Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Other Cape Cod Adventures

Other than running the half marathon this past weekend, Mike and I also took advantage of being on the Cape and saw some lighthouses. 

If you are late to this party, I have to warn you that we are lighthouse obsessed.  We've seen well over 100 lighthouses and this weekend we were able to see 8 new ones (well I guess not completely new for me since I saw one of them when I was two). 

Cape Cod Lighthouse

 Nauset Lighthouse

Chatham Lighthouse

 Bass River Lighthouse

 Wings Neck Lighthouse (on private property)

 Hyannis Lighthouse (we weren't supposed to go up there but did anyway)

Three Sisters Lighthouse (there are three lighthouses)

The entire reason that we ran the half marathon to begin with was the fact that the course goes right by Nobska Lighthouse.  Mike and I spectated some of the marathon on Sunday before we drove back to Rochester. 

Nobska Lighthouse

We were able to take a few photos with the lighthouse before any runners arrived.

 I was actually running...

Mike was not

Aren't we cute?

We probably couldn't have timed it any better if we tried because about five minutes after we got to the lighthouse, the lead runner arrived! 

Looking good!

Lead female runner at mile 22

We cheered on the runners for a little while, took some more photos and then made our way back home.  

I love that we were able to combine to of our loves: running and lighthouses!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Cape Cod Half Marathon Race Recap

Oh what a weekend! I love racing, I love meeting new (but not new) friends and seeing new sights.  That's why this weekend was practically perfect. 

 You were good to us Cape Cod

This was a race that Mike and I registered for over 6 months ago.  We knew that it would sell out and after wavering between the half and the relay, we went for the half.  I also convinced Crystal at Carpe Diem Crystal to run it with us.  At the time it was supposed to be her first half marathon, but she ran one in August as her first. 

After a quick shake out run at Mike's parents house, we made the drive to Falmouth, Massachusetts and checked into our hotel.  Packet pickup wasn't until 5pm so we had a little while to relax.  We were supposed to meet Crystal and Joe, her husband, for dinner at Stone L'Oven (but I wondered if we would see them at packet pickup).   

As we were walking up to the school which was dubbed, "Marathon Headquarters", to pick up our bibs I saw two people in the distance that looked familiar.  I had a feeling that it was Joe and Crystal, and as we got closer I was right!  We hugged immediately and it felt like we were seeing old friends, rather than just meeting for the first time.

We picked up our stuff quickly and then headed out to dinner.  It wasn't busy at all and our waitress was hilarious.  She kept asking us about the marathon and when we told her that we weren't running the half and the full marathon, but that some people were, she called them "over achievers".  I said that we were just "achievers".

After eating and talking for awhile, we headed out and went back to our hotel.  We relaxed for the rest of the night and then went to bed. 

Our alarm went off at 5:50am and we got ready pretty quickly.  We weren't too far away from "Marathon Headquarters" but I wanted to make sure we were able to park easily.  There were already quite a few people at the school and right after we parked, I saw Crystal and Joe.

We went inside to use the bathrooms, thankfully we didn't have to use the port-a-potties, and then went outside to take a few pre-race photos.  Crystal is obsessed, I think I can say that, with jumping photos so we obliged when she asked if we would do one.


 Dunkin Donuts should sponsor us, ha!

After stretching we handed our stuff to Joe and then made our way to the start line (Mike used the port-a-potty right before the start).  We were probably a third of the way back from the start and right around 7:30am the National Anthem was sung and the canon sounded!

 Finish line for the marathon

Mike and I took off, and Crystal was a little bit behind us.  We probably should have moved up even closer because we had to dodge some people in the beginning.  There was even a point that I was ahead of Mike, but don't worry it was before the first .5 miles. 

The crowd eventually thinned out and I fell into a good pace, and then all of a sudden I saw three people with Team Utopia shirts on in front of me.  For those of you who don't know, Mike's mom is a runner and she runs with Team Utopia.  I ran up to them and said, "Hey Team Utopia, I know Joan (Mike's mom)".  They replied with, "your husband just passed us, good luck!".  I wished them well and went on ahead of them.

