Thursday, July 24, 2014

Westfield 5k Pizza Run

Last night I finally got to run the Westfield 5k Pizza Run! I went with my friends Ronnie and Ryan, they were excited to show me how much fun this race is! 
It had quite an expo going on and we came home with quite a bit of swag! Mostly pens, but I also got an Athleta bracelet hair tie, a tech shirt, frisbee, cloth bags, and some biofreeze. Score!
Bib pickup was a breeze! I got my bib, tee, and hat and we went back to the car to stow our stuff and then back to the race. I figure we covered about two miles just walking back and forth to the car!

I stopped to take a pic of my awesome new Pro Compression socks....

And my cool new Aid Band.....

My sweet boy! I run 4 Bryce! More about both of these in future posts!
It was time to line up! I was nervous about my pace, with the heat and humidity, and because of my injury almost two weeks ago. I decided to park myself right between the 10 and 12 minute pace. 
The shades didn't last long and what is up with my hand? 
The race started almost on time and we began with a lovely hill. My friends warned me so at least I wasn't surprised! I started with a great 10:00 pace but at the half mile mark a young girl, probably in her 20s, fell flat over and had a seizure! I was so scared for her, I stopped, and so did about ten others, to make sure she was safe. As soon as two racers identified themselves as EMTs I moved on, but I lost my mojo and had a hard time getting back my groove! 

The rest of the race was pretty typical. Hills, water stops, great spectators! The course was beautiful, and I liked running a night race! But boy oh boy was I hot!
I was hoping for a 35 minute race. It was hot and hilly and I was worried about my toe, so I was really expecting more like 40. 
I came in at just over 37. With my stop early on I probably lost about 90 seconds or more, so I am thrilled with that time! Ryan was at the finish and gave me high fives, he finished in about 19 minutes! Wow!
Ronnie came in about five minutes later.She  wasn't feeling really well but she powered through and finished well! I was so proud of her! No group photos but I did get one last selfie...

I am amazed that I am not dripping with sweat because I was soaked through. We grabbed our pizza and then hightailed it back to the car because a storm was coming in.
Holy heck, look at that sky! We made it to the car just in time. Ronnie and I drove home in quite a lot of rain but we made it in one piece!
I will definitely be doing this race again next year.
Have you ever done a night race?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Not Quite Wordless Wednesday, injury update edition

Last night was my first run after my doctor'a visit! It was a mile, but it was a good mile. There has been very little pain, maybe a little tenderness, but nothing debilitating!
I have done a boot camp and PiYo with some modifications and today I did a 90 minute yoga class with no modifications!
Tonight is the Westfield 5k and Pizza Extravaganza, the next test!
 I'm ready!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Flat Mama Friday, GIANTS edition

This Sunday I will finally get to participate in the Run of Champions 5k which runs through GIANTS stadium! As a die hard fan, this is huge for me, and the first year I will actually be in NJ when it takes place! The last two years, I was on vacay! Hopefully my injured toe cooperates!

Have you ever run in a stadium?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Staying Active on Vacation, Portland Maine Edition

The hubs and I went to Portland, Maine this past weekend for the Old Port Half Marathon. There was so much to see and do there, that I wanted to write a post about it!
We arrived on Friday afternoon, around 2:00 and stopped off at our hotel. Our room wasn't ready, since we were so early, so we decided to check out the waterfront. 

All of the views were like this! Oh my! We checked out the ferries, and grabbed a schedule for Saturday. We knew that we wanted to go to one of the islands, but we weren't sure which one. After we got the schedule, we started to walk up and down the waterfront, and scope out all of the shops.

You have to stop for ice cream, though, so we made a quick detour. Captain Sam's had really excellent ice cream, made fresh! I stopped to take the is pic for my buddy, Bryce, since alligators are his favorite!
We saw a piece of the Berlin Wall while we were trying to get a good shot of the waterfront.

 And we stopped at Alex and Ani and got me a bracelet to commemorate my 25th half marathon, and a cute owl one for the teenie because she likes owls.

We checked back at the hotel at around 4 because they said our room would be ready by then, but it wasn't! Yikes! We just wanted to get our bags out of the car! The hubs was carrying around my laptop because he didn't want to leave it in a parking lot.
We went back to the waterfront and found a great bar, called the Porthole. We ended up there on Saturday night as well.
In honor of the race, he got a Blueberry Ale and some clams, and we sat out on the deck and enjoyed the cooler Maine air. There was a rep there from Shipyard and we scored some free tech shirts. Afterwards, we finally got to check in (it was about 5:00!) and headed to Congress Street to have dinner. It was a lovely, hilly walk, a little over a mile, and we got to see some more of Portland as we walked there.
Boda is Thai Tapas, and we ordered all kinds of delectables.
Sticky rice ball (hubs loved it, me not as much), asparagus wrapped in bacon (asparagus should always be wrapped in bacon!), pork satay, beef skewers (I think it had some kind of coconut sauce on it) and lobster chips. The hubs didn't care for the chips, they were very spicy, and she took them off the bill! We were shocked, it wasn't their fault that he didn't like them, and they were inexpensive, but it was a nice gesture. Everything else was amazing, and I was so full when we left!
The next morning, we hopped on the ferry to go to Peaks Island. The hubs read that you could tour it by bicycle, which you can rent on the island, and it was only a four mile ride around the whole island!

