Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Flower City Challenge Half Marathon Race Recap

Sorry for the delay with my recap, I'm sure you were all waiting on the edge of your seats for it!

 I like this photo of Mike, it's from the last run leg on Saturday

Saturday we raced the duathlon, then we went over to Amber and Greg's to celebrate Amber's daughter's birthday. She is such a little ham!  We went home early and just relaxed the rest of the night, I honestly had no idea how I was going to feel in the morning.

Sunday morning we woke up, a little later than on Saturday, and I felt pretty decent.  I could tell my quads were slightly sore from the day before but I hoped that they would work themselves out.  We got ready and made our way downtown.

After getting a little lost, we found the parking garage that Amber and Greg told us to park in and the streets were already bustling with runners.  We went inside Blue Cross Arena, went to the bathroom one final time and put my long sleeve shirt and Mike's water bottle somewhere for safe keeping during the race.

We hadn't found Amber and Greg yet, the plan was for me and Amber to run together, but when we went outside we saw Ron and his wife.

 Photo courtesy of Ron

He told us that he saw Amber and Greg and pointed us in their direction, almost immediately after we went to the other side we found them!  They came bearing "gifts" for me, some masking tape.

When Amber and I had been talking about running together she asked me if I would consider not wearing my watch, then at the duathlon Greg asked if I would tape my watch so that I could have my splits for after the race but not see them while running.  I agreed and after I found satellites I covered my watch's screen.

Greg and Mike went to go line up together, they didn't stay together very long - according to Mike he let Greg leave him after 20 yards, and Amber and I made our way into the masses.


After the National Anthem, the announcer came on and said a few words about Boston and then started playing "Sweet Caroline". 

Then it was time to start the race! About a minute after the start Amber and I made our way across the start line.  The first mile we struggled to find some space and had to dodge some runners, and people already walking.  

 Photo courtesy of Ron

Photo courtesy of Ron

Right before we hit the first mile, this woman was standing on the sidelines yelling, "many, many healthy people! Running through the Susan B. Anthony district!" This made me and Amber laugh.

Miles 2 and 3 were a little fast, at Mile 2 Amber said, "that was 8:22".  I tried to reign it in during the 3rd mile but it was almost just as fast.  After that Amber told me that we were going to run three easy miles and then we were going to do work.

Right before we got to Park Ave, Mile 4, we turned down this short road and it smelled like mulch.  Amber said, "I hate the smell of mulch"! I guess it was a good thing that the road was short!

I took my first energy gel at Mile 4.  I was having some issues at the water stops, as per usual, and people kept stopping right in front of me!  It was a little frustrating but I just got away from them as quickly as possible and caught back up to Amber.

As we were running I just kept thinking about how we had already run this route before, and how I felt much better than I did that day.  As we passed Jine's, such a good restaurant, I could smell bacon and I said out loud, "disgusting!"  I think some girls that were near us laughed, but I didn't care. I don't want to smell bacon while I'm running.

I knew that the hills were coming up soon, from running the route before and because other runners kept saying stuff about them.  Mile 6 you turn onto Goodman and this is where the fun really begins.  I knew that one of my co-workers was going to be out cheering and I made sure to wave as I went by her.  Another girl, who I took classes with, cheered me on as I ran by. 

As we got to the hill, Amber told me to surge from one blue sign to the next.  This was when I started to feel the effects of the duathlon the day before but I did what I was told.  Amber was great and kept encouraging me and telling me that I had less than a minute to the top.

When we turned into Highland Park, I got another welcome sight: our friends Sarah and Mark (and their dog Kiva) were out cheering for runners.  I waved and Sarah said that we were looking good!

Around Mile 7 I felt a little better because there was a nice downhill.  We just coasted down it and then made our way to Mount Hope Cemetery.  When we ran the route with Amber and Greg before we didn't include this part, so even though Mike and I have run in the cemetery before this was all new to me!

The worst part of the race, for me, was running up the cobblestone hill.  I slowed way down and had to take a few walking steps to get up it.  Amber was great and waited for me, and she told me that the worst of it was behind us.  There were a few more hills in the cemetery but nothing that bad.

