Ambassador, BibRave, Run!

Shipping Up to Oakland

Disclaimer: I received an entry to Oakland Running Festival as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

What’s up Oakland? I’m on my way!

Ok, not yet, the race isn’t until March but time does fly these days. Even though I races planned in the months to come, I was only officially registered for one in August after Wildflower was canceled. I was feeling a little adrift. I really want to get back to loving all the races and running all the races this year.

Enter Oakland Running Festival. This race first came to my attention earlier in the year via a race email but my March is potentially super busy so I held off. Then when the opportunity opened with BibRave last week, I jumped on it.

What first drew my eye for the Oakland Running Festival was the course- you get to run across the Bay Bridge! I may be slightly afraid of bridges but suddenly I wanted to run across that. However, the Bay Bridge is only part of the marathon course. I may be doing a lot in March but a marathon will not be one of those things. Boo.

That’s ok, the half marathon still looks awesome! It starts and ends at Lake Merritt and then takes you around town. The finish line festival sounds like it’s going to be hopping to. Seriously, the pictures they are posting on Instagram are making me hungry.

The one thing that makes me a little nervous is the start time- 9:30 AM. That’s late! I mean I love that I can sleep in a little but I usually consider 8AM a late start (although you’ll likely hear me complaining about the 6:30 start I have in April). The late start has a purpose though.

Enter the Run This Town Challenge. Run the 5K at 7:30 and the half marathon at 9:30 and earn a special bib and an extra medal. Am I crazy enough to do that? Hmmmm.

The race also offers a team relay for the marathon. Well, I should say offered- it’s already sold out.

Anyone want to join me? Use code OAKLANDRAVE19 to save $10.00.
How are you with bridges?

BibRave, Race Day, Recap, Run!

Big Sur Marathon Recap

Disclaimer: I received an entry into Big Sur International Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

Race morning began dark and early.  Seriously, setting my alarm for 2:45 the night before had made me want to cry.  But, truthfully, I had slept so poorly, that I was awake before my alarm went off.   I got up and got ready, popped a Dramamine and we were out the door by 3:40.  Thanks to my hotel snafu, my mother had to get up early too and drive me to the bus pick up.   Thanks mom!

My bus ticket was pretty specific about the buses leaving by 4:15 but I was in line for almost 30 minutes and didn’t even board a bus until after 4:30.   While I was waiting in line, a guy in front of me mowed down a bagel and then a cookie.  I realize I am odd in that I don’t eat before races but I still questioned his choices knowing the road we were about to drive on.  Once on the bus, I somehow was (un)lucky enough to snag a sit with a wheel well so my knees were in my chest the whole ride.  Then I closed my eyes and tried to doze off in an effort to fight off any potential car sickness.  I know how windy Highway 1 is, combine that with a school bus and I wasn’t taking any chances.   Unlike the man who was chowing down in line who almost lost his cookies 30 minutes into the drive.   Once we arrived, we had to walk a ways up the highway to get to the starting area.  By the time I tossed my gear bag to the volunteers (literally), used the porta-potties and seeded myself in the corrals, my Garmin showed that I had walked 1.5 miles.

Being so unsure how this race would go and so nervous about the cut off, I admit I did something I never have before.  I seeded myself in Wave 2- which was for runners hoping to finish under 4:45.  I mentally needed those extra 5 minutes! I did put myself all the way to the back though because I felt guilty.   Then listening to a few runners talk about about their average times (4:00’s) and how they were just hoping to finish after driving the course and seeing all the hills the day before didn’t help calm the nerves.  But after the National Anthem- it was go time.  I was running my second marathon.  Little did I know the next hours would see both a PR attempt and my first almost DNF.

Miles 1-10- 10:19, 10:41, 10:17, 10:56, 11:23, 11:35, 12:00, 12:14, 12:27, 10:38

I was not watching my watch so I had no idea what my pace was.  I focused on keeping it comfortable.  I was enjoying the woodsy feel of running through Big Sur with all the trees along the Highway.  I was very surprised by how many people were using the port-a-potties 100 yards from the start line.   There were also a ton of guys peeling off into the woods to relieve themselves.  No fair.  As you can see by my splits, I wasn’t feeling a lot of the hills.  They were there but I didn’t walk until mile 6 and that was only because I told myself to not be stupid and tire myself out as I still had 20 miles to go.

We could now see the ocean to our left which was awesome.  I was taking water at each aid station as well as drinking from the 2 bottles I had in my pack.  I also had to pee. Crap.  But the lines were so long at all aid stations! Not only that, there were music spots set along the highway and each performer had their own port a potty too and runners were lined up at those! I didn’t want to stop yet so I just kept going.   I knew the BIG hill was coming and that could make or break the race.   We were climbing a hill in mile 8 and I heard a woman ask if this was the worst one- I was wondering if she had looked at the course map- but a man responded- yeah no.

