Tuesday, August 19, 2008

AFC Marathon

PRs all around! Woohoo. This is the second time I have run this race. I ran it a few years ago before the pregnancy and last year I ran the last 5k or so with Christy up the hill into Balboa Park.

Our day started out at the wee hour of 4:00 a.m. when our alarm clock went off. I had just put the baby back down from a mid-night feeding and snuggled back into bed. BEEP BEEP BEEP! Up again! We were on the road by 4:35 headed to the park to catch one of the buses to the startline. This year we got there in plenty of time to get a parking place and and early bus to the start line.....plenty of time to check bags, warmup, stretch and hit the "spankys" (portolets). We had a great time warming up and visiting with all the other "skirts" out there - so many customers from the expo were thrilled with their new skirts. Camopink and minidot were everywhere! It was so cool to have a minute to talk all of our skirt customers about their race plans, etc. and share "good lucks" and high fives with everyone before the race. This is the fun part about our business and we feel we are very blessed that our work and passion are one in the same.

We lined up toward the front of the pack and watched the elite runners in the "special" starting corral doing their warmup pickups and stretches. As the last 3 buses rolled in, they national anthem began...and still no Arma & Nassim (our plan was to meet at the front of the start line). I looked into the windows of the last buses rolling in wondering...hmmm - is Arma on that one? Did she make it? Next minute the gun went off and off we went! I must have blocked out the hills from the beginning....for some reason I remembered the course as being all downhill in the beginning for first 10k. But as we headed out from the start from Cabrillo Monument we had a few good climes up away from the point before the descent down into the city began. My race plan was to PR from my last marathon of 1:29:57 and make the most of the downhill miles since I knew the last 2-3 miles were uphill into Balboa park and I would most certainly be slower. It was a very challenging course with the hills and the heat and sun right in your face for most of the 13.1 miles. Here are my splits: 6:41, 6:38, 6:21, 5:56, 6:27, 6:37, 6:39, 6:37, 6:40, 6:41, 6:43, 6:45, 7:14 - finish time 1:27:42 (average pace 6:42). I am quite happy with this PR from my pre-pregnancy personal best of 1:29:15!

Here's a few shots team Running Skirts coming across the bridge into Balboa park about .5 miles from the finish line.
(Cindy coming over the bridge and running into the park across the bridge below)

Below is a great shot of Christy leading the pack of men along the finish line stretch - she also had a great pr race. Here are her splits: 7:07, 7:20, 6:46, 6:40, 7:26, 7:35, 7:35, 7:35, 7:32, 7:38, 8:20, 8:09, 8:16 - finish time 1:39:28 (average pace 7:36)

Arma even flew south for this great race! Here she is all smiles as usual looking fresh as a daisy in the home stretch. Arma also ran a PR of 1:39:57.

Arma's cousin Nassim from LA, joined Team Running Skirts on Sunday for a great PR of 1:54:24

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Happy Birthday Cindy, Christy & Madi!

Wow - what a crazy fun-filled week! It's a family tradition to spend our birthdays together every year (Christy's daughter Madison shares our birthday too). Our birthday just happens to fall during the week of the America's Finest City Half Marathon also. The birthday theme for 9 year old Marathon Madison this year was "Rockin' Dance Party!"

Imagine 20 8-9 year old little girls rockin out and dancing their hearts out to ABBA and the latest Hannah Montana and Jonas Brothers tunes. Highlights of the evening included the "So you think you can dance-off contest", the macarena dance, freeze dance, the limbo and of course - ice cream cake! Birthday girl Madison even entertained all the guests with an enthusiastic solo performance or two. (I wish I had some video footage - so adorable!). By far the highlight of the whole night though hands down was when 4 year old Avi jumped on the "stage", grabbed the mike from the DJ and announced "I just want to say that this is the BEST DANCE PARTY EVER!!!!!!". Hysterical! Sing it with me "Oh, what a night!".

Now, onto the AFC report coming soon.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

While not as big as Muskoka Rocks, these two beauties might as well have been 2 geological wonders by all the ruckus they have caused.

Finally - they emerge! I have been waiting for these suckers to finally break through baby's swollen red gums all week. The poor little guy has had a fever for days and has been oh so grouchy. To think I complained about getting up with him 2x a night. During this momentous top teeth cutting week - we topped out at 8-10 soothing, lullaby singing, feeding sessions during the wee hours of the night. Coffee has been my friend this week!

