Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Congrats to everyone who ran this years Boston Marathon!
It's hard to believe it's come and gone already. Ever since NYC Marathon, we've been counting down the months, weeks and finally days until our trip to Boston. This year Christy & I were finally able to run the race together - in previous years either she or I had been pregnant or new mothers or our qualifying times had expired, etc. Val & Arma were also qualified, registered and ready to go....a girls & mommy getaway waiting to happen!

We kicked the weekend off with a quick visit to the expo to check out the latest and greatest running fare. This year the official jacket was a cornflower blue and gold and there was also a wind jacket in navy & gold. We scooped up the jackets in navy/gold which was a perfect match to our new navy/gold running skirts and some "future qualifier" tees for the kiddies.

Next stop was the Marriott Copley the location of our Skirts Rock Boston party & trunk show! We had a great turnout of all our local Boston "skirts" as well as those customers that were running the marathon. It was great to meet more customers in person from around the globe and share marathon stories, great eats (including kick ass cupcakes), cocktails and fun! We had a great time sipping Ultima-tini's ,

(Brooke of Ultima Replenisher)

who could resist with names like the Ultima Raspberry Goodness, Ultima Deram'alicious and Ultima Lemon Drop to name a few. Special thanks to Brooke of Ultima Replenisher for co-hosting the cocktail party!

"Ultima-tinis & Carbo-Cupcakes from Kick Ass Cupcakes in Boston.

We unveiled our "Boston" inspired collection of blue & gold, navy & white skirts & tops. The white technical tee that reads "Skirts Rock Boston!" on the front and "You've been passed by a skirt!" on the back was the biggest hit! With the skirt tunes rockin, ultimatinis flowing and skirt gear prize drawings constantly - who knew we were all going to be running 26.2 in a few days.

Sunday morning we headed over to the Boston Tea Party, hosted by at the Cottonwood Restaurant and Cafe. We saw the 5k runners flying by during our walk over to the cafe from our hotel. The Boston Tea party is a great get together for Canadians who have traveled to Boston for the marathon. We enjoyed the great breakfast buffet (they even had gluten free bagels & bread) and Canadian camaraderie. We had a chance to chat up Alan Brooks (Canada Running Series) and got the low-down on the new Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon course (no more spit portion of the course) more beaches instead. We left with awesome goody bags that included Tim Hortons traveler mugs, full size power bars, etc. Check out the shapshot we captured with Obama!

Great times had by all at the Tea Party!

Peter from My Next Race & Cindy at the Boston Tea Party

After the Tea Party and another trip to the expo to pick up some last minute "I wish I would have bought(s)...." we headed for the famous duck boat tours. A great way to see the city and learn about it's history while staying off your feet (what you are supposed to do before the day before a big race). We had a great time on the tour and got some great photos of the cityscape from the Charles River and all the sites! We made sure to get an early dinner reservation in high hopes of getting a good night's rest before Marathon Monday!

Christy, Cindy & Val enjoying our ritual pre marathon meal of grilled salmon, brown rice & veggies! Val drove down from Toronto with her sister Trish (who is a saint btw - more on that later). Trish is a casual runner and mother of two, who was I think conned into coming along to Boston on the premise of it being a great girls getaway. Any marathoner would know that a Marathon Weekend in Boston rooming with 3 runners is anything but a typical girls getaway (cancel marathon shopping, late nights, dancing & cocktails). I think this realization started to sink in after we drug her to back to the expo for the 3rd time in 24 hours and were all in bed by 10:00 p.m. the first night.

