my all during the entire course. I went with a goal time of 45 minutes and according to my Garmin, I came in at 45:03--close enough to make me super stoked! And fast enough to place me 3rd overall! First time ever that I place in the overall standings.

I loved the race so much that I registered for the next Pink Series event--the Half Marathon. I probably won't have much in the tank to run it as it is just a week after St. George Marathon but I am doing it for a greater cause than just me.

OPink10K 041fficial time: 45:28 (Garmin 45:03)

Place: 3rd Overall

 


Spudman 2011

Spudman Logo When it comes to fun, there is only one thing that comes to mind--Spudman Tri! I love it. It is one of those triathlons where I meet a ton of people whom I admire and inspire me. I love seeing them each year as they come together and do this race just for fun. I love their camadeire, their support, their charismatic personalities and most of all, I love that I can be a part of this great event.

This year, I decided to go in the Elite wave, not because I am "Elite" but because some of my friends told me I would enjoy the experience even more. They were right, partly, I loved the less crowded swim portion. It was quite pleasant to swim in the open water without too much of splashing around me, I actually moved away from all the other swimmers just so that I could have a nice comfortable swim. At one point, I spotted something orange and I thought it was the end of the swim so I started swimming towards it, only to find out that it was a kayak with orange paddles, hahaha! It wasn't much of a delay though, I was back on track soon enough and feeling quite happy with the swim.

Finished the swim in: 17:49.35

The bike was a different story all together. I knew I was going into the race with only 3 previous Spudman2011 036 bike rides on me this season (each one of them a previous race), so I knew I wasn't going to be stellar! But, going in the Elite wave meant that I was up front and I wasn't prepared for what that meant in the cycling portion of the Tri. Peloton after peloton of riders passing me and making me quiver on my bike was not part of the plan. A few times, I thought I was going to pee from the scares they gave me, yelling on the left on the right, on the left, on the right. Seriously, I thought I was competing in Tour de France and I was the bread lady on her cruiser bike! Those elite people can definitely bike! Don't get me wrong, I am not a complete moron on the bike but my 18-19mph did't compare to their 25+mph speeds.  Around mile 18, I told myself that I hated my fat butt (which I don't have) for not training on the bike a bit more. At this point, I found a friend, another girl cyclist that had started in the Elite wave too and was feeling a bit left out. We rode a couple of miles together and that made me feel a bit better. Misery loves company...right?!? After awhile, she took off and I stayed behind. I was doing my best on the beast, spinning as well as I could and trying my best.

Finished the bike portion in 1:22:44

RunningSpud
Soon enough, I got to the running leg and I was much too glad to get rid of the bike. At one point in my life, I was really happy with my bike and the great times we had, but since I learn to run, the bike and I don't do very well. I much rather be on my feet and run that sit on the saddle and spin. I feel like I have more control when I am on my feet. Sure enough, I felt confident while on the run, I got out of transition and soon enough I was passing people. I felt great. I knew I could run and I knew I had enough in the tank to get me to the end. The miles flew by and next thing I knew I was at mile 4, at this point something weird happen and I started having some heart palpitations/cramps on my upper chest. I slowed down a bit and concentrated on my breathing, and tried to analyze the pain. I breathed in and out slowly as I continued running, it passed after a few minutes and I picked up the pace again. I love the ending on this race, it is a little grassy downhill where you can sprint to the end and catch those in front of you...always love to give my all to the very end.

Run: 48:30

Total time: 2:34.05, about 30 seconds slower than last year...yah, I know, I am a slacker.

The race was phenomenal! I love it and I am looking forward to participating again next year. I actually came home with just one wish--one day, I hope to bring home a little Spud of my own :).

Spudman2011 078

 


Blacksmith Fork Freedom Run 15K Report

Summer! It goes by super fast! One of my favorite seasons just because I keep super busy doing the things that I LOVE to do.

One July 4th, we went and ran the Blacksmith Fork Freedom Run 15K. It is my second year running it and I really wanted to go out there and give it all I had. It is just 9+ miles so I knew that I could push my body and see if I could place--yes, I admit it. I went to the race with high hopes on placing.

Freedom Run

Hubby, my niece and I went up and gave it our all. It was my hubby's second time running it and my niece's first. It was actually the longest run she had ever ran to that date! She did so awesome too! I love her to pieces! :)

  Sam Freedom Run
Hubby was ahead of me the entire time, I could see him but his pace was a bit too fast for me to keep up. About mile 6.5 he had to use the Johnny so I was able to catch up and pass him. At this point, we have the only uphill of the course, it is a killer after going from all downhill, definitely a shocker for the quads.

