2015 Ramble into Spring 10 Miler

Hello out there!  Winter is slowly fading, basketball is on, and an end (or is it beginning?) is in sight.

I’ve been in St Louis for almost two years now and I still haven’t found a hair stylist I like.   I tried a new place.  I went in with a few requirements – cut my bangs, clean up my layers, but keep the general length.  I came out with interesting layers and 3 to 4 inches gone.  I’m still getting used to it.  I think I had I gone in there expecting short hair I would have been happier.  But hair grows, right?

Shorter hair

Shorter hair

Why yes, that would be in front of the Seven Dwarf’s cottage, but that’s another story for another post.

The next “big” race on my calendar is the GO! St Louis Half .  I’m a big fan of using local races as part of my training.  In scouring a local race calendar I saw there was a 10 Mile race this weekend (combined with a 5K and a 10K).  Count me in!

Then I started reading the instructions.  No walkers allowed in the 10K or 10 Miler.  It went on to say if you have to walk due to a side stitch, that was allowed.  However the time limit was 2 and a half hours.  I knew I should be golden with a two and a half hour time limit, but still the no walkers statement both worried me and irritated me.  Had it said, 15 minute pace per mile and two and a half hour time limit I would have been fine.  Oh well.  I decided I would still participate.

There was a gorgeous sunrise Saturday morning.  I arrived at the race site and picked up my packet.  I loved that in the packet was my bib complete with safety pins attached.

It was a small race (around 500 ish) with the majority doing the 5K and then around 100 doing the 10K and another 100 or so doing the 10 Mile race.  I have this fear of being last. With the field being so small, I had visions of being last before the race even started.

Ready to go

Ready to go

The beginning of the race was through residential areas before heading into open farmland.  I was quickly relegated to the back of the pack, but since all races started together, there was a decent number of us.  I kept trying to surreptitiously look at the color of bibs to see if anyone in the back was also doing the 10 Miler.

Mile 1 clocked in at 10:55 (say what?!) and I banked 4 minutes against the two and a half hour time limit.

The 5Kers turned off and there was still a few people around me.

Mile 2 clocked in at 11:45.  And another 3 minutes was banked!

We were leaving the residential areas at this point and into the rolling farmland.  And rolling it was.  Some flats but a lot of ups and downs.  One of the benefits of the farmland was you could see pretty far ahead and the line of runners extending as far as my eye could see.  The 10Kers split from us and I could then see who else (if any one) was doing the 10 Miler and where I was in relation.  There were three women who passed me just as we turned and I thought there might be one person behind me.  So not the last one (at least not yet).

Miles 3 – 5 clock in at 12:xx.  More time to bank against the time limit.

Rolling farmland

Rolling farmland

At the Mile 5 water stop they had Gu.  My tummy wasn’t really happy so I passed on the Gu.  Not too much further was the “turn-around” or really redirection.  But I was able to see there were 2 women behind me.  But one caught me right before the 6 mile mark.  So now I was second to last (or so I thought).  Mile 6 also came in at 13.25 (I blame the giant hill).

The sun was starting to make its presence known.  I realized that I had been pain free up to this point.  But it wasn’t long after I made that realization that my IT band started acting up.  Wouldn’t you know it?

There must have been downhills during Mile 7 as I came in at 12.25.

We turned back onto the main road.  It was the home stretch!  With about a half mile to go the person behind me not only passed me but did so with a burst of speed.  I had no choice but to let her go.  I would finish last, but I would finish safely under two and a half hours.

At this point we were back in the residential area and finally I could see the finish line ahead.

Early on, my secret goal had been under 2:05 – as I got closer to the finish line I could see the clock turning to 2:04.  I put on what speed I had and came across in 2:04.14 which was a PR for me.

Done!

Done!

All in all, I liked this race – lots of water stops (almost every mile), nice rolling course, and great volunteers.

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2015 Princess Half Marathon

The Princess Half is one of my all-time favorite races.  It was the race that started me on my running journey.  It will always hold a special place in my heart.

The best part of the morning was the announcement of a race coming to Paris Disneyland!!  BEST NEWS EVER!!  It has been several years since I’ve been to Paris and what better excuse than a Disney race to go back?  Pain au chocolats, croissants, croque monsieurs, and sparkly Eiffel Towers here I come!!

Paris Disneyland

Paris Disneyland

I found the lovely Abby and her sister and decided to stick with them for the race.  It had warmed up slightly from the 10K but it was still on the cool side (much better than the humidity of last year).

