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Saturday, June 30, 2012

50 Yard Finish Race Recap

Today's race was so. much. fun.  One reason for that may be the fact that I ended up running the 5k instead of the half marathon, but more on that later.

Steph and I decided to get a hotel in Buffalo and stay the night yesterday rather than waking up before the sun this morning to drive to the race.  Turned out to be a great decision, and I felt pretty darn cool saying that I was traveling for a race.

i also probably packed enough for about 3 races

We checked into the hotel and then headed to the Bill's Field House for packet pick-up.  The Buffalo Niagara Sports Commission, who took charge of picking up the pieces of the Rapid Running disaster, allowed all those registered for the RR event to race for free.  

I was impressed at how organized it was and how incredibly friendly the volunteers were.  You never would have guessed that this race was put together in a matter of four days and everyone there went above and beyond to make sure our experience got off to a great start.

outside the field house with our numbers!



They even managed to have tshirts made in time; free race t's = extra brownie points in my book.

After a nice carb filled dinner, I got my gear all laid out for the morning and headed to bed.  I don't know why but I always get the best sleep of my life in hotel beds.  Why are they so darn comfy?!

The alarm went off bright and early and I woke up feeling great and ready to go.  Unfortunately, the same couldn't be said for Steph.  She woke up real sick and was not in good shape at all.  There was no way she was going to be able to run the half, so she ended up dropping down to the 5k.  I wasn't about to leave her behind to run it herself, so I ended up doing the 5k with her.

In all honesty, it was probably a good decision for me because we all know how minimal and half-assed my training was for this race.  It was a teeny bit disappointing watching the half marathoners take off without us, but we were going to make the best of our race!

half marathon start

our turn!

It was a little toasty out but there was a nice breeze.  I stayed with Steph, and she was able to run most of the course... we stopped a couple of times to walk but she was a champ the whole time.

There was one water stop on the course, and they had these crazy eco-friendly water packet things.  



You bite it open and then drink the water... or in my case you bite it open, get a small shower with all the water you spill on yourself, and take a few sips.  

Before we knew it, we were turning back into the parking lot for the stadium.  This was seriously the FASTEST course I have ever ran.  I don't know if it was the fact that we were talking the whole time, new scenery, or that I was care-free and enjoying it, but it flew by.

heading back towards the stadium

heading to the tunnel!

The coolest part was when we ran through the tunnel and into the stadium

inside the tunnel!
video


1.  Sorry for the sea-sickness you probably experienced from watching that.
2.  I guess you don't realize what a heavy breather you are until you hear yourself on video at the end of a race.  Yikes.
3.  Note the random stranger shouting out "Fleet Feet!" at the end.  People love our jerseys.  Representin'

It was SO COOL running onto the field and finishing in the stadium.  There was a nice little crowd cheering and they had music going and announcers and everything.  We finished in 38 minutes and change and it was awesome.

post race!

on the field at the ralph!

We got to hang out on the field afterwards and also stayed to watch the first half marathoners come in.

the tunnel we ran out of onto the field

bills elevators in the tunnel

stadium!

half marathon winner - i'm a great sports photographer.

Of course, we had to take pictures on the 50 yard line.  I think we gave the Buffalo Jills a run for their money.





While we were hanging out on the field, the Director of the Buffalo sports commission came up to us and shook our hands and thanked us for coming to the race.  Every person involved genuinely wanted to make sure that we had the best experience possible.

Words can't describe how impressed I am with the entire event and with everyone involved.  So many people and organizations came together to pull this race off, and you never would have guessed that it was put together in four days.

At one point, the announcer yelled "who wants to come back next year?!" and everyone cheered.  When the director of the sports commission was talking with us, he said that next year they want to make it bigger and better.  We couldn't thank him enough for everything they've done for this race.  Like I said, words can't describe how awesome everything and everyone was... that says a lot because you all know how seldom it is that I am actually speechless!