Thankfully, now that they are out, he is back to his happy go lucky self and sleeping a little better again. I have to say, that I never took into consideration sleep deprivation when orchestrating my grand race plan for this year. I thought once the baby was out of the womb and I have daycare or hubby care covered, the training would be smooth sailing. HA!

Photo from Muskoka Rocks race this weekend. We were blessed with a gorgeous sunny day up in cottage country. This is a great event that benefits Camp Oochigeas. The race is very well organized and perfect for the whole family. There's a 5k, 10k and 1k kids course, refreshments, and even a live band at the finish.

Val and I toed the line for the 10k, not sure what to expect as we have heard over and over that it's a "challenging" course. The 10k course was definitely the most challenging I've ever run...very hilly, but the beautiful scenery and lake views made up for the pain of the hills. I was still feeling some soreness in my hamstrings from my last strength training workout, so I didn't really push the pace and just held my pace at a moderate effort. I pretty much ignored the garmin and ran on feel. Here are my splits: 6:26, 6:38, 6:41, 7:15, 7:06, & 6;34.
16  4685 cindy lynch    42:04 LF35-39    2/22      6  4:13   42:01
23 4801 Val Gates 43:21 LF30-34 2/16 7 4:20 43:18
Check out the race kit for Muskoka Rocks - one of the best I've seen in a while for a fairly small event....Race event flyers, spa coupon, salon coupon, lipstick, hair products, goody hair elastics, potato chips, m&ms, bottled water, locally made bbq sauce, sweat towel, toothpaste sample and magnet from Mynextrace.com

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Home again! What a great weekend at the San Francisco Marathon! The hubby and I had an entire "date weekend" after dropping the kiddles off at Grandma and Grandpa's. Woohoo!!! It was much overdue and I can't tell you how much we enjoyed ourselves. We started with some tasty "cow" at Fog City Diner on our way to the expo set up...we even enjoyed a glass of champagne (counter productive to expo set up!). Delicious and nutritious :-P We celebrated each night with an exquisite dinner out. My favorite was Boulevard where we had a forbidden encounter with a scrumptious basket of bread and some fabulous wine.

The San Francisco Marathon Expo was located at Pier 30/32 on the Embarcadero. It was a great venue with a nice layout. Bart Yasso's booth was right around the corner and we enjoyed watching the hoards of runners lining up for signed copies of his great new book "My life on the run". We had a super busy expo and it was great to meet all the Bay Area runners. I especially enjoyed working with one of our favorite "skirts" Glorybelle Lillie. Glorybelle, THANK YOU! Your rocked the RunningSkirts.com booth and you rocked the SF Marathon! You definately are a speedy skirt!

After two very busy expo days on my feet I took Cindy's advice and "indulged" in an icebath. We had room service bring up 4 buckets of ice, not to mention the water was already icy cold, and I settled in for my 10 minutes of torture. AAAaaaaagggggghhhhhh.....IIIIIII hhhhhaaaatttttteeeee iiiiicccceeebbbaaatthththththhhhhhhssssss! The torture! Once my dues were paid I popped into a nice hot super long shower and then crawled into bed and ordered up some room service. In hind sight Vietnamese cuisine is probably not the best pre-race meal. duh! We were staying at the Clift Hotel though and Asia de Cuba was the room service restaurant and I was so exhausted after 2 days of busy expo that I couldn't muster up the energy to blowdry and put on makeup. I would just so much rather get the extra much needed z's. I scarfed down my meals (yes plural...couldn't decide what to order) of Calimari Salad, Salmon (another one of Cindy's pre-race recommendations) and some baked plantain fries. Delicious but uuugh...full belly ache.

Wake up call came at 4:15 am although it was a pretty restless night. I forgot how loud it is in the theater district! There must have been 4 murders and 10 fires because there were sirens all night long! Anyway it was still very dark when I made my way to the huddles of the race start. I was sporting my CamoAqua Running Skirt and matching Tank and a fabulous pair of navy blue gloves...thank you Gypsy Runner! It was a bit chilly standing around waiting for the start but I made my way to the portapotty lines where it was substantially warmer. The lines were long and slow going and I had to scramble to find the Wave 2 start in time.

