Thursday, May 19, 2016

What's Next?

Well, after running Mind the Ducks I've been asked, "what's next?"  To be honest there are no races on my schedule until Goofy #12 in January.  There are a few races on my radar but they will not be happening because they are trail races in the evenings.  I love my bedtime snuggles way too much and don't give those up easily.  I've considered another Ultra in the future (even as I sat in the soaker tub at my sisters!).

I'm going to enjoy the rest of this week off and maybe go out for an easy jog on Saturday.  I'm looking forward to slowly building my miles back up and kind of just running what I feel on any given day for a month or two while adjusting to running with Critter in the stroller.  In the upcoming week I am going to sit down and make a training plan for Goofy that will likely start in September or October.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Mind the Ducks 2016

Warning:  This post is really long, kind of like how far I went.  I remember a fellow MRTT momma talking about an Ultra where you run as many 1 mile laps as you can in 12 hours and thought, "that's nuts.  I'd never do something like that and I don't want to."  Well apparently having a kid has made me turn into a nut.  I signed up for MTD.  I would have an almost 10 month old the day of the race.  
In the weeks leading up to the race I made a few lists of things I would like to have the day of the event as well as things I would need.  I decided that if I had a large first aid kit then I wouldn't need it.  That ended up true.  I also packed a bunch of clothes in zip-top bags, labeled and in a clear plastic bin to make finding items easier.  
Checking the weather leading up my amazing parents were at the park at about 5:15am setting up our team Happy Feet tent.  Knowing that I would need to pump a few times during the race (and another momma on our team would as well) we scouted out our spot the day before--next to the bathroom so we could do a quick change of clothes or use the outlet in the bathroom for the pump.  With the winds and rains in the forecast they secured a tarp over our tents (yes, we had 2--an open one and a "camping" one that we could use for changing, pumping, napping babies if the weather was good...).  Being a "high maintenance" runner I did not want a camping chair to sit on for changing shoes because I hate getting out of those.  My dad brought plastic patio chairs from the cottage (and the tent) for us to use.  Did I mention how amazing my parents are?    
When I arrived to North Ponds about 6:15 the tents were up and just needed the tarp over them.  I set up my food/water and organized my gear in the camping tent before sitting down to pump.  I finished pumping, walked out of the tent and over to the start line just as the race was beginning.  Perfect timing.  
I ran the first few miles with fellow MRTT momma Gretchen and chatted away with her.  She made up the word "gooselings," about the baby geese.  I was feeling pretty good and was coming off of some very fast races in the past month (PR at Flower City and a fast 19k at Seneca Falls) so my comfy pace was a little different than hers and we parted ways shortly after a snack break during mile 5.  I knew I would need to make a conscious effort to eat something every 4-6 miles and drink something every lap or every other lap.  My parents stayed with my daughter for the first 2 laps and left for their house to put her down for a nap. 
I was running comfortable and in a fairly consistent zone with a few "hiccups" in my pace re-filling my bottles at my own aid station for the next few laps at a time.  At about mile 18 I was feeling good but made the decision to stop and pump at mile 20.  I grabbed my hand pump and walked the lap pumping so I would at least get some milage in.  While finishing that lap my parents returned with my daughter who was more than ready for a bottle.  Perfect timing!  I changed my clothes since I didn't want to pull my sweaty shirt and sports bra back down.  I request a peanut butter only sandwich at the aid station and they have it ready for me on the next lap.  I also start eating the Weg-O's at this point every few laps.  
 My parents just wanted to stop over quick and check to see if anyone on our team needed anything.  I ended up with a crispy chicken sandwich and fries from Wendy's a few miles later.  I said goodbye to my dad since he had to go to work that afternoon.  My mom would be back after my daughter took her afternoon nap.  We had decided early on that with the chilly windy weather she was better off hanging at their house most of the day instead of at the park.  I opened the orange Circus Peanuts I bought on a whim checking out at Wegman's.  Let's just say that by the end of the day there were 8 of those orange marshmallow things left.
 Not long after they left I finished marathon distance.  I was still feeling pretty good but slowed it down a bit because it was uncharted territory for me.  Mile 29 I stopped to pump--this time in the tent and snacked on some food, changed my shoes.  I could hear it start to rain outside and the wind pick up a bit.  Ugh, what had I gotten myself into.  When I started back running I seriously contemplated calling it a day at 50k.  Everything seemed to hurt and it sucked--worse than what I call the mile 20 suckfest of marathons.  I decided that I would just keep going until my mom came back with my daughter so I wouldn't get all stiff sitting in the tent and cheering.  I told the MRTT mom that I thought was crazy a few years ago that everything hurt and I was pretty sure I'd end up losing my first toe-nail ever.  Guess what, toenails all still intact :) and only a few small blisters on the tips of my pointer toes.
 There were a few very rough miles in there.  I was approaching 35 miles and it kind of stopped hurting.  I mean it was still not pretty but it wasn't getting any worse.  My mom showed up about mile 38 and my daughter started to fuss something fierce so I stopped to pump for  a third time at mile 40--there was no way she was going to nurse from my smelly, sweaty self.  Well, my mom also happened to show up with bacon and chocolate milk.  Oh. My. Word. It was heavenly.
My husband showed up at this point along with my sister and her two boys (2 1/2 and 8 months).  I would stop by our tent and grab a bottle to drink and some food to munch and walk until about the timing mats.  My sister wanted none of that since she had some songs cued up on her iphone that she wanted to play and run along side me.  So I entertained her a bit.  Well, time was approaching 5:30 and I could see my daughter continuing to fuss and squirm something fierce every time I went by the tent.  I decided to call it a day at a double marathon plus a lap for good measure so that I could go home and put her to bed at her usual time of around 6:30 (it ended up being 7 but close).  I grabbed my daughter and walked the last little bit from our tent to the finish line and collected my swag.  At the time it was 53 laps completed but upon reviewing lap splits it was determined a few laps were missed because of my jacket so I totaled up 55 laps.
My favorite is photo and words of "wisdom" come from my sister's facebook post that afternoon.  "My sister looks like this after running 53.4 miles in a day. And that table of food was her fuel. Meanwhile I'm like "I just want ice cream for accomplishing nothing today""  Speaking of food I ended up eating circus peanuts, bacon, pizza, peanut butter sandwich, pringles, fruit snacks, chocolate milk, M&M's, almost 3 bottles of powerade watered down, GuBru, and a lot of water.  
My mom stayed until the end to cheer on the runners--handing out bacon and chocolate milk along with cheers.  My sister went to her house, filled her soaker tub with epson salts and started to make dinner for me since her house is on the way to mine.  I wasn't hungry but the gesture of dinner and that hot bath meant so much to me.  I nursed my daughter and rocked her to sleep.  I know I had more laps in me and somewhat wonder what I could have done but at the same time I wouldn't give up those bedtime snuggles.
I said it would be a one and done for me with an Ultra but now I am already thinking of another one and have been amazed that I've felt worse for wear after a marathon than this.  And if you are wondering about my training, my longest run going into this event was 16 miles but I was averaging 50 miles a week for almost 8 weeks prior.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Right to Run 19k

