Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Idaho Runcation - Part 2

Race: M.A.D. Marathon
Date: Saturday, July 27, 2013 @ 6am
Location: Idaho Falls, ID

OK, I'll be honest, I'm writing this almost 4 months after the fact so I'm not going to follow my normal day to day narrative because honestly I don't remember what we did. Actually, we didn't do much of anything while in Idaho. The week after the half marathon was a lot of panicking about the full marathon coming up, visiting with my brother-in-law and his family plus a trip to Twin Falls to visit the guys grandmother, aunts and uncles, father and his family.

The one thing I did manage to do just about every day was to go for short runs mostly along the Great Blackfoot Area Greenbelt and to the gym. This is a relatively new, paved loop that travels north for about 5 miles to Rose Pond before turning around for the return trip. I never went to the end but I did go about 3 miles out and back. The trail is beautiful and the sights in the early morning are quite inspiring.

We spent most of the week just chilling at the house. David, the BIL, and his family came by on Wednesday and we made plans to drive to Twin Falls to see their grandmother, aunts/uncles and dad. Our nieces by the hubs little brother, Vince, came by most days and we'd play croquet, do a T25 video, go swimming and just goofed off at the house. That night the whole family went out to dinner at a local restaurant that the hubs and I had never been to.

On Thursday we made the trip to Twin Falls. Our first stop was at the guys aunts house where we had lunch and caught up with everyone. Since the day was nice we were all siting or standing on the back porch when we noticed to humming birds buzzing by chasing each other. I know I got some pictures of them, but I can't find them anywhere. All the time that I was trying to get pictures I was, literally, getting dive bombed by one of the crazy birds. After several hours visiting we took our leave and headed over to the father-in-laws house.

It had probably been 15 or so years since we'd seen the guys dad. This trip we were lucky enough to see their step brother, Tuan, whom we hadn't seen since the early 80's when we were all active duty military. I know I took some pictures but I'll be damned if I can find them anywhere. We spent the day eating crawfish and just talking around the table. Their step mother is Vietnamese so you know that the food was never ending as it is in most Asian households when visitors are expected (or even when they're not). We ended up heading back to Blackfoot around 4pm.

Friday the girls came by and it was packet pick up day in Idaho Falls for the M.A.D. Marathon and Half Marathon. This was the race that I had been dreading, my second full marathon. After driving the course I knew that I was in trouble. You've probably read my previous post where I'm in total panic mode. If not, you can read it here.

M.A.D. Marathon swag.

Saturday, race day at 0 dark 30. We met the Marathon Maniacs, we were the only 2 Half Fanatics to take a group picture as is tradition with most races.

I was bused to the start of the full marathon, Troy would be bused to the half marathon start an hour later. I had a sheer few minutes of panic thinking that I couldn't do this, but when it came time to line up I did so all the while telling myself to just do the best I could. Almost the whole time of the race I was in the last 5. It seemed that me and an older gentleman who was walking were taking turns passing each other...yes, by this time (about mile 15) I had started walking more than running. By mile 18 I felt as if I was leaning to the left, much like I did at the TinkerBell HM earlier in the year. By mile 19 I was stumbling and off balance. At mile 20 I threw in the towel and called it quits...better to be safe than sorry since a diagnosis had still not yet been made (and never has been). I have to admit, I was in tears at having to quit only 10K away from the finish but there were no more water stops and there was only one car driving the course to pick up anyone. I figured that we'd be up in Idaho eventually and I could just catch a different marathon for the state at that time. Yes, I was disappointed but like I said...better to be safe than sorry.

Finishing Time:  DNF

We spent the next day just hanging out doing laundry and packing. We took off before dawn on Monday for the 16 or so hour drive home. It's funny but I feel differently about Blackfoot, a small town, than I did when we were living in California. I always thought I'd never be able to live in such a small town but after living here in Clovis, NM I kinda like it. Who knows maybe one day we'll move up to Idaho...