After the race, Steph had a mini award's ceremony for us complete with medals!  I was talking about how sad I was that we wouldn't get medals for the half, so Steph did some DIY work and we ended up with some medals after all!

half marathon 5k medals!

I had the such a good time at this race, and even though I didn't end up running 13.1, it sounds like we'll get a chance to redeem ourselves next year.  Thank you, city of Buffalo for giving all of us a phenomenal experience!!

see ya next year at the ralph!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Hold The Phone -

The race is back on!  Just as I was cooling down from my stewing anger about the half marathon scam, this email greeted my inbox:



Kudos to the city of Buffalo for salvaging a poopy situation.  The race is not affiliated with the original running company and this new race is being put on by the city of Buffalo.  We still get to finish at the 50 yard line of the Bills Stadium and it sounds like they're trying to make this a great experience in light of the situation.

I guess that means that I am almost completely winging this race, seeing how my last scheduled long run this past weekend didn't happen.  If we're being honest here, my entire "training" for this race has been less than stellar - in two months I've ran one double digit run.

So, what better way to do some last minute half marathon training then to hop on my bike tonight?  Nope, it didn't make sense at the time either... I just can't stand to see my baby Trek go more than a day without hitting the open road.

almost a half marathon...on wheels.

I mean cardio is cardio right?  Worst case scenario, I'll just galavant along the course on Saturday and take videos of myself and make some friends.  I'm really not too concerned.  Here's to the final week of pretending to train!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Remember that one time...

...the half marathon I signed up for turned out to be a scam?

On Thursday evening, nine days before the scheduled race, this email popped up on my phone:



In a nutshell, things are really shady and people are in an uproar (myself included!)  The Buffalo news stations have been doing stories on it and complaints have been filed against the event company.  Crazy stuff.

That's all I'm saying about that stupid situation, because I'd rather not plaster this post with the expletives that have been coming out of my mouth every time I think about it.  Moving on...

After Monday's disastrous re-entry into long runs, my legs were still crying the next day so I axed my usual Tuesday Fleet Feet run in favor of some "light" cross-training:



I figured, it's my first day, I'll be starting on the easiest workout she's got, plus she shows modifications if I'm being lazy... how hard can it be?  WELL, she doesn't hold back on you regardless of the fact that it's week one, and the modified moves are HARD!  How do real life people do the actual workout?!  Needless to say, I got my sweat on.  Not so sure I'll be ripped in 30 though, because I haven't hung out with Jillian since.  Oops.

Wednesday was a double action night -- mentoring and kickball!  

mentoring here i come

It was nice and humid out so the 3 miles were pretty slow, especially since I was the sweeper of the group.  I was with 4 older women who were just fabulous.  I walked with them while they jogged along and was surprised at how much I enjoyed just chatting and encouraging them.  

I knew going into this that I wouldn't be getting a hardcore workout during mentoring sessions, but I didn't really expect to be walking.  I also didn't expect to be okay with that fact, and the fact that I cared more about the ladies' experience than my own.  Mom, I'm growing up.  Guess it's not always about me.  Who knew?

Post-mentoring, I did a quick wardrobe change and was off to be "Kind of a Big Dill" with my kickball teammates.  Our shirt colors are called "dill" - do you get our team name?  Kind of a Big Deal Dill?  Aren't we so witty?

big dill

I tried to make a sweet play during the game and ended up getting hit in the face with the ball.  My injured faced rendered me out of commission for any sort of workout on Thursday.  (true story about the ball in the face, not so much about the extent of the 'injury' - just a sad excuse for being lazy on Thursday).

Friday I rode to Brie's parents house again for dinner.  Motivate me with food and I'm down for anything.  Brie was already there so I wanted to see how fast I could get there on my own.

15.1 mph. boom.

Way faster than last week's ride.  Who knew you could actually kind of push yourself on a bike??