Here we go

Here we go

We started off doing 1:1s.  The miles actually ticked off fairly quickly.  It’s amazing what conversation (and dodging princesses) will do move time along.  Before you knew it, we were coming up on the entrance to the Magic Kingdom!

Magic Kingdom here I come!

Magic Kingdom here I come!

As I passed by the extremely long line for the villains, I thought to myself, I want to get fast enough that I can some day stand in a short-ish line for the villains!!

And soon we were heading towards Main Street – my favorite part of any Disney race!!!

My happy place

My happy place

Going through the castle was extremely crowded.  I split from Abby as I wanted to get my castle picture.

Castle pic!

Castle pic!

Coming out of the Magic Kingdom, it was super crowded.  More so than I can ever remember.  There was also a DJ around the half-way mark.  I don’t remember one from past years and from the little I heard he was hilarious!

Finally I caught back up to Abby.  And just in time to take a picture with Genie in his vacation clothes!

Vacation Genie!!

Vacation Genie!!

After not taking a picture with the princes for my first several races, it is now my favorite picture to take!  Ahead of us in line was the best group of “princesses” ever!!  We had seen them a couple of times along the way and they were constantly getting stopped for pictures.  Seriously they were amazing!  And when they took their picture with the princes, you can bet everyone else around was trying to take their picture as well (including me).  They seemed so nice and gracious.

Princesses & Princes

Princesses & Princes

The road into Epcot became super crowded and hard to manoeuver but that’s okay because we were almost done.

Past the gospel choir and through the finisher’s chute!!  It was such a great race!

Done!

Done!

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2015 Enchanted 10K

Somehow, I’m still not sure how, I convinced my BFF Jessica that she wanted to run the Enchanted 10K with me.  I think part of the convincing involved letting her pick the costumes.  And that’s how we ended up being Mike & Sully.

Mike & Sully

Mike & Sully

It was definitely cold (but much better over the humidity of last year).  We were in line to get our picture with one of the backgrounds when Snow White should appear!  Talk about being in the right place at the right time.

With Snow White

With Snow White

Finally it was GO time!

3, 2, 1, GO!

3, 2, 1, GO!

 

While the Disneyland 10K course is my favorite, I do like this course as well.  Especially running around the Boardwalk!!

And before you knew it, we were rounding the corner towards the finish line!!

With our medals

With our medals

Running with Mickey

Running with Mickey

Oooh, shiny

Oooh, shiny

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Hello 2015

I tend to disappear in January.  One of the dangers of being an accountant at a company with a calendar year-end.

Today is Day 43 of being at the office.  Indulge my pity party for a minute.  It would be one thing to just be in the office 43 days straight but many of those days are extremely long.

I thought last year was the worst January on record.  However, last year my first day off was the Super Bowl and my Seahawks WON!  This year, I still haven’t had a day off and my Seahawks lost in crushing fashion (seriously – why didn’t we RUN the ball?!?).

Currently my weekends consist of some sort of attempt at running followed by time in the office.  Today, for example, I had 12 miles on the calendar (due to the fast approaching Princess Half).  While I was loving the weather, and being outdoors, the running turned into a lot of walking.  After ending 2014 with such promise with not one, but two PRs, it is a little disheartening to realize how quickly speed can disappear.

Food?  Whatever is available and delivers to the office.  Needless to say I’ve gained weight which on top of feeling tired and worn out leads to a fantastic attitude (heavy on the sarcasm).

During these long days, one needs a ray of sunshine.  For me it comes in the form of vacations.  First up is the Princess Half!  Pretty sure I’m going to be Ariel once again for the half considering I’ve done no costume planning.  And technically, the 10K would be first up since I once again signed up for the Glass Slipper Challenge.  I will be debuting a new costume for the 10K (assuming it all comes together).  Stay tuned…

I have a few other Disney trips planned, including Expedition Everest and Tinker Bell Half.  I have been coveting the pink Coast to Coast medal ever since it was unveiled.  My first two Coast to Coast medals were Tinker Bell & Princess but before the pink medal.  I signed up for Tink this year, thinking if nothing else I could defer.  But as of now, Tink should be a go!

I do have a few non-Disney vacation plans, however, I’m going to keep them under wraps for the moment.  Except to say, I will be running a 10K in Stockholm!!  Karla’s article on the expanding Nike Women’s series intrigued me and when I saw they had a race in Stockholm around the time I will be there I signed up.  My first international race!!  I’m super excited!

Well this was a slightly jumbled, poor me, whiny post but fairly cathartic for me.  So thanks for letting me complain!

