Tuesday, October 30, 2012

the saints & sinners 1/2 marathon report.

so i got a little crazy a few months back and decided i wanted to see how far i could push myself as a runner. that got me thinking about something called the half fanatics, a group dedicated to crazy 1/2 marathoners. this is the one i pursued...

1. 2 Half Marathons within a 16 day time frame.
2. 3 Half Marathons within a 90 day time frame.

there are lots of other options that just get crazier and crazier as the levels go up, like doing 12-18 half marathons in 365 days. wow that makes my body cringe just thinking about it!

anyway. i hadnt really told very many people that i was going to do this in case it didnt really happen number 1. then i didnt want someone to try and talk me out of it so i kept it kind of quiet until friday night when i posted this pic on facebook and twitter...
right away most of my running friends liked it, thank goodness. so i headed off to bed for a very early wake up call at 430am! the race was out near the hoover dam so it would take about 45 minutes to get there plus i was budgetting for traffic just in case. it was set to be a small race, 1st year, small company, and not tons of press. after all the craziness at nike i was more than excited about a small race. it was also right before halloween so they were really encouraging people to dress up for the event. i had found a great set of ladybug wings awhile back at target and decided thats what i would dress up as. so i bought a red team sparkle skirt to complete the outfit. but by the time i went back to get the wings they were long gone and i didnt know what to be! luckily some twitter friends had great suggestions, superman, a red m&m, ladybug, superwoman, and mrs incredible:) i still really wanted to be a ladybug but would use superwoman as my back up just in case. somehow my mom and i found wings just in time in the baby section at a halloween store and antennas to match. phew!

back to the early wake up call, sorry, tangent. i was out of bed pretty quick knowing that i needed to start the fueling process and secure the wings of my costume since my tank top was finally clean. both went smoothly and we were out the door just about on time. the drive was easy even though the sign they kept talking about at packet pickup for the turn was barely visible. my mom came with me and we both huddled in the car as long as possible since the wind was blowing like crazy plus the sun wasnt up so i was freezing. finally deciding to get out and hit up the bathroom we went at the perfect time for just a little bit of a line, but a monster one when i was finished.
mission accomplished!
soon it was time to head to the start line and that meant taking off my jacket, yuck. the start line began at bootleg canyon then winded across to the 6 tunnels and back to the finish line at boulder beach (where i finished my triathlon!). i took my inhaler and lined up with the under 2 hour group. the course was supposed to be super flat and mostly downhill so i was going with my dream goal of breaking 2 hours, but lined up in the back of the group just in case. we sang the national anthem and were off! talk about a downhill mile, whoa. i actually hit a 7:45 minute mile for the 1st one! after seeing that i knew i needed to slow down otherwise i would never make it 12 more, but it was soo hard with all the downhills. there was a pretty good size uphill that slowed me down a little. after that it was pretty flat for awhile.

we weaved our way over on the mostly flat straightaway to the tunnels and passed the relay point which meant we were also halfway! i got to see sandy there since she was handing out glowsticks so people could see each other in the tunnels (ps we really did not need them at all). i kept checking my watch at this point as i had set a goal for my self that in order to hit the under 2 hour mark i needed to be at the 10 mile marker when my garmin said 1:30. this way if I totally bonked i only had 3 more miles and 30 minutes to do it in.

now to get to the tunnels you need to run up a slight gradual hill. its really not bad, gives you a great view, and we ran it last year at the turkey trot so i knew what to expect. the suckiest part is that this portion is all gravel. i mean loose gravel. i hate trails, im not any good at them and am clumsy enough on solid ground, i don't need big rocks to help me take a tumble. luckily we hit the 7 mile marker as we went in and i was still feeling really good. now once we got to the tunnels the terrrain is really packed in there and much finer dust so it's was easier to run on. before i knew it we were at the turnaround to go back through and down to the beach!

i grabbed a gu (that tasted awful) because i knew I couldn't finish 4.5 more miles without some kind of fuel. on facebook the race people kept posting they would do "saint" tables with water/fruit and "sinner" tables with gatordae/donuts. i kept waitin for those darn donuts and never saw 1! anyway when we came out of the tunnels my garmin kept disconnecting of course, so now my mileage was off a bit. but the stopwatch was right on target so i went with that instead. i hit the 10 mile marker at about 1:28 and knew i only had 3 more miles, i could break it.