  Freedom Run1

I came in at a time of 1:10:04 and for the first time ever, I placed in my AG--4th (they go 6th deep in the awards). My very FIRST ribbon! :)

Cache Valley Sprint 001

Blacksmith fork


Cache Valley Classic Triathlon

Cache Valley Triathlon 001
1:41: 04

The first tri of the season is in the bag! First open water swim of the season and first time on the bike this year.

Swim

Cache Valley Triathlon 008 The swim was brutal. The water was 55 degrees and it felt cold, really, really cold. Even with my awesome BlueSeventy Helix wetsuit I was freezing my butt off. The day was dreary and cold with raindrops falling every now and then. We were scheduled to start our swim at 8:30am and I had gotten to set up my stuff around 6:45am. I wanted everything ready and in its place.

As I was puting my wetsuit on, I realized that I hadn't purchased any of that spray to be able to slide it on/off easier and I wanted to kick myself. Hubby helped me stuff my body into the whalesuit--seriously, I feel like a whale in it, although I am not that big :(. My neck fit really tight this year, everywhere else was okay but my neck was tight--not a good thing. Finally, I was stuffed inside it and I headed off to the water to see the Olympic distance take off. I was freezing just standing there and looking at the choppy water didn't help my enthusiasm at all. Usually, I am looking forward to the swim, I am not super at it, but I can hold my own. However, it looked like an ocean out there with all the waves the wind was causing.

They called the Sprint wave in and I was surprised to see that both men and womeCache Valley Triathlon 016n were going in at the same time. I am used to Men waves and then Female waves going in. As I got in the water, my wetsuit kept me fairly warm but there is only so much the body can take, I felt my body tense up right away and I could barely breathe from the cold. They started us off and I went in the middle of the pack--BIG mistake! I was doing great for about 200 yards then some big dude decided to use me as a floatation device and held/push me down on my left shoulder and I went under. I panicked. I tried to come up and I couldn't. A thousands thoughts came to my mind, my brain was screaming, you are going to die here, today, this is it. I wasn't down long at all. I know I can hold my breath for at least 30 seconds while swimming from one end to the other at the pool but I wasn't prepared for it. I repeat, I panicked and when I was finally able to come Cache Valley Triathlon 057 up  I lifted both arms out of the water and found the first kayak. She came right away and I held on for my life. I was hyperventilating and I was scared. I started doubting myself and what I could do. She asked me if I wanted to go to shore aka QUIT. I shook my head, I couldn't go to shore, that meant telling my kids that it was okay to quit when you were scared/afraid. I told her I just needed time to compose myself. By this time the middle of the pack had gone and there were only a few swimmers left behind. I let go of the kayak and I started swimming. I kept telling myself that I could do this, I knew how to swim, I had done this before for Cache Valley Triathlon 064 twice the distance and I didn't have a  problem at all. I got into a rhythm and took off. The water was murky for the rain the previous days, so no visibility. Finally, I made it back to the first buoy and I came out of the water. I didn't take a look back but I knew that I was one of the very last ones if not the last one. I had messed up my swimming time by panicking and I knew my chances of placing at all had gone out  the moment I held on to that kayak. But, I wasn't going to quit and I was counting my blessing for being able to breathe.

T1

Cache Valley Triathlon 067 I ran the .2 miles to transition...well, I wobbled to transition and tried to peel off my wetsuit. The arms and torso came out okay but my footies were stuck and they didn't want to come off and my hands were so cold that I could barely open my fingers to pull them off. It took me forever to get them off and get the wetsuit off.

It took me forever to get my stupid cycling shoes on, I had forgotten how to put them on (I got new ones last year and I had only wore them a couple of times). I guess I should have reviewed how to put them on/off the day before. My helmet is stupid and I hate it--it fits dorky but I put it on and went out. It took me a bit to clip in (again, new clips from last year).

Bike

Cache Valley Triathlon 090 Once I got on the bike, I was okay. I did remember how to ride and I didn't fall of my big fat a$$. Yes, I was riding like a grandma but I was riding. I caught up to a few people but not that many. I was one of the very last ones out there and it made me feel sad. I was cold for a bit but I soon warmed up and my legs got into the cycling motion. I rode a lot slower than I usually do, I average only 15mph...which really stinks for me. Last year, I was riding close to 20...blah, I guess I have to get on that bike more often. If only the weather around here was better and if only I wasn't so blooming scared of all the cars that want me as a hood ornament.

