Sunday, November 14, 2010
Today was the Mission Inn Half Marathon in Riverside, California. It took me 4 hours and 11 minutes per the clock ( I didn't get my official time-it'll post online in a couple days so I'll look it up later).
Let's start at the very beginning....Saturday was our pre-race luncheon and Spark get together. Several of us doing the half or the 5K got together at the Old Spaghetti Factory (for those not in the know..pasta restaurant with delish food-betcha could figure that one out huh? lol!). The lunch was lots of fun and the food very good. After lunch it was off to pick up our race shirts and packets and to check out the "expo". The system wasn't terribly well organized unless you were signing up that day. But, we figured it out and we got our bibs, timing chips and shirts. The expo was a bit of a bust. Lots of local businesses, which was good, but none of the local sporting, fitness or running stores. No gear, no fuel, no samples. It was disappointing...no stickers, decals, or magnets. So, I didn't get a 13.1 magnet...I'll have to order online...oh well. There were a couple of good freebies, one really fun tote for free, but no goodie bag or swag bag. Bummer. Went home, double checked all the gear, relaxed then off to bed. Somewhere during the night the older of the two girls crept into our bed, which I hadn't even realized until I woke up to the youngest yelling through the house..."E-E where are you....E-E where are you" (youngest leaves off some consonants and E-E is her way of saying "sissy"). So in she crawled too. Where she then proceeded to fall asleep and then have a bad dream causing her to whimper and cry in her sleep until I put an arm around her. So, I didn't get the best night's sleep.
This morning got up early, got dressed, put my shoes on and my sister arrived exactly on time and off we went. Got to Riverside in PLENTY of time. Hit the portas, found the approximate starting line and waited. The crew was quite a bit late on setting things up. The banner and balloons came out 15 minutes or so before the race started. Maybe because it was WINDY! The wind was gusting and it was quite strong at times. Neither my sister nor I were happy with this. I hate the wind. Hate it. Running in it is even worse. I had my vest on because of the chill and would regret it later on.
Before the race started, while we were just standing around, we met some of the greatest people. I love that you can go to a race and find something to discuss with total strangers and you walk away feeling like you've made new friends even if you never see each other again. Diane was the first lady we struck up a conversation with. Really nice lady who did this race because she missed the registration for the one she wanted to do this weekend. Then we met Jackie (did I remember that right, Kristen?). This lady ROCKS!!! She is in her 60's and started running in her 50's. She has run 4 marathons. One of them was THE MARATHON!! The race that all other marathons are mere shadows of!! She ran the Athens Marathon in Greece!! She said it isn't a fancy race, but who cares!! I couldn't imagine the impact it would have to run something so historic. This lady is what I want to be in 20+ years. She ran this race because she lives in Riverside. We also met another very sweet young lady, Gloria (again, Kristen, I think I am remembering that right..?)
Race started and off we went. The first mile went fine. I stuck mostly to plan and worked the kinks out, had to stop once and stretch. Mile 2 brought on some pretty good hills. And this really cool bridge . Miles 3, 4 and 5 and i am still going strong. I am all alone by this point, whenever there is a straightaway I can see lots of people, but I am far enough back to be all alone. Mile 6 and I am still doing great, and now I am seeing the runners on their way back. I get lots of "you are doing great", "good morning", head nods and thumbs up. Runners are a very supportive group!!
Right at this point I start walking and I never really start running again. Up to this point in the race there have been a few water stops and the route has taken us through sheltered areas that protect us from the worst of the wind. Not any more. At this point we are running on the Santa Ana River Bike Trail (which was supposed to be closed to bikes for the race, but apparently a bunch of bikers didn't get the message. There were a few points where dodging the bikes got, well, dodgy. It wasn't HORRIBLE, but these were all racers so there was no ringing bell warning you a bike was coming up behind and I nearly had a heart attack every time a bike zoomed past. The bike path is actually quite pretty, one of the few naturally flowing rivers left in So. Cal. runs past here and the river bottom is green and lush and the views of the river itself are very pretty. The road however is raised quite a bit higher than the river and was VERY exposed to the wind. VERY exposed. The gusts got very strong at times. It was very, very draining and exhausting. In addition this stretch was VERY long. Miles 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11 were all included in this one out and back. It was very depressing seeing that road go on forever, just to turn around and have to go back again. Also, the water stops pretty much stopped through here. There was ONE stop that you hit on the way out and then again on the way back. Also, not a single porta on this entire stretch...I kinda needed one, but by the time I got back to one it was set off the course and up on the street. Yuck, I wasn't about to hike up to the busy street to enter a porta on the side of the road. I made it until we got all the way back...I think I just sweated it all away-lol!! By the time I hit almost the end of mile 12 I was really looking forward to a water stop. I had finished off my bottle-twice! I took along Powerade, finished it, and the one water stop along the river refilled it with water which I finished quickly.