The weather report kept changing throughout the weekend from rain, to showers, to partly cloudy and then back to rain. Everyone was on pins and needles - but we all hoped for anything but headwinds! After our pre-race dinner of the traditional salmon, brown rice & veggies with an awesome ahi & crab appetizer, we headed back to the hotel. As we stopped off at rite aid to pick up some water, and other supplies, Val started making a weird throat clearing "ahem" noise over and over again. I looked at her questioningly, and she said "I think my throat is closing - I might be allergic to something I ate". Immediately I questioned whether it might be the shellfish or something, which sent Trisha into a dither demanding that we pick up some Benadryl for the allergy. I kind of chuckled to myself and told her "snap out of it - you're not having a shellfish allergy" we are all running a marathon tomorrow and you are just wiggin out." I said "besides, are you really going to take Benadryl now? the night before you run Boston? What if you don't react to it well? " She agreed instantly and then we were on our way back to our room (Trish saying "were going to bed NOW?" it's 8:00 p.m. REALLY? GUYS? FOR REALS?) where the three of us immediately engaged ourselves in the methodic pre-marathon dance: laying out running skirt, matching tops, lacing up chip on shoe, getting race bags together, changing race outfit, re-lacing up shoes, adjusting bib, mixing ultima drinks, selecting gu flavors, etc etc etc dilly dallying with may-needs and must-haves while Trisha sat back and watched (I'm certain in horror). She exclaimed "I don't know what I was thinking coming away for the weekend with you marathon runners". We quickly answered - for support and to take photos of course! If I remember correctly we were all in bed by 9:00 p.m.. As anyone who has ever run a marathon knows, it's almost impossible to get decent sleep the night before a race. After 2 busy days in Boston on the go and not enough rest, I was feeling pretty tired and confident I wouldn't have a problem getting some zzzs. We all lay in silence for at least 30 minutes, and then Val's sighs started. You know the type - the deep sigh when you can't sleep and you want everyone else to know it! Then came pee pee relay started...first Val would get up to pee, and then Christy - of course if Christy & Val both went I figured I must need to go to....hence, the pee pee dance which continuted until at least 11:00 p.m. at which time Trisha exclaimed "AGAIN?" every time one of us would get up to go. I think I finally started to doze off (Christy said I was snoring) around 11:00 and then heard another Val SSSIIIGGGHH followed by serious stiff sheet shuffling and a big rolling flop. I quickly informed her "Don't worry Val - none of us are asleep yet!" which brough a hearty chuckle outta of all of us. "OK good", she responded. This sigh, sheet shuffle, peepee relay went on all night. Poor Val was a mess and suffered from a serious case of pre-marathon one point I think around 3:00 a.m. I woke to here her exclaim "That's it, I can't run today, I haven't slept.....we're gonna get up and drive back home before the race!" Poor Val didn't sleep all night ( I think Christy and I may have got 1-2 hours). When the alarm went off at 5:00 a.m., Val was laying in bed near tears and said "I'm not running - I didn't sleep - I'm going home". I took one look at her and said "Yeah - right - give me a break! Buck up buttercup - you ARE running Boston today - as if you are really going to drive home and not run with us! Get up and get your skirt on sister!" I reiterated that no one ever sleeps the night before a marathon and that is just the way it goes. Apparently my little pep talk was the push that she needed to get up and grab her pretty yellow running skirt and head for the bathroom AGAIN.

By 6:00 a.m. Arma was came bounding into our room with a race bag the size of Texas stuffed full like no other. Somebody's excited to run their first Boston we teased her she shared with us the contents of her bag....dry clothes - check, bananas - check, bagel - check, camera - check, gloves - check, hat - check, umbrella (?) - check, full roll of toilet paper (??) - check. She had it all! We headed down to the lobby to wait for our shuttle bus & left poor exhausted Trish to catch up on some sleep before she headed down to meet us at the finish line later.

The bus ride out to Hopkinton seemed a lot longer than I remember it from the last time I ran. We arrived in time to mill about to the porta potties and watch a film crew tape Los Angeles Police Vetern Kristina Ripatti (she was paralyzed from the chest down when shot during a robbery in 2006) who was hoping to finish the marathon in under 2 hours by hand cycle. As fellow police officer herself , Val explained to us her story and then blurted out "I guess I shouldn't be complaining, if that women can finish Boston, so can I". We headed back to the bus to get race ready and relinquish our warm hoodies, jackets, long sleeves, etc. that we didn't intend to run with. It was chilly sunny and windy morning. We were told to expect headwinds all the way into Boston along the! By the time we make our way through the crowds to our various bag checks, it was time for the first wave to start. We snapped a quick pre-race photo together, shared good luck hugs and wishes and then headed off to our respective corrals.

