Category Archives: Races

Races

North County Wine Run Half Marathon Race Recap

As you may remember, I ran the North County Wine Run Half Marathon last weekend in Battle Ground, WA.  Battle Ground is a sweet little town in the midst of Clark County situated near the Washington-Oregon border.  It boasts 3 wineries and, yes, I ran through every single one of them.  We’re big geography geeks, so for those of you who are also GG, here’s a visual:

While this was my first official “BibRave Pro” race, I did pay for my entry.

I was extremely nervous about this race for some reason.  Maybe because it was an “open course” (meaning running in the midst of traffic), maybe it was because there were less than 200 people signed up.  Because of the nerves, I was unable to eat anything before the race.  I couldn’t even force down a couple of Belvita biscuits which is my normal pre-race breakfast.  Bad, huge, terrible mistake.

The horn blew and we were off, starting with a nice uphill climb.  No worries.  I got this.  What goes up, must come down.  I was still going along nicely amongst the farm land when we hit the first aid station at about 2.5 or 3 miles.  I took a shot of Gatorade as I hadn’t eaten anything and thought it would help me.  Mistake #2.  I’ve discovered I can’t eat or drink anything with sugar in it while I’m running unless it’s a quick-dissolve glucose tablet, which I actually had with me.  I did eventually end up with a tummyache.  *facepalm

Still going along nicely until about mile 7.  Miles 5 to 7 were all uphill, and by the time I reached the top of the hill, I was out of gas.  Normal story for me… no hill training which, on top of no fuel, equals the biggest breakdown I’ve ever had with tears and a near full-blown asthma attack.  I recovered my breath after about a mile.  Thankfully a fellow Half Fanatic was behind me who eventually caught up to me at mile 11 and she pulled me across the finish line.  Yay!  I finished!  I was so very grateful to see James there and thankful for all the wonderful support he provided me.  I know it was hard for him to have to sit this one out.

Let me break down the details of the event for you…

PACKET PICKUP:  Short and sweet and organized.  It took all of 5 minutes.

PARKING AND TRANSPORTATION:  We parked at a school and shuttle buses took us to the race start line which was at a winery.  There was no parking at the winery, but the buses were on point.

THE COURSE:  It was open and you ran facing traffic on busy rural roads.  This was the one downfall with the race.  Drivers could care less about your safety as they showed time and time again.  Cones had been knocked down that were marking the course, and there were zero policemen around to keep things in line.  Extremely unnerving.  Following is another visual.  The course was the white line to the cone.  For 13.1 miles.  The side of the road was a ditch.

And it was extremely hilly.  You’d think I would have learned from the Olympic Discovery Half to integrate some hills into my plan, but no.  It’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks.  Here’s the elevation profile for NCWR.

PEOPLE:  Super friendly and helpful.  Everyone was extremely nice at this race, great aura.

AID STATIONS:  There were 3, two of which were running through different wineries where they offered water, Gatorade, and shots of wine for those who wished to partake.  I chose not to and stuck with water.

POST-RACE PARTY:  Great pasta and bread to be coupled with some wine tasting.  When I was through with the race, I was so sick and nauseous I couldn’t even think about eating.  After about 30 minutes, I forced myself to have about 5 bites of the pasta, the first food I’d had all day.

THE BLING:  Lovely.  A fully-weighted bottle stop.  I could actually cut the ribbon off and use this.

OVERALL IMPRESSION:  Other than the course being amongst tons of crazy traffic, this race was well run, well organized, and well directed.  If they ever closed the course, I would consider going back to run this race again for the challenge alone, to redeem myself and to have a better race.

By the way… after my shower and nap, I was feeling my normal self again, well enough for mine and James’s traditional post-race celebration.  For the first time ever, I had fried Brussels sprouts topped with bacon… I highly suggest you try them.  They were da bomb!

Cheers!

 

North County Wine Run

Tonight I’m in Battle Ground, Washington, preparing to run, I believe, my 13th half-marathon Saturday morning.  Battle Ground is about 200 miles south of where we live and about 20 miles north of Portland, Oregon.

One of the reasons James and I race is to explore new areas.  We’d never heard of nor been near Battle Ground before, and as this event is in our home state, we needed to check this race and area out.