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

First Road Marathon: A Little Freaked Out

OK, so on Saturday I do my very first road marathon. I've done the Bataan Memorial Death March but it was literally how I approached it...as a march on dirt/rock/sand trails, no running. This race The M.A.D. Marathon starts out at nearly 5,200 feet in elevation and according to what I saw on the elevation map was mostly downhill with only one big hill climb. So yesterday the hubs and I went and drove the course and I wanted to cry...literally. I don't like hills and it was like the first 7-8 miles are constant rolling hills and 3 (yes, three) huge hill climbs. They aren't little, low laying hills they are steep! If I did the math right the biggest and steepest hill is a 55% grade..yes, 55%. I have a 60 foot difference in elevation over 109 feet.

        60/109 = 0.5504 x 100 = 55.04%


I had recorded the first half of the course after which the course is pretty much flat. Aside from my current, but quiet, internal (occasional external) freak out my plan is to start slow and finish slower. I sure as heck am not running all the way up the hills but I'll try to run up as far as possible. Remember, I'm a flat lander we have very few hills where I live. Am I panicking for nothing or am I right to be a little freaked? Either way, I won't quit and will crawl (and cry) if I have to...because this will be the beginning of my quest to join the Marathon Maniacs. So I was going to post the video but it's too long to post on YouTube and I don't know where else to post it. So, instead, here's the elevation chart. I don't know why I focused only on the downhill and totally disregarded the uphills. Well, wish me luck and confidence please...Saturday is coming way too soon!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Runcation 2013 - Part 1

Travel Day - Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Well, the trip started off rough when we overslept about an hour and a half and instead of leaving at 3am we ended up leaving at 4:30am. When we head up to Idaho we plan on an 16 hour drive but the older we get the longer the drive gets, this time it took us a total of 18 hours. It was an uneventful drive but it seemed to take forever. One thing that we did differently was to stop and eat in instead of eating on the road…that probably account for one of the extra hours of the drive. I don’t know where the 2nd hour came from. We finally arrived at my mother in law’s house at about 10:30pm. The hubs spent about 2 ½ hours just talking and catching up with his mom while I was unpacking and going on a 1 mile run to start up my run streak again…hopefully to last until Labor Day. I also did the scheduled workout for Focus T25 and got my ass handed to me, but it wasn’t bad considering that I had been on my butt for 18 hours. I got both the run in well before midnight and finished the workout just after midnight. It was time to head to bed because I was finally feeling sleepy.

Packet Pickup Day - Thursday, July 18, 2013
After getting a few hours of much needed sleep, about 4 hours actually, we went out for a 3 mile run and did the scheduled T25 workout right after getting back. We hung out at the house and relaxed for most of the day until the MIL drove us out to the greenway so we could have a place to run without worrying about the traffic on her busy country roads. The greenway goes around/by a lake and some canals and runs about a 7 mile loop. Did I mention there are trees, shade and nice scenery here in Idaho…totally different from the high desert of New Mexico. We also stopped by Anytime Fitness to pick up two temporary memberships so that we could work out, especially since I had just had a workout plan designed for me by a trainer at home.

We headed up to Idaho Falls (about 30 minutes away) at about 3:30pm to go to packet pickup which was starting at 5pm. We were about 45 minutes early so we looked around the store where the pickup was and then drove the course for the Idaho Falls 13.1. We got back to the store at about 5:10pm and went into the store. The pick-up was kind of weird in that you chose your own bib and entered your own name and bib number into the computer. It seemed like a kind of self service registration. There wasn’t much (really anything) for swag aside from the shirts and a water bottle. We were going to stay for the guest speaker at 7pm, but I got to antsy and didn’t want to wait another hour and a half so we headed back to the MILs house.

I decided that we needed to start some carb loading and we made some baked rigatoni and sautéed squash/zucchini for the in-laws and ourselves. We just spent the rest of the night just hanging out before everyone headed to bed. Of course, I couldn’t sleep so I headed out to the gym (24/7) and did my prescribed workout and by the time I got back to the house I was ready to sleep.

