Tag Archive: Race Report

Race Report: Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon

I suppose I should do a race report.  Last weekend I ran the Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon.  But it wasn’t really about the running.  Or the race.  This time, it was about the people.  Many years ago, I got into running and I joined a running site, www.RunningAHEAD.com.  The site has several running forums and boards, and most importantly to this post, user groups.  One of the groups is for women only, the LLR.  From that online user group many many friendships have grown.  Over time, my participation in the group was reduced, especially once I stopped running.  However, I still interacted with a couple of the ladies via Facebook and/or Twitter.

Last January, I posted to Facebook from Las Vegas.  Wouldn’t you know it, so did my friend Lisa.  My “internet” friend Lisa, I should say since we’d never actually met in person.  Upon realizing she was there, I asked her where she was and for how long.  She was at a hotel I could see from my window, for about 40 more minutes and then she was leaving Vegas!  I of course jumped in a cab and rushed to meet her.

Sometime after that I also became friends with a few more ladies from the group on Facebook.  This past June, I got back into running (and even ran a race).  So when Lisa said I should come join the ladies and run a half marathon in Toronto, I said yes.  (Never mind that I was nowhere near really BACK to running, as I said, this was about the people).

Fast forward to last weekend, where I got on a plane (in the exit row) to Toronto.  And see a couple across the aisle from me (in the exit row).  When we land in Toronto, I hear her mention “LLR”, and I think to myself it must be a coincidence.  I get through customs and check Facebook.  One of the other ladies that is getting picked up by our hostess Lisa said she is in baggage claim.  I ask via Facebook messenger if she sat in the exit row with her husband.  Spoiler alert: she did!  We met up, found a few others, and eventually I ended up at Lisa’s house.

Friday night and Saturday and Saturday night and Sunday afternoon, I met several women from the LLR (and some of their husbands, too).  Several of them were meeting each other for the first time as well.  I very well COULD have felt like the odd man out since I didn’t participate in the last few years in the group online.  I imagine many of the women could easily have thought to themselves, who IS this woman?  But I never once felt out of place or uncomfortable.  They are an amazing, wonderful, hilarious, welcoming bunch of women.  I am so glad to have met them and gotten to know them.

Oh yeah, and there was a race, and it was awful, and it was my worst finish time for a half by something like 30 minutes (official finish time: 2:53:55) and I felt like poop run over by a truck, but I ran it with Lisa and it was so worth it.  The end.

Some of the ladies of the LLR

Some of the ladies of the LLR — photo credit Meghan Braithwaite taken by Erica Boos, I think

 

View of Toronto

View of Toronto

 

Pre-race

Pre-race

 

Mid-race WHILE running

Mid-race WHILE running

Post-race

Post-race intentionally making bad faces. Lisa wins.

 

Race Report: What?!

That’s right.  It’s a race report.  My last report was for my disappointing marathon in 2010.  My last actual race was a 10k in June…of 2011.  Over three years ago.

Last week, I ran in the Yankee Homecoming 5k.  I just re-started running again recently.  Recently == June.  I knew I could finis, but I knew I wouldn’t be fast.  I had no expectations other than just running.  Not a lot to report on the race itself.  Official race time: 31:15.  I came in smack in the middle of other runners and smack in the middle of my gender/age range.  As I ran, I remembered something.  I like running races.  I want to run more races.  Which is good since I signed up for a half marathon in October.

I’m now done with Week 1 of training for the half.  As one tends toward optimism in Week 1, I’m feeling good.  I’m maybe even feeling like I could beat my half marathon PR, but more importantly, I want to get in under two hours.  What did she just say?  That’s right, you heard me.  I just ran a SHORT race with a 10:04 pace and I’m somehow thinking I’m going to run a half marathon with a 9:05 pace in 11 weeks.  Clearly, I’m writing this on a runner’s high or something.

 

Nike Women’s Marathon – Race Report

On October 17th, I completed the Nike Women’s Marathon. It was my first marathon. It was also day 504 (I think) of my running streak.

Race time was 7AM, starting in Union Square. My hotel was just off the square and I figured on a 6AM arrival. That worked well, giving me time to find the start and the bag drop off and mill around a little bit, but not too long, before the start. It was dark and the weather started out about as perfect as you can get for a marathon, in the low 50s.

From the get-go people were awesome. I overheard one woman ask another woman where something was. The second woman answered, then asked a question of her own. I forget what it was, but I knew the answer, so told her. Somehow, instantly, we three just started chatting. Exchanging the usual topics before a race, “Is this your first marathon?” “The weather is great” “Where are the portapotties”. We walked together to the bag drop off buses. Wished eachother good luck and went on our way.

