Monday, December 31, 2012

Upcoming Marathons

Here's what I have to look forward to in the next six months (can't wait!):

All of these are the same scale except for Pennsylvania, it wouldn't fit on a 800 foot scale, so it's even more drastic than it looks.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

2012 Rehoboth Beach Marathon/Half-Marathon

December 8, 2012 7:00 AM
Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

Time Pace Division Division
Bib #
Michael (Half) 1:39:05 7:33 M1-19 5/6 56/323 69/857 1504
Owen (Full) 3:39:28 8:22 M35-39 27/84 135/513 174/823 519

This part written by Owen, Michael's summary is below.

A couple of notes before I start the race recap:

Oh how I love running marathons!  There's a sentence I wouldn't have believed possible just over a year ago.  Now I've run 10 marathons in 10 different states in the past 13 months.  The travel is a lot of work, but the memories we've made as a family in that time are priceless.

Michael had a temperature of 104° just six days before this race, so he lost the entire last week of training, wasn't 100% recovered, and he still completed the half-marathon and was faster than than 92% of the people in the race (at 11 years old)!

OK, my race recap:

We drove up Thursday afternoon to stay at my mom's house in Stafford, Virginia.  We stayed there Thursday night, then drove to Rehoboth Beach Friday afternoon.

Going over the Bay Bridge in Maryland
My mom and step-dad stayed in the same hotel as us, which was awesome.  We got to spend a ton of time together in each other's rooms, on the beach, at the race, etc.

The view from our hotel room.

The view from my mom's hotel room (jealous).
The entire weekend we never drove our car once.  Everything was walking distance from our hotel.  I love it that way.  Friday night we walked to the expo and had dinner at a cool pizza place.  Michael and I had spaghetti (lots of spaghetti).

Really fun little restaurant.
Saturday morning (race morning) finally came.  We walked the 0.2 miles to the starting line about 20 minutes before race time.  No joke, 20 minutes before race time they were delivering the port-o-johns!  The line was really long and he was taking them off the truck to people waiting to go in.  Another reason I was glad I had a close hotel room.

I finally made it in to a Marathon Maniacs picture! (I'm in the back in the center)

Just before the start.
The weather was overcast with the occasional drizzle.  I never got wet, and it was in the low 50's so it was actually perfect conditions.  Michael was planning on running about a 7:20 pace, which was way too fast for me.  We started near the back of the pack to force ourselves not to go out too fast.  As we passed the starting mat I wished him luck and he was off!

The first mile was very crowded since we started back with slower runners, but it accomplished the goal.  My first mile split was 8:07.  My goal pace was 8:30 per mile.  I didn't wear a pace tattoo because it was such a flat course, I knew I just had to stick to about 8:30, slow down a little at the end like I always do, and I should come in around 3:45. After my fairly poor performance in Richmond, I was pretty nervous going in to this one. My main goal was enjoying all 26.2 miles.

The first part was an out and back that put as at mile 5 when we were back near the start area (see Garmin data below).  Then there was a much longer out and back for the rest of the way.  That meant I saw Michael two separate times, plus the third at the finish when he was cheering for me.  Plus my family was cheering for me at mile 5, so the support was awesome.

Each time Michael passed me going the opposite direction, I yelled out to him.  That caused whoever I was running next to at the time to mention something like "can you believe that little kid is that near the front of the half-marathon?"  To which I'd proudly reply, "yeah, that's my son".  Both times, with different people, that caused about a five minute conversation about Michael, which I really enjoyed.

A good portion of this marathon is on a trail that is packed, but it had rained the night before so there were quite a few puddles.  Avoiding those was kind of a pain, and I must have got my left foot wet on one of them because from mile 6 on, the ball of my left foot hurt, not painful, just annoying.  I just knew it was going to be all bloody at the finish, but it wasn't, just a golf ball size blister.

The course ran through some sand dunes for a few miles, right by the beach (on a paved path).  That was very pretty, even though there was no sun.  The crowd support was excellent, the volunteers were awesome.