Rest Day (Sort of) – Friday, July 19, 2013
With nothing on the agenda we planned to take it easy for the day and just relax. Our nieces came to the house while their parents were at work and we ended up playing croquet with them and MIL outside in the 90°+ degree temperature. I never realized that croquet took so much time. I was doing a load of laundry (tech stuff from previous days) and sat out the second game to hang the clothes to dry. Wow! Imagine that, you can actually hang clothes on a outdoor clothes line and not have them be dirtier than when you hung them up (never ending blowing dust/dirt in our neck of the woods). After getting the clothes hung I decided it was time for a nap, I must have been out for close to 2 hours because the girls mom was there to pick them up very shortly after I got up. The hubs mom had made some tapioca so they were all having some (I don’t like the stuff) and the girls were headed home about 20 minutes after I woke up.

The MIL ordered pizza for dinner and I prepped a chicken with the rub from Roast Sticky Chicken. We just sat and watched TV until about 9pm when the hubs and I went to sleep. The big question was if I’d sleep more than my traditional 3 hours of pre-race sleep.

Half Marathon Race Day - Saturday, July 20, 2013

The hubs and I woke up at 3am after he had slept for at least 6 hours and I had managed to get just over 5 hours in. We were both ready to go and had eaten breakfast (whole wheat English muffin and OJ for me) by 4:15am so it was time to leave for the Idaho Falls 13.1. We did a double check of everything and headed out for the approximately 30 minute drive to the finish line where we would be bused to the start. I had to answer the call of mother nature and the race info said that permanent, real restrooms would be available at the finish line…well, they were locked. Bummer. I ended up having to use the port-a-john which I really dislike except in emergencies so I guess I’d count this visit as an emergency. 

Flatrunner Beth (my gear for the day).
By the time I had made my way back to the car, the buses had arrived and I saw the hubs heading over to get on one…he didn’t even wait for me! Lol! Anyway, we were bused 13.1 miles to the start of the race right amongst a windmill farm. The weather wasn’t  bad…a very light breeze and temps in the high 50s. On the ride up a small group of us were talking about the race and other races we had done and just enjoying the company. We arrived at about 6am, start time was 6:30am, and took pictures talked with more people…one guy was intrigued with my Bataan Memorial Death March tattoo since he was a history buff and had grandfathers who were at Pearl Harbor and another base during WWII. 

As the start time got closer, we all inched our way towards the start. The hubs and I knew we’d be back of the packers so we were in no hurry to get to the front. All of a sudden everyone started running! We, and others around us, never heard a “Ready, Get Set, Go!” or a starting gun going off. We took our time and were actually DFL for the first 3 miles. At the water stop a group of 5 guys stopped and we passed them as well as a couple who were also doing run/walk/run.  Also at the 3 mile mark was the one uphill section. It wasn’t a small uphill either, it was pretty steep but we managed to run about half before beginning to walk. We continued our run/walk/run, the other couple eventually passed us up at around mile 7-8 and the group of guys was nowhere to be seen. At least we weren’t DFL, close to it but still not DFL.

The view towards Idaho Falls.
Sunrise behind the windmill farm.
2nd bus walking down to the start.
Yours truly.
Pretty bling
During the race I had one GU and sucked down 4 packets of mustard. Yes, mustard to help alleviate and prevent any cramping. Now, I’m not a fan of mustard but this is the first race that I had only one tiny moment of cramping and nothing else. It wasn’t very smart of me to try the mustard for the first time during the race, but it worked effectively with minimal GI issues. Mustard packets will now be on my person for any future races…now I just need to figure out where to buy/confiscate some!

We didn’t make our sub-3 hour goal, missing it by less than 2 minutes but we did finish and that’s all that matters. After getting my neck adjusted by the chiropractor on site, we made our way to the car and stopped at a convenience store to get some chocolate milk to drink. After the drive back and getting cleaned up we headed to a local restaurant with the MIL and had lunch. The hubs went for a huge Louisiana style burger while I opted for a prime rib  sandwich with sautéed onions and mushrooms.

After lunch we just hung out at the house with the old man complaining of his sore calves. We eventually decided to use some leftover hamburger to make nachos for dinner along with shrimp and deviled eggs…yup, weird combination! Now I’m just typing this up and getting ready to watch “21 &Over” on my laptop since I don’t think the in-laws would enjoy the movie and the rough language in it. So I guess that’s it for now, more later…The M.A.D. Marathon is next on the book next Saturday. Whoa.