Unfortunately, on September 2nd and about 40 miles south from here, some careless teenagers were lighting off fireworks during a burn ban, which ultimately started the now infamous Eagle Creek Fire, a fire that has burned so massively we have got smoke and ash all the way up where I live.

As of September 20th, the fire has consumed over 48,000 acres and still is only about 50% contained.

The proceeds from the North County Wine Run will go to the Eagle Creek Fire Relief.

Thankfully, the air cleared enough this past week to where we could still run.

This is the first race I’ll be running representing BibRave as a BibRave Pro, but I did pay for my entry.  I will be running through a winery, with wine offered at the aid stations and a wine truck coming up along the course… you know… just in case.

Really looking forward to it!  Cheers!

 

BibRave Pro!

I have a fun announcement!  I’ve been selected to be a BibRave ambassador, otherwise known as a BibRave Pro!

What is BibRave?  BibRave is a website that provides a community forum for runners to research and review races.  Anyone can submit a race review and there are no fees to use the service.  There is already a great online community and a weekly twitter chat, #bibchat, hosted each Tuesday at 6pm PST.

What is a BibRave Pro?  BibRave Pros are run bloggers who help spread the word about BibRave and BibRave-partnered races and brands.

What does this mean?  It basically means I’ll be reviewing races and products right here on my blog and continue to write race reviews on BibRave.

I’ve updated my website to include some discount codes.  If you’re interested in a race discount code, such as any Rock N Roll or Hot Chocolate race, you can visit my Race Discounts tab, and for gear and product discounts, visit my Gear Discounts tab.  These discounts are for runners and non-runners alike!

If you’d like more information on BibRave, you can visit http://www.bibrave.com.

I’m super excited to be doing this!  Wish me luck!!  You may be seeing a lot of orange in my near future!!

 

Throwback Thursday – My First Half Marathon

I had run a 10K back in 10/2013, and it was then I decided I would start training for a half marathon.  I was aiming for the Lake Sammamish Half for March, but after a little discussion with The Motivator, we decided my first half should be Rock ‘N’ Roll Seattle, 6/21/2014.

A month before RNR Seattle, we ran RNR Portland, with me running the 10K and James the half.  I remember during that race watching all the people make the turnoff to continue on with the half and thinking, “Oh how the hell am I going to pull this off in Seattle.  I’m already knackered.  I can’t imagine running another 6 miles.”

Pre-Seattle race, I remember being a basket case.  The nerves were out of this world.  And the RNR events are huge, so the amount of people that were there freaked me out as well.  But everyone else looked so calm.  Thankfully James stayed with me for as long as he could so I wouldn’t bail (lol, kidding).

It probably took me about 5 miles in before I relaxed.

The course was gorgeous (and super hilly), and I felt privileged to be able to run in areas I wouldn’t normally get to see.  Back then I didn’t carry my phone with me, just my iPod for music.  So, no pictures.  I made a mental note to carry a camera with me on the next race.  This was before blogging, so that didn’t happen.  There are a lot of races I missed out on taking pictures, and I’ve seen some amazing sights.  It’s also one of the reasons why I’m running the 50 states… for the sights.  Everyone else chases PRs… I’m there for aesthetics, lol.

And I’ll never forget the feeling of accomplishment I had when I finally crossed the finish line.  There is nothing that compares to it.  It’s why I’m addicted to racing… and, oh yeah, the bling.

I have since run 10 more half marathons and am now training for my first full.  I can imagine the above feelings are going to be escalated out of the stratosphere.

  “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” – Philippians 4:13

North Olympic Discovery Half Marathon

As some of you may know by now, James wasn’t able to run this marathon Sunday (June 4).  If you’re perplexed, you can read about his unfortunate outcome/circumstances here, which means I was on my own. As history dictates, James usually passes me during these events, so I missed him greatly on the course.

That being said, virtually he was with me the whole way.  He was a great cheerleader… even if I did stop talking to him during mile 10 (details to come, 😀 )

Pre-race, he got me super close to the start line, dropped me off 1/2-mile away.  Definitely much better than a shuttle bus, and I needed a warm-up, so I jogged to the field where the race started.  I immediately went to the portaloo line.  Pretty standard in that line… not enough potties, and by the time I reached them, the Star-Bangled Banner was being played.  Then it became a race all in itself to get to the start line.