I was getting kind of frustrated at this point because all along there had been emergency personnel on bikes riding back and forth making sure the runners were all safe. Well they had ALL disappeared with the bulk of the runners. Not one time did they come back to check on the straglers. There were 3 or 4 people not too far ahead of me and then one behind me and not once did the personnel come check on us. We are all walking along this very long and mostly deserted and isolated stretch of road and there is no staff to check on us. I hit one point were there had been staff stationed earlier and they were gone. Finally, though I didn't need help, the ambulance that had been parked at the farthest out point, the turn around, came driving back through the trail and paused to make sure I was okay and gave me a water bottle. Which was totally awesome since the last water stop was being broken down as I passed and didn't have any water set up for the few left out on the path.
I know I was taking a long time, but I wasn't really that far behind the people ahead of me so I am assuming they didn't get any water either. I was really disappointed that they were breaking down before the runners were all in.
Saw my sister coming back for me at about 12.5 with more water-YAY!! She walked the rest of the way with me and showed me the route since they were already breaking it down and the roads had been re-opened. Finally, I could see my family, Mom, Hubs, Son and Daughters, waiting for me. Around the corner and over the pads and I was done!! I was presented with my medal and one of the other sparkers (3chihuauas) had some oranges for me-THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! Never have a couple orange slices tasted so good!!
Overall, not terribly impressed with the race. It was fun and I made it. I finished and they really couldn't help the weather. Really wished there had been more portas and LOTS more water. Wish they had respected ALL the runners/walkers since this race was not time limited and the roads were actually posted to be closed for almost another hour after I finished. Will I do it again? Actually, I probably would do it again. By next year I will be better prepared and I probably won't be the next to the last one to cross next year. Hopefully, if I do it again the wind won't blow. That wind and dirt was the worst thing ever!! I am used to coming back from a race sweating and funky, but today, towards the end of the race I went to swipe away a little sweat and my face was gritty with the dirt. I felt like sandpaper. I couldn't wait to get home and shower off the grime. Actually, smartest thing I've ever done!!! I threw a wash cloth in my "end of race bag" (race shirt to change into, more comfy shoes, after race snack, bottle of water, etc). One little wash cloth that I poured some of my water on and washed my face as we were getting into the car to leave!! It felt so good!! The shower at home was still one of the top ten best showers of all time, but having that wash cloth in my bag was a stroke of genius!!
The medal, by the way, is really cool. The Mission Inn is an historic, and somewhat famous, hotel in downtown Riverside. The logo of Riverside is the raincross...it is a combination of a cross symbol used by Native Americans and a replica of a mass bell used by Junipero Serra (founder of California's missions) . I looked this up by the way. The raincross symbol is seen EVERYWHERE in Riverside. It is duplicated in street lights, architecture and on the flag of Riverside. You cannot go to Riverside without noticing the raincross symbol everywhere. The medal this year is the raincross symbol. It is quite a fetching medal! I took this self-portrait in the car on the way home.
Had a "blast" in a sick sort of way, it was an experience I am very glad I had and now I know just how hard I can push myself. I think, that if we hadn't had the wind I could have done better. But, I am still happy because I did it. Not a lot of people "my size" would even consider something like a half. A little over a year ago I thought that a 5K was such a long ways and today I went more than 4 times that distance!! Now I gotta go online and find a magnet so I can slap that puppy on my car and boast it to all the world :)!!
I know somebody will ask "what's next". A few fives and a couple tens here and there while I focus on weight loss and increasing speed. Want some PRs next time I race :)!!
Friday, November 12, 2010
I know I CAN do it. Still a little freaked out.
Apparently, according to my dream last night, I am destined to do this race wearing the race t-shirt and my bathrobe because I can't find my running pants and the technical shirt designated as "The Chosen One" for the half. I am also destined to spend the first 20 minutes of the race looking for a decent stall in a bathroom the size of a football field (complete with shower stalls and everything-hence no toilets-the stalls with toilets were filthy or otherwise not fit for use-this dream of not being able to find a clean stall is a frequently recurring one-a sub-concious search for the order I try to create in my often hectic and scattered real life?). In my dream I did finally find some pants, but not mine and they were really more of running tights, very thin running tights, that showed off every jiggle and roll (sub-concious backlash from Maura Kelly's now infamous "fatties" post?).