T2

Cache Valley Triathlon 103 Moon walking! I always find it super funny the way my legs feel after I try to run when I get off the bike. My legs still want to do the same circular motion and I feel like I am about to step up on a step and then my leg has to go a bit lower and I feel out of balance. T2 went alright, except for the parts where I forgot how to take my shoes off. Seriously, I felt like such a moron! I didn't remember how to open up my shoes at all. I spent about 30 seconds trying to see how I could take the bloody things off my feet! Then finally I took them off and I took off and I forgot to grab my bib number. I thought I had put my race belt through my visor and I didn't. It was okay, I was marked on my shoulders and that was good enough, not like I was about to place anyways.

Run

Run The Finish
It took a few yards for my feet to get used to running but once I got used to it, I was set. The first half was all uphill, talk about keeping the race true! I was grateful for my two previous weeks of uphill running. I went up the hill, huffing and puffing but I didn't walk one bit. I averaged 8:39 on that first mile--all of it uphill. I passed a few people and I was glad that at least I could count on my legs to be there for me. I knew that I could finish the tri with a decent run. I took a water at the aid station and kept going. Near the finish line, I picked up the pace and passed a few more people, I wanted to give it my all to the end. At the last turn around almost to the finish line, a young man in a red shirt was running and was giving up, and I know that there is nothing that gets a man going than a woman passing him so I picked up the pace, quickly he picked it up and push it and in turn pushed me. As he ran faster and I tried to stay by his side. We both hit the mat at the same time. It is always awesome to finish a race pushing it to the limit!  As I looked down at my Garmin, I was super stoked. I had finished the run in 24:23, considering that it was half uphill. In my enthusiasm, I forgot to stop my Garmin but it was okay. I had finished and I had a smile on my face and my heart was pumping :).

CacheValleyClassic elevation

Overall thoughts

SayingHi
First, I want to say thank you to my little family for coming out to support me. It is always a sacrifice as they have to get up really early and then wait for me forever. I really appreciate their love and their support. I also want to thank all my friends, and my coach Janet who was there cheering us on. It was so fantastic to hear my name from a lot of my friends. Thank you, thank you!

At first, I was disappointed with myself at the way I panicked in the water. I should have let my training take over but my brain won and I was scared. It is okay. I didn't quit and I kept going and I did finish the tri--which in my eyes is what counts at this point. I ended up being 5th in my age group and 19th in the womens. Then I came home to find out that my Run split was the fastest in my age group (24:23:05)--this made my day! :)

Totals

ps: I came home and broke down in tears in front of my husband...that stupid swimming did shake me up and I was scared. I don't remember ever been scared in the water...ever!


Ogden Marathon 2011

OgdenMarathon2 My 6th marathon!!! I am so happy :). I never thought I would make it to even the first one and now I am done with number 6.  I love this distance, there is something about getting to mile 20 and reaching deep within for the next 6.

The day was a perfect day for running, perfect sunshine, perfect temperature. Unfortunately, my body wasn't perfect that day. I had stomach cramps starting at mile 3 and they didn't go away til the very end. At mile 19, I had to stop and finally get some ibuprofen for the pain.  The ibuprofen worked, my tummy got feeling better and I was able to push through to the end.

The race was truly a wonderful race, if it hadn't been for my tummy, I would have had the perfect race. I crossed the line with a full heart and it is the first time that I didn't want to cry while crossing the line, I was actually so happy and still had so much energy in me, I really felt that I could have gone for at least another couple of miles.

Personal log of the marathon:

Miles 1-5: Took my first GU 15 minutes before the race. Hubby, my brother-in-law and I lined up with the 3:30 group. Everything was alright, it was a little chilly so I wore my sweater and arm warmers. I had to shed my sweater at mile 2. I saw a few of my friends running and I chatted with a few of them for a little bit as I continued on. At mile 3, my tummy started cramping, I tried to ignore it but I kept going. It slowed me down a little but I continued on. At mile 5, I took my second GU and downed some water. It made my tummy feel worse. The pain felt like a rock was pounding in my tummy over and over. I wanted some crackers, something to make me feel better but there was nothing of the kind around.

Mile 6-10: Around mile 8, I felt lonely, last year at this point my hubby and I were running together in that area and this time around, I was all alone and my tummy was aching and I really wanted him around. I wanted someone to talk to and tell him that my tummy was not feeling well. I took a little bit of powerade to see if it would help with the tummy. It didn't.