The first few miles went by uneventfully and we were running through a residential area.  The course is an out and back with some loops intermixed here and there.  I was running sub-9 minute miles at this point and I felt pretty good.  At this point I decided I was going for a sub-2 hour half marathon. 

As we approached the third mile I took my first energy gel.  The first water stop was around 2.75 miles, according to my watch, and I wanted to take some water with my energy gel.  Unfortunately, I was denied by the volunteer because he said something about a car and then pulled the water cup away from me. I was a little bit confused and slightly worried because I had just taken an energy gel without water.

I hoped that there would be water around 4 miles because there was supposed to be a port-a-potty there.  Right after 3 miles we started running along the coast and it was amazing! The views were incredible and I was just trying to take everything in.  At this point my stomach started to bother me, but luckily there was a water stop at about 4 miles.

At this point we turned onto a bike path and ran along this for 2 miles.  The first 6.5 miles of the course were flat and this was working in my favor.  I kept hitting sub-9 minute miles until there was a slight uphill during mile 6.  At one point on the bike path you could see a bridge above you and the realization hit that we would have to get up there somehow (you could see runners on it). 

I knew that miles 6.5-9.5 were going to be hilly and I tried to mentally prepare myself.  I was hitting slightly above 9 minute miles, but I knew that if I got a second wind that sub-2 was still possible. 

I kept pushing and tried to will my legs to go, but at this point I was struggling a little bit.  My pace kept slowing but I hadn't hit above 10 minute miles yet.  One nice distraction from my slowing pace came around 7 miles.  I rounded a corner and the whole reason that we ran this race came into view: Nobska Lighthouse.  It put a smile on my face for sure!


 Yep I couldn't stop staring at it!

I kept staring at it the entire time that we ran by it, until I couldn't see it anymore.  At this point I gritted my teeth and carried on. 

Unfortunately at the beginning of mile 9 I knew my sub-2 wasn't going to happen and I also started to have a feeling that Crystal was going to catch up to me.  I would turn around here and there just to see if I could see her bright green shirt and right around 9 miles, there she was!  I was so happy for her, but told her that all the racing we had done within the past month was starting to catch up to me.  I told her to go on, knowing that she was going to kill the race, and as she left me she said, "overcome".

I took my second (last) energy gel at the next water stop and I kept looking for Crystal's husband, Joe.  He said he was going to be at around mile 9.5 but I didn't see him.  Miles 9-13 (with the exception of 10) were all above 10 minute pace and I just willed my legs to go.  I did walk once during the entire race, right after Crystal left me and I did not allow myself to walk again.

At mile 11, I saw a welcome sight.  Joe!  He cheered me on and said that mile 11 was right ahead.  At this point there were some people cheering on the runners and I tried to smile at as many people as I could. 

The last few miles I had to do math to see if a PR was even possible.  I knew that I couldn't go any slower than I was going and that it was going to be close.  I rounded the corner to the finish line and I picked up the pace, as best as I could, and saw Mike, Crystal and Joe cheering me on. 

 That's me!

As I crossed the finish line the clock said 2:07:00. 

Luckily, I had crossed the start line about 20 seconds after the start and I came away with a brand new PR! 2:06:39 is now the time to beat (and my gun time was 2:07:00 which tied my previous PR). 

I got my medal and some water before catching up with everyone else.  Mike and Crystal both came away with huge PRs (read Crystal's recap, here).  Mike felt great and ran a 1:52:38 half marathon! I was so happy for both of them!

Six-time half marathoners!

The happy half marathoners!

I am happy for myself, but I was so mad at my body for not cooperating with me.  I really wanted sub-2 but I realize that I just ran a marathon and an overnight relay within the past month.  My time will come soon, though.

 Mike approves of this drink

After getting some food, sorry Crystal no clam chowder for me, we went our separate ways, but only for a short while.  Mike and I did some sightseeing (more on that tomorrow) while Crystal and Joe prepped their house for Frankenstorm Sandy.  

We met up with them for dinner at British Beer Company, BBC, and had an amazing time! Mike and Joe bonded over Fantasy Football and Crystal entertained us with her hilarious kayaking story. 