After a goose-bump rendering of the national anthem, and air force jet fly-by we were all pumped and ready to run! It took several minutes to cross the start line and I was pleasantly surprised by a "Go RunningSkirts!" shout out by the announcer, who turned out to be Sue from the Disney Running series. Thanks Sue - great work on getting us all pumped up at the start!

As expeced, the marathon did not disappoint, and despite the chilly temperatures and strong winds, the crowds prevailed and cheered us the entire course. Our "You've been passed by a Skirt" technical tee was a great conversation peice along the course. I loved hearing guys explain "ouch - that hurts" and "Oh - love the outfit" by the ladies as we ran along. As I reached the halfway point a few minutes ahead of even pace and the screaming girls at Wellesly College, I realized the real race was about to begin. I don't know if it was the increasing hills or the increasing head winds or a combination of them both, but that last half of the race was very difficult this time. Here are my splits - you can see where the hills really started to hit home
mile26-8:00 (no finish line "horse to the barn" sprint this time! It was all I could do to keep jogging across that finish)

Here's our official stats:

8701 Cindy 37 F Barrie ON CAN USA
Checkpoints 5k 10k 15k 20k Half 25k 30k 35k 40k
0:22:06 0:43:57 1:05:58 1:28:13 1:33:01 1:50:31 2:13:51 2:38:02 3:02:06
Finish Pace Projected Time Official Time Overall Gender Division
3:13:06 3258 234 195

10411 Val 35 F Barrie ON CAN USA
Checkpoints 5k 10k 15k 20k Half 25k 30k 35k 40k
0:23:36 0:46:27 1:09:30 1:33:03 1:38:11 1:56:46 2:21:48 2:48:22 3:14:39
Finish Pace Projected Time Official Time Overall Gender Division
3:26:17 6143 847 700

11820 Christy 37 F Cardiff CA USA

Checkpoints 5k 10k 15k 20k Half 25k 30k 35k 40k
0:25:02 0:49:49 1:14:29 1:41:37 1:47:06 2:06:33 2:32:11 2:57:33 3:22:54
Finish Pace Projected Time Official Time Overall Gender Division
3:34:08 8478 1668 1294

Bib Name Age M/F City State Country Ctz *

12331 Arma 36
F Toronto ON CAN

Checkpoints 5k 10k 15k 20k Half 25k 30k 35k 40k
0:25:10 0:49:24 1:13:37 1:38:34 1:43:59 2:03:37 2:29:21 2:55:52 3:21:14
Finish Pace Projected Time Official Time Overall Gender Division
3:32:22 7961 1468 1161

As we all met up at the finish line, we were freezing! We headed back to the warmth of our hotel (decided to skip the ice bath) for now and treated ourselves to warm showers and a big hot meal of cheeseburgers & fries accompanied by a bottle of bubbly.

It was great to see all the Running Skirts out along the course - congrats to all on finishing a challenging marathon! Hope this finds you all enjoying a speedy recovery. Cheers & Happy Running!

Monday, April 06, 2009

The 30k Around the Bay road race is "Older than Boston" as printed on the back of the long sleeve tech race shirts. This year they are orange and I was pleasantly surprised with the nice fit! No unisex one size fits most - they were male & female versions of the long sleeve tech race shirts. Nice! This is one of my favorite distance events in Canada, I'm not sure if it's because it's the first long race of the season in Ontario or if it's the challenging course or massive crowds of racers, but I just love this race. Last year, it was my first long race after having the baby, I finished strong, but 2 minutes shy of getting a "gold" finisher medal. I remember vowing, "next medal". The medals silver, bronze & gold are awarded based on finish time. This is also a great "last long run" chance at race pace before the Boston Marathon. I was scheduled to run 21 miles, but I think 19 miles a bit sub-marathon pace is sufficient.