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Life and Racing in 2014

It’s no secret I run a lot of races.  A LOT of races.  This year in particular it may seem that I am running #alltheraces!  It may seem as if I am racing every. single. weekend.   Why is this?  Why so many races?  Why risk burnout, injury, not to mention the cost, with all these races?

To say the last year has been rough is an understatement.  It has been one of the most stressful periods of my life for a number of reasons.  And it doesn’t help I’m in a new city, half way across the country from my home, from family and friends, from what’s familiar.

I honestly can’t remember a time in my life where I’ve had less time for myself.  Or for a life outside work.  Keep in my mind, I’m only speaking about myself.  Everyone has a different tolerance for work/life balance.  Someone else might look at my schedule and think what’s the big deal.  But for me, life outside of work continues to be more and more compressed and elusive.  No lie, sometimes I will go out of town, just so I won’t go in to work (San Francisco, Chicago for example).

By signing up for races, I have something that I have committed to, a reason to keep up with “training” or really, a reason to get outside or on a treadmill and be active.  Any number of times I would race, shower, and head in to work.  It would have been easy enough to not race and get an extra hour or two or more of sleep.  But then my sedentary life would be even more sedentary.  Races help to motivate me to be active.

I knew this year was going to be difficult and I knew I was most likely going lose speed, but I didn’t realize how demoralizing it would be at times.  Even though I haven’t necessarily focused on speed to any great degree in past years, I’ve generally seen some sort of improvement.  For a good part of the year, I figured I wouldn’t see any type of PR.  I kept on racing, watching the times get slower, but it was better than doing nothing.

And then came #streakingwiththecoolkids.  What started out as a goal to run (or walk) a mile a day for the month of October turned into running (or walking) a mile a day for the rest of the year!  Some days were extremely slow and some days I had to struggle to fit it in.  But one month turned into two and turned into three.  And I think the consistency showed itself with not one, but two PRs to end the year.

So what about 2015?  I think I want to focus on shorter distances and maybe actually work on speed (rather than say I’m going to work on speed and then not do it).  There will still be a half marathon here and there.  In fact, I think I might try to go for that elusive 2:45 next October at the Detroit Half Marathon.  Wait, did I say that out loud?  Part of me doesn’t want to admit that wish, even to myself.  Because that means its a real goal!  But I am putting it out there.  I want to PR Detroit.

To wrap up 2014, let’s look at the races I did run (all 37 of them):

  • 1 – 3 miler
  • 1 – shortened 4 miler (due to weather)
  • 1 – 4 miler
  • 1 – 6k
  • 1 – 12K
  • 1 – 15K
  • 1 – 10 miler
  • 1 – 20K
  • 2 – 5 milers
  • 6 – 10Ks
  • 7 – 5Ks
  • 14 – half marathons

2014 Year in Review

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2014 12Ks of Christmas

I was so excited when I realized I would be home for the 12Ks of Christmas.  This is probably one of my favorite local races.  I love the distance, the festive atmosphere, and the costumes!

They changed the course this year and rather than starting with an uphill, they moved the start line up to the top of the hill so you were starting somewhat flat.  I parked in my normal spot and began the trek to the new start line.  As I got out of my car, I realized I had forgotten GU back at my parent’s house.  Well boo.  There wasn’t much I could do at that point.  I hoped against hope one of the vendors would have something I could eat (I found something).

The predominant colors, being a Christmas race, were red and green.  However there was a third color(s) – that of Seahawk blue.  Lots and lots of Seahawks outfits.  Some of the best were half Christmas, half Seahawks.

Even the cow was dressed up

Even the cow was dressed up

We lined up ready to start.  Coming off last week’s PR, deep, deep, deep down, I was secretly hoping for another chance to PR.  I figured this one would be a bit more difficult than last week.  But once I realized I had forgotten my fuel, I put aside thoughts of a PR.

The race organizers had been promoting the fact the course had been flattened out.  Although due to construction issues, they did have to change the course slightly from what they had anticipated.  While it was definitely flatter in some parts, it seemed that the hills just shifted slightly.  The hill at the beginning was gone, but then there was a super short, but super steep hill.  And the hill that used to be at the beginning ended up being at the end.  Overall, I still enjoyed the course (except maybe that last hill which we’ll get to).

Ready to go

Ready to go

While I didn’t think a PR would be realistic, it was still my “A” goal, followed by “B” at 1:35, followed by “C” which was under 1:40.  “D” wasn’t too far behind with finish.

We started out (with the 5Kers – another change from prior years).  It was drizzling slightly which only reminded me more that I was back in Seattle.  They had signs pretty early on telling the 12Kers to stay left and the 5Kers to stay right.