I had planned on doing a long run yesterday morning, but when I woke up with a headache, I promptly decided to go back to bed.  Not like I have a race to train for next weekend anymore.  Lame.

Steph and I were texting yesterday trying to decide whether or not to run together today.  She suggested we get together early and run on the canal and get breakfast afterwards.  SO, this morning that's exactly what we did.  Like I said, tempt me with food and I'm there.



It was hot, we were slow, but it was fun.  Knowing that a tasty diner breakfast was meeting us at the end sure helped a lot too.  

The rest of my afternoon was spent studying for an exam that I'm taking for work tomorrow.



Note to self: not the best idea to barricade yourself in a tiny library study room after sweating in the sun for 40 minutes.  It got a little smelly in that joint.  Sorry, Fisher.

Since I have NOTHING TO TRAIN FOR at this moment, I feel lost and have no idea whether I'm going to run or bike or have Jillian yell at me or just lay on my couch all week.  Let the games begin.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Three Days, Two Wins, One Disaster

The past three days have consisted of a little bit of everything - one fantastic mentoring session, one awesome race PR, and one horrendous long run.  Can't win 'em all I guess?

Saturday morning was the kick off workout for the No Boundaries program that I'm mentoring at Fleet Feet.  First let me show you our sweet mentoring shirts, you know I'm a sucker for a good tech tee.


front

back. like a boss.

I was with the 10k & 5k 2.0 (like level 2 of the 5k program to get you faster).  Their workout was a two mile time trail and the mentors were assigned to be spread out throughout the group to pace/encourage/etc.  

It was interesting being on the other side of things but I definitely enjoyed it.  I was towards the back (shocking for such a speed demon like myself) and chatted with my little group of people around me.  Once my group was done I went back out with some of the mentors to run in with the others still out there.  

Not to get all mushy and teary-eyed after only one day, but I'm really excited to work with these groups and see their progress towards their goals.  During my training for the half, one person's positive or encouraging words during a run could make all the difference in my mindset and belief in myself.  Sometimes it was the only thing that kept me going!  My goal is to be that person to these runners, because I know what a difference it can make.  I'm excited to pay it forward!

Enough of the deep reflection, let's talk about what an awesome race experience I had on Sunday.  It was my first 5k since November, when I ran my first race ever.  My time from the November 5k was 41:19, and my goal for Sunday was to come in under 35 minutes....

boom.

Mission accomplished.  Cutting almost 7 minutes off my 5k time was no easy feat, but I'm so excited I did it.  This was my first race that I actually "raced" -- usually I just "run" races, not aiming for a specific finish time.  It was totally different to keep a constant eye on my watch, making sure I was on pace for my goal, and pushing myself when I wanted to slow down.

It wasn't easy, but it was an awesome feeling knowing that I pushed myself and achieved the goal I set for myself.  Not only was my chip time under my goal, so was my gun time.  As I was running toward the finish I saw the race clock ticking towards 35 minutes and I'll be damned if my gun time shows over 35 minutes.  I full on sprinted (which in reality, according to my garmin, was only a 9:20 pace) and clocked my gun time at 34:58.  Boom.  Mollz for the win.   

frontier field, home of my first official PR 

Naturally I was on a total runner's high after my exciting race yesterday, so I used that high to fuel a long run today.  The Buffalo half marathon is TWELVE DAYS AWAY and I've done ONE long run since April 29th.  No bueno.

No bueno would be an understatement, because my run today was AWFUL.  I ran with Emily for the first time in a long time, which was just about the only positive of my run.  I felt all out of sorts, my legs weren't on board and my mental game was shot.  

It was brutal physically and mentally and that's all I'm going to say about that.  Chalking this up to a bad run and a lesson learned (not a good idea to skip long runs for a month).  We finished just over 8 miles and that point I was ready to take what I could get.

worst ever.

We collapsed in the grass to stretch when we were done, although this was my view for the first five minutes:

sky.