Mile 11-15: The half mark! I was in pain. My tummy just wanted me to stop and I wanted to stop but I am too stubborn or rather my head is too stubborn and I kept going. A little slower but I forged forward. The small incline is at this point and I told myself that if I went up it without walking that I could stop for a bit and see if my tummy felt better. I ran! I ran like my life depended on it and I climbed the hill. Then I saw the Blue Gods--the blue plastic outhouse! I decided to make a stop. As I came out, I saw my awesome friend Lee, she was there to cheer us runners on and she will never know it but she was Heaven sent. I needed her at that moment. I needed her words of encouragement, her smile, her positive energy. She told me that my hubby was just up ahead and made me realize that after cresting the hill that it was all downhill from there....I had this in the bag. She waved good bye and sent me off and I ran up the rest of the hill. I took a GU (the last one I took), downed some water. My tummy burned as I downed the GU so I knew I didn't want anymore of it. I ate some oranges to settle my tummy--they worked.

Mile 16-20: It started to get super hot. I wanted some water on my head. My arms felt like they were on fire from the sun--yah, I forgot to put sunscreen and I could feel the sun burning me. Went around the reservoir bridge and then I saw him. I saw my hubby from far away and I wanted to be next to him. I wanted a running buddy, my legs just took off down the hill.  He was still far away, about 1/2 a mile away. I kept turning the legs....eyes on my target, a 5'5" blue eyed blonde hunk! Then, I finally caught him  but I wasn't happy, he was in pain. He had to start walking as his calves were cramping. I waved him goodbye and I kept going. My brother-in-law was up ahead and I wanted to see how he was doing. I kept on running and my tummy started hurting me again. I needed something. I needed some meds! The next aid stop had a medical tent and I asked them for some ibuprofen, it took them about a minute to find it and record my number, there was no water around, the water was before the medical tent and no I wasn't going to run back to get water, so I took the ibuprofen with me and kept running. At mile 19, I got some water and downed the ibuprofen.  I saw my brother-in-law next and we talked for a second, I told him Sam was behind and having a few troubles with his calves.

Ogden2011 Miles 21-26.2: The ibuprofen started working and the tummy cramps diminished. I ran, I ran like I have never ran before at the end of a marathon. I looked at my garmin and realized that I couldn't come close to my desired goal of 3:35 but I could still finish close to my time from last year. I felt strong, my legs were not tired, my arms were not tired, my feet were feeling great and thanks to the ibuprofen my tummy was feeling better too. I ran and I kept going and going. I have never passed people at the end but this time around, I was passing people from mile 22 on.

The end, I love the end of this marathon, a straight chute for the last 1/2 mile or so. I pushed and pushed and kept going, my Garmin read close to 3:40 and it was close enough to my time last year (3:41:12). At this point, I just wanted to come as close to last year as possible. I pushed to the end and finished in 3:40:57, official time 3:41:07.

Ogden2011Medal The finisher's corral, my favorite spot, lots of goodies to eat exactly when you are starving. I loaded up on some bread--heavenly bread, then I downed about 6 smoothies, oranges, banana, more bread, more smoothies, then more bread. I got a massage, I then iced my left ITB, stretched and kept eating. I waited for my hubby and for my BIL. My BIL came through and we chatted, we waited for my hubby but he didn't come so I went out of the corral to find my niece who was watching my children. My kiddos had a race at 12:30 so I needed to get them to the start of their race.

After I got the kiddos to their race, I came back to the corral and I saw my hubby. He was there and he looked great! His calves had hurt him from mile 17 on but he wasn't about to stop, instead, he took it easy and walked when he needed and ran a little here and there. He says it was one of the most comfortable marathons ever :).

Bryant Ogden marathon We walked over to the kids race and we got there just as they were taking off. The organizers gave us some bells to cheer the little ones and we were ringing them for all we were worth. We rang the bells as the little ones came through. My son was one of the first 10 to come through. My little Nyah did awesome too and came in with a bunch of kiddos her age.

The marathon and the 1K were awesome! Our little family participated and we all had fun and gave our all. We are not too big and not too tough but when we work together we got the right stuff, go Phelps family!

 

My splits

Ogden marathon splits
Ogden marathon elevation

 

 

 


Smithfield 10K Report

Ran it. Brought it! Loved it. PR on the course!

Smithfield 10K Six miles seems really like nothing to run, especially after running 26 a couple of weeks before. I was talking the other day to a friend and I said something along the lines of "you know, when you start your season off with a marathon, your body is trained for any other event during the season". I went home and really thought about what I had said and I have to say that my comment was quite on the mark. Once you train for the marathon, you are really trained for a lot of the other smaller races, still need to keep the mileage up, at least run 10 miles every couple of weeks to be ready for a half marathon but overall, your body is ready for a 5k to a marathon.

