Saturday, September 28, 2013

Detroit Women's Half Marathon and 5K on Belle Isle

Last weekend I decided to take a training run and use this new race as a place to get in my miles. I am SO GLAD I did.

First, the communication by the race were the best of any race I have done. They made sure everything was completely clear and they send out many email updates and posted to their Facebook page all the time. I really helped me to get excited for the race (well more excited).

The expo was help downtown at the Hilton Garden Inn. It was OK, but I think if the race grows at ALL it will need a different layout or venue for it. My favorite part of the entire expo was the Spa. Since it was a Women's race it really catered to women. Inside the spa were students from Aveda doing nails, neck/hand massage and hair braiding. There was also a local PT/therapy place offering stretching which was nice!

The expo also had some of my favorite vendors and the Blick Art store had the BEST EVER poster making station there. Plus they gave out a coupon. Because of their station I have to have the SUPER big markers they had there, they were perfect for posters!!

Race morning was a perfect Michigan fall morning. It was a little cool at 57 but it was clear and nice. We headed down to Belle Isle early so we did not have to worry. Just as promised, parking was a breeze. Tons of spots and super easy. Standing around it was a little chilly but not bad. It was just mom, my godmother and myself and they planned to meet up with Pattie. I missed seeing her due to a last minute run back to the car for my inhaler!!

For an inaugural race, it was amazing (heck, it was amazing for any race I have done). They had pacers at all levels (wearing the cutest matching skirts/tops). I ran into a long time friend before and got to say hi. She was planning for a much faster  I got in with a Princess friend, Janie (we matched) and kind of planned for a 2:45 or so finish. I was using this as a training run and honestly my times lately had not been breaking any records, actually as my miles increased my times did too. I went off and felt great. The sun was coming up over the river and Belle Isle looked so nice. The course actually went backwards from the marathon course which was a little confusing for me since I went the other way 3 weeks ago (and I am easily confused on directions).

There were so many cool things on the course. There were inspirational signs everywhere with the best quotes. I really wish I had been able to get a picture of all of them. Also, tons of water stops, 3 fuel locations and 2 chocolate stops with Sanders chocolate caramel candies!!! They also had course support, the best being what I think was probably a high school group. They were awesome to run past! Also the view was so nice!!!

 I did not like the energy drink they had by Hammer but I loved the Hammer fuel stuff. I stuck with water. Now, I have been trying to limit how much I drink on the course and 9 water stops were a lot BUT with the wind my mouth was dry and I am so glad they were there.

Belle Isle really is a wonderful place. We made the loop of the island 2.25 times. The worst spot was at the end near the Coast Guard post because the wind was brutal. Someone said it was over 20 mph which I believe but I don't know for sure.

So, as for my race....I just went with a comfortable pace in the beginning. At about 5 miles I realized I had the 2:20 pace in my sights which was not good. I knew I was going too fast. At the 10K mark I checked my watch and I had run my fast 10K ever! I kept saying I needed to slow down but I felt awesome. At 10 miles I knew I could beat my Niagara Falls time so I decided to see what I could do. I came in at 2:26 which was a PR by 3 minutes!!! I also felt great.

I got my medal (this was the only odd thing, it was the same medal for the half marathon and the 5K). I do love the medal. Then we realized both my mom and my godmother had placed in their age groups so we waited for them to get their wine prize and get a picture on the podium!!!

A few observations. First, most races are not like Disney races (I know, I was shocked). In this I mean times. At 2:26, I would be placed in the top 20% at Disney since there are a lot of new runners. Here, I was in the bottom half of finishers so I was on the slow side. Also, while many people wore skirts (it was a women's race after all) there were very few tutus or costumes!!

Either way, I will do this race again for sure! It was nice to have something so amazing in the D! And according to them, Women Run The D!

Last Long Run before the Detroit Full

When I decided on January 1st to make the Detroit Marathon my first full, I thought I had plenty of time. I was trained for a half and how much harder would it be to double the miles? BOY, I was completely wrong about that.

Before today I had done three 18 mile runs. One of them was even an amazing training run downtown using the last 18 miles of the marathon course put on by RunDetroit (I will post about that in another post). Today was the last long run before it was taper time. I had originally planned to go out to Kensington to take part in the 20 mile run out there put on by Running Fit since the one downtown was so awesome. I got up this morning and got ready and all packed up and then looked outside. FOG, not bad here but enough. Then I talked to my mom and I decided the 40 minute drive without fog just wasn't worth it. I decide I could bang out the 20 miles here around the house and be done earlier than going out there and adding 1.5 of drive time.

Again, totally wrong. 20 miles alone is tough. I am not sure if it is because of the half I ran last weekend, the just getting over the cold, the being completely alone or just because it was 20 miles but it was the hardest thing I have ever done. I was not fast but I kept reminding myself that Jeff Galloway says over and over in his books (and when I talked to him) that the pace on training runs does not matter, it is the distance.

I do feel slightly guilty though. When I met JG at the Disneyland expo he urged me to make it to 24 miles at a minimum. I just couldn't do it. I did take the kids and walk to get a Gatorade which got me another 1.5 miles so my maximum distance before Detroit is 21.5. More than some training plans but a lot less than Galloway suggests.