Miles 11-12 15:04, 14:12 The Climb

You could see it coming for over a mile. Runners were sprinkled like confetti as they wound around and up.  I was torn between trying to run it and conserving energy.  As my mile splits show, I walked 98% of these miles. I had checked my overall average pace before starting the hill and it was at 11:20, these miles dropped it to 11:3something.  My Garmin says we gained 600 feet, but my Garmin is also a little screwy as it says the overall elevation gain for the race was 3000.  Strava does agree with these 2 miles though.   I just put my head down and power walked my way to the top.  The drummers almost at the top made me smile.  It also rained these miles with crazy winds- why had I tossed my gloves back at mile 5??

Miles 13-16 10:10, 11:05, 13:32, 12:59

What goes up must come down but it was a shorter downhill than I would have liked and led us right into another hill.  Smile, Fallon, you like hills.  13 also brought us to Bixby Bridge.  The day was overcast but the bridge was still pretty and I made myself slow down and take pictures- partially to prove I didn’t freak out.  😛  A camera crew and piano player were stationed on the other side of the bridge.

15 was where the pain started.  My back was hurting pretty badly but I was hoping a run/ walk strategy would loosen it up.   At 16, I checked my time and thought if I could hold onto 12:00-12:15 miles, I had a solid PR in my grasp, my back just needed to cooperate. In retrospect, that was naive and I probably jinxed myself.

Miles 17-21 13:50, 13:41, 13:39, 14:19, 14:11

I damn near quit.  The course was gorgeous, I wasn’t tired but my back hurt.  The more my back hurt, the more I walked.  The more I walked, the more my hips tightened up and my knees started to hurt.  WTH?!  I stopped twice and tried to stretch out my back.  Each time a SAG wagon drove by, I considered flagging them down.   But I kept going.  Cell service was horrible out there but occasionally texts from my mom and Kate were getting though and those were so needed.  I had also turned my music on in an effort to block out my doubts and thoughts.

Miles 22-26 14:50, 13:11, 14:47, 14:37, 14:15

They say if you don’t reach mile 21.2 by 11:50, you are not allowed to continue and are swept from the course.  To back this up, there were 3 school buses parked at mile 21.2.  I hit 21.2 at 11:15.    I’d made it this far, I was damn well going to finish.   My back was still hurting, my hips were squawking and now my feet hurt.  Around 24, I briefly considered tossing my shoes and finishing in my socks.  Couldn’t hurt any worse, right?   The course was still full of hills but in a way I think I that helped me.  I think a flat last 10 miles would have broken me, the constant up and down was at least letting me use different muscles.   However every single picture of me is from the last half of the course when I’m struggling and walking.  Thanks guys.   There was a photographer who had a sign warning that they were ahead so runners could smile- or in my case, run- so I picked it up to hobble run past him only to round a small corner and see the finish line.  RUN!

Finish- 5:36:52

Give me my medal and someone take these shoes!  Just kidding, I didn’t say that.   I thanked the volunteer for the medal-which is awesome- and smiled (grimaced?) for pictures before getting all the food treats and meeting up with my mom.

Some say that you should expect to add a minute per mile to your marathon time at Big Sur, I was only about 30 seconds each mile.   It wasn’t the race I had hoped for but it also wasn’t the race I had feared either.  I also proved to myself that first one wasn’t a fluke.   I can do hard things, just need to stop breaking myself along the way.

Maybe I’ll you see you again one day, Big Sur.

BibRave, Run!

Nerves on the Rises

Disclaimer: I received an entry into Big Sur International Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

And I spoke too soon.

The nerves came a callin’.  Ok, they came slamming in.   My sleep patterns have gotten worse, if that’s possible  My heart rates jumps at random moments- I really need to stop looking at my watch.  Oh lord, what was I thinking??

Don’t get me wrong, I am excited for this weekend but right now the anxiety is winning.  I mean I was slower than planned in San Francisco, am I going to pull this off?

I mean- no big deal, right?

Elevation

And most people would be worried about the part in the red circle.  But nope, I’m worried about the blue circle.  That flat is going to hurt.  I’m not a fan of flat.  But then this may make me change my mind about hills.

Oh and have I ever mentioned that I have a thing about bridges?  I don’t like them. Nope.  You may be thinking- but wait- Fallon, you ran 2 races across the Golden Gate Bridge. Yup and it was so damn fogged over with marine layer both times I could lie to myself about the whole bridge part.  And no, it’s not the heights part- it’s the bridge.   This bridge is gorgeous but I am a little anxious.

However, let’s focus on the positive- Mai, Aly, Martin and Diane will be there.  Other BibRave Pros I haven’t met will be there.  The views off of Highway 1 are amazing- I drove home via my tiny portion of it tonight just to calm myself down.   The Monterey Half remains one of my favorite races, if Big Sur is anything like that, I will be so happy.  I will need to carry an extra battery for my phone which I need to figure out but it’s worth it.

I have a tentative strategy for the race but it’s kind of crazy so I won’t even type it.

Wish me luck.

Any tips to help me calm down????

BibRave, Run!

To Sur….with Hills

We interrupt regularly scheduled programming  for a little announcement.  😛   My workout recap will be up on Wednesday.