The race was awesome, this time around I knew what to expect and there were no surprises, except for the fact that I forgot how long 3 miles uphill feels. I kept a steady pace going up the hill. I didn't push it very much as I wanted to feel comfortable and be able to enjoy the race without panting my way to Pukeville. About 2 miles into it, I saw the first people coming back, a young high school kid and then some men, then about 2.5 miles up, I saw the first gal coming down. She was booking it! She probably ran a 7 minute pace up the hill (not like my 8:30pace) and coming down she looked strong. I so want to be like her when I grow up :)!

Smithfield 10K2 At the turning point, 3 miles, I took some water and kept going down the hill--my favorite part! I love going downhill, there is something about it that just feels right. I knew that I wasn't going to be first nor second nor third but I had a chance of being at least at the top 10 in the women so I took off. It felt like I was flying down the hill. Then the little hill came and I just powered up it, I haven't worked on hills yet but they seem easier this time around than last year.

The Finish Line came a little too soon. I wasn't ready for it, my body wasn't ready to stop, I guess it has gotten used to running long. I gave it a last push trying to beat my time last year and I did it!

My time 47:22. Avg pace 7:38

I placed 4th in my age group and 6th overall in the womens.

Mile 1: 8

Mile 2: 8:37

Mile 3: 8:42

Mile 4: 6:52

Mile 5: 7:13

Mile 6: 6:51

.20: 5:42.

Future goals: I want to have a time of 45 minutes on this course...my dream is to come in at 43 minutes flat one day.

We got super lucky in this race, they have a raffle at the end--you have to put your name in to be Smithfield10K entered in the raffle. This year, both hubby and I put our names in to all three. We came home with 3 race entries: one the most coveted St.George marathon guaranteed entry, one for a half marathon here in town, 1 for an entry into next year's Smithfield 10K race, and we even won some socks :).


Boston Marathon report part II

The Race

So I left off when I told you that I had gotten to the Start of the race late. Yes, I felt so awful when I finally got through thousands and thousands of people to get to my corral was gone and the entire second wave was leaving. I wanted to cry when I heard that I missed the start, thankfully my time didn't start at the wave start but when I crossed the timing mat. I cruised up to the end of the wave and made my way slowly through it. I began at about a 11 minute pace as people weren't moving very fast...I felt like a snail, then finally I was able to find some room and run a little bit more at my pace. The weather felt great, a little chilly but the sun was out and I had a hoodie on just in case it got too cold. The spectators from the start were lining the streets--both sides of the street! Little kids, adult, older adults, and their pets were outside cheering and singing and giving treats to the runners. It was amazing. I had never seen that before in my previous four marathons.

The first mile went by quite uneventful, just tried to get my little body in a space where I was okay to move at a decent pace.  I knew the first couple of miles was going to be congested but I never imagined the magnitude of congestion I was presented with...the whole time I was surrounded by thousands of runners, to the left to the right to the front to the back. I seriously thought that if I could hook my arms to the people next to me and lift my feet that I could probably make it at least half way down the course.  Crazy fun to be surrounded by so many runners!

Between mile 2 and 3, I unfortunately had a little mishap that I wasn't expecting. Someone ahead of me dropped a water bottle and I tried to avoid steppinp on it so I lifted my foot and side-stepped only to have my foot roll and my ankle go pop! I thought was going to die! In my head, the only thought that came was "no, not now, I still have 24 miles to go and I am not quitting". There were some lady spectators on the side who quikly ran to me and asked me if I was okay. I felt like crying and saying, "no, it hurts" but my stubborness came out and instead, I mumbled something along the lines of "I will be okay, it was nothing". I hopped for the next little bit and my hop became a small limp as I tested my weight on the foot. It hurt but not to the point of tears, so I kept going paying close attention to my foot. The pain lessened as I continued and I concentrated more on my left left and foot making sure that it wasn't taken all the weight of my body. In my head, I kept repeating that I had 24 miles to go and that I wasn't about to quit. My foot felt better and eventually the pain went away or my body realized that I wasn't going to pay any mind to it.