the last 3 were all downhill and on pavement, thank god. it all looked familiar as it was the same path I ran in april. this time I knew what to look for and knew when I was getting closer and closer. finally I hit the 12 mile marker at 1:48 and could feel myself start smiling. I just had to keep it together for 1 more mile. in the past few miles I had started really feeling how hard I was running and it began catching up with me. but there was no way I was giving this up or letting it slip away in the last mile.

as i turned down the final path i saw my mom who jumped up and started cheering while rounded into the finishers chute. i was able to pick it up that last bit and saw a clock that blazed 1:57:xx and my name as i crossed that line!! i had really broken the elusive sub-2 hour. wow. i got my medal from a super cute girl and hobbled down a bit to find my mom. bonus of a small race she was right there and i was able to celebrate with her right away:) i found sandy close after and then ran into a few other runner friends where we all compared notes as usual lol.
1/2 marathon #10!

finally ready to refuel i headed over to grab some water and chocolate milk everyone was drinking (yes!) to find it all in a bit of a different container. one of the big sponsors for the race was a mortuary in boulder city and so instead of the standard ice chests keeping things cold, everything was iced down in a coffin. weird. and very halloweeny haha.
my mama:)
such an awesome support team!
we stayed around for a few minutes and the beginning of the awards, just in case, ha! then the hunger hit. my mom and i headed back into town for breakfast at the cracked egg, one of our favorite places and were greeted with this...
pumpkin chocolate chip coffee cake.
the next morning/afternoon i woke up super super sore. way more than i was after nike for sure, i think because i didnt walk around nearly as much as we did in san francisco. but i walked downstairs to find these waiting for me:)
soo sweet.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

the nike womens 1/2 marathon recap.

i did it!! i got in, traveled there, and ran this awesome race! if you hadnt heard, although if you havent im not sure why, this past weekend i spent a glorious 5 days in san francisco to run the nike womens marathon and 1/2 marathon. the registration process is a lottery and completely random even if you have run the race before youre not an automatic in. you can catch up on all the details and background here if needed:) so lets fast forward to race weekend. if you havent read all about the whole weekend you can do that in part 1 and 2. this one is all about the race baby:)

we stayed in a hotel in not the greatest section of town, but incredibly convenient for race morning. the race started at 7am and i wanted to be out the door by about 530a/545a to get there in plenty of time. there was a starbucks located directly in the lobby that opened promptly at 530a and my family could not have been more excited haha. so after a quick stop there we hopped on the street car outside the hotel almost right away to be greeted by tons of fellow runners! i felt right at home as we jerked along down the street toward union square. we were at the race by about 6a, just when i wanted to be there!

the race was super well organized and had massive towers that told the runners which corral you were in based on time and the color of the bracelet each of us were to wear on race morning. we reached union square about 1 block too close, but it was super easy to walk down to where we needed to be. it was a little chilly outside but great weather for a race and not too cold for spectators. after lots of hugs and pictures i headed into my corral to hit up the porta potties and my family to find their shuttle. 
the wait seemed to fly by and before i knew it was time for the last minute announcements and the star spangled banner. you want 25,000 runners to fall completely our amazing national anthem. everyone stopped mid conversation, took off their hats, placed their hands on their hearts, and turned to the nearest american flag. it was awesome. the end of the song meant it was time to get my garmin going and we were about to start! i was in the 3rd corral to start and you could actually see the start line from where we were standing. we began moving forward and i was able to see me family up on a hill cheering like crazy! i was ready for this. i was trained, fueled, psyched, and had a little bit of sparkle to carry me these 13.1 miles. i was ready for my victory lap!