I have never ran this consistent of a marathon.  I really enjoyed all 26.2 miles!  I was ecstatic.  Every mile after mile 18 I kept expecting the wall, but it never came.  I finished six minutes ahead of my goal (still 17 minutes slower than my PR, but I was 25 pounds lighter back then).  My 1st half was 1:48, second half was 1:51.  By far my closest splits ever.  All 26 splits are between 8:06 and 8:37.  My last .2 was at 7:44.

Even though it was 17 minutes slower than my PR, I still consider this my best performance.  If every marathon can be that enjoyable, I will be one happy runner.

All in all a very good marathon.  A few things that were less than perfect: There was no finish banner (just the timing mats on the road), that was a disappointment. The lack of toilets both at the start and on the course.  I would have been in trouble if I was a girl.  I ended up just going on the side of the road around mile 10.5 after 5 miles of looking for a toilet.

I love being with my family after the race.
The two runners.
After the race we spent some relaxation time at the beach.  The sun didn't make an appearance, but we still enjoyed it.

Here is my Garmin Data:

This part written by Michael:
I’ve been worried about this half marathon because I’ve been sick for the past week. Six days before the race I had a fever of 104 degrees. I was coughing all night before the race, but I drank some water and I was fine. FYI my mom said she didn’t want me to run the race. She said I could do it because I wanted to do it. Anyway come race morning I was feeling fine, and I wasn’t worried because I knew I had ran 2 other half marathons before.

So we walked to the start line and believe it or not I was really excited for this one. It was my first one by myself. I had gotten my first GPS Garmin watch a few days before so I could pace myself. I wanted to try and stick to a 7:20 pace for this one so I could beat my PR. So I felt really fine all the way through about mile 6. It was really beautiful and I got to see my family at 5.

But at about mile 6 (I’m not sure) we entered a trail that was wet dirt mixed with tiny rocks that I did not like. We had to run on it though miles 11 ½. I kicked up a lot of dirt on too my shirt, and there were puddles everywhere. What sucked is it was out and back route on the trail. So on the way back everyone was cheering for me because I’m so little. (Even though I’m in the 6th grade) I know they were trying to support me and stuff but all of the “good jobs” got kind of annoying after a while.

At about mile 10 I knew I was not going to get my goal so I slowed down to about a 7:50 pace. Once I caught myself trying to slow down to a 8:15 pace so I sped up to a 7:30 pace for a couple minutes then I realized I could maybe do it for the rest of the race. Then I slowed down again. I was really tired I kind of wanted it to end but I was still enjoying it. I was pretty glad when I finished and we took a bunch of pictures of my dirty back.

We got to eat at this tent thing with really good food. Runners got in free (And kids under 10) so my mom had to pay 15 dollars. So we walked back to the hotel and I took a shower. Then we walked back to the finish line and watched my dad finish. Then we did a whole bunch of stuff and went to bed. But the day after the race I was SO SORE!!! I had not ran that whole week including one of my long runs (8 miles). So I could not walk that whole day.

Here's my Garmin Data:

Here's video of us running:

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

2012 Richmond Marathon & Half-Marathon

November 10, 2012 7:30 AM
Richmond, Virginia

Time Pace Division Division
Bib #
Owen (Full) 3:48:08 8:42 M35-39 128/385 864/2580 1184/4716 553
Torre (Half) 2:01:19 9:15 M45-49 169/322 1355/2539 2544/6855 13283
Malissa (Half) 2:50:13 12:59 F30-34 636/699 3869/4316 6289/6855 16031

Written by Owen:

This race is a little over an hour away from my mom's house.  We talked Gramps (my step-dad) into running the half-marathon, which Malissa was also running.  We met them at the hotel Friday before the Saturday morning race.

I like to do as little driving as possible at my marathons, probably because we always do so much driving to get to them.  But I hate parking, traffic, etc.  So we walked about a half-mile to catch the shuttle to the expo.