Wonder if anybody famous will be at this race since both actors who play the gay couple on Desperate Housewives made a guest appearance in my dream as their t.v. personas. They were snorting down plates and plates of spaghetti wearing the race medal (which, in my dream, was drop dead beautiful-Tiffany blue ribbon and silver , super shiny,metalic medal-sub-concious lusting for anything Tiffany?). The spaghetti was part of the pre-race "festivities", but they already had their medals so that was weird.
Definately a weird and scattered dream, but the good about it is that it really did seem to be a sub-concious dump dream. Don't know if there is a technical name for these dreams. But, you know, it is one of those dreams where everything really is somehow related to things on your mind, but in a twisted and freakish fashion. This is good because it tells me that my brain is trying to resolve all the little worries ahead of time. I can solve the problem with the pants by setting all my stuff out today even though the race isn't until Sunday. Then I can rest assured that on Sunday morning I will be able to find my pants. I know there will be plenty of porta-potties available and there will be something fit to use. I can take a pack of wipes to settle some of the cleanliness issue since not all portas are created equal-lol!! Even if it is just to wash my hands :)! Nobody is going to be eating spaghetti at 6 in the morning, famous or not, that part was just silly. The medal is going to be great no matter what it looks like and I will have one when all is said and done barring an injury before hand (knock on wood I remain on my own two feet until the end of the race) even if I do have to run the race in my t-shirt and bathrobe!! That would be a funny sight!! Anybody know of a race run in bathrobes?! That would be a fun one!! Might have to create my own race someday...the Hemet 10K Bathrobe Run!! LOL!!
I'll let you know how it goes on Sunday!!
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
I owe you all a regular blog soon and I have so many messages in my mailbox telling me I need to read some blogs...I've got to devote some real time to Spark very soon!!
However, today and off and on for the next little while I am devoting some time to a project I am working on.
Many of you know my hubs is out of work and money is tight. Christmas is coming and I am finding ways to be very creative so I can get some presents under the tree.
We used our bank's Thank You Points (sure that is copyrighted and belongs to Citi) to get a gift for son from their rewards store. Making the girls felt food for thier kitchen (to replace the really cheap and mostly squished plastic food they got with their kitchen last year). So, thinking about hubs...I found an idea and am working on what I need to finish it.
This is what I am doing....I am making a whole bunch of felt fortune cookies...as many as I can. In each fortune cookie the fortune will be a thought, a poem, a saying, etc about love, happiness, relationships, etc. Some of them, of course, are going to be personal (VERY personal) and there might be a few "coupons" in there (a romantic dinner at home sans kids, time alone, wash the car, etc). Others are going to be generic. I'm hitting websites for generic things...but, I would also like some input from my Sparkfriends.
What are your favorite thoughts, poems, sayings? Any ideas for a good coupon? I am aiming to fill a crystal bowl we got for our wedding-smaller than a salad bowl but quite a bit larger than a cereal bowl. The cookies will be approximately actual fortune cookie size, but I can fold, spindle and almost mutilate the paper to fit inside the cookie-or use a small font-lol!!. Lots of ideas needed!!
Looking forward to what I get from you all!!!
Wednesday, November 03, 2010
So, I am sitting here at the end of a kind of busy day (yes, I went and voted, but it was just a small part of the day). I haven't really even looked at Spark today, I've been on the computer some here and there and it's been on all day, but I haven't been behind the keyboard until tonight. I check a few things, take a peek at Facebook, add a few shows to Netflix streaming, check FB one more time and then head over to my e-mail for a quick peek...there are a couple of Spark related things that I wasn't expecting since I haven't been around the last couple of days. The first thing I click on is a notice that I've recieved a trophy. Oh, okay, that's right it is the beginning of the month and trophies are going out...so, which one is it? I couldn't think of which one it could be, pull up the message and see that I received a fitness minutes award. "REALLY? Fitness minutes?" I really added up over a 1,000 minutes this month? Crazy!! Yes, crazy and for two reasons...First, I really don't feel like I did that much last month. Second, I don't track half of what I do-loL!! I'll go in and I make sure I track my weekend long runs but I'll often miss everything during the week, unless I remember to go back and fill it in. I'm sure if I get better at tracking I'll get used to seeing that trophy at the end of the month!!