Since Shamrock weekend, I've been feeling a little depleted, run down and energy-less. I even had a check-up and blood work done to make sure I wasn't anemic /low on iron stores. I've beefed up my supplements with some great vegan multi-vitamin/anti-oxidant supplements, trace minerals, magnesium, vitamin A&D, etc. (Christy got me onto her new supplement regimen since she's been feeling great lately). I started taking them about 3 days before the 30k race last weekend - and was starting to feel a little refreshed and recharged prior to race day. She warned me that she had a few minor "stomach issues" as her body adapted to the super-antioxidants & trace mineral supplements. I remember her saying it hit her on the 2nd or 3rd day of taking the vitamins.

The weather on race day was less than optimal - pouring rain, cold & windy in Hamilton. Not a great mix with the already challenging & hilly course. I decided to ditch the tights I was wearing under my running skirts before my warm up - I figured the less fabric to get wet and heavy the better. I wore my new camo haute pink running skirt, black long sleeve and my haute pink performance tee, run nyc marathon hat (for luck - It reminds me of running with Christy and having a great time NYC marathon) and some "glove love" running skirts gloves.

I was completely drenched by the time the starting gun went off, but was relatively comfortable - thank goodness for running skirts in the rain! They don't hold the moisture and stick to you like running shorts. One of the guys I was running near at the beginning of the run exclaimed, "That is hands down the best outfit I've seen today!".

The first part of the course is pretty fast and flat. I was cruising along a bit ahead of pace until about 4 miles into the run I started to have some stomach cramping "issues". Oh No - I heard Christy's warning in my head from the previous day that she had some stomach qualms on the 2nd day of taking the new supplements...uh-oh gurgle gurgle. My body picked a crappy time to decided to "detox" (no pun intended). Whatever it was, it slowed down my race time by at least 3-4 minutes as I had to make emergency "pit stops" about every 20 minutes along the course. I would like to take a moment right now to say thanks to all the girls along the course at the relay stops that let me "jump" the porta pottie lines & cut to the front so I could get back to the race quickly. I'm sure the look of desperation on my face spoke for itself. I survived the rolling hills and giant neverending hill on the back half of the course and finished in 2:12. Whew - I was glad to be finished with that one & thrilled to get my gold medal this year. If only I hadn't had those pit stops, I'd have had an even better race time.

The finish line is in Copps Colliseum, it's cool to watch the runners on their finish approach on the jumbotron & it's a great place for friends and family to wait & cheer where they can stay warm & dry.

Last long run done - check! Now it's taper time and off to Boston we go!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

We had a great time in Virginia Beach at the Shamrock Sportfest. I had an entry for the half marathon on Sunday, but in the end I took my coaches advice and skipped the race on Sunday. It was a hard thing to do, but I was absolutely wiped after the long road trip and working the expo Friday & Saturday. We really enjoyed meeting all our customers from Virginia, DC, Baltimore and NY that were there for the event. We were even surprised to meet one of our customers from my own home town in Barrie, Canada. We weren't the only road-trippers. The Shamrock Marathon is a very well organized event -with a beautiful course in Virginia beach. I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a spring marathon on the east coast.

This event will always hold a special sentiment for me personally as it was my little guys very first foot race! There was a kids marathon for the wee ones - they ran the last 26.2 yards of the marathon on Saturday morning. Checkout the photos below - he was so proud of earning his very own race medal or "pretty" as he likes to call it. I was working the running skirt booth at the expo, so Daddy got to enjoy all the race day glory, but I insisted he be one of those over-the-top parents with camcorder in tow....I will get the video footage up soon - it's priceless. It was more of a toddle than a run, but nevertheless it brought great joy & tears of happiness to my eyes. So cute & mommy couldn't be prouder.

Congrats to all those who completed the marathon, half marathon & 8k - there were a lot of PRs and Boston Qualifiers on Sunday. It was a chilly morning, but sunny, wind free - perfect running weather. We caught a lot of snapshots of Running Skirts - you can see them on our facebook page here. If you haven't seen the new green running skirt yet, it's called "clover-treuse" - it is a beautiful shade of green. I wore mine with our new featherweight silky technical tee in chartreuse. Love it!