I started chronicling my running training for the 2012 Hood to Coast Relay, which I ran for ZERO: The Project to End Prostate Cancer; now that I'm running different races I'm using the same blog to post about what I'm doing, where I'm running, and the tips I'm learning.

Summer running class

For the past three weeks, I’ve been taking a M-F summer running class with my marathon coach, Joe.

Mondays we do a long run (class is 50 minutes, so “long” run), T/R we do a 30 minute walk/jog, and Wednesdays and Fridays we do shorter workouts sometimes with speed work.

It’s really fun!

Joe has a co-teacher who leads drills and sometimes runs with us if we need an extra person, and she got me and a few other class members to do the past two Oregon Track Club All Comers meets on Thursday nights.

This week, we won our 4x400 relay!

We didn’t actually win our heat, but we won our category, which was co-ed 19-29. So we got ribbons!

Also, she convinced me to do a half marathon in Albany next weekend. I won’t PR, but it will be fun. It’s their first year doing it, so hopefully the shirts and medals are fancier due to this.

I ran 10 miles on Sunday with Joe’s summer training group to make sure I could handle it, and this weekend I’ll do 5-8 as my final “long run” before that race.

So I’m having a lot of fun doing mellow running things this summer, even if I’m slower than I used to be. Someday I’ll do real speedwork again…

Ragnar Northwest Passage 2013: accomplished!

Our van—me, my boyfriend Dave, and four friends of mine from college—had a great time. Everything went really smoothly, especially with the van exchanges. The Ragnar series is a lot smaller than Hood to Coast, so there was much less crowding each time we stopped for a handoff. They also encourage you to stop your van along the route to give your runner water and support, so that also decongests the exchange parking lots, in addition to really helping this runner feel motivated!

My first leg was 6.5 miles through Bellingham to the high school there. I took a very slight detour on accident and ended up shaving off ~.1 from my total distance. I was the sixth person in my van (as I was in the HtC last year), so my vanmates texted Van 2 to tell them to go to the exchange while they drove around to find me. I found the finish line and handed off, and then Van 2 texted my van to tell them I was safe and they should come meet me. So no major crisis there.

One woman in our second van got more lost later—she was .5 miles off course when another van picked her up and returned her to the correct route! So I guess I was lucky, relatively speaking.

That first leg was at about 4 PM, so it was blazing hot and really uncomfortable. I think my accidental detour brought me a little extra shade, though, which was good because missing my vanmates meant I couldn’t fill up my water bottle a third time! I wore the free hat I got at the Eugene Marathon trade show, but I still sunburnt my cheeks quite a bit!

My second leg was at 2 AM. I was not excited about running at night, since in the HtC I had been super terrified in the nighttime portion. However, this leg wasn’t too bad. At 2 AM very few people not associated with the race were driving around LaConner, Washington, and even though I ran 5.6 miles I only passed two cars coming toward me. The moon was big and bright, I could see the big dipper off to my right, and I even saw a field of cows (one at a time, due to my headlamp). So I was really pleased that this wasn’t too scary. The cooler temperature and being in sight of other runners made this leg probably my most pleasant.

Finally, I did a little baby 2.4 mile run around 10 AM on Saturday on Whidbey Island. That was a little too warm, but I overdressed so that was my fault. I got to be a footpath away from traffic for over a mile, and I loved that. It felt great to finish with the easiest little leg of my run, and I was relieved to hand the “baton” off to Van 2 so my van could go get lunch and rest!

Around 4:20 PM Van 2 (who were much faster than we were) ran into the finish area, and we joined in to cross the line all together. They gave us two finisher pizzas, we got our medals, we took some photos, and then we all relaxed for an hour or so before heading home on the ferry.

The ferry ride was a beautiful way to finish such a fun weekend, and even though I still owe money for our minivan rental, I highly recommend this event to my other running friends who are thinking of doing a relay. Really well organized, challenging, and fun all around.

Ragnar Northwest Passage

Right now my team is halfway through Ragnar Northwest Passage, and my van is 2/3 done!

I’ve done 12 of my 14.5 total miles!

Ragnar Northwest  Passage starting line.

Ragnar Northwest  Passage starting line.

I was sort of burnt out on running and blogging after the Eugene Marathon, so I forgot to update everyone on this very fun event I did back home in Tacoma-ish: the Rainier to Ruston relay!

I was on a team of six women, some of whom I knew from the women’s running group I ran with last summer. We met up early early in the morning in Tacoma (my mom dropped me off, which was very nice of her!), and drove up to Mt. Rainier, where we began the race.

Our team was called “Tutus on the Go” and we had these adorable matching shirts, which were hot as the day progressed, and we ran in these fun colorful tutus! I had never run in a tutu before, but it wasn’t as obnoxious as I expected.