While 20,000+ runners and walkers waited for the starting gun, a slight drizzle began to fall. Again, perfect for a marathon. The gun went off. I think. I don’t really know, my starting group was so far away, I never really heard it. But I heard cheering right around 7, so I’m assuming. It took about 20 minutes for me to even get to the start line. However, I did actually get to run across. I had heard you can spend the first mile or so walking, so I was very happy to start off running.

There was a collection point at mile 2 for jackets, gloves, etc. Anything you needed at the start while waiting, but wouldn’t need running 26.2 miles. Unfortunately, I couldn’t wait for the dropoff and tossed aside my fleece around mile 1.

It was a really great course, especially since I grew up outside of San Francisco, and spent a lot of time there. (Mom, you may want to skip ahead here). My best friend and I drove to San Francisco a lot in high school and the course went past many of the places we hung out. From Union Square down to Pier 39. Through the Presidio. In and out of Golden Gate park. I had one moment where the course turned and we were at the top of the hill turning onto the Great Highway. I burst into tears. I spent a lot of time at the beach here. Had a lot of fun. All those memories hit me as soon as I saw the water. Of course, it was pouring rain at that point, so no one could tell I was crying.

Oh yes, did I mention it had started raining? I was wearing a sleeveless running shirt (with my name in pink duct tape) and running shorts. Perfect for running in 55 degree weather. Not so perfect for running in 55 degree weather with pouring rain and wind.

I think it was somewhere in the Presidio when the race had posted signs. The theme this year was “I Run To Be”. The signs along this part of the route had reasons for running. Some were total tearjerkers like “I run to cure my son’s cancer” and others were fun, “I run for the massage”. I really enjoyed the signs. They were fun and inspiring and best of all, distracting.

I remember heading up one of the hills before the halfway point and talking to a runner who seemed to be struggling a bit. I told her that most of the hills were done. Which is sort of true, the hardest hills and the majority of hills were all in the first half. We joked a little and then went on our ways.

I can’t remember when it happened exactly, but I must say it is very disheartening to be thinking that you could finish the marathon in under five hours, and then see the five hour pacer run past you. It was also a bit depressing to hit the point at which the runners of the half marathon were diverted. Knowing they were almost done, and I still had to run another 13 miles was a killer.

Running along the Great Highway sucked. This was the only part of the course that was “out and back”. In other words as you are running, there are other runners on the opposite side of the road. NEARLY FINISHED. I was at mile 16 and they were at mile 25. It was also very cold, very rainy and very windy.

Possibly the worst part of the course for me, was when we topped the hill and could see Lake Merced. Knowing that we still had to run around that thing, and getting this view of it. And just seeing how fricking big it looked, was utterly demoralizing. I was no longer running, or even jogging. I was trudging. I swear those miles around that lake were the worst miles I have ever run in my entire life.

Finally, we were back on the Great Highway. Headed toward the finish. It is at this point I must say how awful I felt. I was frequently taking walk breaks. I told myself I had to run whenever someone cheered for me. Which happened a lot thanks to my name on my shirt. I really really hated running at this point. Someone said a marathon is a lot like childbirth. Except, with childbirth, you have no choice, you HAVE to finish. A marathon is so much harder in that with every single step, you have to choose to keep going. It would be so easy to sit down and say forget it. Except for you people. I knew I couldn’t come back here and blog about how I quit. I couldn’t tweet that I stopped. Or update my Facebook status with “DNF – Did Not Finish”. Damn you all.

There was a guy dressed like Pikachu (yes, men were allowed to run) with his girlfriend/wife/whatever. I had seen them around Lake Merced and they had both said words of encouragement to me. Like often happens in a race, you pass someone, they pass you, you go back and forth for a while. Along Great Highway, they saw me again. And Pikachu ran with me a bit. He talked with me, encouraged me. Honestly, I am tearing up a bit as I write this. He was in no way obligated to talk to me or help me. And yet he did. And it really did help. I know I ran just a bit more because he was nice enough to run with me. I have no idea who he is, but I’m so grateful.

I’m also grateful to many of the Team In Training coaches who asked me how I was doing. Or told me “You can do this, you got it”. It really did help. And I really did need it. As i passed by one of the last Red Cross tents, I had to look away. I was afraid I would stop and go in if I made eye contact. I was that miserable.

However, I didn’t go in. And I ran across that finish line. With the rain pouring down and tears streaming down my face, I crossed that finish line.

Smuttynose Half Marathon – Race Report

Today I ran the Smuttynore Half Marathon in Hampton, NH. As I posted last week, I had three goals. One of which, was my super secret goal. This is the dream goal. Not the goal you actually think you will reach, but one you aspire to. That goal was to break 2 hours. My previous best time for a half marathon was 2:11.

So, the race report. First I have to say what a great race this is. VERY well run. Before the race even began several weeks ago, I couldn’t remember if I had registered or not. I emailed the race contact and they quickly responded. They indicated I was not registered, but tried very hard to help me, asking if there might be another name I was registered under. Turns out, I am just forgetful and hadn’t registered. So, I registered. Which was good, because the race closed out and there was no race day registration.