Grandma and Gramps with his bib.
 After the expo, we walked to a really nice restaurant, but there was an hour long wait.  That's was OK with me, we sat outside and the time flew as we chatted.

I love my mommy!

Malissa and Torre
After the restaurant, we hung out back at the hotel, then got ready for the next morning.  Our hotel was a half-mile from the start, which wasn't until 7:45 for the half; 8:00 for the full.  It was pretty nice getting to sleep in later than normal for a marathon.

We walked to the starting line together (Grandma, Gramps, Me, Malissa, Michael, Kyle, and Alicia).  Gramps and Malissa were running the half, which started 30 minutes before the full.  Grandma's job was to be the head cheerleader.  Because of the way the half started at the same place but then skipped to the second half of the full, we never ran the same route near the same time.  So when I planned Grandma's cheering route, all I could make work was for her to see everyone start, everyone finish, and me once at mile 17.

The race started and it was pretty cold.  I had worn a throw away hat, sweater, and gloves.  I ditched those as the gun went off and took a couple of miles to get warm.  Because Malissa's wave didn't start until 7:50 or so, I caught up to her around the two mile mark, just before she went right and I went left.  That was a nice surprise.

The course was beautiful and I could not have scripted better weather.  It was low 40's for most of it until the very end when it warmed up to around 50°. The crowd support was amazing.

Seeing my mom, kids, and Torre (who had just finished the half) at mile 17 was a really good boost.  My plan was to run comfortably and try to finish around 3:35.  I was perfectly on pace until around mile 18 when it starting getting tougher.  Each mile after that was exponentially harder than the previous.  I haven't hit the wall that hard since Grandma's.

The last couple of miles I had to mix in some walking breaks, which is very unusual for me.  My finishing time of 3:48 was 13 minutes slower than goal, but still very acceptable.  I have a pretty aggressive goal of finishing all 51 states/D.C. in under 4 hours on my first attempt, and I've done it so far.  I now am 9 for 9.

I saw my family just before the finish, so I ran over and gave them a five, and then finished another wonderful marathon.  I was hoping for some finish area pics with everyone, but Torre was in a hurry to get to the hotel so I don't have any of me with him after the race.  Below are what pictures I do have.  But first here's a video (I'm the one in the yellow Marathon Maniacs singlet that goes to give my family a five).

Here's my Garmin Data:

Written by Malissa:

I went into this race with hardly any training. I’ve been in a bit of a rut with my running lately. Owen told me it was ok to back out but I still wanted to race. I love racing just not the training. Plus it was Gramps’ (Owen’s step-dad) first half marathon and I was so excited for him!

I had zero nerves going into this race. One thing that has come from running my marathon and three halves is confidence. I now know that I can do it. It may not be my fastest race but I will finish. I also know that if I don’t train boy is it going to hurt but I was ready for the pain.  

The days leading up to the race Alicia was sick. Race morning I woke up with a sore throat and sneezing. I packed some cough drops along with my Gu in my spi-belt just in case. Another reason I was excited about this race was we had our kids make special encouraging tattoos for us to wear on race day. 

I also made one for myself that said I can do this. I wanted to have a reminder when the race got tough, that I can finish. When I’m struggling in a race I look at my watch a lot so I put the tattoo next to my watch so I would be reminded every single time I looked at it.

Going in to the race I was hoping to finish around 2:40 but would be happy with anything under 3 hrs. The race started and already in the first mile I was cursing myself for my lack of training. Around mile four I found my groove and was on pace to come in at my goal time. I enjoyed miles 5 and 6.

There were lots of fans with clever signs. I love a good laugh while I run. Some of my favorite were:
  • In my eyes you all run like Kenyans
  • I promise I won’t tell anyone you were crying
  • Sometimes I fartlek when I run
  • I got up really early to make this sign and it wasn’t easy.
My body started slowing down around mile 7 and at mile ten I decided to text Michael and tell him I was running a little behind. It was around that time that the lead marathon runner passed me. It was his mile 23 and he started after me! I am always amazed at how fast and graceful elite runners are. I found myself picking up my pace a little after that.