just after crossing the start line and beginning the bobbing and weaving my garmin lost signal. i have never had that happen and laughed to myself as i thought of my friend jen that it always seemed to happen to on our long runs haha. so i decided i would just go off the stopwatch to keep myself on pace as i crossed each mile marker. the first few miles were pretty flat as we headed to the ferry building and turned left to pier 39 and fishermans wharf. there was still a lot of happening while you kept watch of the ground because it had lots of little holes and raised parts of the sidewalks. i guess a few earthquakes will do that to you haha.
the 1st hills began right on schedule just before mile 3 at the end of fishermans wharf. it was a little bigger than i was expected and i got stuck behind a slow runner which was not so fun. the downhill was actually kinda steep so you couldnt really fly down that one. we turned on to a lot of back roads from there with weird construction. you never really knew where you were because it was so foggy, you couldnt see the bay or the bridge. then with a vengenance came the hills at mile 6 which then continued all the way till mile 10. now let me tell you people, these hills are NO JOKE! holy crap. i did hill training thank goodness, but man were these killer. and then the downhills were still so friggin steep i thought with 1 misstep i was going to take a serious tumble all the way down haha. 

i took my phone for one of the 1st times on the course for my music and it for whatever reason did not like that plan. it kept skipping in the playlists about 30 seconds into each song no matter what settings it was on. so i decided pretty short into it i would have to entertain myself lol. luckily there was A LOT happening on the course. the sidelines almost always had people on them cheering. and they made a really big deal about miles 4 and 11.3 which was also where the spectator shuttle was supposed to drop off your friends and family. i didnt get to mine at mile 4 as they were just loading the buses when i was almost there so i hoped i would just see them at the end instead:) the course support was great and there was even a bra exchange at mile 6! you literally changed out of your sports bra and they gave you a new one on the spot! there was a tent you could change in right there as well. im not sure if you later had to pay for it or what. but there was totally a line!
as we finished off those nasty hills about mile 10 i was ready for some flat land and the finish line. there was no gu on the course which was so weird to me but i did try shot blocks for the 1st time and they were great! we turned into the park at the end (i have no idea the name but it wasnt golden gate park), it was sooo pretty. right before the full marathon/half marathon split i saw my family! they were cheering like crazy and had super fun signs they had got from somewhere. i was feeling really good and was able to pick it up a little bit for the last few miles. 

you could hear the finish line close in the distance but i knew we needed to do a little bit more weaving around before we got there. i was shooting for under 2:13:00 since thats what i did about a year and a half ago on a hilly course as well. as i got closer and closer i realized i could get under 2:10:00 if i kept going at the pace i was at! we passed the 12 mile marker and the smile on my face started getting bigger and bigger. next up was the 20k marker which i thought was the 13 mile marker for some reason and started to just take off! soon i realized i was not crossing the finish line and reeled it in for a few minutes before i finally turned onto finshers alley. the crowd was sooo loud and i really took off this time! i kicked that finish lines ass if i do say so myself:)

i was feeling sooo good and was ready for the most important part of the weekend, the tiffany bling. in case you didnt hear one of the biggest draws of this race is the tiffany necklace (yes really tiffanys) you get as your medal handed out by the san francisco firefighters in tuxedos! they had lots of gorgeous guys all lined up and ready as they funneled us through to grab the bling. we all had our cell phones out ready to take pictures of everything. there were even about 3 firefighters around each silver tray of tiffany boxes in which just about every girl took pictures with in addition to the one with the tray:) omg it was sooo cool! 
1/2 marathon #9 complete!
the coveted box.
see, i wasnt lyin:)
we headed down a little further grabbing some food and our finishers tee while on the lookout for my family. they had to make their way through the park a bit to get to the end. this was actually the 1st time i didnt see them right away. of course none of our cell phones worked cause there were way too many people in a small area trying to use them so i found a sidewalk i could stand on and look. soon they were making their way through the pack and i headed to the photo place to meet them and start standing in line. ::note to future runners-dont open the tiffany box right away. go to the photo opportunity place and take more pictures 1st!:: theres a couple of different backgrounds to choose from so i found the one i liked and we chatted all about the race. as we got closer i started to see a few girl taking some different poses with the gorgeous guys, i of course had to do the same. 