I laid "stretched" on my back for a few minutes before my body felt like stretching for real.  I was borderline thinking that I may need a stretcher in order to get upstairs, or that I would have to sleep on my lawn because I couldn't move.

stretching in my new kicks

One final note about tonight's run:  It. was. HOT.  Hot as in you could feel the sticky humidity the second you walked outside.  Hot as in I had to rock a bandana to catch the sweat pouring out of me.  Because I want you to understand how brutally hot it was, and because I've lost all sense of shame in showing you awkward and unflattering pictures of myself, I'll leave you with this little gem:

hint: that's not water.

You're welcome for that picture.

Friday, June 15, 2012

A Week Full of Adventures!

What a week it's been!  My biker's high from Sunday definitely carried me through my random adventures this week.

Tuesday was my usual run day and because I think I'm all cool and multi-sport now, I decided to ride my bike to Fleet Feet.  I felt super badass riding into the parking lot until I realized that I forgot my bike lock at home.  What an amateur mistake.

They let me keep my bike in the back room and thankfully the Fleet Feet staff are really good babysitters because my baby was safe and sound when I got back from the run.

The run itself was actually really good; it was the first week in a LONG time that I actually ran and completed the entire hill workout.  I was on fire.

wham bam thank you mam

I was feeling so awesome in fact that my run/bike high convinced me it would be a good idea to sign up for my first ever trail race...



...which just so happened to be the following evening.  I didn't even have time to register my impulsive decision until it was 5:00pm on Wednesday and I was getting ready for my first trail race.  And my first "official" race as a Fleet Feet team member!

check out my sweet jersey

Steph signed up for the race too so I was excited to have someone to run it with.  I was also glad that I had zero expectations because it was so NOT what I expected... but in a good way, I think.

We started off on relatively flat single track trails and I felt like I was on a cool little nature run.  The men started about 10 minutes after the women, so after only a few minutes we had the lead male hyenas zooming past us.  We had to stop and pull over a few times to let them by which was annoying, but better than being trampled.

see ya

I'm not really sure what I was expecting, but I definitely wasn't expecting to be hiking up steep dirt hills, dodging roots in the ground, jumping over fallen trees, or sliding down muddy hills.  I mean I guess that's what trail runs are after all.  Who knew.




It was WAY tougher than I had anticipated but I'm surprised at how much I actually enjoyed it.  It challenged me in a completely different way than I'm used to but dare I say I liked the challenge?!  Would I do another one?  Absolutely!

trail runner!

steph, rob & me: thumbs up for trail running!

thanks to Barb at fleet feet for being an awesome race photog!
i sure am glad she was standing at mile 0.1 rather than the finish. woof.

I was sore the next day which didn't really surprise me considering the running hiking of the trail race.  I took yesterday as a rest day and opted for a nice little nap as my choice activity of the day.

I was debating running or biking today and couldn't make up my mind, so when Brie suggested we bike to her parent's house for dinner, that was all the motivation I needed to choose biking.  Give me a burger and some corn on the cob and we've got a deal.

The ride there was quick and easy and we only had one minor incident with traffic.  When it comes down to adhering to traffic rules versus potentially becoming road kill, I'm throwing all rules out the window.  Cyclists have rights too ya know.

Dinner was fantastic and I ate like I was planning on sitting in my car to drive home, not hop on a bike for another 7 miles.  Oops.  The ride back turned out to be just as good as the ride there and it was quite an enjoyable little excursion.



I was very proud of Brie for not stopping or complaining (too much).  My goal is to make her an active fitness loving fool just like me.  Baby steps :)

post ride....x2!

Tomorrow I have my first day mentoring the 10k training group at Fleet Feet!  I'm so excited I feel like Christmas.  And Sunday I'm doing a 5k, which will be my first one since November when I started running.  I'm hoping to shave about 20 minutes off my time.  Well, someday.  I'll settle for a few minutes on Sunday.  See ya on the flip side of another exciting weekend!