It was hard to leave them and I really, really wish that they lived closer!  Have no fear though, we might meet up for another race in February!


 Here's to you Crystal!

Overall it was an amazing weekend and we all came away with new PRs, but more importantly lifelong friends!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Six Half Marathons in One Year

Last year on October 23, 2011 Mike and I became half marathoners.  We ran the inaugural Fall Foliage Half Marathon in Rhinebeck, New York and I finished in 2:18:56.  

 Me, Mike and his mom

Since that time I have become a lot smarter when it comes to my running.  To be honest I went into the race injured and I suffered from overuse injuries and peroneal tendonitis after it.  I DNF'd a 15K and I wasn't completely healed until December/January.  

I've learned how to take care of myself better (and I have the proper shoes now, Saucony)! This has allowed me to be able to run a lot more races (and just run, period) than I would have been able to previously.  

We've run four other half marathons since our first last October:

Polar Bear Series Half Marathon - 2:26:43 (March 18, 2012)
Skunk Cabbage Half Marathon - 2:07:00 (April 1, 2012)
Rock 'n' Roll Chicago Half Marathon - 2:11:15 (July 22, 2012)
Turning Stone Races Half Marathon - 2:10:39 (August 26, 2012)

This weekend we are going to run our sixth half marathon in just one year (alright fine, one year and 4 days), the Cape Cod Half Marathon.  We get to run by this beauty:

Nobska Lighthouse

And we get to meet this beauty (and her husband):

I can't wait to meet Crystal and Joe! It is going to be so much fun and we already have plans to go out for dinner on Friday, and then of course run the half on Saturday. 

In terms of the race, I don't have very many plans or expectations.  I would LOVE to be able to beat my PR and to be honest I really want to run sub-2 but if that doesn't happen I won't be upset.  It has only been a month since Wineglass and two weeks since Reach the Beach, so I don't want to put too much pressure on myself.  

I can't wait to race and then sight-see, any guesses on what we want to go see?

Anyone else racing this weekend?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

I am a Planner

It is true. I love to plan, you should have seen my impeccable organizational skills when we were planning our wedding. 

This makes sense though since I am highly Type A (I've talked about this before).  I also have this obsession with researching races, which probably explains why we are already registered for two marathons next year and will be registered for three more big races shortly. 

Oh, I guess I never actually announced this on the blog.  In addition to registering for the Cleveland Marathon right after Wineglass, the day right after the amazing Reach the Beach: New Jersey relay I registered us both for the Mount Desert Island Marathon! (I talked about why I want to run this marathon, here).

Some of you already know this, but one of the big races that we will be registering for in November is the Musselman Triathlon.  It is a 70.3 distance triathlon (half Ironman distance) and it will take place on July 14, 2013.  That's only two months after Cleveland (and three months before MDI)!

I already knew going into next year that we would be training for a half Ironman distance and a marathon (or multiple marathons) at the same time.  Yesterday was the first time that I actually sat down and started to map out the timeline for training.

  The timeline

If you can't read it that has us committed to a training plan from January 14 - July 14, and I haven't even added a condensed marathon training plan for MDI to that timeline yet!  Our marathon training and half Ironman training are going to overlap for 10 weeks, so it will be interesting to see how that works out!

To some people this may seem overwhelming and daunting, but I have to be honest I really need a training plan.  I have felt pretty lazy since the marathon and I am tempted to find a triathlon in February/March so that I can start training again!

At the very least, Mike and I are going to start strength/core training soon and add swimming and biking back to our routine.  We cut out swimming and biking after our tri in September so that we could focus on the final weeks of marathon training, but it is time to get back into it!

Are you a planner like me or do you just "wing it" (which I don't recommend for a schedule like ours!)?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Spectating the Niagara Falls International Marathon

You would think that after running a marathon, volunteering for a triathlon and running an overnight relay we would want a weekend off from racing.  I guess you don't know us very well then! (We also have a half marathon next weekend and a 5K the following weekend).