The Right to Run 19k was held on a beautiful, sunny day on May 7 in Seneca Falls, NY.  The race was a 19k (11.8 miles) as a nod to the 19th amendment that gave women the right to vote.  Of course,  I decided weeks ago that I *must* run in a costume and waited until 2 nights before to basically start crafting.  
The race started on a back country road.  Runners parked in a field and there would be shuttles to the cars after the race.  Of course my mom and dad came with me and took care of Critter while I ran so we cannot comment on how well this shuttle thing worked out. 
 I pumped in the car about 8:20 and then my mom helped me get into my costume since it required some safety pins to hold the sash in place.  The race started at 9:00 so by the time all the shennanigans of my pumping and costuming were over it was about 8:45.  I headed to the start and it was a pretty good turn out for the first year.  Just over 1,000 participants.  Kathrine Switzer (first woman finisher of the Boston Marathon) gave us some encouraging words to the effect of, "be fearless and fast..."
Go Mom-ma Go!
It was a warm run with the sun out the entire time (beautiful day) but there was basically little to no shade on the course as the first half was on back country roads between farm fields.  There was a slight breeze that was nice.  If the weather was rainy or windy it would have been brutal.  At about halfway we got to run along the lake for a bit and before heading into the town.  There were quite a few girls at the water stops cheering for us (I am thinking a girls on the run group or girl scouts volunteering).  They all loved my outfit and I slowed down so that I could hi-five all the hands that were out.  
 It was hot and sunny on the entire course and I ran into a young boy (high schooler) who was obviously struggling.  Walking and trying to stretch out a cramp.  I offered him a Gu and he accepted.  He gave me a nod at the finish area and was smiling, chatting with friends, wearing his medal.
 The finish area was nice with little tents/booths set up.  They don't look crowded because when I snapped these photos everyone was at the awards ceremony happening by the finish line.  Because of my costume I was photographed by several local newspapers and a guy from a nearby college that was in charge of the media stuff for the event.
He asked my permission to use my image/photo for next year as part of the media advertisements and to make a special cancellation stamp to be used during the event.  Of course I said yes.  I am obsessed with old post offices with all their character and details and love snail mail.
 Well, I was a top finisher so we stuck around for the awards to see.  I was the 7th overall female finisher and 4th in my age group (with top 3 getting awards).  Goes to show I am in a tough age group considering the overall winner was in my age group and therefore not eligible for the age group award double dip.
 When we got home my mom proceeded to hand wash my costume in the sink while my dad mowed the lawn and I took a shower.  Critter happily played on the floor for a bit.  It was a beautiful day and I am so beyond lucky to have such an amazing support crew in my mom and dad for these races.  I could not accomplish all I have been able to with running since Critter if it weren't for their continued support and much needed baby sitting.
 And here I am with Kathrine Switzer.  She loved my outfit but was even more excited that Critter had a sign on her stroller that said, "well done, sister suffragettes."   Yup, totally Mrs. Banks from Mary Poppins.  