Ready, set, go

Ready, set, go

From the short steep hill we were heading back down Market and through downtown Kirkland.  The giant hill had not been removed and I tried to keep up my intervals while climbing it.

The next big change to the course came around Houghton (I think) where we turned right instead of going straight.  This is also where we passed the first water stop that was empty.  A few stray cups but no water.  Now, while I am slow, I was still with a decent number of people and I know there was still a good deal of people behind me.  Regardless, there should have been water.  There wasn’t anything I could do about it and so I kept plodding along.

Around Mile 5, I looked at my watch and attempted to do race math.  I clocked in Mile 5 at just under 1 hour (barely) which meant I had 33 minutes to do approx 2.4 miles to beat my PR.  Or 35 minutes to get goal “B”.  This might just happen.

By now we were back on Lake Washington Blvd, with the views of Lake Washington.  The street wasn’t closed, but the shoulder was blocked off.  Between the shoulder and the sidewalk, it felt like enough room since the pack had thinned out.

Views along the water

Views along the water

We came up on the second water stop and guess what?  Yup, no water.  Boo.  By this time I was seriously thirsty.  But fortunately I was also that much closer to the end.  Where they better have water!

Mile 6 came, followed by the 10K sign (Lords a leaping).  I took a quick glance at my watch.  I was really close to a 10K PR.  Through the old finish line area and up the hill past the new finish line area.  And up, and up, and up Market we went.  This is where I was doubting the whole new course idea.  I was not a fan of this hill so close to the end.

I reached the top.  Woohoo!!  It had to be all downhill from here, right?  Back down the super steep hill, on to Waverly, where we turned into the park and finished!!!

Before we get to my time, I need to complain about one thing.  (Only one, you ask?  Well, there may have been a few complaints a long the way!)  Some ding-dong jumped into the course to finish with his girlfriend, which fine, except he completely blocked me from the photographer!!  This wasn’t his finish, it was mine!  And I’m one of those people who actually buy the race pictures.  I was extremely irritated.  It could have had something to do with the fact I was starving and thirsty as well.

And across the finish line I went!!  With a time of (drumroll please) 1:29.28!  That’s another 3 minute PR!  I honestly didn’t think I had it in me.  I was definitely more uncomfortable on the course as I kept pushing where I normally would back off.  But it paid off with a shiny new PR to end the year with.

And that's a PR

And that’s a PR

I am very happy to say they did have water at the end which I gratefully guzzled.

So ends my 2014 in racing.

Finished!

Finished!

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Four Things


mustache

It’s my turn to answer some questions, thanks to the fabulous Kellie for nominating me!

Four names that people call me, other than my real name:

  1. Em
  2. Emmy/Yemmy
  3. E
  4. Red/Ginger (Ginger is my Vegas name!)

Four jobs I have had:

  1. Babysitter (many, many years)
  2. McDonalds crew person
  3. Office Manager
  4. Tax Accountant

Four movies I’ve watched more than once:

  1. Anne of Green Gables (even the third one!)
  2. The Mummy series
  3. Love Actually
  4. Sabrina (either version)

Four books I’d recommend:

  1. Exodus by Leon Uris 
  2. Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
  3. Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery
  4. Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

Four places I have lived:

  1. Newcastle, WA
  2. Bellingham, WA
  3. Houston, TX
  4. St Louis, MO

Four places I have been:

  1. London
  2. Paris
  3. Rome
  4. And most recently Turks & Caicos

Four things I don’t eat:

  1. Broccoli
  2. Green Beans (I’m allergic!)
  3. Cucumbers
  4. And sticking with the vegetable theme – Brussels Sprouts (except when wrapped in bacon!)

Four of my favorite foods:

  1. Pizza
  2. Gelato
  3. Pizza
  4. Pizza (are you sensing a theme here?)

Four TV shows that I watch: 

  1. Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D
  2. NCIS (all versions)
  3. Castle
  4. Scandal

Four things I am looking forward to this year:

  1. One thing that I can’t speak about (at least not yet) but I am SO looking forward to it (while be slightly terrified)
  2. Vacation!!!  But where to?  Maybe Australia?
  3. Princess Half Marathon weekend (where I totally will meet Kellie!!)
  4. Detroit Half Marathon (a tunnel, a bridge, AND you get to cross the border between the US & Canada?!!)

Four things I’m always saying:

  1. Exactly
  2. I hate people
  3. For the love
  4. Oh snap

Here’s where I should be nominating others, but I’m never good at this part and so I’m breaking the chain.  However, if you are reading this and wishing you were nominated, then consider yourself nominated by me!

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