The second item I checked on was a comment on my feed. The item was the notice of the trophy and the comment was from Sleepydean to the effect of my long runs during October helped. And yes, she would be right!! Those long runs really boosted the total, mostly because it takes me FOREVER to cover the distance-lol!! The key to getting a thousand minutes is to run REALLY, REALLY, SLOWLY!! LOL!!! Also, really, track EVERYTHING!! I wonder, how many minutes would I have accumulated if I had tracked EVERYTHING?
I started last month strong with a weekly tracking goal and then promplty lost it after about 1 week. Which, by the way, is the best I've done so far. lol!! New month, new start, time to track everything!! Gotta go into the holidays STRONG!!
Happy beginning of November everyone!! Hope the month goes well for everyone...wonder if I'll get the fitness minutes award again next month??? :)!!
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Today was our 12 mile run. Luckily, my husband got home late last night and I was able to meet up with my sister, because I really don't think I would have done it on my own!
Got up this morning and figured that with the warm weather we've been having my short sleeve tech shirt would be fine. Left the house and thought it was just a little chilly, but the sun hadn't made an appearance yet so I still thought I was fine. Got to my sis' and opened the car door and couldn't believe the difference in temps between her end of town and mine. There was quite a brisk wind blowing at her end of town that stayed with us the entire time we were in her neighborhood. I should have worn the long sleeved shirt. Still thought I would be fine though. There were a few clouds in the sky, but could still see many stars peeking through. Finished the section of our run that was contained within my sis' neighborhood and headed into the wide world.
Wish I had taken my camera, running east I was greeted with the most gorgeous sunrise I think I have ever seen, and since I've been running I've gotten to see a few. The sunrise was trying to tell me something...it was a rosy red sunrise, just a pretty as could be. Long ago a college friend told me the old adage "Red sky at morning, sailor take warning. Red sky at night, sailor's delight" and I've never forgotten it until, apparently, today. The sunrise really was gorgeous. We get that sun coming over the mountain sunrise that children love to draw and this morning you could literally see the beams of light coming over the mountain -it looked a lot like this pic from Photobucket.com only with a mountain instead of a body of water...
So, I enjoyed the sunrise until I had to turn...kept running and felt good. The route took us back to my end of town and luckily right past my house. We had been getting slight little sprinkles of rain all along, but nothing that worried me or was annoying. It felt good. So, I changed the route just a tiny bit to take me home for a quick pit stop and water bottle refill. Decided to grab my visor while there to keep the sprinkles off my glasses and grabbed the vest I wear when it is cold and was back on the road. As soon as I stepped outside the house it started raining!! No sprinkles actual, full-blown, I can't believe this is happening rain. I have run in drizzles and a little in actual rain, but I think this was the craziest weather I've ever run in. A little past 8 miles I encounter an old guy driving his little motorized scooter down the street, he's got a little canopy over his scooter and the whole get-up has me thinking about Oklahoma and the surrey with the fringe on top. Old guy chewed me out for being out with short sleeves and not much of a jacket and hat!! Okay, I know, I could be better dressed, but really I was setting a good pace and didn't really feel cold. Didn't have time to explain so I just nodded and moved on :). I walked a good part of mile 8 and all of mile 9. I ran all of mile 10 and then got to the park where I did a lap to tack on a little distance to what I shorted myself by going home instead of following the route exactly, by the time I reached the park the sun was back out and I had to unzip my vest. Walked all of mile 11 and mile 12. I was barely moving by the time I hit 12...although, I was still setting a 20 min/mile pace which amazed me! I thought I was pretty much crawling and I know to a lot of people I was, but for me 20 min/miles are still pretty good.
I was beat by the time I was done, but I did it I went 12 miles!! Just have to tack on one more!! I could have done it, it would not have been a pretty, but I could have gone 1 more mile... I know what I did "wrong" though. The first 7 miles I pushed a little too hard. I was having TOO good a time on my run and even though I stuck to my walking breaks and fueling plans I think I ran too fast. In two weeks, for the real deal, I am planning on walking the first couple of miles and making sure the kinks are all worked out before I start running. Walking the start will also get me past the worst of the hills that are a part of the race course. I will pace with the walkers for most of the run and try to take it easy so I can still finish strong. Finishing in 4 hours is my plan (basically a walker's time not a runner's) and I am good with that. I just want to finish and then I can put 12 mile runs behind me for a little while while I focus on the mid-distance and getting faster!
So, it was blustery, it was rainy, it was random, and it was crazy, but I'm still willing to do it all over again in two weeks, for real this time!!
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