luckily he was sooo super nice and let me take a few pictures...and he smelled really good. jessica wanted to take him home:)
told you he was gorgeous:)
afterward we headed over to the finishers boutique and saw a lot of the same things as the expo. except for the finishers stuff! i didnt see anything i super liked which was good because the line was crazy long. then i found a baby blue 1/2 zip that said finisher on it and knew i would be sad if i didnt. thank goodness my family was totally cool with waiting and the line moved really quickly. plus it gave the boys time to scope out where we needed to go for the shuttle pickup back to the start line lol.
we headed to that line next and i started to get really hungry. the line moved pretty fast, it was a really well organized race i must say, as there were tons of empty buses lined up ready to load as soon as one was full. i was more than ready to sit down once we loaded up and i think we all took a few minute nap on the bus ride back:) when we got back we had a change in plans for breakfast, yes even at almost 12p we still wanted breakfast, and ended up at a great cafe with big portions!

this race was awesome. it was everything i wanted and am so so so glad i was able to finally run it! the whole thing was well organized and flowed really smoothly. the course support was overflowing and there were lots of gorgeous firefighters at the end! trust me, the lottery is worth signing up for:) if you dont believe me, check out the bling...

Friday, October 19, 2012

the san francisco adventure part 2

so we left off sunday night with all of us turning in. my parents headed out the early the next morning to the airport but luckily jessica was staying around for a good part of the day. we decided that meant it was time to finally ride the cable cars! so we trekked down to union square to pick up the famous powell and hyde line that would take us by all the good stuff.
we finally get to have post-race coffee together:)
we landed at the bottom and conveniently stumbled upon the buena vista. this was actually the place we were planning to go for breakfast sunday but just ran out of time before my grandparents came into town. apparently it has a very famous irish coffee so we saddled up to the bar and ordered some coffee, our 2nd of the day hehe. it was delicious and so cool to watch the bartender make tons of coffee for awhile. turns out they actually go through about 80-100 bottles of whiskey on a weekend day! omg thats a lot.
afterward we explored fishermans wharf a little while and people watching of course. which of course means the sea lions! jessica was very excited and im pretty sure she was scheming ways to take 1 of the little guys home:) we settled on in-n-out for lunch, which i realize isnt very san francisco, but it is very california. and man it was GOOD! i havent had anything like that in months. yum.
lombard street!
it seemed sooner than we both would of liked but we needed to head back to get her to the airport and us to our afternoon tour. we got back right on time and soon jessica was on the bart on her way to the oakland airport. i hate it when we have to say goodbye:/ richard and i hopped on the nearest street car that would take us all the way around to the pier to hop on our cruise to alcatraz! i have always wanted to go there and finally was able to fit it in. as we got closer and closer i started to get worried about the time since you need to arrive 30 minutes before the boat leaves to board. just as we got to the ferry building our driver informed us this would be his last stop since one of the front doors was broken and we would have to wait for the next car behind him in about 5 minutes. so we hopped off, did we really have a choice, and began waiting for the next one. richard started getting more and more upset at this point that we would never make it and now we wasted our money. now when people in san francisco say 5 minutes i swear they really mean at least 30 minutes. by this time we had more than missed our boat and wasnt sure we would be able to get refunded. i decided we should still go to the dock and see if theres anything they can do. richard decided he was fed up waiting and walked down to the pier as i waited for the street car. he apparently needed to blow off steam from something.

finally the street car arrived and i took it down to pier 33 to met him. we went to the window and the lady was amazingly nice, gave us our tickets, and told us we could do stand-by anytime tuesday. she gave the advice to be there for the early ones because they were the easiest to get on. this meant no tour tonight and no plan. after hearing all about how his plans never pan out and no one wants to do the things he wants when he wants to we decided to go see the painted ladies instead. luckily i still had a few maps in my purse, so i set out to figure out the easiest way to get there. it was also getting dark and we needed to get going if we wanted to see them in the daylight! turns out it was actually pretty easy and made it there just after the sun had passed over.
ill be moving in tomorrow:)
it was about dinnertime then and we were both hungry. after a few failed attempts at finding somewhere there, we seemed to keep getting into not such good areas we shouldnt be in after dark or really in the daylight either, we headed back to union square to find a diner instead. it turned out to be delicious and we headed back to crash for our early rise the next morning, determined to make it to alcatraz on the 1st boat out!