Video: Troy and I crossing the finish line.

Finishing Time:  3:01:45

What did I like about this race?
Scenery is pretty, even running through the shopping district wasn't bad. Great volunteers and police traffic control. It was mostly downhill! Nice medal.

What did I not like about this race?
The big hill that we had to go up. The fact that my GI tract did not agree with the mustard too well. There was one turn that wasn't marked well and no one was there to make sure you went the right way. The starting gun/yell/whatever was not loud enough for everyone to hear.

Would I do this race again?
Yes, it's a nice course and it would work into a visit with the in-laws so it's a 2 for 1 type situation.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Tinker Bell Half Marathon Frenzy

Well, it's happened again. A runDisney race has sold out within days of opening to the general public. The Tinker Bell Half Marathon...the very first half marathon I ever did...has sold out within 66 hours of opening registration to the general public.

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon Medal
In the past it has taken a month or more by my recollection, granted it has only been run twice so far. The craziness that ensues prior to the actual public registration opening starts with the pre-registration that occurred during the Princess Half Marathon after the announcement of a new pink/purple Coast to Coast (C2C) medal. IMHO the medal is nowhere near as pretty as the traditional blue C2C medal, it really didn't excite me at all. Maybe it's because I just ran that same combination of races this year, but I just had no urge to spend the extra dough to run the same two races again.

Special 2014 Coast to Coast (Tinker Bell HM + Princess HM) Medal.
Next in the mayhem came the annual passholders pre-registration. These people, who pay a pretty penny for annual passes at differing levels get to pre-register a few days ahead of the general public. It's usually at this point that registration URLs get leaked to the general public and chaos ensues. Some people go ahead and use the leaked links. Others, wary of any ramification, wait until the minute that general registration opens.

On the Tink HM Facebook group that I belong to we are constantly watching the percentages for the registration status for the race. I usually post on a regular basis a photo of the current stats but this morning at 6am after I had posted that the runDisney site still had registration at 95% sold out I found out, and confirmed, that the half marathon was indeed sold out at the latest by 3am today. It took several hours for the runDisney website to update to the correct numbers.

So, to those of you who weren't able to get registered, I'm sorry. There are still charity spots and travel group spots left so you still have options. To those of us that got in HOORAY!! I'll see ya'll at Disneyland in January!! :D

Photo Timeline...

Approx 3pm MT 7/9/13, 6 hrs after registration opened.
Stats as of 7/10/13 at 1:30pm MT.
Stats 7/10/13 at 2:45pm MT. 
Active registration website 7/11/13 at 6:10am.
I was told this appeared around 3am CT.
Stats as of 7/11/13 approx 6:20am MT runDisney updated their website.
Did you get in? Did you even try? Did you not get in? If not, what are you plans...skip it or got the charity or travel group route?

Race Recap: Costume Party Run HM - Inaugrual Race

Race: Inaugural Costume Party Run Half Marathon
Location: Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, CA
Race Date: Sunday, July 7, 2013

Ummm, yeah, that's the medal...6" in diameter.
Travel Day #1: Friday, July 5, 2013 
Thankfully after last weekend's 16+ mile drive, I decided to do the drive to San Diego (with the husband) in 2 days since it was also an estimated 15+ hour drive. This first day we traveled just over half way from home to Davis-Monthan AFB in Tucson, AZ. The drive was uneventful although we did end up leaving about an hour later than planned. I did make the mistake of stopping for gas at a small place about 22 miles east of Tucson only to find that the gas was $4.79/gallon for regular! Talk about sticker shock. I only put in $30 worth (even though we could have gotten away without) because I didn't want to pay for a full tank. This was the most expensive gas the whole trip...even more expensive than in California! 

We rolled into Tucson after about a 9 hour drive at about 6pm and unloaded our stuff at the lodging we had been assigned before heading to Sushi on Oracle, a great little Japanese place that I had the pleasure of going to when I ran my first race in Arizona early last year. I really recommend this place...it's really small so try to get there on an off time. We didn't do anything else aside from chill in the room and sleep. Very quick and uneventful trip to Tucson.