I took my second energy gel at Mile 8, there wasn't a water stop there, and I felt better after that.  I was worried that I wouldn't have enough left in me to get to the end, but I knew I had to give it my all.  At one point in the cemetery Amber said, "it's a good thing we didn't run in here, we would have gotten lost!" She made a joke about how we would have had to "take a right at the Joseph and Mildred family crypt" and that made me laugh.

I started to struggle again right before we left the cemetery, I had been saying for a little while that I wanted out of there, but then I got another pick-me-up: our friends Eric and Sheila!  I heard someone say, "Jamie" and when I turned around they were behind us. 

 Sheila, me and Amber

I asked Sheila how she was doing and she said, "not good".  I said something about feeling the same and that maybe doing the duathlon the day before wasn't a good idea.  Almost in unison, Eric and Amber said, "yes it was!" and Amber added that it would make what I was going to do that much sweeter.

Eric was great and he circled back at one point and told me that I could do it and that made me feel good.  They are great friends!

Amber had told me at one point in the cemetery that I was still running sub-9 (average pace).  I was in shock when she told me that, and I knew it was going to be tough to keep it up.

We left the cemetery and I was able to get some water.  This was the worst water stop and I literally collided with someone's arm. I also dumped some water on myself for the first time and then we made our way toward the Riverway Trail.

Amber asked me if I had run on this part of the course the day before and I said yes. At some point on the trail the 2:00 pacers passed us and I felt a little discouraged.  The trail is also really crowded and we had to dodge people.  Amber made me do a few surges and at this point I started to complain a little.  It was also at this point that some guy had his runkeeper or some similar app running and I could hear what it was saying.  I was so frustrated when I heard what it said his current pace was, but I just kept trying to get away from him!

Amber got me water at the last water stop, I think she knew I was having some issues colliding with people, and I took a sip and dumped the rest over my head.

We got to the Ford Street bridge and then turned onto Exchange Street.  Right at 11 miles I saw Sarah and Mark again!  They cheered me on, said I was going to sub-2 and Amber agreed. 

Just thinking, get there, get there

When Mike had gone by them

I really started to feel it in the last mile, but Amber wouldn't let me slow down too much.  We did some surges, tried to catch people and just pushed it to the end.  I was struggling and felt frustrated because I couldn't see the finish line, but then eventually there it was!

As we got to the end, I saw Mike on the sidelines cheering me on and I tried to give it everything that I could. 

Mike looking strong at the finish

I think my face accurately describes how I felt

We crossed the finish line and I immediately ripped the tape off of my watch.  Amber hugged me and then we made our way out of the finish chute.  We got some water and met up with the guys.  

After some issues with the results, originally I didn't have a chip time so I had to use Amber's and then they updated the results with slower chip times (but now I have one), I found out that I finished in 2:00:44.

Mike did great and ran a 1:45:38. 

While I didn't run sub-2, I am really proud of this race.  I could have completely given up and just been satisfied with finishing but I pushed myself.  I have Amber to thank for this because without her, I'm not sure I could have done it on my own.  I know that if we hadn't done the duathlon the day before that both Mike and I would have accomplished our goals (Mike wanted to run sub-1:45). 

Now this makes me really excited for the Presque Isle half marathon because I AM going to sub-2 there, hopefully by a lot.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Flower City Challenge Duathlon Race Recap

This morning Mike and I participated in our first multi-sport event of the year!

When we were planning our racing schedule, we knew we wanted to do the Flower City Challenge.  Last year we couldn't do the half because it was the same weekend as Seneca7, but this year they were one week apart!

We signed up for the Double Du which meant that we would do the duathlon on Saturday and the half marathon on Sunday. Great training for our Half Ironman in July!

We got to the transition area around 6:15am and got our chips, we had to wear these tyvek bracelets in order to get our chip and they had to put them on us when we picked up our packets. We picked ours up on Wednesday so by today my bracelet was a little mangled.

 My new friend the last few days

We picked an area close to the bike exit/entrance because we didn't want to have to run with our clipless shoes for too long.  We saw Laura and her fiance, John, while we were setting up our stuff and then we hit the port-a-potties.  While we were checking out the run entrance/exit, we saw one of our friends from college, she was on the swim team with us, and her husband. 