When Ali suggested that we go spectate the Niagara Falls International Marathon, I was on board! Not only did we want to see her and her family again, we also knew someone running the full (and the half but we didn't get to see her).  Amber and Greg have become amazing friends, they even invited us over to carbo-load for OUR marathon and then again for her marathon, so we wanted to support Amber during her race.

Luckily, the marathon didn't start until 10am so we didn't have to wake up too early.  We decided to meet up at what we thought would be a little past 10 miles and we made it through customs and traffic for the Buffalo Bills game easily. (We seriously were the only people at Tim Horton's who DIDN'T have on Bills gear).

While we were waiting for Ali, Colin and Logan to show up we spotted a sign in the distance and walked to it.  It was the 15K mark so we realized we were only at 9 miles, which worked out better actually.

Ali and her family showed up and we got ready to cheer our faces off! Logan also enjoyed our leftover Timbits.

Ali made the signs!

 I think his face says it all!

Missing something

Much better

The leaders showed up and we spent some time cheering for all of the runners.

 Best spectators ever

Lead male (at that point)

 The lead females

Psyched about the sign

Logan loves running!

Amber was planning on around 4 hours so we had a good idea of when she would show up and right on cue she came running toward us!

 Looking great at 9 miles (white top/black shorts)

We packed up and hit the road to see her again at around 19/20 miles.  Mike and I got there right as the leader was going by (Ali and Colin made a pit stop at Tim Horton's).

Ali wanted to make a sign about "the wall" so she improvised on the spot.  We even got a few runners to start running again after "breaking through the wall"!

 Making the best sign ever

Not enough room for "through"

She was actually from Rochester!

Love this photo!

Everyone cheering

Eventually we saw Amber in the distance and I noticed that she was walking.  I ran up to her and offered her some encouragement and she told me that her legs had locked up.  I just told her that she was doing great and that she was running a marathon!

At this point, Mike and I wanted to see Amber one more time and Ali and Colin went their separate way (their plan was to take Logan to the falls).  I loved seeing them again and we had a great time!

Mike and I drove to mile 24 and waited for Amber's arrival.  We eventually saw her with the 4:30 pace bunny and she looked a lot better than she had the last time we saw her.  We told her that she was doing great and watched her cross the bridge as she headed toward the last 2 miles.

 Yay! She's floating!

We didn't end up going to the finish line but we kept in touch with Greg and he let us know that she ran a 4:30 marathon!

I had a great time spectating and I can't wait to do it again! Next time Mike and I will make signs too!

Have you ever spectated a race? What's the best sign you have seen?

Sunday, October 21, 2012

KLUTCHclub Review

I was contacted a few weeks ago about reviewing a box from a company called, KLUTCHclub, and I decided to try it.  I actually should have gotten this review up a little while ago but with all of the running, volunteering and spectating (more on that tomorrow) that we have been doing this is the best that I could do.

Shari from KLUTCHclub contacted me about trying and reviewing the box for September, which was a "spa month" themed box.  One of the cool things about KLUTCHclub is that every month is a different themed box!

My box!

My box arrived right before the Wineglass Marathon and the contents of the box were:

Anatomy Naturals Dead Sea Mud Mask
EBOOST Natural Energy Booster Mix
Lauren Brooke Cosmetiques Lip Gloss in Winterberry
Natural Vitality’s Natural Calm Magnesium Powder
Taylors of Harrogate Tea
Dream Water Sleep Aid and Natural Relaxer
Soothing Music CD from Sequoia Records
iTrain Mobile Workouts $50 gift card
Zeel.com $50 gift card
EcoTrek Fitness Whole Food Bar
Cremo Company Women’s Shave Cream

All of these items normally cost over $100 but with a subscription to KLUTCHclub it could all be yours at $16 to $18 (depending on the type of subscription you sign up for)!

What I Liked:

I really enjoyed the EBOOST Natural Energy Booster Mix (it is similar to Emergen-C).  I used it a few days after the marathon because I could feel myself coming down with something, which is typical after marathons, and it worked like a charm! You just mix it in water and then drink the mixture.  It tasted great and was a little bit more fizzy, in my opinion, than Emergen-C.