The gun sounded, and all went well until 5K, never mind the powerful head wind.

I texted James at 5K and informed him I just ran into an evil hill.  I said some mighty nasty words… then I soon realized that mile 3 to 4 was all uphill, which is about when I also realized that this was actually a trail race and not just a road race.  Huge difference.  I didn’t train for a trail race, and I didn’t train on hills, especially the gut-wrenching hills I was running up.  I thought I was just going to run a nice trail/pathway next to the ocean… but noooo… that wasn’t the case.  My bad.

Eventually I texted James and asked when my pain was going to end.  He did a quick reconnaissance and informed me I was in hill hell until after mile 8.  Awesome.

Shortly after mile 8, maybe mile 9 (I’ve lost my senses at this point, so I can’t remember), it became a nice downhill path.  I was so relieved.  Down I went… until the shift at mile 10.  All uphill.  I was spent.  I texted James and said, “Not going to make my time.  5K left. Head wind. Gassed.  Still going.”

Up, up, up we go!

Despite the course “description” on the website of being flat, the last 3 miles were a painful and gradual uphill climb.  I kept saying to myself, “Okay, once I get past this hill, I’ll take off again and redeem myself.”  It never happened because the hill never ended.

I was very thankful to see James at about 12.75 miles as he ran a little bit with me to keep me going, at least until we reached the finisher’s chute, and then the crowd cheered me in across the finish line.  Such great support for an extremely challenging course.

The bottom line…  beautiful scenery, beautiful people, really hard course.  But I finished.  At the end of the day, I clocked in over 15 miles/24 km (over 32,000 steps on the FitBit).

As for the The Whole 30 having an effect… I believe it helped.  I still felt strong and ready to go, even after miles 8 and 9… it was only after the mile 10 hill that I had a bit of an emotional breakdown and just couldn’t handle any more hills.

The elevation profile. The drop from 220 to 0 was at about mile 8 or 9. The tiny (but huge) bump towards the end left me deflated.

It was a great day, a great race, and quite frankly, it was my own “un”doing by not training properly for an extremely hilly course.  If you ever run this race… do 10 to 20 miles on a mountain trail for training (numerous times), and you’ll be fully prepared.

Now on to enjoy the beautiful town and area of Port Angeles…  I think there was talk of a hike up to Hurricane Ridge tomorrow, or something stupid like that… 😀

From Sequim to Port Angeles

A Smidge of an Update

Downtown River Run in Reno

I’m not going to write a big recap about this race.  Just know it was hard.  Probably the hardest 10K I’ve ever completed.  Because of Reno’s higher elevation, I couldn’t catch my breath after the first mile (this happened in SLC as well, after mile 6).  James also spent most of his race in the Red Zone because of the lack of oxygen.  But that’s not important.  We went, ran a hard race, and had a fabulous time.

The Whole 30

A couple of weeks ago, I had looked into The Whole 30 food program.  Have you heard of it? Basically for 30 days, you eat nothing but whole foods, nothing processed and nothing with sugar.  I get that it’s a variant of the low-carb craze, but really not so much.  Potatoes are whole foods, pulled right out of the ground, so they work (but they don’t work in the low-carb diets).

The premise is to detox your body from all the food processing that goes on, and then slowly reintroduce foods back into your diet to see how your body reacts.  If a certain food doesn’t make you feel so good, then guess what!  You don’t eat that food no mo’!  I needed something to get me off all of the sweets, desserts, and chips I’d been getting in the habit of eating recently, so enter The Whole 30 program.

I had the start date written on the calendar and was 100% mentally prepared.  The mental part is important.  Your brain can talk you out of anything if you let it.  I started May 2nd, so I’ve been on it a whole 2 days now.  The cravings of chocolate and chips are strong, but I shut those thoughts down by asking myself, “Am I hungry enough to eat a plate of spinach?”  If the answer is no, I drink water.  If the answer is yes, then I eat something I’ve prepared in advance so I do not fail and give in.  Again, it’s only been 2 days, but I’m hoping that I will remain strong for the entire 30 days.  Okay, not hoping, I WILL remain strong for the entire 30 days.