 Transition area

After chatting for a bit it was time to get ready and then head to the start.  Since there was also a triathlon (paddle, which is why we didn't do it) they had staggered starts.  At 7:30 the triathlon men went off, 7:33 the triathlon women and teams, 7:36 the duathlon women and teams and at 7:39 the duathlon men. 

We saw our friends Amber and Greg right before it was my turn to start the race, have I mentioned how amazing they are? The rest of the photos in this post are from Greg, and they cheered for us the entire race!

Run Leg 1 (5K): Jamie - 24:25, Mike - 22:22

After the first two groups went off, it was my turn!  I lined up with the rest of the women and a few relay teams and at 7:36 we were off!  Since we are running the half I didn't want to go too fast but I also wanted to try as hard as I could.

The run legs were all run in Genesee Valley Park along the Riverway Trail, other than a few bridges and small inclines it was primarily flat.  The first mile came in at 7:49 and I was running with one of the guys who was on a relay team.

Right before we hit the halfway point, the guys from the men's duathlon wave caught up to us.  I didn't know if I would see Mike at all, but he didn't quite catch me on the run.  After getting some water at the water stop the second mile came in at 8:23 and I knew that the transition area was going to come up soon.

While the duathlon was advertised as 5K, 20 Mile ride, 5K, the first run leg was a little short.  I saw the transition area come in and hit 8:43 pace the last .93 miles.  My watch time was a little faster than my official time coming in at 24:18 which is 8:18 pace.

Transition 1: Jamie - 1:29, Mike - 1:04

As I was running to my bike, I kept thinking about what I had to do when I got to my spot.  As I was putting on my helmet, I heard Amber say, "smile, Jamie".  I was focused!

Since we are new to clipping in, this was the first time I had to change my shoes during transition.  I got my running shoes off as quick as possible and then put on my biking shoes.  As I was unracking my bike, I saw Mike coming in and I took off!

Looking at Mike running in

Amber told him to smile too

 Changing his shoes

All set to go!

Bike Leg 1 (20 Miles): Jamie - 1:21:41, Mike - 1:15:35

As soon as I got to the mount/dismount line, I got my weak foot clipped in (success!) and then I took off.  It did take me a few seconds to get my right foot clipped in but at least I was moving. 

The route was a loop that left the park and went out to Henrietta/Scottsville and then back.  The first half was pretty hilly, although I told Laura beforehand that it wasn't that hilly - oops!

Mike passed me at about 1 mile and he wished me luck as he went on his way.  I could see him for a little while and then he was gone!  I passed quite a few people in the beginning and other people passed me as well. 

At mile 5, I drank some water. It was a little bit of a struggle to get my water bottle out but it wasn't too bad.  The hills were pretty monstrous and some people, who weren't clipped in, were walking up them.  I also saw some people who had to pull over because of flat tires. 

My plan was to take my energy gel at mile 10, but when the time came I was I having some trouble reaching for it. I put it in my back shirt pocket and I was a little afraid of riding one-handed while clipped in.  I gave up for a few miles, and after the worst hill (which is also when a truck scared me after it slammed on its horn at a car in front of it) I tried again.  This time I was successful!  I ate my energy gel and got some more water.

The last 7-8 miles I was going a lot faster.  The route was relatively flat with some downhills and I was picking up speed.  Eventually, I got to mile 19 and that's when I knew it was almost time to run again.

Right before turning back into the park, we went by a speed sensor sign and I laughed as cyclists passed it and it told them their speed.  When I went by it said 15 mph, which I felt good about.  

Coming in to the mount/dismount line

 Smiling because I didn't fall

I made the final turn and dismounted without any problems.  I ran into the transition area and made my way for the final leg of the day.

Transition 2: Jamie - 1:36 , Mike - 1:29

I racked my bike and as I was getting ready for the final run, Amber asked me how I felt. I told her I felt good, and she said that Mike looked strong.  

Changing my shoes

 Laughing about how I had snot on my face, ha!

As I was leaving I told her that this run would be a test of how I actually felt, and I was off!

Run Leg 2 (5K): Jamie - 28:33 , Mike - 25:23

The final run leg was in the opposite direction of the first leg, but the same exact route otherwise.  

I could tell my legs felt like lead, which is an indication that before Keuka Lake in June I need to do some more brick workouts, but I hoped that the feeling would go away soon.  