I also enjoyed using the Lauren Brooke Cosmetiques lip gloss because I normally just use chapstick.  It was nice to add a little bit of color without it being too overpowering!

The other product that I really liked was the EcoTrek Fitness Whole Food Bar.  It was a chocolate raspberry flavor and even though I don't like chocolate since it was mixed with another flavor I really liked it! I need to find where I can buy some more of these.

What I Didn't Like:

I don't really listen to "soothing" music so the CD was a lost cause with me, however, if you enjoy this kind of stuff and are really into yoga/meditation you might enjoy it!

I also didn't like the two gift cards because I don't have an iPhone (or iPod touch) nor would I use the gift card from Zeel.  The iTrain mobile workouts gift card would be great for those with the capability to use it, however! I did look into the Zeel gift card (it is for health and wellness specialists in your area) and there weren't too many to chose from in Rochester and it appeared that you had to pay extra for most of them.  For those who already use these services, though, this would be a great gift card!

I also didn't try the Dream Water Sleep aid because I don't like to take things like that.  It said, "do not operate heavy machinery" while using it so in my opinion it was like a medicine, which I avoid at all costs.  Just my personal preference, though.

Overall Thoughts:

KLUTCHclub seems like it would be a great gift (they also have KLUTCHclub boxes for men!) but it isn't something that I would want to pay for every month.  I actually already cancelled my subscription, but if someone wanted to buy it for me as a gift I wouldn't complain.  It is just not something that fits within my budget and honestly I would never see myself using everything in the boxes so a lot of things would go to waste.

It is a really cool concept though and I am grateful for the opportunity to try it! (It was nice to be able to pamper myself a little bit). If you would like more information/reviews on KLUTCHclub check out these by Organic Spa Magazine and Vital Juice

Have you ever had a subscription for a monthly box club before?

The cost of the box was waived, however, I did have to pay $8 for shipping.  I was not compensated in any way for this review and all opinions expressed in this post are, as always, my own. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Reach the Beach: New Jersey Race Recap Part 4

Here it is, the finale of Reach the Beach: New Jersey.  I hate when recaps come to an end because it truly means that the experience is over.

Right after Sarah finished her second leg, van 1 took off because Dave only had another 2 mile leg and our van went to Dunkin Donuts.

 Pumpkin coffee and a coffee cake muffin makes the world a better place

After fueling properly we went to the final van transition area to wait for the arrival of van 1.  Since I barely slept during the night I decided to sleep out on the grass.  Mike joined me.

 My perspective while laying down

 Still sleeping after I got up

I probably only slept about a half an hour total, but it was nice to relax.  The rest of the time we just hung out and got ready for the arrival of van 1.

 Saucony and PRO Compression

 Team bonding

 How do runners relax?

Getting goofy!

There was another team at the transition area waiting for their runner and we could hear them saying, "we should get someone to take our picture".  Well, we did a trade.  I took their photo and they took ours!  That's one of the great parts about relays, you get to know your team as well as other teams running the race.  It didn't happen as much this time because there were only 34 teams but it happened a few times.

Van 2 love (note the knee sleeve)

After a little while we heard from van 1 that Megan was on her way, her leg was pretty short so we didn't have much time to wait before she arrived.  

 Amazing ladies!

Sweat Pink sisters

Isaac's knee was bothering him a little bit so he wore Colleen's knee brace and he warned us that he might run a little slower.  Megan came running in to the transition area and Isaac took off!

Good job, guys!

All done!

Van 1 is heading to the shore!

We parted ways with van 1 for the last time (during the race anyway) and took off for the transition area.  We passed Isaac running at lightening fast speed so we knew he wasn't going to give us much time.  Unfortunately at this point we went the wrong way and had to turn around to back track to the transition area. Also at this time emotions were running high because of lack of sleep and how much running we had done, so some things were said and a highly sensitive person (ahem, me) cried.  In the end everything was worked out and I know that I am an emotional/sensitive person so combining that with the lack of sleep and what I put my body through it was no surprise that I cried.  I probably needed to cry at that point!