The foods I’ll miss and crave most are oatmeal and peanut butter, every single form of chocolate, cookie and cake, chocolate milk (I already said chocolate, didn’t I), cheese, nuts, and chips/crisps.  For my pre-run carb load, it will be a baked potato with clarified butter, although I haven’t figured out how I’m going to fuel in the middle of my long runs yet.  Maybe I can make some banana mash, place it in a baggie, and I’ll have my own GU minus all the added sugar.  I don’t know.  (For those who don’t know, GU is a nasty gel a lot of runners are forced to consume in the midst of a long run to keep their energy levels up.)

Mmmm, tastes just like bacon!!

I’ve also had to give up my morning, mid-day, and afternoon cups of tea as I use sweetener.  I now start my day with a nice cold glass of iced tea.  Super glad it’s warming up or I’d be missing my cup of hot chocolate too!  (Seeeee!  Wayyy too much chocolate!!  It’s a good thing I don’t drink soda or I’d be hurtin’ for certain!)

My other goal during this time is to do something 6 days a week, not just on scheduled run days. Yesterday I ran.  Today I was supposed to go for a bike ride, but the heavens opened up and gave us a storm from hell, so I did nothing.  A minor set-back… I’ll start again tomorrow as I’m scheduled for another 3 miles.  (And for those who are anal about their numbers… yes, I should’ve ran around until my watch said 3.1.)

And finally…

The child is having a great time in Hawaii without his parents.  Am I the only one who thinks this is completely unfair?!!

I’ll leave you now with a song for MMM… this came on during my race in Reno.  Oh the irony.  “Sucker for Pain.”  Yes indeedy.

Have a happy weekend!!

Seahawks 12K At The Landing

One of the funnest races ever!

We had spirit.  We had a rockin’ atmosphere.  We had dogs everywhere.  We had bagels.

One does not run this for a PR… one runs this for fun.  And spirit.  Which we had (as stated above).

9 a.m. start time for James and the 12K.

As the race was in Renton, about an hour away from us, we opted to get up at 5 (on a Sunday… so I guess you know what I DIDN’T do last night… like drink).  Meep (cat) was none too impressed and didn’t understand why we weren’t following routine… like sleeping until 9.  Do you have any idea how hard it is to get through a morning when a half-Siamese cat is following you around and screaming at you the entire time, telling you to go back to bed??

Ignoring the cat and focusing on the task at hand, leaving promptly at 5:58, we arrived in Renton around 7 a.m.  Score! No traffic!  Empty parking lot!  Barely any people!  No line to the port-a-loos!!

A fabulously relaxing Sunday morning (#truth) as we sat in the Target Starbucks, warm and cozy, having coffee and tea, until it was time to head to the start line.  BTW… this was the line to the portables 20 minutes before my 5K race started at 9:20.  Somewhere in the distance you can see the potties (#runnersproblems).  Surprisingly, it only took me 15 minutes:

One Seahawks player, three Sea-Gal cheerleaders, and Blitz (the mascot) were on hand to send the runners off, along with the Seahawks Drum Line, Blue Thunder.  The energy was high.

Yes, it was cold at about 42 degrees.  I had my hoodie on, which I took off for the race, although I did have a warming long-sleeve underneath my Seahawks tee.

And oh yeah… a thermal warming blanket.

The start line looked like this:

And this:

And everywhere in between:

Faux-hawks, puppies, and 12th Man Spirit abound:

Somewhere amongst the 5000+ people out for a little run today, I earned this:

… the coveted 12th Man Bling!  The race tee was probably one of the best ever:

A lightweight hoodie.  The only shirt that even compares to this is Tulsa’s Route 66 Half-Marathon long-sleeved jacket, which I wear all the time:

Post race was a bagel, banana, and water.  Okay, I would’ve loved some chocolate milk AND water, but I won’t complain.

The race was great, the people were awesome,  swag amazing, and in the end, I got my chocolate milk once we got home.  That, and potato soup, courtesy of Subway.

A really great day!