Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Runaway Pumpkin Half ~ Running in Costume

Are you looking for a great Half Marathon?  Look no further, the Runaway Pumpkin Half is one of my personal favorites. 
~ It's in the Fall, my favorite time of year! 
~ It's a half, I love the half distance!  
~ It's a nice, looped mostly flat course!
~ It's also a dress up race! 

Saturday October 17th, join me for this fanatic race!  Don't forget, you can walk it or run it!!!

~~~~~~~Register here~~~~~~

Running in Costume!

I have dressed up every year for this race and loved it! If you have never dressed up for a race, maybe give it a go this year!  
I'd like to send some tips your way.  Hopefully the tips will help your nerves so you can embrace the crazy fun of running in costume! 

1st ~ Get the creativeness going.  Dressing up is fun! Check out photos on Pinterest.  It will get ideas going fast!  Secondhand stores can be a great place to find costume pieces.  You might be surprised at whats in your own closet. Often you can put together a fun costume with items you already have. 

The Inaugural Runaway Pumpkin Half, what a fun time!  
2nd ~ Don't forget....you are going to sweat during a race, so take  Vaseline!    It will be your best friend under all that fun material!  Make sure you wear some of your regular running gear under your costume!  Costumes should never be worn by themselves during a race...you can just take my word on that one! 

3rd ~  Use all of those extra safety pins laying around from previous races to make your costume!  Safety pins are the BEST at pinning down items like necklaces and headpieces. You can also use them to add-on any last minute props your awesome costume.  

4th ~ I don't recommend using hairspray for race day!  You don't want to feel the burn as the sweaty hairspray drips down your face, into your eyes!  Your fancy hair isn't going to last past mile three anyway, so just be happy you got your fun photos at the start! 

2013 race!  Ran for my buddy Lincoln who had cancer! 
5th ~ Be ready to embrace the fun of the costume on race day.  You will get comments, and extra cheers.  Go with it, have fun!
Last year with these crazies! 
Keep in mind when you're happy, you run faster!  Embrace the fun of the awesome costume you picked out and placed together and guess what, you will run faster!!!!

Now, tell me....what will you dress up for The Runaway Pumpkin Half?  I have my costume all picked out!  My two friends are trying to decide how they will dress!

  Join me and my friends at 8:00 am for the judging on race day.  The Runaway Pumpkin Half starts and ends at Cheadle Lake Park, Lebanon OR.  Photos will be taken.  Splendid prizes awaits the winning costume participants.  Prizes will be given out by 8:30 am with plenty of time to warm up before the race starts at 9:00 am.  
   
Follow The Runaway Pumpkin Half on Facebook here
Follow them on twitter here
Follow them on Instagram here

Follow me on Facebook at ZaoFit here.  I would love to hear your fitness story! 




Saturday, September 19, 2015

REVEL Big Cottonwood Marathon

REVEL Big Cotton Marathon!  Marathon number 9.  One like no other!

This year Jerry and I had our 20th anniversary!  We decided we would celebrate big, with a marathon!  The marathon we chose wasn't just any marathon, it was out of state, talked about as "fast" and the hope for both of us to get our BQ (Boston Qualifier).

We flew out of Portland Thursday September 10th.  The flight went very smooth and we arrived with plenty of time to check out the city and the marathon course!  The marathon started on Guardsman Pass.  



We drove up to Guardsman's Pass the day before the race. The drive up here was awesome!  It's exactly as the REVEL Big Cottonwood web-site explained it.  The 5% downgrade and gorgeous canyon cliffs.  It was going to be an awesome marathon, I was positive of it! 



Saturday morning came, and we were up at 3:15 am (2:15 Oregon time)!!!  Our hotel was only about .75 miles from the finish line, also where we get on the shuttle bus.  We chose to walk/run there as a warm up rather than drive three blocks.  It was warm, about 60 degrees and well lite with street lights for being the middle of the night.  Others were out, heading to the buses as well.  As we walked along the sidewalk, every sprinkler known to man seemed to be on.  As I took a turn up onto a parking lot, Jerry headed down, onto a sidewalk that had a very large step down.  I didn't want to twist my ankle.  He didn't twist his ankle but he did step into six inches of sprinkler water and totally soaked his shoe/sock!  There was no time to go back to the hotel at this point so we just kept going!  I didn't say much, there wasn't any way to fix this.  What a bummer to have to sit with soggy feet for a two hours before running a marathon!