already knowing where we were going and how long it would take us to get there we made it in plenty of time to be 1st in the stand-by line tuesday and hopped on to the 1st boat no problem! its a quick trip to alcatraz and there was just a little bit of fog to make it a beautiful morning:) once we got to the island you here some quick safety tips from the park ranger then you are free to explore anywhere you want. get to the top of the hill, which equals a 13 story climb ps, and you get to the jailhouse and you can take an audio tour which we did. it was soooo cool! a little creepy, i wont lie, but very cool. i had no idea there was so much history to it!
the bay bridge.
how did we get in here!
the view from alcatraz.
i seriously love divider plates!!
we made it back to the main land about 1230p and headed to pier 39 for lunch. it was finally time for a seafood lunch and the pier is the perfect place! the weather was fantastic all day and after lunch we walked around the shops a bit before grabbing some ice cream and heading back to the hotel before our next tour. i was actually able to sneak in an hour nap in the meantime!
found at the chocolate store at pier 39!
right on time, earlier than we probably needed but we didnt want to be late, we headed to the bart station directly outside to chinatown for our culinary tour. my parents took a culinary tour a few years ago in seattle and still rave about it. so when researching tours in san francisco i found one for chinatown and little italy and with just a little bit of convincing i was able to get richard on board pretty easily! our guide was great and there was only 1 other couple on our tour so it wasnt huge. we started with a tea tasting with all kinds of different chinese tea leaves then headed down back alleys of chinatown i would have never found on my own. next we stopped by a real fortune cookie factory and actual saw the little chinese man making the cookies and putting the fortune inside! i really wanted a picture but didnt have any change to give him:/ but we got to try a chocolate fortune cookie and our guide gave each couple a huge bag to take home!
next we got to taste dim sum at an eastern bakery that apparently bill clinton frequents when he visits haha. it was all kinds of different options and so much food! note to self:: next time i go on a culinary tour go really, really hungry!! luckily we got walk a bit and there was quite a bit of time before our next food stop. we wandered through chinatown and before we knew it we were in little italy. i had no idea they were so close. our guide was awesome and pointed out all kinds of history things along the way. we ended in a little pizza restaurant for some amazing pies and wine! the pizza was like wafer thin and had sooo much flavor. the owner was from rome and you could tell she made each pie with a lot of love:)
afterward we wandered around little italy a bit and found a cafe to have a cup of coffee in. it was delicious and the streets were so alive with people at 9pm on a tuesday night! man i would live in san francisco if i could:) we headed back soon after to pack since the next morning we were heading home. i was kinda sad to leave in a different way since we were able to spend so much time in the city on this trip. we had an amazing time and i am soooo grateful to my parents and jessica that came out to support too! to have so many faces travel with you and cheer you on such a big race is more than a girl could ask for:) till our next group adventure!!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

the san francisco adventure part 1

i hope you are ready for a whole lot of pictures! i think between all of us we took more pictures than ever before, and i love it:)

so thursday night began with a long-distance packing phone call between jessica and i in her seriously exhausted state after not getting much sleep the last few days. as we were trying to figure out what to pack and not my parents were trying to fly to oakland to stay with my grandparents for a few days but couldnt get out of the airport because las vegas actually decided to have weather complete with hail and flash floods! it was an interesting start to the trip to say the least haha.

friday morning richard and i were up around 7a to make it to the airport to find my parents made it ok, but my moms luggage didnt, along with jessica boarding her plane at the last second because she wasnt super paying attention! like i said, interesting start. once we arrived in oakland we found jessica anxiously waiting for us in the baggage claim and boarded the bus to the bart station pretty easily. i apparently cant read a map correctly (im usually so good at it) and had us going about 20 minutes in the wrong direction! after jessica got us back on track we arrived in the city right on time to check into the hotel. we had booked it online and werent totally sure what to expect. the was literally steps from the bus stop and the bart station. the was in a really not so good area. so thank goodness for those transportation stops!!