Friday, May 6, 2016

Racing Flower City 1/2 Marathon 2016

The day of the half marathon started with my parents picking up Critter and I at 6:15 in the morning.  I had to wake Critter up (not the case any more as she now thinks 5am is wake up time...).  We parked on the street and my parents got Critter into the stroller and her snow suit to help keep her warm as it was in the low 40's (ideal racing temps but not so much for hanging around).  I sat in the car and pumped.  

Around 7:00 we headed over to the War Memorial where they had the whole building for us to use.  I hit up the bathroom and headed over to the start since it was just outside the doors of the building at 7:30.  They had several different pacers and I started near the 1:40 pacer but when the race was about to begin all the pacers moved up and I was near the 1:50 people.  Oh well, I was still near the front of the race and it would thin out fairly quickly since there were just over 3000 people.  
I took the first few miles easy and kind of used them to warm up and settle into a pace.  It was a great day for a race.  I hit the 5k split in 23:46 (7:40 pace).  Thanks to the timing mats on the course I have these stats since I never start a watch during the race and run based on how I feel.  By about mile 3 I was caught up to the 1:45 pacer and began to push the pace a bit so that I could meet the goal I set for myself of 1:40.  In all honesty I would be happy with anything under 2 hours but I have been running strong and wanted to see how much I could push myself and still be somewhat comfortable.  I have other races coming up and need to stay healthy and recover quickly so I can keep training.  
We hit a smooth/flat patch for a bit and I was cruising and catching up to the 1:40 pacer.  I passed my mom, dad and Critter--tossing them my mittens.  Not sure what the mile was for the next timing mat (probably 10k?) but I crossed it in 46:10 (7:14 pace).  At this point the course gets "awful" in that you climb some serious hills.  They are fairly gradual but there are several of them with fast downhills so it really takes some mental toughness as they fall right in the middle of the race and go for a few miles.  Plus there is Mt. Hope cemetery with quite a few twists and turns for a mile plus.  I had the 1:40 pacer in my sights and was close for 3 miles and passed him in the cemetery.  Funny side note, I ran with my ipod and "Dig a Little Deeper" from Princess and the Frog was on as I ran through the cemetery.  I found it funny.  
 Exiting the cemetery I hit that timing mat in 1:09:59 (7:41 pace--those hills were tough but I didn't lose the 1:40 pacer).  Once I was out of the cemetery I knew it was flat-ish for the rest of the course and began the "crush."  This is where I start to pick up the pace and keep it cruising.  I was feeling strong and just kept pushing the pace and working on catching the next person in front of me.  In front of the 1:40 pacer we were spread out somewhat.
 I crossed the finish line in 1:37:31 with my last portion having a 7:15 pace and my overall pace being a 7:27.  This was a HUGE PR for me.  I broke my PR from 13 years prior while I was still in college!  It must be the magic of the Sparkle Skirt I was wearing and the fact I really wanted to get some good corral placement for Disney.  Mission accomplished!
 I was happy to see my Critter and gave her my bling.  She liked it and was all smiles holding it and playing with the ribbon.  It is noisy near the finish so of course she was wearing her headphones.  I am so thankful that my parents take such good care of her while I am out racing so that I can focus on running.
 While I waited inside to check the results she was all smiles with my medal.  I ended up placing 3rd in my age group but since we weren't sticking around due to needing to get to a family party I would have to pick up my award at the store later in the week.  What a nice surprise that was to get an age group award.
 Here is the medal and my bib from the race. Thank you to Fleet Feet and Yellow Jacket Racing for hosting such a great event.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Flower City 1/2 Marathon Expo

The weekend of the Flower City 1/2 marathon consists of a du-athlon and tri-athlon on Saturday and a half marathon and 5k on Sunday.  The expo ran Thursday, Friday and Saturday with the option of packet pickup only on Sunday at the race venue.  Being a small town the expo was quite large and very welcoming.  
 You could either walk through the store to enter the expo floor or enter through a side door.  The hall leading to the expo had a table with safety pins and two of the shirts available for purchase modeled.  This is only half of the expo floor.  What I didn't photograph was the line for the packet pick-up.  You picked up your bib only on the expo floor (they had out a red carpet and ropes to walk as you approached).  There were several shoe companies there as well as some new clothing merchandise not in the store part.
 After you picked up your bib you had to walk through the store to their community room to get your race packet that had your shirt and drawstring bag that had a few fliers in it as well as some samples.
 I liked that the shirts were blue in color this year instead of the white that they have been the past few times I have run.  The colors are always yellow and blue with the logo because I suppose those are our community colors?  As much as I like the blue I kind of wish it was white because I always wear in the summer over my bathing suit to keep the sun off my shoulders and white is a "cool" color that reflects the heat away.
Overall I am very impressed with the size of the expo and variety of merchandise that was offered for such a small town event.