I passed quite a few people who had passed me on the bike and I made my way along the river.  You could see the kayaks and canoes participating in the triathlon, and it was a nice distraction.  Mile 1 came in at 8:19 pace.

As I was running I could hear the announcer saying names of people who were crossing the finish line and I wondered if I would hear Mike's name be called (he told me later that he was pretty sure he saw me from across the river).

Mike at the end

Looking strong

 Running into the finish

I got to the water stop and then ran over one of the bridges, I knew my pace was slowing but I worked hard to keep it under 9 minute pace, mile 2 came in at 8:56 pace.

The last mile or so I thought about how we would be running on this route again for the half marathon, and I thought about our upcoming marathon and how I would need to push in the end even when I was getting tired.  My pace got over 9 minute pace for the first time and even though I tried really hard to get it below, I just couldn't.  Mile 3 came in at 9:10 pace.

The second run leg was long, which balanced out the first leg being short, it ended up being 3.26 miles according to my watch.

 The end is near

As I got close to the finish, I saw Mike, Amber and Greg cheering me on and I gave it all that I had.  I ran toward the finish line and I was done!  The last .26 miles were run at 8:25 pace.

 Happy to be done!

 Making the final turn

Finishing Times: Jamie - 2:17:45 , Mike - 2:05:54   

Overall, I am really happy with how this race went! For the first multi-sport race of the year and our first race using clipless pedals, I think it was a success.  It definitely gives me a baseline to use so that I can improve in our upcoming races.  My goal is to get to faster than 15 mph, today's race was 14.9 mph, on the bike.

Now we're just relaxing and getting ready for the half marathon tomorrow!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Running For Project R12

On May 19th, Mike and I will be running our second marathon, the Cleveland Marathon.

We were contacted about an amazing opportunity and now our marathon is going to be more than Mike's redemption race (he DNF'ed Wineglass) and my attempt at a sub-5 hour marathon.  Each step will have a purpose, and each mile will hopefully raise money for Project R12 and their SafeHouse in Uganda.  

 Click on the photo to view larger

The mission of Project R12 is simple: they believe that everyone on the planet has the right to experience health, education and faith.  While Mike and I are not religious, we do believe that everyone should have the opportunity to experience these three aspects of life.

Running has shown us life in ways that we never thought possible and now we want to use our love for running to give others the same opportunity. 

All the money we raise will go toward finishing the structure of the SafeHouse - iron sheets, timbers, flooring, windows, doors, nails, sand, concrete - major components of making the SafeHouse safe and livable. There are 12 orphans who will be living there with a House Mom, five have already been identified.

The SafeHouse as it looks today

Now this is where you come in, our goal is to raise $10 per mile (26.2) with 10 people believing in us for a total of $2,620. You can fully sponsor us or partially sponsor us and any donation is 100% tax deductible.

There are two ways to donate:

100% of donation goes to Project R12: Send a CHECK to Project R12 with the subject: Jamie and Mike Marathon Sponsor (on the check) and include your email address so you get your receipt for tax purposes.  Your check can be mailed directly to Project R12 at:

1202 Brentwood Lane
Brentwood, TN 37027

95% of donation goes to Project R12: Use our Crowdrise webpage to make a donation (Crowdrise takes 5% of what is donated) by using your credit card.  You can donate at our webpage, here

I know that not everyone is able to donate, but any amount that we raise will give these orphans in Uganda the chance to experience LIFE.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Seneca7 Relay Race Recap - Part 3

Check out Part 1 and Part 2, here and here.

After I handed the slap bracelet to Jenny, we made our way to the next exchange point.  We knew that this part of the day was going to go a lot quicker because most of us had relatively short final legs.

 Jenny running into the exchange point

Starting off the final legs

My mom took off and we made our way to the golf course, which was one of the more crowded exchange points but it was great to see so many runners having an amazing time.  I hit the port-a-potty for the final time, some of the exchange points didn't have any and at this point I wasn't really drinking water anymore, and cheered for Sarah as she ran by us.

My mom ran strong all day!

Sarah's turn!

Off she goes

One of the most challenging exchange points to get through, for the vehicles, was the first exchange point in the park.  I wish I had taken a picture because there were vehicles lined up on both sides of the road and there was barely enough room to get through!  Cat was amazing and she was more aggressive than any of us would have been and she parked right at the end of the road so we could get out quickly.