Travel Day #2: Saturday, July 6, 2013
We were up by 5am and on the road around 7am after stopping for some breakfast at Mickey D's. I try not to drive with the AC on but in 100°F+ temperatures I made an exception especially since we were driving through the desert of Arizona. One of my most interesting sights on this trip was the border fence which we could clearly see on different parts of the freeway in the areas of the dunes. It's big and it's long...the last time I drove through here back in 2007 or so it didn't exist so just watching the length of the fence was pretty amazing especially how close it came to the freeway at times.
The border fence in the background.
The beauty of the AZ desert.
We arrived in San Diego at about 2pm and went directly to the expo at Road Runner Sports. It, the expo, was much smaller than I expected and the only goody we received was a funky trucker's cap (not even a tech running cap) with the race's logo. Now, having a race expo at a running store is just plain mean!! I wanted to buy so much but fought off the urge. However, in their "gently used" outlet I did find a pair of Kinavara's that were just half a size too big for me...could have had them (barely used) for $50 if they fit. Bummer! While at the expo I met up with Dianne, a friend from my TinkerBell HM crew, and saw inspirational runner, Misty Diaz, who has Spina Bifida. 

We checked in on MCAS Miramar into their brand spanking new lodging and then headed out to Dave and Buster's to meet up with some TinkerBell HM Facebook Group friends (Linda, Paige, Lyn and Sandy). BTW, don't trust Google navigation to get you to Dave and Buster's San Diego...got us completely lost! We had a late lunch/early dinner with Paige and her family, Linda & Arman, Lyn and Sandy then played some of the games for a while. To my son and FDIL if you're reading this...I have some D & B tickets to mail to you guys! We headed back to the base and made a stop at the exchange to purchase some things that I had forgotten before heading to the room to settle down for the night. We made sure our gear was ready (but I forgot to take flat runner pictures so I took them post race) and turned in so we could be rested for the race.

Race Day: Sunday, July 7, 2013
Since the hubs and I were dressing up as Charlie Brown and Lucy from Peanuts I woke up at 3am to curl my hair. Since I have a natural wave in my hair you'd think it would take a curl pretty easily, but no. I have to use setting gel plus a super freeze hairspray to get it to stick. It took me over an hour to get that done (only to have it fall out almost immediately in the humidity). By 4:40am we were ready to go. We headed down to the car and lo and behold...a flat. The hubs changed out that bad boy and we were on the road at around 5:10am for the short 15 minute drive to the start. Again while Google Navigation got us to Qualcomm's surrounding areas it failed to get us off and onto the road to the stadium. Once we got onto the right road and parked it was about 5:30am. I picked up my new obstacle course race (OCR) medal rack from a friend in the Weeple Army (Russ at Epic Medal Racks) and then headed to the start to find some friends from Half Fanatics and the TinkerBell HM FB Group. We never found them only to learn later that they weren't actually at the start but at the race logo background by the start. Oh well.

Even before the race the humidity was crazy. I've lived in the desert for 20+ years now...I wasn't used to this coastline humidity anymore (grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area). I knew I was in trouble. When the race started it didn't take much for me to start sweating like a pig. I kept things slow for the loop around the stadium parking lot, but even then by the time we hit the roadway I was already sweating bullets. Within the first half of the race I look at the husband (running in a cotton shirt for the costume) with sweat literally falling off his head...not dripping, but pouring off his head. The course was rolling hills out and back on Friars Road. Have I mentioned before that I don't like hills?

The costumes were fairly varied with a lot of Thing 1 and Thing 2's, tourists, Ninja Turtles and others. There were some that stood out like the hot rickshaw guy (pulling a wheelchair transformed into a rickshaw...his real name is Samuel and is now a FB friend), the guy dressed as a large stripper, a 6'9" tall Richard Simmons (his real name is Ray) and a Hi-liter. I had friends who were Wonder Woman, Super Weeple, Ambiguously Gay Duo, Bat Girl, Thing 1 and Thing 2, the Grinch, etc. It was great to see all the costumes out there. I don't normally dress in costume for races (especially one made of cotton) but this time I decided that hubs and I would go full out as Charlie Brown and Lucy.