 Views from the ferry ride!

this one is from the island, oops!

The bike rentals were only $20 for two bikes for two hours! Bonus! They were in pretty decent shape as well! We were given a map of the island and we headed right out! The views were insanely gorgeous everywhere!

We left the road to hike out to this crazy place! people were climbing to the top via some random path, but we decided we liked the ground just fine!

 This is the graffiti inside. The hubs said it is leftover from war days (not the graffiti, the structure)

 Part of the path was covered in boards to keep your feet dry. It was crazy rickety but so fun to walk on.

our bikes!

The only other time we stopped was when we passed this sculpture garden. Visitors stop at this part of the beach and make these crazy sculptures out of the rocks. I may or may not have taken a small rock with me when I left.
ever see the Blair Witch project? Kind of reminds of that one part...

this was in someone's yard

Gotta take a selfie!

We spent a little over an hour touring the island and then we visited some stores and had lunch. Poor planning had us missing the ferry, if we skipped lunch we could have caught the ferry and had lunch in Portland. Oh well, we walked around a bit after lunch, and had some ice cream at their gift shop to kill the extra time.
The ferry dropped us off right next to the expo which was convenient!

We changed at the hotel and then headed back to Congress Street for dinner. The place we had in mind ended up being more of a burger joint, so we had a drink and walked back to Fore Street where there was an Italian place. They were booked solid! Hmmmmmmm
We started to wander around and the hubs saw a BBQ place. As we walked towards the entrance we looked across the cobble stone street and saw a Creperie! The hubs had a dinner crepe and I had this mediterranean vegetable tart. It was divine! Eggplant, goat cheese, tart, fabulous! Afterwards, I had a Nutella and strawberry crepe to finish it off! After all those veggies, I deserved a crepe, right? Besides, there was fruit in there!

I ate every bite!

We strolled along the waterfront some more and found this great fence covered in Love Locks. We are totally bringing a lock with us the next time!

Whew! Exhausting! Both Friday and Saturday, I ended the day with over 16,000 steps. That is a lot of walking!
If you have never been to Maine, I definitely suggest Portland or Acadia. Both are great for an active vacation. Portland had ferries to so many different island and we only hit one of them, and one of the smaller ones, I think!
Side note for those who read my recap, the RD did apologize for his comments and is trying to do some damage control. It may be too late for many, but at least he is making an effort! I will not be going back, but I will look for other races in the area for next summer!

Have you ever been to Maine?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Wordless Wednesday, Injury Edition

Monday I went to the foot doc and was so relieved to find it was a simple inflamed toe! Hooray! A few days if ice and Advil, rest until I feels 100%, and I am good to go.
If I don't die of boredom first!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Old Port Half Marathon recap

I will need to do an entirely different post about Portland, it was AMAZING! The shops, the food, the activities! I could go on and on and on....

The hubs booked the perfect hotel! It was basically three blocks from the expo, and 2 blocks from the start and finish! Bonus! The expo was pretty small, but the bib pickup was speedy! I got my bib and beer glass with no problems, and we scored a couple Kind Bars and then went back to the Porthole, the hubs' new favorite bar, for some Shipyard Blueberry Ale.
But I digress.
The morning of the race, we got up at about 5:45. I set the alarm for 6, but I never sleep well the night before a race, so I was already up and dressed by then. We headed over to the Start, and wandered around a bit checking out the trophies and the medals....