we checked in no problem and set our sights on subway across the street for a very late lunch. we ate quickly because we were so hungry deciding to head down a few blocks to check out some shopping. the plan was to just kind of hang out the 1st day since we were doing most of our tourist things when my parents came into the city the next day. after a rather scary walk down the wrong side of the street we headed into the westfield mall to the be a little overwhelmed. it wasnt like any mall we see in vegas or phoenix! still very cool and it helped pass the time, plus jessica and i found this amazing chocolate shop that had amazing combos i had never seen before. 
not really knowing what to do after finishing we continued our shopping spree into union square and saw where the expo was being held! we were going there saturday morning with my mom so we steered clear. we decided on burger bar for dinner because jessica had never been and it satisfied all our culinary tastes! it was amazing as always and i was glad to walk it off a little bit afterward. we were soon able to meet up with betsy aka the everday warrior!! she and i had teamed up many months ago meeting over blogs and twitter to get a ticket into nike so i knew we needed to meet in person. we met at her hotel that had a great bar on the 39th floor with beautiful views. i was so glad to finally meet! soon afterward we decided it was time to head back to our hotel and turn in with such the long day of travel.
we finally meet!!!
saturday morning my parents were right on time with their bart train to meet at our hotel to head to the expo! my mom, jessica, and i took out coffee/tea with us as we headed to the fun while the boys stayed at starbucks. the expo was really cool and lots of photo ops of course:) inside the actual tent you are able to pick up your packet, check out a few of the sponsor products, and see some exhibits. the gear is all located across the street at niketown which we called in the boys for. i had seen a litle glimps online earlier in the week and knew my budget would be quickly out the window! oh man was it worth it though:)
after we got all our gear, bib, and took lots of pictures it was time for our hop on/hop off tour! it picked us up right in union square and our tour guide was hillarious. we got off at one of the 1st stops in chinatown and had a few eggrolls as we walked around! it was seriously cool. the tour buses are supposed to run every 1/2 hour so we headed back soon to the drop off point only to wait over an hour for the next bus. after much debate we decided to get off soon at the embarcedaro to walk down to the ferry building for lunch. well turns out i misjudged it a little (or a lot) and it ended up being about a 1 mile walk each way, oops. lunch was delicious once we finally got there and we decided no more getting off the bus once we caught it again.
one of each please!
we returned to the drop off point only to wait another really long time for the next bus. we decided to walk down just a little to pier 39 and actually caught the bus pretty quickly, thank goodness because i couldnt handle the anger anymore. the top of the bus was actually quite chilly with the wind and decided against our new plan of not getting off the bus again when we got to the golden gate bridge. i mean, really can you not get off for that??
as we waited for the bus to come back and pick us up, late again, i started dreaming about getting to little italy later for carboloading! my dad kept trying to convince us we needed to stay at the hotel and eat at the restaurant there. luckily i had lots of backup to help me veto:) we finished off our tour and headed back to the hotel to get warmer clothes. seriously, if you have an opportunity to do a hop on/hop off tour i highly suggest it, it was super fun, well when the buses were there to pick us up!
the chinese tea garden
jimi hendrixs house!
the adams family home.
city hall!
we headed to little italy soon after to lots of indecissiveness from my family and i was getting so hungry i just made the final choice. turned out to be a family style restraunt with absolutely amazing food. it was bursting with flavor and was just the right amount of food. plus i got to eat off of everyone elses plates, which is one of my favorite things ever:) i think we might have waddled back to the hotel after that one! sleep came pretty easy that night once back at the hotel with full bellys and early alarms set.
sunday morning was the big day! and i will recap the whole thing here...that you get to wait for:)

after the race we headed back ot the middle of the city and found a really great cafe still serving breakfast at almost noontime. we had an original plan of going to a place down by fishermans wharf that was suggested to my dad by his friends. but we stayed a little bit longer at the nike race and then my grandparents decided to come into the city about 2 hours early! needless to say our plans were switched around pretty well haha. spending time with them though was great and my grandma even brought my all time favorite cookies for me:)
our irish coffees, yum!
it was finally time for a shower, thank goodness! we decided to shower and chill out for just a bit before heading down to pier 39 for dinner and then onto the promise land...ghiradelli square for ice cream!!!! i finally got to have clam chowder and ice cream and in the same meal. it was glorious:)
we headed back to the hotel soon after since my parents had an early flight and there hadnt been a nap post race. i wont lie that i was getting a little sad part of our big group would be leaving:( i had a blast with everyone and am soooo soooo glad they were all able to make the trip! it wouldnt have been the same without everyone:)
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