SPI Belt At mile 3, I took my first GU and started hydrating. I had a plan of taking one GU every 5 miles after mile 3, a GU every 40-45 minutes or so. I hate carrying GUs with me and most of my other marathons provide GUs along the way but Boston only provides 1 at mile 17. I wasn't prepared for this 1 GU deal so during the expo (by the way, the most amazing humongous expo I have ever seen, wish I had had extra mula with me to buy stuff) I purchased a SPI belt to carry my GUs. I was thankful that I was able to find a GU booth were they were selling the stuff super cheaper 5 of them for $6 bucks, cheaper than I buy them around here anyways.  The belt weighs almost nothing, it is perfect for holding those gels. I just wish it doubled as a number belt too.

The next few miles truly went fast. I loved running down the streets with all the spectactors. They had bands playing or music playing. One of the towns even had the Elvis singing just for us! Another town was playing YMCA and all the runners were dancing to it and making the letters with their hands--I of course had to join in on the fun and had to dance along. It really didn't feel like I was running a marathon as I was having so much fun waving and laughing at everything around me.

When I reached my 13, I had to look at my Garmin just to be sure that I was truly at mile 13, I couldn't believe that I had ran already 13 miles and that I was feeling so good, even my foot was feeling great. I was keeping up with my hydration--walking through every aid station picking up a water and sipping just a little bit of it and then a little bit of gatorade. 

Wellesleykiss12 I have to mention that it was between mile 13 and 14 that I was presented with a beautiful sight! The women from Wellesley College, hundreds of women lined the streets with signs that read "Kiss me" or "Kiss me, I won't tell your wife" or "This is your only chance to kiss a Chemist". I couldn't help but smile. Hundreds of young women spending their Saturday outside cheering for us crazies. It was beautiful.  No, I didn't run to kiss any of them but I did smile as the men ran over and hugged them and gave them a kiss on the cheek.  With memories of these women cheering me on, I kept going for the next few miles, smiling, high-fiving children along the way, my heart calls to them when I see their little hands out and I only imagine my kids doing the same thing. I always get a thrill when I high-five one of them and they turn to their parents and say "did you see that, they like me!" (picture found at FieldNotes)

When I crossed mile 18, I told myself--well ducky from now on it is all heart. You only trained to 18 miles this time around so from this point on, it is all coming from the heart. I knew that the next few miles had in store a couple of hills, including HeartBreak Hill but I was ready for them. I wasn't feeling tired, my legs felt okay, my lungs had plenty of air (the wonders of coming from a 4,500ft elevation down to 200ft) so I charged ahead. I kept my eyes down on purpose during the next few miles. I knew that hills were coming and the mind can play tricks on you making you believe that the hills are bigger than they truly are so with eyes on the ground, I dug in and ran forth. I counted the hills and I knew that I should be feeling the hills that they were right there and that I only had so many left.

Before reaching Heartbreak hill, I looked around and I saw a few people walking, I didn't want to walk, not yet. I told myself I could walk if I reached mile 22, then I could take a one minute break. I dug my toes and kicked up and started up what I thought was the second "big" hill in the course. I ran up it, passing a few people on the right and left. My pace wasn't fast but I was feeling pretty good. When I reached the top of the hill I was quite surprised to see a big broken heart drawn on the ground. I looked up and I had to ask the person next to me "was that Heartbreak hill" they confirmed it. I couldn't believe that I had ran up THE hill and I didn't even feel it. I had miscounted my hills and thought that I still had one more to go when in fact I was done. Granted, I was running a 9-something pace by this time so I wasn't sprinting up it.

The next few miles were all heart. At this point, I put my headphones on and listened to some songs. One of my favorite Zumba songs came on (Pegate by grupo Treo) and I was singing and trying to put my heart into my run. I had 5 miles left. I told myself I could run 5 miles. 50 minutes tops even with water breaks. I brougtht memories of my kids to the front of my mind and forged ahead. The spectators were still around cheering us on but at this point, I needed to reach deep within me for what I needed and my kids are usually the answer. As I pictured their little faces and imagined hearing their voices, the miles went by under my feet.

BostonRunning2 It was around mile 25 when we crossed some sort of bridge along the course that I remember getting all choked up, I put my headphones away and turned my iPod off.  I felt out out breath not because of the intensity of the workout but because of my personal thoughts of things going on in our lives right now. I felt tears surfacing and I felt my heart hammer through my chest and the crowds around cheering me on. At that moment, it wasn't so much about the marathon I was running but more about my personal struggles at this time of my life. I remember as if I was in slow motion, I closed my eyes and one of my tears fells down on my lips. I could taste the saltyness from my tear combined with my sweat. I remember lifting my sunglasses and wiping my tears clean with my hand, feeling the remnants of salt particles on my face from the dried up sweat. I remember looking around and seeing a little girl with deep blue eyes just smiling and waving. I looked up and saw the Citgo sign and the promise that it brought of only 1 mile left.