Inspirational runner, Misty Diaz, who has Spina Bifida.
Jess, the zombie 50's housewife.
Breakfast and stripper all at once!
Dianne and I.
Team Seuss.
Blind & deaf inspirational runner and guide.
I don't know him, but he's reppin' Team Red, White and Blue!
Hardest costume to run in?
The 2 Dave's (Weeple Army) as the Ambiguously Gay Duo from SNL.

Sandy was in the zone and didn't hear me calling her!
Hot Asian dude (inside joke), Samuel.
Matt from Weeple Army doing situps, push ups
and squats at each mile.
Hubs and I as Charlie Brown & Lucy.
Post-race flat runner Beth/Lucy.
Paige, Nate and Braden near the finish.
My new OCR medal rack.
As per custom by mile 8 I had started cramping. I had forgotten to pack my mustard packets, which are supposed to work wonderfully for cramping and instead started popping Endurolytes at a double dose, so I waddled the remaining portion of the race. When I tried to run just a 100 or so feet to the finish I couldn't because the cramping would start as soon as I tried to start running. The husband learned the art of the "fake run", you know when you're tired or cramping so you start an easy jog when you see the photographers...My pics doing this actually look pretty good! lol!

After turning in our timing chips, I had to ask how we got our medals because the turn in station wasn't clearly marked IMHO, we received the huge medals. I'd be lying if I didn't say that the only reason we did this race was for the medals. We hung out with Team Seuss for a while waiting for some people to finish and taking some pictures before heading back to the base to shower and head out to get our flat fixed, then a post-race brunch and finally to Coronado Island to look around.

It took us about a half hour of driving around after we were finally cleaned up  to find a tire shop open on Sunday to fix our flat. We then headed over to The Broken Yolk Cafe to meet Paige and her family for brunch. We had originally planned to hit Old Town and Coronado Island, but settled for the Island only because we were both pretty tired. After driving around in the traffic for about 20 minutes we finally found a parking space and walked down to the beach and around the Hotel del Coronado. Unfortunately in my 3rd or 4th trip to the Del (known as Hotel Del by locals) we still managed to miss the tour of the hotel since only one is done on Sundays. After spending $23 on a scoop of homemade ice cream, a chocolate shake and a bottle of Sprite (talk about sticker shock!) we decided to call it a day and headed back to the base.

Coronado Beach
Hotel del Coronado
I ended up doing most of our laundry (thankfully I always pack some detergent since the laundry rooms were out) before dinner time. Dinner just had to be at L & L Hawaiian BBQ because if you know me at all, you know that I do love my Hawaiian BBQ!! The rest of the night was just spent packing and chilling before the long 15+ hour in one day drive home.

Travel Day: Monday, July 8, 2013

Driving into a fierce desert summer thunderstorm...
with bad windshield wipers.
We were up and out the door just after 6:30am after having Hawaiian BBQ leftovers for breakfast. The drive was uneventfull until about a hour or so west of Tucson when a huge thunderstorm hit and pelted us with sheets of water, enough that I had to pull to the side because my wipers wouldn't move any rain away. Talk about scary! We made it to Tucson for lunch and headed to Holloman AFB in New Mexico where we replaced my wiper blades and had dinner. We finally made it home right at midnight. Thankfully a relative calm hit and I stayed up until about 2:30am before finally going to sleep since I had swimming lessons at 6:15am.

What I liked about this race:
Meeting all my new and old friends. The great costumes worn by many people.

What I disliked about this race:
A trucker's cap, really? The expo at a running store...okay, it wasn't that I didn't like the fact it was at a running store, it was just too much temptation. Hills. Two long loops around the Qualcomm stadium parking lot (they're taking away 2 miles of this next year). Humidity.

Would I do this race again?
Probably, yes, but not in any rush to even though the medal is supposed to be a full inch larger next year.