Due to our adorable outfits, we got a LOT of support from passers by. On my leg of the run on the river path in Orting, lots of bicyclists cheered me on and some gave me high fives.

The Rainier to Ruston is also a 50-mile Ultra, so on my second and last leg, which was from Fife to Tacoma (not a pretty run, by the way), I was next to a woman doing the Ultra and we chatted a bit (I think she didn’t want to, but … I made her); she said it was her fourth 50-miler in just a few months! I was blown away by that. I can’t imagine.

Anyway, it was a great event, very mellow and enjoyable, and I’d recommend it to people looking for a fun and not too complicated relay event.

My friend Reese posted a (long-anticipated!) recap of our Hood to Coast Relay on her running blog. It was super fun to remember the race, and it’s fun to read Reese’s other running updates, too!

Eugene Marathon 2013: Accomplished!

So obviously the marathon happened this weekend. You’ve seen the photos and the results, so it comes as no surprise now for me to say I finished.

Today, as my legs are mostly recovered from Sunday’s exertion, I thought it would be a good time to say a few words about what went well!

Normally I guess a person would say what went well and what they’d do differently next time, but I really feel like for a first marathon things went unbelievably well. I did get a stitch for the first time in probably over a year, which was of course disconcerting and painful, but obviously it didn’t hinder my progress too much, so overall no issues. I guess running 26.2 miles with no noteworthy pain would be its own kind of magic; I feel like a six-mile stitch is probably on the mild end of things that could happen.

Running the race went fine, and actually faster than anticipated. I had no time goal for myself, since finishing was the main accomplishment. My coach, though, estimated our times for himself and his assistant Tonya so he’d know when to look for us. He did this based on our 21-mile run pace. Dave and I were having an ok 21-mile run until his stress fracture, which obviously slowed things down. My pace included that stopped time, and I knew I could run faster than my total time on that day indicated (I sped up for the final four miles after Dave had to leave me). However, I decided that even if I had the worst run of my life and I took seven hours to finish, I’d call it a victory on Sunday.

During the race I knew I was basically killing my coach Joe’s expectations of my finishing time as I passed other people from my running group. I kept thinking, “uh oh, she’s usually way ahead of me…” and then I’d stay with that person for a bit, and then I’d end up in front of her! This didn’t happen literally every time—I ended up a few minutes behind one woman I saw around mile 10, but I think she’d been hanging back with her friend and her pace later increased. That’s what it seemed like, but I did slow down over the course of the race, so maybe she stayed consistent. Hard to tell.

In any case, I saw lots of familiar faces both in the race and along the course. My friends in Springfield had a rainbow sign with my name on it, which was a great boost at the halfway point. One of my friends was by our apartments ready to wave, but she didn’t recognize me because I didn’t warn her I was wearing a yellow long-sleeved top over my group shirt, so I had to yell to get her attention. One of my dance students and her mother were out by River Road, and it was fun to get their encouragement. One of my peers here at Oregon was at three places along the course to see her husband (and me!), and at the finish she was joined by two other friends of ours and their baby.

I finished around the same time as Ben, her husband, so we took a finisher photo together and got our food together. I tried to high-five my baby fan, but he hasn’t quite mastered that yet, so oh well. (He had also missed nap time to watch the finish, so maybe that’s a factor.)

At the finish as I got my medal, I could hardly believe the race was done and I could stop running! It had been nearly five hours of constant forward motion (minus two bathroom stops—far fewer than my usual 4+), and all of the sudden I could stop and rest. It was a great feeling.

Finishing on the Hayward track with fans yelling for me was amazing, and when they announced my name on the intercom I felt like an Olympian or something.

I think because of my school exams in the fall, I won’t be able to commit the training time to another marathon until next spring, so I’m going to hold off on setting any goals for my marathoning future for now. Tentatively I think I’m going to plan to do the same race again next year, so closer to December I’ll decide if I want to work on my pace or something.

Up next: Rainier to Ruston (June 1 in Tacoma), and the Ragnar Northwest Passage (July 19-20 in Washington).

Marathon photos by Dave!

He came to six or so different locations along the route to see me and bring me water, Clif shots, mini Luna bars, and extra sunscreen! He was the best fan I’ve ever seen!

There aren’t any professional photos of my finish, because I was almost 20 minutes earlier than Joe predicted, but here’s a funny one of my water stop at mile 9. I make funny faces while talking on a regular day, but I guess it’s exacerbated by being partway through a marathon.

There aren’t any professional photos of my finish, because I was almost 20 minutes earlier than Joe predicted, but here’s a funny one of my water stop at mile 9. I make funny faces while talking on a regular day, but I guess it’s exacerbated by being partway through a marathon.