Boston Picture I shuffled through the 25 mile aid station. Stopped to stretch my lower back and to reasses my feelings at the moment. I told myself again, 1 mile, anyone runs 1 mile, even my 6 year old has run 1 mile races. So, I stood up, smiled and high-fived one of the spectators and told myself that was the end of my break and no more breaks til I crossed the finish line.

Five words carried me through that last mile. YOU. CAN. DO. IT. MOM. At first, they were almost a whisper in my head, then they got louder and louder and louder. I could hear my little children's voices in my head cheering me on. As I reached the 26 mile mark, the voice just got louder and louder and louder. Then, I heard my name and my sweet husband was there screaming my name at the top of his lungs and taking pictures. It was exactly what I needed, my children's voices in my head, then my husband there in person cheering me to the end. I gave all the little bit left that I had in me and I crossed the finish line. 3:50:07 Boston dream completed!

Boston 2011--an Epic Year for the Boston Marathon. World records were broken with Mutai coming in at 2:03:02 for the fastest marathon ever. Many others achieved personal record times. Personally, I reached my goal of running the prestigious Boston marathon.

It was one of the best running experiences I have ever had, one that I truly will never forget and I hope I can repeat again in the future.

   BostonMosaic



 


Boston Marathon report part I

A.M.A.Z.I.N.G

The entire event was more than I ever imagined. People told me of the spectators but I never believed it until I saw it and experience it. It was an amazing race and it was mostly due to the spectators out on the course cheering for all the runners.

Boston 008 Starting from the beginning, I was afraid of missing the bus so I woke up at 5am which is usually quite late as I am used to getting up at 3am to board a 5am bus but this time around I had to be on the bus by 7am. As I woke up and got ready for my big day, I was surprised that I felt calm and ready, despite my single long run of 18 miles. I knew what was ahead of me and in my head I knew that if it came to it, I was okay with walking the last 5 miles. I wasn't there to set a record, I was there just to have fun and enjoy the experience. I taped myself up--KT Tape on my legs always since I overpronate so much and my shoes don't do the trick on their own. I decided while taping my legs to also tape my right ankle, no idea why I felt the need but I went ahead and taped it (little did I know that it would be my saving grace later on in the marathon). As I was getting ready, I turned the TV on to the local news and the marathon was everywhere, all the news was about it and about the weather and how it would affect the runners. Quite exciting to see the race on national news!

Boston 011 Hubby walked me to the bus loading area where I was expecting to get there and wait on the line for a few minutes but when we got to Boston Commons we were presented with thousands of runners waiting in this super long serpentine line. I wish I had known my wait was going to be almost an hour as I would have gotten breakfast and ate it while waiting in line. I was lucky to have taken my winter coat with me as it was a cold morning and as we waited there in the park it got colder and Boston 013 colder. Runners were there wearing their short shorts and they ended up taking their friends jackets/sweaters to wrap them around their legs just to keep warm. I have to remember that 50 degrees feels a lot different in Boston than it does in Utah. 50 degrees there still means you need a coat. After a little wait, I was able to board the bus and leave my hubby behind--I always find climbing on the bus on my own a little scary, I wish I could take him with me.

Boston 010 In the bus, I sat next to a guy who qualified on his first marathon and his family insisted he did Boston...I told it was really awesome :). His entire family was in Boston to cheer him and see him at the finish line. After chatting for a few minutes, I closed my eyes and I slept all the way to the starting line. I got to the starting line around 9am and my starting time was 10:20 so I hurried to the porta potties and waited my turn with all my other fellow runners. I made a few friends there from all over the world. It was super neat to meet so many runners from all different parts of the world. As always, almost when it was my turn, the toilet paper ran out and all of us were scrambling around for TP...I must remember to take a roll with me to the starting line. Thankfully someone thought ahead and brought extra.

After taking care of business, I hurried and went to food section and picked up half a bagel and some water. Drank a full bottle of water and ate slowly. Then it was time to get serious and get going. I shed my layers, it was terribly sad leaving my coat and my sweats. I didn't want to be cold so I wore a long sleeve layer and short sleeve. I dont' like carrying extra clothes but I didn't want to be cold. I made my way to the starting line with plenty of time but there were so many people to weave through that by the time I got to the starting line my wave and corral had already left. I ended up at the tail end of Wave 2. I had missed the Start :(...so sad.