We rode up the dark mountain on a bus jammed with other marathon runners.  We were in the back of the bus on a twisty rode with cliffs.  I just put my head down and tried to rest and not get car sick!
We joined 100's of other runners at the top, it was 50 degrees with low humidity! The race director (RD) told us it's the warmest it's ever been for this race, 20 degrees warmer than last year. 

Between 6:15 am and 6:40 am, we were asked to move out to the road, the starting line!  It was now almost completely daylight.  The RD gave a few directions and started us promptly at 6:45 am.
Start6:45:25AM0.000:00.000.0349116 F31 F35-39

My goal was a Sub 3:40, so I placed myself nicely between the 3:35 and 3:40 pace groups.  I started my Garmin but as the race started, my watch hadn't found satellite reception yet.  This wasn't a big deal to me, I wasn't going to watch my pace this time, simply go off "feel" and stay with my pace groups.  The watch was going to just be for looking back at my "fast spits" on that crazy mountain. 

The first three miles were very steep and I was flying!  I went faster than I had planned, but felt like I was holding back, felt calm, felt like it was going to happen today, and maybe even faster than I thought!  I was having a blast, enjoying every minute of it!

Mile three came to an end.  As we got to the bottom of the first major downgrade, we had a one mile loop to go around before heading back down the mountain.  

As I started up this slightly up-hill fourth mile, I suddenly felt like I couldn't get air.  It was a odd feeling, like someone was taking my energy away.  I was running at 9,700 feet instead of my Dallas, OR 325 feet elevation!  Oh my goodness!  I felt like I had a half of a lung and that half wasn't working!  I suffered through that mile, even walked a sec to catch my breath.  I fell behind the two pace groups I was running with!

I didn't think it was over, I sucked it up after mile four and started down the mountain again, into mile five.  My watch still hadn't connected to satellite so I just turned it off.  As I ran into mile seven, I was back with the 3:35 pace group running a pretty steep downgrade.  The weather was nice.  Felt about 55, sun was out and very low humidity.  There were plenty of people all around me.  Everyone seemed to be doing just fine, like me!

I started to notice lots of people had white stuff on them.  I didn't think much of it, but did notice and wondered what it was.  Looked kind of like a powder but I knew it wasn't powder.

About mile eight I started to have a few issues like the breathing problems again.  It would come and go, depending on the grade of the road/my effort in keeping pace.  I also was coming up on an aid station and knew I had to stop and use the "honey bucket."  I was so annoyed.

I went passed the 8.5 mile mark, knowing it was recording my pace for my friends following me on-line.  I was clocked at 1:09:04 (8:07 pace).  
Mile 8.57:54:29AM8.51:09:04.008:078.51:09:04.008:07535202 F61 F35-39
My goal for that check point was 1:08.  I was pretty much on track.

After that, I took my break at the honey bucket (it's not as sweet as it sounds) and went on.  I was now behind my pace group again but in hopes of catching back up, like I did before.  

The half way point 
I was having a difficult time catching back up.  I hadn't given up yet, but was slightly discouraged as I continued to struggle with my breathing and the stomach issues that started about mile 8.  I had to stop at the next 3 aid stations to use the honey pot.  That's 4 stops for 1 marathon!  This had never happened to me and was upsetting.
 My four stops went something like this...

stop 1)  mile 9, honey pot stop, coughing fit and was offered water and candy.  No thanks on the candy! Slightly annoyed for having to stop.
stop 2) mile 11, honey pot stop, coughing fit and offered a gel, no thanks on the gel...gag!!!! More annoyed for having to stop.
stop 3)  mile 13, surprisingly a sub 2 hour half at this point. 