I am nervous. I am respecting the distance but right now the distance is scaring me!

22 days from now and my first Full Marathon will be over. At this point I am unsure if I will do another one. I enjoy the halves I have done and the training for a full is hard and I have not even given it as much as I should be giving.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Time for the Wonderland 10K--Dumbo Double Dare Begins

I will start by saying, Disneyland races are so different from ones at DisneyWorld. I had read about them and I had looked at the maps but WOW, I was shocked when I made the walk from Paradise Pier over to the start line. It was crowded but nothing like WDW and it was SO CLOSE!!!

I got there super early so I could be there for the Princess Posse picture and the PbRC picture. It was so fun to see the costumes and to see people in person for the first time. I have to say, once again the running community is the best and the most welcoming!

After pictures and talking we made our way to the corrals. Now since we had all done this before we waited. By the time we got to D corral, it was completely packed. I mean there was NO WHERE for us to go. We ended up kind of sneaking into the front of the corral which was nice but it was not laid out well or in a position to fit as many people in as needed to be there. They did delay the corrals so there was more time between starts.

In the corral we got talking about how we were going to manage the timing/pace for this race. I said I was going to go slow and use my intervals. Melissa was there and decided to stick with me and use my 2:1. When we went off at the start Jeff Galloway was in front of us. It was so cool to watch him. He was using his usual :30/:30 and he took off and left us in the dust within the first mile.

I personally think the course for the 10K was altered so we did not cross the 5K course because the water stations did not match what was on maps from before the race. Melissa and I stuck together and I have to admit it was a HOT day.

There were not many character stops in the beginning and the ones we did pass were BUSY. Since it was the Wonderland 10K they were all Alice in Wonderland characters. We did stop at a couple places and we had a great time!

Our time was not great but we had an awesome time!!!

After the race, we decided to spend the day exploring Los Angels. Now that was a fun day!!

Dumbo Double Dare--Part 1 The Expo

Since I had to work on Thursday AND we were flying with a companion certificate, we were very limited in the flight choices we had. We were supposed to leave DTW before 8pm and get into LAX about 10pm. We were delayed about 30 minutes but they were able to make the time up during the flight. We landed a little after 10pm PST. Now at this point we had to get the luggage and get to Avis to get the rental car. Overall it was not a bad experience but LAX is under construction was so it was not the most pleasant experience and the traffic at the airport and getting to Avis was a little bit much so late at night.

We did have a funny. I was assigned our car, a white Kia. We got the bags in and were just getting into the car when another group walked up. Seems they were assigned the same car. Well, we were in it and we just left.

We got to Anaheim in about 35 minutes and overall not bad. We checked into Paradise Pier. We had to wait a few minutes. It was late and the person working seemed distracted but he was pleasant enough. Our room was on the 12th floor and near the elevator which was nice later in the weekend. I have to give a huge shout out to Leigh from the Mousekeplanners. She did great getting us into the room block here.

The room was super cute. It had 2 queen beds and a sofa. The beds had the cutest beach ball pillows on them (only $65 if you chose to take it home with you). We had a view of the parking lot BUT it turns out it was also the last 1/2 mile of the half marathon!!

We both crashed because we were so tired.

Friday I was up kind of early since I was still on our time. I was ready and headed to the expo about 9:40am. I had not planned to camp in line but I knew I wanted official merchandise. Jeff decided he would run to CVS with the car and get water, Gatorade and pop for the weekend which was SO NICE to have.

I got to the expo and I was in complete shock. There were people EVERYWHERE. runDisney had put green tape on the group to keep people in lines. There were lines for getting your packet and another for the expo. I jumped into the back of the expo line figuring I could get my race stuff later since we were so close. Once the line started moving shortly after 10am it was a mad house. I got lucky and a nice girl in line worked with me so we both got the things we wanted. I managed to get a Dumbo zip up, a Disneyland Half jacket, a Coast to Coast shirt, 2 straw cups, a Dumbo magnet and 2 sweatybands. Then I got into line. WOW, it was a line. It went to the back wall of the expo. After about 30 minutes I was so thirsty and still did not have my bib. I was happy since at one point I was right near Jeff Galloway as he was speaking!! It was so neat. Jeff came over to the expo and stood in line to pay for me while I went to get our park tickets and my race stuff.

It was at this time I started to see posts that the expo had been shut down for overcrowding which was completely understandable. I got in line outside and waited for about 20 minutes in the sun before I gave up. I was hungry and defeated. I asked at information how I could get my park tickets and she told me how to get into the basement area where the tickets and bibs were without standing in line. I followed her directions and there was NO LINE for park tickets or for bibs. The entire hold up was the t-shirts that had to be picked up in the expo. It was out of control. I got my tickets and my bib and joined Jeff in line. At this point he was almost to the front after over 90 minutes. I was so excited to find out a running friend was in line behind him so I got to meet her in person and her delightful daughter.

I finally got my official merchandise and we had park tickets. We went back to the room, grabbed a drink and it was time for the parks!!