It was still very dark when the race started and I was wondering if I had made a bad decision choosing the First Half. I was looking forward to running over the Golden Gate and that was the specific reason I chose the hilly half and now I was realizing it might be dark. The race started good. I was running a little faster than planned for the first mile but it felt fine and my Garmin was telling me it was a 22 minute pace. My garmin stinks! I have got to upgrade to a new model! I overheard someone behind me say there were 3 big hills. I logged this in my brain and carried on. The first hill was a doosy going up the presidio to the Golden Gate Bridge. It was a little bigger than expected and the legs were pretty tired at the top but I knew I had made it to the bridge so all was well.

The first half of the bridge was a big long uphill climb....it seemed to climb upward forever before leveling out for a second and then scooping down. It was super windy too...I didn't even think about the wind factor. It was a lot of fun having those huge gusts of wind at your back...weeeee. It was a different story though with the head winds. Yikes. I was blowing all over that bridge. It was the funniest thing and I was just laughing out loud as I blew side to side with the gusts of wind. I came close to blowing right into the oncoming runners. At this point I knew it wasn't going to be a pr day. Then I saw Bart Yasso. He high fived me and yelled out "good job". How cool...I was running over the Golden Gate Bridge while high-fiving Bart Yasso. In a runner's world, does it get any better that that? It was definately a highlight of my race. That, and I actually kicked a pigeon. It flew out of nowhere and landed right in front of my foot. It was so random and weird. There was not a lot of time to react and I thought it would move but it didn't so it got one of my new Mizuno's right in the hooha. Sorry little guy!

After running over the bridge we had a nice downhill into the Presidio. I love downhill! But I knew there was another hill to climb through the Presidio so I took it easy. That hill was a beast. I think it was a 10:45 on my Garmin...uuuughh. Should have done some hill repeats! Duh! There were a lot of people walking up it in front of me and that's not a good sign. I did make it to the top without walking (took all the mental power I had left) and then I realized I had just mounted 3 of 3 hills. (wrong!) I sped up to enjoy the last 4 miles of "downhill" finish. Weeee I love downhill and I picked up the pace. I passed a lot of other runners and I was wondering why none of them were picking up the downhill pace. Stupid! I should have known something was up. After turning a corner I see all the runners in front of me climbing another nice steep hill with no plateau in sight. Oh jeez...I thought it was a downhill finish. Well it wasn't. It was one climb after another.

By mile 10 I started having some stomach issues. Oh no. I think I have to go! I started scanning the route for portapottys because I was now in dire need. I've heard about situations like this from Cindy. She refers to it as the "goo poo's". I was trying out the new Gu Roctane and I'm thinking that might have been my problem. That or the Vietnamese food for dinner last night. Once I got up to the top of the latest hill though it seemed to subside. Then I saw a portapotty and thought about stopping for a second. No, I can make it. I feel better now and if I don't stop it just might be a pr day. Then another climb...and another stomach cramp. Yikes...should have stopped. Oh No! I was now scanning the neighborhood sidewalks for a makeshift "portapotty". I was freaking out that I was going to have one of those "lifes most embarassing moments" Paula Radcliffe style. This was such a huge distraction to my race. All I could think about was that I was going to have to go and it wasn't going to be pretty. Where are the portolets when you really need them and why didn't I stop at that last one?!

Then we turned into the park. I knew it was the home stretch and that I would make it, hopefully, across the finish line where I could dart off to a beautiful blue box. Whew! I sprinted it in passing everyone near me, not out of competitiveness, but out of the sheer urgency of my situation. I heard the announcer yell out "Christy Baker from Cardiff by the Sea" and I smiled inside because I knew I was finished and I knew it was a PR. Thank you God for letting me finish this race with my dignity intact. Of course, once I got through the shoot my stomach was fine.

All in all though I really enjoyed this race. The scenery was beautiful, the weather was perfect and it was a fun, challenging course.

mile 1 7:45
mile 2 7:29
mile 3 7:36
mile 4 7:39
mile 5 7:40
mile 6 8:25
mile 7 7:23
mile 8 7:33
mile 9 7:40
mile 10 10:46
mile 11 4:22 ?
mile 12 8:13
mile 13 7:17
mile 13.2 1:33