 Tons of runners

Sarah and Mark both got to run through Sampson State Park and some of the route included trails.  Sarah had a goal of running sub-10 minutes for all of her legs, but this one was a little bit trickier and she was just above 10 minute pace.  She still did amazing and really improved a lot compared to last year!

Still smiling

Handing off to Mark for the final time

Another challenging exchange point to get through was the final one in the park, but we parked closer to where we would have to exit to get to Mike's exchange point.  This ended up being a good thing!

 Mark is done!

Paul's turn!

Paul was our fastest runner, averaging 7:22 pace for the entire day, and as we were driving to get to Mike's exchange point we passed Paul as he was approaching the exchange.  We decided that Mike should jump out of the van and get right to the exchange point.  Luckily we timed it perfectly, Paul and Mike made the hand off and my dad (who went to look out for Paul) and Paul jumped in the van before we even parked.

Mike's final leg was 2.6 miles and I knew I wouldn't have a lot of time before he got to the exchange point.  About 5-10 minutes after we got there, I saw him rocking it up the hill.  He finished out the day running his final leg at 7:39 pace and had his only partial or full mile above 8 minute pace the entire day (the final .59 miles of his leg was at 8:03 pace)!  Mike averaged 7:40 pace the entire day, such an improvement over last year!

 Waiting for Mike

 Bringing it in up the final hill

All done!

My final leg was also just 2.6 miles and it was described as "rolling".  I guess I thought it was more downhill than it ended up being, but I knew that I could push through anything for 2.6 miles.

I started out running below 8 minute pace but I reigned it in a little bit because I was already starting to feel fatigued from my previous two legs.  I just kept thinking that I could handle anything for about 20 minutes, and I thought about Rena who had run this leg for our team last year.

I didn't have anyone really close to me in the beginning but I could see someone in the distance.  I didn't know if I could catch her, but of course I tried to give it my all.  The first mile came in at 8:12 pace.

I kept cursing on the inside because I had really hoped for more of a downhill than I was getting but I still felt relatively good.  I knew I had another sub-9 minute pace leg in me as the second mile came in at 8:29 pace.

I kept thinking that I was going to get to the exchange point, but then I saw runners up ahead of me running up one last hill.  As I got closer to the woman who I had seen from a distance, I saw my dad on the sidelines cheering for me and waving me in (and signaling to Jenny that I was coming).  Right as I got to my dad, I passed the woman as another runner passed me and I made my way down the hill to my team.

 Almost at the end

I definitely wanted to be done!

Last few feet of my day

I handed Jenny the bracelet as she took off for our final leg of the day.  I hit the last .62 miles (the only leg over the amount that it said) at 8:38 pace and averaged the final leg at 8:24 pace for a total time of 22:01.  The entire day I averaged 8:26 pace, a really big improvement over last year for me as well!

 Look at the determination on Jenny's face

We left the exchange point and cheered Jenny on as we passed her in the van.  I had run this leg last year and it was nice to drive by the familiar points back to Geneva into Lakefront Park.  After parking the car (we needed to do a 100 point turn, ha!) we all got out and went over to the team reunification point where we would run the last hundred yards to the finish line as a team.

Mike at the team reunification zone

 I love the shoes hanging up there

Pretty soon after we got there, Jenny came flying in and we all took off!  We had decided as a team to cross the finish line with our hands over our hearts to honor the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings.

Our team bringing it in

 I look like I ran the final leg and not Jenny

Around 6:45pm, "Sole Sisters and their Misters" crossed the finish line in a finishing time of 10:45:18.  As a team we averaged an 8:18 pace (our estimated team pace was 8:30) and we came in 67th out of 208 teams.  We placed 38th out of 131 mixed teams.

 Yay team!

 We did this for Crystal

I love this race so much, it is one of my favorite events ever. I was a little worried that this year wasn't going to compare to last year (since it was such a great time), but I think it may have even been better.  Not because we ran faster, but because we had a great group of people enjoying the day running 77.7 miles around Seneca Lake.

Mike and I will definitely be doing this race again next year!

And now only because I love all of you, here are some hilarious jumping outtakes.

And that right there my friends, is what Seneca7 is all about.