Half Way8:39:20AM13.11:53:55.198:414.644:51.189:45763346 F94 F35-39


Another honey pot stop and as my tired, sore broken body stepped into that honey pot, the pot rocked forward because unknown to me, was on crooked ground!  I almost screamed but had no energy to scream.  Thankfully, I was able to brace myself from going over, did my business and got back out on course.  I was offered fruit and was tempted, but passed.  My stomach hurt like someone was taking a spatula to my insides. This happened one other time, it's no fun.

Stop 4) mile 15, my last and final honey pot stop, thank goodness!!!!! I was STARVING!  Came out and saw a bowl of pretzels.  I took only one pretzel, knowing food could make the next 11 miles horrible!  The pretzel took the hunger pains away and my stomach began to feel better.  There was a medical station at this water stop. I was so tempted to end this marathon now.  All it would take was to hobble over and say 
"I don't feel good, help me"

I kept going!

I had about four miles left on that mountain and now was feeling very sorry for myself.  I was ready for this downhill to end.  My quads hurt so bad.  They were tight and I needed to slow my pace down as I continued running down.  It was heartbreaking to feel myself getting weaker as I moved on.

As I got closer to town, I saw the out-and-back turn!  Finally!!!!  The mountain was over!  We would still have hills to run up and down, but no more mountain.  In town, it was warm.  In the 80s now with eight miles to go! On this out-and-back I originally thought I would be able to see Jerry.  I was so far behind my goal pace at this time, I didn't think it would happen!  

As I looked around, almost everyone I looked at going both ways were taking walk breaks.  Everyone around me seemed to be struggling.  I would run and pass a few, then have to stop and walk, then the others would do the same.  This went on until the finish line.  I've never seen so many walking with 8 miles left to run.  

About mile 19 I looked across the road and there was Jerry!!!!  He was at about mile 22.  He waved to me and I started bawling uncontrollably.  I thought he was too far behind as I quickly did the math in my head to make his goal.  He was also walking, but he was smiling and looked happy.  After he passed, I did the math again and realized he still had about 30 minute left.  Then I cried cause I thought he could do it!  Then I cried again cause he was going to make it and I wasn't.  What a big mess I was!  It was ridiculous.  

It continued to heat up.  This messed with my brain a bit because with the lower humility, it didn't feel quite as hot, but it was hot.  In higher elevation your sweat evaporates much faster.  I think that's why I was seeing all the "white powder stuff" on runners. Everyone was a salty mess. The elevations change was also causing me to have coughing fits off and on during the marathon.  You can read more about the effects of running in higher altitude here and here.  

Finally I came to the turn-a-round.  Only about 5.5 miles to go!  I can do this!  Lots of people were being picked up by medical.  I saw runners sitting on the side of the road with someone over them waiting to be picked up.  I saw a person being taken off on a stretcher.  Another being loading into a medical jeep and being offered pretzels and water.

I got out of that out-and-back stretch and started down the hill into town and the "finish line"
About 5k (3.1) miles to go! 

5K To Go10:46:20AM23.14:00:55.0610:2510.02:06:59.8712:41960469 F116 F35-39


I was way behind goal time now.  
Jerry, looking strong on that hill! 
I was seeing flashes of light as I ran down the middle of the main road.  This scared me a little but I never felt like I was going to pass out.  The last 5k we had traffic going up the hill and down the hill on both sides of us.  We were coned off, safely down the center of the road.  Police were directing traffic and keeping the runners safe.  It was the slowest 5k ever, but I did finally finish.   With about .25 left to go a lady rolled down her window and asked me if I knew how far this traffic detour/jam was?  "only a block or two more", I gladly told her!  I could see that very large 26 mile marker and I knew the end was near! 