 The hubs got a great pic of the sunrise....
 and the Brewing Company sign....
 my dream pace average....
 the view from the pier where the corrals were....
 posing with Kim from Disney Running...
 and the Half Fanatics.....
 It was a nice breezy start. I would have loved to get pics on the course, because it was beautiful, but my iPhone had to stay at the hotel. Why? At my last race, in the pouring rain, my little shuffle got fried. I am using an old iTouch until it is replaced, and there was no room in my Sparkle Skirt without looking really lumpy and miserable. Sounds silly, but the last photo where I had a bunch of stuff in my pockets ended up everywhere. I looked 6 months pregnant!
Again, I digress!
The start was a bit late, and we had to wait a little while to cross the start, because we were in the back. By "we", I mean me, and all of the strangers around me! I started my Garmin as we crossed what I thought was a chip start. More on that later!
 The course was made up of a few out and backs. The first one brought us along the waterfront, and into a local park. The hills were insane but I was told that these were the only ones and the rest of the course was flat. The map in the packet did show two hills, but I was going by what the people at pickup were telling us. Big mistake!
I stopped somewhere around mile 4 to use the port potties and waited about 6-7 minutes for my turn. I never truly recovered, and never came close to catching up.
The 5th mile brought us past the finish line, which is cruel, and away from the waterfront for a little while. The hubs just happened to be walking back towards the start as I ran by, so he got a few shots of me. See the car in the street? Yeah, that happened a few times. Oh, and as we turned the next corner was a ginormous hill. Yes, that is totally a word. After the hill, we passed the 5K race start, and we were running along the water again, which was beautiful!

still happy!
 The course brought us to another park. First we ran partway up a bridge, and took a sharp turn, and ran down a dirt path that ran along more water. The entrance to the park brought us past some butterfly bushes. There were a few monarchs flying around which was nice. This was about the time that my foot started to hurt. The park had 3.5 miles of gravel path, which was hard on my foot, and I started to slow down considerably here. I was starting to do math in my head to see if I could walk the end of the race, since there was a 15 minute mile maximum. Most of the people around me now looked as dejected as I felt. It was hot, the "Party Zones" were basically just tents spraying misty water, with no music and no excitement, and there were a lot of non-racers on the course at this point.  Most of them did not make easy for the racers and looked annoyed that we were there. I came close to being hit by several people on bicycles as well. We did run past a very cool Health Course, made up of climbing walls and a cargo net climb. I was jealous. Ours is just bars and benches for you to do crunches and pull ups.
We exited the park, and back onto regular road. Back over the bridge, back under the bridge, to a small out and back, that was maybe a block long. It was weird, and seemed a bit silly, but you have to get that 13.1 in I guess.
Up another hill, and along the water to the left, and a sewage plant to the right. I was having flash backs to the Disney races! I focused on the view, pinched my nose shut, and breathed through my mouth. Around another bend and running along train tracks now. Almost done.
The train was old, and stopped on the tracks, with spectators cheering and clapping. That was nice, but I had totally checked out at this point. My foot was on fire, every step hurt. I am tearing up even as I type this! I was 50% embarrassed that it took so long and 50% thrilled that I was almost finished! The pic below is just before mile marker 13, and it was the only one the hubs took where I didn't look 100% miserable. Seeing him made me start full on crying, and he was yelling all of the right things: You're almost there, you did it, great job, so proud. Crying harder now and telling him that my foot hurt so badly.
 I was so glad that I finished under 3 hours. My watch said 2:58 but apparently at a race with almost 3000 runners there was no chip start? I am still not sure. People who comment at the Facebook page are being called whiners by the race director, so I am a little wary of asking a question right now! On looking back at the Facebook comments, I see that it was a chip start, so now I need to fill out a form. Not sure how much I care at this point, though!
At the finish, the volunteers were amazing, they were calling everyone by name (on the bib), directing you towards the food.
However, it was a hot day, and I was given one small cup of water at the finish. The promised ice cream was gone, and I have been told that spectators ate a lot of the ice cream and pizza. Zico was there, but that was gone when I finished. I heard that they ran out at around the 2 hour mark. I did get some pretzels and peanuts, and there was root beer and cookies. Plenty of food trucks, but I shouldn't have to pay for my race food! The hubs brought me some chocolate milk and cold water, so I was set, and KIND bar didn't run out. I had my choice of about 6-7 varieties at least. The Madagascar Vanilla Almond was delish!
So, here is my elevation chart:

I was told the only hill was at mile 2.5 or so. That is a mountain, not a hill! I am a Jersey Girl, from the beach, and we don't have hills! That second one is at mile 6 or so, and those little blips all over the chart felt huge to me! The downhills were not as glorious as they appear, but they did help!
Below is my Garmin data. Please note the almost 7 minutes I lost because there were only 2 potties where I stopped, and at other stops there were only 1. TONS at the start/finish though. That best pace must have been on a downhill!
Overall, I am happy with my race. I finished. It was my 9th this year, and my 25th since May 2012!
I probably would have considered doing it again. You know, for redemption. Until the RD called people whiners and asked them not to come back to the race in the future. Ummmmm, some people were misdirected and ran a 12.8 mile half. Asking how this will be fixed in the future doesn't make them whiners. It makes them curious. We all understand human error, and no one was mad. Until he made that stupid comment.
I mighty have to find another Maine race instead.
Later today is my appointment with the foot doctor. Cross your fingers that it is minor, won't keep me off my foot for too long, and I won't have to defer any of my Fall races!

Did you race this weekend? How did it go?