Stay tuned for part II....the race

 

 


1.5.8.5.6

Boston-marathon-logo

Boston bound...I am going on an airplane...weee! I am so excited to see from afar some of the best runners in the world...to run the same streets they have ran down, to perhaps even see them up close at some point.

I shall be in Boston by Sunday morning..the worst part about the trip is the whole red eye flight but hopefully it won't affect me so much. I knew that I wasn't going to sleep much anyways...never do before a race...must take some Tylenol PM the night before just to get a few hours in.

My lucky number of the day 15856...may it bring me to the finish line in one piece and hopefully that my feet cross the finish line without any blisters or if there are blisters that at least I'll be conscious to realize the pain :).

Wish me luck! A dream come true for sure...my mantra as always "once upon a dream, now I am making it a reality"


Boston!

It was 8:40am, I was getting ready to go drop the kids off to school. I went up the stairs to tell hubby that I was leaving so that I could come back to register for the Boston Marathon right when it opened.  He yelled down the stairs and tells me that I got my Eastern Time and Mountain Time confused again! Boston registration had been going for 1 hour and 40 minutes already! Crap! I run down the steps to the computer and try to log on to the site. By this time, I had completely forgotten about the kids getting to school and the boatload of kids that I had to carpool.

Nyah in the background keeps saying something about her shoes. I keep answering, not now, not now, I have to register. Bryant asks something about some box I have in the car and that it needs to be taken out so the carpool kids can fit. I just nod and say "not, now, I must register! I am going to be late!" I felt like the rabbit in that movie that keeps on saying "I'm late, I'm late, I'm late!"

Hubby feeling my frustration and probably my shaking from the floor above runs down the steps and saves the day by taking the kids to school.  I just mumble something like "okay, let me be! Stupid computer is not working, is not letting me sign up!". Dreading the worst--SOLD OUT, I keep trying and trying, open a different browser and keep on trying. Nothing, nada, broken! Wanting to kick the computer out the window, hubby comes back and I tell him that I cannot sign up. I run upstairs to get dressed for a 9am meeting, dreading that it will sell out while I am at the meeting...heart pounding I run out the door and get in my car to get to my meeting.

Meeting over, I run back  to the car trying to get home as fast as possible, see my phone flashing, hubby had called. He was able to get on and sign me up! My entry was in! Finally!

I AM GOING TO BOSTON!!!


Season highlights

My racing season came to an end two weeks ago, actually it was supposed to be Oct. 16th but I got injured doing some regular workouts--my calves kept cramping up and that turned into very tight calves for about three days. After much thinking, I came to the conclusion that it was best for my body if I gave it a rest and pulled out of the race. Thus, my last 1/2 marathon went out the window and my season came to an end. However, I have such great memories from this year's races.

BoiseIronman First, my most memorable race and my accomplishment of the year: Boise Half Ironman. Although I didn't have a stellar performance, I loved it! It was a dream come true in every sense of the way. I loved the swim, the bike portion sucked due to the wind and I got horrible tummy cramps during the run but overall the entire experience was amazing. Racing alongside some of my friends from SARC made it even better!

TOU 2010 169Runner up: Top of Utah Marathon. Why? I qualified for Boston!!! It was an amazing race,  really, really amazing organization and support. In my book, this is the most organized marathon I have participated in. Plus this time, my hubby ran it with me. Having him at the end to hold me means so much to me. He is my rock and the person who got me started in this wonderful hobby.

StGeorge Marathon3 The last runner up: St. George Marathon. What a gorgeous course. I loved the views. I loved the runners, all so friendly, and the pacers rocked! And, I guess I qualified to go to Boston again in 2012 bumps into into my favorites.

I loved every single one of the races I participated in, they were all amazing. They all pushed my body and each and every single one of them reinforced my love for what I do: running, cycling and swimming. I am looking forward already to 2011 and all the races that it may hold for me and my little body :).

 

My achievements for 2010:

  • Smithfield Health Days 10K: 48:07
  • Ogden Marathon: 3:41:11
  • Little Red Ridinghood: 6:17
  • Ironman Boise 70.3: 7:37
  • Wasatch Back Ragnar: Team took 28hrs to complete
  • 15K Freedom Run: 1:13
  • Newton 5K: 21:22
  • Cache Valley Super Sprint Triathlon: 1:17:20
  • Spudman Olympic Triathlon: 2:33
  • Apple Days 5K: 23:04
  • Top of Utah 1/2 Marathon: 1:41:25
  • Top of Utah Marathon: 3:39:50--I qualified for the Boston Marathon 2011!
  • St. George Marathon 3:39:27--I qualified again! I can go in 2012 too!