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Big Sur International Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

I thought it was fitting that I drop the news about marathon #2 on the anniversary of marathon #1.

One year ago today, I crossed the finish line of my very first marathon.  Unlike some, I hadn’t planned on running a marathon, in fact when asked, I usually said “oh hell no”.   It was never a goal of mine, it just kind of happened.   All of sudden I was registering for it, training for it, hurting over it, and then running it.   And I didn’t hate it.  😛

I kind of always knew I was going to run another one but nothing ever seemed right.  Every time I looked at websites or checked dates, it all seemed too forced.  Nothing clicked for me.   Then a chance to run the Big Sur International Marathon came up.  Once again, it just seemed to happen.

Views along Highway 1

Big Sur is an amazing race that runs point to point along Highway 1 in CA with some of the most amazing views.    It offers a marathon, 21 miler, 11 miler, 12K, 5K and 3K.  You name it and there is a distance that will work for you.  It is also is extremely popular and registration for the marathon runs by lottery system, the remaining distances are first come, first served.    A few years ago, I ran the Monterey Bay Half Marathon (then named the Big Sur Half) and the loved it.  We drove Highway one home and the scenery is just amazing.

Elevation

That said, I had my hesitations before throwing my name into the hat.    I know I say I prefer races with hills but this has HILLS.  It took me 5+ hours to run San Francisco, could I do this?   But it was calling my name, so I took a chance.   When I found I was in, I was torn between jumping up and down in excitement and wondering what I gotten myself into.😛

But self doubts aside- I am so looking forward to this race.  My hotel is already booked and I have a starting day for marathon training- Christmas Day. 😂     Now I just need a training plan.    I got this.

Have you ever run Big Sur?

Training plan suggestions?

Recap, Run!

2016- Shiny and Dull

It’s that time of year again- time for the Slacker’s recap of the Shiny and the Dull for the year.


Let’s get the dull out of the way so we can move on to shinier things.  We all need shiny right?  So without further adieu, the Dull of 2016-

  • I lost both grandmother’s this year.   While one was kind of expected, the other was a total blind side.   Either way, both sucked.   I don’t handle loss well.  I don’t adult well in that way.
  • My identity was stolen.   That was fun.
  • 3 debit cards were hacked.  All at different times. Separate issue from above.
  • My credit card was also hacked.   And who the hell spends that much money at Whole Foods??!!?!
  • I added 10 pounds to the 10 pounds from 2015 I needed to lose.  Probably from a combination of my litany of meds and my reliance on chips and pizza as comfort food.  Like I said, I don’t adult well.
  • I officially DNS’ed my first 2 races-  Rock n Roll LA and Spooner’s Cove Trail Run.  Grrr.

Ok, ok, enough Dull.  Bring on the Shiny!!!!!!!


I started 2016 by kicking goals to the curb.  I do not regret that decision.   As far as I am concerned goals can get taken out with the trash.  They work for some people but they do not work for me.  I did not miss them this year and I will not miss them in 2017 but, oops, spoilers.  😛  So why did my goal free year work for me?

I ran 12 races this year.  6 half marathons, 1 8 mile race, 2 10k’s, 2 5k’s and a little something else😉😉.    Fewer races than previous years but I tried to approach this year differently.

As of the time this post goes up, I have run 850 miles in 2016.   100 more than my highest previous year.     Woo hoo!  Do I wish it was higher?  Sure.   Had I not had such a lackluster November and December I might have come close to that ever elusive (for me) 1000 mile mark.   One day I will get there, until then I can dream right?

I had the opportunity to join Bibrave.   Join a group of  runners where we can talk about running and races all the time??? Sweet!  I’ve also been able to meet some of them in real life except I’m fired because I now realize I’ve never taken pictures.  Boo.  I’ve had the opportunity to try some really great products too.    Which is awesome because I use a lotof them on a daily basis now.

I road tripped to 3 races- Huntington Beach for one and San Francisco for two.  I went to Disneyland twice.   This from the person who used to never go anywhere.  Woah there!

And that little something else race?

I TRAINED for and RAN a freakin’ marathon!!  This from the Slacker who said she would never run a marathon.  Not only was the distance daunting but I couldn’t imagine that I would ever stick to the training.  I am not the type to voluntarily get up early and run 20 miles on my own.  And yet I did and I was smiling at the end.  Ok, smirking.img_7233

Even more surprising was the marathon itself.  If you followed along during training, you know I was a hot mess in July leading up to San Francisco.  When I left for race weekend, I was seriously considering dropping to the half, I was still thinking that when I picked up my bib.   Then race morning dawned and I was cool as a cucumber.  I had no doubt I was going to finish… and I did.  Without hitting a wall.  Who am I????  Granted I was slower than I wanted to be and went over 5 hours but you guys I ran a marathon!   And somehow looked like that after 25+ miles.

img_7931

2016 had a mix of the shiny and dull.  I let myself get mired in the dull a little too often.  It’s something I need to work on.  Overall, there were some really Shiny moments in there though.  As for 2017?  More on that to come.

How was your 2016?

Name your Shiny?

Name your Dull?