I crossed that finish line and Jerry was waiting for me! I said, "did you do it?"  He said, "no, not even close" 
I stood there and bawled on Jerry's shoulder for what seemed like forever.  I said, "that was horrible, horrible"  
Finish11:28:14AM26.24:42:49.1010:473.141:54.0313:30981487 F117 F35-39
I then begin to sweat really really bad, I wiped my neck and got a handful of salt. I was sweating so bad my contact rolled up into the back of my eyeball.  Then I started crying again, and told Jerry if I
Jerry on the left, finishing strong
touch my eye I will get sick.  I was in four honey pots!  I had no choice.  I tried to hide but there was nowhere to go.  I stuck my finger in my eye and put my contact back in place and hoped for the best.  I told Jerry, "I need to sit down"  He said, "good idea"
We sat for a long time!

Finally, the finish line!
Finally we decided to go to the pizza table and they had just handed out the LAST piece!  I turned to the other food table and took a plain bagel.  The lady told me to take as many bananas as I wanted.  "Take a whole bundle of them she said"  I didn't want a banana, I wanted pizza!  I had to carry myself back to the hotel, I don't need any extra bananas to carry!  I did take that iced towel with me along with my huge awesome medal at the finish line.  The iced towel was a life saver.  It got me cooled down.  My lips were very chapped and hurt.  I wanted to eat.

Jerry and I headed back to the hotel, both hungry!  In Utah there seems to be food on every corner.  More so, than anywhere I've been.  A runners dream! We came to Chick-fil-A and that was it!  We ordered chicken and a shake and sat in the wonderful air conditioned restaurant. The workers asked about the marathon and I thanked them for having food for us!  The owner joined us for most of our meal.  He seemed very pleased to have Oregon marathoners
Eating food at Chick-fil-A

 in his restaurant.  Chick-fil-A is coming to Oregon!  The owner told us!  In fact, Chick-fil-A had to change a bunch of recycling rules in order to get into Oregon!  Be on the lookout! 

We made it back to the hotel, glad we were there a couple more days to rest and see some of the sights and eat more food!  

As I share with you some bad stuff I went through, please laugh with me!  I realized when we were at Salt Lake, Airport standing in line with 100's of others that this was not the marathon I thought it was.  Jerry and I both wore our Marathon shirts to the airport and it brings a lot of questions!  "Did you run the half or the full?"  People who had run the half, or from the area were very impressed when we said, "the full."  Two guys were trying to sell me their "awesome" product that would help my running performance.  A local guy laughed at Jerry and me when he found out we came to get our BQ!  He said, "not on that mountain." He was very nice and was in no way making fun of us.  It was really fun talking to all of these people.  Made standing in line, not so bad!  
This was the most emotional marathon I've ever run.  It funny how many emotions are involved when running a marathon.  You never know for sure how it's going to end up.  My emotions went something like this during my 4:42:49 hours of running...

I'm so excited...
This is amazing...
I got this...
I can't breath...
I got this...
Very annoyed, but grateful for honey pots...
I don't want food...
I want food...
Why am I cramping up already?...
I can't breath...
I'm fine...
I got this...
I can't do this...
I can just quit... 
It doesn't really matter...
I can't quit...
I'm thirsty..
Why are my lips so dry...
Get me off this mountain...
I love this mountain...
I hate this mountain...
It's hot...
I'm so embarrassed...
I don't even want my medal...
I don't even want my marathon shirt...
I don't want anyone to even look at me...
I think I am dying...
I got this...
I'm so slow...
I'm so embarrassed...
I'm going to finish...
This isn't so bad...
I'm never going to try for a BQ again...
....................The finish line................
Sob sob sob...
I love my finishers medal...
I want to wear it forever...
I can't believe how hard that was...
That was horrible...
That was crazy awesome...
I need food...
I'll try again for my BQ next July "in Oregon"

I ran in Utah representing Uberthons, The Oregon Marathon & Half.
Maybe you can join me July 16th on the Banks to Vernonia Trail for the 3rd annual Oregon Marathon.  They also offer a half marathon.

Follow me at ZaoFit and tell me your running story! 

Upcoming races!

The Dallas Hour September 27, 2015

Runaway Pumpkin Half October 17, 2015

Uberthons Halloweenathon 5k October 31, 2015
                               

Uberthons Turkeython 5k November 26, 2015


Uberthons Winter Half January 23, 2016

Roaring Run Half February 6th, 2016