I talked to a few runners toward the end of the race. It was just what I needed to keep my mind off of the fact that my knees where killing. I also looked at my tattoos a lot. It was a great reminder that my kids were at the finish line waiting to cheer me home. It wasn’t too much longer before I got to the downhill. I was looking forward to this part because that meant the race was almost over! As I was running down the hill to the finish line I was looking for my kids, grandma, and gramps. The first place girl marathon winner was coming in at the same time so the cheering was so loud. I would be lying if I didn’t pretend that it was for me. At the last minute I saw my family cheering for me and I was so excited and overjoyed because that meant that I was done! My fourth half marathon was complete and I promised myself I would train for my next one.

Monday, November 19, 2012

2012 "On Cosby" Moonshine 5k

October 20, 2012 9:00 AM
Cosby, Tennessee

Time Pace Division Division
Bib #
Michael 21:23 6:53 M10-14 1/? 3/? 3/? 211
Owen 21:43 6:59 M35-39 1/? 4/? 4/? 209
Alicia 27:51 8:58 F1-9 1/? ?/? ?/? 212
Katie 29:00 9:20 F1-9 2/? ?/? ?/? 214
Malissa 33:49 10:53 F30-34 ?/? ?/? ?/? 210

Written by Owen:

This was my birthday weekend.  What a fantastic weekend it was!  We were lucky enough to have our friends, the Alves, join us on this weekend trip to Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

Friday we made the trip to Gatlinburg.  We had dinner and then hit the hotel ready for our race in the morning.  This is the 5k that Malissa and I ran last year.  It's a small race, and the winning time last year was within reason for Michael and me.  Last year I paced Malissa, and Michael wasn't there.  So back then, I told myself we'd come back next year and see if Michael could win a race.

Same location as our pic last year.

Kids having fun.
It's an out and back course, so it was easy to see how much of a lead people had.  At the start, I could tell that Michael and I didn't have a chance to win because there were two really fast runners.  After a half mile, Michael and I were in 5th and 6th place.  I knew that the top three overall got pretty cool trophies, so I told Michael to concentrate on 3rd.

Michael passed those two guys that were in 3rd and 4th.  So now Michael was in third, and I was in 6th.  I could see that both of them were hanging with Michael pretty close.  I thought they were probably thinking about that 3rd place trophy also.  I thought, maybe, that if I passed them that may make them think that 3rd place was out of reach and they wouldn't push Michael so hard.  So I pushed it and passed them.  

By this time Michael was 20 seconds or so ahead of me in third place.  I tried to keep up with him, but could not.  But I think my plan worked, as those two guys finished behind me in 5th and 6th place.

They gave the overall winner that trophy, then 1st, 2nd, and third male awards to the actual 2nd, 3rd, and 4th overall places.  So I got a cool trophy too!

1st, 2nd, and 3rd place overall.
We talked with the overall winner, pictured above.  He said his roommate had won this race in the past and he liked the trophy so much, he traveled from out of town to try and win one for himself.  So kind of the same thing that I was trying to do for Michael.  Turns out he coaches cross country for a high school, and the second place winner was one of his students.

Alicia and Katie had a friendly rivalry leading up to the race.  It was probably fueled by both dads more than by their own competitiveness.  They had trained together for a previous 5k, but were held back and ran together.  This time, we told them to race their own race and have fun.  When I saw them after I had passed the turn-around point, they were still together.  At the finish line, Alicia crossed about a minute before Katie.  They took 1st and 2nd in their division.  If they both trained more, it would probably be a pretty good competition.

Alicia and Katie with their awards.

After the race, we took in all that Gatlinburg has to offer, which is a lot.  Mike and Lynn treated me to an amazing birthday weekend.  The highlight for me was the aquarium, which is AMAZING.

The kids hangin' with the penguins.

On top of the space needle.

Birthday dinner at Bubba Gumps.