Today marked 126 days of running every day. I had high hopes of breaking my PR, and even had secret hopes of reaching my super secret goal.

I couldn’t ask for a better race start location. First, it’s by the beach. I love the beach and the ocean. Secondly, my mother-in-laws house was about 1/4 mile from the start. So, I got there early, picked up my race number and timing chip and went back to her house to relax until race time. Race start was 10AM, so at 9:30, we rallied the troops and headed over to the start. My mother-in-law, husband and two kids would be there to cheer me on.

The race began and I had a little confusion as there was no starting mat that I crossed over. Usually when a race is chip timed, there is a rubber mat that you cross at the start. That is when I start my watch. No rubber mat meant I had no idea where the actual start was and no idea when to start my watch. At some point, I just assumed I must have missed it and started my watch.

The miles went by relatively easy and quickly at the start of the race. In order to hit 2 hours, I needed to run 9:09 minute miles. I was consistently running 9:09 or less.

This was a VERY interesting race. I used to live in Hampton. At the beginning of the race, I passed by a house that I lived in one winter. Another part of the race went down the road I used to drive to and from work for several years. Yet another part of the race passed by the beach I got engaged on. I passed the neighborhood where we bought our first house. A little run down memory lane.

Also interesting and fun, were my thoughts. Two hours is a long time. You think about a lot of stuff. In particular, I thought about a lot of my Twitter friends. I had tweeted before the race and many had tweeted back. Francie gave me a cheer, which made me laugh at several points throughout the race. I thought about things people have posted. Like Francie (again) posting that hilarious video where Elmo gets bleeped. Cracking myself up while running thinking of Elmo saying “Bleep you, Baby”. I ran fast for you guys. I really wanted to be able to tweet that I broke two hours. I didn’t tweet that, but I think my tweet may have been equally amusing.

So anyway, not sure how…according to my Garmin I hit the target mile pace for every mile, but my finish time was officially 2:01:21. A fabulous, wonderful PR by 10 minutes, but a tragic miss of my super secret goal by just 1 minute and 21 seconds.

More on how well the race was run, the after race goodies were great. FREE BEER with NO LINE. They were just lined up on a table for the taking. And pizza, and granola, and drinks, and vegetable soup. Again, all lined up and waiting for runners with no lines. AND KLONDIKE BARS!! You can’t beat a race that has Klondike bars. Very well run, well organized. I would love to do this race again next year.

The stats, if you’re interested:

1 – 9:12
2 – 9:09
3 – 9:09
4 – 8:54
5 – 9:01
6 – 9:09
7 – 9:00
8 – 9:04
9 – 8:58
10 – 9:06
11 – 9:00
12 – 9:08
13 – 8:55
0.35 (according to Garmin) – 3:26

Saunders 10k Race Report – Updated

Tonight was the Saunders 10k in Rye Harbor, NH. Last year I ran this race and came in with a then PR of 57:48. Since then I got a new PR in June at the Market Square Day 10k, coming in 57:15. Given that today was day 81 of consecutive running days, I was hoping to see a new PR. However, it was supposed to be in the 80s today, so I wasn’t holding my breath for any fantastic running.

Boy, was I wrong. I got a PR by MORE than two minutes! Official finish time…54:58!! A course PR by almost three minutes and a distance PR by two.

View of the harbor near the race start…
rye.jpg

My plan was to run 9 minute miles if possible. That would have given me a finish time around 56:00. My first mile I was close to that pace, I ran it in 8:50. The first four miles were close to the 8:50 pace. I felt good. It had cooled off as the sun went lower in the sky (the race started at 6PM). And there were hills, small hills, but hills. I love hills. I kicked into gear on each hill and really pushed up them. At two points in the race, I actually swore at myself out loud. One was somewhere in the middle when I hit a hill and DIDN’T kick it into gear, so yelled at myself to GET UP THAT HILL. The second time was just at the last turn. I looked down at my watch and new I could really smoke my previous time, so I didn’t want to come in slow. A few choice words with myself and I sped it up for the final 0.1 mile.

The BEST part, aside from an awesome race time, is that the Saunders 10k only gives shirts to a certain number of people. You have to finish in the top number of people for you age group and gender. I didn’t even come close to getting one last year. But, GUESS WHO EARNED A SHIRT? That’s right, ME. I’ve gotten a lot of race shirts in the last couple of years, but THIS one is the best by far because I EARNED it.

Here are the splits (YAY! negative splits!!)
Mile 1 – 8:51
Mile 2 – 8:55
Mile 3 – 8:51
Mile 4 – 8:49
Mile 5 – 8:40
Mile 6 – 8:42
0.2 – 2.15

Update: For my gender and age group, you had to be one of the first 115 finishers, I was 97!!!

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