Isaac came FLYING in to the transition area, he looked like he was flailing, and Colleen was really worried he was going to run in to her.  In the end their transition went smoothly and she took off!  Her leg was during a really warm part of the day so when we drove by her we asked if she needed some water, but at that point she didn't.  We made the decision to keep going and luckily another team gave her some water because she was starting to get hot!

At this transition area we "lost" Isaac.  He actually went for a walk and saw Colleen running but never told us where he went.  Colleen finished her leg and it was Stephanie's turn to "sparkle".

 Great job, Colleen!

That's Stephanie's determined face

Eventually it was our turn to run again and Mike got ready at the transition area.  Stephanie came running in and Mike was off!  You can read about how he did, here.  It was his shortest leg at 3.5 miles and he ran it at 8:05 overall pace. 

Rockin' Sarah's sunglasses

Only three runners left!

Before taking off, Stephanie and Colleen checked off their legs.  It is a very important part of running a relay!

We drove to the transition area where it would be my turn to run my last leg.  There was another team waiting for their runner and we found out that they were an ultra team with only 5 people!  Mike had passed his runner but before I took off I told the guy that he would probably pass me. 

Once Mike showed up I took off.  My leg was 5.5 miles and I was going to be running over a bridge that was more than a mile long, but more on that later.

The beginning of my leg was in a residential area and right around 1 mile the van passed me.  I almost caught up to them again because they had to stop at a red light and it didn't change to green until I was almost there.  At this point the guy from the ultra team had caught up to me and I told him, "see I told you would catch up to me".  He said he didn't know how much longer he could keep it up and mentioned that he would be running all the way to the finish.  

We kept on going and eventually turned on to a really busy street where the runners and vans went different ways.  I had to cross about 4 or 5 lanes of traffic and luckily I didn't die!  I kept running in some residential areas before I made the turn and could see the bridge in the distance.  We were running against traffic which meant that some of the vans leaving the post-race party could see me and honked/waved. 

The wind was horrific! The head wind was so bad that I had to pick a point in the distance and just try to get there.  I saw some boats out on the water and I tried to see if I could see a lighthouse (we knew that Barnegat Lighthouse was relatively close to the finish) but didn't see one.  Eventually I got to the top of the bridge, but that didn't really help.  The head wind was still so bad that running downhill just canceled out the wind.  I wasn't really running much faster than I had been going uphill.

Around 3 or 4 miles my knee really started to hurt.  It had been bothering me before this final leg and I put my Tommie Copper knee sleeve on to try to help.  I almost thought that I was going to have to walk but then the pain went away.  

 At my transition area

I finally turned the corner off of the bridge and I could see a parking lot with some signs.  I saw a guy standing there waving me in and thought it was a volunteer, but it was Isaac!  He ran with me and I asked him, "how much farther to the finish".  He told me that it was just to the building in the distance and I picked up the pace as much as I could. 

Finally I saw Sarah and we made the hand off!  She took off to finish up the last 3 miles of the relay!  I ran 5.46 miles in about 50 minutes at an overall pace of 9:06 (8:32, 8:45, 9:06, 10:00, 9:22 and 8:44 for .46).  

I was done! Mike and I both ran about 18.5 miles the entire weekend.  

We drove to the finish where we met up with the rest of our team and awaited Sarah's arrival.  

 Mike's happy he made it to the beach

Sometime after 5pm, Sarah came running down the boardwalk and we joined her to cross the finish line together as a team.  

Running in sand is tough!

We came in 30th out of 34 teams and finished running 200 miles in 31:42:18.  After the race we got some food, everyone except the four of us from Rochester headed back home and we went to our hotel for the night (really we went to two because we went to the wrong one first and then had to drive to our actual hotel).  On Sunday Mike, Sarah, Colleen and I drove back to Rochester and Mike and I dropped off the van.  Overall it was about a 72 hour adventure for us and I wouldn't have changed a thing, even some of the low points were totally worth it.

 I miss these people!

What's in store for us in terms of relays?  Well, Mike and I are running Seneca7 again with basically the same team, just one change, and we are either running the New England Relay or the Green Mountain Relay in June, we just have to decide which one.  

In case you missed it: